Scotland

Billing

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what the average time taken by his Department to settle invoices to external suppliers or contractors was in each of the last three financial years. [125308]

David Mundell: The Scotland Office endeavours to pay all its suppliers within five days of receipt of a valid invoice. The Office's performance over the last three financial years is shown in the following table:

Percentage
Financial yearWithin five days (from May 2010)Within 10 days

2009-10

n/a

98.6

2010-11

98.7

99.6

2011-12

97.8

99.9

Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what the average cost to his Department was of processing the payment of an invoice in the latest period for which figures are available; and what proportion of invoices settled in that period his Department paid (a) electronically and (b) by cheque. [125737]

David Mundell: The Scotland Office does not maintain a central record of what the average cost to the Department was of processing the payment of an invoice. In September 2012, the Scotland Office paid 95.2% of invoices within five days, of which 98% were paid electronically and 2% by cheque.

Press: Subscriptions

Jonathan Ashworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland to which magazines, journals and newspapers his Department subscribes. [125349]

30 Oct 2012 : Column 143W

David Mundell: Newspapers and magazines are purchased on account via an external provider. They are:

The Herald

The Financial Times

The Daily Record

The Scottish Sun

The Guardian

The Scotsman

The Telegraph Scotland

The Times Scotland

The Courier

The Independent

The Press and Journal

Scottish Daily Express

Scottish Daily Mail

Scottish Business Insider

The Scottish Farmer

Holyrood Magazine

Journals

Vachers

Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much his Department spent on newspapers, periodicals and trade publications in the last 12 months. [125736]

David Mundell: The Scotland Office spent £6,087.97 on newspapers, periodicals and trade publications in the last 12 months.

Vacancies

Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what his Department's vacancy rate was in 2011-12; and what vacancy rate has been assumed for 2012-13. [125741]

David Mundell: The Scotland Office keeps its staffing complement under constant review to ensure that the most efficient use is made of public resources.

The staff vacancy rate for 2011-12 was 2.5%. We project that a similar rate will apply for 2012-13.

Health

Cancer

Tessa Munt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) pursuant to his answer of 25 June 2012, Official Report, column 225W, on cancer: children, on what evidence his Department based its estimate that up to 1,500 patients would be in need of proton therapy in London and Manchester by 2017; [125399]

(2) how many patients have been sent overseas for proton beam therapy in each of the last five years; [125434]

(3) with reference to the answer of 21 November 2011, Official Report, column 209W, on brain cancer, who the members were of the expert clinical advisory group established to look at the options for the development of proton beam therapy; and from what institutions they were drawn; [125497]

(4) what the current number of patients per annum is that he estimates will be in need of proton therapy for specific primary tumours in each of the next three years. [125498]

30 Oct 2012 : Column 144W

Anna Soubry: On 12 October, we published the ‘National Proton Beam Therapy Service Development Programme Strategic Outline Case’. Page 11 provides a breakdown of the paediatric and adult cancers that make up the figure of 1,500 patients and Annex A provides references for the evidence to support these figures. Annex H lists membership of the expert clinical advisory group established to look at the options for the development of proton beam therapy (PBT) in England. A copy of the strategic outline case has been placed in the Library.

From 2008, patients with high priority cancers have been sent overseas for PBT treatment. A Proton Therapy Clinical Reference Panel, established by the National Commissioning Group, advises on suitable cases for this treatment. Information concerning the number of patients sent abroad in each of the last four years is placed in the following table.

 Patient numbers

2008-09

11

2009-10

20

2010-11

50

2011-12

79

In October 2010, the Government announced they would increase funding for the overseas programme over the spending review (SR) so that all high priority patients with a need for PBT get access, treating 400 patients per year by the end of the SR period in 2014-15.

Cleaning Services

Dan Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will make it his policy to require all cleaning contracts held by his Department to stipulate that the cleaning products used and their ingredients should not have been tested on animals. [125018]

Dr Poulter: The Department requires that all cleaning materials used to carry out cleaning services must be fully compliant with legislation and/or industry standards and be compliant with sustainability specifications outlined by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. While it does not stipulate that products used should not have been tested on animals our contractor has confirmed that all of the commonly used cleaning products are not tested on animals.

Dementia

Tracey Crouch: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) criteria and (b) assessment process is for awarding the dementia friendly community status outlined in the Prime Minister's Challenge on Dementia; and who is undertaking the assessment. [125061]

Norman Lamb: The Dementia Friendly Communities Champion Group, established as part of the Prime Minister's Challenge on Dementia, is currently developing criteria and a process for the recognition of places and organisations which are working to become dementia friendly. Alzheimer's Society recently carried out a consultation on the recognition process for dementia friendly communities, on behalf of the Champion Group, and the responses to that consultation are currently being analysed.

30 Oct 2012 : Column 145W

Tracey Crouch: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will publish the progress reported to him in September 2012 by the three champion groups for the Prime Minister's Challenge on Dementia. [125062]

Norman Lamb: Yes, the progress report will be published next month.

Tracey Crouch: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to the Prime Minister's Challenge on Dementia, what the application process is for NHS staff applying for the innovation challenge prize; how many ideas have been submitted since the challenge was launched; and how many such applications have been successful. [125186]

Dr Poulter: The Prime Minister announced his Dementia Challenge in March 2012, which included a Challenge Prize of up to £1 million, to:

“achieve a dramatic reduction in the proportion of people who have undiagnosed dementia, with evidence of a step change in the diagnosis rate and a strong service response”.

The Secretary of State for Health subsequently launched the challenge in June 2012, alongside separate challenges in stroke and diabetes.

The application process for the challenge can be found on the main NHS Innovation Challenge Prize website at:

www.challengeprizes.institute.nhs.uk

Unlike the original Innovation Challenges (which were launched in December 2010), all three of the new Breakthrough Challenges have been designed to drive significant breakthroughs in the treatment and management of a health condition. As a result, we would expect it to take at least 18 to 24 months for these challenges to be solved. The proposed prize for meeting these challenges is substantial (up to £1 million), which reflects the effort that competing organisations would have to put in to win.

Therefore, we have not received any completed applications at present, and we would not expect to receive any until late 2013 at the earliest. This is a true challenge prize approach in that we seek to inspire providers and health communities to adopt our challenge within their objectives, and then work towards the evidence required to win over the next 18 to 24 months.

The detailed application and assessment process will be published on the site early in 2013. At present, we are asking potential applicants to register their interest with us in tackling this long term challenge so that we can readily identify support for applicants from within the NHS infrastructure.

Tracey Crouch: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to the Prime Minister's Challenge on Dementia, how much has been awarded through Dementia Commissioning for Quality and Innovation to hospitals offering quality dementia care since April 2012; and which hospitals have received such awards. [125187]

Norman Lamb: Payments under the CQUIN scheme are agreed and made locally, and this information is not collected centrally by the Department.

30 Oct 2012 : Column 146W

Food: Charitable Donations

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 16 July 2012, Official Report, column 477W, on food: charitable donations, if he will place a copy of the advice provided by the Food Standards Agency on the feasibility of introducing legislation to remove criminal and civil liability from good faith food donors in the Library, including the opinion of the FSA of the compatibility of such legislation with EU food safety laws. [125824]

Anna Soubry: The Food Standards Agency (FSA) advice is that there can be no exemptions from the scope of food safety legislation for operations supplying food, whether for profit or not.

The European food safety legislation is in place to protect public health, is risk-based and can be applied proportionately by operations donating food without undue burdens to those operations.

The FSA supports efforts to put in place measures to redistribute food where these measures comply with the food safety legislation and do not compromise consumer safety.

