Scotland

John Thurso: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department spends annually on (a) Jobcentre Plus functions, (b) the Work programme and (c) other skills and employability programmes in Scotland. [122921]

Mr Hoban: In the year 2011-12 the Department spent the following amounts in Scotland.

Functions2011-12 annual spend (£ million)

Jobcentre Plus

98.5

Other skills and employment programmes

44

Note: The Work programme commenced in June 2011 with a budget across SR10 of around £2 billion. Actual expenditure on the Work programme is due to be published in late November 2012. Source: Internal Management Accounts

Social Security Benefits

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of how many recipients of (a) employment and support allowance, (b) carer's allowance and (c) maternity allowance will have their benefit reduced as a result of the introduction of the benefit cap in April 2013. [124431]

Mr Hoban: Of those who may see their benefits reduced when the benefit cap is introduced in April 2013, approximately 14,200 households may be in receipt of employment and support allowance (ESA). This figure relates to those in the work-related group as those on the support element of ESA are exempt from the benefit cap. Around 5,200 may be in receipt of carer's allowance. Less than 100 households may be in receipt of maternity allowance.

The figures presented above are consistent with the recent impact assessment published on 16 July 2012. This assumes that the situation of these households will go unchanged, and they will not take any steps to either work enough hours to qualify for working tax credit, renegotiate their rent in situ, or find alternative

23 Oct 2012 : Column 839W

accommodation. In all cases the Department is working to support households through this transition, using existing provision through Jobcentre Plus and the Work programme to move as many into work as possible. Therefore, please note that these figures are subject to change prior to the policy being implemented in April 2013.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he plans to offer any assistance to Work programme participants whose benefit is reduced through application of the benefit cap in April 2013. [124432]

Mr Hoban: Jobcentre Plus is offering additional support for all those likely to be affected by the benefit cap. Although they are not offering specific support to those participants already on the Work programme (WP) whose benefit is reduced through application of the benefit cap in April 2013, early access to the WP will be offered where appropriate to those who might be capped. Financially, DWP are adding up to £75 million to the discretionary housing payment (DHP) budget next year and up to £45 million the following year which WP participants could claim from up to other capped claimants. Child care and other support could be provided if the participant found work.

Mr Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many parents with three or more children claimed (a) jobseeker's allowance, (b) income support and (c) employment and support allowance in the latest period for which figures are available; and how much he expects will be spent from the public purse on these benefits in each of the next three years. [124439]

Mr Hoban: Information on the number of out-of- work benefit claimant households in Great Britain, who also claim child benefit, by number of children and benefit type for May 2011 has been released under the Freedom of Information Act and can be found at:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/PQ_FOI/index.php?page=foi

Forecast expenditure data for jobseeker's allowance, income support and employment and support allowance can be found at (forecasts of benefit expenditure are not available by size of family):

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd4/index.php?page=expenditure

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many of the households estimated to be affected by the introduction of the household benefit cap from 1 April 2013 are in temporary accommodation after having been found to be homeless and in priority need. [124498]

Mr Hoban: This information is not available.

State Retirement Pensions

Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average level of basic British state pension is received by people residing in (a) Australia, (b) Canada and (c) New Zealand. [122258]

23 Oct 2012 : Column 840W

Steve Webb: Statistics on state pensioners residing abroad by weekly average amounts payable are available on the Department's website at:

http://83.244.183.180/100pc/sp/cccountry/ccsex/a_cawklyamt_r_cccountry_c_ccsex_feb12.html

Please note:

Amounts quoted are for the total amount of state pension in payment which can comprise the following components: basic pension; additional pension and graduated retirement benefit.

Universal Credit

Gloria De Piero: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the number of working families in Ashfield whose net benefit income will decrease on the introduction of universal credit. [123547]

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

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

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

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

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

Universal Credit: Greater London

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how he will determine the level of funding to be made available to each local authority in London to cover the management costs of temporary accommodation that will not be included within universal credit. [124497]

Steve Webb: As recently announced, the treatment of temporary accommodation claimants in housing benefit will remain as now until they migrate to universal credit.

