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Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 16 October 2012

Women and Equalities

Females: Directors

Mark Reckless: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what assessment she has made of the likely effect of the introduction of quotas for female board members on the economy. [120575]

Jo Swinson: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovations and Skills.

The Government is successfully pursuing a voluntary, business-led approach to increasing the number of women on corporate boards following the 2011 report and recommendations from Lord Davies. Since this report, the proportion of female FTSE 100 directors has increased from 12.5% to 17.3%, the number of all-male FTSE100 boards has fallen from 21 to eight, and women represent 44% of FTSE100 board appointments since 1 March 2012(1).

Lord Davies set out a compelling economic case for greater boardroom diversity. This followed a number of studies which found a strong positive correlation between boardroom diversity and company performance. However, a recent study (Dittmar and Ahern, 2010) suggests the imposition in Norway of mandatory quotas to increase the number of women on corporate boards has negatively affected business performance. This may be, for example, because quotas have led firms to recruit women board members that were less experienced than the existing directors.

(1)Source:

Professional Boards Forum.

Culture, Media and Sport

Broadband

Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport whether she expects to meet the target on the proportion of premises to be covered by super-fast broadband by 2015. [121679]

Mr Vaizey: We continue to make good progress towards our target of ensuring the UK has the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015, including 90% of households having access to superfast broadband.

Electronic Publishing: Public Libraries

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport (1) whether it is her intention to announce an independent taskforce on e-book lending; [121676]

(2) if she will make it her policy that publishers, librarians and authors should be represented on an independent taskforce on e-book lending; [121747]

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(3) when she plans to establish an independent taskforce on e-book lending; and whom she expects to lead it. [121748]

Mr Vaizey: A clear strategy is needed if more libraries are to adopt e-lending across England, and as such, the Department has launched a review of the best ways of making electronic books available on loan to the public.

The review will focus on ensuring that public libraries and their users, authors and publishers can all benefit as this fledgling service grows. It will also consider the benefits of e-lending; including the current nature and level of e-lending and projection of future demand; the barriers to supply of e-books to libraries; and the possible consequences of e-lending. On 12 October, the review led by William Sieghart, called for evidence from all those with an interest in e-lending in public libraries, and William will submit his review to me in the new year. William Sieghart, founder of Forward Publishing and the Forward Prize for Poetry, is chairing the review, with a panel comprised of Janene Cox (President, Society of Chief Librarians and Commissioner for Tourism and Culture; Staffordshire County Council), Roly Keating (Chief Executive of the British Library and formerly Director of Archive and Content for the BBC), Caroline Michel (CEO Peters Fraser and Dunlop), Stephen Page (Chief Executive of Faber and Faber), Joanna Trollope OBE (author) and Jane Streeter (Bookseller, past President at the Booksellers Association and soon to be Chair of Writing East Midlands).

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what representations she received from publishers, librarians and authors on establishing an independent taskforce on e-book lending between June and September 2012. [121749]

Mr Vaizey: The Department has received correspondence in support of a review of e-lending and offering contributions to the review. Such correspondence has been received from those including the Society of Authors, the Booksellers Association, the Royal National Institute of Blind People National Library Service, Askews and Holts Library Services Ltd, individual librarians and authors.

Local Broadcasting: Bristol

Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport when she expects Ofcom to announce its decision on the awarding of a local television licence for Bristol. [121680]

Mr Vaizey: Ofcom awarded a local television licence to Bristol on 19 September.

House of Commons Commission

Electric Vehicles

Mr Spellar: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, what provision exists for the charging of electric or hybrid vehicles on the Parliamentary Estate. [122054]

John Thurso: The situation remains as it was in the previous answer to the hon. Member on 12 September 2011, Official Report, column 981W, when the Commission confirmed the installation of two charging points for

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use by the Government Car Service. The House authorities will continue to keep provision of vehicle charging facilities under review.

If the hon. Member has further questions on this matter, the Environment Manager in the Parliamentary Estates Directorate would be happy to discuss them with him.

Written Questions

Chris Ruane: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, how many questions for written answer were tabled on average per day, including non-sitting days, in the period (a) 25 May 2010 to 21 October 2011 and (b) 22 November 2011 to 17 September 2012. [Official Report, 22 November 2012, Vol. 553, c. 7MC.][121714]

John Thurso: The information requested is as follows:

(a) The number of questions for written answer tabled in the period 25 May 2010 to 21 October 2011 (including those tabled on non-sitting days) was 410 per sitting day.

(b) The number of questions for written answer tabled in the period 22 November 2011 to 17 September 2012 (including those tabled on non-sitting days) was 329 per sitting day.

Questions tabled on sitting and non-sitting days cannot be readily distinguished.

