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Written Answers to Questions

Monday 5 November 2012

Defence

Afghanistan

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department is taking to reduce the number of civilians affected by unmanned aerial vehicle strikes in Afghanistan. [126114]

Mr Robathan: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the then Minister for the Armed Forces, the hon. Member for North Devon (Sir Nick Harvey), on 13 September 2011, Official Report, column 1153W, to the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion (Caroline Lucas)

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what definition his Department uses of the term civilian in respect of UK operations in Afghanistan. [126115]

Mr Robathan: There is no single definition of a civilian in use in respect of UK operations in Afghanistan. However, the law of armed conflict makes a distinction between combatants, who take part in fighting and non-combatants, who do not and must be protected as far as possible from its effects.

Armed Forces: Crime

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many summary offences handed to service personnel have been entered onto the Police National Database since 2006; and if he will make a statement. [123068]

Mr Francois: Service police have been entering conviction data onto the Police National Database (PND) since March 2011. This includes some historical data dating back before 2006. Other forces civil police only see the headline offence with a marker and must contact the service police for further information with regards to gaining additional detail.

All convictions data (which include summary offences) are now entered onto the PND. However, information is uploaded onto the PND as intelligence and contains both conviction and non-conviction data. It is for this reason that we are unable to provide a figure of exactly how many summary offences have been uploaded to PND.

Armed Forces: Recruitment

Lindsay Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of school leavers entered the armed forces in each of the last five years. [125076]

Mr Francois [holding answer 26 October 2012]: The information relating to number of entrants joining the armed forces directly from school is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

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Armed Forces: Redundancy

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he plans to take to encourage those who have been made redundant recently from the armed forces to join the reserves. [125130]

Mr Francois [holding answer 26 October 2012]: All three services are working to make it as quick and easy as possible for individuals leaving the regular forces to join the reserves, including those who leave under redundancy terms. This includes simplifying administrative processes, examining the use of incentives and ensuring coherent communications so individuals who are leaving the regular forces are aware of the opportunities that exist in the reserves.

Armed Forces: Retirement

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which three and four-star personnel have retired from the armed forces since May 2010. [123283]

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many senior military personnel have retired from the armed forces since May 2010; who they were; and how many meetings each such person has held with Ministers or senior civil servants in his Department since their retirement. [123875]

Mr Francois: During the period 1 May 2010 to 1 October 2012, there were 24 three and four-star armed forces personnel who have retired or left the services for other reasons. The information concerning meetings with Ministers or senior civil servants since their departure is not held in the format requested, and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Three and four-star officers who have retired between 1 May 2010 to 1 October 2012 are as follows:

Service  

Royal Navy

Admiral

Trevor Soar

 

Vice-Admiral

Richard Ibbotson

 

Vice-Admiral

Timothy Laurence

 

Vice-Admiral

Paul Lambert

 

Vice-Admiral

Peter Wilkinson

 

Vice-Admiral

Alan Massey

 

Vice-Admiral

Robert Cooling

   

Royal Marines

Lieutenant-General

James Dutton

   

Army

General

Kevin O'Donoghue

 

General

John McColl

 

Lieutenant-General

Arundell Leakey

 

Lieutenant-General

David Bill

 

Lieutenant-General

Richard Applegate

 

Lieutenant-General

Christopher Brown

 

Lieutenant-General

Robert Baxter

 

Lieutenant-General

Paul Newton

 

Lieutenant-General

Andrew Graham

 

Lieutenant-General

Barnabas White-Spunner

   

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Royal Air Force

Air Chief Marshal

Simon Bryant

 

Air Chief Marshal

Graham Stirrup

 

Air Marshal

Iain McNicoll

 

Air Marshal

Christopher Nickols

 

Air Marshal

David Walker

 

Air Marshal

Peter Ruddock

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the role of Ministers in his Department is in monitoring the commercial employment contracts agreed by former military personnel post-retirement. [123932]

Mr Francois: Ministry of Defence Ministers have no role in monitoring commercial employment contracts. Applications made by former military personnel to take up commercial appointments up to two years from their last paid date in service are considered at the appropriate delegated level. For the most senior former personnel, this will take the form of a recommendation from an internal panel for endorsement by the Permanent Secretary, and consideration by the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments.

Armed Forces: Sexual Offences

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many prosecutions of (a) rape and (b) sexual assault of members of the armed forces have been conducted in (i) Iraq since 2003 and (ii) Afghanistan since 2001; and if he will make a statement. [123292]

Mr Francois: There have been no prosecutions of members of the armed forces for rape or sexual assault conducted in Iraq since 2003 or Afghanistan since 2001. A prosecution would not be held in theatre, provided the case could be heard in the United Kingdom at a later stage.