When claimants migrate to universal credit, the rental element in all cases will be based on local housing allowance rates, with a separate management payment funded through additions to the discretionary housing payments budget of local authorities. We are currently developing the arrangements for allocating these management payments.

The reforms to temporary accommodation are designed to be cost neutral, with the level of funding broadly in line with current levels.

Allocating the management payments through discretionary housing payments is an interim measure. We shall work with stakeholders to develop a more permanent solution.

A further announcement will be made once this work has been completed.

23 Oct 2012 : Column 841W

Welfare Assistance Scheme

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what advice and guidance his Department will supply to customers on changes to the arrangements for introduction of the welfare assistance scheme; and what estimate he has made of the cost of providing such advice for each of the next three years. [123302]

Steve Webb: We are working very closely with English local authorities and the devolved nations of Scotland and Wales to support them in delivering their schemes and so that claimants can get timely access to the support available from both the Department and the new provision in their communities. This includes communications to claimants. My Department will be supplying no guidance.

There are some minimal costs associated with this in 2013-14. From 2014 this activity will be part of business as usual.

Work Capability Assessment: South West

Dan Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in (a) Cornwall and (b) the Isles of Scilly were deemed fit to work following a work capability assessment in the last (i) year, (ii) six months and (iii) month. [124420]

Mr Hoban: The following table shows the number of people making a new claim to ESA who were found fit for work following an initial work capability assessment in (a) Cornwall and (b) Isles of Scilly. The information is provided for (i) March 2011 to February 2012, (ii) September 2011 to February 2012 and (iii) February 2012. This presents the latest available information.

Fit for work outcomes in Cornwall and Isles of Scilly for initial work capability assessments that took place (i) between March 2011 and February 2012, (ii) between September 2011 and February 2012 and (iii) in February 2012
Month of assessmentCornwallIsles of Scilly

March 2011-February 2012

930

September 2011-February 2012

320

February 2012

90

“—” = Nil or negligible Notes: 1. All figures have been rounded to the nearest 10. 2. The above figures are for initial ESA assessments only.

Work Programme

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what changes he has made to the attachment fees payable in each of the Work programme's first three years since the inception of that programme; and if he will make a statement. [124428]

Mr Hoban: Attachment fees remain unchanged at 100% of the rate in year one; 75% of the rate for year two; 50% of the rate for year three and are nil rated for the rest of the contract. DWP has aligned the attachment rate to be paid to Work programme providers to the actual go-live date. For example, year one attachment rates have been paid from 1 June 2011 to 31 May 2012 to align with contract dates.

23 Oct 2012 : Column 842W

Cabinet Office

Charities

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many faith-based organisations have had their charitable status revoked by reason of the removal of presumption of public benefit by the Charities Act 2006 in the last 12 months. [124524]

Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Charity Commission. I have asked the Commission's chief executive to reply.

Letter from Sam Younger, dated 19 October 2012:

I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question on how many faith-based organisations have had their charitable status revoked by reason of the removal of presumption of public benefit by the Charities Act 2006 in the last 12 months (124524).

No faith-based organisations have had their charitable status revoked in the past 12 months by reason of the removal of presumption of public benefit by the Charities Act 2006.

The Charity Commission is the regulator and registrar of charities in England and Wales. Charities in Northern Ireland and Scotland are regulated by the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland and the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator respectively.

Crimes of Violence

Mr Hollobone: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the rate of violent crime is in (a) the police force with the worst figures in the country, (b) the police force with the best figures in the country and (c) Northamptonshire. [123268]

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

Letter from Glen Watson, dated October 2012:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking for statistics on violent crime in the police force with the worst figures in the country, the police force with the best figures in the country and in Northamptonshire. (123268)

There are two main sources of statistics on violent crime: the Crime Survey for England and Wales (CSEW) and the police recorded crime series. The CSEW is the best guide to trends in violent crime at a national level since it includes crimes that have not been reported to the police. It has also been conducted using a consistent methodology over time and unaffected by changes in reporting rates or police recording practices. However, the sample is not large enough to provide estimates of violent crime at police force area level.

