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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 6 September 2012

Home Department

Data Protection

Paul Uppal: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps her Department plans to put in place to protect personal data under the draft Communications Data Bill; and whether she proposes that the Government will be liable for any data stolen. [119331]

James Brokenshire: Communications data retained under the proposals in the draft Bill would be retained by the companies on whom a notice has been served by the Secretary of State. As is the case for data held by companies under existing legislation, retained data should be held in accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998 and, therefore, companies would be responsible for protecting personal data from loss, theft or unauthorised disclosure. Any communications data acquired from communications service providers by public authorities is the responsibility of the public authority concerned and would also be subject to the requirements of the Data Protection Act. Compliance with the Data Protection Act is overseen by the Information Commissioner. In particular, the commissioner would keep under review the security of communications data held by companies under the Bill and its destruction at the end of the retention period.

Companies would also be required to ensure that data is held in a manner accredited to Government information assurance standards, and is protected against accidental or unlawful destruction, accidental loss and unauthorised access or disclosure. These proposals would enable the Government to continue investing in the security of communications data, as they have previously.

Human Trafficking: Third Sector

Mr Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the role of the Big Society initiative in tackling human trafficking. [118539]

Mr Harper [holding answer 5 September 2012]: The Government have supported a number of initiatives to raise public awareness of human trafficking and encourage community involvement in combating the crime.

Non-governmental organisations are engaged through the Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group (IDMG), which coordinates work on human trafficking across the UK. In future the Group will perform the National Rapporteur function in compliance with the EU directive on trafficking in human beings, analyse trends in human trafficking and produce an annual report on how the UK is complying with its national and international obligations.

There has been no formal assessment of the role of the Big Society initiative in tackling human trafficking.

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Immigration

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether it is the practice of her Department to inform the Department of Work and Pensions when a migrant in possession of a national insurance number no longer has valid leave to remain in the UK. [119743]

Mr Harper: The national insurance number is an administrative reference number used by the Department for Work and Pensions and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs for benefits, tax and national insurance contribution purposes, and does not provide a migrant with automatic access to benefits or employment. The UK Border Agency does not collect data on national insurance numbers held by migrants, but does share data with the Department for Work and Pensions where necessary to establish a person's entitlement to benefits.

Immigration: Married People

Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the number of UK citizens who will marry abroad and re-enter the UK accompanied by non-EU spouses who have obtained the requisite marriage visa in (a) 2012, (b) 2013 and (c) 2014. [119741]

Mr Harper: When the Government changed the immigration rules concerning migration by families in June 2012, they published an impact assessment. This estimates the numbers coming through the route in future compared with now, as a consequence of the policy changes. In summary it estimates a reduction in family route visa grants by between 13,700-18,500 visa grants per annum. This includes British citizens returning to the UK with a family. As the rules apply equally to partners of British citizens (and persons settled here) regardless of whether they marry in the UK or abroad, the impact assessment does not make a separate estimate of those who marry abroad.

Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many UK citizens who had married abroad re-entered the UK accompanied by non-EU spouses who had obtained the requisite marriage visa in (a) 2008, (b) 2009, (c) 2010 and (d) 2011. [119742]

Mr Harper: The UK Border Agency does not record the number of UK nationals crossing the border and whose non-EU spouses hold marriage visas.

Members: Correspondence

Mr Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she plans to reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Walsall North of 24 July 2012 on UK entry visas for the London 2012 Olympics. [119506]

Mr Harper: The Minister for Crime and Security, my hon. Friend the Member for Old Bexley and Sidcup (James Brokenshire), replied to the hon. Member on 6 September 2012.

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Metropolitan Police: Criminal Records

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many serving police officers in the Metropolitan Police have received a criminal record and continue to serve as police officers. [118847]

Damian Green: This information is not collected by the Home Office.

Police National Computer: Data Protection

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will introduce sanctions for police officers who gain unauthorised access to the police national computer. [118849]

Damian Green: Access to the police national computer (PNC) is subject to rigorous assurance procedures. Safeguards are in place to detect misuse of the PNC by police officers and staff. Forces conduct regular audits of officer and staff usage. Any officer found to be misusing the PNC will be subject to disciplinary procedures that may include dismissal and/or criminal proceedings.

Police: Criminal Records

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will take steps to prevent the recruitment of police officers with a criminal record. [118848]

Damian Green: The public is entitled to expect that the police service recruits only those with proven integrity. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) has issued the National Vetting Policy for the Police Community to forces which advises how to progress applicants with convictions. Final decisions are a matter for the force concerned.

I will meet ACPO to see what more can be done to ensure that the integrity of those serving with the police is beyond question and whether the current arrangements around vetting could be strengthened.

Police: Disciplinary Proceedings

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps she is taking to prevent police officers from avoiding disciplinary hearings by retiring on pensioned medical grounds before those hearings have taken place. [118845]

Damian Green: Police officers may be required to retire on grounds of ill-health under the relevant police pension regulations if they are assessed by a medical practitioner as being permanently disabled for the ordinary duties of a police officer. This assessment should be entirely independent of any disciplinary matters.

The power to require officers to retire on grounds of ill-health is a matter for chief officers and their police authorities.

Police: Firearms

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many firearms were lost by police forces in England and Wales in the latest period for which figures are available. [118850]

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Damian Green: Police forces have in place stringent controls, laid down in the Association of Chief Police Officers guidance, for the carriage and storage of firearms. The loss of police issue firearms is a rare occurrence.

Police forces in England and Wales are not required to submit this information for central collection by the Home Office.

Police: Retirement

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps she is taking to prevent police officers who leave the police service on medical grounds from being re-employed as civilians in (a) the same force or (b) another police force within the same year. [118846]

Damian Green: The employment of police officers and police staff is a matter for chief officers and their police authorities, applying appropriate selection and vetting procedures.

Police: Training

Oliver Colvile: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what training police officers receive on dealing with people with mental health issues. [119537]

Damian Green: On joining the Police all officers undertake a two year initial Police Learning and Development Programme. Within this programme police officers and police community support officers are provided with training in dealing with people who are vulnerable through disability, mental ill health or learning disabilities.

Prisoner Escapes

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate her Department has made of the total cost incurred by police forces in the apprehension of escapees and abscondees from prison in the last year for which figures are available; and whether the Prison Service compensates police forces for any such costs incurred. [119379]

Damian Green: [holding answer 5 September 2012]: The Home Office does not hold information on the costs incurred by forces during the arrest of an absconder or escaper.

There is no formal compensation agreement between the police and the Prison Service for any such costs incurred.

Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the largest number of people is about whom a communications data request under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, relating to a single incident, has been made (a) since the passage of the Act and (b) in the last year. [117239]

James Brokenshire [holding answer 13 July 2012]: The Home Office does not hold statistics on the number of people that communications data requests relate to.

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The Interception of Communications Commissioner's Office provides independent oversight of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 and collects statistics from public authorities.

UK Border Agency

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many employees there are in each local immigration team of the UK Border Agency. [119744]

Mr Harper: The UK Border Agency is currently completing a capability review of its Local Immigration Teams to provide a clearer picture of current capabilities, strengths and weaknesses; and to make recommendations, including staffing, for the future of the local teams that will be charged with delivery of the agency's enforcement objectives.