Bahrain

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the armed forces are attached to the Bahraini armed forces or are advising the Bahraini Government. [125394]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 29 October 2012]: No members of the UK armed forces are permanently attached to the Bahraini armed forces, or to the Bahrain Government as advisers. The UK does regularly deploy short term training teams to Bahrain to provide specific training to the Bahrain defence force in niche areas. These deployments are temporary in nature and linked to specific capacity building projects.

British Indian Ocean Territory

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent requests he has received from the US administration for the use of Diego Garcia for (a) military action against Iran and (b) operations in the Persian Gulf. [125994]

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Mr Robathan [holding answer 1 November 2012]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the then Minister for the Armed Forces, the hon. Member for North Devon (Sir Nick Harvey), on 6 March 2012, Official Report, column 660W. The UK continues to work with other countries to achieve a diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear ambitions. We wish to see a peaceful, negotiated diplomatic settlement to the Iranian nuclear crisis, by which Iran gives the world confidence that it is not developing and will not develop nuclear weapons. All our efforts are devoted towards such a peaceful resolution through a twin track strategy of engagement and sanctions, although we are clear that all options for addressing the issue remain on the table.

There have been numerous occasions in the past when the US has requested, and we have agreed, the temporary use of UK bases and base areas or UK sovereign territory. The precise circumstances are always subject to the closest consultation, including all legal aspects.

Defence: Procurement

Mr Carswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what meetings staff of his Department have had with former staff of his Department employed by defence contractors to discuss the (a) Terrier programme, (b) Capability Upgrade Strategy (Pilot), (c) Naval EHF/SHF SATCOM Terminals programme, (d) Land Environment Air Picture Provision programme, (e) Medium Range Radar RT997 programme, (f) Sting Ray Mod 1 Insensitive Munition Warhead programme, (g) Sentry Mode S IFF programme and (h) Lucie-Systems Dismounted Close Combat Consolidation since June 2010. [124211]

Mr Dunne: The information requested is not held by the Ministry of Defence.

Military Police

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many schedule 2 offences were reported to the Royal Military Police in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [125881]

Mr Francois: Schedule 2 of the Armed Forces Act 2006 incorporates in excess of 50 offences. Information relating to these offences is not held in the format requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Ministry of Defence Police and Guarding Agency

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is on the future of the Ministry of Defence Police and their duties; and if he will make a statement. [125929]

Mr Francois [holding answer 31 October 2012]: The Departmental Mandate and Statement of Requirement for the Ministry of Defence Police was issued in August 2012. I will place a copy in the Library of the House.

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Somalia

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on which dates a UK warship has not been available for Operation Atalanta over the last two years. [126439]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 2 November 2012]: The Royal Navy maintains a constant presence, including at least one frigate or destroyer, east of Suez. These vessels are able to carry out a number of duties including specific deliberate counter-piracy operations as the need arises.

Since 2008, the Royal Navy has contributed to EU, NATO and CMF counter-piracy operations in several capacities—from the contribution of assets, to the provision of the Operational Headquarters and Operational Commander for Operation Atalanta.

Over the last two years, HMS Richmond supported the EU's Operation Atalanta between 22 January 2011 and 10 July 2011.

Unmanned Air Vehicles

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions (a) he and (b) officials in his Department have had with the Attorney-General's office on the legality of armed drone strikes. [126289]

Mr Robathan: It is the longstanding position of Government, reflected in the ministerial code, that whether the Law Officers have been consulted on any issue on any matter is not disclosed outside Government.

Veterans

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consideration his Department has given to the creation of a Government department with responsibility for veterans. [124825]

Mr Francois [holding answer 25 October 2012]: There are a number of mechanisms in place to ensure that Government policies towards veterans are co-ordinated effectively, including my own role as the Minister responsible for Veterans, and the Cabinet sub-committee on the Armed Forces Covenant chaired by the Minister for Government Policy, and on which I sit. In addition, in September 2012 the Prime Minister appointed Lord Ashcroft as Special Representative for Veterans' Transition. He will review the support available to service leavers making the transition to civilian life and make recommendations for improving that support and for better co-ordination across Government and with service charities.

Veterans: Radiation Exposure

Mark Menzies: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost to his Department has been in respect of (a) solicitors', (b) barristers', (c) experts' fees and (d) other costs in relation to ionising radiation appeals at war pensions tribunals to date; and what estimate he has made of the likely costs of such appeal hearings in January and February 2013. [123034]

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Mr Francois: In the current group of ongoing nuclear test veterans war pensions appeals the Ministry of Defence has, to date been notified of bills as follows:

 £

Solicitors

185,541.80

Barristers

191,017.05

Experts

37,887

Other costs

98,931.94

Total

513,377.79

These figures exclude VAT and do not include the cost of any associated Ministry of Defence resourcing or obtaining security clearances for individuals involved in the cases.

The Treasury Solicitor's Department, for reasons of government accounting, charges for its services on a cost recovery basis.