The police recorded crime series is the primary source for local-level crime statistics and the latest published data for 2011/12 shows:

a) the Metropolitan police force area had the highest rate of violence against the person offences, at 19.7 per 1,000 people

b) Northumbria police force area had the lowest rate, at 9.0 per 1,000 people

c) Northamptonshire police force area had a rate of 15.1 per 1,000 people.

These figures can be compared with an average of 13.8 crimes per 1,000 people for England and Wales. Police force area rates will be affected by the size of the resident population relative to the transient or visiting populations and may therefore over state the rate of crime in areas, such as London, with a high volume of day-time visitors. As the tables are large, they will be included in the House of Commons library.

23 Oct 2012 : Column 843W

23 Oct 2012 : Column 844W

Table P3: Police recorded offences by offence group, by police force area, English regions and Wales, 2011-12
Rates per 1,000 population(1, 2)
 TotalViolence against the personSexual offencesRobberyBurglaryOffences against vehicles(3)
       

Cleveland

77

15

1

0

9

6

Durham

58

10

1

0

8

6

Northumbria

53

9

1

0

6

4

North East Region

59

10

1

0

7

5

Cheshire

59

11

1

0

8

5

Cumbria

53

13

1

0

4

3

Greater Manchester

79

15

1

2

12

8

Lancashire

68

15

1

0

8

6

Merseyside

71

10

1

1

10

6

North West Region

71

13

1

1

9

7

Humberside

78

15

1

1

12

6

North Yorkshire

48

9

1

0

6

4

South Yorkshire

76

10

1

1

13

9

West Yorkshire

82

12

1

1

15

10

Yorkshire and the Humber Region

75

12

1

1

12

8

Derbyshire

61

13

1

1

8

6

Leicestershire

69

14

1

1

8

7

Lincolnshire

63

11

1

0

9

5

Northamptonshire

72

15

1

1

9

7

Nottinghamshire

71

14

1

1

9

7

East Midlands Region

67

13

1

1

9

6

Staffordshire

61

14

1

0

7

5

Warwickshire

63

10

1

1

10

8

West Mercia

58

12

1

0

7

6

West Midlands

73

13

1

3

11

9

West Midlands Region

66

13

1

2

9

8

Bedfordshire

66

13

1

1

9

8

Cambridgeshire

65

12

1

1

8

6

Essex

60

12

1

1

8

7

Hertfordshire

56

10

1

1

6

6

Norfolk

49

11

1

0

5

4

Suffolk

63

14

1

0

7

6

East of England Region

60

12

1

1

7

6

London, City of(4)

+

+

+

+

+

+

Metropolitan Police

104

20

1

5

12

13

London Region

105

20

1

5

12

13

Hampshire

69

16

1

1

7

6

Kent

60

12

1

1

7

6

Surrey

55

11

1

0

7

6

Sussex

61

11

1

0

6

6

Thames Valley

66

12

1

1

8

7

South East Region

63

13

1

1

7

6

Avon and Somerset

71

15

1

1

8

6

Devon and Cornwall

55

13

1

0

6

4

Dorset

63

12

1

0

8

6

Gloucestershire

58

10

1

0

10

7

Wiltshire

54

10

1

0

7

6

South West Region

61

13

1

0

7

6

England

71

14

1

1

9

8

Dyfed-Powys

42

10

1

0

3

2

Gwent

69

13

1

0

9

8

North Wales

64

16

1

0

8

4

South Wales

69

13

1

0

8

8

Wales

63

13

1

0

8

6

       

England and Wales(5)

72

14

1

1

9

8

Rates per 1,000 population(1, 2)
 Other theft offencesFraud and forgeryCriminal damageDrug offencesOther offences