General Practitioners

Meg Munn: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 14 September 2012, Official Report, column 429W, on general practitioners, (1) how many people were considered for each role on clinical commissioning groups; [125144]

(2) how many applicants were judged to be not eligible for appointment; [125145]

(3) how many of the accountable officer and chair applicants have been appointed to a position on a clinical commissioning group. [125146]

Anna Soubry: A clinical commissioning group must nominate a chair and an accountable officer at the time of applying to the NHS Commissioning Board (the Board) for authorisation. The chair and accountable officer will be confirmed during this process and formally appointed following the Board's final decision on authorisation. As decisions on the authorisation of clinical commissioning groups are yet to be made, no chairs or accountable officers have been appointed. The Board is therefore unable to confirm how many applicants have been considered, rejected or appointed.

Health Services: Foreign Nationals

Mr Burley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer to the right hon. Member for Mid Sussex of 17 May 2012, Official Report, column 352W, on health services: overseas visitors, when his Department's review of the continuing entitlement of foreign nationals to access free national health service services will be published; and when the public consultation on the review will (a) commence and (b) close. [125354]

Anna Soubry: The initial phase of the Department's review of charging overseas visitors for national health service care has concluded and its findings are being considered. The Department will respond in due course.

30 Oct 2012 : Column 147W

Any proposals arising from the review to amend legislation to change the rules governing the entitlement of overseas visitors to free NHS care will be subject to public consultation. The time scale for any such consultation is yet to be decided.

Health Services: Homelessness

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to improve hospital discharge procedures for homeless people. [125395]

Anna Soubry: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave my hon. Friend the Member for South Swindon (Mr Buckland), on 25 October 2012, Official Report, column 1035W.

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to ensure that homeless people are able to register with a GP. [125396]

Dr Poulter: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 25 October 2012, Official Report, column 1035W, to my hon. Friend the Member for South Swindon (Mr Buckland).

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to improve health services for homeless people. [125397]

Anna Soubry: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 23 October 2012, Official Report, column 779W, to my hon. Friend the Member for Sittingbourne and Sheppey (Gordon Henderson).

Heart Diseases: Children

Stuart Andrew: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will clarify the role of (a) the National Commissioning Group, (b) the National Specialised Commissioning Group and (c) the Advisory Group for National Specialised Services in the Safe and Sustainable Review of children's heart surgery services; [125817]

(2) if he will direct (a) the National Commissioning Group, (b) the National Specialised Commissioning Group and (c) the Advisory Group for National Specialised Services to publish all reports, meeting agendas and minutes connected with the Safe and Sustainable Review of children's heart surgery services; [125818]

(3) if he will direct the Joint Committee for Primary Care Trusts to publish the agendas, reports and minutes of all meetings of (a) the Joint Committee for Primary Care Trusts and (b) its secretariat, associated with the drafting and agreement of the Safe and Sustainable Decision-Making Business Case. [125819]

Anna Soubry: The Safe and Sustainable Review of children's congenital heart services was led by the National Specialised Commissioning Group (NSCG) on behalf of the 10 Specialised Commissioning Groups in England and their constituent primary care trusts. In December 2009, the NSCG recommended the establishment of the Joint Committee of Primary Care Trusts (JCPCT) with

30 Oct 2012 : Column 148W

delegated powers of consultation and decision making. This recommendation was endorsed by the then Secretary of State for Health in July 2010.

The Advisory Group for National Specialised Services (AGNSS) is an independent advisory group that advises Ministers in the Department on which highly specialised services and technologies for people with rare conditions, centres and funding should be commissioned on a national basis. When there is a change to the centres designated to provide a service, AGNSS provides advice to Ministers for their consideration.

AGNSS provided advice to Ministers when it became clear that the JCPCT's decision on 4 July 2012 on the future pattern of children's heart surgery had implications for the nationally commissioned paediatric Extra Corporeal Membrane Oxygenation service. AGNSS is the successor advisory group to the National Commissioning Group (NCG) and the NCG had no role in the Safe and Sustainable Review.

In view of the JCPCT's acknowledgement in the public consultation document that its eventual decision could have implications for some nationally commissioned services, AGNSS submitted its advice to the JCPCT on the three nationally commissioned services that could have been affected. That advice can be found in the decision-making document that was considered by the JCPCT on 4 July and was published on the specialised services website:

www.specialisedservices.nhs.uk/document/safe-sustainable-review-children-s-congenital-cardiac-surgery-decision-making-business-case

The review of children's congenital heart services is a clinically led, national health service review, and is independent of Government. It is therefore, for the NSCG and the JCPCT to decide which documents to publish in connection with the review. The NSCG and JCPCT documents are published on the NHS Specialised Services website:

www.specialisedservices.nhs.uk/

Minutes of the meetings of AGNSS and the NSCG are published on the website of the NSCG at:

www.specialisedservices.nhs.uk/document/agnss-agenda-26th-september-2011/search:true

Papers to AGNSS and from AGNSS to Ministers are confidential as they are part of the process of developing advice to Ministers on the specialised services that should be nationally commissioned.

NHS: Foreign Workers

Mr Charles Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what representations he has received on the outsourcing of NHS back-office functions to India; and if he will make a statement. [125034]

Dr Poulter: The Department has not received any representations about the outsourcing of NHS back-office functions to India.

NHS: Innovation

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what expenditure on consultants his Department has incurred in respect of Change Day; and what expenditure he expects to incur on such consultants in each of the next three years. [125913]

30 Oct 2012 : Column 149W

Dr Poulter: The Department has not allocated any resources to NHS Change Day as its origins are from the national health service frontline. However, the NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement has been approached to support the activities to make NHS Change Day effective, and to this end are seeking a communications partner. A tender exercise is currently being run for a maximum of £30,000. Future funding for NHS Change Day will be reviewed after the first NHS Change Day in March 2013.

NHS: Reorganisation

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether his Department tendered for a consultancy to help communicate changes to the NHS. [125912]

Dr Poulter: The Department did not tender for a consultancy to help communicate changes to the national health service. However, a digital agency was used to produce an "infographic" of the structure of the new health and care system.

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much his Department has spent on briefing communication agencies about the changes being introduced to the NHS. [125916]

Dr Poulter: The Department did not appoint agencies to undertake any advertising or marketing activity connected with the reforms. However, there were some costs associated with communicating the reforms, including events and other communications activity. The Department estimates that the cost of this activity (events, publications, posters and online tools) was £71,971.

Palliative Care

Andrew Bridgen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health with reference to his Department's publication Liberating the NHS: Greater Choice and Control, when he expects that the planned review of timing of the introduction of a national choice offer for people who want to die at home will commence; what plans he has to involve third-sector organisations in that review; and what funding has been allocated for the review. [125295]

Norman Lamb: We are committed to moving towards a national choice offer to support people's preferences about how to have a good death.

A review of progress in delivering the initiatives set out in the “End of Life Care Strategy”, which are improving quality and choice in end of life and palliative care, will be held during 2013. This will inform us when a right to choose to die at home, including a care home, might feasibly be introduced. We are currently considering how this review might be best undertaken and the resources needed for this.

Radiotherapy

Tessa Munt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he expects to announce a tariff for stereotactic ablative radiotherapy treatment. [125435]

30 Oct 2012 : Column 150W

Anna Soubry: For 2012-13, the use of currencies (the unit of health care for which payment is made) for external beam radiotherapy has been mandated. 19 non-mandatory tariff prices have been published, however these are indicative and commissioners and providers can agree local pricing.

Stereotactic ablative radiotherapy is not included in the non-mandatory tariff prices. We will investigate the potential development of a range of tariffs to incentivise high quality, cost-effective services, including the newest radiotherapy techniques, once the mandatory standard radiotherapy tariff has been introduced in 2013-14.

