Care Homes

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the number of care homes in each region which do not meet national minimum standards of care. [122749]

Norman Lamb: We are informed by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) that, under the Health and Social Care Act 2008, providers of adult social care services—including residential and nursing care homes—were required to register with the Care Quality Commission by 1 October 2010. Regulations in the Health and Social Care Act 2008 set out essential standards of quality and safety that people who use health and social care services have a right to expect. The CQC monitors and inspects providers against these standards, carrying out inspections regularly and at any time in response to concerns.

The table shows information provided by the CQC on the numbers of care homes registered by the CQC in each region and the numbers which were judged not to be compliant with one or more of the essential standards as at 1 August 2012.

RegionNumber of care homes registered with the CQC, as at 8 August2012Number of registered care homes per region currently judged to be non compliant against one or more outcome, as at 1 August 2012

East Midlands

1,623

428

East of England

1,873

371

London

1,779

368

North East

920

160

North West

2,145

397

South East

3,385

536

South West

2,430

486

West Midlands

1,876

470

Yorkshire and the Humber

1,662

190

Totals

17,693

3,406

The CQC's most recent Market Report, published in June 2012, is available on its website at:

www.cqc.org.uk/public/our-market-report

It shows the proportion of adult social care services inspected that were meeting the standards. The results of the CQC's inspections showed that:

72% of services inspected were meeting all the standards.

27% were not meeting at least one standard. In these cases, the CQC was satisfied with an action plan from the provider setting out how it was going to improve.

In 1% of cases, the CQC's concerns were serious enough to cause it to take enforcement action.

17 Oct 2012 : Column 308W

Hunter Syndrome

Mr Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department plans to take to ensure the continued availability of enzyme replacement therapy for children with Hunter syndrome following the winding-up of the Advisory Group for National Specialised Services. [123136]

Anna Soubry: We are currently consulting with the NHS Commissioning Board on the list of services which will be directly commissioned by the Board from 1 April 2013. Included within that list are services for people with Lysosomal Storage Disorders such as Hunter's Syndrome. These commissioning arrangements are not dependent on the existence of the independent stakeholder Advisory Group for National Specialised Services which currently advises Ministers on the specialised services to be commissioned on a national basis.

In Vitro Fertilisation

Andrew Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what his policy is on whether the refusal of a Clinical Commissioning Group to fund three full cycles of IVF to eligible couples constitutes a failure to discharge its duties; [123035]

(2) whether he proposes that those Clinical Commissioning Groups who do not provide three full cycles of IVF to eligible couples should publically state the reasoning behind their commissioning decision; [123045]

(3) in what circumstances he proposes that a Clinical Commissioning Group would be classed as having failed to discharge its duties in relation to the provision of infertility treatment. [123046]

Anna Soubry: From April 2013, infertility treatment services will be commissioned by Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) with the NHS Commissioning Board providing oversight and support. The current National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence fertility guidance is not mandatory for NHS commissioners but the Government have consistently encouraged commissioners to take full account of this guidance, in particular the recommendation to offer three full cycles of in vitro fertilisation to qualifying couples.

The NHS Commissioning Board will have general intervention powers in relation to CCGs, should it be satisfied that a CCG is failing or has failed to discharge any of its functions, or there is a significant risk that it will fail to do so. These include directing the CCG to discharge a function in a particular way and within a specified period. The Board will also have powers to require documents and information, and to require from a CCG explanation of how it is proposing to exercise any of its functions. Legislation requires the Board to publish guidance setting out how it proposes to exercise its intervention powers, so as to ensure that the arrangements are clear and transparent.

Under the NHS Constitution, patients have the following right:

“You have the right to expect local decisions on funding of other drugs and treatments to be made rationally following a proper consideration of the evidence. If the local NHS decides

17 Oct 2012 : Column 309W

not to fund a drug or treatment you and your doctor feel would be right for you, they will explain that decision to you”.

Pseudoxanthoma Elasticum

Andrew Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what support and treatment his Department provides for sufferers of pseudoxanthoma elasticum. [122038]

Anna Soubry: Pseudoxanthoma elasticum is a fairly rare genetic disorder. Professional guidance on the diagnosis and treatment of pseudoxanthoma elasticum is available from the following website:

www.patient.co.uk

a source familiar to general practitioners and other clinicians. It is for local commissioners to determine their priorities for commissioning local services for people with this condition, in the light of the available evidence and local needs and resources.

Psychiatry

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) medical and (b) non-medical staff there were in the psychiatry group of specialties in the NHS in England, by primary care trust, on 31 July in each year since 2005; and if he will make a statement. [122781]

Dr Poulter: Details of the numbers of medical and non-medical staff in the psychiatry group of specialties employed by the national health service in England, shown by trust for each year since 2005 have been placed in the Library.

Monthly workforce data were not made available until September 2009, therefore for comparability over the whole period the data have been provided as at 30 September, taken from the annual workforce census.

As the vast majority of these staff work within NHS trusts rather than primary care trusts (PCTs) and it is not possible to link a trust geographically to a PCT and assign its staff in this way, the data have been provided by strategic health authority area for all organisations (including PCTs) who employed these staff.

Thalidomide

Dan Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will make it his policy to provide financial assistance on a permanent basis to people living with the effects of thalidomide; and if he will make a statement; [123049]

(2) when he expects to make an announcement on the future of the pilot Thalidomide Health Grant. [123050]

Norman Lamb: My right hon. Friend the Member for Sutton and Cheam (Paul Burstow), the former Minister of State, met with the hon. Member for Elmet and Rothwell (Alec Shelbrooke), chair of the all-party group on thalidomide, along with members of the Thalidomide Trust and the National Advisory Council, in June. At that meeting, he committed to providing a decision on future funding in the autumn of this year. I have since repeated that commitment.

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Defence

Afghanistan

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to improve public understanding of the work of the armed forces in Afghanistan. [121796]

Mr Robathan: Public understanding of the contribution of the armed forces to the overall NATO/international security assistance force mission in Afghanistan and the pursuit of Her Majesty's Government's foreign and security policy objectives is advanced through a variety of methods. We invite journalists, commentators and documentary makers to join members of the armed forces in theatre so that they can experience their achievements in Afghanistan first hand and gain a better understanding of the circumstances under which our troops are operating. We organise regular ministerial and other VIP visits with accompanying media coverage. In addition, we often arrange briefings for the media, both in Afghanistan and the UK, on operational developments. News articles and updates for the media and general public are posted daily on the Ministry of Defence and armed forces' websites, Facebook and Twitter pages.

Aircraft Carriers

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for how many months of the year the Queen Elizabeth class carrier will be operational. [122776]

Mr Dunne: The decision to revert to a Short Take Off Vertical Landing design carrier, announced by the Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), on 10 May 2012, Official Report, columns 140-42, will give us the ability to use both Queen Elizabeth class carriers to provide continuous carrier availability at sea. A final decision on the use of the second carrier will be taken as part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2015.

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many sorties can be flown from a Queen Elizabeth class carrier in 24 hours. [122777]

Mr Dunne: The Queen Elizabeth (QE) class aircraft carrier will have the capacity to deploy up to 36 Lightning II aircraft and four helicopters. Alternatively, it can also carry a mix of helicopters, the precise mix of aircraft being dependent on the mission, enabling the QE class to support a broad range of operations. I am withholding the information on how many sorties can be flown in 24 hours, as its disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the additional cost of running a second Queen Elizabeth class carrier would be. [122778]

Mr Dunne: The in-service support solution for the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers is still in development, with a decision expected around the middle of this

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decade. The final decision on the use of the second carrier is expected as part of the strategic defence and security review in 2015.

Armed Forces: Officers

Mr Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 17 September 2012, Official Report, on infantry officers, what calculations his Department made in reaching the decision that the information could only be provided at disproportionate cost. [121834]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 15 October 2012]: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 17 September 2012, Official Report, column 454W. The Ministry of Defence does not hold centrally information relating to the numbers of infantry officers who have left the Army within two years of commanding their regiments. Complete information could only be produced by undertaking a manual comparison of Joint Personnel Administration (JPA) system records since 2007 with separately held appointment board records. It was assessed that this bespoke work would have taken one person in excess of four days.