Cleveland

23

1

17

4

1

Durham

16

1

13

2

1

23 Oct 2012 : Column 845W

23 Oct 2012 : Column 846W

Northumbria

15

1

11

4

1

North East Region

17

1

12

3

1

Cheshire

17

2

11

3

1

Cumbria

13

1

13

4

1

Greater Manchester

19

3

14

4

1

Lancashire

19

2

13

3

1

Merseyside

17

2

13

9

1

North West Region

18

2

13

5

1

Humberside

22

2

14

3

1

North Yorkshire

15

1

8

3

1

South Yorkshire

22

2

15

4

1

West Yorkshire

23

2

13

3

1

Yorkshire and the Humber Region

21

2

13

3

1

Derbyshire

16

2

11

3

1

Leicestershire

19

3

12

3

1

Lincolnshire

20

2

12

2

1

Northamptonshire

19

3

13

3

1

Nottinghamshire

20

2

13

3

1

East Midlands Region

19

2

12

3

1

Staffordshire

15

2

12

3

1

Warwickshire

18

2

10

2

1

West Mercia

16

2

10

3

1

West Midlands

16

3

12

3

1

West Midlands Region

16

3

11

3

1

Bedfordshire

17

2

11

3

1

Cambridgeshire

21

2

10

4

1

Essex

16

2

10

2

1

Hertfordshire

15

3

9

5

1

Norfolk

14

1

10

3

1

Suffolk

17

2

12

2

1

East of England Region

16

2

10

3

1

London, City of(4)

+

+

+

+

+

Metropolitan Police

29

5

9

8

1

London Region

30

5

9

8

1

Hampshire

20

3

12

3

1

Kent

17

2

12

2

1

Surrey

14

3

10

3

1

Sussex

19

2

11

3

1

Thames Valley

21

3

10

3

1

South East Region

19

3

11

3

1

Avon and Somerset

20

2

12

4

1

Devon and Cornwall

13

2

11

3

1

Dorset

20

2

11

2

1

Gloucestershire

16

2

10

3

1

Wiltshire

16

2

10

2

1

South West Region

17

2

11

3

1

England

20

3

11

4

1

Dyfed-Powys

9

1

8

7

1

Gwent

17

2

14

5

1

North Wales

16

2

13

3

1

South Wales

19

2

13

5

1

Wales

16

2

12

5

1

      

England and Wales(5)

20

3

11

4

1

(1) The population figures used are the mid-2010 population estimates provided by the Office for National Statistics. See section 8.3 of the User Guide. (2 )Numbers will be affected by the size of the resident population relative to the transient or visiting populations and may therefore over-represent the number of crimes relative to the real population of potential victims. (3) Includes theft of motor vehicle, theft from a vehicle, aggravated vehicle taking and interfering with a motor vehicle. (4) '+' data for London Region includes the City of London. (5) Total rate for England and Wales includes offences recorded by British Transport Police. However, no rates are given for British Transport Police as their data are not provided for specified geographical areas. Source: Police recorded crime, Home Office.

23 Oct 2012 : Column 847W

Research

Chris Kelly: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) what external policy research his Department has commissioned in each of the last six years; which organisation was commissioned to provide each such piece of research; and what the cost of each such piece of research was; [122365]

(2) what external policy research his office has commissioned in each of the last six years; which organisation was commissioned to provide each such piece of research; and what the cost of each such piece of research was. [122369]

Miss Chloe Smith: Costs incurred from external policy research are not separately identified in the Cabinet Office accounting system.

As part of the Government's transparency programme, details of any spend over £25,000 are published on the Department's website. Since January 2011, all contracts over £10,000 in value are published on Contracts Finder:

http://www.contractsfinder.co.uk/

Sportsgrounds: Safety

John Mann: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) how many stadia evacuation procedures have been tested using people in sporting stadia in each of the last three years; [123400]

(2) what methodology is used for determining the safety of football and other sporting stadia under current UK disaster planning procedures. [123401]

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

We do not hold records relating to the number of tests of stadia evacuation procedures in each of the last three years. While the Department for Culture, Media and Sport is responsible for the Safety of Sports Grounds legislation, responsibility for the safety of spectators lies at all times with the ground's management. Responsibility for certifying and regulating those sports grounds is primarily a matter for individual local authorities.

