12 Sep 2012 : Column 223W

12 Sep 2012 : Column 223W

Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 12 September 2012

House of Commons Commission

Hearing Impairment

Mr Winnick: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, (1) what arrangements the House of Commons Commission plans to make for facilities in Committee rooms for hon. Members and visitors who are hard of hearing; and if he will make a statement; [119515]

(2) what arrangements the House of Commons Commission plans to make in rooms used for Select Committees for the hard of hearing when the meeting goes into private session; and if he will make a statement; [119513]

(3) what arrangements the House of Commons Commission plans to make in rooms used regularly by political parties for those hard of hearing; and if he will make a statement. [119514]

John Thurso: There are induction loop facilities in all Committee rooms in the Palace and in all Committee and conference rooms on the first floor of Portcullis House. Portable equipment is available for the smaller meeting rooms in both buildings. Induction loop facilities are also provided in the Public Gallery of the House of Commons Chamber and in Westminster Hall Chamber.

When a Select Committee meets in public the induction loop facility is operational. When the meeting goes into private session, it is normal for the loop to be switched to private mode which prevents it transmitting a signal and thus eliminates the risk of the Committee's private deliberations being intercepted outside the room. It is possible to leave the loop switched on during a private session; the decision to do so is for the Committee chair.

Both the Parliamentary Labour Party and the 1922 Committee regularly hold meetings in Committee Room 14. The loop facilities in this room have been adapted to allow both fixed and roving microphone output to be broadcast through the loop. The decision to use this facility is for the chair of the meeting.

The House is committed to facilitating access and supporting people with disabilities in participating in House activities and continues to make improvements including to physical access, the provision of services and the educating of those providing those services. One of the four priority areas of the House's Diversity and Inclusion Scheme, launched in March 2012, is “Ensuring access and inclusion”, which covers the need to improve accessibility for disabled stakeholders including Members, staff and visitors to the parliamentary estate. The provision of facilities for those who are hard of hearing will be kept under review as part of this scheme.

If the hon. Member has further questions on this matter, the Director of Accommodation and Logistics Services would be happy to discuss them with him.

12 Sep 2012 : Column 224W

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Floods

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether his Department plans to compensate or provide relief to those affected by recent flooding in (a) Barnsley Central constituency, (b) South Yorkshire and (c) England and Wales. [119494]

Richard Benyon [holding answer 6 September 2012]: With regard to the flooding across England in June and July, the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, my right hon. Friend the Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr Pickles), activated the Bellwin scheme of emergency financial assistance to help local authorities with their immediate costs associated with protecting life and property in their areas. I am advised that Barnsley did not apply for these schemes and the deadline for registration has now passed.

Going forward the Government stand ready to consider future requests for assistance, including financial, that we receive, and we will consider all requests sympathetically.

The Welsh Government are responsible for flood risk policy in Wales.

Horses: Databases

Simon Hart: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what financial savings he expects to arise as a result of the closure of the National Equine Database. [118798]

Mr Heath: DEFRA expects to save some £200,000 per annum as a result of the closure of the National Equine Database.

Simon Hart: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether any other organisations offered to take over the running of the National Equine Database prior to the decision to close the database. [118799]

Mr Heath: A total of 19 bids were received in response to a formal procurement exercise. This was run in order to assess the costs and benefits of a successor to the National Equine Database.

Simon Hart: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what alternative arrangements his Department has put in place to facilitate information gathering currently undertaken by the National Equine Database. [118800]

Mr Heath: The National Equine Database operates as a central repository of horse passport data, supplied by horse passport issuing organisations (PIOs). PIOs will continue to be required to collect and store horse passport data, which will remain available for regulatory and legal purposes.

Defence

Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what assessment he has made of the implications for the armed forces of reports of a fault with the Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile's rocket motors; [119545]

12 Sep 2012 : Column 225W

(2) how many Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles the Royal Air Force has available for use; and when the most recent missile was delivered; [119594]

(3) how many successful firings of the Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile have taken place for each model of missile and aircraft type it was fired from in each of the last eight years. [119595]

Mr Dunne: The most recent Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM) was delivered to the UK on 25 October 2006. The Ministry of Defence does not comment on the specific number of its weapons systems stockpiles as disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

The AMRAAM system is subjected to regular and rigorous testing throughout its life. These weapons are not affected by an alleged fault on new production rocket motors that has been reported in the media. There are no plans to procure any additional AMRAAM systems, as they will be replaced in due course by the new Meteor missile that is in the final stages of development.

Trial firings of AMRAAM in each of the last eight years and the type of aircraft from which they were fired are shown in the following table:

 TyphoonTornado F3Sea Harrier
 AIM-120BAIM-120C-5AIM-120BAIM-120C-5AIM-120BAIM-120C-5

2004

0

0

2

0

2

0

2005

3

0

0

2

0

0

2006

0

0

1

0

0

0

2007

2

0

0

0

0

0

2008

1

2

1

0

0

0

2009

3

0

0

0

0

0

2010

1

0

0

0

0

0

2011

3

1

0

0

0

0

2012

0

0

0

0

0

0

All firings have been successful. No operational firings have taken place.

Armed Forces

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he plans to publish data for 2012 relating to the number of services and civilian jobs directly and indirectly related to his Department's work in (a) each country and region of the UK and (b) elsewhere in the world. [120097]

Mr Francois: Information on jobs indirectly related to the Ministry of Defence's work is not held. Civilian and service employment details directly related to the MOD's work in each country and region of the UK and overseas are published in the 1 July 2012 edition of the Quarterly Location Statistics (QLS) publication which was released on 16 August 2012 according to the arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.

This is a quarterly publication presenting information on the stationed location of all UK regular service and civilian personnel by UK unitary authority and local authority area, as well as all international global locations. I have arranged for copies of the 1 July 2012 edition of the QLS to be placed in the Library of the House.

12 Sep 2012 : Column 226W

These figures can also be found on the DASA website:

http://www.dasa.mod.uk/applications/newWeb/www/index. php?page=48&pubType=0&thiscontent=120&PublishTime =09:30:00&date=:2012-08-16&disText=01%20July%202012& from=listing&topDate=2012-08-16

Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what collaborative works his Department is undertaking with the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency. [119538]

Mr Dunne: The Ministry of Defence currently has no specific active project arrangements or information exchanges with the US Defence Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Defence Equipment

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Satcom kits were purchased for the R1 Sentinel in the latest period for which figures are available; and what the average cost was per unit. [120291]

Mr Dunne: Five satellite communications systems were purchased, one for each of the Sentinel R1 aircraft. An average cost per unit is not available. The prime contract to design, supply and support the aircraft did not require the costs of the satellite communications systems to be separately identified.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what equipment from Type 23 vessels will be transferred to Type 26 vessels; what the value is of such equipment; and what the cost will be of transferring such equipment. [120293]

Mr Dunne: The Ministry of Defence plans to maximise the use of proven Type 23 (T23s) equipment in the future Type 26 Global Combat Ships (T26 GCS) to minimise cost and technical risk. This will include using, wherever possible, the physical transfer of equipment from the decommissioned T23s to the T26 GCS. The extent of this transfer is being explored as part of the ongoing T26 GCS Assessment Phase to ensure such an approach is best value for money for defence.

