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Written Answers to Questions

Monday 10 September 2012

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Bahrain

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of medical neutrality in Bahrain. [119870]

Alistair Burt: We have seen no information suggesting a lack of neutrality in medical staff in Bahrain, in 2011 a group of medical staff were convicted of crimes relating to the unrest in February and March of that year. At the time, I expressed my concern, and that of the British Government, at the disproportionate nature of the sentences following only the briefest of hearings.

I understand the medical staff appealed the sentence, resulting in some convictions being overturned. Others are still going through the appeal process, which is due to end in October this year. All medical staff are currently out on bail.

We have urged the Bahraini Government to ensure the appeal processes are conducted with urgency and that due legal process is followed.

British Nationals Abroad

Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many of the arrests and detentions of Britons abroad between April 2011 and March 2012 were for (a) rape and (b) sexual abuse of minors under the age of 18. [118357]

Mark Simmonds: During the period April 2011 and March 2012, 66 cases of Britons arrested on accusations of child sex offences were opened on Compass, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office consular assistance database. We do not hold information on Compass on the number of Britons arrested specifically for rape.

Esther McVey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to ensure that his Department assesses all appropriate safeguards for UK nationals in (a) Nepal and (b) other areas where concerns over missing tourists have been raised. [119446]

Mr Swire: The safety of British nationals abroad is of paramount importance to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. My hon. Friends will be aware from the written reply to my hon. Friend the Member for Wirral West (Esther McVey) of 8 August from the then Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the hon. Member for Taunton Deane (Mr Browne), that one of the primary means we use to assist British nationals when they travel overseas to Nepal, or elsewhere in the world, is through our travel advice. This advice is based on information received from our diplomatic missions,

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local knowledge and contacts. The aim is to help British nationals make informed decisions about travel to a particular country. Our travel advice is regularly reviewed and will be updated in light of any incident or incidents that might affect British nationals travelling or living in the area. In general, we would only advise against all or all but essential travel to a country if we consider the risk of travel to be unacceptably high, and this will be reflected appropriately in our travel advice. The safety of British nationals when overseas, including Nepal—where most visits are trouble-free—is the responsibility of the authorities in the country concerned, in the same way that the safety of visitors to the UK is similarly the responsibility of the appropriate authorities here.

British Nationals Abroad: Prisoners

Gareth Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many British nationals are serving custodial sentences in prisons in other EU member states; and how many British prisoners have been involuntarily repatriated to the UK since the EU Prisoner Transfer Framework came into force. [119030]

Mark Simmonds: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) takes a snapshot twice a year of the number of British nationals in detention overseas. At 30 March 2012 the FCO was aware of 765 British nationals detained in EU member states. This includes those currently serving custodial sentences and those pre-trial. To date, no prisoners have been involuntarily repatriated to the UK since the EU Prisoner Transfer Framework came into force.

Burma

Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Government of Burma on the treatment of religious and ethnic minorities in that country; and if he will make a statement. [119663]

Mr Swire: The UK remains deeply concerned over reported human rights abuses in ethnic border areas, particularly in Kachin and Shan states, as a result of fighting between the Burmese army and armed militia, and the recent inter-communal violence between the largely Muslim Rohingya and Buddhist Rakhine communities.

We remain one of the most active and vocal members of the international community in raising these concerns with the Burmese authorities and continue to condemn all instances where individuals face persecution or discrimination because of their faith or beliefs, wherever they happen and whatever the religion of the individual or group concerned.

We have repeatedly called for the Burmese Government to put an end to the recent inter-communal violence in Rakhine state, to allow unhindered humanitarian access to the areas affected and a resumption of humanitarian work provided by the international community upon which many hundreds of thousands of Rohingya are dependent, to resolve the issue of nationality and to grant the full respect for human rights to all the people of Burma, notably the Rohingya.

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During his visit to Burma in January of this year, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs met the President, the Foreign Minister and the Speaker of the Lower House. The Prime Minister, during his visit to Burma in April, met with the Burmese President. During these meetings, both the Prime Minister and Secretary of State, respectively, set out clearly the steps which would be needed before a more fundamental shift in our relationship could take place, which included establishing a clear process of reconciliation with Burma's ethnic groups.

Both the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State met a range of representatives from ethnic communities, including the Kachin, Rohingya, Shan, Rakhine, Chin, Mon, Karen and Karenni to hear more about their concerns and aspirations. We continue to stay close to these and other ethnic groups to ensure we remain seized of the issues they face.

We are cautiously optimistic about the progress the Burmese Government has made since the Secretary of State’s visit in trying to rebuild trust with ethnic groups, including signing initial ceasefire agreements with some groups. We recognise that this process remains fragile and we continue to urge all parties to work towards a peaceful future for all of Burma's people.

We are actively supporting the reconciliation process. The Prime Minister announced the allocation of an additional £5 million during Aung San Suu Kyi's recent visit to the UK for immediate peace-building activities. Our embassy in Rangoon also hosted a visit of UK experts in July with experience of trust-building and peace-building between communities in Northern Ireland. We intend to continue to draw on UK expertise in this area in order to support the continuation of the reconciliation process.

China

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many Chinese nationals asked the UK for political asylum in the last year for which figures are available; and how many such applications were (a) accepted and (b) rejected. [119555]

Mr Harper: have been asked to reply on behalf of the Home Department.

The Home Office publishes immigration statistics on a quarterly and annual basis. According to the latest published statistics a total of 778(1) Chinese nationals claimed asylum in 2011. Of these 778(1) individuals, 41(1) were granted asylum, 83(1) were granted humanitarian protection (HP) or discretionary leave (DL), and 446(1) were refused asylum, HP or DL at initial decision.

A copy of the latest statistics can be found in the Library of the House, or on the following website:

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

(1 )Data taken from Asylum Data Table as.06, Immigration Statistics April June 2012. Data relate to main applicants and initial decisions only.

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Climate Change

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent steps his Department has taken to help promote international action to tackle climate change. [119678]

Mark Simmonds: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) remains committed to climate diplomacy. British ambassadors and high commissioners make the argument for a global low carbon transition in their regular discussions with foreign governments. They are supported by our unique network of climate attachés throughout the world, as well as trade, investment, scientific, educational and economic teams promoting low carbon international co-operation.

The FCO is now seen internationally as a leader in the international climate effort. This has been recognised by a number of countries, including China, which has shown considerable interest in the idea of a low carbon economy. Indeed, the recent Energy and Climate Change Committee report into FCO work in China particularly commended the work of our climate change and energy team in country.

The FCO, while not a spending Department for the UK’s £2.9 billion International Climate Finance, plays a consultative role, sitting on the Board and Secretariat to provide a wider political overview. Our posts are heavily involved in identifying possible projects to support, and deliver projects in countries without a Department for International Development office.

The FCO does, however, administer a Prosperity Fund, the purpose of which is to support policy co-operation between the UK and other countries, particularly the emerging powers. This fund has been instrumental this year in the passing of a climate change Act in Mexico (April 2012); the legislation for an emissions trading scheme in South Korea (May 2012); and the development of a Chinese version of the Department of Energy and Climate Change’s 2050 Energy Pathways Calculator, which is being launched in Beijing next week.

Cluster Munitions

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress his Department has made in encouraging other countries to destroy their cluster munitions. [119712]

Alistair Burt: We are greatly encouraged that 111 countries have already joined the convention on cluster munitions (CCM). We continue to promote the universalisation of the CCM at relevant bilateral and multilateral meetings. The convention requires states to destroy their stockpiles of cluster munitions within eight years of the convention coming into force. The UK is leading by example in this area. Over 70% of UK stocks, representing over 27 million sub-munitions, have been destroyed. Under current plans it remains our intention that all UK stocks will be destroyed by the end of 2013—five years ahead of the deadline set by the CCM. The UK has and will continue to share details and lessons learnt from our destruction programme at CCM meetings.

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Commercial and Economic Diplomacy Department

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the introduction of its Commercial and Economic Diplomacy Department. [119652]

Mr Swire: The Commercial and Economic Diplomacy Department is making a real difference to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) effort to support jobs and growth.

Since its creation in 2011, the Department has helped to target the UK's economic diplomatic effort in other countries, and used insights and reporting from our overseas posts to help inform UK economic policy making, with the effect that we can better create and maintain an open economic environment globally, in which British business can compete.