Transport

Motorcycles: Driving Tests

Karl McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effect of the introduction of the two part motorcycle test on the number of qualified motorcyclists; and what assessment he has made of the effect on the economy of the change in the number of qualified motorcyclists. [121752]

Stephen Hammond: The format of the motorcycle practical test is currently under review. The Department for Transport is working with stakeholders to identify ways in which the test could be improved.

Immediately prior to the introduction of the two-part test, the demand for the practical motorcycling test increased markedly—approximately 19% from 2006-07 to 2008-09—as candidates sought to pass the test in its existing, familiar format.

Following the introduction of the two-part test there was an initial fall in demand of approximately 35%. However demand has been gradually increasing ever since.

The Driving Standards Agency is not aware of any effect on the economy that is attributable to the fall in demand for practical motorcycling tests.

Attorney-General

Hillsborough Independent Panel

John Mann: To ask the Attorney-General what correspondence relating to the Hillsborough tragedy the Director of Public Prosecutions has not (a) made public or (b) released to the Hillsborough Independent Panel. [121677]

The Attorney-General: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) was one of the first contributing organisations to be approached by the Hillsborough Independent Panel

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and the Director of Public Prosecutions fully supported the panel's aim of maximum possible public disclosure. As a result, all documents held by the CPS since the disaster in April 1989 were released to the panel and have been made public in accordance with the panel's disclosure protocol. In addition, there has been no redaction of content by the CPS save in accordance with the limited legal and other circumstances outlined in the panel's disclosure protocol.

Home Department

Business: Equality

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what evidence her Department has gathered on the direct benefits to business of not implementing proposals on dual discrimination. [119923]

Mrs Grant: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

The dual discrimination provisions in the Equality Act 2010 have not been commenced. Based on the impact assessment of the Equality Act published in April 2010 when the Act was given Royal Assent, it is estimated that this provision would cost business some £3 million each year.

While these provisions remain uncommenced, business will not incur these costs.

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what evidence her Department gathered on the potential direct benefits to business in advance of taking her decision to consult on repealing employment tribunals' power under the Equality Act 2010 to make recommendations that apply to all of an employer's staff. [119924]

Jo Swinson: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The impact assessment published in the consultation document on removing this provision estimated that the annual financial benefit to employers of no longer receiving wider recommendations in successful discrimination cases would be in the range of zero to £80,000 a year, depending on the number of cases involved. Although that document indicated a best estimate within this range of zero, this reflected the fact that we were only aware of one such case at the time the assessment was prepared. In the event, employment tribunal judgments involving wider recommendations have now been handed down in several additional cases, a fact mentioned in a number of responses to the consultation. In light of this further evidence, a revised estimate of costs and benefits has been published this month alongside the Government's response to the consultation.

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what evidence on the potential direct benefits to business she used to inform her decision to consult on repealing the statutory questionnaire procedure under section 138 of the Equality Act 2010. [119982]

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Jo Swinson: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The impact assessment published in the consultation document on removing this provision took into account research prepared for the Government Equalities Office in June 2009.

The research found that under the legislation which the Equality Act 2010 replaced, 9,000 to 10,000 businesses completed the “answers forms” in response to the potential complainants' questions forms each year, taking five to six hours to complete in each case. This means that compliance with this provision required around 45,000-60,000 staff hours a year. Although we do not have evidence on usage of the forms prescribed under the Equality Act 2010, we have assumed that it remains broadly similar given that the format and purpose of the procedure remains unchanged. On this basis, the impact assessment estimated an annual cost to business of £1.3 million. If this provision were removed from the Equality Act, the costs associated with the tasks outlined above would potentially no longer be incurred, and this would therefore be a direct benefit to business.

Employers’ Liability

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what evidence on the potential direct benefits to business she used to inform her decision to consult on removing employers’ liability for third party harassment. [119978]

Jo Swinson: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The impact assessment published in the consultation document on removing this provision estimated that the overall average cost to an employer of a third party harassment case is about £5,500. The consultation noted that we are aware of only one case of third party harassment having been ruled on by an employment tribunal, although responses to the consultation indicated that a number of cases have been settled without recourse to formal judicial process.

If these provisions were removed from the Equality Act, there would be a direct benefit to business in not incurring these costs in the future.

Police and Crime Commissioners

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps she is taking to ensure a high turnout in the police and crime commissioner elections. [122136]

Karl Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps she is taking to ensure a high turnout in the police and crime commissioner elections. [122144]

Damian Green: Information about every candidate will be published online and delivered in written form to anyone who wants it. Details of the website:

www.choosemypcc.org.uk

and how to request paper copies will appear on every voter's poll card. Further, every household will receive information about the elections from the Electoral Commission, and candidates will of course circulate

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information themselves. We have also launched an advertising campaign, including TV and radio which we estimate will reach 85% of voters across the 41 forces to explain the reforms and encourage participation in the elections.