Decisions about the scope of technology and equipment transfer will be taken at the main investment decision, which is currently scheduled for the middle of this decade.

Defence Infrastructure Organisation

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people were employed by his Department's Defence Infrastructure Organisation in (a) Scotland, (b) England, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) Wales in each year since 2011. [120309]

Mr Francois: The number of people employed by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation in (a) Scotland, (b) England, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) Wales in each year since 2011 is shown in the following table:

12 Sep 2012 : Column 227W

 1 April 20111 April 2012

Scotland

270

220

England

2,600

2,170

Northern Ireland

240

170

Wales

100

80

Hercules Aircraft

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what comparative assessment he has made of the (a) size of radar signature, (b) ability to penetrate hostile airspace at low level and (c) ability to land on rough short airstrips of the A400M and C-130J aircraft. [119549]

Mr Dunne: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my predecessor, my hon. Friend the Member for Mid Worcestershire (Peter Luff), on 19 June 2012, Official Report, column 935W. This highlighted the ongoing A400M Atlas multinational trial programme which will cover the ability of the aircraft to use rough landing strips. There is also a plan to assess the radar cross-section of the A400M Atlas; the radar cross-sections of the C-130J and K are already known. Once this study is complete, a comparative assessment of the A400M Atlas and both C-130 Hercules variants could be made. The ability of A400M Atlas to fly at low level is also being evaluated by Airbus. This information, when combined with the radar cross-section data, will allow an assessment to be made of the aircraft's ability to penetrate hostile airspace at low level.

Once these trials are completed by Airbus and the results evaluated, the outcome will be presented to A400M Atlas partner nations. They will collectively make an assessment of this information and whether the aircraft's performance meets the agreed requirement. No conclusions can yet be drawn in comparative terms of the performances of the A400M Atlas and C-130J Hercules.

12 Sep 2012 : Column 228W

RAF Menwith Hill

Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether RAF Menwith Hill plays a role in the planning and deployment of drones in (a) Afghanistan, (b) Pakistan, (c) Yemen and (d) Somalia. [120438]

Mr Robathan: For operational and security reasons we do not comment on the specific activities carried out at RAF Menwith Hill.

Reserve Forces

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many armed forces reservists are ordinarily resident in Rutherglen and Hamilton West constituency. [120418]

Mr Francois: Information relating to where serving members of the reserves reside in a given constituency is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Service Personnel and Veterans Agency

Jesse Norman: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average processing time was for enquiries received by (a) telephone, (b) email and (c) post at the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency in each of the last 24 months for which figures are available. [120043]

Mr Francois: Where available data held on the average processing time for inquiries received by the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA) is shown in the table.

It is not possible to provide the average processing time for letters and e-mails received by either the Joint Personnel Administration Centre (JPAC) or other functional areas within SPVA as the data for these are not held in this format.

The latter includes addressing claims under the War Pension Scheme and Armed Forces Compensation Scheme, many of which require detailed investigation.

  Veterans HelplineJPAC
 MonthTel (Mins)Letters (Working days)E-mails (Working days)Tel (Mins)

2010

September

3.03

3.6

1.7

4.33

 

October

3.02

1.2

1.2

4.08

 

November

3.03

2.6

1.6

3.51

 

December

3.05

1.7

1.5

3.45

      

2011

January

3.04

2.9

1.4

3.54

 

February

3.05

1.7

1.2

4.22

 

March

3.00

1.8

1.5

4.18

 

April

2.56

1.5

1.2

4.06

 

May

3.04

2

1.5

4.17

 

June

3.07

1.8

1.3

4.21

 

July

3.05

3

1.3

4.20

 

August

3.15

2.8

1.4

4.09

 

September

3.10

2.1

1.8

4.07

 

October

3.16

2.9

1.5

3.57

 

November

3.16

2.6

1.5

3.46

12 Sep 2012 : Column 229W

12 Sep 2012 : Column 230W

 

December

3.10

2.7

1.3

3.53

      

2012

January

3.21

2

1.2

3.51

 

February

3.34

2.4

1.3

3.58

 

March

3.26

3.4

1.7

4.08

 

April

3.46

3.3

2.6

4.08

 

May

4.40

3.9

2.1

4.07

 

June

3.39

2.8

2.6

4.04

 

July

4.02

2.7

1.3

4.02

 

August

3.48

3.3

2.9

4.03

Jesse Norman: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how his Department ensures that service personnel and veterans who use the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA) are satisfied with the standard of service which they receive from the SPVA. [120044]

Mr Francois: The Service Personnel and Veterans Agency (SPVA) conducts an annual customer satisfaction survey with service personnel, veterans and its corporate customers.

Service personnel have been surveyed via the Joint Personnel Administration system since it was rolled out in 2007. The 2011 survey recorded an 85% overall satisfaction with SPVA services.

In January each year, a random selection of some 13,000 veterans are invited to either complete a hard copy of the Veterans Survey or online via the Veterans UK website. The 2011 Veterans Survey recorded a 92% overall satisfaction with SPVA services.

On an annual basis, a senior representative of SPVA's 12 corporate customers is invited to be interviewed. The 2011 survey recorded a 75% overall satisfaction with services provided by SPVA.

The SPVA overall target for achievement of customer satisfaction is 80% with no less than 70% satisfaction in each of the three separate customer segments. The SPVA's combined assessment for 2011 was 84.22%.

Unmanned Air Vehicles

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost to the public purse will be of the new Unmanned Air Systems Capability Development Centre at Boscombe Down in each of the next five years. [119528]

Mr Dunne: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer given by my predecessor, my hon. Friend the Member for Mid Worcestershire (Peter Luff), on 3 September 2012, Official Report, column 72W, to the hon. Member for Moray (Angus Robertson).

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans his Department has for the development of unmanned aerial vehicle technology at Parc Aberporth; and if he will make a statement. [119639]

Mr Dunne: There are currently no plans for the Parc Aberporth facility to be used in the further development of unmanned air systems, following the completion of the flight trials of all Watchkeeper production aircraft in 2015.

Warships

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) which ships will be upgraded under the Combat Management System Joint Support Solution; what systems will be installed on each ship; and when each such installation will (a) begin and (b) be completed; [119596]

(2) if he will estimate the cost to the public purse of implementing the Combat Management System Joint Support Solution (a) in total and (b) for each vessel to be upgraded under that contract. [119597]

Mr Dunne: The Combat Management System Joint Support Solution is a contract between the Ministry of Defence and BAE Systems Integrated Systems Technology Ltd, awarded in December 2010, which provides support for on-board Combat Systems by effectively managing spares and obsolescence.

The contract value is up to £49 million over its six- year duration and covers a total of 23 ships (13 Type 23 frigates, six Type 45 destroyers, HMS Ocean, HMS Bulwark, HMS Albion and RFA Argus).

The contract does not separately identify the cost of supporting each individual ship.