FCO Ministers and officials are working to boost trade by lobbying governments to reduce barriers to trade and to progress multilateral and EU bilateral trade agreements including the EU/Korea Free Trade Agreement.

The Department has also published the FCO's Charter for Business, and—working closely with the Department for Trade and Investment and businesses—is leading the FCO's delivery of the Charter's commitments which has included the provision of commercial diplomacy training to over 400 staff in London and key posts overseas as well as improvements in the way that we engage with business. Our recent survey found that businesses have experienced a step change in the quality of the FCO's support, although there is scope to improve further.

Cyprus

Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with Turkey on Cyprus. [119448]

Mr Lidington: The presence of Turkish troops in Cyprus is one of the issues that will need to be resolved as part of a comprehensive settlement. Myself and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs discuss the settlement negotiations with our Turkish counterparts at every suitable opportunity.

Economics Unit

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the introduction of its Economics Unit. [119642]

Mr Swire: The Economics Unit conducted an assessment of its business performance in 2011-12 as part of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) annual review process. In its first year, the Economics Unit was judged to have put economics on the map in the FCO through the quality of its analytical work on a range of issues, including: the outlook for UK exports, the Eurozone, engagement with emerging economies, and the dynamics of economic transition in the middle east. The unit also received consistently strong feedback on its regular global economic briefing products and on providing

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economics training for FCO staff—in 2011-12, 238 staff completed a core training course. Together, these factors have helped ensure that UK foreign policy has been underpinned by strong economic understanding. The two key challenges identified were to: (1) improve the FCO's human resources model for economists as demand was outstripping supply; and (2) increase the unit's impact in Whitehall.

Foreign Investment in UK

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent steps his Department has taken to promote inward investment to the UK. [119680]

Mr Swire: To encourage investment into the UK, the Government continue to focus on ensuring that the UK offers investors a globally competitive business environment for them to grow their business. This includes: creating the most competitive tax system in the G20 by cutting the main rate of corporation tax from 28% to 26% in April 2011 and to 23% by 2014—the lowest rate in the G7 and fifth lowest in the G20, and making the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business by focusing on reducing the regulatory burden on business.

UK Trade and Investment teams located overseas, as part of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office network, are tasked with identifying overseas owned companies with innovative technologies that have the capacity and capability to invest overseas that would be beneficial to the UK economy. Supporting this overseas network in the UK is a dedicated support service for potential and existing investors—the Inward Investment Services Network. This service, delivered by UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), offers ongoing individually tailored support, and a single principal point of contact, for these companies to help embed them in the UK and to then expand their operations here.

Gambia

Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what discussions his Department has had at the UN General Assembly on recent state executions in Gambia; [120264]

(2) what representations his Department has made in the last two weeks to the Government of Gambia on the resumption of the use of the death penalty. [120265]

Mark Simmonds: Since his speech on 19 August when President Jammeh pledged to begin executing death-row prisoners, the UK has made our opposition to the recent and sudden use of the death penalty in The Gambia very clear. Our high commissioner in Banjul has made several representations to the Government of The Gambia, including the Foreign Minister and the Attorney-General, on behalf of both the UK and the European Union, before and after the executions were confirmed. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has also made representations to the Gambian high commission in London. The Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Alistair Burt) issued a statement on 25 August expressing concern over the

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then unconfirmed reports of executions. We will continue to urge the Government of Gambia to prevent further executions.

We support the concern expressed by Navi Pillay, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, about the executions, and will seek opportunities, including within the UN system, to reinforce it. In November, the UN General Assembly will vote on a resolution in favour of a world-wide moratorium on the death penalty, which we are actively supporting.

Human Rights

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent steps his Department has taken to put human rights at the heart of UK foreign policy. [119676]

Mr Lidington: Human rights are essential to and indivisible for the UK's foreign policy priorities. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) produces an annual human rights report

www.fco.gov.uk/hrdreport

which highlights the UK's global human rights achievements and sets out the challenges that remain. It also includes countries where we have the most serious wide ranging concerns on human rights.

We recently launched an initiative on preventing sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict situations with the aim of strengthening international efforts and co-ordination to prevent and respond to these atrocities and to erode the existing culture of impunity. We are looking to use the opportunity offered during the UK G8 presidency to develop and agree international action. We have recently committed £750,000 to support work worldwide on business and human rights, including a project in Burma to ensure that companies investing there do so with respect for the human rights situation of that country and of those affected by their operations.

On Syria, we have trained over 60 Syrian activists to document human rights violations and abuses to assist in any future accountability process. We are also supporting initiatives to refer the situation in Syria to the International Criminal Court. In response to events of the Arab spring, the £110 million Arab Partnership Fund is enabling us to help build more open and accountable societies in the middle east and north Africa, including through empowering women, and promoting greater transparency and the rule of law.

Human Trafficking

Jeremy Lefroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on the US Administration's anti-trafficking initiative, launched at the US Consulate-General in Kolkata on 10 June 2012. [119646]

Mr Swire: In line with the UK Government's strategy launched in 2011 aimed at tackling human-trafficking, the UK Government fully supports the US initiative to create a regional hub in Kolkata to support anti-trafficking work in South Asia. Within the South Asia region our overseas missions continue to work with our international partners to tackle human trafficking. As part of our strategy, and in consultation with our international

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partners, our deputy high commission in Kolkata also runs its own anti-trafficking programmes aimed at tackling this serious issue.

Ramil Safarov

Mr Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the likely effect on relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan of the release and repatriation of Ramil Safarov from prison in Hungary; and if he will make a statement. [120269]

Mr Lidington: We welcome the statements of the right hon. Baroness Ashton of Upholland and Commissioner Fule, and the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group Co-Chairs, with regard to the pardon of Ramil Safarov, following his return from Hungary, and share their concern about the impact this may have on prospects for stability and peace in the region. We regret any action that is contrary to ongoing efforts to reduce regional tensions and promote reconciliation.

Moving forward, it is important that both sides exercise restraint—in actions and public statements—to prevent any escalation of the situation. Together with our EU and OSCE partners, we will continue to follow the situation closely and we stand together with the international community in supporting the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs in their efforts to reduce tension and find a negotiated way forward to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Lord Howell of Guildford

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) whether Lord Howell will speak on behalf of his Department in the House of Lords; [120126]

(2) what the terms of the appointment of Lord Howell as personal adviser to the Foreign Secretary are; whether he will receive any payment; and what access he will have to his Department; [120206]

(3) whether Lord Howell will have an office in his Department; whether he will receive departmental papers; and what the security level of any such papers will be; [120207]

(4) whether Lord Howell will travel on behalf of his Department; and how such travel will be funded; [120208]

(5) whether Lord Howell will be able to take outside employment; and under what conditions any such employment may be taken. [120209]

Mr Lidington: Lord Howell's role is as a personal adviser to the Foreign Secretary and in this capacity he may have sight of relevant departmental paperwork under secure conditions. This is not a salaried position and he will not speak on behalf of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). He will have access to the FCO to advise the Foreign Secretary but he will have no office, nor support from civil servants in London and overseas beyond that accorded to other parliamentarians. Lord Howell may, on occasion, undertake trips in this capacity funded by the FCO and organised and co-ordinated by the FCO and our overseas posts.

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As a former Minister Lord Howell will be subject to the Business Appointments rules as set out in the Ministerial Code.

Members: Correspondence

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he plans to reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Birkenhead about a constituent, Colin Anditon. [119273]

Alistair Burt: I replied to the right hon. Member's letter on 24 August 2012.

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he plans to reply to the letter from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton of 23 July 2012 concerning Mr Bob Cowan. [119585]

Alistair Burt: I apologise for the delay in providing a response to the right hon. Member. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials have been seeking clarification on some of the issues raised in his letter, in order to provide him with a full and comprehensive response, which will be sent shortly.

Minerals

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department has taken to find practical and sustainable solutions to the issue of conflict minerals. [119655]

Mark Simmonds: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is working with the international community to find practical and sustainable solutions to the problem of conflict minerals. The FCO has supported, developed and promoted the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's (OECD) Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas; played an active role in the development of supplementary guidance on gold and other minerals; and funded a feasibility study by the OECD on a mechanism to monitor due diligence. We encourage British companies to adhere to these OECD guidelines. The FCO has also developed an online tool to help British companies who may be trading in minerals sourced from conflict-affected areas of Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), or whose products include components that include such minerals.