The “Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds”, written by the Sports Grounds Safety Authority and published by the Department, includes guidance on the importance of regular and detailed inspections and tests, as a necessary and important function of safety management. It recommends that ground management should prepare contingency plans, which include provision for the evacuation of all people in the event of an emergency from all areas of the ground to a place of safety, and that exercises to test contingency plans should be staged at least once a year in consultation with the relevant authorities and emergency services.

Although the guide has no statutory force, many of its recommendations may be legal requirements at individual grounds through their inclusion in safety certificates issued by local authorities under the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 or the Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sport Act 1987. The guide can be found at the following link:

http://safetyatsportsgrounds.org.uk/pdf/GuidetoSafetyatSportsGrounds.pdf

23 Oct 2012 : Column 848W

Unemployment: Statistics

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office whether the Office for National Statistics defines people in unpaid workfare-style programmes as being employed in its Labour Market Statistics. [124129]

Mr Hurd [holding answer 22 October 2012]: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Glen Watson, dated October 2012:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking whether the Office for National Statistics defines people in unpaid workfare-style programmes as being employed in its Labour Market Statistics. (124129)

The ONS collects information on people participating in government-supported employment and training programmes via the Labour Force Survey (LFS). The information includes the name of the programme and the type of activity being undertaken. Those participants whose activity comprises any form of work, work experience or work-related training are classified as in employment. This is regardless of whether the individual is paid or not.

This classification is in line with recommendations set down by the International Labour Organisation (ILO), which the ONS uses in the LFS to classify individuals into different labour market statuses. Those in employment on government-supported employment and training programmes comprise one of the elements—alongside employees, the self-employed and unpaid family workers—that make up the total number in employment.

Deputy Prime Minister

Research

Chris Kelly: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what external policy research his office has commissioned in each of the last six years; which organisation was commissioned to provide each such piece of research; and what the cost of each such piece of research was. [122368]

Miss Chloe Smith: Costs incurred from external policy research are not separately identified in the Cabinet Office accounting system.

As part of the Government's transparency programme, details of any spend over £25,000 are published on the Department's website. Since January 2011, all contracts over £10,000 in value are published on Contracts Finder:

http://www.contractsfinder.co.uk/


Education

Child Care

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) what capital will be made available to private, voluntary and independent childcare providers to build capacity sufficient to deliver the two-year-old offer; [121923]

(2) what assessment he has made of the capacity of local authorities to provide sufficient childcare places to meet the demand for free early years entitlement for children aged two years; [121925]

(3) if he will provide support to help local authorities to increase local childcare capacity to the levels needed to deliver free early years entitlement for children aged two years. [121926]

23 Oct 2012 : Column 849W

Elizabeth Truss: Local authorities will be under a duty to secure, rather than to provide, free early education places for two-year-olds. The Government are providing funding to local authorities, rising each year to £760 million in 2014-15, to enable them to secure places for around 260,000 two-year-olds. The key to securing sufficient places will be to pay early years providers appropriate rates for places, and the Government are taking a number of steps to ensure that funding rates are set locally in a transparent way. The Government are also making available £100 million in capital funding to local authorities.

Education: Standards

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what assessment he has made of the potential effects of air pollution on educational attainment. [122971]

Mr Laws: We have not been able to make an assessment of the effects of air pollution on educational attainment as there are so many confounding variables; however, our guidance on the ventilation of schools reflects the assessments made by the Committee on the Medical Effects of Indoor Air pollutants(1) on the effects on health, and also the available research on the effect of ventilation on the cognitive performance of pupils. Carbon dioxide concentration has been found to be a good proxy for the effects of other air pollutants and is the basis of current standards for ventilation of schools most recently revised in July 2006(2).