Astute Class Submarines

Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) whether design work has been carried out to modify the design of later submarines in the Astute class in order for them to be powered by PWR3 reactors; [122797]

(2) whether the seventh submarine in the Astute class will use a PWR2 or PWR3 reactor. [122798]

Mr Dunne: The seventh Astute class submarine will be powered by Pressurised Water Reactor 2 (PWR2). No design work has been carried out to modify Astute class submarines in order for them to be powered by Pressurised Water Reactor 3 (PWR3), rather than PWR2. PWR3 is a new design that exploits technology that was not available when the Astute design was finalised.

BAE Systems: EADS

Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the likely effect of the proposed merger of BAE Systems and EADS on the Scottish defence industry. [122625]

Mr Dunne: BAE Systems and EADS have decided not to proceed with the proposed merger.

Freedom of Information

Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when his Department intends to respond to a freedom of information request (reference 20120606/FOI-MSU4.7.6_U) submitted in April. [117946]

Mr Robathan: I replied to the hon. Member on 1 May 2012 and substantively on 16 July 2012.

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Olympic Games 2012: Security

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how much compensation has been paid to members of the armed forces for cancelled holidays and other costs incurred as a consequence of their being deployed to provide security at the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics; what estimate he has made of the total figure allowing for outstanding claims; what the (a) largest and (b) lowest such payment was; and if he will make a statement; [122058]

(2) how many members of the armed forces have received compensation payments for cancelled holidays and other costs incurred as a consequence of their being deployed to provide security at the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics; how many such claims have yet to be settled; whether there is a time limit for making such claims; and if he will make a statement; [122059]

(3) what payment to the public purse G4S has made to cover the costs of deploying members of the armed forces to provide security at the London 2012 Olympics and Paralympics; and if he will make a statement. [122060]

Mr Robathan: The contract for security during the Olympic Games was between G4S and the London Organising Committee (LOCOG) as event organiser rather than with the Government and commercial negotiations are ongoing. The Ministry of Defence is currently calculating the cost of its involvement and this will be passed to LOCOG for its negotiations with G4S.

Claims for compensation by service personnel who have been financially disadvantaged by their deployment can be made through service channels. However, it is too soon to say how many have, or will be compensated and how much this figure will come to. There is no time limit imposed on submitting claims.

The largest claim that the single services can authorise is for £5,000 and we anticipate that most claims will be below this figure. There are mechanisms in place through direct contact with the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency to deal with any claim in excess of that figure.

Scotland

Anti-slavery Day

Anas Sarwar: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what plans he has to mark Anti-slavery Day on 18 October 2012. [122627]

David Mundell: The Scotland Office is fully engaged in the UK Government's commitment to marking Anti-slavery Day. I will be visiting Edinburgh airport to discuss with UK Border Force staff and their partner organisations, strategies to combat human trafficking and arrangements to deal with victims. My ministerial colleague, the Lord Wallace of Tankerness QC, Advocate-General for Scotland, is representing the UK Government at the Scottish Government's summit on human trafficking in Edinburgh.

17 Oct 2012 : Column 313W

Cabinet Growth Implementation Committee

Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland pursuant to the answer of 11 September 2012, Official Report, column 124W, whether the membership of the Cabinet Growth Implementation Committee has been confirmed. [123036]

Michael Moore: The membership of the Cabinet Growth Implementation Committee has not yet been confirmed.

Defence: Employment

Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the proposed merger of BAE Systems and EADS on employment in the Scottish defence sector; [122302]

(2) what recent discussions he has had with his ministerial colleagues on the proposed merger of BAE Systems and EADS. [122303]

Michael Moore: On 10 October, BAE Systems and EADS decided not to proceed with the proposed merger. The two companies will remain as successful independent companies, each with a significant presence in the UK and Scotland. The Government have always been clear that it could see the commercial logic of this deal but that it would only ever work if it met the interests of all the parties involved. For the UK this meant protecting our national security, investment and jobs, including those jobs based in Scotland.

Ministers and officials meet regularly to discuss a wide range of topics.

Electoral Register

Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether the annual canvass of voters due to take place in Scotland in Autumn 2013 will request information on 14 and 15 year olds resident in households. [123134]

David Mundell: The annual canvass of voters will not request information on 14 and 15-year-olds.

Research

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much his Department spent on research and development in (a) 2008-09, (b) 2009-10, (c) 2010-11 and (d) 2011-12; and how much he plans to spend in (i) 2012-13, (ii) 2013-14 and (iii) 2014-15. [121884]

David Mundell: The Scotland Office expenditure on research and development in (a) 2008-09, (b) 2009-10, (c) 2010-11 and (d) 2011-12 is shown in the following table. There are no plans to incur such costs in (i) 2012-13, (ii) 2013-14 and (iii) 2014-15.

 Cost (£)

2008-09

43,225

2009-10

7,000

2010-11

0

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2011-12

0

Chris Kelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what external policy research his Department has commissioned in each of the last six years; from which organisation each such piece of research was commissioned; and what the cost of each such piece of research was. [123187]

David Mundell: The items of policy research and costs that the Scotland Office has commissioned in the last six years are as follows:

  £

2008-09

Quadrant Consultants—research into voters' perceptions following the 2007 Scottish Parliament elections

24,250

2009-10

University of Glasgow—research support to the Glasgow Task Force on generational poverty and benefit reliance

7,000

Sovereignty

Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with electoral registration officers in Scotland and the Scottish Electoral Management Board on the proposed extension of the franchise to 16 and 17-year-olds in relation to the referendum on independence. [123135]

David Mundell: There have been no discussions between UK Government Ministers and the electoral registration officers in Scotland and the Scottish Electoral Management Board on the proposals to enable 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in the referendum. It will be for the Scottish Government to propose whether to enable 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in the referendum and if they choose to do so, to propose any mechanism for registering 16 and 17-year-olds. It will be for the Scottish Parliament to consider and approve any proposals made by the Scottish Government.

Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what discussions he has had with the Scottish Government on the mechanisms that will be put in place for voter registration of 16 and 17-year-olds prior to Autumn 2014 for the forthcoming referendum on independence. [123137]

David Mundell: It will be for the Scottish Government to propose whether to enable 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in the referendum and if they choose to do so, to propose any mechanism for registering 16 and 17-year-olds. It will be for the Scottish Parliament to consider and approve any proposals made by the Scottish Government.

Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether he has had discussions with ministerial colleagues on whether extending the franchise to 16 and 17-year-olds in the forthcoming referendum on independence in Scotland will require legislative proposals to be introduced into the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill. [123138]

17 Oct 2012 : Column 315W

David Mundell: There have been no discussions about introducing legislative proposals into the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill to enable 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in the independence referendum. It will be for the Scottish Government to propose whether to enable 16 and 17-year-olds to vote in the referendum and if they choose to do so, to propose any mechanism for registering 16 and 17-year-olds. It will be for the Scottish Parliament to consider and approve any proposals made by the Scottish Government.

Training

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what media or public speaking training Ministers in his Department have received since May 2010. [122068]

David Mundell: None.

Northern Ireland

Assisted Areas

Dr Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent assessment she has made of the benefits of assisted area status for Northern Ireland. [123141]

Mrs Villiers: I have corresponded with the Northern Ireland Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment on assisted area status, and I am due to meet her later this week when we shall discuss it. Economic development is a devolved matter and the new regional area guidelines for the assisted area status are a matter for the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, my right hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable). The Government have stated that when consulting on the new assisted area map, we will need to take account of factors particular to Northern Ireland and will work with the European Commission, along with other member states, to ensure that the new RAG allows appropriate flexibility.

HMS Caroline

Stephen Pound: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the current status is of HMS Caroline. [121685]

Mike Penning: I welcome the announcement made on 11 October that HMS Caroline is to remain in Belfast. Further details are set out in the press statement made by the Northern Ireland Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Investment at:

http://www.northernireland.gov.uk/index/media-centre/news-departments/news-deti/news-deti-111012-hms-caroline-to.htm.