Treasury

Corporation Tax

Andrew Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what revenue was generated by corporation tax in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012 to date. [120403]

Mr Gauke: Net corporation tax cash receipts are published jointly by the Office for National Statistics and HM Treasury in table PSF6 of the Public Sector Finances publication.

The latest update, covering receipts to July 2012, is available at the following link:

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

12 Sep 2012 : Column 231W

Andrew Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effect of the reduction in the rate of corporation tax on competitiveness. [120405]

Mr Gauke: The Government aim to create the most competitive tax regime in the G20. The main rate of corporate tax has been reduced from 28% in 2010 to 24% in April this year, and will then fall to 23% in April 2013 and 22% in April 2014, when the UK will have the lowest corporation tax rate in the G7 and the fourth lowest in the G20.

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

Income Tax

Andrew Percy: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people in the smallest geographical area for which information is available will no longer pay income tax as a result of changes to the income tax threshold announced since May 2010. [120624]

Mr Gauke: The June 2010 Budget announced a £1,000 cash increase in the income tax personal allowance for under 65s to £7,475 in 2011-12 (£820 above RPI indexation), with real-terms gains focused on basic rate taxpayers through a £1,400 cash reduction in the higher rate threshold in income tax.

The 2011 Budget announced a £630 cash increase in the personal allowance for under 65s to £8,105 in 2012-13 (£240 above RPI indexation), with an equivalent reduction in the basic rate limit to leave the higher rate threshold unchanged.

The 2012 Budget announced a £1,100 cash increase in the personal allowance for under 65s to £9,205 in 2013-14, (£850 above expected RPI indexation), along with a £2,125 reduction of the basic rate limit so that most higher rate taxpayers will get one quarter of the benefit a typical basic rate taxpayer will receive.

As a result of these measures, the Government estimate that 1.97 million of the lowest income taxpayers will be removed from tax altogether in 2013-14. Information at Government office region is provided in the following table:

Government office regionNumber taken out of income tax (thousand)

North-east

80

North-west and Merseyside

224

Yorkshire and the Humber

170

East midlands

152

West midlands

172

East of England

176

London

223

South-east

255

South-west

172

Wales

95

Scotland

162

Northern Ireland

57

Address abroad/unknown

32

All

1,970

12 Sep 2012 : Column 232W

These estimates take account only of the measures affecting the under 65s personal allowance. They do not include the impacts of recently announced changes to age-related allowances.

These estimates are based on the 2009-10 Survey of Personal Incomes, projected to 2013-14 using economic assumptions consistent with the Office for Budget Responsibility's March 2012 economic and fiscal outlook.

Reliable estimates are not available at lower levels of geography due to greater uncertainties in making projections for small geographical areas and small sample sizes.

LIBOR

Roberta Blackman-Woods: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what information he has received from the Financial Services Authority on whether (a) sterling LIBOR and (b) other currency LIBOR rates have been affected by the actions of Barclays; [117499]

(2) if he will take steps to ensure that suitable measures for redress will be made available to UK businesses mis-sold financial products based on LIBOR if banks are found to be guilty of rate manipulation. [117543]

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment his Department has made of the potential effects of the fixing of the LIBOR on the ability of UK banks to (a) remain solvent and (b) operate without payments from the public purse during 2008. [118186]

Greg Clark: On 27 June the FSA fined Barclays Bank Plc (Barclays) £59.5 million for misconduct relating to the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) and the Euro Interbank Offered Rate (EURIBOR) between 2005 and 2008. This is the largest fine ever imposed by the FSA. Barclays was separately fined £230 million by the US regulatory authorities.

Such misconduct includes attempted manipulation. In some cases those attempts were to lower the final LIBOR rate, and in others they were to increase it. Such attempts may only have moved the overall LIBOR rate by a fraction of a percentage point, if at all. Consequently it is very difficult to establish any sort of net effect from the attempted manipulation.

The Government believe that this and other recent examples of misconduct in the banking sector are completely unacceptable. This is why the Government are taking action now, including comprehensive reform of the regulatory system.

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when his Department was first made aware of LIBOR fixing allegations; by whom; what immediate response it made; and if he will publish any associated correspondence or briefings held by his Department. [118184]

Greg Clark: As was the practice of previous Administrations, it is not appropriate to disclose discussions which Government Ministers may have held with interested parties.

Regulators in North America, Europe and Japan, including the Financial Services Authority (FSA) are currently investigating alleged manipulation of LIBOR and other leading international benchmark rates such

12 Sep 2012 : Column 233W

as the Euro Interbank Offered Rate (EURIBOR) by other banks. HM Treasury cannot comment on individual cases or banks, or other aspects of current investigations, so as not to prejudice these inquiries in any way.

Loans

Chris Evans: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has any plans to change the law on the advertising of interest rates on commercial loans. [120419]

Greg Clark: There are no plans to change the law on the advertising of interest rates on commercial loans.

Minimum Wage

Hazel Blears: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the cost to HM Revenue and Customs of enforcing national minimum wage legislation in relation to unpaid internships in the latest period for which figures are available. [120217]

Mr Gauke: HMRC does not hold the information requested.

Mortgages

Caroline Nokes: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what provision the Government have put in place for people over 75 seeking to remortgage who may be considered by banks and building societies to be high risk; [120184]

(2) what steps the Government have taken to ensure high street banks and building societies do not discriminate against people over 75 who wish to remortgage. [120185]

Greg Clark: There is no law or FSA regulation stipulating a maximum age for mortgage borrowers. Under the FSA's rules, firms are required to provide a prompt, fair and efficient service to all their customers, regardless of their age.

Decisions concerning the pricing and availability of mortgages are commercial decisions for individual lenders, and the Government do not seek to intervene in these decisions.

Revenue and Customs: Chadwell Heath

John McDonnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his approval was sought in respect of the decision to close the HM Revenue and Customs enquiry centre in Chadwell Heath. [120596]

Mr Gauke: I was formally advised by HMRC on 17 July of the proposed merger of the Chadwell Heath and Romford enquiry centres and noted the position.

HMRC also advised my hon. Friend the Member for Romford (Andrew Rosindell) and the hon. Member for Ilford South (Mike Gapes) about this change. Civil service trade unions were also notified of this proposal and noted the position.

Santander Group

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations his Department has received on Santander transferring customers away from the free for life business banking account. [119916]

12 Sep 2012 : Column 234W

Greg Clark: Treasury Ministers and officials meet with, and receive representations from, a wide range of organisations and individuals in the public and private sectors as part of the usual policymaking process. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such representations.

UK Trade and Investment

Mr MacNeil: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what Barnett consequentials have been paid to Scotland in respect of resources allocated to UK Trade and Investment since the establishment of the Scottish Parliament. [120554]

Danny Alexander: UK Trade and Investment is a UK-wide body which works for businesses across the UK, including in the devolved Administrations. As such, no Barnett consequentials have been paid to Scotland in respect of resources allocated to UK Trade and Investment since the establishment of the Scottish Parliament.

Work Experience

Hazel Blears: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many complaints were made to HM Revenue and Customs about unpaid internships in (a) 2009-10, (b) 2010-11 and (c) 2011-12. [120104]

Mr Gauke: HMRC classifies its minimum wage investigations as either complaints received from workers or those that HMRC generates itself using intelligence- based risk assessment processes.