As of April 2012 local management information shows the following staffing by Local Immigration Team:

Local Immigration TeamFull Time Equivalent

North Central London

61.52

Barnet and Enfield, Hackney and Tower Hamlets

61.55

Barking and Dagenham, Havering and Redbridge

31.73

Bexley, Greenwich, Lambeth and Southwark

51.24

Newham and Waltham Forest

48.47

Croydon

75.57

Wandsworth, Merton and Sutton

61.35

Lewisham and Bromley

44.3

Brent, Hammersmith and Fulham, Kensington and Chelsea

34.89

Hounslow, Richmond and Kingston

25.31

Harrow and Hillingdon

29.55

Ealing

39.22

Hampshire and Isle of Wight

33.9

Berks/Surrey

61.05

Sussex

29.4

Kent

69.28

Staffordshire

9.74

Cambridge and East Northants

17.81

E Midlands and Boston

47.14

Suffolk

13

Norfolk

14

Essex and Herts

20.86

Bedfordshire and West Northants

20.78

West Midlands

70.5

West Mercia

18.31

West Yorkshire

64.93

South Yorkshire

57.69

Humberside

46.05

Northumbria

60.3

Teeside

23.41

Merseyside

79.18

Manchester

87.64

Edinburgh

8.73

Aberdeen

6

Northern Ireland

18

Cardiff

14.8

North Wales

12

South Wales

11.81

Bristol

35.28

Dorset

9.97

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Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for travel documents submitted to the UK Border Agency since May 2010 are still under consideration by the Agency. [119745]

Mr Harper: The data requested are not held in a format compatible with National Statistics protocols.

However, the Home Office publishes immigration statistics on a quarterly and annual basis, a copy of which can be found in the Library of the House. The latest published statistics can also be found at:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/science-research-statistics/research-statistics/immigration-asylum-research/immigration-q2-2012/

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Flooding

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with (a) the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government and (b) the Chancellor of the Exchequer on additional resources to the Fire and Rescue Services in (i) Barnsley Central constituency, (ii) South Yorkshire and (iii) England and Wales at times of severe flooding. [119493]

Richard Benyon: The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has not had any discussions with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local and Government and the Chancellor of the Exchequer on additional resources to the Fire and Rescue Services in Barnsley Central, South Yorkshire and England and Wales in times of severe flooding.

The roles of the police and other emergency services, including those available through local authorities, during emergencies of all kinds are set out in the Civil Contingencies Act 2004. The Act provides for category 1 responders, including the Environment Agency, the police and local authorities to maintain plans to deal with emergencies, which amongst other things, threaten life or property. These requirements also include ensuring that the services can continue to perform their functions in an emergency. The Act does not specify the individual functions of each responder, nor which service should take the overall lead in any particular circumstances. Nevertheless, local councils and other responders may decide for the purpose of maintaining contingency plans in accordance with the Act to define the roles of the various responders by agreement.

DEFRA will continue to maintain the current capacity to plan for, and manage emergencies, and operate flood defences.

Organic Food

Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what fee is payable for a licence to sell organic meat; and if he will make a statement. [119757]

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Mr Heath: DEFRA delegates the certification of organic operators to nine approved UK organic Control Bodies who set their own charges for certification.

A full list of the DEFRA-approved organic Control Bodies, can be found on our website at:

http://archive.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/growing/organic/standards/certbodies/approved.htm

Prime Minister

International Assistance

Ian Paisley: To ask the Prime Minister when he expects to establish the high-level panel on developing post-Millennium Development Goals. [118948]

The Prime Minister: The UN Secretary-General announced the members of the high-level panel on 31 July. The panel will hold its first meeting at the end of September.

Members: Correspondence

Mr Baron: To ask the Prime Minister when he plans to respond to (a) the letter of 27 June 2012 from the hon. Member for Basildon and Billericay signed by a further 100 hon. Members on a referendum on the EU and (b) the subsequent email of 30 August 2012 from the hon. Member for Basildon and Billericay. [119750]

The Prime Minister: I met my hon. Friend the Member for Basildon and Billericay (Mr Baron) on 9 July in order to discuss his letter and the issues it raised. A formal reply to the letter will be sent shortly.

Transport

Airports

Christopher Pincher: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment he has made of the level of runway capacity in (a) England and (b) the UK required to maintain connectivity with emerging markets; and whether the Government have any plans to extend capacity in the next (i) five, (ii) 10 or (iii) 15 years at any UK airport. [118864]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department for Transport's latest estimates of airport capacity and air passenger demand forecasts were published in August last year in ‘UK Aviation Forecasts 2011’.

The central forecasts indicate that, with no new runways, the three largest London airports will be at capacity by 2030. However, the forecasts do not provide an assessment of the level of runway capacity required to maintain connectivity with emerging markets.

‘UK Aviation Forecasts 2011’ is available on the Department's website at the following address:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/publications/uk-aviation-forecasts-2011

Airports: G4S

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which UK airports currently hold contracts with G4S for security services. [119691]

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Mr Simon Burns: The Department for Transport does not hold this information; the provision of security services is a commercial matter for airport operators.

However all airports must operate in accordance with the National Aviation Security programme.

Correspondence

Mr Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions the Chief Executive, Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has signed replies to hon. Members writing on behalf of constituents in the last 12 months. [119507]

Stephen Hammond: In the period April 2011 to March 2012 the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency received 1,597 direct items of correspondence from hon. Members writing on behalf of constituents. It is normal practice for the chief executive to ask a senior manager who has responsibility for the area of work to investigate the case and reply on his behalf.

Equality Act 2010

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he plans to implement section 165 of the Equality Act 2010; and if he will make a statement. [119787]

Norman Baker: I am sympathetic to the case for commencing section 165 of the Equality Act 2010, but our overall assessment has not yet been completed. I intend to make an announcement in the near future.

Farmers: Driving

Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people his Department employs to carry out checks on papers and other records relating to driving hours kept by farmers and their employees; and what the cost of this employment was in the latest period for which figures are available. [119673]

Stephen Hammond: The Vehicle and Operator Services Agency currently employs 220 full-time equivalent traffic examiners (TEs) working on traffic enforcement. A TE's role is to check drivers' hours, both at the roadside and at operators' premises, for all types of vehicles. It is not possible to extract the cost incurred for checking drivers' hours specifically for drivers of agricultural vehicles without incurring a disproportionate cost.

Large Goods Vehicle Drivers: Working Hours

Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to introduce an exemption from maximum driving hours for drivers of vehicles carrying live animals in circumstances similar to the existing exemption for drivers of vehicles carrying dead animals; and if he will make a statement. [119660]

Stephen Hammond: The current exemption from drivers' hours rules for the transportation of live animals is set at EU level and includes a maximum radius of 50 km.

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However, there are currently proposals at EU level, which the Government is supporting, to increase this limit to 100 km.