Research

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much her Department spent on research and development in (a) 2008-09, (b) 2009-10, (c) 2010-11 and (d) 2011-12; and how much she plans to spend in (i) 2012-13, (ii) 2013-14 and (iii) 2014-15. [121888]

17 Oct 2012 : Column 316W

Mike Penning: Comparable figures for the Department as it is now configured are not available following the completion of devolution of policing and justice functions on 12 April 2010.

Since 12 April 2010, the Northern Ireland Office has spent nothing on research and development. The Department does not plan to spend anything on research and development in years (i) 2012-13, (ii) 2013-14 or (iii) 2014-15.

Welfare Reform Act 2012

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent discussions she has had with the (a) Chancellor of the Exchequer and (b) Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on introducing flexibilities for (i) benefit payment intervals, (ii) arrangements for housing benefit paid directly to landlords and (iii) those with mental health conditions in relation to the implementation of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 in Northern Ireland. [123054]

Mike Penning: Welfare reform will bring many benefits including a simpler benefits system that always rewards work and protects the most vulnerable as well as being fairer to both the claimant and the taxpayer. The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Mrs Villiers), spoke most recently about these and other matters to the Minister for Welfare Reform, my noble Friend, Lord Freud, on 15 October.

Treasury

Bank Services

Annette Brooke: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 6 September 2012, Official Report, column 372, on SMEs, when he expects the Financial Services Authority to publish its recommendations on the requirements for a banking licence. [121956]

Greg Clark: The Government published a white paper on Banking Reform in June 2012. That paper announced that the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the Bank of England are conducting reviews of the prudential and conduct requirements for new entrants to the banking sector. The reviews will reassess the prudential requirements of the new Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the conduct requirements of the new Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) to ensure that they are proportionate and do not pose excessive barriers to entry or expansion for new entrants and prospective new entrants to the banking market.

The conclusions of the reviews are due to be published in the autumn. Where possible, the FSA and the Bank of England have committed to introduce these changes in advance of the new regulatory structure.

British Business Bank

Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether the proposed British Business Bank will be able to borrow its own financial resources and direct these to small and medium-sized businesses; [121538]

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(2) what level of (a) public and (b) private funding or capital will be provided to the proposed British Business Bank in each of the next three financial years; [121539]

(3) whether the proposed British Business Bank will be permitted to lend directly to businesses. [121540]

Greg Clark: The Government intends to allocate up to £1 billion of public capital to the business bank. The bank will work through intermediaries and leverage additional private sector capital to help stimulate and diversify the markets for long-term capital for growing businesses. The Government will set out further details later this autumn.

Business: Peterborough

Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made on the effect of the Funding for Lending Scheme on (a) small and medium-sized enterprises and (b) mortgages in Peterborough constituency; and if he will make a statement. [121684]

Greg Clark: The Funding for Lending scheme provides strong incentives to banks to make loans cheaper and more easily available to households and non-financial businesses across the UK. Participating banks have already introduced a number of new and cheaper mortgage and SME loan products linked to the scheme.

Child: Maintenance

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps are taken by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to carry out an investigation into tax and maintenance evasion, where an application for child maintenance demonstrates that a non-resident parent has failed to declare their full taxable income to HMRC. [123047]

Mr Gauke: The functions of the former Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission have been assumed by the Department of Work and Pensions (DWP). Section 127(4)(a) of the Welfare Reform Act 2012 provides a legal gateway for information sharing between DWP and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), including on matters relating to child maintenance.

HMRC and DWP have introduced an integrated approach to tackling fraud and error. This strategy was published in October 2010 in “Tackling fraud and error in the benefit and tax credits systems”. This includes joint intelligence, investigations and prosecutions. The document can be found at:

http://www.dwp.gov.uk/docs/tackling-fraud-and-error.pdf

HMRC considers all information supplied to it on matters relating to suspected error and fraud and deploys a risk based approach to all its compliance interventions, focusing its resources on the highest tax risks and targeted interventions to reduce the scope for all forms of evasion regardless of where it occurs.

Taxation: Community Interest Companies

Mr Ward: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will consider reforming the tax treatment of community interest companies (CICs) to change the

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tax treatment of CIC directors relative to directors of limited companies in respect of their inability to pay dividends. [123048]

Mr Gauke: The Government have no plans to change the tax treatment of directors of community interest companies; such individuals are subject to the same tax and National Insurance rules as directors of other limited companies.

A community interest company limited by shares may pay dividends to shareholders, including private investors e.g. directors. However, the payment of a dividend to a private investor is subject to a dividend cap. The dividend cap does not apply to dividends paid to certain asset-locked bodies. This ensures the assets and profits are retained within the community interest company for community purposes, or transferred to another asset-locked organisation, such as another community interest company or charity.

Further detail can be found in chapter six of the guidance available on the community interest company regulator's website:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/cicregulator/guidance

Attorney-General

Human Trafficking

Mr Bone: To ask the Attorney-General how many people have been (a) prosecuted for and (b) convicted of human trafficking or associated offences where the type of exploitation was forced cultivation of cannabis. [122782]

The Solicitor-General: I am unable to provide data on the number of defendants prosecuted and convicted for trafficking into forced cannabis cultivation. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Case Management System cannot disaggregate from figures for offences of human trafficking, the nature of the exploitation. These data could be obtained only by examining all of the CPS's case files for human trafficking, which would incur disproportionate cost.

Mr Bone: To ask the Attorney-General how many prosecutions took place for conspiracy to traffic human beings in each of the last three years; and how many such prosecutions led to convictions. [122783]

The Solicitor-General: I am unable to provide data on the number of defendants prosecuted and who were convicted for conspiracy to traffic human beings. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) Case Management System cannot disaggregate from figures for all offences of conspiracy under section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977, the specific type of offence which they conspired to commit. These data could be obtained only by examining all of the CPS's case files for conspiracy, which would incur disproportionate cost.

17 Oct 2012 : Column 319W

International Development

Afghanistan

Heidi Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what plans she has to make tackling violence against women and girls a priority for the Government in their bilateral aid programme in Afghanistan; and whether this area of work will be included in her Department's next Operational Plan for that country; [122756]

(2) what steps the Government are taking to support the Government of Afghanistan to achieve its target of recruiting 5,000 women into Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in terms of (a) funding and (b) tackling the barriers to women's participation in ANSF such as sexual harassment; [122757]

(3) what steps her Department has taken to ensure the Afghan National Security Forces can respond effectively to women's security concerns, including training on the implementation of Afghanistan's End Violence Against Women law. [122758]

Justine Greening: The UK places women at the heart of its development efforts in Afghanistan as set out in the UK National Action Plan on UN Security Council Resolution 1325. We consider how to improve the lives of Afghan women and girls through all of DFID's programmes in the country and will continue to do so for the next operation plan period. The UK also regularly presses the Afghan Government to implement their national and human rights obligations, including the Elimination of Violence against Women law. With regards to the remaining two parliamentary questions (122757 and 122758), I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Alistair Burt), on 21 June 2012, Official Report, column 1093W.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Israel

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Israel on calls to demolish the Jahalin School in Khan Al Ahmar; and if he will make a statement. [122744]

Alistair Burt: Our ambassador to Israel and the British consul-general to Jerusalem raised the issue of demolitions in Area C with the Co-ordinator of Government Activity in the Territories earlier this month. They also flagged our concerns about the proposed demolition of the school with his officials.

As stated in my response of 20 September to the hon. Member’s e-mail of 5 September.

“Officials from the British Consulate General in Jerusalem attended the Israeli High Court hearing held on 13 September regarding the demolition orders of the Khan Al Ahmar school. I understand that the Israeli court did not pass judgment as the judges stated that this was a political case and the decision should be made by politicians.

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We continue to call on the Israeli Government to fulfil its commitment, as confirmed in a letter from the British Ambassador to Israel to the Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister on 23 April, to a process of dialogue with the Bedouin on Israeli plans to move the Khan Al Ahmar community, and ensure that any decision reached on the future of the Bedouin communities in Area C of the West Bank is made with their lull consent”.