Work and Pensions

Atos Healthcare

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the average wage paid to Atos Healthcare-approved health care professionals. [122492]

Mr Hoban: The average wage paid by Atos Healthcare to an approved health care professional is a matter for Atos Healthcare to determine as part of their delivery of a managed service to DWP.

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether Atos Healthcare-approved health care professionals are paid per work capability assessment. [122493]

Mr Hoban: Atos Healthcare are responsible for determining their own approach for paying their health care professionals for delivery of work capability assessments.

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the annual profit Atos Healthcare made in (a) 2011 and (b) 2012 to date through its medical services contract with his Department. [122521]

Mr Hoban: The information requested is commercially confidential. Our contracts are subject to commercially negotiated and mutually acceptable terms including appropriate mechanisms to ensure transparency of all charges and value for money for the Department in line with Cabinet Office requirements.

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 3 February 2011, Official Report, column 894W, on departmental telephone services, how many staff are currently employed to answer his Department's 0800 2888 777 number for contacting Atos Healthcare in relation to the work capability assessment. [125842]

Mr Hoban: Staff that answer inquiries to the 0800 2888 777 helpline number are employed directly by Atos Healthcare. Atos Healthcare currently has 65 staff, equating to 62 full-time equivalents, working at their contact centre answering and making calls.

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 22 October 2012, Official Report, column 734W, on

30 Oct 2012 : Column 151W

Atos Healthcare, how many staff were employed by Atos Healthcare under his Department's Medical Services Contract in each month in

(a)

2010,

(b)

2011 and

(c)

2012. [125843]

Mr Hoban: The total number of Atos Healthcare permanent staff employed on the medical services contract for each month requested is as follows:

Number
 201020112012

January

1290

1445

1590

February

1304

1448

1635

March

1291

1447

1663

April

1311

1469

1691

May

1331

1483

1710

June

1353

1496

1704

July

1346

1510

1712

August

1363

1496

1721

September

1382

1527

1724

October

1398

1520

November

1420

1551

December

1413

1539

The total number of Atos permanent employees is made up of administrative, health care professionals (nurses, physiotherapists and doctors) and management staff.

Civil Servants: Business Interests

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether the appointment of the official formerly responsible for the Work programme was subject to approval by the Business Appointments Committee; and if he will make a statement. [124962]

Mr Hoban [holding answer 26 October 2012]: Under the terms of the Civil Service Management Code, civil servants are required to seek approval for appointments outside the civil service. In this case the official is not at a level of seniority that requires submission to the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments; the decision is instead delegated to the permanent secretary of the Department.

The permanent secretary has determined that the official must serve a three month waiting period before taking up his appointment, is banned from lobbying across central Government for two years, and may not work on the Work programme.

Employment and Support Allowance

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many members of the employment support allowance work related activity group there are in each category of impairment in (a) the London borough of Hillingdon and (b) Greater London for the latest period for which figures are available. [122660]

Mr Hoban: The employment and support allowance (ESA) work-related activity group caseloads in each category of impairment in (a) the London borough of Hillingdon and (b) London region for February 2012 are as follows:

30 Oct 2012 : Column 152W

 Phase of ESA claim work-related activity group
IB International Classification of Diseases (ICD) codeLondon regionHillingdon local authority

Total

38,300

1,270

   

Claimants without any diagnosis code on the system

(1)

(1)

Certain infectious and parasitic diseases

530

10

Neoplasms

520

20

Diseases of the blood and blood forming organs and certain diseases involving the immune mechanism

130

(1)

Endocrine, nutritional and metabolic diseases

700

30

Mental and behavioural disorders

18,070

560

Diseases of the nervous system

1,680

70

Diseases of the eye and adnexa

340

10

Diseases of the ear and mastoid process

200

10

Diseases of the circulatory system

1,480

70

Diseases of the respiratory system

670

20

Diseases of the digestive system

550

20

Diseases of the skin and subcutaneous system

200

10

Diseases of the musculoskeletal system and connective tissue

6,000

240

Diseases of the genitourinary system

470

20

Pregnancy, childbirth and the puerperium

70

(1)

Certain conditions originating in the perinatal period

(1)

(1)

Congenital malformations, deformations and chromosomal abnormalities

50

(1)

Symptoms, signs and abnormal clinical and laboratory findings, not elsewhere classified

4,600

110

Injury, poisoning and certain other consequences of external causes

1,710

70

Factors influencing health status and contact with health services

340

10

(1) Nil or negligible. Notes: 1. Caseload figures are rounded to the nearest 10. Totals may not sum due to rounding. 2. IB ICD (disease) summary code ICD (disease) code causes of incapacity are based on the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision, published by the World Health Organisation. Medical condition is based on evidence provided at the start of the claim, this in itself does not confer entitlement to employment support allowance and may not represent a claimant’s most recent medical condition. For ESA claimants, data on medical condition are available only from February 2010 onwards. The "Other" category contains claimants with an unknown medical condition. 3. Phase of ESA claim phase/stage of ESA claim is available only from February 2010 onwards. The phase is derived from payment details held on the source system. Where the claimant is not in receipt of any benefit payment then the stage of benefit is shown as unknown. Source: DWP Information, Governance and Security, Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study.

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Housing Benefit

Mr Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much discretionary housing payment funding has been allocated, by local authority, in (a) 2013-14 and (b) 2014-15. [125895]

Steve Webb: The Department is currently in discussions with Local Authority Associations regarding the methodology for allocating discretionary housing payment funding in 2013-14. Once this is finalised, local authorities will be notified of their individual allocation.

Discussions regarding the allocation of this funding for 2014-15 will begin in summer 2013.

Social Rented Housing

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the ability of tenants in the socially rented sector, under the terms of their tenancy conditions, to take in a lodger in order to reduce a drop in their income resulting from the under-occupancy penalty. [125898]

Steve Webb: The ability of tenants to take in a lodger is dependant upon the particular conditions of individual tenancy agreements. However, many local authority tenants and some housing associations have an automatic right to take in lodgers. We anticipate that many other social sector tenants will be granted such a right following a request to their landlord.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the consequences for the household insurance policies of tenants in the socially rented sector who take in a lodger in order to reduce the drop in their income through the application of the under occupancy penalty. [125908]

Steve Webb: An assessment has not been undertaken. We are changing the rules in universal credit so that the income received from taking in a lodger does not reduce a claimant's benefit. This will increase the options for those who are affected by the under-occupation reduction though the Government accept that, for a variety of reasons, this solution will not be appropriate in all cases.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many households expected to see their income reduced through application of the under occupancy penalty will experience a loss of income less than the net amount of additional income they could gain, after benefit withdrawal, from the rent paid by a lodger. [125909]

Steve Webb: It is not possible to determine how many households could expect to receive more income from a lodger than they will lose from the introduction of the under-occupancy deduction. However, under universal credit the income received from taking in a lodger does not reduce a claimant's benefit and the average reduction in housing benefit as a result of the application of the under-occupancy deduction is expected to be £14 a week.

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Social Security Benefits

Mr Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which passported benefits are exempt from the benefit cap; and what spending his Department has allocated to each of those benefits in each of the next three years. [125894]

Mr Hoban: There is no prescribed list of passported benefits in the social security legislation.

The benefits that will be included in the benefit cap on its introduction in April 2013 will be:

Bereavement allowance

Carer's allowance

Child benefit

Child tax credit

An employment and support allowance

Guardian's allowance

Housing benefit

Incapacity benefit

Income support

A jobseeker's allowance

Maternity allowance

Severe disablement allowance

Widowed mother's allowance

Widowed parent's allowance

Widow's pension

The benefits that will be included in the benefit cap for those on universal credit will be set out in the universal credit regulations which will be laid before Parliament later in the year.