We remain keen to work with the tribunal and appellants with a view to ensuring that costs relating to all war pensions appeals are proportionate and kept to a minimum. The hearing is due to commence on 28 January 2013 and is likely to run until mid-February. At present we estimate the cost of this hearing will be around £140,000 (excluding VAT), however, this will be dependent on the precise work involved.

Treasury

Community Investment Tax Relief

Chris White: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent consideration he has given to widening Community Investment Tax Relief to financial intermediaries other than community development finance institutions for the purpose of encouraging social investment. [126337]

Mr Gauke: As announced at Budget 2012, the Treasury is conducting an internal review of the financial barriers to social enterprise, which is considering broad options for taking forward the Treasury’s work on financial barriers in this area.

Corporation Tax

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the total value of research and development relief for corporation tax for large companies was in (a) 2007-08, (b) 2008-09, (c) 2009-10, (d) 2010-11 and (e) 2011-12. [126711]

Mr Gauke: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given on 1 November 2012, Official Report, column 388W.

Corporation Tax: Video Games

Naomi Long: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent progress has been made by his Department's consultation on corporation tax reliefs for high-end television animation and video games industries. [126909]

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Mr Gauke: HM Treasury published a consultation on the design of the corporation tax reliefs for animation, high-end television and video games on 18 June 2012. This consultation closed on 10 September.

The Government are considering the responses they have received. A Government response to the consultation will be published on 11 December 2012 along with draft legislation for consultation.

EU Budget

Mr Redwood: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the (a) gross contributions net of the UK rebate and (b) net contributions for the UK to the EU in (i) 2012-13 and (ii) 2013-14. [125551]

Greg Clark: The Office for Budget Responsibility's (OBR) latest forecast of both the UK gross (net of the UK rebate) and net contributions to the EU Budget, over the periods 2010-11 to 2016-17, was published in March 2012. This can be found in Table 2.15 of the OBR's ‘economic and fiscal outlook Supplementary fiscal tables’ at:

http://budgetresponsibility.independent.gov.uk/

Excise Duties: Tobacco

Philip Davies: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he plans to take to ensure that UK sovereignty over the setting of excise duty rates, and use of that revenue, during negotiations on the draft guidelines for the implementation of Article 6 of the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, in Seoul in November 2012. [126904]

Sajid Javid: Article 6 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and the draft text of the guidelines for implementation of that Article make clear that the guidelines currently under negotiation are non-binding and that States Party to the Convention retain full sovereignty over fiscal matters, including how revenues from tobacco taxation are spent. The issue of a threat to UK sovereignty over the setting of excise rates and the use of that revenue does not therefore arise.

Income Tax

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will give consideration to extending the personal allowance level at which lower-paid employees begin paying income tax to £12,000 per annum. [126632]

Mr Gauke: The Government believe the income tax system should give more support to those on low to middle incomes, rewarding the efforts of those who choose to work. This is why the coalition Government have committed to increasing the personal allowance to £10,000.

Together the personal allowance increases announced by the Government in this Parliament will benefit 25 million individuals, and take 2 million low income individuals out of income tax by April 2013.

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Mobile Phones

Mike Freer: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer which companies supply (a) mobile telephones and (b) mobile data services to his Department. [125757]

Sajid Javid: Mobile telephony services for HM Treasury are provided by Vodafone. The contract covers (a) mobile telephones and (b) mobile data services.

PAYE

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans the Government has to provide support to businesses (a) prior to and (b) following the introduction of the real-time information reporting system to assist them with the transition. [126698]

Mr Gauke: HMRC is providing a range of guidance for businesses about preparing for and operating PAYE in Real Time and has recently written to all employers who will join the real time information (RTI) reporting system in April 2013. They are also making free, RTI enabled Basic PAYE Tools (BPT), available for employers with nine or fewer employees.

HMRC’s Customer Contact and Education Teams will continue to support those customers in need of help, before, during and after migration to RTI, including specialist help available via the Online Support Helpline.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he plans to take to increase small businesses' awareness of his plan to require them to report PAYE information monthly to HM Revenue and Customs. [126720]

Mr Gauke: Under real time information (RTI) employers will report PAYE information to HMRC each time they pay their employees. Most employers will join the RTI system in April 2013.

HMRC's communications plan is informed by customer insight. This shows that the best time to inform small and medium employers about changes to their obligations is when it is time for them to act. That time has come and, with six months to go, HMRC is now intensifying its awareness campaign. The campaign includes writing to more than 1.4 million employers; providing targeted e-mails and flyers to representative bodies, agents and software developers to issue to their members or publish on their websites; media activity; advertising on Facebook; regular live Twitter Q&As; You Tube videos and road shows across the country.

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much of the £108 million budget allocated to HM Revenue and Customs to deliver the real-time information recording programme has been spent on (a) advertising and (b) raising awareness of the Government's recently announced changes to the programme. [126723]

Mr Gauke: HMRC's communication plan is informed by customer insight. This shows that the best time to inform small and medium employers about changes to their obligations is when it is time for them to act. That time has come and, with six months to go, HMRC is now intensifying its awareness campaign.