Energy and Climate Change

Charities

Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what his policy is on the (a) grant to and (b) use by registered charities of funding from his Department for the purposes of advocacy, lobbying or campaigning; and if he will make a statement. [121405]

Gregory Barker: The Department does not have a singular policy to address the (a) grant to and (b) use by registered charities of funding for the purposes of advocacy, lobbying or campaigning. The charities we engage take no position on policy issues and do not engage in advocacy, lobbying or campaigning.

Grants are awarded to organisations after a tender process has been undergone. These organisations are contracted for the delivery of services for DECC activities which are defined under individual contractual arrangements and relate to the provision of those services.

Electricity Generation

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change with reference to the Ofgem press release entitled Projected tightening of electricity supplies reinforces the need for energy reforms to encourage investment, published on 5 October 2012, what steps his Department is taking to mitigate the risks of the tightening of electricity supplies. [123149]

Gregory Barker: Ofgem's Electricity Capacity Assessment provides a comprehensive analysis of the security of electricity supply outlook up to 2017. Government is considering carefully the implications and will respond formally by the end of the year.

The assessment emphasises the importance of action to ensure we enjoy electricity security. That is why the Government is legislating to ensure the market provides a strong and stable framework for long-term investment. The Government is also consulting on options to reduce demand for electricity.

Later this year Government will publish an Energy Security Strategy which will set out the action we are currently undertaking to ensure that we continue to enjoy secure electricity supplies.

Nuclear Power Stations: Construction

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether he plans to announce a public consultation on community benefits for new nuclear power. [122091]

Mr Hayes: There are currently no plans to publicly consult further on community benefits for new nuclear. It is important that a package for community benefits is set out as quickly as possible to provide clarity for local communities. In recent years DECC has

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consulted extensively with local authorities, parish councils and community groups, including seeking their views on community benefits, and this dialogue will continue.

Wind Power

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will assess the effect of differences in subsidies for on- and offshore wind farms; and if he will make a statement. [121682]

Mr Hayes: The impact of different Renewables Obligation (RO) banding levels for offshore and onshore wind is presented in Annex B in the Impact Assessment(1) (IA) which accompanied the Government Response to the RO Banding Review. The IA assessed the impact of the following two banding options for each technology.

(1)Note:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/11/consultation/ro-banding/5945-renewables-obligation-government-response-impact-a.pdf

RO certificates per megawatt hourOption 1—Current BandsOption 3—Government Response Bands

Offshore Wind

2 to 2013-14

2.0 in 2013-14 and 2014-15

 

1.5 2014-15 to 2016-17

1.9 in 2015-16

  

and 1.8 in 2016-17

   

Onshore Wind

1.0 from 2013-14 to 2016-17

0.9, except small scale in Northern Ireland, from 2013-14 to 2016-17

The following table sets out the estimates of onshore and offshore wind deployment under these two options, which are taken from the IA.

 Generation from net new build under the RO during the 2013-17 Banding Review period(1)
Generation, GWh per yearGeneration from capacity built by 31 March 2012Option 1—current bandsOption 3—Government Response Bands

Onshore Wind

17,100

6,800

6,400

Offshore Wind

(2)11,000

0

1,600

(1) For offshore wind this only includes generation from new build in 2014-15 and 2015-16. (2) This includes generation from capacity built by 2013-14, as the offshore wind band for 2013-14 has already been set.

The impact of these options on renewable generation are explored further in fossil fuel price sensitivity scenarios in tables B4 and B6 of the IA.

The written ministerial statement announcing the Government Response to the Renewables Obligation Banding Review is available here:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/news/wms_ro_lm/wms_ro_lm.aspx

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

China

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made in expanding (a) high commission facilities and (b) UK Trade and Investment facilities in China. [121803]

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Mr Swire: Plans to expand the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and UK Trade and Investment network in China are progressing. Over 60 staff are being added across the network as part of our expansion announced by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), on 11 May 2011. A key element of this expansion is evaluation work on the location of a new Consulate-General, for which we are awaiting formal approval from the Chinese Government. Work to modernise our embassy in Beijing and our Consulate-General in Shanghai has recently been completed, as part of a programme of improvement.

Gambia

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of the arrest of two Gambian journalists after their application to demonstrate against the execution of nine prisoners in that country; and if he will make a statement. [121359]

Mark Simmonds: The UK is deeply concerned about the rights of journalists in The Gambia and we are committed to supporting their freedom of expression.

We understand that two journalists were detained in September after applying for a permit to demonstrate against the recent executions of nine death-row prisoners. They are facing charges of committing a felony and inciting violence. We are monitoring their case closely.