Mr Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the value of the adjustment to savings made from the benefit cap in (a) 2013-14, (b) 2014-15 and (c) 2015-16 by applying the 39-week grace period would be; and if he will make a statement. [125896]

Mr Hoban: The value of the adjustment to savings made from the benefit cap in: (a) 2013-14; (b) 2014-15; and (c) 2015-16, by applying the 39-week grace period is around £20 to £25 million in each of these years.

These figures are subject to some uncertainty because they are based on estimates of the number of people who may be eligible for the grace period and the amounts that they may lose.

Mr Byrne: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number and proportion of people affected by the benefit cap who claim (a) bereavement allowance, (b) carer's allowance, (c) child benefit, (d) child tax credit, (e) employment and support allowance except where the support component has been awarded, (f) guardian's allowance, (g) housing benefit, (h) incapacity benefit, (i) income support, (j) jobseeker's allowance, (k) maternity allowance, (l) severe disablement allowance, (m) widowed parent's allowance and (n) widow's benefit. [125897]

Mr Hoban: Our estimates of those affected by the benefit cap show that around: 300 households will receive bereavement allowance; 5,200 will receive carer's

30 Oct 2012 : Column 155W

allowance; 50,400 will receive child benefit; 47,300 will receive child tax credits; 14,200 households will receive employment and support allowance (ESA); 22,100 will receive income support; and 16,200 will receive jobseeker's allowance.

Less than a 100 households will receive the following benefits; guardians allowance, maternity allowance, widow's benefit.

This information is not available for those on widowed parent's allowance.

As the benefit cap applies to housing benefit all households affected by the benefit cap (56,000) will receive this benefit.

The figures reflect relevant policy changes, such as lone parent obligations and the migration of incapacity-related claims to ESA in the coming years—and so those on incapacity benefit and severe disablement allowance are counted within the ESA figures.

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 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.

Sportsgrounds: Disasters

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when the purple book on stadium disaster planning was last updated. [122961]

Mr Hoban: The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 established a framework for emergency planning and response at both the local and national level. The Act defines the obligations of certain organisations, most notably the emergency services and local authorities, to prepare for various types of emergency including stadium disaster planning. Comprehensive guidance on emergency preparedness is available from the Cabinet Office at:

www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/emergency-preparedness

HSE's guidance HS(G) 195 ‘The Event Safety Guide’, or the ‘Purple Book’, is aimed at organisers of music and similar events to help them comply with the Health and Safety at Work Etc Act 1974 and its subsidiary regulations. This has been superseded by the HSE's new event safety web pages on the HSE website with emergency planning at musical and similar events held at stadiums. It is not the key reference document for stadium disaster planning. The Purple Book was last updated in 1999. HSE is also committed to supporting new industry produced guidance on events.

Universal Credit

Teresa Pearce: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he plans to publish his Department's assessment of errors and problems discovered as a consequence of the Real Time Information pilot for universal credit. [125812]

30 Oct 2012 : Column 156W

Mr Hoban: The department is in weekly touch with HMRC about the progress of the RTI pilot and are pleased to note that there are now over 1,850 schemes operating RTI successfully. The pilot is designed to help HMRC to test and refine RTI processes for PAYE. Information from HMRC's pilot and research will be used by DWP, in conjunction with its own research, to analyse the potential effects of employer behaviour under RTI on working universal credit claimants.

Work Capability Assessment

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many staff were employed to answer his Department's 0800 2888 777 number for contacting Atos Healthcare in relation to the work capability assessment in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012 to date. [122516]

Mr Hoban: Staff that answer inquiries to the 0800 2888 777 helpline number are employed directly by Atos Healthcare. The number of staff employed to answer calls in each of the years requested is as follows:

 Number

2010

52

2011

58

2012

65

Mr Tom Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many successful appellants against an Atos assessment that deemed them fit for work were subsequently reassessed by Atos within (a) three, (b) six, (c) nine and (d) 12 months. [122673]

Mr Hoban: The following table shows the duration between the date of the appeal hearing for the initial work capability assessment (WCA) and the date of the first repeat WCA for claims that started between October 2008 and May 2011 (the latest available data), including actions on these claims up to May 2012.

Duration between initial WCA appeal hearing and first repeat assessment for claims that started between October 2008 and May 2011, including actions on these claims up to May 2012
Time between initial WCA appeal hearing and first repeat WCANumber of claimants

No repeat assessment recorded

32,900

Unknown

1,300

Less than three months

2,300

Three to six months

14,400

Six to nine months

24,200

Nine to 12 months

12,500

Greater than 12 months

9,700

Total

97,500

Note: All figures are rounded to the nearest 100. Hence the total does not sum exactly.

Wales

Billing

Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what the average cost to his Department was of processing the payment of an invoice in the latest period for which figures are available; and what proportion of invoices settled in that period his Department paid (a) electronically and (b) by cheque. [125743]

30 Oct 2012 : Column 157W

Stephen Crabb: The average cost to the Wales Office of processing a payment of an invoice is £5.03. The Wales Office settled 481 invoices in the period June to September 2012, of which 99% were paid electronically and 1% by cheque.

Mobile Phones

Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales which companies supply (a) mobile telephones and (b) mobile data services to his Department. [125745]

Stephen Crabb: The Wales Office uses mobile telephones and mobile data services supplied by Vodafone and Orange.

Press: Subscriptions

Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much his Department spent on newspapers, periodicals and trade publications in the last 12 months. [125742]

Stephen Crabb: The Wales Office spent £7,214 on newspapers and periodicals in the last financial year.

Energy and Climate Change

Carbon Sequestration

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what representations he has received from applicants to the Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) Commercialisation Programme on the potential effect of (a) reduced funding and (b) delays in receiving funding on their ability to access EU NER 300 funding. [125526]

Mr Hayes [holding answer 29 October 2012]: For reasons of commercial confidentiality, I am unable to comment on any representations received from applicants in relation to a competition process that is currently ongoing.

Nuclear Power Stations

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) in which areas he has assessed the appropriateness of underwriting financial risk in relation to the construction of new nuclear power plants; [125045]


(2) if he will consider providing assurances to prospective investors in new nuclear power plants that budget over-runs or building delays at such plants would be covered by guarantees from the public purse. [125046]

Mr Hayes: I want to create the conditions for developers to build new nuclear power stations, but only on the right terms. The Department is in the process of assessing the terms of contract for differences that might be offered to nuclear projects as part of the EMR Programme.

Our focus is on delivering a fair and affordable deal for consumers that provides clear value for money, and is consistent with the Government's policy on no public subsidy for new nuclear.

30 Oct 2012 : Column 158W

Staff

Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how much his Department spent on (a) recruitment agency fees, (b) outplacement agency fees for displaced or redundant staff and (c) staff training in each of the last 12 months. [125692]

Gregory Barker: The Department of Energy and Climate Change spent £2.8 million in the last 12 months with recruitment agencies. The majority of this expenditure represents payment to the individuals employed. We are unable to separately identify the element retained by the recruitment agency as fees. This varies from case to case and the Department contracts on the basis of a total hourly or daily fee.

The Department made no fees to outplacement agencies and we use the Civil Service Transition Service to provide our redeployment support.

£5 million was spent on staff training and development in the 12-month period ending September 2012.

Water Power: South West

Oliver Colvile: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many marine energy turbines have been sunk in the sea off the south-west coast. [125813]

Gregory Barker: In 2003, Marine Current Turbine (MCT) 300 kW Seaflow device was deployed in Lynmouth and was later decommissioned in 2009. Pulse tidal was recently granted a lease agreement by the Crown Estate for a 1.2 MW tidal power device to be deployed in 2014 pending environmental studies and permitting.

On wave energy, the Fred Olsen's Bolt Lifesaver wave energy converter was deployed in April at the Fab-Test nursery site in Falmouth.

