Entry Clearances: Married People

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of spousal visa applications were determined within the UK Border Agency's six-month service standard in the latest period for which figures are available. [120948]

Mr Harper [holding answer 14 September 2012]: The UK Border Agency's standards say that it will process 95% of settlement applications within 12 weeks of the application date and 100% within 24 weeks of the application date.

In the period January 2012 to June 2012, out of 18,439 spouse/civil partner applications 18,385 (99.7%) were resolved within six months.

Please be aware that these data are based on management information. They are provisional and subject to change.

17 Sep 2012 : Column 503W

Entry Clearances: Overseas Students

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions since 2010 UK Border Agency officials have examined overseas student records at (a) Middlesex university, (b) university of North East London, (c) London Metropolitan university and (d) City university. [119898]

Mr Harper [holding answer 7 September 2012]:Since 2010 UK Border Agency officials have undertaken:

(a) One visit to Middlesex university where overseas student records were examined.

(b) No visits to the university of North East London as no such university exists on our register of sponsors.

(c) Three visits to London Metropolitan university where overseas student records were examined.

(d) No visits to the City university.

Extradition Review

Nick de Bois: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 11 June 2012, Official Report, column 73W, on Extradition Review, when she plans to respond to the review of the UK's extradition arrangements by Lord Justice Scott Baker. [120481]

Mr Harper [holding answer 11 September 2012]: The Government are still considering how to respond to what is a very detailed and complex review and the Secretary of State for the Home Department, my right hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May) will announce the Government's response shortly.

Human Trafficking

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which countries are the main sources of people being trafficked illegally into the UK; and what contact she has had with the Governments of these countries to discuss steps to end the trade. [120447]

Mr Harper: While we recognise the difficulties inherent in detecting human trafficking, data recorded by the national referral mechanism (NRM) suggests that the priority source countries for victims of human trafficking to the UK are Nigeria, Vietnam, Romania, China, and Slovakia. Other countries which also feature prominently in the data are Uganda, Albania, Czech Republic, Eritrea, and India. An assessment of the list of priority countries will be undertaken annually.

Work has already begun to better understand the trafficking landscape in priority countries so that the UK can influence those countries to improve and strengthen their approach to tackling human trafficking. The UK has engaged with embassies and Foreign and Commonwealth Office (F&CO) posts to raise awareness of human trafficking and to better support anti-trafficking efforts.

Human trafficking has been included as a priority in F&CO country business plans.

17 Sep 2012 : Column 504W

Human Trafficking: Children

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent estimate she has made of the number of trafficked children in the UK. [120277]

Mr Harper: Estimating the number of children trafficked into and within the UK is difficult owing to the hidden nature of this criminal activity. However data from successive reports by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) suggest there are approximately 300 child trafficking victims in the UK per annum (based on CEOP's Strategic Threat Assessment of Child Trafficking 2009 and 2010). In addition, CEOP's most recent Child Trafficking Update published in 2011 suggests there were 202 children identified as trafficked into and within the UK over the eight and a half month period from 1 January 2011 to 15 September 2011.

Copies of the above publications are available in the House Library.

Immigration

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many and what proportion of applications from Romanian and Bulgarian nationals for registration certificates were outstanding for more than six months in each month since May 2010; [118881]

(2) how many staff were employed by the UK Border Agency Bulgaria and Romania Caseworking Unit on 1 June (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012; [118882]

(3) how many applications have been processed by the UK Border Agency Bulgaria and Romania Caseworking Unit in each month since May 2010. [118883]

Mr Harper: The data requested are not held in a format compatible with National Statistics protocols, or produced as part of the UK Border Agency's standard reports.

However the UK Border Agency publishes immigration statistics on a quarterly and annual basis, a copy of which can be found in the Library of the House, and via the following page on the Home Office website:

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

The number of staff employed by the UK Border Agency Bulgaria and Romania Caseworking Unit on 1 June 2010 was 30.26, 1 June 2011 was 37.67 and 1 June 2012 was 17.14, all full-time equivalents. Caseworkers are deployed to units according to work load.

Mike Wood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applicants in Canada were denied pre-entry clearance to the UK in each of the last three years; and what the ethnicity was of those denied pre-entry clearance. [120609]

Mr Harper: Canadians only require entry clearance if coming here to work, settle or study for more than six months. The Home Office's published immigration statistics

17 Sep 2012 : Column 505W

indicate that, in those visa categories, the number of Canadian nationals denied pre-entry clearance to the UK were:

2009: 583

2010: 354

2011: 257

The UK Border Agency does not hold information on the ethnicity of applicants.

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress she has made on the introduction of risk-based border checks. [120940]

Mr Harper: Border Force is currently conducting a pilot of targeted measures to deal with children arriving in the UK as part of an accompanied and organised school group.

Immigration Controls: Heathrow Airport

Michael Dugher: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the additional contingency border staff to be deployed at Heathrow airport during the London 2012 Olympics will be transferred there from regional airports outside London. [117157]

Mr Harper: A small number of staff from ports outside the South East of England were deployed to Heathrow airport during the Olympic period. This included regional airports outside London.

Volunteers from within Border Force formed a small number of the wider volunteer workforce that were deployed to Heathrow airport from across the UK.

Immigration Controls: Scotland

Mr Russell Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consideration she has given to any need for border controls between an independent Scotland and the rest of the UK. [120851]

Mr Harper [holding answer 13 September 2012]: The UK Government's position is clear: Scotland is stronger in the UK and the UK is stronger with Scotland in it.

It is the Scottish Government that is proposing independence and so it should set out clearly and transparently to the people of Scotland what the implications of leaving the UK will mean for people in Scotland and the hard choices that will have to be made.

London Metropolitan University

Mr Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what meetings (a) Ministers in her Department, (b) officials in her Department and (c) officials from the UK Border Agency had with the Vice-Chancellor of London Metropolitan University between 1 July 2012 and 28 August 2012 to discuss the university's highly-trusted sponsor status. [118808]

Mr Harper: As the then Immigration Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Damian Green), stated to the House on 3 September 2012, Official Report, column 25, the UK Border Agency has

17 Sep 2012 : Column 506W

been working closely and continuously with London Metropolitan University since March 2012 to address its systemic issues.

Home Office Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of international partners, as well as organisations and individuals in the public and private sectors, as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings.

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many alternative university places have been identified for non-EU students at London Metropolitan university by the task-force set up to advise them. [119131]

Mr Harper: The Government taskforce that has been created, includes representation from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), Universities UK, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the UK Border Agency and the National Union of Students.

The top priority for the taskforce is to ensure that all London Metropolitan university students are given the help and advice they need. The taskforce will do all it can to support those affected, including, if necessary helping existing overseas students to find places at other institutions where they can continue to study.

UK Border Agency currently has staff members based in the Help Centre at London Metropolitan university to support and advise genuine non-EEA students.

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many non-EU students at London Metropolitan University are known not to have legitimate status in the UK. [119132]

Mr Harper: Following a UK Border Agency compliance audit, 26 students were found to be attending London Metropolitan University without having current legitimate status in the UK. This was based on a pre-selected sample of 101 of the university's own files of students.

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what checks the UK Border Agency is making on the immigration status of non-EU students at London Metropolitan University. [119133]

Mr Harper: The UK Border Agency checks the immigration status of all non-EEA students following receipt of an application for further leave to remain or when considering curtailment of their visa.

Mr Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the reasons were for the withdrawal of highly trusted sponsor status from London Metropolitan University; and if she will make a statement. [119190]

Mr Harper: London Metropolitan University held highly trusted sponsor (HTS) status and had submitted its annual renewal application to the UK Border Agency. Following the revocation of its standard sponsor licence,

17 Sep 2012 : Column 507W

its HTS application was rejected as the university is no longer a licensed sponsor under Tier 4 of the Points Based System.

As the then Immigration Minister my right hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Damian Green), stated to the House on 3 September 2012, Official Report, column 26, the UK Border Agency has been working closely and continually with London Metropolitan University since March to address its systemic issues. In the most recent audit, the UK Border Agency found concerns in three specific areas: students studying without permission to be in this country, how international students are recruited, and the attendance monitoring of students. In those circumstances the UK Border Agency correctly felt that allowing London Metropolitan University to continue to sponsor and teach international students was not an option.