(1) COMEAP “Guidance on the Effects on Health of Indoor Air Pollutants”, December 2004

(2) Building Bulletin 101, “Ventilation of School Buildings”, v1.4, 2006

English Baccalaureate: Special Educational Needs

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what consideration he has given to the potential effect of his proposed reforms on those children with special educational needs who were able to undertake GCSE examinations but will not be able to complete the proposed English Baccalaureate. [123655]

Elizabeth Truss [holding answer 18 October 2012]: We expect that everyone who now sits a GCSE should be able to take these new qualifications. Ensuring that our reforms work for pupils with special educational needs is of the upmost importance. Our consultation on English Baccalaureate Certificates, which runs to 10 December, seeks views on the potential impact of our proposals on any specific pupil groups. We will also be holding focused discussions with expert SEN groups. Consultation responses and feedback from our focused discussions will inform an equalities analysis of our proposals which we will publish after the consultation closes. Copies of the consultation have been placed in the House Libraries.

GCSE

Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many pupils in (a) England, (b) Lancashire and (c) the Hyndburn local authority area received lower grades in GCSE examinations in the summer of 2012 as a result of changes to the grades boundary made prior to the examination. [123575]

23 Oct 2012 : Column 850W

Elizabeth Truss: The Department holds information on GCSE entries and grades achieved. It does not hold information on marks awarded.

Pre-school Education

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether he plans to implement the recommendation of the Nutbrown Review of early education and childcare qualifications in respect of strengthening the qualifications required for teachers of children in the early years foundation stage. [123360]

Elizabeth Truss: Professor Cathy Nutbrown published her final report—“Foundations for Quality”—on 19 June. In this, Professor Nutbrown detailed the findings from her review and made a number of recommendations. Ministers warmly welcomed Professor Nutbrown's report at the time of publication and we have been considering in full what she recommended.

In terms of next steps, we plan to respond fully to Professor Nutbrown's report later this year.

Business, Innovation and Skills

Apprentices: North West

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many employers in (a) Denton and Reddish constituency and (b) the north-west have received payments to take on their first young apprentice under the Government's incentive scheme. [124411]

Matthew Hancock: The Apprenticeship Grant for Employers (AGE 16-24) provides a £1,500 grant to smaller employers taking on a young apprentice aged 16 to 24. Provisional data show that between 1 February and 11 June 2012, there were 2,300 apprenticeship starts for which a payment was made through the AGE 16-24 scheme. For the north-west region this figure was 440. We do not have precise figures for the Denton and Reddish constituency.

Information on the number of apprenticeship starts is published in a quarterly Statistical First Release (SFR). The latest SFR was published on 11 October 2012:

http://www.thedataservice.org.uk/statistics/statisticalfirstrelease/sfr_current/

British Antarctic Survey

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what his policy is on the future work of the British Antarctic Survey; and if he will make a statement. [123884]

Mr Willetts [holding answer 19 October 2012]: There is at present no agreed plan to change the status of the British Antarctic Survey. On 7 June 2012, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) announced that it is looking at merging the scientific and logistics management of the British Antarctic Survey and the National Oceanography Centre to form a single, integrated marine and polar research centre. An open consultation of stakeholders and staff was launched on the NERC website and closed on 10 October with 370 responses.

23 Oct 2012 : Column 851W

The NERC council will reach a decision in due course, informed by the results of the consultation and other feedback.

Any changes would have no effect on the UK's commitment to scientific excellence in Antarctica nor on the existing footprint of scientific bases and research ships in the South Atlantic. NERC has stated that the three NERC sites in Cambridge, Southampton and Liverpool will remain. The British Antarctic Survey name would be retained for activities and logistics relating to the Antarctic and South Atlantic.

British Antarctic Survey: National Oceanography Centre

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the likely effect on the international reputation of British polar research of the proposed merger of the British Antarctic Survey and the National Oceanography Centre. [124125]

Mr Willetts [holding answer 22 October 2012]: There is at present no agreed plan to change the status of the British Antarctic Survey. On 7 June 2012, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) announced that it is looking at merging the scientific and logistics management of the British Antarctic Survey and the National Oceanography Centre to form a single, integrated marine and polar research centre. An open consultation of stakeholders and staff was launched on the NERC website and closed on 10 October with 370 responses. The NERC council will reach a decision in due course, informed by the results of the consultation and other feedback.