Our high commissioner in Banjul raises human rights issues, as well as more specific concerns about individual cases, as they occur and at the twice-yearly EU meetings with the Gambian Government. The sudden closure of Taranga FM radio station in August is a recent example of an issue that the UK has raised. The UK is also supporting a resolution on the safety of journalists at the September Human Rights Council meeting in Geneva which is currently under discussion.

India

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made in expanding (a) high commission facilities and (b) UK Trade and Investment facilities in India. [121802]

Mr Swire: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), announced to Parliament on 15 May 2012, Official Report, column 417, that the Indian Government had agreed to the opening of deputy high commissions in Hyderabad and Chandigarh. The Permanent Secretary of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office formally opened the new mission in Hyderabad on 31 May 2012. We have identified premises for the deputy high commission in Chandigarh. We hope to open that mission by the end of the year. On completion of the expansion project, overall staff numbers across India will be increased by more than 30.

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Indian Subcontinent

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many trade missions to (a) India, (b) Pakistan and (c) Sri Lanka his Department has supported in the last 12 months. [121804]

Mr Swire: Our records show that in the last 12 months the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and its overseas posts have supported 19 trade missions to India, one to Pakistan and two to Sri Lanka.

Work and Pensions

Post Office Card Account

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his most recent estimate is of the number of people who have benefits paid into a Post Office card account by parliamentary constituency. [121325]

Mr Hoban: The information is not available in the format requested as data held relate to the number of payment accounts paid into a Post Office card account, rather than the number of people. A person may receive a separate payment for each benefit or pension they are entitled to, or a single, combined payment paid into their Post Office card account.

Information showing the number of payment accounts paid into a Post Office card account by parliamentary constituency will be placed in the Library.

Health

Ambulance Services: Airwave Service

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will assess the use of the Airwave radio system by the Ambulance Service; and if he will make a statement. [121681]

Anna Soubry: The Airwave radio system is used by all ambulance services in England, Scotland and Wales to communicate vital information between ambulances, their control rooms and the wider national health service. This includes both voice and data messages that are used to control the dispatch of ambulances to critically ill patients who require rapid access to healthcare.

Airwave also provides interoperable communications between the ambulance service, the fire and rescue service and police forces, which is particularly important during large scale events and major incidents. Most recently Airwave has been used successfully as the primary communications tool for the emergency services at the Olympic and Paralympic games.

The performance of Airwave in delivering communications services to trusts is under regular, ongoing review by the Department.

Charities

Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on the (a) grant to and (b) use by registered charities of funding from his Department for the purposes of advocacy, lobbying or campaigning; and if he will make a statement. [121402]

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Norman Lamb: The Department supports and recognises the role of charities and voluntary organisations to undertake advocacy, lobbying and campaigning where they are seeking to improve the health and well-being outcomes for the population of England. They play critical roles as advocates and in representing the voice of service users, patients and carers, particularly in making sure the most disadvantaged communities needs are heard. Through its grant schemes, the Department does provide some funding to support charities and voluntary organisations in undertaking this type of activity where there are shared interests and priorities.

Voluntary organisations, community groups and social enterprises across the country do extraordinary work every day to improve the lives of others. The Compact is the agreement which governs relations between the Government and civil society organisations, such as charities, in England. It aims to encourage successful partnership between the Government and civil society organisations to ensure better outcomes for citizens and communities. One of the key principles of the Compact is to recognise and support the independence of the voluntary sector; including the right within the law to campaign, to comment on and to challenge government policy (whatever funding relationship exists). To ensure that we can make the most of the voluntary sector's potential, an open, honest and transparent relationship with the Department is essential.

Heart Diseases: Children

Stuart Andrew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if his Department is ensuring that Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts officials are releasing non-confidential information regarding the recent Safe and Sustainable review into children's heart surgery services in England to local authorities. [121675]

Anna Soubry: My hon. Friend will be aware that the Safe and Sustainable review is a clinically led, national health service review, which is independent of Government. It is, therefore, for the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts to decide what information to release about the review and we are unable to comment any further.

Medical Records: Veterans

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether he has any plans to include mention of a veterans' service in the health records maintained by general practitioners in order to raise awareness of the potential for combat-related stress. [121683]

Dr Poulter: When a veteran has left the armed forces and re-enters the care of our national health service, they are asked during routine registration with a general practitioner (GP) if they are a patient returning from the armed forces. It is important to be aware however, that some veterans do not want to identify themselves as such.

In addition, there is a current process where the patient, whilst still in the armed forces, is given a summary of his medical record at a pre-discharge medical, along with instruction to pass this onto his/her NHS GP on registration following their transition to civilian life.