Mr Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what process is in place for London Metropolitan University to regain its highly trusted sponsor status. [119196]

Mr Harper: London Metropolitan University will be able to apply for a new Tier 4 sponsor licence six months after the date of the revocation of its previous licence. If it is successful it must hold a valid Tier 4 sponsor licence for 12 months before being eligible to apply for highly trusted sponsor status.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to the UK Border Agency's examination of student records at London Metropolitan University since 2010, how many student files were examined; how many students whose files were examined did not have a Tier 4 or equivalent right to enter the UK; how many did not have appropriate English qualifications; and how many had not demonstrated attendance at their courses. [119894]

Mr Harper [holding answer 7 September 2012]: As the then Minister of State for Immigration my right hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Damian Green), set out to the House on 3 September 2012, Official Report, column 26, in response to the hon. Member's urgent question, the UK Border Agency conducted a compliance visit at the London Metropolitan University in March 2012, during which serious deficiencies in the university's arrangements were identified.

The UK Border Agency selected 101 students whose leave to remain had already been refused—25% of these students were found to have studied without permission at London Met University.

A further 600 student files were audited and it was found that over 60% of those sampled raised ongoing concerns in three specific areas: (a) students studying without permission to be in country, (b) the way international students are recruited, and (c) the attendance monitoring of students.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions in the last two years UK Border Agency officials have visited London Metropolitan university; and who they met on those visits. [119897]

17 Sep 2012 : Column 508W

Mr Harper [holding answer 7 September 2012]:London Metropolitan university has been visited on four occasions over a total of eight days in the last two years.

During those visits UK Border Agency officials met with staff from the university and its legal representatives. The senior staff who were met were the vice chancellor, the deputy chief executive, the deputy academic registrar and the director of the international office.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many London Metropolitan University students have been removed from the UK to date. [120476]

Mr Harper: Following the application for Judicial Review lodged by London Metropolitan University on 11 September 2012, this question is now subject to the sub judice rule and I am unable to provide an answer.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many London Metropolitan University students have been identified as not having leave to remain in the UK. [120477]

Mr Harper: Following the application for Judicial Review lodged by London Metropolitan University on 11 September 2012, this question is now subject to the sub judice rule and I am unable to provide an answer.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many universities have been contacted by the UK Border Agency in relation to overseas students studying at London Metropolitan University; and how many such universities have offered to accept students whose course has been discontinued. [120485]

Mr Harper [holding answer 11 September 2012]: The UK Border Agency is part of the Government taskforce created to assist London Metropolitan University to find alternative education for legitimate overseas students. The taskforce is establishing a clearing house that will contact other educational institutions. It is the role of the clearing house to contact universities, not the UK Border Agency.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many students from London Metropolitan University have been identified as not having leave to remain in the UK; and how many of these have been removed. [121083]

Mr Harper: Following the application for Judicial Review lodged by London Metropolitan University on 11 September 2012, this question is now subject to the sub judice rule and I am unable to provide an answer.

Olympic Games 2012: Security

Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what provision of additional UK Border Force staff will be deployed at Eurotunnel and Eurostar terminals and stations during the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics. [118078]

17 Sep 2012 : Column 509W

Mr Harper: To ensure the integrity and security of the UK border Her Majesty's Government cannot comment on the numbers deployed at specific ports.

Contingency forces of appropriately trained staff were deployed to the border during the Olympic and Paralympic period to help ensure passengers are processed as quickly as possible.

These deployments were supported by the implementation of a moratorium on annual leave for Border Force officers during the main Olympic and Paralympic period.

Police: Vehicles

Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) casualties and (b) deaths were associated with road traffic accidents involving police vehicles in each of the last five years. [121072]

Damian Green [holding answer 14 September 2012]: Figures for the number of casualties resulting from road traffic collisions involving police vehicles in emergency responses or pursuit and resulting in injuries to the police or members of the public were collected by the Home Office until 2010.

Figures for numbers of police-related road traffic fatalities are compiled by the Independent Police Complaints Commission.

The available data are presented in the following table:

Casualties, classified as serious or other injury, excluding fatalities, resulting from those road traffic accidents during immediate/emergency response, England and Wales, 2007-08 to 2011-12
 Number

2007-08

1,331

2008-09

1,238

2009-10

1,227

2010-11

(1)

2011-12

(1)

(1) Not collected. Collection ceased following Sir David Normington's review 'Reducing the Data Burden on Police Forces in England and Wales'. Notes: 1. In 2007-08, the following forces have not provided any data for the number of road traffic collisions involving police vehicles in emergency/pursuit involving injury: Cambridgeshire, Cheshire, Cleveland, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Humberside, City of London and West Midlands. 2. In 2008-09 the following forces have not provided any data for the number of road traffic collisions involving police vehicles in emergency/pursuit involving injury: Cambridgeshire, Dorset, Gloucestershire, Humberside, North Yorkshire and West Midlands. 3. In 2009-10 the following forces have not provided any data for the number of road traffic collisions involving police vehicles in emergency/pursuit involving injury: Cambridgeshire, Derbyshire and Humberside. Source: Home Office ADR 411 received from police forces. These figures are provisional and have not been confirmed with police forces.
Police-related road traffic fatalities(1), England and Wales, 2007-08 to 2011-12
 Number

2007-08

24

2008-09

40

2009-10

29

17 Sep 2012 : Column 510W

2010-11

26

2011-12

18

(1) Includes deaths of motorists, cyclists or pedestrians arising from police pursuits, police vehicles responding to emergency calls and other police-related activity. Does not include deaths following a road traffic incident where the police have attended immediately after the event as an emergency service. Source: Independent Police Complaints Commission. Published on its website at: www.ipcc.co.uk

Departmental Contracts

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the name is of each company with which her Department has a contract; what the monetary value of each such contract is; and what is provided to her Department under the terms of the contract. [120769]

Mr Harper: The Home Department publishes details of all contracts that have a value of over £25,000 on its website, including the company name, value of the contract and what service is provided.

Details of contracts above the value of £10,000 to private sector contractors are published on the Contracts Finder website:

www.contractsfinder.businesslink.gov.uk

To collate the data for all contracts under the value of £10,000 would incur disproportionate cost.

Public Order Act 1986

Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she expects to respond to the consultation on reform of section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986. [121054]

Damian Green: The Government are carefully considering all the views received during the consultation and we will issue a response in due course.

Racial Harassment: Public Transport

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many reports of racial abuse on public transport there were in Lancashire in each of the last five years. [120812]

Damian Green: Figures are collected by the Home Office on the number of racist incidents reported to Lancashire Constabulary, and those for 2007-08 to 2011-12 are given in the following table.

It is not possible to provide a further breakdown on the number of reports of racist incidents on public transport, as this level of information is not collected centrally by the Home Office. The figures provided exclude Lancashire incidents reported to the British transport police, as the Home Office does not collect these data.

17 Sep 2012 : Column 511W

Number of racist incidents(1) reported to Lancashire Constabulary, 2007-08 to 2011-12(2)
 Number of incidents

2007-08

2,452

2008-09

2,230

2009-10

2,132

2010-11

1,735

2011-12

1,726

(1 )A racist incident is defined as any incident, including any crime, which is perceived by the victim or any other person to be motivated by a hostility or prejudice based on a person's race or perceived race. (2 )Financial years 1 April to 31 March inclusive.

Scotland

Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on what date she last had a bilateral meeting with the Secretary of State for Scotland; and what matters were discussed. [119619]

Mr Harper: Home Office Ministers have regular meetings with ministerial colleagues and others as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings.

Sexual Offences: Foreign Travel Orders

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how (a) she and (b) the Association of Chief Police Officers will advise police forces on the use of foreign travel orders for sex offenders; [120712]

(2) if she will review the effectiveness of legislation aimed at preventing and prosecuting sexual offences against children overseas by UK sex offenders. [120710]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The Sexual Offences Act 2003 contains a number of civil preventative orders to provide the police with a range of tools to manage the behaviour of sex offenders, including Foreign Travel Orders (FTOs).