Wind Power: Bournemouth

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent representations he has received on the proposed windfarm off the Bournemouth coast; and if he will make a statement. [124719]

Mr Hayes: Navitus Bay Development Ltd, the developer of the proposed project (along with other developers of projects which are subject to the provisions of the Planning Act) need to consult with interested parties both before and after an application for consent is submitted to the Planning Inspectorate. At this stage of the process, any interested parties should make their views known to the developer. Interested parties can also make their views known to the Planning Inspectorate once the formal consultation on any application has started.

As DECC Ministers will be taking the final decision on whether consent should be granted, it would not be appropriate to offer any views on the project.

30 Oct 2012 : Column 159W

Northern Ireland

Cleaning Services

Dan Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will make it her policy to require all cleaning contracts held by her Department to stipulate that the cleaning products used and their ingredients should not have been tested on animals. [125023]

Mike Penning: My Department does not hold cleaning contracts at present; rather we avail of contracts held by third parties. That said, we will support the commitments of the coalition agreement and require all cleaning contracts, to which we are a party, to stipulate that the cleaning products used and their ingredients should not have been tested on animals.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Badgers: Disease Control

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the size of the badger population in each county in England; what assessment he has made of trends in the badger population in each county; and what assessment he has made of the reliability of such estimates. [125506]

Mr Heath: We do not have estimates of the size of badger population in each county of England.

The last national badger survey was carried out between 1994 and 1997. Overall, the survey estimated that the number of badgers in Britain had increased by 77% since the previous survey carried out between 1985 and 1988, to between 300,000 and 400,000 badgers.

We have commissioned a two-year National Badger Survey in England and Wales to quantify any changes since the previous survey.

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent estimate he has made of the numbers of badgers in the two pilot cull areas. [125322]

Mr Heath: I refer the hon. Member for Wakefield to my answer of 17 October 2012, Official Report, column 296W.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the most recent census of the badger population in the two badger culling pilot areas; and what account he has taken of such census information in developing plans for the culling of badgers in those areas. [124925]

Mr Heath [holding answer 25 October 2012]: The badger sett surveys recently carried out in the pilot areas have revealed that badger numbers in those areas are much higher than originally anticipated by the

30 Oct 2012 : Column 160W

licensees, which means they would need to remove a higher number of badgers than they originally anticipated in order to meet the 70% removal rate required. The pilot culls will go ahead next summer when we are completely satisfied that all necessary arrangements are in place.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to discuss the development of bovine tuberculosis diagnostic tools with (a) his European counterparts and (b) the European Commission. [124942]

Mr Heath: I will continue to speak with my European counterparts and the European Commission about all aspects of bovine TB. There have already been discussions with the European Commission on the development of diagnostic tools in relation to bovine TB and, in particular, the scientific evidence needed to review the current vaccines. I will press for this ban to be lifted as quickly as the science will allow.

Mobile Phones

Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which companies supply (a) mobile telephones and (b) mobile data services to his Department. [125697]

Richard Benyon: Core DEFRA has a contract with Vodafone under the Government Procurement Services framework arrangement RM526/L1 for Mobile Solutions II and a separate contract with Orange Personal Communications Ltd.

Vodafone are the main provider for mobile phone and data services within core DEFRA. However, Orange provides a mobile phone and data service to core DEFRA where the Vodafone coverage is weak.

Planning

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many chartered town planners are employed by his Department. [125803]

Richard Benyon: This information is not held centrally and to provide it would incur disproportionate cost.

Sickness Absence

Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on how many days on average staff of his Department in each pay grade were absent from work as a result of ill health in each of the last 12 months. [125696]

Richard Benyon: Sickness absence rates are calculated over a 12-month period. The information requested on monthly absence rates could be provided only by incurring disproportionate cost.

The sickness absence rates for each grade in core DEFRA for the year to 30 June 2012 is shown in the following table:

30 Oct 2012 : Column 161W

GradeAverage working days lost due to sickness

AA

8.3

AO

6.6

EO

4.7

HEO

3.9

SEO

2.5

Grade 7

2.1

Grade 6

3.2

SCS

0.9

Unknown(1)

2.9

Overall

3.7

(1) Staff shown as being in an unknown grade are former Regional Development Agency staff whose grade is yet to be assessed.

Wheels to Work Schemes

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what financial support his Department provided to Wheels to Work schemes in each financial year from 2008-9 to 2011-12. [125324]

Richard Benyon [holding answer 29 October 2012]: The following funding was allocated by DEFRA from the Rural Development Programme for England for Wheels to Work projects:

 £

2008-09

0

2009-10

99,788

2010-11

138,462

2011-12

15,000

The following funding was allocated from the Rural Development Programme for England for a similar transport to work project:

 £

2010-11

31,050

2011-12

10,000

International Development

Afghanistan

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of progress in reducing the levels of corruption in Afghanistan since 2011. [125907]

Mr Duncan: Afghanistan continues to face high levels of corruption and ranks 180 out of 183 countries on Transparency International's 2011 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI). The UK is helping the Afghan Government tackle corruption across a range of areas, including reducing the scope for misuse of public funds and supporting law enforcement. We are also helping to strengthen Afghan civil society organisations to hold the government to account.

The UK Government welcome the anti-corruption commitments the Government of Afghanistan made at the Tokyo development conference on 8 July 2012. These include holding those responsible for the Kabul Bank crisis to account, and recovering the lost funds. The Government of Afghanistan also committed to a

30 Oct 2012 : Column 162W

more accountable and transparent mining sector, a key source of future revenue. President Karzai's Executive Order of 26 July 2012 will also help strengthen the Government's anti-corruption efforts by tackling issues of nepotism in recruitment and instructing line ministries to develop plans to reduce the scope for corruption.

Bangladesh

Bob Blackman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) what estimate she has made of the number of children of school age in Bangladesh in (a) 2007 and (b) 2012; and how many such children were not in education in each of those years; [125051]

(2) if she will estimate the proportion of children of school age in Bangladesh, but not in education who are girls. [124956]

Mr Duncan: According to Government of Bangladesh data, 0.6% of girls at compulsory school age (six-10 years) were not enrolled in education in 2011, the latest date for which information is available. In 2007 there were 16,771,776 children of compulsory school age; 1,472,676 of these children were not enrolled in education. Data for 2012 will be available next year.

Bob Blackman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many schools in Bangladesh receive funding from her Department that is ring-fenced for the provision of toilet blocks and clean running water. [125136]

Mr Duncan: DFID does not have a specific, ring-fenced, allocation for the provision of toilet blocks and clean running water for schools in Bangladesh. Through Bangladesh's Primary Education programme, however, during 2011 to 2016, a total of 94,893 toilet blocks will be built, with water points for hand-washing. In addition 40,000 tube wells will be drilled in school premises for drinking water.

The total budget for the Bangladesh's Primary Education programme (2011 to 2016) is US$8.36 billion, of which DFID contributes $190 million (£UK110 million).

Bob Blackman: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of recent infrastructure improvements in Bangladesh; and if she will make a statement. [125137]

Mr Duncan: A number of important investments have been made in infrastructure in Bangladesh in the last fifteen years, such as in road and rail, and the power sector. The World Economic Forum's Global Competitiveness Report for 2011-12 ranks Bangladesh's infrastructure competitiveness as 134 out of 144 countries; inadequate infrastructure was identified as the number one problematic factor for businesses.

Palestinians

Mr Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if she will take steps to prevent UK and EU aid funding to the Palestinian Authority being used to pay salaries to Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. [125826]

30 Oct 2012 : Column 163W

Mr Duncan: UK and EU assistance to the Palestinian Authority (PA) is provided subject to a number of safeguards. Our assistance to the PA supports a successful Middle East Peace Process by helping build Palestinian institutions and promoting economic growth, so that any future state will be stable, prosperous, well-run, and an effective partner for peace with Israel.