The form which is passed on to the NHS GP includes instructions as to how the GP can request a full medical record, with the patient's consent required for this. We

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recognise that there can be instances where the patient may lose, or perhaps forget to pass on this form.

However, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and the Department are working on a joint project, one aspect of which will strengthen this part of the process. At the moment, the medical record from pre-service is stored at an NHS back office for the duration of the patient's career in the services. When he/she returns to civilian life and registers with an NHS GP, the record from pre-service will be triggered back into circulation, though with no reference to the period whilst the patient was with the armed forces. The joint project will introduce new processes, which will mean that the record is updated to confirm that the patient has spent a period of time (dates provided) under the care of the Defence Medical Services (DMS). This infers that the individual may be a veteran, but it does not provide confirmation as it is down to the individual whether or not they wish to associate themselves as a veteran—the MoD will not do this. DMS also treats some civilians, so this really cannot be taken as confirmation. However, with the notification that the patient was cared for by DMS, along with any declaration on the patient registration form, this may provide a trigger for the GP to consider any special needs of the patient. The aim is not only to confirm that care was provided by DMS, but also to update the record with a summarised medical record from that period. The medical record summary exchange is planned to begin in the second half of 2013.

As far as reservists are concerned, their care is provided by the NHS except when they are on training or deployed, when their medical care becomes the responsibility of DMS.

Finally, the Department has funded an e-learning package. The package is hosted on the Royal College of General Practitioners website and allows GPs to equip themselves with further information about veterans' health conditions in general, and act accordingly. The aim is to help increase awareness amongst GPs of the conditions associated with service.

Strokes

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance his Department has issued on the critical importance of stroke victims reaching hospital. [121678]

Anna Soubry: Both the National Stroke Strategy and NICE Stroke Quality Standard underline the importance of getting people with a suspected stroke to a specialist acute stroke unit as soon as possible.

The Department's award-winning Act FAST campaign aims to raise awareness of the symptoms of stroke and the need to treat it as a medical emergency so that people receive the necessary specialist treatment as quickly as possible.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Bovine Tuberculosis

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many false (a) positives and (b) negatives were found in tests for bovine tuberculosis in each year for the last three years. [121754]

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Mr Heath: All TB reactors are regarded as infected. European and national legislation require all such animals to be slaughtered in order to eliminate risk of infection to other animals. There are no figures for false positive and false negative TB tests detected in each of the last three years. However, it is known that the TB skin test detects 80% of infected cattle giving a 20% false negative probability. When the skin test is applied to non-infected cattle, it has a specificity of 99.9% giving a 0.1% false positive probability.

Ducks: Animal Welfare

Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to the research funded by his Department on duck farming, if he will take steps to raise the minimum welfare standards for ducks farmed for meat. [122029]

Mr Heath: The Government is committed to improved standards of welfare of all livestock. The welfare of ducks is provided for in the general provisions of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 and the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007. DEFRA also has a duck welfare code which keepers are required by law to have access to and be familiar with, which encourages high standards of husbandry.

DEFRA completed a three-year research project in 2007 to assess whether farmed ducks needed bathing water and if so, how it should be provided. The findings of this research were built on, with the RSPCA, academics and the duck industry, to look at how water could be provided to ducks in a commercial setting, whilst being mindful of the risk to biosecurity. DEFRA took an active part in the accompanying RSPCA ‘Higher Duck Welfare Programme' steering group. As a result of this collaborative approach, duck welfare standards have been raised as both the RSPCA's Freedom Foods scheme and the industry's own Duck Assurance Scheme have ensured that their standards reflect the latest research.

DEFRA welcomes the availability of duck meat products reared to a range of standards which meet the law and allows consumers to make their own choice in purchasing.

Members: Correspondence

Mr Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he plans to respond to the (a) letter of 6 June and (b) email of 4 July 2012 from the hon. Member for Basildon and Billericay regarding Mr David Knight. [121755]

Richard Benyon: The Government has undertaken to consult key stakeholders on new research proposals on buzzards to understand better the relationship between raptors, game birds and other livestock. I shall respond to my hon. Friend's correspondence as soon as possible.

Natura 2000

Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many species are found in Natura 2000 sites (a) nationally, (b) in each region and (c) in each Natura 2000 site; and if he will make a statement. [121753]

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Richard Benyon: Within the United Kingdom Natura 2000 site network there are a total of 47,419 distinct taxa. Taxa are the units used in grouping and naming living organisms and is a general term that can refer to any level of a taxonomic classification. Of this total, 158 distinct taxa represent “qualifying features” on one or more UK Natura 2000 sites. Due to the extent of the regional and site level data, I have placed this information in the Library of the House. The information is also available on the Joint Nature Conservation Committee website at:

http://jncc.defra.gov.uk/2012-13/PQ0845

Treasury

EU Emissions Trading Scheme: Aviation

Zac Goldsmith: To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of revenues that will result from aviation joining the Emissions Trading Scheme each year in Phase III and Phase IV. [121366]

Sajid Javid: Revenues resulting from aviation joining the Emissions Trading Scheme for Phase III are estimated to be around £0.1 billion per annum. This is based on the Office for Budget Responsibility forecast made at Budget 2012 for the period up to 2016-17. Future forecasts may change according to possible changes in the EU emissions allowance price.