FTOs are intended to prevent offenders, with convictions for sexual offences (under Schedule 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003) against children, from travelling abroad where there is evidence that they intend to commit sexual offences against children, while abroad.

The Home Office has published “Guidance on Part 2 of The Sexual Offences Act 2003”, which includes guidance on Foreign Travel Orders, for the police and other practitioners. The National Policing Improvement Agency, as part of their Initial Police Learning and Development Training Programme, provides information and training to public protection unit staff on Foreign Travel Orders.

The Government continually review the effectiveness of legislation and are doing everything they can to tighten the law on sex offenders and protect children both in the UK and abroad. As a consequence, we recently introduced new measures under the Sexual Offences Act 2003, requiring all registered sex offenders to inform the police of all foreign travel. This information enables the police, where appropriate, to inform other jurisdictions that a sex offender is intending to travel to their area, further enhancing the tools to prevent crime and increase the effectiveness of the management of the risk of harm to the public posed by sex offenders.

17 Sep 2012 : Column 512W

We will continue to monitor and review all the available tools and powers in this area to ensure the police and practitioners can robustly manage offenders and prevent serious sexual crimes, both in the UK and overseas.

Torture

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she expects to issue new guidance and training for the implementation of Rule 35 on the process to identify and enable the release of detainees with independent evidence of torture; if she will consider holding an independent audit to review the outcomes and quality of reports and responses over a three month period and to publish a report by December 2012; and if she will make a statement. [120497]

Mr Harper: Existing procedures and safeguards are being improved by a range of measures. These include the provision of improved written instructions, including a revised Asylum Casework Instruction and Detention Services Order, and training for medical practitioners and healthcare staff working in immigration removal centres and case owners. These measures are under development and the written instructions will be published shortly. After full implementation of these revised measures, the UK Border Agency will review compliance, quality and performance through an internal audit. The results of the audit, once carried out, will be published on the UK Border Agency website:

www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk

Treasury

Air Passenger Duty

Lyn Brown: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how much revenue air passenger duty has raised in each of the last two years; [118758]

(2) by what method his Department assesses the effect of air passenger duty on the airline industry and holidaymakers; [118759]

(3) what recent discussions his Department has had with the airline industry about the effect of air passenger duty. [118760]

Sajid Javid: Air passenger duty (APD) receipts were £2,155 million in 2010-11 and £2,607 million in 2011-12.

The Government undertook a consultation on air passenger duty last year, which generated considerable views and evidence on the impacts of APD. The consultation received over 500 responses from a wide range of stakeholders, including airlines and holidaymakers.

In addition to meetings held as part of last year's consultation, Treasury Ministers and officials continue to engage routinely with the airline industry to hear their views on issues of concern to the sector.

Alcoholic Drinks: Prices

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the oral answer by the Economic Secretary to the Treasury to the hon. Member for Lincoln (Karl McCartney) of 11 September 2012, Official Report, column 125, on beer duty, for what reasons he expects

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the introduction of minimum unit pricing of alcohol to benefit the pub industry; and if he will make a statement. [121174]

Sajid Javid: The Government will publish their assessment of the impact of minimum unit pricing alongside the Alcohol Strategy consultation. This will consider the impact of a minimum unit price on a number of factors including on the Exchequer, crime, health, consumption and businesses, including the pub industry.

Correspondence

Lyn Brown: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average time was for his Department to reply to correspondence from hon. Members and Peers in the last 12 months; and for what proportion of letters it took longer than (a) one month, (b) six weeks, (c) two months, (d) three months and (e) six months for a response to be sent in the last 12 months. [118599]

Sajid Javid: The average response time for replying to correspondence received at the Treasury from hon. Members and Peers in the last 12 months was 26 calendar days or 18 working days.

The proportion of letters that took longer than the following time frames:

 Proportion of letters (percentage)

(a) One month

10.8

(b) Six weeks

10.3

(c) Two months

6.6

(d)Three months

1.4

(e) Six months

0

Exchange Rates

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment his Department has made of the effects of a stronger pound on growth in the services sector. [120863]

Sajid Javid: The Bank of England's Sterling Effective Exchange Rate Index fell significantly during 2007-08, and it remains more than 20 per cent below its 2007 peak. Since the peak in the value of sterling in 2007 Q1, service sector output has risen by 2.6 per cent, exports of services have increased by 21 per cent in value terms and the balance of trade in services has improved.

The Government recognise that UK businesses need an environment which helps them compete in a global market place. Around 18 per cent of UK services output is exported. The Government have announced a major package of reforms to improve the UK's competitiveness, including a reduction in the rate of corporation tax and burden of regulation. The Government have been able to use their hard won fiscal credibility to launch “UK Guarantees” to dramatically accelerate major infrastructure investment and provide support to UK exporters. The Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS) is also designed to boost lending to households and businesses. The World Economic Forum confirmed earlier this month that the UK has improved its global competitiveness ranking for the second year in a row, from tenth to eighth in the world.

17 Sep 2012 : Column 514W

Licensing

Richard Fuller: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what permits and licences his Department and its public bodies issue to businesses. [118816]

Sajid Javid: The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is an independent non-governmental body which is accountable to the Treasury. The FSA does not issue any permits or licences to businesses.

However, under the Financial Services and Markets Act (FSMA), any firm or person who carries on a regulated activity in the UK must either be authorised by the FSA or exempt, any person carrying out a so-called controlled function must also be authorised.

The FSA sets out the regulated activities for which it grants permission, and the controlled functions relating to regulated activity, in its Perimeter Guidance Manual, available at:

http://fsahandbook.info/FSA/html/handbook/PERG/2

The FSA sets out the controlled functions that require authorisation in its regulatory processes manual, available at:

http://fsahandbook.info/FSA/html/handbook/SUP/10

The FSA also authorises and registers some firms under powers other than FSMA. Under the Payment Services Directive 2009 and the Electronic Money Regulations 2011 the FSA authorises firms to do business—guidance on those businesses that require these authorisations can be found in the FSA Handbook:

http://fsahandbook.info/FSA/html/handbook/PERG/15/3

http://fsahandbook.info/FSA/html/handbook/PERG/3A/4

The FSA also acts as a registrar for the purposes of;

the Building Societies Act 1986;

the Credit Unions Act 1979;

the Friendly Societies Acts 1974 & 1992; and

the Industrial and Provident Societies Act 1965.

Where the FSA acts as a registrar organisations must be registered with the FSA in order to carry out their activities.

Manufacturing Industries

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what research his Department has undertaken to determine which monetary policy would be most conducive to growth in the UK manufacturing sector. [120864]

Sajid Javid: The independent Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of England has operational responsibility for setting monetary policy in order to meet the inflation target in the medium term. Monetary policy is a macroeconomic tool used to affect the economy as a whole rather than to target support towards specific sectors.

Departmental Contracts

Luciana Berger: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the name is of each company with which his Department has a contract; what the monetary value of each such contract is; and what is provided to his Department under the terms of the contract. [120781]

17 Sep 2012 : Column 515W

Sajid Javid: Details of HM Treasury contracts, in alphabetical order by supplier, will be deposited in the Library of the House.

HM Treasury does not hold the monetary values for all contracts centrally, and the information for all contracts could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Information on estimated annual contract spend for each contract is provided in the response.

Since January 2011, central Government Departments have been required to publish information on the contracts they award on “Contracts Finder”:

www.contractsfinder.businesslink.gov.uk/

Contracts awarded prior to January 2011 are not included.

Sole Traders

Nick de Bois: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many investigations were carried out by HM Revenue and Customs into sole traders with a turnover of less than £50,000 per annum in (a) 2007, (b) 2008, (c) 2009, (d) 2010 and (e) 2011. [120133]

Mr Gauke: The information requested is not available in this format. HM Revenue & Customs compliance activity—from policy making, through support and education, to audits and investigations—covers all aspects of compliance behaviour from error through to organised criminal attack.

HMRC targets its compliance activity based on risk rather than by direct reference to the legal entity or turnover. Therefore, this information could be collated only at disproportionate cost.