Sri Lanka

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress has been made on the implementation of UN Human Rights Council Resolution 19/2; and what his objectives are for the 21st Session of the UN Human Rights Council in relation to human rights and reconciliation in Sri Lanka. [121611]

Alistair Burt: We have urged Sri Lanka to make progress in implementing the recommendations of the Human Rights Council. Sri Lanka's July 2012 action plan on implementing the Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Commission recommendations fulfils one of the requests of the Human Rights Council. We look to Sri Lanka to implement the action plan and to address other elements of the resolution including alleged violations of international law. We continue to have concerns about human rights in Sri Lanka including political violence and intimidation of the media.

We look forward to actively contributing to Sri Lanka's Universal Periodic Review at the Human Rights Council (HRC) in November. In that context, the UK made clear in a statement on 17 September to the HRC that we continued to monitor developments in Sri Lanka and looked forward to a highly anticipated visit to the country by the High Commissioner for Human Rights.

The Prime Minister emphasised the need for accountability and reconciliation most recently in a short discussion with President Rajapaksa at the Commonwealth Secretary-General's lunch on 6 June. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), made the same points when he met the Sri Lankan Minister for External Affairs on 6 June.

UN Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict

Heidi Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs from which budget his recent £1 million pledge to support the Office of the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative on Sexual Violence in Conflict will be drawn. [122911]

Mark Simmonds: The £1 million pledge to support the Office of the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative on Sexual Violence will be drawn from Conflict Pool Resources, specifically the Strengthening Alliances and Partnerships Programme.

World War II: Medals

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what plans his Department has to issue medals to those who served in the (a) Political Warfare Executive and (b) Political

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Intelligence Department in North Africa, Italy, Palestine and Yugoslavia between 1943 and 1946. [122764]

Mark Simmonds: There are no plans to issue a new medal to those who served in these two Departments. While we support the principle of recognition for those who served Britain so well during world war two and since, the Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals could not single out particular groups so far after the events took place and where most of the records no longer exist.

Where claimants can prove relevant service that qualified for existing medals through eligibility and service history, then late claims can still be made to, and medals issued by, the MOD Historic Branch.

Education

GCSE

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what discussions (a) he and (b) officials in his Department have had with officials at Ofqual about the recent decisions by examination boards to change GCSE grade boundaries in respect of (i) the fairness to pupils and (ii) the potential effect on stability in the secondary education system of those decisions; and if he will make a statement. [122040]

Elizabeth Truss: Standards and grade boundaries in qualifications are a matter for Ofqual as the independent regulator in England. Ministers and officials are not involved in discussions relating to the setting of grade boundaries in advance of the publication of results.

The Chief Regulator wrote to the Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove), on 22 August advising him of the Regulator's approach to ensuring that GCSE grades are correct. Officials of the Department for Education have regular meetings with Ofqual and were, in the run-up to the publication of GCSE results on 23 August, informed by Ofqual about the approach to GCSE awarding in 2012.

Ofqual published its initial report into the grading of GCSE English in 2012 on 31 August. The report and Ofqual's letter of 22 August are available on Ofqual's website at:

http://www.ofqual.gov.uk/news-and-announcements/130-news-and-announcements-press-releases/972-ofqual-report-on-gcse-english-results-finds-january-assessments-were-graded-generously

GCSE: Brighton and Hove

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will estimate the number of pupils in the Brighton and Hove local authority area who have been affected by recent decisions by examination boards to change GCSE grade boundaries; and if he will make a statement. [122030]

Elizabeth Truss: The Department for Education does not hold information relating to the marks awarded to individual GCSE candidates.

17 Oct 2012 : Column 322W

Higher Education: Admissions

Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) when he plans to reply to the letter from the right hon. Member and learned for Camberwell and Peckham of 17 July 2012; [121957]

(2) when the Government intend to respond to the Hughes Report; [122035]

(3) how many discussions he has had with the Government's Advocate for Access to Higher Education about the recommendations made in the Hughes Report; and what the subject of each of those discussions was. [122036]

Matthew Hancock: The Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove), replied to the right hon. and learned Member's letter earlier this month. The Government welcomed the report of the Government's Advocate for Access to Education published on 21 July 2011 and the issues it raised were considered by the Government at the time and during the passage of the Education Act 2011. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the lead Department on Higher Education, incorporated a response to the recommendations in the Hughes Report on Higher Education in its publication “Government response to ‘Students at the heart of the system’ and ‘A new regulatory framework for the higher education sector’”, published in June 2012. The Secretary of State met the Government's Advocate for Access to Education to discuss his work before the report was published. The then Minister of State for Further Education, Skills and Lifelong Learning, my hon. Friend the Member for South Holland and The Deepings (Mr Hayes), who was a Minister in both BIS and the Department for Education, has met the Government's Advocate for Access to Education since the publication of his report.

Energy and Climate Change

Carbon Emissions

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether he has discussed including international aviation and shipping emissions in carbon budgets as recommended by the Committee on Climate Change with (a) the Chancellor of the Exchequer and (b) the Secretary of State for Transport. [122811]

Gregory Barker: The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, the right hon. Member for Kingston and Surbiton (Mr Davey), has regular discussions with his Cabinet colleagues on a variety of issues, and will continue to engage closely with them before any decision is taken on this matter. Department of Energy and Climate Change officials are in regular contact with their opposite numbers in other Government Departments on this issue, as well as with the Committee on Climate Change, ahead of the statutory deadline set out at section 30 of the Climate Change Act 2008.

Centre for Sustainable Energy

Chris Heaton-Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change which contracts have been assigned by his Department to the Centre for Sustainable Energy in the last five years; and what the value was of each such contract. [122768]

17 Oct 2012 : Column 323W

Gregory Barker: The Department of Energy and Climate Change has let the following contracts to the Centre for Sustainable Energy in the last five years. The values shown are the total sums spent under each contract.

Contract titleValue (£)

Planning contract 2008-09

238,434.00

CSE planning communications programme activity for financial year 2008-09

96,156.22

CSE planning communications programme activity for FY 2009-10

368,625.81

Energy Demand Research Project Database Validation and Adaptation

13,150.00

National Heat Map

147,909.93

Preparation of Dataset for Energy Demand Research Project

4,710.00

Research carried out on behalf of the Hills review

1,000.00

Work carried out on the Distribution Impacts Model for Policy Scenario Analysis upgrade

42,025.00

Total

912,010.96

Combined Heat and Power

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what plans he has to encourage refineries to generate their own electricity using combined heat and power once levy exemption certificates are removed and carbon price support rates introduced in 2013. [122874]

Gregory Barker: All but two of the UK's refineries already operate large CHP schemes, although there is potential to increase their capacity, increasing the quantity of electricity they export to the grid.

Regarding support for fossil fuel fired combined heat and power following the withdrawal of levy exemption certificates in April 2013, I refer the Member to the answers I gave to the hon. Member for Sedgefield (Phil Wilson) on 15 October 2012, Official Report, column 130W.

In respect of carbon price support rates Budget 2012 confirmed that CHP would be exempt from carbon price support costs in respect of heat output. This ensures CHP is not disadvantaged relative to other forms of electricity generation from fossil fuels.

Electricity Generation

Dan Byles: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of total electricity generation capacity within the UK; and what estimate he has made of such capacity in 2015. [123157]

Mr Hayes: Projections of electricity generation capacity within the UK are published in DECC's Energy and Emission Projections, which were most recently updated on 15 October 2012:

www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/about/ec_social_res/analytic_projs/en_emis_projs/en_emis_projs.aspx

Electricity generation capacity projections are provided in Annex J: Total Capacity where on the central scenario capacity is projected to be 98.6 GW in 2012 and 98.2 GW in 2015.