As requested by the Israeli authorities the PA pays an allowance to cover the cost of food and clothing for Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. The PA also provides social welfare payments to the families of prisoners. We support the provision of welfare payments to innocent families who have lost a breadwinner, and we continue to encourage the PA to ensure that these payments are transparent, needs-based and affordable.

Attorney-General

Tobacco: Smuggling

Ian Paisley: To ask the Attorney-General pursuant to the answer of 27 March 2012, Official Report, column 1098W, on tobacco smuggling, how many people have been charged in relation to seizures made by the UK Border Force and HM Revenue and Customs in each of the last five years; how many cases were referred to the Crown Prosecution Service for prosecution; and how many such referrals were taken forward for prosecution. [125156]

The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not hold data related to the number of people that have been charged in relation to tobacco seizures. There is also no central record of the number of referrals from the UK Border Force and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to the CPS for a charging decision and how many such referrals were taken forward for prosecution. Such data could not be reasonably obtained locally or nationally other than by a manual exercise at disproportionate cost.

Communities and Local Government

Cleaning Services

Dan Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will make it his policy to require all cleaning contracts held by his Department to stipulate that the cleaning products used and their ingredients should not have been tested on animals. [125012]

Brandon Lewis: The cleaning of the Department's buildings is undertaken by its facilities management service provider, Interserve Facilities Management Ltd. As part of Interserve's contract mobilisation programme they are currently working to establish if any of the products used have been tested on animals, with the clear ambition of replacing products with suitable alternatives should any be identified. Interserve has also committed to ensure that products used conform to Government Buying Standards.

30 Oct 2012 : Column 164W

Council Housing

Mr MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what instructions he is giving to councils who do not have enough smaller properties to offer council tenants who seek to move from council dwellings with spare bedrooms in order to maintain benefit eligibility. [125945]

Mr Prisk: We have issued new statutory social housing allocations guidance for councils which highlights the importance of ensuring that under-occupying tenants are given appropriate priority for a transfer, and which encourages councils to identify and remove or revise any provisions in their allocation policy which might make it more difficult for tenants to downsize.

If tenants wish to move to a smaller property, provisions in the Localism Act 2011—which remove transferring tenants who are not in housing need from the allocation rules—together with the introduction of “HomeSwap” Direct, will make it easier for them to do so.

This Department has allocated £13 million over four years (2011-15) to help councils support under-occupying tenants who wish to move, as well as funding an action team within the Chartered Institute of Housing to work with all social landlords to help them promote moves.

Repossession Orders

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent steps he has taken to reduce the number of home repossessions in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England. [125904]

Mr Prisk: The Government are helping homeowners in difficulty by tackling the record deficit inherited from the last Administration to prevent a rapid increase in interest rates hitting struggling households.

The Government are committed to working closely with lenders, debt advice agencies and local authorities to ensure that repossession is only ever a last resort and that effective help and advice for homeowners at risk of repossession is available. www.direct.gov.uk/mortgagehelp outlines the options available to households.

A range of Government support is in place to help homeowners at risk of repossession. Targeted support includes Support for Mortgage Interest, a DWP benefit designed to help eligible out of work households meet their monthly interest payments and the £221 million Mortgage Rescue Scheme aimed at vulnerable homeowners at risk of repossession which has been improved to deliver better value for money for the taxpayer. Applications for the scheme are considered by local authorities across England as part of their duties to prevent homelessness.

The Department of Communities and Local Government announced £20 million funding for preventing repossessions in February this year which provides additional options for local housing authorities to tackle repossessions in their local area. Coventry council received £154,734 for a Preventing Repossessions Fund which can be used to offer small interest free loans or grants to households at risk of repossession to address immediate short term financial difficulties and avoid households becoming homeless due to mortgage possession.

30 Oct 2012 : Column 165W

Defence

Aircraft Carriers

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Apache helicopter will be able to be moved by lift below deck on the Queen Elizabeth class carrier without the need to manually fold its rotor blades. [125911]

Mr Dunne: The Queen Elizabeth Class Aircraft Carriers will be able to transport an Apache helicopter with its rotors fully spread from the flight deck to the hangar and vice-versa using the aircraft lifts. Depending on the number of aircraft embarked, the rotor blades of Apache helicopters may be manually folded prior to entering the hangar to maximise storage space.

Defence Equipment

David Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what assessment he has made of storage capacity for material returning from (a) theatre in Operation Herrick and (b) Germany; [125273]

(2) which sites are being considered for the storage of material returning from (a) theatre in Operation Herrick and (b) Germany. [125274]

Mr Dunne: Work to assess the future required size of the Ministry of Defence storage capacity is ongoing. No decisions have yet been made regarding storage of material returning from either theatre in Operation Herrick or from Germany.

Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many units of the Joint Strike Fighter his Department plans to purchase. [125260]

Mr Dunne [holding answer 29 October 2012]: The overall number of Joint Strike Fighter aircraft to be purchased will not be determined before the next Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2015.

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has any plans to purchase any Variant A Joint Strike Fighters. [125426]

Mr Dunne: The UK remains committed to the F-35B, the short take-off vertical landing variant, as it forms a key element of the UK's future Carrier Strike capability. Any possible future requirement for the conventional take-off and landing variant (F-35A) will be dependent on decisions on the future long-term mix of the UK's combat aircraft and the long-term future of the Typhoon fleet.

Libya

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the Answer of 24 October 2012, Official Report, column 878W, on Libya: military intervention, what the average cost of a single Tornado GR4 sortie to Libyan air space during Operation Ellamy was from (a) RAF Marham and (b) Gioia del Colle. [125840]

30 Oct 2012 : Column 166W

Dr Murrison: The cost of an average seven and half hour Tornado sortie from RAF Marham to Libya was approximately £37,000. While the average cost of a five and half hour Tornado sortie from Gioia Del Colle to Libya was approximately £27,000.

These figures are calculated using standard marginal flying hour costs and rounded to the nearest thousand.

Procurement

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps are taken to ensure that all contracts tendered by his Department are done so in a competitive process. [125276]

Mr Dunne: It is Ministry of Defence (MOD) policy to maximise the use of competitive tendering in order to seek best value for money. However, the MOD does use a single source, non-competitive, process in certain circumstances, for example, where exclusive rights are owned by one supplier or urgency arising from an operational crisis. The reasons for non-competitive procurement are scrutinised during the approvals process, to ensure they are justifiable and legally compliant.

This process ensures such business cases are scrutinised to provide assurance that procurement will deliver value for money and is affordable.

Prime Minister

Corruption

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Prime Minister who will be the new international anti-corruption champion. [124467]

The Prime Minister: My right hon. and learned Friend the Member for Rushcliffe (Mr Clarke), the Minister without Portfolio, is the international anti-corruption champion.

Diplomatic Service

Mr Chope: To ask the Prime Minister (1) if he will set out the terms upon which he appointed his special envoys for (a) Gibraltar and (b) Sahel; and what his estimate is of the cost to the public purse of the functions carried out by these envoys; [125835]

(2) what special envoys he has appointed since May 2010; on which dates they were appointed; and, where applicable, on which dates their appointments were terminated. [125837]

The Prime Minister: I refer my hon. Friend to the press notice issued by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, which can be found at:

http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/news/latest-news/?id=816116082&view=News

I also refer my hon. Friend to the written ministerial statement made by the former Minister for the Armed Forces, the hon. Member for North Devon (Sir Nick Harvey), on 26 January 2011, Official Report, column 11WS. I have also appointed Michael Anderson as Special Envoy on UN Development Goals.