Taxation: Rates and Rating

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the cost to the Exchequer of introducing a 10 per cent income tax band. [121161]

Mr Gauke: There is a 10% starting rate tax band for savings which applies to the first £2,710 of savings income.

The cost to the Exchequer of introducing a 10% income tax band for other forms of income would depend upon the threshold of the 10% income tax band.

VAT

George Eustice: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate his Department has made of the number of VAT-registered businesses whose turnover was below the VAT threshold in the last financial year for which records are available. [121025]

Mr Gauke: In 2010-11, there were 839,000 VAT-registered businesses whose turnover was below the VAT threshold.

VAT: Higher Education

Mr Thomas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the possible costs of an exemption from VAT for commercial for-profit universities; and if he will make a statement. [121299]

17 Sep 2012 : Column 516W

Mr Gauke: No estimate has yet been made. However, HMRC published a consultation document on this matter on 12 September. The Government will consider the position in the light of responses to the consultation.

Business, Innovation and Skills

British Antarctic Survey

Neil Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he plans to take to retain the UK's presence, scientific work and exploration in the Antarctic in the light of the forthcoming change in the status of the British Antarctic Survey. [120425]

Mr Willetts: There is at present no agreed plan to change the status of the British Antarctic Survey. On 7 June 2012 the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) announced that it is looking at merging the scientific and logistics management of the British Antarctic Survey and the National Oceanography Centre. A consultation of stakeholders has been launched on the NERC website this month, with the NERC Council reaching a decision in due course.

Any changes would have no effect on the UK's commitment to scientific excellence in Antarctica nor on the existing footprint of scientific bases and research ships.

Chemical Industry

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what plans he has to (a) maintain and (b) enhance the competitiveness of the UK chemical industry; and if he will make a statement. [121116]

Michael Fallon: The Government recognise the importance to the UK of a vibrant and competitive chemicals industry and its role in the transition to a low carbon economy. This Department is working closely with the sector as it develops an industry-led strategy for maintaining and enhancing the competitiveness of the UK chemicals industry, which the Government will seek to support. This Department awaits the industry's conclusions and recommendations.

The Government can, and do play a role in creating the right environment to help UK companies to compete in global chemical value chains. Working with chemical business, the Government are taking steps to strengthen UK manufacturing's capability, ensuring a better business environment for chemical businesses that will address barriers to growth, encourage innovation and technology commercialisation, exports, business investment, and improve skills. Through initiatives like the Regional Growth Fund, Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative and the Employer Ownership Pilot, we are supporting investment in the UK chemical industry sector.

EU Grants and Loans

Henry Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what his policy is on Annex V of the European Commission's proposal for a

17 Sep 2012 : Column 517W

Regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council laying down common provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund, the Cohesion Fund, the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund covered by the Common Strategic Framework and laying down general provisions on the European Regional Development Fund, the European Social Fund and the Cohesion Fund (COM(2011)615); what his policy is on the proposed obligation on managing authorities of operational programmes of the Structural Funds and Cohesion Fund to display the EU flag; whether there has been any agreement between EU member states on the provisions proposed in this Annex; what the nature was of any such agreement; and what his policy is on any such agreement. [120753]

Michael Fallon: Negotiations among member states on Annex V of the Common Provisions Regulation (COM(2011)615) started during the Cypriot presidency in July. The UK has sought removal of unnecessary requirements which add an administrative burden, while seeking to retain transparency on how EU funds are spent. The UK has pushed for a relaxation of the requirement for managing authorities to display the EU flag all year round, both as this is an unnecessary administrative burden, and because it does not improve public information regarding how funds are spent on the ground. The UK believes it is more appropriate for managing authorities to display a sign or a plaque containing a factual statement on the function of the authority in administering the funds. Negotiations are ongoing and member states have yet to reach a common position.

Infrastructure

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what his policy is on the financial transparency of companies which carry out large-scale Government-funded infrastructure programmes. [119949]

Michael Fallon [holding answer 13 September 2012]: EU procurement directives allow contracting authorities to ask economic operators to provide relevant information on their financial viability and on matters that could lead to mandatory or discretionary exclusion. This information provides financial transparency for contracting authorities, but is not made publicly available.

Under the Companies Act 2006, financial information about UK companies is publicly available from Companies House:

www.companieshouse.gov.uk

London Metropolitan University

Mr Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 7 September 2012, Official Report, column 496W, on London Metropolitan University, what funding has been allocated to the Higher Education Funding Council for England Task Force established to help new and continuing London Metropolitan University

17 Sep 2012 : Column 518W

students who have been affected by the UK Border Agency's decision to revoke the university's licence to sponsor non-EU students; and who has been appointed to it. [120724]

Mr Willetts: The taskforce is drawing on existing resources from within its membership and through UCAS, who are providing help to establish the clearing house that will be available to all affected students by 17 September 2012.

We have created the London Met. Fund that will provide up to £2 million from existing budgets to allow affected students to meet additional costs they may incur by moving to another institution to finish their studies. This will meet some of the additional costs incurred by students who are required to transfer, including visa costs and discretionary payments to cover, for example, lost deposits on accommodation due to having to move somewhere else to study. The taskforce have also had many offers of help from all parts of the higher education sector.

The taskforce under the chairmanship of Alan Langlands, the chief executive of the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), has a membership comprising the Deputy Vice Chancellor of London Metropolitan University, the chief executive of Universities UK, the President of the National Union of Students, and officials from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, UK Border Agency and HEFCE.

Mr Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 7 September 2012, Official Report, column 496W, on London Metropolitan University, on how many occasions he has met the Higher Education Funding Council for England Task Force established to help new and continuing London Metropolitan University students who have been affected by the UK Border Agency's decision to revoke the university's licence to sponsor non-EU students. [120725]

Mr Willetts: I have had no direct discussions with the Higher Education Funding Council for England Task Force; BIS is represented at official level. I am receiving regular updates on the progress that the taskforce is making.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what payments were made by the Higher Education Funding Council for England to London Metropolitan University in each of the last three years; and what re-payments have been received in respect of historic debt. [120483]

Mr Willetts [holding answer 11 September 2012]: The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) made the following payments to London Metropolitan University over the last three academic years:

 £ million

2009-10

63.8

2010-11

68.4

2011-12

56.7

Total

188.9

17 Sep 2012 : Column 519W

During the same period the following reductions were applied to the university's grant by HEFCE in relation to a number of areas of activity:

 £ million

2009-10

9.8

2010-11

5.9

2011-12

16.3

Total

32.0

Motor Vehicles: Disability

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent discussions he has had with his European counterparts on EU regulations on vehicle adaptations. [121094]

Michael Fallon: I have not had recent discussions with my European counterparts on EU regulation of vehicle adaptations. Officials from Department for Transport are engaged in discussions through the Transport Working Group on the Commission's Roadworthiness Proposal. This proposal contains wording that has implications for vehicle adaption or modification. Officials are seeking clarification.

Motor Vehicles: Exhaust Emissions

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will bring forward proposals to establish a catapult initiative for low-carbon vehicles; and if he will make a statement. [119952]

Mr Willetts: The Technology Strategy Board (TSB) is developing seven Catapult centres in the areas of High Value Manufacturing, Cell Therapy, Offshore Renewable Energy, Satellite Applications, Connected Digital Economy, Future Cities and Transport Systems. The TSB concluded that the best way to support the development of the low-carbon vehicle industry was by investing in existing capability such as the Low Carbon Vehicle Innovation platform.

Natural Environment Research Council

Mr Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessments of the outcomes of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)-funded research are used in determining the levels of Government funding for the NERC. [120123]

Mr Willetts: The allocation of funding to the Natural Environment Research Council from 2011-12 to 2014-15 was determined using the principles set out on pages 13-15 of "The Allocation of Science and Research Funding 2011/12 to 2014/15: investing in world-class science and research"(1) published in December 2010.