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HMRC continuously monitor the impact of their communication work and allocate funds in line with communication needs identified. The campaign includes a range of communications activities to ensure all employers are aware of their obligations under RTI.

A small part of this is paid for advertising. A campaign will run from mid October to mid November. The campaign has not yet been invoiced and the final cost is not yet known.

Letters are also being issued, during October and November, to all employers who will join RTI from April 2013. The cost of these letters is approximately £500,000.

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many businesses HM Revenue and Customs (a) has contacted directly and (b) plans to contact directly to alert them of their forthcoming obligations under the real-time information recording system. [126724]

Mr Gauke: HMRC has recently written directly to over 1.4 million employers covering around 1.9 million PAYE schemes. It will be writing again to those schemes that have not already joined real-time information recording system in February 2013.

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what targets he has put in place in relation to the (a) speed and (b) accuracy of the transfer to the Department for Work and Pensions of tax information collected under the real-time information recording system. [126725]

Mr Gauke: Relevant PAYE information, that is collected from employers under the real time information reporting system, will be transferred to the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on a daily basis.

The information transferred will be an exact copy of the information reported by employers.

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps HM Revenue and Customs has taken to alert employers to their forthcoming obligations under the real-time information recording system. [126726]

Mr Gauke: Under real time information (RTI) employers will report PAYE information to HMRC each time they pay their employees. Most employers will join the RTI system in April 2013.

HMRC's communications plan is informed by customer insight. This shows that the best time to inform small and medium employers about changes to their obligations is when it is time for them to act. That time has come and, with six months to go, HMRC is now intensifying its awareness campaign. The campaign includes writing to more than 1.4 million employers; providing targeted e-mails and flyers to representative bodies, agents and software developers to issue to their members or publish on their websites; media activity; advertising on Facebook; regular live Twitter Q&As; You Tube videos and road shows across the country.

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Personal Income: Cumbria

John Woodcock: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the number of households that include 16-18 year olds in (a) Barrow and Furness constituency and (b) Cumbria that had a gross income of (i) below £20,817, (ii) between £20,818 and £25,521 and (iii) between £25,522 and £30,810 in each of the last five financial years. [125421]

Mr Hoban: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.

Estimates of the income distribution are published in the Households Below Average Income (HBAI) series. HBAI uses household income adjusted (or ‘equivalised’) for household size and composition, to provide a proxy for standard of living.

The requested information is not available as the sample size of this survey is not sufficient to provide estimates at constituency or local authority level.

Public Appointments

Luciana Berger: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many appointments made to the boards of public bodies overseen by his Department have been (a) male and (b) female since May 2010. [126173]

Sajid Javid: In the period May 2010 to October 2012 the Treasury made 14 new appointments to the boards of its public bodies. Of these, 12 were made to men and two were made to women.

Tax Allowances: Personal Pensions

Mr Byrne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the distributional effect on incomes of tax relief on personal pensions to individuals and households. [126502]

Sajid Javid [holding answer 2 November 2012]:Available distributional analyses of contributions to individuals' personal pensions can be found in Tables PEN3, PEN4 and PEN5 on the HMRC website at

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/pensions/menu.htm

Tax Returns

Sir Robert Smith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many closure notices HM Revenue and Customs issued in each tax year between 1989-90 and 2008-09, where relief had been claimed by the taxpayer using schemes later closed down by (a) section 62 of the Finance Act 1987 (No. 2), (b) sections 112 and 115 of the Income and Corporation Tax Act 1988, (c) section 59 of the Taxation of Chargeable Gains Act 1992, (d) section 858 of the Income Tax (Trading and Other Income) Act 2005 and (e) section 58 of the Finance Act 2008; [126250]

(2) how many people, in each tax year between 1989-90 and 2008-09, set up Isle of Man or other trusts that were used in schemes later shut down by (a) section 62 of the Finance Act 1987 (No. 2), (b) sections 112 and 115 of the Income and Corporation Tax Act 1988, (c) section 59 of the Taxation of Chargeable Gains Act 1992, (d) section 858 of the Income Tax (Trading and Other Income) Act 2005 and (e) section 58 of the Finance Act 2008; [126251]

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(3) how many closure notices HM Revenue and Customs issued making (a) an adjustment and (b) no adjustment to a tax return, in each tax year between 1989-90 and 2008-09, in circumstances where relief had been claimed using schemes later closed down by (i) section 62 of the Finance Act 1987 (No. 2), (ii) sections 112 and 115 of the Income and Corporation Tax Act 1988, (iii) section 59 of the Taxation of Chargeable Gains Act 1992, (iv) section 858 of the Income Tax (Trading and Other Income) Act 2005 and (v) section 58 of the Finance Act 2008. [126252]

Mr Gauke: Section 62 Finance (No 2) Act 1987 and the later equivalent provisions referred to in the question retrospectively restored the important and well established principle that Double Taxation Treaties do not affect a UK resident's liability to UK tax on their income or gains.