30 Oct 2012 : Column 167W

Transport

Aviation

Mr Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his estimate is of the number of flights into UK airports which have been delayed for more than three hours other than in extraordinary circumstances in each of the last five years. [125833]

Mr Simon Burns: The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) collects and publishes punctuality statistics for 10 UK airports (Birmingham, Edinburgh, Gatwick, Glasgow, Heathrow, London City, Luton, Manchester, Newcastle and Stansted). A table showing the total number of arriving and departing flights at those airports and the number of those flights that were delayed by more than three hours has been placed in the Libraries of the House. The higher incidence of delay in 2010 will reflect the volcanic ash period and severe winter. The recent judgment provides rights to passengers whose flights are delayed on arrival by three hours, however, the enforcement body that will deal with passenger complaints is the one based in the member state where the flight departs. The CAA does not collect reasons for delays and it is not therefore possible to confirm the proportion of delays that were due to extraordinary circumstances.

Aviation: EU Action

Mr Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the financial effect on UK aviation businesses of the decision of the European Court of Justice of 23 October 2012 in Tui Travel and Others v. the Civil Aviation Authority; and if he will make a statement. [125834]

Mr Simon Burns: It is not possible at this stage to assess the financial effect of the judgment on UK aviation businesses. The CJEU judgment estimates that 0.15% of EU flights are delayed by more than three hours and that this would be further reduced by extraordinary circumstances.

High Speed 2 Railway Line

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will publish all detailed valuations of the noise, landscape, visual and other environmental impacts included in each of High Speed 2's benefit-to-cost ratio calculations on each section of the proposed route between London and Birmingham. [125587]

Mr Simon Burns: This information is already published in Annex 5 of the HS2 Appraisal of Sustainability which can be found at:

www.dft.gov.uk/aos

The January 2012 document “Economic Case for HS2—Value for Money Statement” may also be helpful and this is available at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/topics/high-speed-rail/growth

Rail Delivery Group

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the effect that the short-term extension of the West Coast Main

30 Oct 2012 : Column 168W

Line passenger franchise will have on

(a)

First Group and

(b)

Virgin Trains' membership of the Rail Delivery Group. [125179]

Mr Simon Burns: The issues raised in this question are a matter for train operating companies. The Rail Delivery Group is an industry body that is led by and formed of representatives from train operating companies and other industry stakeholders.

Railways: Barrow in Furness

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to his future franchising process, what estimate he has made of the demand for direct rail services between Barrow-in-Furness and (a) Manchester and (b) Manchester airport. [125089]

Mr Simon Burns: No assessment has been made at this stage regarding the demand for direct rail services between Barrow-in-Furness and Manchester, or Barrow-in-Furness and Manchester airport. Further consideration will be given to this issue on the commencement of the rail refranchising programme, which is currently suspended for the duration of the Brown review.

Railways: Franchises

Mr Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions (a) he, (b) Ministers in his Department and (c) officials in his Department have held with Network Rail in the last two years on Network Rail operating rail franchises. [125148]

Mr Simon Burns: Ministers and officials have not held any meetings with Network Rail in the last two years to discuss the prospect of Network Rail operating rail franchises.

Mr Davidson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether Network Rail can bid for rail franchises. [125243]

Mr Simon Burns: With minor exceptions (for example the Royal Train and track maintenance vehicles), Network Rail Infrastructure Ltd (the network operator) is prohibited under its licence from having interests in train operations or engaging in activities outside network management except in so far as the ORR consents. This restriction also extends to other Network Rail group companies. Network Rail would also need to comply with EU law restrictions relating to carrying out infrastructure management and train operations within the same group, for example requirements to keep certain track allocation and charging functions independent from train operations.

These considerations do not prevent Network Rail from cooperating closely with train operators to generate efficiencies, as for example with the Wessex alliance with South West Trains. They would however make it difficult for Network Rail to bid for a franchise given the way it is currently constituted.

Railways: Nature Conservation

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what obligations his Department places on Railtrack to control vegetation clearance during the bird-breeding season. [125938]

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Mr Simon Burns: When undertaking vegetation clearance work during the bird nesting season, Network Rail is bound by the provisions of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 as amended. The company must ensure that it does not contravene the legislation put in place to protect birds while they are nesting. This legislation does allow work to be carried out in the interest of safety.

West Coast Railway Line: Cumbria

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what effect the time taken to let a long-term franchise for the West Coast Mainline will have on proposals for additional services to Cumbria by open access operators. [125090]

Mr Simon Burns: Decisions about applications for track access are dealt with by the Office of Rail Regulation (ORR). ORR needs to take account of all aspirations for the use of the limited amount of spare track capacity that exists on the West Coast Main Line and, to the extent that doubt now surrounds the long-term franchise position, it is reasonable to expect that ORR will need to defer its adjudication on the allocation of the spare track capacity, at least until after the Brown review.

Culture, Media and Sport

Billing

Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what the average cost to her Department was of processing the payment of an invoice in the latest period for which figures are available; and what proportion of invoices settled in that period her Department paid (a) electronically and (b) by cheque. [125677]

Hugh Robertson: The average cost of processing the payment of an invoice for the period 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012, was £12.18. The proportion paid electronically during this period (including by Government Procurement Card) was 99%, and by cheque, was 1%.

Broadband

Mr Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport why her Department's programme of funding to deliver high speed broadband and wireless connectivity stipulates that it must be spent over a contiguous area; and if she will make a statement. [125795]

Mr Vaizey: The Super-Connected Cities Initiative does not stipulate that funding must be spent over a contiguous area, since the funding complements existing and planned commercial deployments, which may make up much of the area. The aim of achieving large contiguous areas of ultrafast connectivity in our cities is to make the areas attractive for the deployment of new business and public sector applications and services, and to avoid a ‘post code lottery’ in provision.

Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many times private companies have had to re-submit bids to local authorities in respect of the roll-out of superfast broadband. [125828]

30 Oct 2012 : Column 170W

Mr Vaizey: There have been two occasions on which bids for superfast broadband projects have had to be resubmitted. These were for the projects in Cumbria and the Highlands and Islands.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport for what reasons superfast broadband development is being supported through the Urban Broadband Fund in areas where a superfast broadband service is already available. [125910]

Mr Vaizey: Cities with funding from the Urban Broadband Fund are seeking to provide a step change in broadband provision to deliver capability which is not currently available. Projects will need to be consistent with EU state aid requirements.

Broadband Delivery UK

Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many staff (a) are currently seconded from Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) to local authorities and (b) have previously been seconded from BDUK to local authorities. [125830]

Mr Vaizey: No BDUK staff are, or have been, seconded to local authorities.

Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many external consultants have been employed by Broadband Delivery UK since May 2010. [125831]

Mr Vaizey: The total number of external consultants (including interims) employed on either a full-time, or part-time basis, by Broadband Delivery UK, since May 2010, is approximately 70.

Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many members of her Department's staff work for Broadband Delivery UK. [125832]

Mr Vaizey: The number of staff from this Department, currently working for BDUK, is 23.

Local Press

Andrew Bingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what steps the Government plans to take to address the increasing threat to the viability of local newspapers. [124414]

Mr Vaizey: This Government recognise the importance of local newspapers to the very fabric of our society.

We are concerned about the effect that decreased advertising revenues has had on local newspapers. That is why last year we removed local cross media ownership rules to enable local media businesses to move freely from platform to platform, ensuring the survival and success of their sector. In addition, on 25 May 2012, in my capacity as Minister for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries, I hosted a question and answer session for MPs on the issue of local newspapers, attended by Ashley Highfield, chief executive of Johnston Press.

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Mobile Phones

Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport which companies supply (a) mobile telephones and (b) mobile data services to her Department. [125679]

Hugh Robertson: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport uses both Vodafone and O2 for mobile phones and mobile data services.