The FCO also provides support to the joint DFID and World Bank Promines programme, which aims to increase accountability and transparency in the DRC minerals sector. This will help legitimise the trade in minerals and ensure the proceeds stay out of the hands of armed groups.

Missing Persons

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his European counterparts on the location of missing persons arising from armed conflicts within Europe. [119624]

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Mr Lidington: At the UK-Russia Human Rights Dialogue in July senior officials registered concerns in relation to the North Caucasus, including disappearances of individuals.

My right hon. Friend Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs raised human rights and rule of law issues in Russia with Foreign Minister Lavrov when he visited Moscow at the end of May. The Prime Minister raised our concerns with President Putin when they met in Downing Street in August.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) has been recording the number of missing people in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the August 2008 conflict between Russia and Georgia. Our embassies in Yerevan, Baku and Tbilisi are in regular contact with the ICRC on their ongoing work.

The UK supports the International Commission on Missing Persons (ICMP) based in Sarajevo, an organisation which assists Governments in developing the institutional capacity to deal with the issue of missing persons and identifying victims from conflict. The UK has provided consistent financial support to ICMP since 2002 and supports its objective of promoting governmental responsibility for missing persons.

The UK welcomes the excellent work of the Committee on Missing Persons in Cyprus. As a sign of support, the UK has contributed over £100,000. The UK also contributes to its annual budget through the EU.

Nepal

Esther McVey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will ensure that his Department continues to proactively liaise with Nepalese authorities investigating the disappearance of Zismos Souflas, a UK national who went missing in Nepal on 24 April 2012. [119447]

Mr Swire: My hon. Friend will be aware from the written reply to her correspondence on behalf of a member of Mr Souflas’s family—the reply was sent by the then Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the hon. Member for Taunton Deane (Mr Browne) on 8 August— that since learning that Zismos Souflas had gone missing we have been in close contact with the authorities in Nepal. Of equal importance, consular staff in Nepal and London have been, and remain, in contact with his mother. They have been passing on any information obtained through established lines of communication in Nepal, and continue to offer advice. I can assure my hon. Friend that we will continue to offer what consular support and advice we rightly can to Mr Souflas's family, including through regular liaison with the Nepalese authorities.

Overseas Companies

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department has taken to encourage British companies to operate responsibly overseas. [119643]

Mr Lidington: The Government urge all British companies to promote the highest standards of corporate governance and social and environmental responsibility,

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including adherence to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights and the UN's Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

In line with the framework set out in the UN Guiding Principles, we expect companies to behave with respect for human rights wherever they operate.

We have this year committed £750,000 in project funding to support work worldwide on business and human rights. This includes a commitment we have made to fund a project in Burma where the Institute for Human Rights and Business are establishing a resource centre to provide advice to companies, governments and civil society on implementation of the UN's Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Pakistan

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make a statement calling for the immediate release of Rimsha Masih from imprisonment in Pakistan. [119674]

Alistair Burt: I have been very concerned about Rimsha's case. Following her arrest I spoke to Dr Paul Bhatti, the Pakistani Minister for Interfaith Harmony, to lodge the UK's concerns about the treatment of Christians and other religious minorities in Pakistan. I am pleased that she has now been granted bail.

Somalia

Laura Sandys: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received from Somalia. [119467]

Mark Simmonds: Real progress is being made to end the transition in Somalia: the provisional Constitution was adopted on 1 August by an 825-member National Constituent Assembly; a new Parliament was convened on 20 August; and on 28 August, the new Parliament voted in a new Speaker, Professor Mohamed Osman Jawari. Criteria for presidential candidates have been agreed and parliamentary elections for president will take place on 10 September.

The transitional period in Somalia will end once Parliament has elected a new president. As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs said on 17 August, it is vital for Somalia to move towards a more legitimate and representative Government that is accountable to the Somali people. Somalia's political leaders must maintain momentum by quickly identifying priorities for the next phase of Somalia's stabilisation, working to ensure the new Government and institutions are more accountable, transparent and credible in the eyes of Somalis.

Progress is also being made on security. African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) and Government-aligned forces continue to improve security in Mogadishu, as well as make gains against the militant Islamist group, Al Shabaab. Most recently, on 28 August, AMISOM forces took the port of Marka.

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The overall food security situation has improved slightly following the Gu (seasonal rains) harvest, although two million people, down from 2.5 million, are still in need. The situation for many remains precarious and malnutrition rates for children under five remain high with some 230,000 severely malnourished children. Access for humanitarian agencies remains a challenge.

As the Foreign Secretary announced in the House on 4 September, on 3 September, the British Office in Hargeisa formally opened in line with the Foreign Secretary's decision to establish a presence in Mogadishu and Hargeisa as soon as security conditions allowed. Work continues to provide expanded and more permanent office and living accommodation in Mogadishu to allow staff to be posted there on a permanent basis.

South Korea

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the benefit to the UK of the EU-South Korea Free Trade Agreement. [119651]

Mr Swire: It is too early to assess the full impact of the EU-Korea Free Trade Agreement (FTA), which only provisionally entered into force in July last year. However, a study by Copenhagen Economics for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, which leads on EU bilateral and regional trade negotiations, estimated that the long-term benefit to the UK from the FTA is expected to be around £500 million per annum. 10 years after this trade agreement has been fully implemented, it is expected that the cumulative benefit to the UK economy will be around £3.3 billion in current prices.

Sudan

Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reasons his Department was given for the arrest of the UK citizen Magdy El-Baghdady in Sudan. [119457]

Mark Simmonds: The British embassy in Khartoum was not informed by the Sudanese authorities of Mr El-Baghdady's detention at the time of his arrest or thereafter. Since becoming aware of his case, we have provided Mr El-Baghdady with consular assistance and advice. We have demanded a full investigation of Mr El-Baghdady's treatment during his detention, but have not as yet been provided with any information by the Sudanese authorities. We continue to press for this.

We have also sought assurances from the Sudanese authorities that they will in future comply with the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, according to which we should be notified of the detention of a British national, if he or she requests it, and that the detainee should be informed of this right. It is unacceptable that this did not happen in this case.

Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the health and political status of Magdy El- Baghdady after his release from prison in Sudan. [119458]

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Mark Simmonds: Mr El-Baghdady gave consular officials a full account of his treatment while in detention, and the impact on his health. We have remained in contact with Mr El-Baghdady since his return to the UK, but cannot provide information on his health or political status. This is a matter for Mr El-Baghdady.

We remain deeply concerned over the circumstances surrounding his case, and continue to urge the Sudanese authorities to investigate the matter.

Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether Sudanese asylum seekers who are arrested in the UK are returned to Sudan. [119459]

Mr Harper: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Home Department.

The United Kingdom will provide refuge to those who genuinely need it, in accordance with our obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights. The protection needs of individuals are considered on an individual case by case basis. Only when an application for protection has been refused and any statutory appeal right exhausted, would the UK Border Agency consider return.

The UK Border Agency prefers those who have no legal basis to remain in the United Kingdom to leave voluntarily. Should the individual choose not to leave voluntarily then an enforced return would be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Western Sahara

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has had discussions with the Moroccan authorities concerning the reported assault on Soukaina Jed Ahlou, President of Sahrawi Women Forum by members of the Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire in El Aauin, Western Sahara on 28 August 2012. [119909]

Mr Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will raise with the Moroccan ambassador reports of interference with the visit of the President of the R. F. Kenney Centre for Justice and Human Rights' El Aauin, Western Sahara on 28 August 2012 and an assault on Soukaina Jed Ahlou by members of the Direction de la Surveillance du Territoire. [119981]

Alistair Burt: The Government take seriously all reports of allegations of human rights violations. We are aware of reports of the alleged assault on Soukaina Jed Ahlou.

Officials from the British embassy in Rabat visit Western Sahara on a regular basis to discuss human rights concerns, including with the relevant local authorities. Our ambassador to Morocco also maintains a close dialogue with the Moroccan authorities on human rights issues.

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Culture, Media and Sport

Broadband

Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what role she expects 4G/LTE mobile broadband to play in helping the UK to meet its EU broadband 2020 targets; and when spectrum currently used for 2G and 3G services will be made available for 4G use. [119451]

Mr Vaizey: It is the view of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, that 4G mobile technologies will play a role in delivering broadband coverage beyond the edge of the fixed infrastructure. It is one of a suite of technologies that will be required to deliver broadband.