Motorcycles: Accidents

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what estimate he has made of the number of people using quad bikes who have been (a) killed and (b) injured (i) on the highway and (ii) off-road in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement; [119790]

(2) if he will make it his policy that quad bikes should not be permitted to use the highway without the vehicle being licensed and the driver (a) holding a driving licence and (b) third party insurance; and if he will make a statement. [119811]

Stephen Hammond: It is already the case that quad bikes must fully meet type approval, registration and vehicle excise statutory requirements before being used on the highway. The rider must also hold the relevant category of driving licence which will depend on the size and weight of the bike and must have at least third party insurance for use on the roads.

The information requested on quad bike accidents cannot be identified separately. Quad bikes involved in reported personal injury accidents are recorded as part of the 'other motor vehicle' category along with vehicles such as ambulances, fire engines, road maintenance vehicles and motorised wheel chairs.

Furthermore, information for accidents on private roads or car parks or off-road is not held by the Department.

Official Cars

Mr Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many and what makes of car there are in the Government car service fleet. [119702]

Stephen Hammond: There are 92 vehicles in the Government car service fleet of the following makes:

 Number

Jaguar XJ

20

Land Rover Discovery

4

Toyota Avensis

10

Toyota Prius

41

Honda Civic

2

Ford Galaxy

6

Ford Mondeo

1

Vauxhall Vectra

1

Hyundai Santa Fe

4

Mitsubishi iMiEV

2

Ford Transit

1

Railways: Wales

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the timetable is for the completion of electrification of (a) the Great Western Main Line to (i) Cardiff and (ii) Swansea and (b) each of the branches of the Valleys Lines. [119968]

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Mr Simon Burns: The current plan for the completion of electrification of the Great Western Main Line to Cardiff is by the December 2017 timetable change date and it is expected that Swansea will be electrified for the May 2018 timetable change. The newly announced Valley Lines electrification project has not yet been sufficiently developed by Network Rail for a firm date to be available yet but it is expected to follow the GW Main Line with energisation in the calendar years 2018 and 2019.

Rapid Transit Systems

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will list the locations of each monorail in the UK; when each monorail opened; and if he will make a statement; [119793]

(2) what recent discussions he has had with local authorities on the provision of monorails; and if he will make a statement; [119794]

(3) what plans he has to develop monorail transport in the UK; and if he will make a statement; [119795]

(4) how much funding his Department made available for the development of monorails in each year since 1997; and if he will make a statement. [119796]

Norman Baker: There are a number of monorail type systems in various locations in England, including Gatwick Airport and numerous theme parks. The Department for Transport does not, however, hold a central record of these systems and any information could be provided only at a disproportionate cost.

The Department for Transport has not held any discussions with local transport authorities in regards to implementing monorail systems. Whether or not an innovative system, such as a monorail, has a potential to be implemented is first and foremost a local decision based on what the identified transport needs are in any particular area. If a need is identified then it would be for local authorities to develop a sound proposal on the basis of meeting the identified transport need and to demonstrate that such a system would offer value for money for the taxpayer.

The Government do not provide direct funding to local authorities for developing monorail systems. It would be for the relevant authority to undertake any feasibility studies at their own cost.

River Thames: Transport

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what plans he has to work with the Mayor of London on use of the River Thames for (a) passenger and (b) freight traffic; what discussions he has had with the Mayor of London on that subject since May 2010; and if he will make a statement; [119774]

(2) what plans he has to promote greater use of the River Thames for (a) passenger and (b) freight traffic; what estimate he has made of the amount of (i) passenger and (ii) freight traffic on the River Thames in each year since May 2010; and if he will make a statement. [119775]

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Stephen Hammond: Under the devolution arrangements introduced in the Greater London Authority Act 1999, the Mayor and Transport for London (TfL) are responsible for transport in the capital. Therefore, it would be for TfL and ultimately the Mayor to consider any matters relating to river services in London.

Since May 2010 the former Secretary of State had no discussions with the Mayor of London on the use of the River Thames for passenger and freight traffic. The former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport, my hon. Friend the Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mike Penning), discussed Thames water freight at a meeting with Peter Hendy, London Transport Commissioner, on 10 July 2012.

Data on freight and passenger movements on the Thames have not yet been published for 2011.

In 2010 there were 6,293,618 passengers on the Thames. This figure includes the following routes:

Embankment—Tower—Greenwich—QE2

Westminster—Greenwich—Thames Barrier

Westminster—Hampton Court

Westminster—Tower—Greenwich

Westminster—St Katharine’s

Thames Clippers (Monday to Friday peak)

Tate to Tate

Woolwich Free Ferry.

In 2010 15.68 million tonnes of freight were lifted on the River Thames which accounted for 0.55 billion-tonne kilometres (making it the busiest inland waterway in the UK in terms of freight).

Roads: Accidents

Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many vehicle collisions were

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reported in the most recent five years for which figures are available; how many such collisions resulted in

(a)

death and

(b)

injury; and how many persons considered responsible for such collisions there were in each age group in each such year. [119727]

Stephen Hammond: Information collected by the Department on road accidents in Great Britain is limited to accidents reported to the police and where at least one person sustained an injury. Therefore, there is no information on the total number of vehicle collisions.

The information requested on reported road collisions, in Great Britain, for the last five years for which data are available is provided in the following table:

Number
 Collisions involving at least one fatalityOnly injured(1) casualties

2007

2,714

179,401

2008

2,341

168,250

2009

2,057

161,497

2010

1,731

152,683

2011

1,797

149,677

(1) Injured includes all casualties who sustained either a serious or slight injury in a road accident.

Information on persons considered responsible for these reported collisions is not held by the Department. However, information is available on the number of reported personal injury road accidents involving a motor vehicle driver by age of the driver. This information is presented for each of the last five years for which data are available, in the following table:

Number
 Age of driver
 17 to 2425 to 2930 to 3435 to 3940 to 4950 to 5960 to 6970+

2007

61,795

33,347

31,394

32,764

56,663

34,816

18,192

11,332

2008

56,795

30,976

27,667

29,164

53,399

31,802

17,218

11,067

2009

53,656

29,648

26,659

26,636

51,183

31,525

17,275

11,189

2010

46,706

26,926

25,318

24,612

48,978

31,192

16,762

11,056

2011

44,154

25,957

24,762

23,062

47,682

30,888

17,137

11,568

Roads: Safety

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to reduce the number of road casualties. [119628]

Stephen Hammond: Since the publication of the Strategic Framework for Road Safety in May 2011, the Department has taken a number of the steps to reduce the number of road casualties, as envisaged in the framework. They include steps on all three of the thematic chapters of the framework.

Firstly on ‘improving road safety together’, the road safety comparison site, road safety observatory, speed limit assessment tool and a revised speed limit circular are all well advanced and on track for completion during the next few months.

Secondly on 'education' we have already made changes to the driving tests and changes to the educational scheme for drink drive offenders are progressing towards implementation.

Thirdly on 'targeted enforcement and sanctions', we have consulted about the introduction of fixed penalty notices for careless driving and increased penalty fines. The bill containing enabling legislation to create a new specific drug driving offence is being considered in the House of Lords.

Rolling Stock

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) when he expects work to add pantograph/transformer cars to Class 220 Voyager diesel-electric multiple units to be completed; and how many full-time equivalent jobs such work will generate; [118410]

(2) what representations he has made to Bombardier and Alstom on the addition of pantograph/transformer cars to Class 220 Voyager diesel-electric multiple units; [118411]

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(3) what the cost to the public purse will be of adding pantograph/transformer cars to Class 220 Voyager diesel-electric multiple units. [118412]

Mr Simon Burns: An announcement about the E Voyager project will be made in due course.