Section 58 Finance Act 2008 was introduced when evidence emerged that a large number of people were using the schemes and in light of a number of factors (including the widespread use, aggressive nature and artificiality of the scheme, the deliberate attempt to avoid the aim of the 1987 legislation, and the need to ensure fairness and certainty for all taxpayers). The legislation put beyond doubt, again with retrospective effect, that the schemes did not work—and never had done.

I am unable to provide the information requested because HM Revenue & Customs does not hold the information in the manner stipulated and a search of their systems and records would be at a disproportionate cost, is unlikely to provide the requested information, and any information found may still not be in the form you require. It may also be useful to explain that the original legislation introduced in 1987 preceded self-assessment procedures, including the introduction of closure notices.

HMRC can provide the following information which may be relevant to the questions being asked.

With regard to the number of trusts, a number of people using the wholly artificial tax avoidance schemes set up more than one trust in attempting to avoid tax, and in other cases more than one person used the same trust. HMRC identified roughly 3,000 people who had set up one or more Interest in Possession trusts that were likely to have been used for the wholly artificial scheme targeted by section 58 of the Finance Act 2008. Enquiries were opened into the returns made by many of these individuals. In a substantial number of cases it was established that the trust either was not in fact set up for the scheme, was set up for the scheme but not used, or was set up for the scheme but used for a later year.

HMRC is enquiring into the returns of approximately 2,000 people who used the scheme under enquiry and many of them used the scheme for more than one year, therefore users may have received multiple closure notices. In some cases enquiries were not opened but the position of the Exchequer has been safeguarded by the issuing of assessments. Where an assessment has been made for a year in respect of the wholly artificial scheme targeted by section 58, no closure notice would have been issued for the same year.

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HMRC has become aware that enquiries into a small number of returns have been closed in error. HMRC does not consider that this affects the rationale for the introduction of section 58.

VAT

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with his European counterparts on the principle of requiring companies to pay VAT in the countries where their profits are raised. [126266]

Mr Gauke: Companies are required to pay VAT in any EU country where they undertake economic activity, regardless of whether profits are raised there.

The most recent discussion on the application of VAT took place at ECOFIN on 9 October 2012. This meeting, which was attended by the Chancellor, agreed a VAT regulation which will support important VAT changes affecting sales to consumers in the telecoms, broadcasting and e-service sectors. In future VAT will be applied to those sales in the country where the customer is located, rather than where the supplier is based. These changes will come into effect across the EU on 1 January 2015.

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what powers HM Revenue and Customs has to ensure that VAT costs passed on between businesses are representative of the VAT actually paid. [126269]

Mr Gauke: On creation of HMRC in 2005 a Review of Powers, Deterrents and Safeguards was established to align powers and penalties across various taxes. As a result of this review, Parliament introduced schedule 36 to Finance Act 2008 which modernised HMRC's information and inspection powers from 1 April 2009. These powers include HMRC's right to visit businesses to inspect premises, assets and records and ask taxpayers and third parties for more information and documents for the purposes of checking a customer's compliance with their tax obligations, including VAT.

Home Department

Alcoholic Drinks: Prices

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment she has made of whether introducing minimum pricing for units of alcohol is an effective way to tackle excessive drinking. [126000]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The Government will publish an impact assessment this autumn that will estimate the impact of minimum unit pricing on a range of issues including consumption, crime, health and business.

Biometrics

Mr David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) DNA profiles and (b) biological samples have been deleted or destroyed since Royal Assent was given to the Protection of Freedoms Bill on 1 May 2012. [125965]

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James Brokenshire [holding answer 31 October 2012]: 39,799 DNA profiles were deleted from the National DNA Database between 1 May 2012 and 26 October 2012.

34,496 of the DNA profiles deleted were taken from individuals by UK law enforcement agencies, of which 17,945 were taken by England and Wales police forces.

5,303 of the DNA profiles deleted were recovered from crime scenes by UK law enforcement agencies, of which 4,795 were recovered by England and Wales police forces.

The number of biological samples destroyed is not held centrally. Records are kept by the forensic service providers storing samples on behalf of police forces.

Public Order Act 1936

Craig Whittaker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she expects to publish the results of the consultation on reforming section 5 of the Public Order Act 1936. [126107]

Damian Green: The Government are carefully considering the responses to the consultation ‘Police Powers to Promote and Maintain Public Order’, part of which sought views on the significance of the word “insulting” in section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986. The Government will publish its response to the consultation in due course.

Research and Development

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much her Department spent on research and development in (a) 2008-09, (b) 2009-10, (c) 2010-11 and (d) 2011-12; and how much she plans to spend in (i) 2012-13, (ii) 2013-14 and (iii) 2014-15. [121874]

James Brokenshire: Expenditure on research and development by Departments including the Home Office is collected by the Office for National Statistics and published as annual official statistics by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills. The latest published information shows that £44 million was spent on research and development in the Home Office in 2008-09, £43 million in 2009-10 and £42 million in 2010-11 (net in cash terms).