The European Commission's Radio Spectrum Committee (“RSC”) Decision 2009/766/EC (the “3G RSC Decision”), as amended by Decision 2011/251/EC (the “LTE RSC Decision”), requires all EU member states to designate and make available the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz spectrum bands for 4G services, such as LTE or WiMax, by 31 December 2011. The UK has implemented both these decisions and there is no legal impediment to the deployment of 4G services in either the 900 MHz, or 1800 MHz bands.

To date, only the mobile phone operator Everything Everywhere has sought a variation to its license to allow it to deploy 4G services in this spectrum.

Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what steps she is taking to bring high-speed 4G mobile broadband services to the UK; and whether her Department has received any assessments from Ofcom on whether existing spectrum could be used to bring 4G to the UK in 2012. [119452]

Mr Vaizey: On 24 July, Ofcom published its statement on the auction of 4G spectrum licences in the 800 MHz and 2600 MHz bands. In addition, on 21 August, Ofcom announced that it had approved an application by the mobile phone operator Everything Everywhere (EE) to use its existing 1800 MHz spectrum to deliver 4G services. In parallel with this decision, Ofcom has now issued varied licences to EE, which authorise LTE services from 11 September 2012. Ofcom has not produced for Government any assessments on whether existing spectrum could be used to bring 4G to the UK in 2012.

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport if she will estimate the cost of providing 4G coverage to 98 per cent of the population. [119629]

Mr Vaizey: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has made no estimate of the cost of providing 4G coverage to 98% of the UK population. Such estimates would normally fall within the remit of Ofcom, the independent regulator.

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what recent discussions she has had with local councils on the future provision of 4G to tenants in social housing. [119630]

10 Sep 2012 : Column 15W

Mr Vaizey: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has had no discussions with local authorities, concerning the future provision of 4G services to tenants in social housing.

National Lottery

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport if she will make representations to the National Lottery that all Lottery terminals should be redesigned so that the screen displays provide identical information to the operator of the terminal and to the customer. [119782]

Hugh Robertson: Requirements relating to national lottery systems and equipment in order to protect players from theft or fraud are a matter for the National Lottery Commission. They advise that redesigning lottery terminals in the way suggested could potentially compromise the rights of winning players who wish to remain anonymous. The National Lottery Commission will continue to monitor developments in maintaining the balance between safeguarding against fraud and protecting the anonymity of winners.

Radio Frequencies

Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport with reference to the announcement by Ofcom of the rules governing the forthcoming auction of spectrum on the 800 MHz band and 2600 MHz band, when she expects the regulator to announce its decision on the liberalisation of the 1800 MHz band. [119450]

Mr Vaizey: On 21 August, Ofcom announced that it had approved an application by the mobile phone operator Everything Everywhere (EE) to use its existing 1800 MHz spectrum to deliver 4G services. In parallel with this decision, Ofcom has now issued varied licences to EE which authorise LTE services from 11 September 2012. This means that EE can launch LTE services using its 1800 MHz spectrum at any point from that date, although the precise timing of any launch is a commercial decision for EE. There have been no other applications to liberalise 1800 MHz licences to date.

Sports

Damian Collins: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many officials in her Department work on delivering policies for sport; and how much of her Department's budget was allocated to supporting this activity in the latest period for which figures are available. [120128]

Hugh Robertson: The Department operates a flexible working model and staff resources are aligned to ministerial priorities. As a result of this working practice budgets are not allocated but retained centrally. The flexible resourcing process operates on a six-weekly cycle and allows us to determine where staff should be allocated in line with priorities.

Telephones: Unsolicited Goods and Services

Joseph Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of (a) the Telephone

10 Sep 2012 : Column 16W

Preference Service,

(b)

Ofcom and

(c)

the Information Commissioner's Office in preventing unsolicited sales and marketing calls. [119709]

Mr Vaizey: No such assessment has been made but we are aware that the current protections are not working as best they could. I raised concern about the effectiveness in a meeting with the Telephone Preference Service, the Information Commissioners Office and Ofcom in July. The meeting discussed how the current system can be improved and enforcement made more effective. This will be followed by a further meeting in the autumn to agree next steps.

The Department is also seeking views on how the current consumer protections can be improved as part of the communications review.

Joseph Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what information her Department holds on the volume of unsolicited sales and marketing calls made over the last five years. [119710]

Mr Vaizey: The Department does not hold any information about the volume of unsolicited sales and marketing calls made over the last five years. Unsolicited marketing calls are regulated by Ofcom which has outsourced the management of the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) to the Telephone Preference Service Ltd. Information about the number of complaints regarding unsolicited calls is held by the TPS and the Information Commissioners Office. I have been advised by TPS that the number of complaints received from January 2007 to July 2012 is 220,267.

Voluntary Work

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what discussions she has had with (a) ministerial colleagues and (b) outside bodies on steps to draw upon the experience of Olympics volunteering in encouraging people of all ages and backgrounds to become more regularly involved in local volunteering. [118783]

Mr Hurd: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Cabinet Office.

This Government recently gave a £2 million grant to Join In, an exciting new charity set up to build on the volunteering momentum created by the London 2012 Games. We are working with LOCOG and voluntary sector organisations to capture the spirit of the Games and build a strong legacy by inspiring a new generation of volunteers.

Home Department

Antisocial Behaviour Orders: Females

Mike Wood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many women were issued with antisocial behaviour orders in 2011. [118856]

Mr Jeremy Browne: Antisocial behaviour orders data for 2011 are due to be published on 18 October 2012.

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Antisocial Behaviour Orders: Prostitution

Mike Wood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many women received an antisocial behaviour order having been convicted of offences involving loitering and soliciting in the last three years. [118855]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The Home Office does not hold the information requested.

Asylum

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps her Department is taking to promote the social inclusion of refugees. [119631]

Mr Harper: The Home Office does not have any specific policies to promote the social inclusion of refugees, although individuals granted refugee status have full entitlement to access public funds and services. The role of Government is to create the conditions which enable integration to happen in all places and with all communities to promote social mobility, and to help ensure equality of opportunity and equal treatment for all.

Bahrain

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assistance the Metropolitan police has given to Bahraini security forces since January 2011. [119914]

James Brokenshire: There have been two deployments of Metropolitan police officers to Bahrain since January 2011, provided under section 26 of the Police Act 1996. In addition to this, the UK Police Counter Terrorism Liaison and Extremism Officer (CTELO) based in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, maintains a liaison relationship on counter-terrorism matters with the Bahraini authorities.

Crime: Betting Shops

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions she has had with organisations representing (a) the betting industry and (b) betting shop workers on criminal activity related to betting shops. [119369]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The Home Office has not had any recent discussions with any organisations representing the betting industry or betting shop workers regarding criminal activity in betting shops. The Association of Chief Police Officers and the Metropolitan Police Force have however worked with the betting industry to produce guidance to prevent commercial robbery and the Home Office is working with the Union of Shop, Distributive and Allied Workers (USDAW) and retail partners to tackle violence against shop workers.

Cybercrime

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans she has to increase the police and security services' ability to monitor criminal online activity. [120343]

10 Sep 2012 : Column 18W

James Brokenshire: The Government are committed to ensuring that law enforcement and intelligence agencies have the capabilities they need to protect the public from crime, disorder and terrorism, consistent with its wider approach to preserving civil liberties, including the right to privacy and safeguarding national security. Information relating to the activity of criminals online is critical to the investigation and often prosecution of their crimes.

We recognise the need to ensure these capabilities are maintained in the face of new internet-based technologies. On 14 June 2012, the Government published the draft Communications Data Bill, which is currently undergoing pre-legislative scrutiny. This proposed legislation will enable more of the communications data (the who, when, and where of a communication, but not its content) required by law enforcement and other agencies to be retained by communications service providers. It will also retain and extend the safeguards and oversight arrangements for the acquisition of these data that exist under current legislation, ensuring compliance with the European convention on human rights.

The Home Office is also working with the police and social media industry to strengthen co-operation and ensure that the police are equipped to combat crime and disorder. This includes supporting the development of a capability which is vital for police to assess and identify potential criminality disclosed through social media and other online communication platforms.