Severn River Crossing

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions he has had regarding future ownership of the Severn Bridges. [119967]

Stephen Hammond: Officials are in regular contact with the Welsh Government over a variety of transport matters, including the future of the Severn Crossing. However no decisions have been made about the future of the crossing after the existing concession ends.

Taxis: Wheelchairs

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to bring into force the provision of section 165 of the Equality Act 2010 that requires taxi and mini cab drivers to accept and assist wheelchair users at no extra charge. [119732]

Norman Baker: I am sympathetic to the case for commencing section 165 of the Equality Act 2010, but our overall assessment has not yet been completed. I intend to make an announcement in the near future.

Travel: Costs

Dr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent estimate his Department has made of the comparative cost to the passenger of domestic (a) air and (b) rail travel; and if he will make a statement. [119692]

Mr Simon Burns: No recent estimates have been made of the comparative cost to the passenger of domestic air and rail travel.

West Coast Railway Line

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the timetable is for the introduction of new services to Shrewsbury, Blackpool and Bolton under the new West Coast Mainline franchise. [119797]

Mr Simon Burns: As a result of a legal challenge, which the Government intend to defend robustly, we have not yet signed the contract with First, and therefore the competition remains live. We expect to sign the contract soon.

First West Coast Ltd is required by the franchise agreement to actively consider and use all reasonable endeavours to implement the following new services:

between London Euston station and Blackpool North station from the 8 December 2013;

between London Euston station and Shrewsbury station from the 11 December 2016; and

between Preston station and Manchester Piccadilly station calling at Bolton from the 11 December 2016.

These new services are subject to the necessary track access rights being granted by the Office of Rail Regulation.

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David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with FirstGroup on redundancies on the West Coast Mainline when it takes over the franchise. [119798]

Mr Simon Burns: As a result of a legal challenge, which the Government intend to defend robustly, we have not yet signed the contract with First, and therefore the competition remains live. We expect to sign the contract soon.

There have been no discussions with FirstGroup relating to redundancies on the West Coast Mainline.

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with First Group on priorities for investment on the West Coast Mainline; and whether such investment is conditional on growth in customer numbers. [119799]

Mr Simon Burns: As a result of a legal challenge, which the Government intends to defend robustly, we have not yet signed the contract with First, and therefore the competition remains live. We expect to sign the contract soon.

My officials held discussions with all four bidders for the franchise regarding their priorities for investment on the West Coast Mainline. The Franchise Agreement with First West Coast Limited includes a number of Committed Obligations relating to investment and the introduction of new train services.

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he plans to announce his decision on Alliance Rail's open access bid on the West Coast Mainline. [119778]

Mr Simon Burns: Applications to run open access services on the national rail network are judged by the Office of Rail Regulation, not by the Department for Transport.

Defence

HMS Argyll

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects HMS Argyll to be retired from service. [119592]

Mr Robathan: On present planning assumptions, HMS Argyll, the oldest Type 23 in the fleet, will be withdrawn from service in 2023 having entered service in 1992.

Procurement

Anas Sarwar: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many procurement contracts have been placed by his Department with Scottish companies and companies based in Scotland in each of the last five years; and what the (a) nature and (b) value was of each such contract. [119174]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 5 September 2012]: The information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

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Type 26 Frigates

Oliver Colvile: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the timetable is for the building and base porting of the proposed Type 26 frigates. [118571]

Mr Robathan: The Type 26 Global Combat Ship (GCS) programme is in its assessment phase. The timetable for the build programme of the ships and where they will be based will be determined at the main investment decision, which is currently scheduled for the middle of the decade.

House of Commons Commission

Apprentices

Robert Halfon: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission how many apprentices were employed by (a) the House of Commons and (b) its principal contractors in each of the last five years. [118610]

John Thurso: The Parliamentary Estates Directorate (PED) has directly employed three apprentices in the last five years (one individual from 2005-08, and two other individuals from 2006-10). The last group of apprentices completed their training in 2010 and have been appointed to permanent posts. An apprentice scheme is being developed by PED, with the intention that it recruits and trains people itself in order to backfill craftsmen as they leave.

The Catering and Retail Services has offered a two-year apprentice chef scheme. A recruitment campaign was held in September 2011, but there were no successful applicants.

The House of Commons does not hold information about the number of apprentices working for contractors, but PED is aware of three apprentices employed by a large contractor (Inviron) currently working on site on the Parliamentary Estate.

The House plans to make further apprenticeships available in the coming months. The Director General, Facilities, would be happy to discuss this further with the hon. Member.

Justice

Cats: Animal Welfare

Mark Menzies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what guidance is given to magistrates on sentencing for offences of deliberate poisoning of cats and other pets under section 7 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. [118983]

Jeremy Wright: The magistrates courts’ sentencing guidelines provides guidance on certain animal cruelty offences, namely those contained in sections 4, 8 and 9 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006. Sentencing guidelines do not necessarily cover all offences but focus on the more commonly committed offences. However, in dealing with all offences the courts will apply the same principles of determining seriousness by considering the culpability of the offender and the harm caused, or intended to be caused. The animal cruelty guideline and the overarching

6 Sep 2012 : Column 388W

sentencing guideline on seriousness will also assist courts in determining the relevant aggravating and mitigating factors which should be taken into account in an individual case involving other types of animal cruelty where the offence is not covered by a specific guideline.

Courts: Translation Services

Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many court hearings have been adjourned due to an appropriate interpreter not being supplied by Applied Language Solutions in the latest period for which figures are available. [119332]

Mrs Grant: The Department does not centrally hold information on the number of all adjournments due to an interpreter not being provided. Information is available on the number of ineffective trials in Court Statistics Quarterly.

These show that in January to March 2012 out of the 43,110 trials in the magistrates courts, 182 (3%) were ineffective due to interpreter availability. Of the 10,555 trials in the Crown Court, 10 (0.7%) were ineffective for the same reason.

The Department also published statistics about the operation of the Framework Agreement with Applied Language Solutions (ALS) in May. These show that of the 26,059 initial requests for language services 11% were either cancelled by the Courts and Tribunal Service, or the person for whom the translation service has been requested failed to attend. Of the remaining 23,234 request ALS were able to fulfil 18,719 or 81% of the assignments. However, presenting a single quarterly figure hides a very marked trend over the three months of increasing success rates for requests for translators.

During the first month (30 January to 29 February 2012) of the contract ALS were able to fulfil 65% of requests for translations services, this increased to 82% in March 2012, and increased to 90% in April 2012.

All these statistics are published on the Department's website.

Disability Appeal Tribunal

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many clinically trained medical members there are of disability appeals tribunals in England; [119122]

(2) how many medical members of disability appeals tribunals resigned in each of the last two years. [119123]

Mrs Grant: Medical practitioners sit as medically qualified panel members on a range of appeals in the First-tier Tribunal—Social Security and Child Support (SSCS), including Disability Living Allowance, Industrial Injuries Disablement Benefit, Vaccine, Damage, Compensation Recovery and some Employment and Support Allowance appeals where the Work Capability Assessment is a factor. They may be either registered or licensed to practise.