Estimates of the revenue from Phase IV of the Emissions Trading Scheme are not available, because the parameters of the EU ETS beyond phase III have not yet been set.

Financial Services: Taxation

Michael Fabricant: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on the EU Commission President's plans for an EU financial transaction tax. [121522]

Greg Clark: The European Commission's proposal for a financial transaction tax was discussed at ECOFIN on 22 June. At this meeting, it was noted that unanimity on this dossier would not be achieved. Germany and Austria, supported by France, suggested that this proposal now be taken forward by a smaller group of member states, using the enhanced co-operation procedures provided for in the EU Treaties. The Chancellor made clear the UK would not take part in this tax.

The first step in an enhanced co-operation procedure is for at least nine member states to submit a request to the European Commission for consideration of compatibility with the provisions in EU Treaties.

At the 9 October ECOFIN, 11 member states confirmed that they had written to, or were intending to write to, the Commission requesting the introduction of a financial transaction tax through the enhanced co-operation procedures.

The Government believes that any financial transaction tax would have to apply globally to avoid transactions relocating to those countries not applying the tax.

Michael Fabricant: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the revenue which would be generated by a 0.01 per cent levy on

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financial transactions in the City of London; and what estimate he has made of the likely level of lost revenue to the Exchequer. [121523]

Greg Clark: The EU Commission published proposals for an EU financial transactions tax (FTT) on 28 September 2011. Under this proposal, the tax rate would be 0.1% for equity and bond trades, and 0.01% for derivative trades—this tax would apply to each financial institution that is party to the financial transaction.

The Explanatory Memorandum to Parliament on this proposal of 12 October 2011 sets out the Government's estimate that over half of the FTT revenues raised across the EU would derive from activity in the UK, amounting to around £26 billion per year. This figure does not take account of several factors likely to reduce Exchequer yield including loss of stamp duty revenues, reductions in corporation tax receipts from the sector and reduction in tax revenues as a whole due to the growth impacts of tax.

There is a risk that any short-term revenue gains from a FTT will be eroded in the longer-term through the wider economic impacts of the tax and reductions in revenue as activity shifts away from the EU in response to the tax. Overall, it is possible that the tax might raise no additional money at all for the Exchequer.

The Government believes that any financial transaction tax would have to apply globally to avoid transactions relocating to those countries not applying the tax.

Procurement

Luciana Berger: To ask Mr Chancellor of the Exchequer what his 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. [120798]

Sajid Javid: UK public procurement policy is to award contracts on the basis of value for money, which means the optimum combination of cost and quality over the lifetime of the project/contract. Public sector procurers are required to assess value for money from the perspective of the contracting authority using criteria linked to the subject matter of the contract, including compliance with the published specification.

Wider socio-economic benefits that accrue to the contracting authority can be taken into account at tender evaluation stage if they relate to the subject matter of a contract from the point of view of the contracting authority.


Justice

Criminal Injuries Compensation

Tony Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what plans he has for the future of the draft Criminal Injury Compensation Scheme 2012 and the draft Victims of Overseas Terrorism Compensation Scheme 2012. [121750]

Mrs Grant: The Government listened carefully to the views expressed in the First Delegated Legislation Committee on 10 September 2012 and we are considering next steps.

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Cabinet Office

Charities: Warwickshire

Chris White: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how much charities in Warwickshire have received through the Transition Fund since the inception of the fund. [121378]

Mr Hurd: Big Fund delivered the Transition Fund on behalf of the Cabinet Office. The Department awarded a total of £105 million with the aim of enabling civil society organisations to adapt to, and manage, the transition to a different funding environment. The programme closed for applications on 21 January 2011.

Details of all awards can be found on the Big Lottery Fund's website at:

www.biglotteryfund.org.uk/transitionfund

Deputy Prime Minister

Party Funding

7. Dr Huppert: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent progress he has made on reforming party funding. [122137]

Miss Chloe Smith: Discussions between the main political parties at Westminster are ongoing. Six meetings have now taken place and the Government hopes consensus will be reached swiftly.

Social Mobility

8. Paul Goggins: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the Government's welfare reform programme on social mobility. [122138]

The Deputy Prime Minister: The Government's welfare reforms are about ending welfare dependency and getting people into work. The best way out of poverty and on the road to social mobility is through work. For example, 1.8 million children—more than one in seven—are living in a household where no one has a job. This seriously damages their prospects: they are less likely to do well in school, less likely to go on to further and higher education and less likely to get a good job as adults.