Any changes would have no effect on the UK's commitment to scientific excellence in Antarctica nor on the existing footprint of scientific bases and research ships in the South Atlantic. The vision for the new centre is to become by 2020 a world-leading centre for integrated marine and polar science—from coast to deep ocean and from pole to pole.

Construction: Apprentices

Julie Elliott: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) how many companies have participated in apprenticeship schemes in the construction industry in (a) Sunderland and (b) the north-east in each of the last five years; [123866]

(2) how many apprenticeships in the construction industry have been (a) started and (b) completed in (i) Sunderland, (b) the North East and (iii) the UK in the last 12 months for which figures are available. [123907]

Matthew Hancock: Table 1 shows the provisional number of apprenticeship programme starts and achievements in Sunderland local education authority, the north-east region and England in the 2011/12 academic year (August 2011 to July 2012).

Provisional data for the 2011/12 academic year provide an early view of performance and will change as further data returns are received from further education colleges and providers. They should not be directly compared with final year data from previous years. Figures for 2011/12 will be finalised in January 2013.

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The Department does not collect further education information relating to the devolved Administrations.

Table 1: Apprenticeship programme starts and achievements in the 'Construction, Planning and Built Environment' sector subject area by geography, 2011/12 (provisional)
 StartsAchievements

Sunderland local education authority

170

130

North-east region

1,790

1,220

England total

22,960

13,620

Notes: 1. All figures are rounded to the nearest 10. 2. Geographic breakdowns are based upon the home postcode of the learner. 3. Figures are based on the geographic boundaries as of May 2010. Source: Individualised Learner Record

Information on the number of apprenticeship starts by geography is published in a supplementary table to a quarterly Statistical First Release (SFR). The latest SFR was published on 11 October 2012:

http://www.thedataservice.org.uk/statistics/statisticalfirstrelease/sfr_current

http://www.thedataservice.org.uk/statistics/statisticalfirstrelease/sfr_supplementary_tables/Apprenticeship_sfr_supplementary_tables/

Data are not available on the number of companies that have offered apprenticeships in the construction industry in Sunderland. Data from the published 2009 National Employer Skills Survey(1) (NESS) show that in the north-east, 10% of establishments offered apprenticeships across all sectors.

(1) Figure 8.7, p. 215 in

http://www.ukces.org.uk/assets/ukces/docs/publications/evidence-report-23-ness-main-report-2009.pdf

accessed on 17 October 2012.

Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988

Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will assess whether the impact assessment in respect of the repeal of section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 complies with the Government's Impact Assessment Guidance 2011. [123498]

Jo Swinson [holding answer 18 October 2012]: I confirm that the impact assessment on ‘Copyright protection for designs’ was written in accordance with the Government's impact assessment guidance.

Employee Ownership Scheme

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills with reference to the employee ownership scheme he announced on 8 October 2012, whether he proposes that the plan will be restricted to UK company shares or whether foreign company shares and partnership interests will also apply. [123612]

Jo Swinson: As part of the consultation process we are seeking views on what restrictions, if any, should be attached to the issue of shares or type of shares.

The consultation closes on 8 November 2012.

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills with reference to the employee ownership scheme he announced on

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8 October 2012, by what process a reasonable price in relation to the sale of shares back to an employer will be established. [123615]

Jo Swinson: Depending on the design of the forfeiture and buy-back requirements, and any tax requirements, a valuation of the shares may be needed.

We are currently consulting on how the scheme will be implemented and how it will work in practice. The consultation closes on 8 November 2012.

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills with reference to the employee ownership scheme he announced on 8 October 2012, whether employees will have the opportunity to opt out of the employee ownership scheme. [123616]

Jo Swinson: There is no opt-out of this employment status as the offer of employee owner status is discretionary and its acceptance entirely voluntary.

We are currently consulting on how the scheme will be implemented and how it will work in practice. The consultation closes on 8 November 2012.