Medically qualified panel members may be deployed across regional judicial boundaries and sit at venues across Great Britain. According to locally held management information there were 884 medically qualified panel members appointed to sit in the SSCS Tribunal as at

6 Sep 2012 : Column 389W

3 September 2012. Of these, seven are salaried and 877 are appointed to sit as required by the Tribunal on a fee-paid basis (of these 89 have recently been appointed and will be deployed following induction training).

18 medically qualified panel members resigned between July 2010 and June 2011. 21 medically qualified panel members resigned between July 2011 and June 2012.

Employment Tribunals Service

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what estimate he has made of the administration costs resulting from the new employment tribunal fee liability structure; [118795]

(2) what estimate he has made of the number of people who would have been (a) liable for and (b) exempted from paying the proposed new employment tribunal fees in each of the last two years had the fee structure been in place at the time. [118796]

Mrs Grant: The administration costs, expressed in 2012-13 prices, are estimated to be £3 million one-off implementation costs and £l million to £2 million recurring administrative costs per annum thereafter with fee income estimated at £7 million to £9 million per annum (gross of the recurring administrative costs). These estimates were included in the Impact Assessment that was published alongside the Government's response to the public consultation 'Charging Fees in the Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal' published in July 2012.

In answer to my hon. Friend’s second question, no estimates have been made for this period. However, in the Impact Assessment that was published alongside the Government's response to the consultation 'Charging Fees in the Employment Tribunal and Employment Appeal Tribunal' published in July 2012, it was estimated that approximately 35% of the employment tribunal claimant population could be expected to qualify for a full fee remission when fees are due to be introduced from 2013. It was also noted that a further proportion of the claimant population could also qualify for a partial fee remission through the disposable income means test, the amount of which would be variable depending on disposal income and the level of the fee being charged.

Employment Tribunals Service: Compensation

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what plans he has to improve the enforcement of tribunal compensatory awards. [119403]

Mrs Grant: Following the “Solving Disputes in the County Court” consultation, on 9 February 2012, the Government set out a range of enforcement reforms aimed at improving the effectiveness of current enforcement processes in the civil courts in England and Wales, including the enforcement of tribunal compensatory awards. These measures include:

allowing charging orders in applications where instalment orders are in place;

introducing a minimum threshold of £1,000 in applications for orders for sale, limited to Consumer Credit Act debts;

streamlining the charging order and third party debt order application processes to make them more efficient.

6 Sep 2012 : Column 390W

Matrimonial Causes Act 1973

Richard Fuller: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether his Department has any plans to reform the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 to provide for no fault divorce. [118678]

Mrs Grant: The Government do not intend to amend the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 to change the grounds for divorce or the facts required to prove that the marriage has broken down irretrievably.

The Government intend to reduce the burden on the courts by providing for uncontested divorces to be dealt with administratively. Draft legislation on family justice, including provisions on divorce, was published on 3 September 2012.

Prisoners: Adoption

Mr Timpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what proportion of the UK prison population is adopted. [118727]

Jeremy Wright: Information on the proportion of prisoners in all prison establishments in England and Wales who are adopted is not centrally available.

The only available information comes from the Surveying Prisoner Crime Reduction (SPCR) survey, a longitudinal cohort study of around 1,400 adult prisoners sentenced to between one month and four years in England and Wales in 2005 and 2006. Only 10 of the respondents reported living with adoptive parents when asked who they lived with as a child (up to the age of 17).

Social Security Benefits: Appeals

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what the average length of time was for the Tribunals Service to administer a First-tier Tribunal social security and child support appeal in respect of employment and support allowance in each hearing venue in the west midlands in (a) 2010-11 and (b) the latest period for which figures are available; [119500]

(2) what proportion of appeals to the Tribunals Service concerning (a) disability living allowance, (b) employment and support allowance, (c) income support, (d) jobseeker's allowance and (e) tax credits were successful in each hearing venue in the west midlands in (i) 2010-11 and (ii) the latest period for which figures are available; [119807]

Mrs Grant: Appeals against decisions made by the Department for Work and Pensions on an individual's entitlement to social security and child support are heard by the First-tier Tribunal—Social Security and Child Support, administered by Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS).

The following table shows the average time taken from receipt of an employment and support allowance (ESA) appeal to disposal by the tribunal in 2010-11 and 2011-12 (the latest period for which figures are available) at the hearing venues in the west midlands.

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ESA appeal times from receipt to disposal
Weeks
Hearing venue2010-112011-12

Birmingham

21.6

32.7

Coventry

21.1

38.4

Hereford

17.7

22.9

Kidderminster

21.7

32.5

Stoke

26.8

29.7

Walsall

(1)n/a

35.7

Wolverhampton

24.5

36.5

Worcester

16.2

23.8

(1 )Walsall has been used as a hearing venue since January 2012. Source: The data are taken from management information.

HMCTS has continued to respond strongly to the significant increase in appeal cases received by the SSCS tribunal. Two additional hearing rooms in Leamington Spa and Nuneaton will be used from November 2012 to hear certain appeals which would currently be heard at the Coventry venue. This will reduce the number of appeals listed at Coventry and, therefore, help bring down the average waiting time for an appeal hearing. Other work to increase the tribunal's capacity in the west midlands includes the identification of additional venues in Birmingham (two additional hearing rooms from November 2012), Hereford and Worcester (increased use of existing rooms from December 2012), Wolverhampton (two additional hearing rooms from January 2013), Solihull (two additional hearing rooms from September 2012), Kidderminster (increasing use of venue to five days per week from Autumn 2012), Walsall (additional two hearing rooms in use from January and June 2012). It also includes recruitment of additional fee-paid judges and medical members and increased administrative resource, and administrative work to reallocate hearing to alternative nearby venues to ensure appeals are dealt with as quickly as possible.

HMCTS is also working hard at a national level to increase the capacity of the SSCS tribunal and reduce waiting times. It has implemented a range of measures which include recruiting more judges and medical panel members; increasing administrative resources and streamlining processes; securing additional hearing venues across the country; increasing the number of cases listed in each tribunal session; running double shifts in its largest processing centre; running Saturday sittings in some of the busiest venues; and establishing a customer contact centre to deal with telephone inquiries.

All of this is having a positive effect. The total number of disposals has increased significantly from 279,000 in 2009-10 to 380,000 in 2010-11, and 433,600 appeals in 2011-12, with the capacity for half a million disposals in 2012-13. Perhaps, most notably, the tribunal disposed of more appeals than it received in every month between January 2011 and February 2012 (14 consecutive months) and the outstanding caseload within the tribunals fell by 25% in 2011-12 to reach 145,000 on 31 March 2012. The average waiting time has stabilised nationally, and is beginning to fall across many venues.

The following tables show the proportion of appeals regarding (a) disability living allowance, (b) employment and support allowance, (c) income support, (d) jobseeker's allowance and (e) tax credits which were decided in favour of the appellant in each hearing venue in the west midlands in (i) 2010/11 and (ii) 2011/12 (the latest period for which figures are available).