For future years research and development expenditure will be determined as part of the annual planning round process and is subject to consultation with Ministers on how funding should be prioritised. This process is currently being undertaken.

Theft: Barrow in Furness

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many cases of theft from the person there were in Barrow in Furness constituency in each of the last five years, by the nature of item stolen. [126232]

Mr Jeremy Browne: Statistics are not available for the constituency of Barrow in Furness. The available information relates to offences of theft from the person recorded in the combined Community Safety Partnership

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areas of Barrow-in-Furness and South Lakeland and is given in the table. Information on the type of item stolen is not available from the police recorded crime statistics.

Offences of theft from the person recorded in the combined CommunitySafety Partnership areas of Barrow-in-Furness and South Lakeland
Financial yearNumber

2007-08

63

2008-09

76

2009-10

50

2010-11

54

2011-12

35

Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority Committee

Pay

Helen Jones: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, who approved the current remuneration arrangements for the interim Chief Executive of IPSA. [126794]

Mr Charles Walker: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. I have asked IPSA to reply.

Letter from Paula Higson, 1 November 2012:

As acting Chief Executive of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking who approved the arrangements for my remuneration.

I was appointed as acting Chief Executive by Sir Ian Kennedy, IPSA's Chair, to provide cover on a part-time basis while the Chief Executive, Andrew McDonald, received treatment for prostate cancer. The Chair also agreed and approved my remuneration in advance of my being appointed.

Furthermore, details of my remuneration are publicly available on IPSA's website at:

http://parliamentarystandards.org.uk/transparency/Documents/IPSA%20facts%20and%20figures/Miscellaneous/IPSA%20-%20Senior%20Staff%20Salaries.pdf

Energy and Climate Change

Fuels: Timber

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent assessment he has made of the development of the wood fuel sector. [126462]

Gregory Barker: As part of the development of the UK Bioenergy Strategy we renewed our analysis on biomass feedstocks, including wood fuel, available to the UK. This analysis considered the future potential resource from the UK and from global supplies.

The UK bioenergy and supporting documents were published in April 2012 and are available from the DECC website.

5 Nov 2012 : Column 451W

Nuclear Power

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether he plans to publish on his departmental website the agendas and minutes of the new Nuclear Industry Council; and whether any financial resources from his departmental budget will be used to support the new council. [126971]

Mr Hayes: The agenda and minutes of the Nuclear Industry Council will be published on the DECC website. The only costs DECC will cover are administrative costs providing secretariat functions and provision of venues for council meetings.

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when the Nuclear Industry Council will next meet. [127044]

Mr Hayes: The date for the first Nuclear Industry Council meeting is still under consideration.

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the terms of reference are for the Nuclear Industry Council. [127045]

Mr Hayes: The Nuclear Industry Council will bring leading representatives from across the nuclear industry together to ensure that the UK's nuclear industry can build on its strengths and develop the new capabilities needed to compete in a competitive UK and global market. It reflects the Government's desire to build a strong industrial strategy in partnership with industry across a range of key sectors. The full terms of reference will be developed between Government and council representatives and agreed at the inaugural meeting of the council and published on the DECC website.

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how regularly he expects the Nuclear Industry Council to meet. [127089]

Mr Hayes: It is expected that the Nuclear Industry Council will meet between three to four times a year.

Sir Alan Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what his policy is on Chinese participation in the building of nuclear power stations in the UK. [126967]

Mr Hayes: The UK is the most open economy in the world and welcomes inward investment into the sector, including from China. The UK has a world class nuclear regulatory regime led by the independent Office for Nuclear Regulation. The regulator would ensure any company operating in this sector was in compliance with UK nuclear regulation as regards safety, security and operating track record.

Vacancies

Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what his Department's vacancy rate was in 2011-12; and what vacancy rate has been assumed for 2012-13. [125693]

5 Nov 2012 : Column 452W

Gregory Barker: The vacancy rate for the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) in 2011-12 was 14%. DECC has assumed a vacancy rate of 5% for 2012-13.

Wind Power

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change for how many onshore wind turbines consent has been given in each (a) region and (b) constituent part of the UK in each of the last five years. [126233]

Gregory Barker: The following table shows the number of onshore wind turbines consented in each region of the UK between 2007 and 2011. DECC does not hold records by constituency.