Olympic Games 2012: Marketing

Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the effect of the No Marketing Rights Protocol on companies involved in delivering the London 2012 Olympic Games; and if she will make a statement. [125641]

Hugh Robertson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave her on 26 October 2012, Official Report, column 1073W.

Press: Subscriptions

Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how much her Department spent on newspapers, periodicals and trade publications in the last 12 months. [125676]

Hugh Robertson: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has spent £557.94 on newspapers, and £7,078.67 on periodicals and trade publications, between October 2011 and the end of September 2012.

Tourism: Newton Abbot

Anne Marie Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what steps (a) Visit Britain and (b) Visit England are taking to promote tourism in Newton Abbot constituency. [125871]

Hugh Robertson: Devon and Newton Abbot are an important part of our tourism offer. Although VisitEngland, our national tourism board, does not promote at the local level, it does engage in national promotions and public relations work, which benefits such locations as Devon. In fact, Devon is one of the highest value destinations in terms of visitor spend outside London. VisitEngland is currently developing four thematic marketing campaigns based on city, coast, countryside and heritage, and Devon embodies all four.

While there is no single Destination Management Organisation (DMO) for Devon, VisitEngland staff do meet regularly with the individual destination organisations and local authorities, that promote destinations within the county.

VisitBritain is investing in a major international promotional campaign in key overseas markets, and over the next four years, this is expected to deliver 4.6 million extra visitors, £2.27 billion in extra visitor spend, and over 50,000 job opportunities across the whole nation. This campaign will take advantage of the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity afforded by the unique events of 2012, to maximise the industry's potential and ensure that we create a sustained legacy for tourism. Destinations all over the UK, including those in Devon, stand to benefit from these initiatives.

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Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Market Share: Growing Economies

15. Peter Aldous: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what progress his Department has made in promoting the expansion of UK market share in the fastest-growing economies; and if he will make a statement. [125223]

Mr Hague: We are determined to expand Britain's market share in the fastest-growing economies. We are opening up to 19 new Posts; redeploying 300 staff to 20 countries; and we are intensifying our relations with these economies in a way that is long overdue.

Pakistan

16. Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to improve the UK’s relationship with Pakistan. [125225]

Mr Hague: The past year has seen an increase in bilateral trade between Britain and Pakistan, discussions on political reconciliation in Afghanistan, agreement on counter terrorism co-operation and projects to improve school facilities, teacher recruitment and attendance in Pakistan. The Prime Minister hosted his Pakistani counterpart here in May and I visited Pakistan in June.

Bahrain

17. Mr MacShane: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of human rights in Bahrain; and if he will make a statement. [125226]

Alistair Burt: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs and I discussed human rights with the Crown Prince of Bahrain on 12 October. We support the reforms already under way and are offering our assistance but we are clear that more rapid progress needs to be made.

Single Market

19. Wayne David: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on protecting the integrity of the single market. [125228]

20. Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his EU counterparts on protecting the integrity of the single market. [125229]

Mr Lidington: We regularly discuss the single market with our EU counterparts.

It is Europe’s greatest asset and it is vital that we protect its integrity and take decisive steps to make it work better.

Syria

21. Mr Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the conflict in Syria; and if he will make a statement. [125230]

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Alistair Burt: The situation in Syria continues to deteriorate. We support UN—Arab League Joint Special Representative Brahimi’s efforts to bring about a ceasefire. This must be accompanied by a genuine commitment from the Syrian regime to work with Brahimi to find a sustainable end to the violence in Syria.

Afghanistan

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment his Department has made of progress in reducing opium production in Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement. [125903]

Alistair Burt: We are awaiting the findings of the full 2012 report. However, the UN Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released its last opium risk assessment in April, predicting no increase in cultivation this year in the two provinces which produce the vast majority of Afghanistan's opium.

The UNODC's most recent Afghan Opium Survey, published in October 2011, reported that opium poppy cultivation rose nationally by 7% in 2011 compared to 2010. Cultivation fell by 3% in Helmand Province, the most prolific opium producing province in Afghanistan, which was the third successive annual decrease in cultivation there.

It is difficult to assess the overall levels of progress, but the UK remains committed to supporting the Afghan Government to make progress on their National Drug Control Strategy. Together with international partners, the UK is pursuing a comprehensive approach to tackling the Afghan drugs trade which addresses security, economic and rural development, as well as law enforcement. Working with international and regional partners, for example through the Paris Pact and the Istanbul Process, we are seeking to improve cooperation on tackling the drugs trade, the trade in precursor chemicals, target illegal financial flows and reduce demand in the region and worldwide.

Arms Trade: Treaties

Ian Murray: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his UN counterparts on the text of the Arms Trade treaty. [125224]

Alistair Burt: Ministers and officials regularly raise the Arms Trade treaty in bilateral and multilateral meetings. The Government have co-authored a UN resolution to convene a conference in March to finalise the text and will continue to lead international efforts to secure a strong and effective treaty which attracts the widest possible support.

Bangladesh

Richard Fuller: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations his Department has made to the government of Bangladesh on the disappearance of Mr Illias Ali. [125063]

Alistair Burt: We are concerned about the disappearance of Mr Ilias Ali and his driver, Ansar Ali, and continue to urge the Government of Bangladesh to fully investigate

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any reports of disappearances. The Minister of State, my noble Friend the right hon. Baroness Warsi, raised the matter when she spoke with the Bangladesh Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dr Dipu Moni, on 5 October.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs raised this matter with the Bangladesh Prime Minister, Sheikh Hasina, in July. I visited Bangladesh in May, and raised Mr Ali's disappearance with the Bangladeshi Prime Minister and the leader of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party, Khaleda Zia.

Our high commission in Dhaka has made several representations, most recently in October, to the authorities on this matter and has been assured that every effort continues to be made to establish the circumstances of Mr Ali's disappearance and to locate him.

We will continue to urge the Bangladeshi authorities to do all they can to locate Mr Ali and to investigate the circumstances of his disappearance.

Belarus

Stephen Phillips: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of restrictive measures against the Lukashenko regime in Belarus. [125250]

Mr Lidington: Although it is difficult to gauge the effectiveness of sanctions against an opaque regime like Belarus, we judge that they have had some effect. The regime has released over 30 political prisoners since sanctions were re-imposed in January 2011, including two in April and one in September. We judge further that the travel ban and asset freezes are personally embarrassing to individuals, damage Belarus’ image, and have had a constraining effect by encouraging others in similar roles and positions to respect human rights and the rule of law. But 10 political prisoners remain in jail. We therefore continue to look at alternative means of promoting reform in Belarus, including support to civil society, alongside the use of sanctions.

British Indian Ocean Territory

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 22 October 2012, Official Report, column 740W, on British Indian Ocean Territory, which other officials in his Department are part of the Government of British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT); and whether the Commissioner and Administrator of BIOT, as employees of his Department, are answerable to him. [125327]

Mark Simmonds: In addition to the Commissioner and the Administrator, the following officials, who are also employees of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, are members of the Government of British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT):

Deputy Commissioner;

Deputy Administrator; and

Assistant Administrator.

The Commissioner and Administrator of BIOT are not answerable to the Secretary of State in their capacity as employees of his Department, but as part of the

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BIOT Government answerable to Her Majesty the Queen, acting through her Secretary of State. Of course, the Commissioner and Administrator are also the Director of Overseas Territories Directorate and the Head of BIOT Section respectively, and answer to the Secretary of State in those capacities as employees of his Department.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 22 October 2012, Official Report, column 740W, on British Indian Ocean Territory, if he will place in the Library copies of all Orders in Council, Ordinances and subsidiary legislation for British Indian Ocean Territory. [125328]

Mark Simmonds: I will arrange for a compact disc covering Orders in Council. Ordinances and subsidiary legislation for the British Indian Ocean Territory to be placed in the Library of the House.