(1) Available from:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/science/docs/a/10-1356-allocation-of-science-and-research-funding-2011-2015.pdf

17 Sep 2012 : Column 520W

Regional Development Agencies

John Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the redundancy and winding-up costs of the regional development agencies. [120919]

Michael Fallon: Redundancy costs for the eight regional development agencies (RDAs) outside London are estimated to be £60.7 million. This includes the cost of staff leaving on compulsory and voluntary terms. Redundancy payments have been made in accordance with the provisions of the civil service compensation scheme.

Other winding-up costs are estimated to be £47.9 million. The largest single element is a £16.0 million payment to the Homes and Communities Agency (HCA) pension scheme in respect of former RDA staff who are members of the scheme.

Scotland

Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on what date he last had a bilateral meeting with the Secretary of State for Scotland; and what matters were discussed. [119802]

Jo Swinson [holding answer 6 September 2012]: The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, my right hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable), and the Secretary of State for Scotland, my right hon. Friend the Member for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk, meet regularly, including at the weekly Cabinet meeting, to discuss a range of topics. The last bilateral meeting between the two Secretaries of State took place in July 2012.

Zimbabwe

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to ensure the EU sanctions regime on Zimbabwe is applied. [120719]

Mark Simmonds: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs.

EU restrictive measures imposed on Zimbabwe consist of an arms embargo. prohibition on equipment that could be used for internal repression, a travel ban against designated individuals and an assets freeze on designated individuals and entities.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is responsible for setting policy on sanctions in general and on individual sanctions regimes, including the EU sanctions on Zimbabwe. Implementation of the measures against individuals and entities is carried out by the relevant competent authorities for each class of sanctions, namely BIS for export controls, UKBA for the travel ban and HMT for the assets freeze. The means of implementation are different for each, but are effected by a mixture of legislation and administrative procedures. A cross-Whitehall Sanctions Group, chaired by my officials, meets regularly to discuss policy on sanctions regimes and their effective implementation.

17 Sep 2012 : Column 521W

Cabinet Office

Charities: Asia

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what recent discussions he has had with the Charities Commission regarding the monitoring of registered charities that have been alleged to be funding orphanages and children's homes in countries such as India and Nepal that have facilitated the sexual abuse of children. [120714]

Mr Hurd: I have regular discussions with the Charity Commission (“the Commission”) on a range of topics. As a risk based regulator the Commission's powers of intervention are reserved for cases where there is clear and serious misconduct or maladministration within a charity leading to considerable harm to the charity or its beneficiaries which cannot be resolved by other means. If the hon. Member has any specific concerns about a registered charity, then I would encourage her to raise them directly with the Commission.

Crown Immunity

Andrew George: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will publish the Government's guidance on the application of Crown immunity. [121100]

Miss Chloe Smith: There is no specific document providing general guidance on the application of Crown immunity. Legal advice is provided to Ministers on Crown immunity on a case-by-case basis. The subject of Crown immunity is touched upon in a variety of largely subject specific guidance available in the public domain.

Duchy of Cornwall

Andrew George: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what criteria and guidance he has offered to other Government Departments in cases where a Department is obliged to consult the Duchy of Cornwall before proceeding with primary legislation. [121101]

Miss Chloe Smith: The Cabinet Office ‘Guide to Making Legislation’ provides advice to Government Departments on seeking the Prince of Wales’ Consent to Bills. The Office of the Parliamentary Counsel, which drafts Government Bills and provides advice on the procedural handling of Bills, also provides advice to Departments, on a Bill by Bill basis.

Government Departments: Milk

Mr Spencer: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) what information his Department holds on the sources from which Government Departments procure milk for catering purposes; [118977]


(2) whether his Department has issued guidance to Government Departments on ensuring that they pay a fair price for milk that they procure. [118978]

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

17 Sep 2012 : Column 522W

My predecessor, the right hon. Member for South East Cambridgeshire (Mr Paice), wrote to all Government Departments on 27 July 2012 to establish the position in central Government on the procurement of milk. Responses were clear that Government Departments are not directly involved in milk purchasing. Private companies are contracted to provide catering services to staff and each contract must meet the mandatory Government Buying Standards (GBS) for Food and Catering Services. Companies declined to say how much they pay their suppliers for milk on commercial sensitivity grounds.

Infrastructure

Simon Hughes: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what his policy is on the award of Government contracts for infrastructure projects to companies domiciled in tax havens. [119951]

Mr Maude: Through our membership of the European Union and as a signatory to international agreements, our contracting authorities are required to treat all suppliers covered by those agreements on an equal footing with UK suppliers. These agreements do not provide grounds under which contracting authorities can exclude suppliers for being lawfully domiciled in tax havens.

Migration

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what level of reduction in UK net migration from 2010 to 2011 would have been regarded by the Office for National Statistics as statistically significant. [121381]

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

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated September 2012:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics (ONS), I have been asked to respond to your question concerning what level of reduction in UK net migration from 2010 to 2011 would have been regarded by the Office for National Statistics as statistically significant (121381).

On August 30, ONS published provisional estimates of Long Term International Migration (LTIM) for 2011. Estimates from the International Passenger Survey (IPS) are the main component used to calculate LTIM. As with all survey estimates, they carry a degree of uncertainty due to sampling variation. The uncertainty around the IPS based migration estimates was expressed as a confidence interval in this publication. A confidence interval provides an upper and lower limit in which we would expect the true value to lie with 95% probability.

These confidence intervals were published alongside inflow, outflow and net flow estimates. The change seen in the net migration estimates from 252,000 in 2010 to 216,000 (provisional) in 2011 was described as not statistically significant. This is because the confidence intervals for the IPS component for each estimate overlapped and the difference between the figures could have been due to sampling variation.

The 2011 provisional estimate for net migration would have needed to be below 180,000, for ONS to regard the change from 2010 as statistically significant. The upper limit of the confidence interval associated with an estimate below 180,000 is less than the lower limit of the 2010 estimate, so the confidence intervals do not overlap and the difference between the two estimates is considered to be statistically significant.

17 Sep 2012 : Column 523W

Public Consultation

Mr David Hamilton: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office under what conditions the Government do not count an individual's submission to a formal Government consultation because it has been generated or handled through a campaign organisation. [120297]

Mr Letwin: The Government do not have a policy on the conditions in which the Government will not count an individual's submission to a formal Government consultation because it has been generated or handled through a campaign organisation.

Responses to consultation are carefully considered and the points made in them are fully taken into account regardless of whether a particular point is made only in one response or in a number of identical responses.

Voluntary Work

Mr Blunkett: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what plans he has to use the database of those who volunteered for roles as part of the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics to keep them in touch with volunteering opportunities; and what plans he has to provide support for them to continue to volunteer. [120931]

Mr Hurd: The Government are keen to use the momentum created by both Games to encourage even more people to continue volunteering. We are now in discussion with LOCOG, who own the database for the majority of volunteers, about how to best keep them engaged. We are backing frontline organisations to support existing and new volunteering opportunities, as well as investing in infrastructure and reducing bureaucracy to better connect volunteers to these opportunities.

Deputy Prime Minister

Constituencies

Mr Spellar: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the cost was of the constituency boundary review being conducted by the Boundary Commission for England in each of the last six months. [119607]

Miss Chloe Smith: The cost of the constituency boundary review being conducted by the Boundary Commission for England under the terms of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011 in each of the last six months is as follows:

Boundary Commission for EnglandCost

February 2012

27,651.74

March 2012

348,398.68

April 2012

104,405.84

May 2012

96,133.52

June 2012

189,370.32

July 2012

255,357.11

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the cost was to the Boundary Commission of the Sixth General Review for each month in which it ran. [119925]

17 Sep 2012 : Column 524W

Miss Chloe Smith: The monthly costs of the constituency boundary review being conducted by the four Boundary Commissions since its formal commencement on 4 March 2011, under the terms of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011, are as follows:

 Boundary Commission for EnglandBoundary Commission for WalesBoundary Commission for ScotlandBoundary Commission for Northern Ireland

March 2011

129,923.57

60,452.69

13,071

6,500

April 2011

57,662.68

2,851.47

13,636

23,313.58

May 2011

86,174.72

870.19

19,199

10,453.47

June 2011

149,474.79

27,971.91

15,317

2,513.75

July 2011

74,885.71

93,051.33

20,639

16,858.79

August 2011

446,316.95

30,751.33

15,730

9,042.46

September 2011

508,754.47

26,375.56

25,002

25,252.94

October 2011

336,247.05

(1)37,904.22

74,885

134,634.58

November 2011

356,844.30

30,363.57

16,977

20,542.73

December 2011

243,817.81

16,344.73

18,647

18,075.10

     

January 2012

131,410.06

67,243.68

61,568

40,342.34

February 2012

27,651.74

32,246.77

19,276

16,496.83

March 2012

348,398.68

123,588.98

27,496

46,048.84

April 2012

104,405.84

22,685.45

12,496

29,986.88

May 2012

96,133.52

19,060.50

12,171

21,058.59

June 2012

189,370.11

35,764

13,898

24,654,27

July 2012

255,357.11

20,881.40

23,455

17,687.92

(*) Figure shown as credit due to accounting adjustments.