Before August 2011, HMRC did not specifically collect information on whether workers making complaints about non-payment of the minimum wage were interns. In 2011-12, 43 complaints were received from workers who stated that they were interns. This represents approximately 3% of the total number of complaints referred to HMRC from the Pay and Work Rights Helpline.

In response to extensive media commentary on the widespread abuse of workers' rights through the use of unpaid interns, HMRC commenced a multi-stranded approach to tackling non-compliance related to unpaid workers, including interns. This comprised working with the Pay and Work Rights Helpline to establish a fast- track process for dealing with all intern-related queries from workers across all trade sectors. Under this process all intern-related calls are being directed to the HMRC NMW Dynamic Response Team (DRT) for immediate action to establish the facts from workers and investigate the employers' practices in appropriate cases.

The second element of the approach was to carry out targeted enforcement activity within the fashion and TV/film production sectors. Follow-up action on this targeted enforcement is to be carried out in September and October 2012.

Work and Pensions

Employment

Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) when his Department last considered the help made available by Jobcentre Plus and other

12 Sep 2012 : Column 235W

Government agencies to persons previously in full-time employment who have undergone a reduction in their contracted hours to between 16 and 25 hours per week and who require secondary or alternative employment; [120310]

(2) if he will take steps to provide assistance in job placement services to persons previously in full-time employment who have undergone a reduction in their contracted hours to between 16 and 25 hours per week and who require secondary or alternative employment. [120312]

Mr Hoban: Jobcentre Plus provides a public-access employment service to jobseekers irrespective of their employment status or hours of work. This means people facing reduced hours already have access to the Jobcentre Plus national vacancy database. They can use Jobpoints in local Jobcentres or the DirectGov internet jobs search facility to identify opportunities for secondary or alternative employment.

This job search support will be enhanced later this year with the introduction of the new Universal Jobmatch service. This will make job search easier by automatically matching a jobseeker's CV, skills and requirements to jobs that suit their needs.

Support for people seeking to find more work or improve their prospects is under active consideration as part of the changes associated with the introduction of universal credit which will start to be introduced from next year.

Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent estimate he has made of the number of people of each gender who have undergone a reduction in their contracted hours to between 16 and 25 hours per week as a result of employer downsizing operations who are (a) under 45 years old and (b) 45 years old or more. [120311]

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

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

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated September 2012:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking what recent estimate has been made of the number of people of each gender who have undergone a reduction in their contracted hours to between 16 and 25 hours per week as a result of employer downsizing operations who are (a) under 45 years old and (b) 45 years old or more. 120311

The requested information is not available.

The Labour Force Survey measures both the usual weekly hours worked and the actual hours worked by employed individuals. Respondents who are actually working fewer hours than usual or would like to work more hours than present are recorded. However, it is not possible to determine those who have had their usual hours reduced due to a change in contracted hours as a result of employer downsizing.

Employment Schemes: Young People

Mike Crockart: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many youth contract placements have been started in (a) the UK, (b) Scotland and (c)

12 Sep 2012 : Column 236W

the City of Edinburgh local authority area; and what proportion of such placements are with smaller employers. [120375]

Mr Hoban: The youth contract went live in April 2012. It includes wage incentives to employers taking on young people attached to the Work programme and extra work experience and sector-based work academy placements.

In most cases wage incentives are paid after a young person has been in work continuously for 26 weeks. Following the collection and quality assurance of these data, I expect the first set of official statistics on wage incentive payment data to be available from early 2013. The Department is working to guidelines set by the UK Statistics Authority to ensure we publish statistics that meet high quality standards at the earliest opportunity.

Official statistics for work experience and sector-based work academy starts from the start of the youth contract in April 2012 to May 2012 show:

Work experience starts (April and May)

GB (excludes Northern Ireland)

9,870

Scotland

1,030

City of Edinburgh LA

40

Sector-based work academy starts (April and May)

GB (excludes Northern Ireland and Wales)

2410

Scotland

200

City of Edinburgh LA

20

Note: All figures are rounded to the nearest 10.

We do not routinely collect data on employers by size and neither do we require claimants to tell us which employer they have successfully found work with; therefore we do not know what proportion of placements are with small employers.

Independent Living Fund

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on the future of the independent living fund. [120226]

Esther McVey: Prior to the launch of the ongoing consultation on the future of the independent living fund, the previous Minister for Disabled People, my right hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Maria Miller), discussed our plans with Lesley Griffiths AM, the Minister for Health and Social Care in the Welsh Government. There has also been discussion at official level between DWP and the Welsh Government prior to and during the consultation process.

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether it is his intention that when the administration of the independent living fund is transferred to the Welsh Government, its funding allocation will also be transferred. [120230]

12 Sep 2012 : Column 237W

Esther McVey: As set out in the consultation document on the future of the independent living fund, the Government's preferred position is that the independent living fund is closed in 2015 and that funding would be devolved to the Administrations in Wales and Scotland.

Pensions: Financial Assistance Scheme

Richard Graham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many people are making repayments to the Financial Assistance Scheme; [119984]

(2) how many people have failed to repay in their lifetime the entire sum they owned to the Financial Assistance Scheme; how many such people have repaid more than the sum they owed to the scheme; and whether there has been a net loss or net gain to the public purse as a result; [119986]

(3) what steps are taken to remove repayment deductions from the pension of pensioners who have repaid in full money owed to the Financial Assistance Scheme. [119987]

Steve Webb: 3,881 people are repaying money to the Financial Assistance scheme (FAS), of which 3,846 had their FAS assistance adjusted to take account of the overpayment. The remainder have no ongoing entitlement to FAS payments.

The information requested in respect of the number of people who have either failed to repay their FAS overpayment or overpaid an FAS overpayment is not available in the format requested. To date 99 members have died before repaying their FAS overpayment.

The FAS scheme manager recovers the overpayment over the lifetime of a member in the form of a notional annuity, which is calculated taking into account actuarial mortality assumptions (and other actuarial assumptions). If an individual member lives longer than predicted they will pay back more. However, the effect of the assumptions used is in general that more members will pay back less than they owe. This approach is in line with the general action taken by an occupational pension scheme, who on completion of winding up identify that a member has been overpaid. If members request they may pay back the overpayment as a lump sum.

In all cases the FAS scheme manager will consider representations to waive the recovery of a FAS overpayment.

Personal Independence Payments

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) which organisations bid for the contract to deliver personal independence payments; [119481]

(2) how many representations he has received on the awarding of the contract to deliver personal independence payments to Atos; [119482]


(3) what steps his Department is taking to put in place monitoring and assessment procedures to ensure Atos adheres to its contract to deliver personal independence payments; [119483]


(4) if he will place a copy of the contract agreed with Atos for the delivery of personal independence payments in the Library; [119484]

12 Sep 2012 : Column 238W

(5) whether the contract for delivery of the personal independence payment (PIP) includes any targets to reduce (a) the number of people who receive PIP and (b) the amount paid out through PIP. [119485]

Esther McVey: Ten organisations were appointed to the Health and Disability Assessment Services Framework and were eligible to bid for the contract to deliver personal independence payment assessments. Of these, six organisations bid for the contract to deliver personal independence payment assessments; they were APM Ltd, Atos Origin, Avanta Enterprises Ltd, Capita Group plc, G4S Integrated Services (UK) Ltd and Vertex Ltd.