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Percentage of appeals decided in favour of the appellant in 2010-11
Hearing venueDisability living allowanceEmployment and support allowanceIncome supportJobseeker's allowanceTax credits

Birmingham

24

23

32

18

18

Coventry

38

33

26

20

(l )0

Hereford

31

32

19

19

20

Kidderminster

23

31

21

20

(l )0

Stoke

29

35

33

18

(l )0

Walsall

(2)n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

n/a

Wolverhampton

29

30

34

18

19

Worcester

37

29

30

16

9

(1) Fewer than 10 appeals of this benefit type were heard at these hearing venues in the time period. (2) Walsall has been used as a hearing venue since January 2012. Source: The data are taken from management information.
Percentage of appeals decided in favour of the appellant in 2011-12
Hearing venueDisability living allowanceEmployment and support allowanceIncome supportJobseeker's allowanceTax credits

Birmingham

25

32

29

14

7

Coventry

43

35

51

20

17

Hereford

29

34

26

12

33

Kidderminster

24

28

23

15

14

Stoke

31

34

23

15

13

Walsall

28

33

21

3

(l )0

Wolverhampton

32

35

36

16

20

Worcester

33

43

35

21

(l )0

(1) Fewer than 10 appeals of this benefit type were heard at these hearing venues in the time period. Source: The data are taken from management information.

Treasury

Air Passenger Duty

Mark Menzies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make an assessment of the effect of the level of the air passenger duty on business competitiveness. [118263]

Sajid Javid: The Government froze air passenger duty in 2011-12 and Budget 2012 announced 2013-14 rates will rise in line with inflation.

Sound public finances help ensure a stable economic environment for businesses to grow and compete. Air passenger duty makes a vital contribution to the public finances.

Child Maintenance

Nigel Adams: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will take steps to address the issue of absent parents not paying maintenance for their children using tax loopholes that may exist in IR35. [118921]

Mr Gauke: The rules surrounding child maintenance mean that the Child Support Agency is able to take into account the total amount of an absent parent's income from employment or self-employment. However, because dividend income legally derives from a shareholding and not from earnings, such payments are not included as a matter of routine.

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Child maintenance has a variations scheme which enables more exceptional circumstances to be included when setting maintenance. These include the ability to take account of income, including dividend income, not taken into account under standard calculation rules.

There is no loophole in IR35 that allows absent parents not to pay child maintenance.

Corporation Tax

Joseph Johnson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what effect changes to corporation tax have had on UK businesses. [119426]

Mr Gauke: The Government aim to create the most competitive tax regime in the G20. The main rate of corporate tax has been reduced from 28% in 2010 to 24% in April this year, and will then fall to 23% in April 2013 and 22% in April 2014.

The OBR estimates that the additional 1% tax cut announced at Budget 2012 will

“increase the level of business investment by 1 per cent over the forecast period”

(EFO, p.46). This is equivalent to an increase in the total amount of business investment of £3.4 billion over the next five years.

Reforms to the corporate tax regime have made the UK more competitive, stemming the flow of businesses leaving and encouraging companies to come back, or to move here for the first time.

Guy Opperman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effect of changes in corporation tax on businesses. [119477]

Mr Gauke: The Government aim to create the most competitive tax regime in the G20. The main rate of corporate tax has been reduced from 28% in 2010 to 24% in April this year, and will then fall to 23% in April 2013 and 22% in April 2014.

The OBR estimates that the additional 1 % tax cut announced at Budget 2012 will “increase the level of business investment by 1 per cent over the forecast period”. (EFO, p.46) This is equivalent to an increase in the total amount of business investment of £3.4 billion over the next five years.

Reforms to the corporate tax regime have made the UK more competitive, stemming the flow of businesses leaving and encouraging companies to come back, or to move here for the first time.

Equitable Life Assurance Society: Compensation

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how the compensation for individual Equitable Life policyholders under the Equitable Life Payment Scheme was calculated; and if he will publish details of each method used. [119738]

Sajid Javid: The scheme published the detailed calculation methodology for each policy class in May 2011 and this information can be found on the scheme's website:

http://equitablelifepaymentscheme.independent.gov.uk/resources/index.htm

6 Sep 2012 : Column 394W

Infrastructure

Ian Paisley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) with reference to his Department's infrastructure programme announced on 18 July 2012, whether funds for infrastructure developments have been allocated to Northern Ireland; [118931]

(2) with reference to his Department's infrastructure programme announced on 18 July 2012, what private sector companies are expected to benefit from new guarantees provided for major infrastructure projects; [118932]

(3) with reference to his Department's infrastructure programme announced on 18 July 2012, which major infrastructure projects are being developed; [118933]

(4) with reference to his Department's infrastructure programme announced on 18 July 2012, what assessment he has made of the potential effects of the programme on youth unemployment. [118934]

Danny Alexander: The UK Infrastructure Guarantee scheme is designed to ensure that major UK infrastructure projects that are struggling to access private finance because of adverse credit conditions can go ahead. An estimated £40 billion of projects in the public and private sectors in the UK and Northern Ireland could qualify for the provision of guarantees, subject to meeting the published minimum eligibility criteria and a robust approvals process. These projects could come from a range of sectors including transport, utilities, energy and communications.

LIBOR

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the policy of his Department on the role of banks in setting LIBOR was in (a) January 2007, (b) November 2008 and (c) May 2010; and what consideration he has given to arrangements for more effective supervision of the LIBOR (i) in general and (ii) in a banking crisis. [118130]

Greg Clark: HM Treasury is responsible for the implementation of the policies of the Government of the day in respect of financial services regulation and its other policy responsibilities. It has no specific departmental policies in respect of these matters.

Consideration of the structure and governance of LIBOR, and the corresponding criminal sanctions regime are the subject of an independent review being conducted by Martin Wheatley, chief executive-designate of the Financial Conduct Authority. This review will report shortly; any necessary legislative changes resulting from the Wheatley Review will be considered for inclusion in the Financial Services Bill currently before Parliament or the proposed Banking Reform Bill.

As part of his review, on 10 August Martin Wheatley launched a discussion paper setting out initial proposals for reforming the current framework for setting and governing LIBOR, which can be found at the following link:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/press_73_12.htm

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what discussions his Department had with (a) Barclays, (b) RBS and (c) other major UK banks on the subject of reducing the LIBOR between

6 Sep 2012 : Column 395W

1 January 2007 and 31 December 2010; and if he will publish any associated correspondence or briefings held by his Department; [118182]

(2) whether officials, special advisers or Ministers in his Department discussed LIBOR setting with any senior representatives of Barclays in the week after the Deputy Governor of the Bank of England discussed LIBOR with Barclays on 28 October 2008; and if he will publish any associated minutes, correspondence or briefings; [118131]

(3) whether officials, special advisers or Ministers in his Department discussed the level of the LIBOR set by UK banks at a meeting with representatives of banks on 6 November 2008; and if he will publish any associated minutes, correspondence or briefings; [118132]

(4) whether officials, special advisers or Ministers in his Department raised any questions (a) in meetings and (b) by correspondence in respect of the reduction in the LIBOR following his Department's meeting with representatives of banks on 6 November 2008; [118133]

(5) what briefings his Department provided to Ministers between 1 January 2007 and 31 December 2010 on the concerns raised by regulators on (a) the credibility of LIBOR setting and (b) the associated investigation in the United States; and if he will publish any associated correspondence or briefings held by his Department; [118183]

(6) whether officials in his Department recommended that Ministers make a statement to the House on any occasion between 2007 and 2009 on concerns about the credibility of LIBOR in the context of a liquidity crisis and confidence and trust in LIBOR; and if he will publish any associated correspondence or briefings held by his Department. [118185]

Greg Clark: Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings and discussions with a wide variety of organisations 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 pre-judge or pre-empt the outcome of investigations into the attempted manipulation of LIBOR and other benchmarks.