All four boundary commissions incurred some expenditure on preparatory work prior to the formal commencement of the Review on 4 March 2011.

The above figure, other than that for the Boundary Commission for Wales, includes some expenditure not directly attributable to the current parliamentary boundary review. A further breakdown is not available

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what estimate he has made of the cost to the Boundary Commission of consulting the public on implementing the provisions of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011. [119946]

Miss Chloe Smith: While certain expenses—for example, venue hire—can clearly be ascribed to 'consultation', the boundary review process principally concerns developing proposals for consultation, and the subsequent refinement of those proposals in light of consultation responses. As such the commissions do not categorise their activities and expenditure in a way that would allow a meaningful estimate to be provided that is distinct from the overall estimated costs of the current review, since its formal commencement on 4 March 2011 under the terms of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011, are as follows:

 £

(a) The Boundary Commission for Scotland

936,671

(b) The Boundary Commission for Wales

1,290,240

(c) The Boundary Commission for England

6,598,382

17 Sep 2012 : Column 525W

(d) The Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland

978,000

All four boundary commissions incurred some expenditure on preparatory work prior to the formal commencement of the review on 4 March 2011.

The above figures, other than that for the Boundary Commission for Wales, include some expenditure not directly attributable to the current parliamentary boundary review. A further breakdown is not available.

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how much the sixth General Review of Electoral Boundaries will cost (a) the Boundary Commission for Scotland, (b) the Boundary Commission for Wales and (c) the Boundary Commission for England and Northern Ireland. [119947]

Miss Chloe Smith: Our current estimate for the cost of the boundary reviews being conducted by the four boundary commissions since their formal commencement on 4 March 2011, under the terms of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011, are as follows:

 £

(a) The Boundary Commission for Scotland

936,671

(b) The Boundary Commission for Wales

1,290,240

(c) The Boundary Commission for England

6,598,382

(d) The Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland

978,000

All four boundary commissions incurred some expenditure on preparatory work prior to the formal commencement of the review on 4 March 2011.

The above figures, other than that for the Boundary Commission for Wales, include some expenditure not directly attributable to the current parliamentary boundary review. A further breakdown is not available.

Lobbying

Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 10 July 2012, Official Report, column 160W, on lobbying, what criteria he uses to determine whether a representation is a response to the consultation on introducing a statutory register for lobbyists or correspondence from an interested party; if he will publish a summary of the correspondence received regarding the Government's proposals; and if he will make a statement. [121292]

Miss Chloe Smith: The Cabinet Office published a summary of responses to its consultation, "Introducing a Statutory Register of Lobbyists," on 16 July 2012, available from:

www.official-documents.gov.uk

and

www.cabinet-office.gov.uk

All correspondence directly in response to the consultation was recorded in the summary document either as a separate response or as part of a campaign, and is already in the public domain.

17 Sep 2012 : Column 526W

I have no plans to make a statement on this issue or publish a summary of correspondence, which was not directly in response to the consultation.

International Development

Bahamas

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps her Department is taking to assist the government of the Bahamas with tackling the spread of leptospirosis, histoplasmosis, tuberculosis, hepatitis and typhoid. [121119]

Mr Duncan: DFID does not have a bilateral aid programme with the Bahamas. The country has however benefited from regional support provided by DFID through the Pan-American Health Organisation to prevent the spread of cholera and other waterborne diseases, including typhoid, in the Caribbean.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps her Department is taking to help alleviate the current displacement situation in Democratic Republic of Congo; and what support her Department is providing to agencies working in that country. [120400]

Justine Greening: The UK has been providing significant support to those who have had to leave their homes as a result of violence, ensuring that displaced people have access to safe water, shelter, health care and protection from further attacks. Our support reaches 2.1 million people in the Democratic Republic of Congo each year with emergency assistance. The UK is the largest donor to the Rapid Response to the Movement of Populations mechanism which—by the end of July—had reached more than 368,000 newly displaced people with emergency assistance.

We remain extremely concerned by the situation facing the population of eastern Congo, and are working closely with the UN and non-governmental organisations to ensure vulnerable people are reached quickly and effectively with essential lifesaving assistance.

Haiti

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions her Department has had with the President of Haiti on the effectiveness of international aid spending in that country. [121120]

Mr Duncan: DFID does not have a bilateral aid programme with Haiti, with assistance for reconstruction provided instead through our core contributions to multilateral agencies such as the World Bank, United Nations and European Union. There has been no recent contact between my Department and the President of Haiti, but my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs met Haitian Prime Minister Lamothe in London on 27 July 2012 for discussions that included aid co-ordination and effectiveness.

17 Sep 2012 : Column 527W

India

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether the previous Secretary of State for International Development had instructed officials to begin a planning process which would enable the UK to end its bilateral aid programme in India by 2015. [120745]

Justine Greening: We are currently discussing the future of our programme with the Government of India.

Members: Correspondence

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development when she plans to respond to the letter from the hon. Member for Bury South of 6 September 2012. [121042]

Justine Greening: A response to the hon. Member's letter has been sent.

Olympic Games 2012

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether (a) Ministers and (b) officials from her Department used the Olympic Route Network for travel for official purposes during the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. [121000]

Mr Duncan: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport will publish details of Government use of tickets and hospitality in the autumn. This will include the use of transport services which operated on the Olympic or Paralympic route networks.

Departmental Contracts

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the name is of each company with which her Department has a contract; what the monetary value of each such contract is; and what is provided to her Department under the terms of the contract. [120775]

Mr Duncan: A copy of all live contracts centrally let by DFID's Procurement Group will be released to the House of Commons Library. This does not include details of small value contracts which have been awarded by country offices overseas as the collection of this information would incur disproportionate cost.

As requested, the list contains the name of each supplier with whom we have a contract; the monetary value of each and the title of each contract which indicates what is provided to DFID under the terms of the contract. Further information on contracts including detailed terms of reference information is available at Contracts Finder:

http://www.contractsfinder.businesslink.gov.uk/?site=1000&lang=en

the Cabinet Office source of information on new procurement opportunities, tender documents and contracts for central Government over £10,000.

17 Sep 2012 : Column 528W

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what her Department's policy is on taking into account when assessing tenders submitted for departmental contracts the (a) apprenticeship schemes, (b) policies on employment of paid interns and (c) policies of payment of at least the living wage of each bidding company. [120788]

Mr Duncan: Each tender is assessed against criteria deemed to be relevant for that particular contract. The specific factors referred to would be considered where appropriate but are not routinely assessed in every tender.

The majority of tender competitions carried out by centrally by the Department for International Development are for aid and international development services that are delivered overseas. Where DFID engages suppliers to provide corporate services in the UK (e.g. facilities management services) DFID uses centrally let Government Procurement Service (GPS) contracts put in place by the Cabinet Office wherever possible.