To date, the number of representations received regarding the award of the contract to deliver personal independence payment assessments to Atos Origin is seven. These representations have come from claimants, parliamentary questions, Freedom of Information requests and Members of Parliament.

We have built robust expectations of performance into the contracts with Atos Origin and Capita Group plc; these include a range of remedies which allow the Department to take action on minor, as well as more significant, poor performance.

In addition, within two years of go-live, an independent review will be carried out, along the lines of Professor Harrington's reviews of the work capability assessment. Redacted copies of the Atos Origin and Capita Group plc tender documents were published on Contracts Finder for the three Great Britain lots on 21 August. Copies of these will be placed in the Library.

The contracts awarded for the delivery of the personal independence payment (PIP) do not include any targets to reduce the number of people who receive PIP or the amount paid out through PIP. The only targets are based on the quality of assessments carried out. Assessment providers will not be paid according to the outcome of claimants' assessments or decisions on benefit entitlement. They will be paid for the production of fair and impartial assessments along with written and verbal medical advice, investment in new technology and other service improvements with associated fixed overheads and administrative costs.

Remploy

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent discussions his Department has had with Remploy on the closure of its Wrexham factory. [120229]

Esther McVey: DWP officials meet regularly with Remploy colleagues to discuss progress and any issues

The Department is aware of ongoing dialogue between Welsh officials, the local authority and Remploy regarding the site and its possible use to support social enterprise. Remploy continue to lead those discussions, as owners of the assets.

Social Security Benefits: Young People

Mr Laws: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people aged (a) 19, (b) 20 and (c) 21 years were in receipt of (i) jobseeker's allowance, (ii) housing benefit and (iii) jobseeker's allowance and housing benefit in the latest period for which figures are available. [118912]

12 Sep 2012 : Column 239W

Mr Hoban: The number of people aged (a) 19, (b) 20 and (c) 21 years old who were in receipt of jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) at February 2012 is shown in the following table.

Number of JSA claimants by age: February 2012
AgeJSA claimants

Total

1,589,640

19

79,850

20

80,250

21

73,070

Notes: 1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. 2. The latest available data are at February 2012. 3. Figures include “credit” only cases. Source: DWP Information, Governance and Security, Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study.

The number of people aged (a) 19, (b) 20 and (c) 21 years old who were in receipt of housing benefit (HB) and HB with income-based JSA at May 2012 is shown in the following table.

Number of HB claimants, including those who are in receipt of income-based JSA: May 2012
AgeHB claimantsHB claimants with income-based JSA

Total

5,031,740

664,090

19

33,240

10,780

20

46,120

14,610

21

56,740

15,880

Notes: 1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. 2. Age groups are based on the age on the count data (second Thursday in the month), of either: (a) the recipient if they are single, or (b) the elder of the recipient or partner if claiming as a couple. 3. Recipients are as at the second Thursday of the month. 4. SHBE is a monthly electronic scan of claimant level data direct from local authority computer systems. It replaces quarterly aggregate clerical returns. The data are available monthly from November 2008 and May 2012 are the most recent available. Source: Single Housing Benefit Extract (SHBE)

The number of claimants of HB and Contributory-Based JSA is not readily available and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mr Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people aged (a) 19, (b) 20 and (c) 21 years old were in receipt of (i) jobseeker's allowance, (ii) housing benefit and (iii) both jobseeker's allowance and housing benefit in (A) Bexleyheath and Crayford constituency, (B) the London borough of Bexley and (C) Greater London in the latest period for which figures are available. [119634]

Mr Hoban: The number of recipients who claim housing benefit (HB) and jobseeker’s allowance (JSA) is not available.

Information is available for those HB claimants whose claim is passported: that is for those who receive either income support, jobseeker’s allowance (income-based), employment and support allowance (income-based), or pension credit (guaranteed credit).

12 Sep 2012 : Column 240W

The Department does collect information on those in receipt of JSA on the housing benefit data source (SHBE) but to assess the completeness of recording and quality assure the figures would incur disproportionate cost.

Information is not readily available for housing benefit recipients by age at parliamentary constituency level, and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost. A one-off exercise was carried out on the January 2011 data to provide a parliamentary constituency breakdown. The results were published on the Department's website at:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/hb_ctb/hb_ctb_ parlc_jan11.xls

There are no plans to repeat the exercise which took around 20 working days to complete.

Number of JSA claimants for Bexleyheath and Crayford parliamentary constituency, the London borough of Bexley and London region by Age: February 2012
JSA claimantsLondon regionLondon borough of Bexley

Total

234,100

4,800

Age:

  

19

7,950

250

20

8,880

240

21

8,620

210

Notes: 1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. 2. The latest available data are at February 2012. 3. Figures include “credit” only cases. Source: DWP Information, Governance and Security, Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study.
Number of housing benefit claimants including those who are in receipt of income-based JSA for the London borough of Bexley and London region by Age: May 2012
 HB claimantsHB claimants with JSA (income-based)
 London regionLondon borough of BexleyLondon regionLondon borough of Bexley

Total

845,740

14,780

109,870

1,710

Age:

    

19

3,850

80

1,010

20

20

5,210

150

1,490

30

21

6,530

180

1,780

30

Notes: 1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. 2. Age groups are based on the age on the count date (second Thursday in the month), of either: (a) the recipient if they are single, or (b) the elder of the recipient or partner if claiming as a couple. 3. Recipients are as at the second Thursday of the month. 4. SHBE is a monthly electronic scan of claimant level data direct from local authority computer systems. It replaces quarterly aggregate clerical returns. The data is available monthly from November 2008 and May 2012 is the most recent available. Source: Single housing benefit extract (SHBE)

12 Sep 2012 : Column 241W

Universal Credit

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the number of working families in Plymouth whose net benefit income will decrease upon the introduction of universal credit. [120822]

Mr Hoban: The information requested is not available at this level.

Once fully implemented it is expected that overall individuals will benefit from universal credit by the equivalent benefit expenditure rise of around £2 billion.

The impact assessment states that in Great Britain around 2.8 million households will have higher entitlements under universal credit.

Around 2 million households will have lower entitlements under universal credit.

However it is important to recognise that a package of transitional protection is being developed in order to ensure that there will be no cash losers as a direct result of the move to universal credit where circumstances remain the same.

Women and Equalities

Protection of Freedoms Act 2012

Mrs Moon: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities pursuant to the answer of 11 July 2012, Official Report, column 282W, on Protection of Freedoms Act 2012, what progress she has made in introducing an application process for people seeking to clear their criminal records of a conviction for consensual homosexual sex; and if she will make a statement. [119173]

James Brokenshire: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Home Department.

The Home Office work to develop an application process to enable individuals to apply to have any convictions, cautions, warnings or reprimands that meet the criteria as set out in part 5 of the protection of Freedoms Act 2012 disregarded is well advanced.