17 Oct 2012 : Column 324W

Energy Distribution

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the annual cost of energy distribution to consumers. [122271]

Gregory Barker: The Department has not estimated the annual cost of energy distribution to consumers but Ofgem does publish a document explaining household energy bills available at:

http://www.ofgem.gov.uk/Media/FactSheets/Documents1/household-bills.pdf

In the latest publication, May 2012, electricity distribution accounted for approximately 18% of the average annual household electricity bill (£470) which amounted to £84.60. Gas distribution accounted for approximately 19% of the average annual household gas bill (£704) which amounted to £133.76.

Energy: Profits

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the level of annual profits reported by energy distribution firms. [122267]

Gregory Barker: Costs and revenues of the regulated activities of energy distribution companies are a matter for the independent regulator Ofgem.

Exhaust Emissions: Shipping

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the merits of introducing a carbon price on international shipping; whether such a proposal will be discussed at the forthcoming UN climate change conference; and if he will make a statement. [122938]

Gregory Barker: The Government recognise the importance of addressing greenhouse gas emissions from shipping. Our view is that the best approach would be the application of a global Emissions Trading System agreed through the International Maritime Organisation (IMO). Such a measure would establish a carbon price for the shipping sector, and this would help to drive improvements in energy efficiency and investment in new low carbon technologies—building on the IMO agreement in 2011 of an Energy Efficiency Design Index for new ships. The UK will continue to play an active role in the IMO's ongoing work on technical, operational and market based measures to reduce emissions on a global basis.

With regard to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Doha, we are working with other parties to explore whether it will be possible for the UNFCCC to send a clear signal to the IMO on the need for swift progress towards a global agreement in line with our overall goal of limiting global warming to below 2 (o)C.

Green Deal Scheme

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change with reference to paragraph 149 of the impact assessment for the Green Deal and

17 Oct 2012 : Column 325W

energy company obligation, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that all households are able to receive such measures. [122399]

Gregory Barker: The Government recognise that households who receive energy efficiency measures will see their thermal efficiency improve and their risk of fuel poverty reduced. The Government has in place a number of policies to help households access measures, including the current carbon emissions reduction target and community energy saving programme obligations, the Warm Front scheme in England, and the new Green Deal and energy company obligation (ECO).

The ECO will require energy companies to deliver assistance worth around £540 million per annum to low income households and those living in low income areas.

In order to help households find out more about the offers that are available to them under schemes such as the Green Deal and ECO, the Department has launched the Energy Saving Advice Service which consumers can contact on 0300 123 1234. We are also putting in place a system to ensure that, where eligible low income and vulnerable households contact the advice line, they can be referred directly to the energy companies responsible for delivering ECO for support.

Dan Byles: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many Green Deal (a) providers, (b) assessors and (c) installers have been approved since the inception of the scheme. [122817]

Gregory Barker: The Green Deal Oversight and Registration Body reported that by close of play on 12 October (a) two Green Deal provider organisations had completed registration; (b) nine separate Green Deal assessor organisations were on the register; and (c) 166 separate Green Deal installer organisations had been registered (184 including regional offices).

Low Carbon Networks Fund

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the benefits of the Low Carbon Networks Fund. [122268]

Gregory Barker: The Low Carbon Networks Fund is encouraging innovation on the electricity distribution networks to assist the UK's transition to the low carbon economy. The Fund is providing backing for a series of leading-edge projects aimed at developing crucial knowledge and expertise which can be shared across the industry—helping to improve performance while curbing costs. The projects under way are not yet completed but the terms of the funding require wide dissemination of the learning generated including through an annual public event to report on progress made and lessons learnt.

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the total value of the Low Carbon Networks Fund is. [122270]

Gregory Barker: The Low Carbon Networks Fund has made available up to £500 million over the period 2010-15.

17 Oct 2012 : Column 326W

Natural Gas

Dan Byles: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent estimate he has made of the potential size of domestic UK shale gas reserves; and if he will make a statement. [123150]

Mr Hayes: A British Geological Survey study in 2010 estimated that if UK shales were similar to those in the USA they could yield some 150 billion cubic metres of gas, equivalent to roughly two years of UK demand.

The BGS has been undertaking more detailed work which also takes into account last year's drilling results of Cuadrilla in Lancashire. BGS expects to be able to publish revised estimates of the resource, that is, the amount of gas in the rocks, towards the end of the year.

However, little drilling has taken place and commercial potential of shale gas has not been quantified, so it is not yet possible to make a reliable estimate of recoverable reserves, that is, the amount of gas which might be economically producible from the resource.

Dan Byles: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent estimate he has made of the potential size of domestic UK coal bed methane reserves; and if he will make a statement. [123151]

Mr Hayes: DECC commissioned a British Geological Survey study in 2010 which estimated that the UK total coal bed methane (CBM) resource (or hydrocarbons in place) is large—about 2,900 billion cubic metres, based on identifying coal resources that are thick enough, with gas content >lm3/tonne, away from worked coalmine seams, aquifers and coal mine methane recovery:

http://og.decc.gov.uk/media/viewfile.ashx?filetype=4&filepath=og/ep/onshore/Promote_UK_CBM.pdf

But the presence of a CBM resource does not imply that the geotechnical conditions required to establish significant gas flow (e.g. permeability in the coal seams) exist nor that the resource can be recovered economically.

Estimation of reserves will depend on proving commerciality. There are two pilot CBM fields producing methane gas in the UK, Potteries and Doe Green, which have yet to prove commerciality. However, the Airth CBM field in Scotland has seen significant, investment and there are plans for a full-scale development which are currently under review.

Nottinghamshire

Mr Spencer: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what ministerial visits to (a) the City of Nottingham and (b) Nottinghamshire have taken place since May 2010. [121760]

Gregory Barker: The former Minister of Energy, my hon. Friend the Member for Wealden (Charles Hendry), visited Nottingham university on 6 March 2012.

Nuclear Power

Mark Menzies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when he expects an announcement from Horizon Nuclear Power on the

17 Oct 2012 : Column 327W

future of its nuclear programme in the UK; and if he will make a statement. [121374]

Mr Hayes: The sale of Horizon Nuclear Power is a commercial process which is being led by the current owners and their sales advisers Nomura. Therefore, it would be inappropriate to comment on the outcome of the process before the sales process has reached a conclusion.

Renewable Energy: Infrastructure

Dan Byles: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) what the five most costly renewable energy infrastructure projects in the UK are which are (a) being planned and (b) under construction; [123152]

To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (2) what assessment he has made of the five largest investors in UK renewable energy infrastructure projects in terms of financial investment (a) committed to in each of the last five years and (b) planned in each of the next five years. [123156]

Gregory Barker: The Department does not hold details on the financial value of all renewable investments made or planned in the UK, and details of forward investment plans are in many cases commercially sensitive and not made public by investors.

The Renewable Energy Planning Database, developed by my Department, is based on a monitoring programme that collects information from local planning authorities and renewable energy developers on the status of all renewable energy projects at each stage of the planning process—from intended applications and planning submissions through to construction and commissioning. Details on key planning and environmental issues are also recorded. Details are available at:

https://restats.decc.gov.uk/cms/planning-database/

Online interactive maps are available that show the progress of projects through the planning system, and an extract (in spreadsheet form) from the planning database, together with a progress datasheet, is made available each month.

The database does not, generally, include details of the cost of projects—however the report “Review of the generation costs and deployment potential of renewable electricity technologies in the UK”, available to download free of charge on the DECC website at

www.decc.gov.uk

provides indicative costs for various renewable energy technologies.

Renewable Heat Incentive Scheme

Sarah Newton: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether he plans to publish the data used to calculate the different tariffs for the Renewable Heat Incentive scheme; and if he will make a statement. [122347]

Gregory Barker: DECC calculates RHI tariffs using a range of data on capital costs, operating costs, performance, fuel prices, barrier costs and usage estimates for a range of sizes, applications and building types.

17 Oct 2012 : Column 328W

The data used for existing tariffs are summarized in publications on DECC's website

http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/meeting_energy/renewable_ener/incentive/documents/documents.aspx

particularly in the Analytical Annex and the AEA 2010 RHI Evidence Base Update.