Law enforcement also plays a key role in disrupting cybercrime and, as part of the National Cyber Security Programme, we are developing their capacity to deal with online crime. This has included, for example, increased resources in real terms for the Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) in the Metropolitan police to tackle serious online crime.

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress her Department is making in combating cybercrime. [120344]

James Brokenshire: The Home Office and its partners have made significant progress in combating cybercrime. As set out in the National Cyber Security Strategy, an effective approach to cybercrime requires a combination of prevention and enforcement activity and the Government has made significant progress in both of these areas since publication. This has been supported by the significant investment of the National Cyber Security Programme funding.

Prevention:

Effective partnership between the Government and industry on cyber security is crucial in protecting individuals and their data. The Government has committed £395,000 of additional funding to help expand "Get Safe Online" (GSOL) which is a partnership between the Government, law enforcement and private sector partners to help deliver advice on online security that is accessible to everyone.

On 5 September the Government launched a Cyber Security Booklet to help companies to better understand how best to protect themselves against online threats.

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Reporting:

By improving the level of crime reporting that takes place, we are improving our understanding of the level of cybercrime. We have made the reporting of online crime as simple as possible. By the end of this year, Action Fraud, the national reporting centre for fraud and internet crime, will have rolled out an enhanced version of its online reporting tool to speed up data input. This will benefit businesses and other users with multiple reports, by making it quicker to enter the data in one session.

Additionally, to make it easier for fraud and cybercrimes to be reported to the police, by April 2013 all police forces in England and Wales will be using Action Fraud to record all reports made by members of the public and businesses. This means there will be one central place to report incidents of fraud and cybercrime directly or via the police, available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at:

www.actionfraud.police.uk

This will provide a more streamlined and consistent approach to the local law enforcement response to fraud, and enable the disruption of organised criminal activity online.

Law enforcement:

Law enforcement plays a key role in disrupting cybercrime, and as part of the National Cyber Security Programme, we are developing the capacity and capability of law enforcement to deal with online crime. In real terms this has meant increased resource for the Police Central e-Crime Unit (PCeU) in the Metropolitan Police and the Serious and Organised Crime Agency (SOCA) to tackle serious online crime.

We will build on these capabilities further still by, as part of developing the new National Crime Agency (NCA), bringing together the impressive work of SOCA Cyber and the Police Central e-Crime Unit to form the National Cyber Crime Unit, to tackle the most serious forms of online law enforcement in the UK and will provide resources, intelligence, and guidance on best practice to police forces.

We have been supporting this with a continuing focus on mainstreaming cyber capability and capability across law enforcement more generally, such as the recent establishment of three regional policing hubs in the north-west, east midlands, and Yorkshire and Humber.

International work:

Cybercrime is an inherently international challenge where criminal actions are not bounded by state borders. The Government have taken a strong lead in driving the international agenda to tackle cybercrime. Having ratified the Council of Europe Convention on Cybercrime we are working with other states to encourage them to adopt it too. We will be working with the Hungarian Government in organising the Budapest Conference on cyber issues that will be held in October. This is a follow up to the London Conference on Cyberspace that was hosted by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in November 2011.

To support our international work, we have provided funding from the National Cyber Security Programme to the Serious Organised Crime Agency to allow them to deploy Cyber Liaison Officers to a number of countries, to assist with international cooperation on investigations.

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Dangerous Dogs

David Mowat: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether she has given consideration to bringing forward proposals to treat attacks upon guide dogs as an attack upon the person; and if she will make a statement. [118736]

Mr Heath: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

The Government recently completed a consultation on a package of proposals to tackle irresponsible ownership of dogs. The consultation attracted over 27,000 responses. We are currently analysing the responses before making any announcements about a way forward. The existing laws on dangerous dogs and animal welfare already provide protection in this area. However, I will give careful consideration to the suggestion.

Drugs: Misuse

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many users of the drug MCAT were arrested in the last year. [119251]

Mr Jeremy Browne [holding answer 5 September 2012]: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Immigration Controls

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the Government's ability to prevent mass immigration to the UK from other EU countries. [119703]

Mr Harper: The Home Office carries out scenario planning for possible events which would impact on migration flows from the European Union to the UK. Currently there are no new trends which give cause for concern.

Under EU law, any European national staying in the UK for more than three months must be exercising treaty rights as a worker, student, self-employed or self-sufficient person.

Those who are not exercising those rights are required to leave the UK.

Social Media

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the extent of use of social media for criminal purposes; and if she will make a statement. [119566]

James Brokenshire [holding answer 6 September 2012]:My right hon. Friend Secretary of State for the Home Department met with representatives from Twitter following the August 2011 disorder. The Government continue to work closely with representatives from social media, industry, voluntary sector and the Association of Chief Police Officers on the use of social media for criminal purposes.

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Members: Correspondence

Mr Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when her Department plans to respond to (a) the letter of 22 May 2012 from the hon. Member for Basildon and Billericay and (b) follow-up email of 25 June 2012 concerning his constituent Mr Patrick McGreal. [119243]

Mr Harper [holding answer 5 September 2012]: Border Force replied to the hon. Member on 6 September 2012.

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she intends to answer the letter concerning Mr Mohammad Mirza Hussain sent to her by the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton on 2 July 2012. [119553]

Mr Harper: My hon. Friend the Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice replied to the right hon. Gentleman in a letter dated 24 July 2012.

Olympic Games 2012: Security

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will publish a regular update of the number of police officers deployed in Olympic venues and hotels as a result of G4S not providing planned security support, including officers of Staffordshire police deployed in this work to date. [118048]

James Brokenshire: Police deployments in support of Olympic venue security operations are now concluded, and it is estimated that these have involved some 12,000 police officer shifts, around 800 of which were undertaken by Staffordshire officers. G4S have said that they will meet the costs of additional police deployments.

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many soldiers have worked at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games immediately after returning from duty in Afghanistan. [119010]

James Brokenshire: A breakdown of military personnel deployed at the Olympic and Paralympic Games by previous deployments is not available. Military support to the Games, which includes the additional recent requirements, has been very carefully planned around current operations and other core activity. It has had a minimal impact on current operational and contingent commitments. Ministers have been clear that all personnel involved will receive the annual leave to which they are entitled.

Passports

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many interviews at passport centres resulted in the refusal of a passport in the 12 months preceding 31 January 2009. [120125]

Mr Harper: The interview is one part of the process of confirming the identity of first time adult applicants, and one of the main purposes of the process is to deter anyone from making a false application for a passport.

10 Sep 2012 : Column 22W

Where doubts arise regarding identity, applicants are asked to provide further evidence, or to attend an additional interview. It is unusual for the interview process to result in the formal refusal of a passport because in most cases either the doubt is resolved, or contact with the applicant is lost.

In the 12 months preceding 31 January 2009 one application was refused as a direct result of a confirmation of identity interview. Additionally, in the calendar year 2008, a further 1,259 passport applications were withdrawn as the result of customers being advised that an interview was required. While these applications may not all be fraudulent, they are applications which, without the interview process could have resulted in passports being issued. From September 2007 to August 2010, 3,153 applications were withdrawn at this stage.

Together this information underlines the usefulness of the interview as a deterrent to those attempting to make a fraudulent passport application. Notwithstanding this IPS is currently reviewing its interview processes to improve on fraud prevention and deterrence.

Police and Crime Commissioners

Rehman Chishti: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether she has exercised the reserved powers under the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011 to intervene in respect of the format and composition of police and crime panels. [119462]

Damian Green: At this stage it has not been necessary for the Secretary of State to use her reserve powers to intervene in the formation of police and crime panels.

Andrew Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what guidance she plans to offer to Police and Crime Commissioners on commissioning services for the support of (a) victims of crime and (b) witnesses of crime. [119524]

Mrs Grant: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Ministry of Justice.

Police and Crime Commissioners will not be issued with prescriptive guidance. Directly elected PCCs will be best placed to assess local needs in relation to a number of services that are relevant to policing and crime, including those for victims and witnesses. We expect that the needs of victims and witnesses will be one of the top priorities for PCCs in all police force areas.

The Government have been supporting the Association of Police Authority chief executives to develop PCCs' commissioning capacity and skills, and equipping PCCs to commission services for victims and witnesses.