We are committed to implementing the application handling arrangements from 1 October, when the new provisions will be commenced. The arrangements have been developed in partnership with HM Courts and Tribunals Service, the Association of Chief Police Officers and the Ministry of Defence.

Justice

Anti-slavery Day

Stephen Phillips: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what plans his Department has to mark Anti-slavery Day on 18 October 2012. [120401]

Mrs Grant: I refer to the reply I gave to the hon. Member for Slough (Fiona Mactaggart) on 11 September 2012, Official Report, column 183W. The Government are committed to marking Anti-slavery Day. Plans are still being considered and will be announced in due course.

12 Sep 2012 : Column 242W

Drugs: Sentencing

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the highest number of drug rehabilitation orders is under community sentences or suspended sentence orders that have been given to an offender over the period of their offending history in each of the last three years. [119683]

Jeremy Wright: From 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2010 the highest number of drug rehabilitation requirements under community sentences or suspended sentence orders that were given to an offender is estimated to be eight. In any one of these single years the highest number of drug rehabilitation requirements given to an offender is estimated to be six. It has not been possible to look at drug rehabilitation requirements over the course of the offending history without incurring significant costs.

The numbers in the paragraph above represent the maximum number of drug rehabilitation requirements given to an offender in either a single year, or over the course of three years. These figures are significantly higher than for any typical offender—the average number of drug rehabilitation requirements given to offenders under community sentences or suspended sentence orders over the three year period, and within each single year, is one.

Additionally, it is possible that these figures may slightly overestimate the number of distinct requirements given because of recording arrangements. For example, when dealing with a breach, the court can either amend the existing order to make it more onerous, or revoke the order and re-sentence the offender for the original offence. In the first case the existing order continues and in the second case the original sentence is replaced with a new sentence. Such outcomes could be recorded in such a way as to suggest that a new drug rehabilitation requirement had been imposed but this would be incorrect. It has not been possible to investigate if this has been the case without incurring disproportionate costs.

This information has been derived from records of probation commencements that in turn 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

Driving Offences: Insurance

Paul Uppal: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent steps he has taken to tackle uninsured vehicles. [119284]

Stephen Hammond: The information requested is as follows:

(a) The number of uninsured vehicles in Great Britain has fallen to 1.2 million from 1.4 million in 2010 due to a combination of police enforcement activity (better detection through automatic number plate recognition equipment and seizure of uninsured vehicles) as well as the continuous insurance enforcement scheme.

(b) Since June 2011, action has been taken against those who keep a vehicle without insurance, known as the continuous insurance enforcement scheme. At 31 August 2012, 177,086 fixed penalty notices had been issued to registered keepers and 834 cases successfully prosecuted.

12 Sep 2012 : Column 243W

We are also working with the insurance industry to allow it access to DVLA driver details on penalty points and disqualifications to help tackle fraud. The Government are concerned that the rising cost of insurance may tempt motorists to drive without insurance and are working closely with the insurance industry on measures which will help reduce premiums. An industry summit was held on 2 May on the cost of insurance and follow-up work is in progress.

Electric Vehicles

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will review the law on the use of Segway Personal Transporters and other personal electric vehicles in public areas. [120454]

Stephen Hammond: We have no plans, at present, to review the requirements relating to Segway Personal Transporters and other electric personal vehicles (EPVs) for use on the highway. EPVs are mechanically propelled vehicles and as such must be approved, registered, taxed and insured before they can be used on the road. In addition the rider would need the appropriate driving licence.

A review and public consultation was undertaken by DFT in early 2010 and the results published in November that year. A copy is available at the following weblink:

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/tna/20110203024612/http://www.dft.gov.uk/consultations/closed/2010-01/

High Speed 2 Railway Line

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the total cost to the public purse of the High Speed 2 project has been to date. [120519]

Mr Simon Burns: The total cost of the High Speed 2 project to date, rounded to the nearest whole number is set out in the following table:

Financial yearTotal expenditure (£ million)

2009-10

9

2010-11

24

2011-12

56

2012-13

(1)65

(1) This figure includes spend up until the end of August 2012, as this is the most up-to-date information available.

Motorways: Repairs and Maintenance

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people repairing motorways have been killed or injured by vehicles in each of the last five years. [120374]

Stephen Hammond: The following table sets out the fatal and serious injuries from vehicle-related incidents which have been recorded on the motorway and trunk road network in England which is the responsibility of the Secretary of State for Transport.

12 Sep 2012 : Column 244W

 FatalitySerious injury

2007

0

0

2008

0

2

2009

0

0

2010

2

4

2011

0

1

For slight injuries, the data currently available include all contractor injuries (i.e. not just those involving vehicles):

 Slight injury

2007

29

2008

54

2009

75

2010

47

2011

46

The data above are supplied by the contractors working for the Highways Agency.

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has assessed the potential cost and safety benefits of the use of a traffic cone and laying system such as Conemaster on motorways in the UK. [120378]

Stephen Hammond: In response to a request from the previous Minister for Roads, my hon. Friend the Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mike Penning), a detailed independent review of the costs and benefits of using Conemaster was carried out by the Highways Agency during late 2011/early 2012. A report has been provided to all interested parties. A copy will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

The Conemaster system is a semi-automatic cone placement and retrieval system produced by Jordan Products Ltd. The purposes of Conemaster are to speed up the placement and removal of traffic cones and to reduce the risk of injury and death to roadworkers by reducing the need for them to set foot on live carriageways during temporary lane closures.

The independent report concluded that the estimated benefits of Conemaster vary from a benefits to costs ratio (BCR) of 0.29 (pessimistic) to 2.06 (central) and 2.69 (optimistic). This information has been provided to all contractors in the supply chain of the Highways Agency.

The success or otherwise of the Jordan Products Ltd machine depends on the business model applied and the safety benefits achievable from its use, as assessed by the competent people within the service providers who manage the HA network on behalf of the Secretary of State. It has always been made clear to Jordan Products Ltd that the Highways Agency cannot get directly involved in supporting the development of Conemaster or mandate the use of the Conemaster on the agency's network.

Railways: Franchises

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy to end the rail network franchising system and return to a single body responsible for rail services and track maintenance. [120612]

12 Sep 2012 : Column 245W

Mr Simon Burns: The Government's vision for the future of the railways is set out in the Rail Command Paper that was published on 8 March 2012. This does not involve the ending of the current franchising system.

Roads: Barnsley

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many motorists were (a) killed and (b) seriously injured in sleep-related road traffic accidents in Barnsley Central since May 2010. [120588]

Stephen Hammond: The number of persons killed or seriously injured in reported personal injury road accidents where “fatigue” was a contributory factor since May 2010 in the Yorkshire and the Humber region are as follows:

May 2010 to December 2010: five killed and 13 seriously injured; and

January 2011 to December 2011: five killed and 25 seriously injured.

The figures include all road user casualties including pedestrians, pedal cyclists, motorcyclists and all other road users.

Data for 2012 will be available in June 2013. These data are not broken down below regional level since the number of accidents is small and therefore it may be possible to identify the individuals involved in an accident.