Syria

Anas Sarwar: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) whether her Department has made an assessment of rates of sexual and gender-based violence among Syrian refugees in (a) Jordan, (b) Lebanon and (c) Turkey; [121247]

(2) whether her Department has made an assessment of the availability of services for survivors of sexual and gender-based violence among Syrian refugees in (a) Jordan, (b) Lebanon and (c) Turkey; [121248]

(3) if her Department will take steps to respond to and prevent sexual and gender-based violence against Syrian refugees in (a) Jordan, (b) Lebanon and (c) Turkey. [121249]

Mr Duncan: We have received consistent informal reports of sexual and gender-based violence in Syria, including against women and girls and pregnant women. Over 75% of Syrian refugees receiving humanitarian assistance in neighbouring countries are women and children, many who have experienced significant trauma. We understand from our humanitarian partners that Syrian refugees are increasingly at risk of sexual abuse, domestic violence and early and coerced marriage.

In Lebanon and Jordan, humanitarian agencies are working with authorities and local organisations to make more services available for those in need of help and to improve the system for referral of cases of sexual violence to clinics, counsellors and other services providers. Agencies are also making more information available to vulnerable people about the risks of abuse and the services, including counselling, available to help affected refugees. In Turkey, most Syrian refugees are housed in camps, and we understand the UN intends to increase monitoring of vulnerable groups to protect them from sexual and gender-based violence and coordinate medical assistance for survivors.

The UK is providing £14 million to assist Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey and Iraq. Specifically, the UK will provide clinical care and counselling for Syrian refugees in Jordan who have survived sexual assault (including men, women and children). An additional

17 Sep 2012 : Column 529W

1,800 particularly vulnerable Syrian women will receive financial support to help mitigate potential risks of exploitation.

Yemen

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what timeframe she has set for the delivery of the £196 million funding pledged at the last Friends of Yemen meeting. [121055]

Mr Duncan: The UK pledged £196 million at the recent Yemen Donor Conference meeting. This funding covers the period of three financial years from 2012-13 to 2014-15.

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much of the £196 million pledged by the Government at the last Friends of Yemen meeting will be directed towards (a) improving sanitation, (b) food aid, (c) Government transition and (d) security. [121056]

Mr Duncan: The pledged £196 million will provide support to Yemen in four main areas: Wealth Creation; Governance; Humanitarian Relief and addressing Poverty, Hunger and Vulnerability.

We have published provisional figures against these four areas in our Operational Plan which covers three financial years from 2012-13 to 2014-15:

Wealth Creation: £29,425,000

Governance and Security: £13,456,000

Humanitarian Relief: £72,000,000

Poverty Hunger and Vulnerability: £81,100,000.

Our work across a number of sectors including sanitation, food aid and political transition is likely to cut across these four areas.

The detail of our programme is still being finalised and we cannot accurately breakdown our planned spend by sector.

Work and Pensions

Children: Day Care

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effect on child carers of his welfare reform plans. [120457]

Steve Webb: In answering this question we have taken the term child carers to mean children who undertake caring duties for adults or children.

We are committed to reforming the welfare system to make it fairer, more affordable and to tackle poverty and welfare dependency, while continuing to support the most vulnerable in society.

Universal credit will radically restructure and simplify the way in which benefits are calculated. It will reduce the number of benefits and the number of agencies that people have to interact with. This will make it easier for customers to understand their entitlements and easier to administer the system. There will be protection for

17 Sep 2012 : Column 530W

those claimants whose universal credit would be less than under the current system where their circumstances remain the same.

Children under 18 will not normally be able to claim universal credit in their own right. Families that include a disabled person will be entitled to one of two additional elements which will be based on an assessment that the person cannot reasonably be expected to look for work. This will ensure that we continue to target support on the most severely disabled people.

Support generally for young carers is provided by local authority social services. The Department for Education provides local authorities with £2.2 billion of funding for services for vulnerable children and families. Currently £1.5 million is being provided to The Children's Society and The Royal Princess Trust for Carers over the next two years to support local authorities and voluntary and community organisations to encourage children and adult services to work together.

The support currently available should mean that young carers should not have to carry out a regular and substantial amount of caring for a disabled person. The aim, as set out in the Government's recently published Carers Strategy, is that support for young carers should focus on achieving their educational and employment potential—and having the same opportunities as other young people—without assuming that they should always be a carer.

Child Maintenance

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of Child Support Agency cases which are being managed off the main computer system; and what the likely timescale is for such cases to be transferred to the new Child Maintenance Service. [120868]

Steve Webb: As of June 2012 there were 104,600 cases being managed off the main computer systems.

This information is routinely published in the Child Support Agency Quarterly Summary of Statistics which can be found at the following link:

http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/child_support/2012/csa_qtr_summ_stats_jun2012.pdf

The Government are currently consulting on the proposed closure of existing scheme child maintenance cases, which include those currently managed off the main computer systems.

The consultation "Supporting separated families; securing children's futures" was published on 13 July. The consultation proposes that cases managed off system are closed first, and that all existing CSA cases should close gradually, over a three year period.

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Kilmarnock and Loudoun constituency are using the statutory services of the Child Support Agency; and how many such people's cases are maintained off the main computer system. [120869]

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Steve Webb: In the quarter to June 2012, there were 2,100 cases on the main computer systems where the parent with care resides in Kilmarnock and Loudoun parliamentary constituency.

It is not possible to allocate cases administered off system to a parliamentary constituency as the management information for these cases does not contain geographical information.

However, it is possible to approximate the number of cases in this parliamentary constituency which are maintained off the main systems by using the proportion of the total number of on-system cases in this area and the total number of cases maintained off the main systems.

Using this methodology, there were approximately 40 cases in the quarter to June 2012 which were maintained off system, where the parent with care resides in Kilmarnock and Loudon parliamentary constituency.

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he plans that the current staffing level will be maintained when the Child Maintenance Service is operational. [120870]

Steve Webb: To ensure successful delivery of the Child Maintenance Service and high quality service to clients, it is proposed that initially no major changes are made to current staffing levels.

The Child Maintenance Service is intended to be more efficient than the Child Support Agency as a result of new operational processes and the new IT system that is being developed. Staffing levels within the Child Maintenance Service will be dependent on how many clients choose to use the service as opposed to making a family-based arrangement, and how many of those use the collection service rather than opting for Direct Pay.

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what new steps he proposes that the Child Maintenance Service should take regarding the assessment of non-resident parents who are self-employed. [120872]

Steve Webb: The new child maintenance scheme will draw on income tax information provided by HMRC. For self-employed parents who pay child maintenance, this will allow access to all sources of income on their self-assessment records and so allow, through the variations scheme, for these incomes sources to be taken into account. This will prevent parents who pay child maintenance minimising their child maintenance liability by manipulating their sources of income.

There is always the possibility that some parents who pay child maintenance will not declare all their income to HMRC. Where it becomes apparent this may have happened, the Child Maintenance Service will work more closely with HMRC in jointly investigating cases of possible misrepresentation of income.

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether it is his policy that under the new Child Maintenance Service where the non-resident parent refuses to reach what would otherwise be a reasonable private family-based child maintenance agreement resulting in the parent with care applying for

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the statutory service the

(a)

parent with care or

(b)

child should be charged a fee for that process and should have a further proportion of child maintenance deducted from each subsequent payment. [120873]

Steve Webb: All applicants to the new statutory Child Maintenance Service will have to pay a £20 application fee.

The only exceptions to this are applicants who have previously declared themselves to be victims of domestic violence and applicants who are aged 18 or under.

In England the applicant could either be the parent who pays child maintenance or the person who receives child maintenance. This is generally a parent, and in Scotland may be the child.

Collection fees will only be payable where the Child Maintenance Service is required to collect maintenance. Where the parent who pays child maintenance pays it directly to the person who receives child maintenance, then no collection fees are payable by either party.

Full details of the charging proposals are set out in the consultation paper “Supporting separated families; securing children's futures” (CM8399).

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the likely effect on the workload of HM Revenue and Customs of his plan that the new Child Maintenance System will automatically base the majority of its child maintenance calculations on information supplied by HM Revenue and Customs; and what estimate he has made of the likely effect on workload where there is a dispute on the income levels of non-resident parents. [120874]

Steve Webb: This Department and HMRC have reached agreement about how income information shall be requested and supplied. In most cases, the information will be provided via an electronic interface, thereby avoiding any direct impact on HMRC staff work loads.

We do not anticipate any impact on HMRC work loads as a result of income disputes. We expect the number of income related disputes in the statutory scheme to fall as a result of the use of HMRC data.