For tariffs currently being consulted on, all data are published in full on the relevant consultation pages, where there are accompanying spreadsheets:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/meeting_energy/Renewable_ener/incentive/incentive.aspx

DECC is updating data on costs and performance of Renewable Heat technologies and this dataset will result in a published report of DECC's new assumptions and be used when the RHI policy, currently being consulted upon, is finalised.

Warm Home Discount Scheme

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will take steps to provide the Warm Home Discount to the poorest families with children under five years old. [122886]

Gregory Barker: Warm Home Discount Scheme Broader Group schemes offered by participating suppliers include an offer for groups such as low income families and those with long-term illnesses and disabilities. All six participating suppliers (British Gas, EDF, E.ON, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE) have eligibility criteria in their Broader Schemes targeted at low income families with children under five.

Suppliers provided a total of 234,297 Broader Group rebates worth £120 each, equating to £28.1 million of support in 2011-12. We expect at least 364,000 households to benefit from the Broader Group in 2012-13, receiving rebates of £130.

Cabinet Office

Average Earnings: Peterborough

Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the average median weekly earnings were before tax for employees (a) aged 50-64, (b) over 65 and (c) of all ages in Peterborough constituency in each year since 2001; and if he will make a statement. [121757]

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

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated September 2012:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking what the average median weekly earnings were before tax for employees (a) aged 50-64, (b) over 65 and (c) of all ages in Peterborough constituency in each year since 2001. (121757)

Average levels of earnings are estimated from the Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), and are provided for all employees on adult rates of pay whose pay for the survey period was not affected by absence. The ASHE, carried out in April each year, is the most comprehensive source of earnings information in the United Kingdom.

17 Oct 2012 : Column 329W

The following table shows the median gross weekly earnings for all, full-time and part-time jobs for employees aged 50-64 and of all ages in Peterborough constituency for April of each year from 2001 until 2011, the latest period for which figures are available. There are no reliable estimates available for those employees aged 65 and over.

Median gross weekly earnings (£)—for all, full-time and part-time employee jobs(1), employees aged 50-64 and of all ages for 2001 to 2011
Peterborough constituency
    50-64
 AllFull-timePart-timeAllFull-timePart-time

2001

*302.4

*349.6

**107.1

**304.1

**363.0

x

2002

*311.1

*369.4

**96.3

**283.8

**404.8

x

2003

*347.2

403.0

x

**339.1

**455.2

x

2004(2)

*368.2

424.4

**128.0

**397.8

*466.0

x

2004(3)

*346.4

*390.4

**124.6

**355.5

*452.7

x

2005

*357.5

401.6

*152.9

**363.3

**434.6

x

2006(4)

385.2

439.8

**138.0

*413.5

*468.2

x

2006(5)

381.6

438.3

**135.5

*405.4

*468.3

x

2007

*400.0

*445.6

**147.2

*438.0

*461.1

x

2008

*376.1

447.5

**147.4

*429.4

*460.1

x

2009

400.8

*463.4

**165.0

*413.0

*476.8

x

2010

399.0

486.7

*164.9

*419.4

*500.2

x

2011(6)

415.1

467.8

*170.9

*424.5

*484.5

x

2011(7)

412.8

464.7

*165.7

*424.2

*479.9

x

(1) Employees on adult rates whose pay for the survey pay-period was not affected by absence. (2) 2004 results excluding supplementary survey for comparison with 2003. (3) 2004 results including supplementary survey designed to improve coverage of the survey website. For more information see National Statistics website at: www.statistics.gov.uk (4 )2006 results with methodology consistent with 2005. (5) 2006 results with methodology consistent with 2007. (6) 2011 results based on Standard Occupational Classification 2000. (7) 2011 results based on Standard Occupational Classification 2010. Guide to Quality: The Coefficient of Variation (CV) indicates the quality of a figure, the smaller the CV value the higher the quality. The true value is likely to lie within +/- twice the CV—for example, for an average of 200 with a CV of 5%, we would expect the population average to be within the range 180 to 220. Key: CV =5% * CV >5% and =10% ** CV >10% and =20% x unreliable CV = Coefficient of Variation Source: Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), Office for National Statistics.

Civil Servants

Richard Fuller: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) how many civil servants of each grade from 1 to 7 there are in each Government Department; [121805]

(2) how many civil servants of each grade from 1 to 7 working in each Government department were recruited (a) since June 2007, (b) since June 2002, (c) since June 1997, (d) since June 1992 and (e) before June 1992. [121815]

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

17 Oct 2012 : Column 330W

Letter from Glen Watson, dated October 2012:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Questions concerning:

1) how many civil servants of each grade from one to seven there are in each Government Department (121805)

2) how many civil servants of each grade from 1 to 7 working in each Government department were recruited (a) since June 2007, (b) since June 2002, (c) since June 1997, (d) since June 1992 and (e) before June 1992. (121815)

Data are collected on the number of Civil Servants on an annual basis. The latest available data is for March 2011.

The data for the number of Civil Servants in Grades 6 and 7 by department and how many were recruited (a) since June 2007, (b) since June 2002, (c) since June 1997, (d) since June 1992 and (e) before June 1992 are in have been included in the tables.

Data for Grades 1 to 5, Senior Civil Servant Grades, is available on the ONS ACSES database. However, to provide this information would incur a disproportionate cost.

The tables will be placed in the library of the house.

Employment: Wales

Chris Ruane: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the net change in private sector jobs was in (a) Wales and (b) Vale of Clwyd constituency from May 2010 to the latest period for which figures are available. [121227]

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

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated September 2012:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking what the net change in private sector jobs was in (a) Wales and (b) Vale of Clwyd from May 2010 to the latest period for which figures are available. (121227)

Unfortunately, estimates of private sector jobs are not available. As an alternative, we have provided Table 1, which presents net change in private sector employment in Wales from the Labour Force Survey (LFS). This also includes returns from public sector organisations between June 2010 and June 2012, which is the latest available period. Estimates for May 2010 are not available as public sector returns are collected quarterly (March, June, September and December).

As data from the LFS and returns from public sector organisations are only available at regional level, Table 2 provides the net changes in private sector employment from the Annual Population Survey (APS) in Wales and Vale of Clwyd constituency, between the 12 month periods ending in December 2010 and March 2012, which is the latest available period.

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

As with any sample survey, estimates from the LFS and the APS are subject to a margin of uncertainty. A guide to the quality of the APS estimates is given in Table 2.

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

http://www.nomisweb.co.uk

Table 1: Net change in private sector employment between June 2010 and June 20121
Thousand
 Private sector employment 
 June 2010June 2012Net change

Wales

947

978

32

(1) Estimated as the difference between LFS total employment and the data from public sector organisations. Source: Labour Force Survey and returns from public sector organisations

17 Oct 2012 : Column 331W

Table 2: Net change in private sector employment between the 12 month periods ending December 2010 and March 2012
   Thousand
 Private sector employment 12 months ending: 
 December 2010March 2012Net change
    

Wales

881

*905

24

Vale of Clwyd

20

**22

2

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

Deputy Prime Minister

Lobbying

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he plans to publish a response to the public consultation on introducing a statutory register of lobbyists document; and when he plans to publish a White Paper outlining its proposals for a new draft Bill. [123139]

Miss Chloe Smith: The consultation document “Introducing a Statutory Register of Lobbyists” was published to gather evidence from experts in the field and members of the public. It asked a number of specific questions, the answers to which are helping inform the policy on lobbying reform. The consultation closed on 20 April 2012 and we published a summary of responses on 16 July. The Government are pursuing this agenda and following our consultation we will take stock.

Transport

Apprentices

Mike Crockart: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many apprentices working in his Department are (a) paid and (b) completing a qualification as part of the apprenticeship; [123097]

(2) how many (a) paid apprentices and/or (b) paid interns are employed in his Department. [123098]

Norman Baker: There are currently 281 paid apprentices and no paid interns in the Department for Transport and its six Executive agencies. All apprentices are completing a qualification as part of their apprenticeship.