The Government is also supporting the children of those who do not work, helping to improve their life chances through major new steps like introducing 15 hours' free child care per week for two-year-olds in economically disadvantaged households, and the introduction of the Pupil Premium.

Political and Constitutional Reform

9. Gemma Doyle: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the Government's political and constitutional reform priorities are for the remainder of this Parliament. [122139]

10. Mr Bain: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what the Government's political and constitutional reform priorities are for the remainder of this Parliament. [122140]

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11. Diana Johnson: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what his political and constitutional reform priorities are; and if he will make a statement. [122141]

The Deputy Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Members to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Edinburgh East (Sheila Gilmore), at oral questions earlier today.

Parliamentary Boundary Review

13. Mr McCann: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent progress he has made on the parliamentary boundary review. [122143]

The Deputy Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to the hon. Member for Wellingborough (Mr Bone), at oral questions earlier today.

Business, Innovation and Skills

Banks: Accountancy

Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the implications of the outcome of the Cattles plc case for his policies on the application of International Accounting Standard 39 to banks; and if he will make a statement. [120820]

Jo Swinson: Until fuller investigation of the issues associated with Cattles plc is complete, it cannot be determined whether this case indicates an underlying issue with International Accounting Standard 39 or its specific application. However, it is recognised that IAS 39 is in need of improvement. The International Accounting Standards Board has a project in hand to address this.

Equal Pay

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what evidence his Department has gathered on the direct benefits to business of not implementing section 78 of the Equality Act 2010 on equal pay audits. [120182]

Jo Swinson: Section 78 of the Equality Act 2010 concerns publication of gender pay information by large employers. The previous Government included this provision in the Equality Bill without quantifying its financial costs or benefits to business and Ministers gave assurances to the House during the passage of the Bill that section 78 would not be commenced until 2013 at the earliest.

In ‘Building a Fairer Britain’ (December 2010), the coalition Government made clear that it would not commence, amend or repeal section 78 while we worked with business to ensure a successful voluntary approach. The Secretary of State for the Home Department, the right hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May), launched the “Think, Act, Report” initiative in September 2011 to encourage greater transparency on gender equality. This initiative is supported by a large number of employers including BP, Tesco and Deloitte, and we will shortly publish a report demonstrating progress.

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Pay

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the highest paid position is in (a) his Department and (b) his Department's agencies. [121617]

Jo Swinson: Information on the salaries of those on the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) Board is published in the BIS annual report. The highest paid position in BIS is the chief executive of the shareholder executive.

I have approached the chief executives of the Insolvency Service, Companies House, the National Measurement Office, the Intellectual Property Office, UK Space Agency, Ordnance Survey, Met Office, Land Registry and the Skills Funding Agency and they will respond to my hon. Friend directly.

Letter from Ann Lewis, dated 17 September 2012:

I am replying on behalf of Companies House to your Parliamentary Question tabled 14 September 2012, to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, UIN 121617.

The highest paid position in Companies House is that of the Chief Executive and Registrar of Companies.

Letter from John Hirst, dated 1 October 2012:

I am replying on behalf of the Met Office to your Parliamentary Question tabled on 14 September 2012, UIN 121617 to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.

My position is the highest paid in the Met Office. Details of the pay of senior Directors at the Met Office can be found in the Remuneration Report contained in the Met Office Annual Report and Accounts:

http://www.metoffice.gov.uk/learning/library/publications/corporate

Letter from David Williams, dated 17 September 2012:

Thank you for your question addressed to the Secretary of State for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills, asking what the highest paid position is in (a) his Department and (b) his Department's agencies. (121617)

The highest paid position in the UK Space Agency, an executive agency of the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills is that of the Chief Executive Officer.

Letter from Malcolm Dawson, dated 19 September 2012:

I write on behalf of Land Registry in response to your Parliamentary Question 121617 tabled on 14 September 2012 which asked the following:

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what the highest paid position is in (a) his Department and (b) his Department's agencies.

I can confirm that the highest paid position in Land Registry is that of Chief Land Registrar and Chief Executive.

Letter from Kim Thorneywork, dated 5 October 2012:

Thank you for your question in asking the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, what the highest paid position is in his Department and his Department's agencies.

Please be advised that the highest paid position within the Skills Funding Agency is the Chief Information Officer and Executive Director of Information Management.

Letter from Richard Judge, dated 4 October 2012:

The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has asked me to reply to your question, what the highest paid position is in (a) his Department and (b) his Department's agencies.

The highest paid position in The Insolvency Service is the post of Inspector General/Agency Chief Executive.