Roads: Repairs and Maintenance

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will discuss with the Highways Agency ensuring that its contractors use a traffic cone and laying system such as Conemaster. [120379]

Stephen Hammond: The Highways Agency has carried out an independent review of the costs and benefits of using Conemaster, following discussions between the previous Minister for Roads, my hon. Friend the Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mike Penning), the inventor of the machine (Mr Alan Jordan) and his constituency MP, the hon. Member for South Antrim (Dr McCrea). The results show that the benefits-to-costs ratio at mid range is 2.06. This information has been provided to all parties and communicated to the agency's contractors in its supply chain. It has been made clear to Mr Jordan in various meetings and in correspondence that it is for the companies in the agency's supply chain to consider the benefits of using such a product and not something that the agency can mandate. This matter has been fully explored and I do not consider that there is a need for any further ministerial discussions. A copy of the report has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

Traffic Lights: Bicycles

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will take steps to make it easier for local authorities to introduce bike traffic lights at junctions. [120595]

Norman Baker: We are currently taking forward plans to revise the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions. New measures such as cycle traffic lights will be considered as part of the revision.

12 Sep 2012 : Column 246W

There are already ways of giving cyclists priority over other traffic and improving their safety at junctions, for example by introducing Advanced Stop Lines, cycle bypasses and providing segregated traffic signals for cyclists if required.

Communities and Local Government

Council Tax

Chris Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will estimate the yield for each local authority area should each local authority end its council tax exemptions for empty properties and void lettings in the next financial year. [118710]

Brandon Lewis: The information requested has been placed in the Library of the House.

These figures relate to the council tax exemptions for vacant and unoccupied dwellings and the discount available for second homes.

The Government's reforms could allow councils to make up to a £20 reduction in the bill for a typical Band D property in England, or hold bills down by the same amount.

Council Tax Benefits

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what information his Department holds about (a) the claimant caseload in Brighton and Hove for the receipt of council tax benefit over the period from 2009-10 to 2011-12 and (b) the forecast council tax benefit claimant caseload in Brighton and Hove expected in 2012-13 and 2013-14; if he will make it his policy to take account of local authority forecasts of future claimant caseload in the calculation of the council tax support grant; and if he will make a statement. [118702]

Brandon Lewis: The council tax benefit caseload for Brighton and Hove at May 2012 was 28,540. This information is published by the Department for Work and Pensions at the following link:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/hb_ctb/hbctb_release_ aug12.xls

Receipt of council tax benefit in every month between November 2008 and May 2012 can be found in table 10.

Forecast council tax benefit caseload is not available for individual local authorities.

Forecasts of the future number of council tax benefit recipients at a Great Britain level and by country is published by the Department for Work and Pensions at the following link:

http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd4/budget_2012_300712.xls

Line 81 gives the Great Britain caseload, and lines 103 to 105 give the total caseload by country.

For the purposes of determining the grant distribution, we will use local authorities' share of 2011-12 subsidised council tax benefit expenditure.

As the Government have made clear in the Localising Council Tax Support—Funding Allocation Consultation:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/publications/localgovernment/2146644?view=Standard

12 Sep 2012 : Column 247W

published in May 2012, the overall allocation for council tax support will be based on the Office for Budget Responsibility forecast of council tax benefit expenditure for Great Britain in 2013-14. The final figures are due to be published in the autumn and will take account of claimant numbers adjusted in relation to identified trends in claimant numbers and level of council tax.

From April 2013, our reforms will localise council tax support and give councils stronger incentives to support local firms, cut fraud, promote local enterprise and get people back into work. Spending on council tax benefit doubled under the last Administration and welfare reform is vital to tackle the budget deficit we have inherited.

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the new council tax support system on (a) council tax arrears (i) nationally and (ii) by local authority and (b) the resources needed by local authorities for arrears collection; whether his Department intends to provide local authorities with resources to (A) assess whether any people who cease to receive full council tax benefit and who subsequently fall into arrears are facing hardship and (B) help people in arrears to design and maintain a viable repayment plan; and if he will make a statement. [118703]

Brandon Lewis: The Government are committed to ensuring that all net new burdens on local government are fully funded and do not intend the administration of local schemes to put pressure on local government finances. My Department has already provided £30 million to local authorities as an initial payment. The Government are therefore working with local authorities to assess the net impact of localisation of support for council tax, including the transitional costs of moving to the new arrangements, in accordance with the new burdens doctrine.

Fire Stations: Ambulance Services

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how many fire

12 Sep 2012 : Column 248W

stations in England operate a co-response with the ambulance service; [118618]

(2) how many fire stations in England operate a co-responder scheme with an ambulance service. [119126]

Brandon Lewis: The Department does not collect information on the number of fire stations in England that co-respond with the ambulance service.

Housing: Construction

Mark Menzies: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps he is taking to protect greenfield sites from inappropriate housing development in areas where authorities are still developing their local plan. [120442]

Nick Boles: The National Planning Policy Framework, published in March 2012, does not support unsustainable development regardless of whether or not an up-to-date plan is in place. The framework clearly sets out that applications should not be approved if the adverse impacts would significantly and demonstrably outweigh the benefits; or if specific policies in the framework indicate that development should be restricted.

Furthermore, the framework encourages the effective use of land by reusing land that has been previously developed (brownfield land), provided that it is not of high environmental value.

Housing: Milton Keynes

Mark Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many new homes were built in Milton Keynes in each of the last 16 quarters. [120120]

Mr Prisk: Figures for new house building completions in Milton Keynes in each of the last 16 quarters are shown in the following table. The source for these figures is the Government's National Statistics on House Building, which are themselves derived from building control data.

Quarterly figures for house building completions in Milton Keynes
Financial yearQuarterPrivate enterpriseHousing associationsLocal authoritiesAll dwellings

2008-09

Q2

375

228

0

603

2008-09

Q3

269

90

0

359

2008-09

Q4

154

156

0

310

      

2009-10

Q1

191

135

0

326

2009-10

Q2

377

190

0

567

2009-10

Q3

328

115

0

443

2009-10

Q4

202

70

0

272

      

2010-11

Q1

221

73

0

294

2010-11

Q2

218

30

0

248

2010-11

Q3

320

106

0

426

2010-11

Q4

171

97

0

268

      

2011-12

Q1

174

77

0

251

2011-12

Q2

139

52

0

191

2011-12

Q3

274

160

0

434

12 Sep 2012 : Column 249W

12 Sep 2012 : Column 250W

2011-12

Q4

318

190

0

508

      

2012-13

Q1

269

85

0

354

Planning Obligations

Richard Fuller: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether his Department has estimated the level of reserves that have arisen from Section 106 monies that have been raised but have not yet been spent (a) for each local authority and (b) nationally in each of the last three years. [119474]

Nick Boles: My Department has not estimated the level of reserves that have arisen from Section 106 monies that have been raised but have not yet been spent.

Scotland

Post Offices: DVLA Tender

13. Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on the potential effect on post offices in Scotland of the decision on the DVLA tender. [119860]

David Mundell: The Secretary of State for Scotland, the right hon. Member for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk (Michael Moore), and I regularly discuss issues regarding post office services with ministerial colleagues, including the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the right hon. Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable).