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he proposes that there should be a dedicated hotline to the Child Support Maintenance Service for hon. Members when it is fully operational, similar to that of the Child Support Agency. [120875]

Steve Webb: There will be dedicated hotlines for the Child Maintenance Service, just as there are currently for the Child Support Agency.

Skills Conditionality

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will commission an evaluation of the skills conditionality process. [121303]

Mr Hoban: Skills conditionality processes are under continuous monitoring and review. Official statistics are published on skills conditionality referrals and starts which are available on the Department's website.

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The Department has also commissioned a joint piece of research with the Department for Business Innovation and Skills to understand how the new Skills Strategy introduced in August 2011 is being implemented, The evaluation aims to understand the ways in which Jobcentre Plus, National Careers Service and colleges and skills providers are responding to the new policies including skills conditionality.

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the comparative advantages of the Skills Conditionality Process and the Employability Programme. [121349]

Mr Hoban: The Employability Programme was the local branding used for the application of skills conditionality by Wessex Jobcentre Plus District from August 2011 to July 2012, after which the title was changed to Skills Conditionality.

Housing Benefit: Warrington

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of people in Warrington who will be affected by changes to housing benefit. [121153]

Steve Webb: No such estimate has been made.

Remploy

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was paid in redundancy payments to employees of Wrexham Remploy when it closed. [120228]

Esther McVey: The Wrexham factory has not yet closed. Remploy have confirmed that the estimated total redundancy pay due for the Wrexham employees is approximately £808,000.

A comprehensive package of support is available for all disabled individuals being made redundant as a result of the Wrexham factory closure.

The Government have made £8 million available to fund the delivery of this support across the UK. This package will be available for individuals to access for up to 18 months following redundancy to help individuals to make the transition from working at Remploy to mainstream employment.

Lindsay Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the oral answer of 10 September 2012, Official Report, column 11, on Remploy, what proportion of workers from recently closed Remploy factories have since gained alternative employment. [121233]

Esther McVey: As per my answer on 10 September, in the short period since closure, 35 ex-Remploy employees have immediately found jobs.

You will be aware of the comprehensive package of support offered to Remploy workers which is available for 18 months following redundancy, to help disabled

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individuals to make the transition from working at Remploy to mainstream employment. This package includes personalised support and the Government have made £8 million available to fund this delivery across the UK.

State Retirement Pensions

Kwasi Kwarteng: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his policy is on the difference between the age at which women are entitled to guaranteed minimum pension and the age at which they are entitled to claim state pension; and by what means women who are entitled to guaranteed minimum pension but are not yet in recipient of state pension can claim their entitlement. [120933]

Steve Webb: The equalisation of women's state pension age which was legislated for in the Pensions Act 1995 commenced from April 2010. Subsequent legislation, including the Pensions Act 2011, will increase state pension age for both men and women to counter-balance the continuing increases in life expectancy and the pressure they place on the state pension system.

However, the age at which women become entitled to the guaranteed minimum pension remains at 60. We have no plans to change this as it would interfere with an individual's accrued rights under their occupational pension scheme. As a result, some women may be able to claim their guaranteed minimum pension before they reach state pension age. Their occupational pension scheme will be able to provide them with details on how to claim.

Universal Credit

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to change the capacity of his Department's workforce in order to manage any additional advisory roles to be fulfilled in the lead up to the introduction of universal credit; and how many additional staff he plans to employ to administer the credit prior to its introduction. [120823]

Mr Hoban: It is anticipated that roles required to support the introduction of universal credit and to administer the credit will be resourced from within the Department for Work and Pensions and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs current headcount and that the challenges around resources are considered manageable. Discussions are still ongoing with local authorities regarding their future role in the delivery of universal credit.

Before universal credit is introduced across the country in October 2013 we will test it through a Pathfinder approach starting in April 2013. At this stage for Pathfinder, we do not anticipate significant increases in advisory roles. The workforce requirement for Pathfinder is currently being reviewed as part of a wider re-planning exercise. The workforce requirement when known will be handled primarily through the transfer of staff from existing operational areas.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether former owner-occupiers who sold their home and pay rent to remain in the same property will be eligible for support with housing costs under universal credit. [121134]

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Steve Webb: To be eligible for the housing costs element in universal credit a claimant living in rented accommodation must have a legal obligation or a duty to make payments on a commercial basis to a landlord under a tenancy agreement or licence to occupy.

A claimant will be treated as not liable for housing costs where the liability is to a close relative living in the same property or to a company or trust owned or administered by such a relative. They will also be treated as not liable for housing costs where the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions determines that the liability was contrived for the purposes of obtaining benefit.

As long as these tests are satisfied, the claimant will be eligible for support.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether his Department has made an estimate of the proportion of universal credit which will be paid to (a) men and (b) women. [121147]

Mr Hoban: Universal credit will be paid to a household unit. It will be for the individual or the family in each household to decide which bank account their universal credit is to be paid into.

We are unable therefore to estimate the proportion of universal credit that will be paid to men and women.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether his Department has made an estimate of the effect of the introduction of universal credit on the total number of hours worked in the economy. [121148]

Mr Hoban: Universal credit represents a fundamental and structural change to the welfare system.

The impact assessment estimates that that there will be a reduction in the region of 300,000 workless households.

In addition, universal credit will increase the incentive to increase hours of work and progress through the labour market by reducing the proportion of any increase in earnings which is lost due to tax or reduced benefit payments.

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of working families in (a) each parliamentary constituency, (b) Scotland and (c) nationally whose net benefit income will fall after the introduction of universal credit. [121155]

Mr Hoban: A package of transitional protection is being developed for recipients of legacy benefits and tax credits that are required to move to universal credit without having had a change of circumstances. This will ensure that those people will not receive less as a result of their move to universal credit.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether households with liability for the cost of two homes, where this could not reasonably be avoided, will be able to receive the

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housing component of universal credit in respect of both for a limited period of time; and if he will make a statement. [121156]

Steve Webb: The housing costs element in universal credit will normally be available with respect to only one property at any one time. However, there will be exceptions to this rule where:

the claimant has left their normal home through fear of violence but intends to return;

necessary adaptations required by a person with a disability delay the move to a new home; or

the claimant's household is so large that the housing authority has had to house them in two properties.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether households in which an occupant has died will be protected from rent restrictions under the housing component of universal credit for 12 months following the death; and if he will make a statement. [121157]

Steve Webb: The majority of benefits in the current system are reassessed immediately upon the death of a member of the household, although child tax credit, carer's allowance and the carer premium are unaffected for a period of eight weeks. Housing benefit remains unchanged for a period of 52 weeks where the death would affect the room allocation. It should be noted, however, that the death of a spouse or, in many cases, the death of a child would not affect the rent position.

Under universal credit the whole of the “maximum amount” will remain unaffected for a period of three months following the death of a member of the household. This includes the full housing element and any additions that were payable in respect of the person who is deceased.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions under what circumstances, including (a) vulnerability and (b) rent arrears, the housing component of universal credit will be paid directly to a household's landlord. [121158]

Steve Webb: As part of the transition to universal credit, claimants will receive the single monthly payment which will contain an element payable for rent.

We recognise that some claimants may need additional help to budget, particularly during the transitional period. As a first step, claimants will be offered budgeting support products and services. Where it is evident that a claimant cannot manage a single monthly payment effectively an alternative payment arrangement will be considered. This could include the payment of housing costs direct to the landlord.

The Direct Payment Demonstration projects have been set up to help inform the development of the criteria for determining when it would be appropriate to make a payment direct to a landlord, therefore the detailed process is still being developed.

Mr Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions who the lead IT supplier is for the universal credit project. [121304]

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Mr Hoban: We are working with a consortium of IT providers:

Accenture;

BT;

Capgemini;

Hewlett Packard; and

IBM.

Mr Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many programme directors the universal credit project has had since its inception. [121305]

Mr Hoban: The universal credit programme has had two programme directors since its inception. The programme was initially led by Chris Hayes, and Malcolm Whitehouse as appointed to the role in August 2011.