Police: Mobile Phones

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will issue advice to police forces in England and Wales on the use of mobile telephones whilst driving police vehicles. [119436]

Damian Green: Use of a mobile phone while driving any vehicle is an offence, unless the driver is calling an emergency service or responding to a genuine emergency

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and it is unsafe or impracticable to cease driving to make the call. Any advice to police forces would be a matter for chief officers.

Police: Working Hours

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions she has had with police forces in England and Wales on police officers working on weekends. [119473]

Damian Green: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department holds regular discussions with representatives from police forces on a wide range of issues, including working arrangements for police officers.

Russia

Mr MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will publish the names of the 60 Russian officials she has sent to the Russian authorities in connection with the death of Sergei Magnitsky. [119487]

Mr Harper [holding answer 6 September 2012]: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department has sent no information to the Russian authorities about any individual who may or may not be connected to the death of Sergei Magnitsky.

Security: Indonesia

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether (a) her Department and (b) the police provided advice or training to Indonesian security and defence forces in the last five years. [119134]

Damian Green: In the past five years the Home Office, its agencies and the police have provided a range of assistance to Indonesian counterparts. This has included participation in multilateral training programmes, deployments of serving police officers and delivery of training courses.

The Counter Terrorism Command of the Metropolitan Police Service also has a Counter Terrorism and Extremism Liaison Officer (CTELO) responsible for facilitating police to police inquiries on international terrorist investigations in the Asia Pacific region (including Indonesia). The post has been based in Jakarta since September 2009. In addition, the UK has provided a police trainer to the Jakarta Centre for Law Enforcement Co-operation since 2005.

Sports

Damian Collins: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many officials in her Department work on policies relating to (a) the role of sport in tackling crime and antisocial behaviour and (b) other areas of policy relating to sport; and how much of her Department's budget was allocated to supporting this activity in the latest period for which figures are available. [120131]

10 Sep 2012 : Column 24W

Mr Jeremy Browne: The Home Office is providing funding in 2012-13 to a number of voluntary sector organisations that use sport-based interventions, with other approaches, to tackle crime and social disorder through the Positive Futures programme; the Communities Against Gangs, Guns and Knives (CAGGK) fund; and the Community Action Against Crime: Innovation Fund (CAACIF).

Details of the funding are shown in the table. It is not possible to quantify the proportion of this funding that is spent exclusively on sport-based activities, as many of the recipients also make use of other diversionary activities such as music and art, as well as running other programmes such as mentoring.

Responsibility for these approaches forms part of a number of officials' roles. We estimate that this equates to approximately 1.5 officials' working time. It is not possible to break this down further to estimate the proportion of time specifically spent on the role of sport in tackling crime and antisocial behaviour.

Grant stream2012-13 (£)

Positive Futures

5,063,000

CAGGK

232,771

CAACIF

337,443

Justice

Driving Offences

Gareth Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many motorists were prosecuted for contravening red traffic lights in each of the last 10 years; [119019]

(2) how many motorists were prosecuted for dangerous driving in each of the last 10 years; [119022]

(3) how many motorists were prosecuted for (a) killing and (b) seriously injuring a cyclist in each of the last 10 years; [119023]

(4) how many motorists have been prosecuted for offences related to cyclists in the last 10 years. [119024]

Jeremy Wright: The number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts for failing to comply with traffic lights, signals or signs in England and Wales from 2002 to 2011 can be viewed in Table 1.

From data held centrally on the Ministry of Justice Court Proceedings Database it is not possible to separately identify offences specific to contravening red traffic lights from other offences of failing to comply with signals or signs.

The number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts for dangerous driving, and causing death by dangerous driving, in England and Wales from 2002 to 2011 can be viewed in Table 2.

Other than where specified in a statute, information held centrally does not include all the circumstances of each case. It is not possible to identify from data held centrally on criminal motoring offences whether the victim was a cyclist.

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Table 1: Number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts for failing to comply with traffic lights, signals or signs(1), England and Wales, 2002 to 2011(2,3)
Offence description2002200320042005200620072008(4)200920102011

Failing to comply with traffic lights, signals or signs(1)

16,858

15,793

13,670

10,664

13,876

15,755

13,508

15,970

15,527

13,778

(1) Includes offences under section 36 of the Road Traffic Act 1988. (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) Excludes data for Cardiff magistrates' court for April, July and August 2008. Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services - Ministry of Justice
Table 2: Number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates courts for dangerous driving and causing death by dangerous driving, England and Wales, 2002 to 2011(1,2)
Offence description2002200320042005200620072008(3)200920102011

Dangerous driving(4)

6,507

7,075

6,673

5,561

5,055

4,705

3,940

3,887

3,495

3,271

Causing death by dangerous driving(5)

260

299

287

273

269

276

266

252

196

175

(1) The figures given in the table on court proceedings relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe. (2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used. (3) Excludes data for Cardiff magistrates court for April, July and August 2008. (4) Includes offences under the Road Traffic Act 1988 as amended by Road Traffic Act 1991. (5) Road Traffic Act 1988 as amended by Road Traffic Act 1991 and Criminal Justice Act 2003. Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services—Ministry of Justice

Jack Beecham

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what the cost to the public purse was of the appeal of Jack Beecham against conviction for assault heard in Liverpool Crown court on 11 to 13 July 2012; [119385]

(2) what the cost to the criminal justice system was of (a) proceedings against Jack Beecham from his arrest on 27 May 2010 on suspicion of assault to the conclusion of his appeal against conviction in Liverpool Crown court on 13 July 2012, (b) police, (i) time, (ii) legal advice and (iii) legal representation relating to that case, (c) collecting evidence for both sides in that case and (d) employing counsel and instructing solicitors for the prosecution in that case. [119386]

Mrs Grant: As the right hon. Member is aware: Jack Beecham was arrested on 27 May 2010 and charged with assault. He underwent two sets of court proceedings in consequence: at Wirral magistrates court, where on 9 May 2011 he was convicted of assaulting a police officer; and at Liverpool Crown court where, on 13 June 2012 his appeal against the afore-mentioned conviction was overturned.

The criminal justice agencies present in these proceedings were primarily: Merseyside Police; the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS); and Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals' Service (HMCTS). Under section 20(1) of the Access to Justice Act 1999, the Legal Services Commission is prohibited from disclosing any information relating to applications for legal aid.

The costs to the Police, HMCTS and CPS are estimated and drawn together for the purposes of providing the right hon. Member with a response. They are set out in tabular form at Annex A and include the rationale behind the information provided. Costs cannot be broken down into specific elements of proceedings and nor can they be attributed to every case dealt with. Courthouses and police stations can accommodate numerous cases and individuals at any one time and, in the main, staff, police and judges will work on more than one matter per day.

Annex A: Estimated costs to public bodies involved in the court proceedings of Jack Beecham (relative to his arrest on 27 May 2010)
Public Sector bodyCosts rationaleCost of the magistrates court proceedingsCost of the appeal in the Crown CourtEstimated totals

CPS

Costs per case are estimated. A sum payable to Counsel in respect of the Appeal is still to be finalised, so cannot be divulged.

£400

£270 plus Counsel’s fee

£670 plus Counsel’s fee

     

Merseyside Police

The costs provided are an estimate of the police time spent in processing the case and the cost of detaining an individual in custody. They cannot be split between the magistrates and Crown court proceedings.

£1,680 (time) £230 (custody)

  
  

£1,910

n/a

£1,910

     

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HMCTS

HMCTS bases it calculations around a court ‘sitting day’, assessed as 5 hours, which is the average time a matter is before a judge.

Judicial cost: £110.00 Staff cost: £1094.00

Judicial cost: £992.00 Staff cost: £665.00

(1)£5,483

 

Magistrates Court A case takes an average 3.5 hours to conclude (0.7 of a sitting day)

£1,204 x 0.7 sitting days

£1,657.00 x 2.8 sitting days

(1)

 

Crown Court Jack Beecham’s appeal case is recorded as 14.2 hours, i.e. 2.8 sitting days.

£843

£4,640

(1)

     
 

Estimated totals

£3,153

£4,910 plus Counsel’s fee

£8,063 (Estimate) plus Counsel’s fee

(1) Indicates a brace.