 20072008200920102011

East midlands

13

19

25

29

32

Eastern

19

34

11

39

32

London

1

3

1

1

2

North-east

73

47

12

21

27

North-west

20

18

52

26

6

Northern Ireland

72

41

79

65

32

Scotland

271

525

234

189

264

South-east

0

9

10

2

3

South-west

27

22

25

5

11

Wales

36

36

32

27

41

West midlands

3

1

4

2

7

Yorkshire and the Humber

38

85

40

33

17

Data are for applications approved, from DECC's Renewable Energy Planning Database, as extracted on 30 October 2012, at:

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

Wind Power: Cumbria

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many onshore wind turbines were given consent in each parliamentary constituency in Cumbria in each of the last five years. [126265]

Gregory Barker: The following table shows the number of onshore wind turbines consented in Cumbria between 2007 and 2011. DECC does not hold records by constituency.

Cumbria
 Number

2007

16

2008

9

2009

9

2010

10

2011

3

Data are for applications approved, from DECC's Renewable Energy Planning Database, as extracted on 30 October 2012, at:

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

5 Nov 2012 : Column 453W

Prime Minister

Archbishop of Canterbury

Chris Bryant: To ask the Prime Minister what progress he has made with the appointment process for the next Archbishop of Canterbury; and when he expects an announcement about the appointment to be made. [126620]

The Prime Minister: An announcement will be made in due course.

Leveson Inquiry

Chris Bryant: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 25 October 2012, Official Report, column 998W, on Leveson Inquiry, what material the Leveson Inquiry asked him to provide. [126623]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to paragraphs 3 and 4 of my witness statement provided to the Leveson Inquiry:

http://www.levesoninquiry.org.uk/evidence/?witness=david-cameron-mp

Public Appointments

Luciana Berger: To ask the Prime Minister how many public appointments he has approved have been (a) male and (b) female since May 2010. [126193]

The Prime Minister: All public appointments diversity data is published annually by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments. It can be found at:

http://publicappointmentscommissioner.independent.gov.uk/

Departmental Staff

Luciana Berger: To ask the Prime Minister what proportion of staff of Number 10 Downing Street are (a) male and (b) female. [126194]

Mr Maude: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Cabinet Office.

The Prime Minister's Office is an integral part of the Cabinet Office and is included in the figures for the Cabinet Office.

Information on work force diversity in the Cabinet Office is available at:

http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/content/public-sector-equality-duty

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Children: Chernobyl

Craig Whittaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will consider the merits of rescinding the decision to charge for visas in respect of applications made for visitors under the auspices of the Children from Chernobyl scheme. [126240]

5 Nov 2012 : Column 454W

Mr Lidington: For more than 16 years, the Government have provided gratis visas to thousands of children to travel to the UK for respite care organised by the Chernobyl Children Charities. The costs of around £130,000 per year are currently charged to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO). In line with a number of other difficult spending decisions, gratis visas will cease on 31 March 2013. We do not plan to reconsider this decision.

The FCO informed the charities concerned of this decision in November 2010 to allow them time to seek alternative funding. The FCO has also offered assistance to the charities in identifying new funding sources. Additionally, as a goodwill gesture in this final year of gratis visas, we have offered to cover the cost of Chernobyl children visas obtained in Ukraine as well as Belarus, up to a ceiling of £200,000.

Dalai Lama

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what advice (a) he, (b) his Ministers and (c) his Department have issued to Ministers in other departments on meeting his Holiness the Dalai Lama. [126783]

Mr Swire: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office provides advice to Ministers across Government whenever a foreign dignitary is visiting our country. Advice given to Ministers on meeting his Holiness the Dalai Lama reflected Her Majesty’s Government's position that we view the Dalai Lama as an important religious figure and the need for policy and handling to remain consistent across Government.

Israel

Mr Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to encourage Israel to (a) sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and (b) open its nuclear programme to international inspection. [126611]

Alistair Burt: The British Government support fully the universalisation of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty (NPT). We have called on Israel and other non-signatories to join the NPT as non-nuclear weapons states. We have also called on them to agree a full scope Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In 2009 the IAEA concluded that nuclear material, facilities or other items to which safeguards were applied in Israel remained in use for peaceful activities. The UK accepts these conclusions. We have a regular dialogue with the Israeli Government on civil nuclear and counter proliferation issues.

Press: Subscriptions

Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department spent on newspapers, periodicals and trade publications in the last 12 months. [125724]

Mr Lidington: In 2011-12, total global spend recorded for Publications and Library and Information Services was £1.9 million, a 14% reduction on the cost of £2.2 million

5 Nov 2012 : Column 455W

in 2010-11, a figure which I gave on 25 October 2011,

Official Report,

column 181W. These amounts cover spend across all the UK's 261 embassies and diplomatic posts overseas, as well as all the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Departments in London. The FCO has partly achieved savings by working with other Government Departments to obtain best value when purchasing these goods and services.

Public Appointments

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many appointments made to the boards of public bodies overseen by his Department have been (a) male and (b) female since May 2010. [126147]

Alistair Burt: The following tables show the numbers of appointments by gender made to the boards of public bodies overseen by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) since May 2010.