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Letter from Dr Vanessa Lawrence, dated 1 October 2012:

As Director General and Chief Executive of Ordnance Survey, I have been asked to reply to you in response to your Parliamentary Question asking the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills “what the highest paid position is in (a) his Department and (b) his Department's agencies”.

The highest paid position within Ordnance Survey is that of the Director General and Chief Executive, who is the Accounting Officer for the organisation. However, the highest paid individual currently in Ordnance Survey is filling the position of Director of Finance and Corporate Services. This is because the individual in question is an interim manager who will be leaving shortly. His replacement, who has already been appointed, will be earning less than the Director General and Chief Executive Officer.

Letter from Peter Mason, dated 5 October 2012:

I am responding in respect of the National Measurement Office to your Parliamentary Question tabled on 14 September 2012, asking the Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills about the highest paid position.

The highest paid position in the National Measurement Office is that of Chief Executive. Details of the remuneration can be found on page 25 of the Annual Report under the following web link:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/nmo/docs/about-us/key-docs/nmo-annual-report-and-accounts-2011-12-website-version.pdf

Letter from Sean Dennehey, dated 5 October 2012:

I am responding in respect of the Intellectual Property Office to your Parliamentary Question tabled 14th September 2012, to the Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The Intellectual Property Office (IPO) is an Executive Agency of BIS. The highest paid position in the IPO is that of the Chief Executive.

Post Offices

Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the number of post offices which will provide (a) vehicle tax disc renewals, (b) driving licences, (c) passport applications and check and send and (d) collections of biometric data for residence permits; and what criteria will be used to determine which post offices offer such services. [123105]

Jo Swinson: The availability of specific Government services across the post office network is an operational matter for Post Office Ltd and the Departments and agencies it works with. I have therefore asked Paula Vennells, chief executive of Post Office Ltd, to respond directly to the hon. Member and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Library of the House.

Postal Services: Rural Areas

Andrew Bingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on the decision on the Post Office tender for Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency services and the wider effect that any decision to place the tender elsewhere would have on the viability of the post office network, particularly in rural areas. [121998]

Jo Swinson: The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency is currently procuring a number of counter services. As would be expected, this is being done in line with EU

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procurement regulations, so it would not be appropriate for me to discuss the outcome of this live procurement with the Secretary of State for Transport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire Dales (Mr McLoughlin).

More broadly, Government have allocated £1.34 billion of funding for Post Office Ltd to refresh and modernise its network. As a condition of Government's funding, Post Office Ltd must continue to adhere to strict access criteria which include specific provision for access in rural areas. The Post Office's commercial strategy also requires it to grow crucially important new revenues to reach a more sustainable financial position. In this respect, it is pleasing to note that both the business's total revenues (excluding subsidy) and also its revenues from Government services grew during 2011/12 for the first time in many years.

Rugby

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will ask the Office of Fair Trading to make an assessment of market features restricting, preventing or distorting competition between clubs in Premiership Rugby and the RFU Championship. [121732]

Jo Swinson: I have no plans to do so. As an independent authority, the Office of Fair Trading decides which cases to investigate.

Students: Loans

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate has been made of the number of students in receipt of loans from the Student Loan Company who will be studying at commercial for-profit universities in (a) 2012-13 and (b) 2013-14; and if he will make a statement. [121751]

Mr Willetts: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills does not distinguish between those universities that operate on a commercial for-profit basis, and those that do not.

I have, however, previously placed a list in the Libraries of the House showing the number of students that took out student loans in respect of studies with all types of non-publicly funded providers in each year since 2006.

16 Oct 2012 : Column 278W

This was in response to parliamentary question 100853 answered on 19 March 2012,

Official Report

, column 334W.

This shows an upward trend in the numbers of students, courses, and institutions. This in line with the Government's policy that new providers and new forms of higher education provision will help to stimulate and strengthen market competition, promote student choice, and ensure value for money.

Training

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what media or public speaking training Ministers in his Department have received since May 2010. [122069]

Jo Swinson: The following Ministers under took media training in June 2010 at an overall cost of £2,100. Training took place at BIS's headquarters, 1 Victoria Street, London.

The former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs, the now Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston and Surbiton (Mr Davey): 8 June 2010—Cost £700.

The former Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, the now Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change, the hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings (Mr Hayes): 8 June 2010—Cost £700.

The former Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, my noble Friend Baroness Wilcox: 15 June 2010—Cost £700.

Church Commissioners

Marriage: Civil Partnerships

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, what recent discussions the Church of England has had with the Coalition for Equal Marriage. [122619]

Sir Tony Baldry: The Church Commissioners and the Archbishops’ Council of Church of England have had no recent discussions with the Coalition for Equal Marriage.