Personal Injury: Compensation

Stephen McPartland: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps his Department is taking to reduce the number of whiplash claims; and what assessment his Department has made of the merits of raising the threshold for soft tissue injuries in the small claims court from £1,000 to £5,000. [118685]

Paul Uppal: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent steps he has taking to establish new standards relating to the evidence required and damages payable for whiplash. [119285]

Mrs Grant: The Government will shortly publish a consultation document on the introduction of independent medical panels and on whether to amend the small claims threshold for damages for personal injury claims. The consultation document and its related impact assessments will be available to download from the Ministry of Justice website following publication.

The Government are committed to finding ways of tackling fraudulent and exaggerated whiplash claims, while ensuring that people who have suffered a genuine neck injury can continue to get appropriate compensation. Contributions and evidence from stakeholders will be sought on ways to reduce the number and costs of whiplash claims, and on the potential impacts of these proposals on affected groups.

Prisoners: Repatriation

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will remove the opt-in voluntary element of the repatriation of foreign prisoners to their countries of origin. [119469]

Jeremy Wright: Reducing the foreign national offender (FNO) population in the UK is a key priority for this Government. The UK has Prisoner Transfer Agreements (PTAs) with over 100 countries and territories, most of which are voluntary and require the prisoner's consent to transfer. Removing prisoner consent from these arrangements would require the consent of the other Government concerned and the renegotiation of each agreement. There is no guarantee other Governments would agree to this. However, as part of our strategy to reduce the FNO population, we are seeking to negotiate more compulsory PTAs, which will not require the consent of the prisoner to transfer.

Prisons and Probation Ombudsman

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what written (a) advice and (b) guidance (i) his Department and (ii) the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman provides to members of the public wishing to make a complaint about the Office of the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman; if he will place in the Library a copy of each such document; and if he will make a statement. [118621]

Jeremy Wright: Service users are sent a leaflet that explains how they can complain about either the outcome of an investigation by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman or about the conduct of the Ombudsman's staff. They may complain by telephone, letter, fax or email, and are advised that their case will be reviewed by a senior member of staff who had no previous involvement in the investigation. The leaflet also explains that service users who feel they have suffered some injustice because their complaint has not been handled properly can ask a Member of Parliament to refer their complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman who can investigate complaints about the administrative actions of a wide range of public bodies.

Information about how to make a complaint about the outcome of an investigation is also available on the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman's website for members of the public.

The policy for handling complaints about the professional conduct of staff is also on the Ombudsman's website. A copy has been placed in the Library.

Probation: Essex

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will assess the effectiveness of procedures in place for the investigation of alleged misconduct by Essex Probation; what recent representations he has received on this matter; and if he will make a statement. [118622]

Jeremy Wright: All probation trusts are required to have in place a scheme for considering and responding to complaints. Trusts are also required to provide inquirers with information about the scheme, which must include arrangements for appeal against the initial decision.

If the complainant is dissatisfied with the outcome of the complaints process, there is a further avenue of appeal to the prisons and probation ombudsman, where the complaint is made by or on behalf of an offender:

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in all cases, the complainant can ask the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration to investigate the trust's handling of the complaint.

Procurement

George Freeman: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what procedures his Department has put in place to ensure it procures equipment from companies with the necessary intellectual property rights for any equipment it is supplying; and if he will make a statement; [118617]

(2) what procurement policies his Department has to support UK (a) small to medium enterprise suppliers and (b) technology, intellectual property and innovation. [119112]

Jeremy Wright: The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) has standard terms and conditions for its procurements which contain warranties on the part of the contractor to the effect that its works/goods/services do not infringe intellectual property rights and an indemnity for the benefit of the Ministry in respect of any liability arising out of any infringement.

The MOJ supports the Government's commitment to helping small firms within an overarching policy of obtaining value for money. The MOJ has adopted processes and procedures that support this policy including:

Publishing relevant opportunities on the MOJ website and Contracts Finder, the single Government portal for opportunities for over £10,000.

Reviewing and updating tender documentation for simplicity and user-friendliness to support the Government's LEAN Sourcing programme.

Consideration of the role of SMEs in delivering the requirements of the category in all category/sourcing strategies.

Providing a mentoring and advice service to Departments that are breaking requirements into smaller lots for the first time.

Reviewing supplier databases within our ERP systems to ensure that existing suppliers are correctly classified and that any new suppliers are similarly identified at first registration. This has enabled the Department to pay SMEs promptly within five working days.

MOJ procurement policies and procedures support the Government's commitment to harnessing innovation procurement in order to deliver improved services, value for money, and to stimulate the competitiveness of businesses.

Through early market engagement, as part of pre- procurement activity, we seek to identify novel ways of delivering both new and existing requirements, thereby encouraging innovation and technological developments.

Risk relating to IPR is managed through stringent procurement processes, assurance procedures and adherence to terms and conditions of contract.

Ongoing proactive contract management builds supplier relationships with the intention of developing further innovation during the life of the contract.

Reoffenders

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many offenders were recalled to prison after their release in each probation service in the latest period for which figures are available. [120083]

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Jeremy Wright: The following table provides information on the number of offenders recalled from determinate and indeterminate sentences, by probation trust, in the latest period for which figures are available, 1 January 2012 to 31 March 2012.

Number of offenders recalled from determinate and indeterminate sentences, by probation trust, 1 January 2012 to 31 March 2012, England and Wales
Probation TrustNumber of recalls

Avon and Somerset

102

Bedfordshire

47

Cambridgeshire

46

Cheshire

54

Cumbria

39

Derbyshire

80

Devon and Cornwall

93

Dorset

47

Durham Tees Valley

119

Essex

70

Gloucestershire

33

Greater Manchester

297

Hampshire

95

Hertfordshire

43

Humberside

79

Kent

100

Lancashire

147

Leicestershire

69

Lincolnshire

35

London

700

Merseyside

139

Norfolk and Suffolk

59

North Yorkshire

28

Northamptonshire

48

Northumbria

122

Nottinghamshire

115

South Yorkshire

146

Staffordshire and West Midlands

375

Surrey and Sussex

122

Thames Valley

100

Warwickshire

21

West Mercia

40

West Yorkshire

245

Wiltshire

32

Wales

298

Total

4,185

Data Sources and Quality: These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems which, as with any large scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.

Transport

Airports

Rehman Chishti: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent discussions his Department has had with business consortia on a potential hub airport in Oxfordshire or Berkshire. [119465]

Mr Simon Burns: No such discussions have taken place.

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High Speed 2 Railway Line

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to review his policy on High Speed 2. [120282]

Mr Simon Burns: There are no plans to review the Department's policy on High Speed 2. The policy remains as that set out in the Command Paper High Speed Rail: Investing in Britain's Future—Decisions and Next Steps (Cm 8247), published in January.

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what meetings he has planned with the Chancellor of the Exchequer to discuss funding for the High Speed 2 project. [120283]

Mr Simon Burns: The Secretary of State for Transport regularly discusses the Government's plans to invest in transport infrastructure with the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will visit Chesham and Amersham constituency to view the potential effects of the proposed route of High Speed 2 on the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. [120284]

Mr Simon Burns: Before introducing the HS2 Bill into Parliament I will consider carefully the impacts of the scheme on all of the areas along the line of route to understand how it potentially affects local communities and the environment. However, I am confident that impacts to the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty have been minimised wherever practicable, with 7.5 miles now in tunnel or green tunnel compared to 5.2 miles for the consultation route, and 3.75 miles in cutting, mitigating visual and noise impacts.

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has issued instructions to Parliamentary Counsel on the drafting of a Hybrid Bill on the High Speed 2 project. [120285]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department has a regular dialogue with Parliamentary Counsel regarding legislative issues. This includes discussions about the Hybrid Bill for HS2.

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimates his Department has made of the costs of preparing and publishing a Hybrid Bill for the High Speed 2 project; and if he will publish those costs. [120286]

Mr Simon Burns: For the period 2012-13 to 2014-15 the Department has allocated a budget of £527 million to High Speed 2 Ltd. This budget includes work on the Hybrid Bill for the London to Birmingham phase, as well as preparatory work on the second section of the high speed rail network. No specific estimate has been made of the budget for the preparation and publication of the Hybrid Bill for the first phase.

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Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what meetings have been planned or arranged with (a) the chairman of HS2 Ltd and (b) the Chief Executive of HS2 Ltd; and if he could list them. [120508]

Mr Simon Burns: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Transport is holding introductory meetings with a range of key stakeholders, including the Chairman and Chief Executive of HS2 Ltd.