17 Oct 2012 : Column 332W

Aviation: Musicians

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will support the Association of British Orchestras and the Musicians' Union in their representations to the European Commission's Department for Transport to secure legislative change that would enshrine the right of musicians to travel with their instrument in the aircraft cabin. [122661]

Mr Simon Burns: The size and amount of cabin or hold baggage that a passenger is permitted to take on board a commercial aircraft is a matter for airlines to decide as private commercial companies. The Department for Transport has no plans to introduce legislation on this issue, but will engage fully with any future proposals from the Commission.

Heathrow Airport

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on (a) retaining runway alternation and (b) the introduction of mixed mode operation at Heathrow. [123672]

Mr Simon Burns: As stated in a written ministerial statement on 7 September 2010, Official Report, columns 13-14WS, the coalition Government remain committed to runway alternation at Heathrow airport and will not be reviving the plans for mixed mode considered by our predecessors.

High Speed 2 Railway Line

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will assess the effect of locating the London terminus of High Speed 2 at (a) Euston and (b) Old Oak Common on (i) journey times and convenience for (1) HS2 and (2) underground and overground passengers, (ii) the cost of stations and connections, (iii) the cost of the HS2 link, (iv) housing, (v) noise levels, (vi) air pollution, (vii) loss of open public space and (viii) regeneration; if he will take steps to ensure that all affected London boroughs are consulted; and if he will make a statement. [122418]

Mr Simon Burns: An assessment was carried out during the initial design stage when considering the optimal site for stations. This was published in March 2010 and can be found at:

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20110202231927/http://www.dft.gov.uk/pgr/rail/pi/highspeedrail/hs2ltd/hs2report/

Chapter 3 is relevant to journey times, underground and overground passengers and cost of stations. The Appraisal of Sustainability for HS2 made an assessment of the impact on housing, noise, air pollution, open public space and regeneration and this is available at:

www.dft.gov.uk/aos

Building on the Appraisal of Sustainability, a further assessment will be made as part of the environmental impact assessment process which I expect to consult upon in spring 2013.

17 Oct 2012 : Column 333W

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy that his Department should undertake a comprehensive re-examination of the business case for HS2. [122714]

Mr Simon Burns: The Government are committed to HS2 as the best way to provide the essential extra capacity that is required on our railways, and there are no plans to re-examine the business case for the project. We expect to publish the next update to the Economic Case in time for consultation on the Phase 2 preferred route and consideration of the Hybrid Bill for London-West Midlands. We expect to deposit the Hybrid Bill by the end of 2013 and are currently exploring options for bringing forward the Phase 2 consultation from 2014 to 2013.

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which responses to the HS2 consultation were not taken into account by HS2 Ltd's contractor Dialogue by Design, by constituency. [122723]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department does not hold this information—Dialogue by Design did not analyse responses by constituency.

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how individuals and organisations that responded to the HS2 consultations can check that their contributions have been registered and included in the analysis of the consultations. [122724]

Mr Simon Burns: The consultation responses website allows universal access to view the organisation responses listed in Appendix 2 of the Consultation Summary Report, the appendices of the addendum reports and the response forms from members of the public and local/regional businesses that were not marked as ‘confidential’. Names have been redacted from the individual responses and are listed by a Respondent ID number.

Individuals who wish to know their Respondent ID number and any individuals or organisation that marked their response as ‘confidential’ may also check their response was registered and included in the analysis by contacting HS2 Ltd on 020 7944 4908 or by emailing to:

HS2enquiries@hs2.org.uk

Those who submitted responses affected by the statements on 17 July and 18 September have been contacted.

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department will use a full Ecosystems Service Approach for the next version of the Economic Case for High Speed 2. [122729]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department updates its appraisal guidance on an annual basis, taking into account the latest evidence where possible. The Department plans to release updated appraisal guidance, which will be subject to extensive consultation, in early 2013.

We are currently working with DEFRA in order to agree which aspects of the Ecosystems Services Assessment approach can be incorporated immediately, and which areas need further development before they can be used within transport appraisal guidance. The results of this exercise will inform the next update to the economic

17 Oct 2012 : Column 334W

case for HS2 in time to support the deposit of the Hybrid Bill for Phase 1 of HS2 by December 2013.

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when his Department will publish an update to the Economic Case for High Speed 2. [122730]

Mr Simon Burns: We expect to publish the next update to the Economic Case in time for consultation on the Phase 2 preferred route and consideration of the Hybrid Bill for London-West Midlands. We expect to deposit the Hybrid Bill by the end of 2013 and are currently exploring options for bringing forward the Phase 2 consultation from 2014 to 2013.

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if his Department will ensure that the evaluation by High Speed 2 engineers of the proposals for a full tunnel under the Chilterns Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty proceeds without delay and that the resulting feedback is given to interested parties before the end of November 2012. [122731]

Mr Simon Burns: An option for a full tunnel under the Chilterns was considered in detail by HS2 Ltd engineers and the then Secretary of State before the decision to proceed with HS2 was taken in January 2012. A HS2 Ltd report entitled ‘Options for additional tunnelling through the Chilterns’ was published in January 2012 and is available at:

http://www.hs2.org.uk/assets/x/85362

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the current date for the estimated completion of the environmental impact assessment for High Speed 2 London to Birmingham route is. [122732]

Mr Simon Burns: The environmental impact assessment (EIA) for the HS2 route section between London and the West Midlands is currently under way. HS2 Ltd will undertake a public consultation on a draft Environmental Statement based on EIA data in spring 2013. The revised Environmental Statement for HS2 will then be submitted to Parliament alongside the hybrid Bill towards the end of 2013.

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the delayed compensation consultation document will be issued by his Department. [122733]

Andrea Leadsom: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he plans to announce details of the consultation on compensation measures for Phase 1 of High Speed 2. [122752]

Mr Simon Burns: We will launch linked consultations on property and compensation, and on safeguarding for HS2 as soon as possible.

High Speed 2 Railway Line: Heathrow Airport

Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to adapt the route of High Speed 2 if the Department's Inquiry on Aviation recommends an enhancement of landing and take-off capability at London Heathrow; and if he will make a statement. [122876]

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Mr Simon Burns: There are no plans to rethink the route for HS2 decided on in January. Clearly in due course we will need to consider whether the views of the Airports Commission have any implications for our high speed rail strategy. But I do not expect any delay to be caused to the project or for the progress of the hybrid Bill to be affected.

Railways: Fares

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has had discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the three per cent above RPI increase in regulated rail fares. [122838]

Mr Simon Burns: The Secretary of State for Transport regularly discusses a range of policy issues with the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

The Prime Minister announced on 7 October that the Government is capping the increase in the cap on average regulated rail fares at RPI + 1% in January 2013 and 2014.

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the Command Paper ‘Reforming Our Railways: Putting the Customer First’, when he expects to end above-inflation fare increases. [122950]

Mr Simon Burns: In March this year, Government set out its plans to reduce the cost of running the railway by around 30% by 2019. Our plans can be found on the Department's website at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/rail-reform

If we can make substantial reductions to the cost of running the railways and the improvement in the wider economic situation permits, we can bring to an end the era of above inflation fare rises in average regulated fares, while continuing to expand capacity on our rail network.

Railways: North Wales

Guto Bebb: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make an estimate of the cost of upgrading the signalling on the North Wales coastal route; and if he will make a statement. [122642]

Mr Simon Burns: This is an operational matter for Network Rail. The Government have provided funding to Network Rail and the rail industry up to 2019 to purchase the infrastructure enhancement that best improves passenger and freight journeys in Wales and England.

Guto Bebb: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the case for investment in infrastructure on the Conwy Valley line. [122645]

Mr Simon Burns: The case for maintenance and renewal investment on the Conway Valley line is an operational matter for Network Rail. The Government have not identified any case for strategic enhancement investment in the line. Funding is available should the rail industry identify a worthwhile case for local passenger or freight infrastructure enhancement.

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Redditch-Birmingham Railway Line

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department has any plans to upgrade the Redditch to Birmingham line. [122411]

Mr Simon Burns: The Redditch to Birmingham line is to be upgraded by 2014 by the addition of a double track section at Alvechurch to enable additional peak train services to operate between Redditch and Birmingham.