In accordance with established practice, the current Government do not have access to departmental papers relating to the period of a previous Administration.

Regulation

Richard Fuller: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his Department has made an estimate of the (a) cost and (b) time required for a business to comply with each piece of regulation for which it is responsible. [118680]

Sajid Javid: The Treasury estimates the cost to business of its regulations through Impact Assessments. In general, time required for businesses to comply is accounted for in these costs. The Treasury's Impact Assessments from 2008 onwards can be found in the Impact Assessment library. This is available online at:

http://www.ialibrary.bis.gov.uk/

6 Sep 2012 : Column 396W

Scotland

Margaret Curran: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what date he last had a bilateral meeting with the Secretary of State for Scotland; and what matters were discussed. [119617]

Danny Alexander: The Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Scotland meet regularly to discuss a range of topics.

Tax Evasion

Guy Opperman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to tackle tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance. [119476]

Mr Gauke: The Government have been robust in its response to tax evasion and aggressive tax avoidance schemes, taking action to prevent, detect and tackle such behaviour. We have underlined our commitment to tackling non-compliance in those areas by investing over £900 million in HM Revenue and Customs over the spending review period. That will allow HM Revenue and Customs to better tackle evasion, criminal attacks, unpaid tax debt and avoidance and is on course to bring in around £7 billion in additional tax each year by 2014-15. HM Revenue and Customs' reinvestment in tackling criminals has resulted in 413 convictions, with over £1 billion in revenue and revenue loss prevented as a result of its investigations. We are also soon to introduce the UK's first ever General Anti-Abuse Rule, to tackle artificial and abusive avoidance schemes, and are consulting on ways to strengthen our avoidance disclosure regime and associated publicity, including improving the information available to taxpayers on avoidance.

Taxation: Business

Ben Gummer: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of HM Revenue and Customs company tax inspections were (a) held at random, (b) following up suspected irregularities in company tax returns and (c) triggered by reports to HM Revenue and Customs' hotline and DirectGov service of suspected tax avoidance in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [118868]

Mr Gauke: 2011-12 is the last full year for which information is available.

In this period:

(a) the total number of random corporation tax interventions carried out by HMRC was 277

(b) the total number of corporation tax interventions carried out by HMRC was 15,838 (including the 277 random interventions)

(c) It is not possible to identify inspections triggered by reports to HMRC's hotlines DirectGov service.

Taxation: Golf

Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reason private members' golf clubs are exempt from (a) charging VAT on membership and (b) corporation tax; for what reason golf clubs run as businesses are subject to such taxes; and if he will make a statement. [119659]

6 Sep 2012 : Column 397W

Mr Gauke: European law requires member states to apply a mandatory VAT exemption to supplies of sporting services by non-profit making organisations. Subscription fees charged by non-profit-making golf clubs are therefore exempt from VAT. There is no similar VAT exemption for sporting services supplied by profit-making organisations.

Golf clubs that are unincorporated associations or companies are within the scope of corporation tax and are not exempt. Where these clubs are established by their members for their own social or recreational objects they are not liable to corporation tax on any surpluses which arise from transactions with their full members. This is because the surpluses on transactions with such members are not trading income. However, receipts from outsiders such as visitors or temporary members are subject to corporation tax as trading income and other income and gains of members' clubs are chargeable to tax in the normal way.

Taxation: Pensions

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the revenue forgone from offsetting pension contributions against tax for (a) ordinary rate and (b) higher rate taxpayers in the latest period for which figures are available. [118442]

Mr Gauke [holding answer 3 September 2012]: Available estimates of the total tax cost of pension relief can be found in Table PEN6 on the HMRC website at the following link:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/pensions/pen6.xls

Scotland

Infrastructure (Financial Assistance) Bill

Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he has made of the effect on Scotland of the proposals in the Infrastructure (Financial Assistance) Bill. [119748]

Michael Moore: The UK Government announced in July that they will issue guarantees for major infrastructure projects. The infrastructure guarantee programme will extend to Scotland and will be available to projects that may have stalled because of adverse credit conditions and that meet set criteria. All applications received will be subject to detailed assessment by the UK Government, in consultation with the Scottish Government where appropriate.

Universal Credit

Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on the implementation of universal credit in Scotland. [119751]

Michael Moore: The Under-Secretary of State for Scotland, the right hon. Member for Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale (David Mundell), and I are in regular contact with ministerial colleagues on a range of issues relating to welfare reform in Scotland.

6 Sep 2012 : Column 398W

West Coast Railway Line

Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he had with the Secretary of State for Transport on the recent award of the West Coast Main Line passenger rail franchise. [119749]

Michael Moore: There has been regular contact between the Scotland Office and the Department for Transport on cross-border rail issues related to Scotland. My officials have discussed the award of the West Coast Main Line passenger rail franchise with counterparts in the Department for Transport in recent weeks and will continue to receive updates on the matter.

Working Tax Credit

Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he has made of the potential effect on Scotland of reductions in the child care component of working tax credit. [119752]

Michael Moore: The budget deficit we inherited from the previous Government has meant we have had to make some very difficult choices. The Government have been clear that it sees reducing Britain's deficit as its most urgent task, in order to put the public finances on a stable footing. Despite this reduction, the child care element provides important support and will continue to make child care more affordable for working parents.

Cabinet Office

Charities

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Arfon of 24 April 2012, Official Report, column 796W, on charities, on what date he plans to lay the orders to make provision for the status of charitable incorporated organisations. [118611]

Mr Hurd: The Government will shortly lay the secondary legislation that will enable the new form of charity, the Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO), to be created. Commencement will be subject to parliamentary approval.

Charity Commission

Mr Thomas: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many recent candidates for the position of Chair of the Charity Commission were interviewed by or met (a) the Minister for the Cabinet Office and (b) other Ministers; and if he will make a statement. [119382]

Mr Hurd: The selection panel considered 26 applications and selected for interview the five candidates they consider best met the criteria. Three candidates were deemed appointable to the post and the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General met with all three candidates.

6 Sep 2012 : Column 399W

Public Sector: Greater London

Mr Evennett: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the net change in the number of private sector jobs was in (a) Bexleyheath and Crayford constituency, (b) the London Borough of Bexley and (c) Greater London in the latest period for which figures are available. [119633]

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

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated September 2012:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking what the net change in the number of private sector jobs was in (a) Bexleyheath and Crayford constituency, (b) the London Borough of Bexley and (c) Greater London in the latest period for which figures are available. (119633)

The official estimates of public and private sector jobs are compiled from Work Force Jobs (WFJ) series. However, WFJ do not produce private/public sector job statistics at any geography smaller than Regional level, so private sector employment has been provided from the Annual Population Survey (APS).