The DVLA is presently procuring a range of services, including those currently provided by Post Office Ltd. It would not be appropriate for me to comment further on a live commercial procurement.

Unemployment

15. Mary Macleod: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment his Department has made of the latest unemployment figures for Scotland. [119862]

David Mundell: The latest claimant count figures for Scotland published this morning by the Office for National Statistics show a fall of 600 for the month of August. Claimant count level in Scotland is 2,800 lower compared with one year ago. Any fall in unemployment during these challenging economic times must be welcome news.

Coastguard Stations

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had on the closure of Scottish coastguard stations. [119849]

David Mundell: I have regular discussions with ministerial colleagues in the Department for Transport on the coastguard modernisation programme.

Culture, Media and Sport

Public Libraries

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport (1) how many officials in her Department have been employed in dealing with issues relating to library closures since May 2010; [120471]

(2) how much her Department has spent on library closures since May 2010. [120473]

Hugh Robertson [holding answer 11 September 2012]: The Department operates a flexible working model and allocates staff to current priorities. Therefore staffing levels have fluctuated since May 2010, but on average the libraries team has comprised 2.8 full-time equivalent officials (one at Grade A and 1.8 at Grade B) working on issues related to library closures alongside wider library related policy work.

The only costs to date have been the proportion of staff salaries that relate to time spent on library closure work. As officials are not asked to log the proportion of their time spent on issues relating to library closures we are unable to provide an accurate estimate of cost, but details of staff pay bands are available on the Department's transparency web site at:

http://www.transparency.culture.gov.uk/category/staff/

Third Sector

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what steps her Department has taken to put into practice the recommendations of the National Audit Office's review of Central Government's implementation of the National Compact published in January 2012. [120007]

Hugh Robertson [holding answer 7 September 2012]: As recommended in the National Audit Office's review of the Government's implementation of the National Compact, the Department continues to revise its practices and procedures to strengthen and better align them with the requirements of the compact. A commitment to comply with the compact is included in the departmental business plan.

Attorney-General

Stalking

Mr Llwyd: To ask the Attorney-General what steps he is taking to train the Crown Prosecution Service in the interpretation of the new laws on stalking. [120361]

The Attorney-General: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will be updating its Legal Guidance on Stalking and Harassment to reflect the new stalking offences

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prior to commencement of the stalking offences on 25 November 2012. A compulsory e-learning module for roll-out in 2012-13 is also being developed to further support prosecutors in prosecuting all forms of stalking.

Mr Llwyd: To ask the Attorney-General how it will be determined, when an individual is arrested for stalking, whether there is sufficient evidence to charge them and whether they will face prosecution under section 4A or 4B of the Protection from Harassment Act 1997. [120362]

The Attorney-General: The Protection from Harassment Act 1997 does not contain a section 4B. Prosecutors will have to determine whether to charge under section 4 (harassment) or section 4A (stalking), when the changes to the Protection from Harassment Act 1997 come into force. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is preparing guidance for its prosecutors on determining the correct charge which will build on its current guidance on stalking and harassment cases. As is currently the case with allegations of stalking, each case will be considered on its individual facts and merits and in accordance with the Full Code Test outlined in the Code for Crown Prosecutors (the Code).

Health

Ambulance Services: Crimes of Violence

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many paramedics in each region were injured as a result of assault while on duty in the last year. [120246]

Dr Poulter: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Hackney North and Stoke Newington (Ms Abbott) on 7 September 2012, Official Report, column 551W.

The information is not available and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Information held on the number of physical assaults against staff reported by national health service bodies in England does not indicate the professional category of staff or whether staff were on duty when assaults took place.

Cancer

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what funds his Department has allocated to the work led by the Health and Social Care Information Centre on the development of one and five-year cancer survival rate indicators for inclusion in the commissioning outcomes framework; [120106]

(2) when he plans to publish a public consultation on the commissioning outcomes framework indicators; [120107]

(3) whether third sector organisations will be able to engage with the Health and Social Care Information Centre on the development of one and five-year cancer survival rate indicators for inclusion in the commissioning outcomes framework. [120109]

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Norman Lamb: It is for the NHS Commissioning Board to decide on the content of the commissioning outcomes framework. The NHS Commissioning Board Authority is currently undertaking discussions with national stakeholder organisations, including third sector organisations, to discuss the shape of the commissioning outcomes framework for 2013-14 and beyond.

Funding for the development of potential measures for the commissioning outcomes framework is subsumed within the Health and Social Care Information Centre's baseline.

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) with reference to the answer of 26 June 2012, Official Report, column 224W, on cancer, for what reasons cancer survival rate indicators were not recommended for inclusion in the commissioning outcomes framework 2013-14; [120370]

(2) with reference to the answer of 26 June 2012, Official Report, column 224W, on cancer, what progress has been made in developing a composite indicator showing one-year survival rates for all cancers; [120371]

(3) what assessment he has made of the role of clinical commissioning groups in achieving the Government's aim of saving additional lives from cancer. [120372]

Norman Lamb: The National Health Service Commissioning Board (NHS CB) will be responsible for decisions on the commissioning outcomes framework, which the board will use to measure the quality of care commissioned by clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and the associated health outcomes. The recommendations developed by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) are intended to support the NHS CB in designing the framework.

We understand that NICE was unable to include any cancer survival rate measures in its recommendations because it had not at that stage been possible to develop an appropriate methodology.

The Information Centre is working with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Office for National Statistics (ONS) to develop a methodology for composite one-year survival rate indicators for all cancers for potential inclusion in the NHS outcomes framework and commissioning outcomes framework (COF). These are complex measures that require linkage of ONS population statistics with cancer registry data and attribution to clinical commissioning groups, as well as testing the robustness of the measures. It is likely to take some months to complete this work.

The NHS CB will decide on the content of the COF and is expected to publish the list of measures for 2013-14 in the autumn. If not included in the 2013-14 framework, the board may choose a separate publication route for the data that do exist, to ensure the information is available transparently to the public.

Public health and the national health service will both have a role to play in delivering the improvements to survival rates. Within the NHS, some services will be commissioned by the NHS CB (primary care and specialised services).and some by clinical commissioning groups for their populations. The role of clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) will therefore be to ensure the commissioning of appropriate services to deliver against

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the areas for which they will be responsible. These will include, for example, commissioning of surgery for cancers that are not covered by the specialised commissioning arrangements and commissioning of follow-up care for most cancers. CCGs are also responsible for supporting the board in improving the quality of primary medical care. It is not possible to separate out what proportion of the 5,000 lives are the responsibility of the different organisations, but they are all responsible for working together to deliver the improvements.

We are providing a range of support for CCGs to help us deliver on our ambition to save 5,000 additional lives. The provision of high quality information is key to driving service improvement and we have developed commissioner profiles that will allow CCGs to benchmark their cancer performance with other CCGs. NICE is developing a range of quality standards for cancer care which will be an important resource for CCGs in helping them to commission high quality services to drive up quality and outcomes.