Research

Chris Kelly: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what external policy research his Department has commissioned in each of the last six years; from which organisation each such piece of research was commissioned; and what the cost of each such piece of research was. [123186]

Norman Baker: Research to inform policy is commissioned by all relevant policy directorates and agencies. I regret that the information requested is not held centrally and can be provided only in the form requested at disproportionate cost.

Information on research commissioned by the Department, including details of supplier and cost, is generally reported through websites including:

DFT(central):

http://www.dft.gov.uk/rmd/

Highways Agency:

http://www.highways.gov.uk/specialist-information/knowledge-compendium/

Marine and Coastguard Agency:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/mca/mcga07-home/aboutus/mcga-aboutus-research2.htm

Thameslink Railway Line

Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he is satisfied that the Thameslink rolling stock procurement process was carried out correctly. [122808]

Mr Simon Burns: Yes. The recent announcement regarding pausing activity relates to franchising only, and so there are no implications for the procurement of the trains for Thameslink. As is normal for this type of procurement, before contract award, we continue to ensure that the Siemens proposal remains value for money.

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the consultation on the combined Thameslink, Southern and Great Northern franchises, what estimate his Department has made of the number of passengers whose journey will be affected by the proposed end of some services entering the Thameslink core on the Wimbledon loop. [122814]

Mr Simon Burns: The most recent passenger counts for Wimbledon Loop trains show just over 7,000 passengers arriving in central London during the weekday morning peak, and just over 10,000 all day. Around 55% of these passengers travel to destinations north of Blackfriars.

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Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will review the Thameslink rolling stock procurement process. [122909]

Mr Simon Burns: The recent announcement regarding pausing activity relates to franchising only, and so there are no implications for the procurement of the trains for Thameslink. As is normal for this type of procurement, before contract award, we continue to ensure that the Siemens proposal remains value for money.

Traffic Lights

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) whether his Department has carried out an analysis of the potential effects of installing environmentally-friendly LED traffic lights; [122805]

(2) what (a) discussions he has had with and (b) guidance he has issued to local highways authorities on installing LEDs in traffic lights. [122806]

Norman Baker: The Department for Transport has not carried out any formal analysis of the effects of introducing LED traffic lights. Nor has it issued any specific guidance for highways authorities on installing them.

LED traffic lights have been in use for some time. Procurement and installation of traffic lights is a matter for the relevant highway authority, which is free to decide what type of traffic lights to specify.

Transport: EU Action

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which transport projects in the UK contribute to the trans-European transport network. [122834]

Mr Simon Burns: The European Union's Trans European Network—Transport (TEN-T) programme exists to support the development of the single market by providing funding for transport infrastructure projects on a set of defined networks. Theoretically any project taking place on the TEN-T network, whether carried out by the public or the private sector, contributes to its development. The Department does not maintain records of all projects that have been undertaken on the network. We do keep a list of the TEN-T awards that have been made by the Commission to UK projects; these are detailed in a table which has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

West Coast Railway Line: Franchises

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many WS Atkins staff worked on the West Coast Mainline franchise on behalf of his Department; and what the (a) grade and (b) hourly rate was of each. [122640]

Mr Simon Burns: In total, 32 WS Atkins staff worked for the Department on the Intercity West Coast franchise competition. For reasons of commercial confidentiality, we are unable to disclose the grades of the individuals involved or the hourly rates that were charged by each individual.

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Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many Eversheds LLP staff worked on the West Coast Mainline franchise on behalf of his Department; and what the (a) grade and (b) hourly rate was of each. [122725]

Mr Simon Burns: In total, 15 Eversheds LLP staff worked for the Department on the Intercity West Coast franchise competition. For reasons of commercial confidentiality, we are unable to disclose the grades of the individuals involved or the hourly rates that were charged by each individual.

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for how many hours work Eversheds LLP charged his Department in respect of work relating to the West Coast Mainline franchise; and at what hourly rate. [122726][Official Report, 20 November 2012, Vol. 553, c. 3MC.]

Mr Simon Burns: In total, Eversheds LLP charged the Department for 420 hours work relating to the Intercity West Coast franchise competition. For reasons of commercial confidentiality, we are unable to disclose the hourly rates that were charged.

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for how many hours work WS Atkins charged his Department in respect of work relating to the West Coast Mainline franchise; and at what hourly rate. [122727]

Mr Simon Burns: In total, WS Atkins charged the Department for 4,950 hours work relating to the InterCity West Coast franchise competition. For reasons of commercial confidentiality, we are unable to disclose the hourly rates that were charged.

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what technical errors have been made by his Department's officials in evaluating the West Coast mainline franchise bids. [122728]

Mr Simon Burns: Evidence of significant flaws in the Department's approach emerged while officials were undertaking very detailed evidence-gathering in preparation for legal proceedings in the High Court.

These flaws stem from the way the level of risk in the bids was evaluated. Mistakes were made by officials in the way in which inflation and passenger numbers were taken into account, and how much money bidders were then asked to guarantee as a result.

I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by the Secretary of State for Transport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire Dales (Mr McLoughlin), on 15 October 2012, Official Report, columns 46-47, and the terms of reference of the Laidlaw Inquiry which have been laid in the Library of the House. The Inquiry will look into the Department's handling of the competition for the Intercity West Coast franchise and lessons to be learned. It will provide initial findings to the Secretary of State by the end of October and a final report by the end of November.

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what contingency plans are in place for the West Coast Mainline to be operated by Directly Operated Railways if First Group is not in a position to take over the franchise from 9 December 2012. [122736]

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Mr Simon Burns: I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by the Secretary of State for Transport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire Dales (Mr McLoughlin), on 15 October 2012, Official Report, columns 6-8WS, that the Department for Transport is commencing negotiations with Virgin Rail Group.

Directly Operated Railways has been undertaking prudent contingency preparations and they will continue to stand ready should they be required.

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what estimate he has made of (a) transition and (b) ongoing costs that will be incurred by Directly Operated Railways for running the West Coast Mainline before transferring services to a new operator; [122737]

(2) what plans are in place to (a) provide additional staff for Directly Operated Railways to operate the West Coast Mainline and (b) to cover the salary and recruitment costs of such staff; [122738]

(3) what expenditure his Department has incurred to develop plans for the West Coast Mainline to be operated by Directly Operated Railways, including on salaries and consultants. [122740]

Mr Simon Burns: I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by the Secretary of State for Transport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire Dales (Mr McLoughlin), on 15 October 2012, Official Report, columns 6-8WS, that the Department for Transport is commencing negotiations with Virgin Rail Group.

Directly Operated Railways has been undertaking prudent contingency preparations and they will continue to stand ready should they be required. We do not yet have final figures, but spend to date has been around £1 million. This includes expenditure on salaries and consultants.

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many of his Department's officials are involved in the planning for the West Coast Mainline to be operated by Directly Operated Railways and what their specific roles are. [122739]

Mr Simon Burns: I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by the Secretary of State for Transport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire Dales (Mr McLoughlin), on 15 October 2012, Official Report, columns 6-8WS, that the Department for Transport is commencing negotiations with Virgin Rail Group.

Directly Operated Railways has been undertaking prudent contingency preparations and they will continue to stand ready should they be required. The Department had a core team of five working wholly or partly on the contingency planning and they were supported, where needed, by colleagues from other areas of the Department. Work on contingency planning is necessarily wide ranging and as such roles cannot be strictly defined. Resources are being reviewed as a result of the announcement.

Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the civil servants involved in the West Coast Mainline franchise process had any involvement in the Thameslink rolling stock procurement. [122804]

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Mr Simon Burns: Some senior civil servants in the Department for Transport will have had some limited involvement in both the West Coast Main Line franchise process and the Thameslink rolling stock procurement process. However, the team involved in the analysis and evaluation of the Intercity West Coast procurement was a different team from that involved in the analysis and evaluation of the Thameslink rolling stock bid.