Individuals in the APS are classified to the public or private sector according to their responses to the survey.

Table 1 as follows shows the net changes in private sector employment from the APS in London, London Borough of Bexley and Bexleyheath and Crayford constituency between the 12 month period ending in March 2012, (the latest available period) and the period one year earlier.

As with any sample survey, estimates from the APS are subject to a margin of uncertainty.

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

http://www.nomisweb.co.uk

Table 1: Net change in private sector employment between the 12 month period ending March 2011 and March 2012
Thousand
 Private sector employment 
 12 months ending: 
 March 2011March 2012Net change

London

2,882

*3,006

124

Bexley

76

**85

8

Bexleyheath and Crayford

29

***29

0

Note: Coefficients of Variation have been calculated for the latest period as an indication of the quality of the estimates, as described below: Guide to Quality: The Coefficient of Variation (CV) indicates the quality of an estimate, the smaller the CV value the higher the quality. The true value is likely to lie within +/- twice the CV—for example, for an estimate of 200 with a CV of 5% we would expect the population total to be within the range 180-220. Key: * 0 = CV<5%—Statistical Robustness: Estimates are considered precise ** 5 = CV <10%—Statistical Robustness: Estimates are considered reasonably precise *** 10 = CV <20%—Statistical Robustness: Estimates are considered acceptable **** CV ? 20%—Statistical Robustness: Estimates are considered too unreliable for practical purposes CV = Coefficient of Variation Source: Annual Population Survey.

Unemployment

Luciana Berger: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what recent estimate his Department has made of the number of (a) two parent non-working families

6 Sep 2012 : Column 400W

and

(b)

single parent non-working families in (i) the UK and (ii) each parliamentary constituency in the Liverpool metropolitan borough. [119747]

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

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated September 2012:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking what recent estimate has been made of the number of (a) two parent non-working families and (b) single parent non-working families in (i) the UK and (ii) each parliamentary constituency in the Liverpool metropolitan borough (119747).

For the UK, the latest information available is for April to June 2012. In April to June 2012 there were 278,000 non-working couple households with dependent children and 694,000 non-working lone parent households with dependent children. It is not possible to provide estimates for each parliamentary constituency in the Liverpool metropolitan borough due to small sample sizes.

Unemployment: Females

Luciana Berger: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what recent estimate his Department has made of the number of unemployed (a) women who are single mothers and (b) women with children who have a working spouse or partner. [119746]

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

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated September 2012:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking what recent estimate has been made of the number of unemployed (a) women who are single mothers and (b) women with children who have a working spouse or partner (119746).

The latest estimates available are for April to June 2012. In the UK, in April to June 2012, there were 190,000 unemployed female lone parents and 165,000 female parents living with a partner who was employed.

Voluntary Work: Young People

Mr Thomas: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what size of capital bond organisations wishing to bid for National Citizen Service contracts for financial year 2013-14 were required to guarantee; and if he will make a statement. [119383]

Mr Hurd: There were no capital bond requirements.

Business, Innovation and Skills

Higher Education

19. Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what plans he has for participation in higher education. [119412]

Mr Willetts: We expect there to be more full-time students studying in higher education this year than in any year under the last Government.

6 Sep 2012 : Column 401W

Business: Regulation

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent discussions he has had on the introduction of regulatory budgets. [119205]

Michael Fallon [holding answer 5 September 2012]: The 'one in, one out' system is based on the net cost to business of domestic regulation which requires Departments to work towards a 'net zero budget'; and is designed to cap the cost of domestic regulation. In July we published the fourth Statement of New Regulation showing that Departments have reduced the net domestic burden by over £850 million. We are therefore reversing the rise in regulation that is constricting enterprise and stifling growth; and working hard to change the regulatory culture in Departments.

Sunday Trading

Fiona Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what assessment he has made of the likelihood that the removal of Sunday trading legislation would lead to an overall increase in (a) retail sales and (b) jobs in the retail sector; [119268]

(2) what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the removal of the provisions of Sunday trading legislation on small stores; [119269]

(3) what data his Department is collecting on the effect of removing Sunday trading rules during the period between 22 July and 9 September 2012; and whether he is considering abolition or amendment of the Sunday Trading Act 1994. [119270]

Michael Fallon: The suspension of the current Sunday Trading regulations applies to the specified period from 22 July to 9 September, and new legislation would be required for any extension.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has requested data on the impact of the suspension from a number of large retailers including the impact on sales and employment. BIS will now also analyse the impact on the retail sales of small retailers.

Tobacco: Packaging

Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) whether his Department has had any (a) discussions and (b) correspondence with the Department of Health on the compliance of the consultation on plain packaging for tobacco products with the standards specified by the Better Regulation rules; [119160]

(2) whether his Department was consulted by the Department of Health on the nature of the consumer surveys used as part of the consultation on plain packaging for tobacco products. [119161]

Michael Fallon [holding answer 5 September 2012]: All proposed regulatory measures are subject to collective discussion before public consultation.

This consultation was subject to the Code of Practice on Consultation set out on the Department's website at:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/files/file47158.pdf

Each Department is responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of its own consultation exercises.

6 Sep 2012 : Column 402W

International Development

Overseas Aid

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps her Department has taken to ensure that UK development assistance is not misused as a consequence of corruption. [119230]

Justine Greening: The Department is committed to ensuring that aid money is used for the purpose for which it was intended. The Department has a range of controls and measures in place to protect UK aid. These include rigorous risk assessments and monitoring requirements to track results against agreed objectives for all projects and programmes, and regular internal audits.

In any country where financial aid is provided directly to partner governments, the Department carries out a fiduciary risk assessment.

The Department is also testing new approaches to results based aid, such as cash on delivery aid, to link payment of our aid conditional on proof that results have been achieved.

Where any corruption involving UK aid is uncovered, or suspected, the Department always takes action to investigate and, wherever possible, recover funds.

Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what proportion of her Department's aid to countries in (a) Africa, (b) Asia and (c) the Americas was allocated to (i) agricultural support, (ii) education and (iii) healthcare in each of the last three years for which figures are available; and if she will make a statement. [119736]

Mr Duncan: The following table provides the information requested.

DFID publishes details of Official Development Assistance (ODA) by country in its annual publication, Statistics on International Development:

http://www.dfid.gov.uk/About-us/How-we-measure-progress/Aid-Statistics/Statistics-on-International-Development-2011/

Additionally, DFID produces details of ODA by country and sector in additional tables available online:

http://www.dfid.gov.uk/About-us/How-we-measure-progress/Aid-Statistics/Statistics-on-International-Development-2011/SID-2011-Additional-tables/

Percentage
 2008-092009-102010-11

Africa

   

Agriculture

1.78

3.02

2.38

Education

16.20

13.49

17.27

Health

22.91

19.85

19.45

    

Asia

   

Agriculture

2.64

2.53

1.97

Education

16.17

15.12

17.02

Health

23.16

22.63

19.24

    

Americas

   

Agriculture

0.97

0.15

0.19

Education

3.52

3.04

24.32

Health

8.14

7.80

2.90