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate his Department has made of the cost to the public purse of the judicial reviews to take place in relation to the High Speed 2 project; and how much his Department has budgeted for those reviews. [120517]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department for Transport (DFT) has estimated that the Government's defence in the ongoing judicial reviews of HS2 will cost approximately £300,000 in addition to DFT and HS2 Ltd salary costs. We have budgeted accordingly.

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) lawyers, (b) consultants and (c) officials in his Department are working on the High Speed 2 judicial reviews. [120518]

Mr Simon Burns: In response to (a), DFT's legal defence team for the HS2 judicial reviews includes three lawyers employed by the Department: one who advises solely on HS2, including the judicial reviews; and two whose portfolios include, among other things, HS2 and the judicial reviews. In response to (b) and (c), no consultants, and three policy officials are working predominantly on the judicial reviews.

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if his Department will undertake a study of the combined effect of High Speed 2 and any airport expansion in the South East on Chesham and Amersham and the Chiltern Hills. [120520]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department has no current plans to undertake such a study.

Large Goods Vehicles: EU Countries

Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what regulations govern domestic levies and charges on HGVs from EU member states traversing other member states. [120237]

Stephen Hammond: The Eurovignette Directive (Directive 1999/62/EC as amended by 2006/38/EC and 2011/76/EU) sets out a framework of rules for minimum vehicle excise duty rates for HGVs registered in EU member states, and rules for the functioning of tolls and charges for HGVs, including maximum daily charges. It does not mandate tolls or charging.

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Liverpool Airport

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to review the role of Liverpool Airport within the National Airport Strategy. [120342]

Mr Simon Burns: In July the Government published for consultation a draft Aviation Policy Framework. This recognises the very important role airports across the UK play in providing domestic and international connections and the vital contribution they make to the growth of regional economies. The final Framework will be adopted by March 2013.

Railways: Wales

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with Ministers in the Welsh Government on the effects of potential franchise changes on rail services in Wales. [120098]

Mr Simon Burns: Department for Transport Ministers and officials meet regularly with their Welsh counterparts to discuss a wide range of topics.

The Welsh Government responded formally to recent public consultations on the Inter City West Coast Franchise and the Great Western Franchise both of which have services which link England and Wales.

Shipping: Treaties

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 22 February 2012, Official Report, column 876W, on shipping: treaties, what progress has been made in the international level discussions addressing the technical issues preventing the UK from ratifying the ILO convention 185 on seafarers' identity documents; when the last such meeting took place; and if he will make a statement. [R] [120188]

Stephen Hammond: Discussions are still taking place and I understand that the relevant working group last met in March 2012. There needs to be a satisfactory resolution of the technical issues before there can be ratification by the UK of the convention.

Northern Ireland

Child Poverty

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment she has made of the effect of the UK Government's welfare reform policies on levels of child poverty in Northern Ireland. [120201]

Mike Penning: Welfare reform and tackling child poverty are devolved matters which are the responsibility of Northern Ireland Executive Ministers.

I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by the Northern Ireland Minister for Social Development, Nelson McCausland MLA, on 26 April at:

http://www.northernireland.gov.uk/news-dsd-260412-poverty-horror-for?WT.mc_id=rss-news

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in which he states:

“...the impact of introducing Universal Credit will result in over 10,000 children being lifted out of poverty in Northern Ireland.”

Civil Disorder: Belfast

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment she has made of the recent disturbances in North Belfast; and if she will make a statement. [120202]

Mike Penning: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland has discussed the matter with the First Minister and Deputy First Minister and welcomes the fact that local political and community leaders are now working to find a resolution.

There can be no justification or excuse for this serious outbreak of violence. It causes fear and anguish for those living in the areas affected. I encourage all of those with influence in local communities to do all that they can to reduce the tension. Those who engage in criminal activity will of course continue to face the full force of the law.

Parades Commission

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent assessment she has made of the work and role of the Parades Commission in Northern Ireland. [120203]

Mike Penning: The Parades Commission is the lawfully constituted body for making determinations on parading in Northern Ireland. The Commission has the full support of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and I. We would urge all those with an interest in parading to work with the Commission and to abide by its determinations.

Police Service of Northern Ireland

Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what estimate she has made of the cost of the Police Service of Northern Ireland's participation in the EU's Project Indect. [120111]

Mike Penning: Policing and justice functions were devolved to the Northern Ireland Executive in April 2010, therefore responsibilities in this area fall directly to the Department of Justice in Northern Ireland together with the Police Service of Northern Ireland.

Terrorism

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent assessment she has made of the activities of (a) dissident Republican groups and (b) Loyalist paramilitaries. [120212]

Mike Penning: The threat posed by dissident republican groups in Northern Ireland remains severe. The Government remain fully committed to countering violence

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in all its forms and supporting the overwhelming majority of people who want to live without fear and intimidation.

I am advised that the loyalist paramilitary leadership remain committed to their ceasefires, although there has been unsanctioned violent activity including involvement in a wide range of acts of criminality. This has no place in Northern Ireland and, where appropriate, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and I will ensure that close working with the Justice Minister and Chief Constable continues on these issues. Those who engage in criminal activity will of course face the full force of the law.

Unemployment: Young People

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment she has made of the effect of the UK Government's economic policies on youth unemployment in Northern Ireland. [120200]

Mike Penning: The latest unemployment statistics for Northern Ireland show that there were 18,877 youth claimants under 25 receiving benefits. This is a decrease of 0.5% over the year.

Tackling youth unemployment is a devolved responsibility, but we are keen to work closely with Northern Ireland Executive Ministers to encourage growth, attract employment and help young people into work.

Communities and Local Government

One North West

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what funding (a) his Department and (b) its agencies have given to One North West. [119685]

Brandon Lewis: No funding has been given to One North West by the Department of Communities and Local Government or its agencies over at least the last five financial years.

Bed and Breakfast Accommodation

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will place in the Library copies of all replies from local councils to his letter concerning the breach of the six-weeks limit on the use of bed and breakfast accommodation for families. [120350]

Mr Prisk: The Minister without Portfolio, my right hon. Friend the Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Grant Shapps), wrote on a private basis to 20 local authorities concerning the breach of the six-weeks limit on the use of bed and breakfast accommodation for families. I believe it is right to treat the replies on the same basis and therefore it would not be appropriate for me to place copies of all replies from those authorities in the Library of the House.

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Betting Shops: Licensing

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will make it a requirement within the proposals to relax planning controls that it will still be necessary for a change of use of application to be made to the local authority in respect of changing the use of premises to a betting shop. [119810]

Nick Boles: Under planning regulations, betting shops which fall into the "A2—Financial and professional services" class are treated the same as other uses within the A2 class. There are some changes that have national planning permission, and some that require specific planning applications. Notwithstanding, councils can already use their Article 4 powers to require a planning application if there are local concerns about such developments. Our consultation "New opportunities for sustainable development and growth through the reuse of existing buildings" closes shortly and we will consider the responses received and will decide a way forward in due course.

Biofuels

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will assess the contribution of the differentiation between first and second generation biofuels for heating oil and building regulations purposes to the establishment of a UK-based biofuels industry based upon recycled food waste. [119082]

Mr Hayes: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Bioliquids, including heating oil, are not currently eligible for support under the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI). We will be consulting this autumn on an expansion of the RHI, including the introduction of domestic support and the addition of further technologies and fuels in the non-domestic scheme.

Under the terms of the EU renewable energy directive (RED), if we provide support to bioliquids used for heating, we would be required introduce mandatory sustainability criteria. The criteria, which are set out in the EU renewable directive, include a greenhouse gas lifecycle assessment target and land criteria to protect land with high biodiversity or carbon stocks value. Bioliquids made from wastes, such as from used cooking oil, would be exempt from the RED land criteria. Bioliquids made from wastes would also benefit from being treated as zero GHG emissions up to the point of the collection of the waste for the purpose of the RED GHG lifecycle assessment.

For building regulation purposes, assessors evaluate the carbon dioxide emission factor for the fuels that will be consumed to meet the energy demand of the building. The methodology used to determine the emission factor takes account of emissions that are given off when the fuel is burnt at the point of use, and emissions associated with producing, processing and transporting the fuel to the point of use.