Flexible Working

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if his Department will encourage employers to introduce working practices such as increased flexitime to ensure that parents are able to better support their children's educational development. [124104]

Jo Swinson: I am convinced that flexible working practices have significant benefits for both employees and employers. Employees who are able to improve their work-life balance are more productive, have less sickness absence and are less likely to leave their jobs. This is true whether they are parents wanting to spend more time with their children, older workers who may wish to request changes to enable them to extend their working life and better manage their retirement, or younger workers who just have higher expectations of the work-life balance they should expect.

There are no plans to introduce a specific right for parents to be able to better support their children's educational development. However, last year the Government consulted on the extension to the right to request flexible working to all employees in line with the coalition agreement commitment. This extension would allow all employees who want to reconcile their work responsibilities with other elements of their life to achieve a better work-life balance. It would also support parents who are often put off from asking for flexible working because they do not wish to be perceived as prioritising their caring responsibilities over work. I will announce the results of this consultation shortly.

Alongside consulting on the legislative extension to the right to request flexible working, the Department is working with the Department for Work and Pensions to encourage employers to embrace flexible working more widely, especially when they are recruiting new employees. An employer group led by Working Families is making practical recommendations to business on how flexible working can work and how employers can design jobs flexibly and build it into an employer's recruitment practices.

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Manufacturing Industries: North East

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills with reference to his Department's economic paper, “Industrial Strategy: UK Sector Analysis”, what steps he is taking to encourage chemical or pharmaceutical industries in the north-east; and if he will make a statement. [123916]

Michael Fallon: The Government recognise that chemical and pharmaceutical companies make an important contribution to the north-east region and to the UK economy as a whole.

The Government are creating the right environment to encourage investment in businesses in these sectors through the Strategy for UK Life Sciences and initiatives like the Regional Growth Fund, Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative and the Employer Ownership Pilot that will address barriers to growth, and encourage innovation and technology commercialisation, exports, business investment, and improve skills. The two enterprise zones (EZ) in the north-east provide a supportive environment for new investments in this sector. In particular, six of the 12 Tees Valley EZ sites have been identified as suitable for companies in the chemical sector.

Furthermore, the Department is working closely with the chemicals sector as it develops an industry-led strategy for maintaining and enhancing the competitiveness of the UK chemicals industry, which the Government will seek to support. The Department awaits the industry conclusions and recommendations.

Regional Growth Fund

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many staff in his Department work on delivering the Regional Growth Fund. [124237]

Michael Fallon [holding answer 22 October 2012]: As of 19 October 2012, there are 52 full-time equivalent staff working on the administration of the Regional Growth Fund (RGF).

This RGF Secretariat comprises accountants, economists, policy and communications specialists and administrative staff.

The RGF Secretariat also works closely and effectively with finance and policy staff in the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG): monitoring of RGF projects and programmes is led by DCLG staff across the regions.

Regional Growth Fund: East Midlands

Gloria De Piero: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much of the Regional Growth Fund was made available to the east midlands in (a) Round 1 and (b) Round 2. [124286]

Michael Fallon [holding answer 22 October 2012]: Conditional allocations of £1.4 billion were made in Rounds 1 and 2 of the Regional Growth Fund. Of this, £16 million and £72 million were allocated to the east midlands in Round 1 and 2 respectively. Details of Round 3 bidders selected to go forward for due diligence and contracting were announced on 19 October.

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Sunday Trading

Julie Elliott: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent representations he has received on the deregulation of Sunday trading. [124103]

Michael Fallon: Since the temporary suspension of the restrictions on the hours that large shops can open on Sundays during the Olympic and Paralympic Games,

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the Government have received a number of representations from those both in favour and opposed to further deregulation in this area.

The Government considered this issue as part of the Red Tape Challenge in July 2011. Around 3,000 responses were received relating specifically to Sunday trading. Those responses confirmed the strength of feeling on the subject and that opinion remains very much divided for a variety of reasons on both sides.

The Government have no plans to change the law on Sunday trading.