New appointments
FCO Public BodyMaleFemaleTotal

British Council

6

2

8

Westminster Foundation for Democracy

6

3

9

Great Britain China Centre

4

1

5

Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission

5

1

4

Re-appointments
FCO Public BodyMaleFemaleTotal

British Council

2

2

4

Westminster Foundation for Democracy

1

2

3

Great Britain China Centre

2

2

4

Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission

4

I

5

It remains our goal that our workforce should fully represent the diversity of Britain today. Consequently, we and the organisations concerned are committed to working to increase the diversity of the various Boards and recruiting the most talented applicants from the widest possible range of backgrounds.

Departmental Staff

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proportion of his Department's staff are (a) male and (b) female. [126148]

Alistair Burt: The proportion of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) as at October 2012 consists of 57% male and 43% female staff.

These figures are for UK based staff only and do not include staff from our trading fund, FCO Services or locally engaged staff employed overseas.

The FCO produces an annual Equality Report which can be accessed at:

www.fco.gov.uk/en/publications-and-documents/publications1/annual-reports/equality-report

5 Nov 2012 : Column 456W

Trade Promotion

Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 30 October 2012, Official Report, column 176W, on trade promotion, what the names are of the Scottish firms supported under the UK Trade and Investment tradeshow access programme; what the value was of the grant provided to each firm; and what the stated purpose of each grant was. [126796]

Mr Swire: Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP) grants are offered to less experienced exporter small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to exhibit at overseas trade fairs where they have the opportunity to promote their products or services to overseas buyers. The funding goes primarily towards stand space and construction costs.

Listed in the following table are those Scottish-based businesses who received TAP grants in financial year 2011-12 and the amount of grant they received. Grant levels range between £1,000 and £1,800 depending on agreed levels for individual exhibitions. Businesses can receive more than one grant in a financial year.

Tradeshow Access Programme (TAP)—Grants to Scottish-based businesses in 2011-12
Business nameGrant value (£)

Access All Areas Distribution Ltd

1,000

Aeropair Ltd

1,000

Allenwest Wallacetown Limited

1,000

Allenwest Wallacetown Limited

1,400

Armadale Salmon Fishing

1,000

AvantiCell Science Ltd

1,000

Ayr Equestrian

1,000

Barcelo Troon Marine Hotel

1,800

BGS Productions Limited

1,400

Big Baby Productions Ltd

1,400

Big Baby Productions Ltd

1,400

Bowtech Products Limited

1,400

Caledonian Tree Co Ltd

1,000

Caley Fisheries Ltd

1,000

CAPDM Ltd

1,000

Ceramco Ltd

1,000

Classic Restorations (Scotland) Ltd

1,000

Clock House Furniture Ltd

1,000

Clock House Furniture Ltd

1,000

Corporate Insignia Limited

1,400

Craigielaw Golf Club

1,000

DCH Wholesale

1,200

DCH Wholesale

1,200

Deans of Huntly Ltd

1,000

Distrify Ltd

1,400

DKL Metals Ltd

1,400

Dryden Aqua Ltd

1,800

Duncans of Deeside Ltd

1,000

Earth Squared Ltd

1,400

EdICT Training Ltd

1,000

Edinburgh College of Art

1,000

Edinburgh Napier University

1,400

eeGeo

1,800

Executive Golf & Leisure Limited

1,800

Executive Golf & Leisure Limited

1,800

Exterity Limited

1,800

Findlay Irvine Ltd

1,000

Firebrand Games Ltd

1,000

Firemac Limited

1,800

5 Nov 2012 : Column 457W

Forge Consulting Limited

1,000

Fresh (FSM LLP)

1,000

FTV Proclad International Ltd

1,000

Gardiners Of Scotland

1,000

Gareloch Support Services (Plant) Ltd

1,400

Gilden Photonics Ltd

1,000

Gilden Photonics Ltd

1,400

Global Solutions (AIC) Ltd

1,000

Golf Scotland

1,800

Golf Tourism Scotland

1,800

Grampian Growers Limited

1,400

Gretna Green Group Ltd

1,000

Halley Stevensons (Dyers & Finishers) Ltd

1,000

Halley Stevensons (Dyers & Finishers) Ltd

1,000

Hawick Knitwear Ltd

1,200

Hebridean Smokehouse Ltd

1,000

High Voltage Instruments Ltd

1,800

Highland Experience Tours

1,000

Highland Golf Links Ltd

1,800

Holland & Sherry Ltd

1,800

Hopscotch Brands Ltd

1,000

HRH Geological

1,400

Hunter Boot Limited

1,200

Hunter Boot Limited

1,200

HuzuTech Limited

1,400

HuzuTech Limited

1,400

Ilasco Ltd

1,000

Integrated Environmental Solutions Ltd

1,000

Intercaps Filling Systems Ltd

1,000

ITF (Industry Technology Facilitator)

1,400

Jean Moncrieff

1,400

JK Thomson

1,000

Joe Cool

1,000

John McGavigan Ltd (ADS)

1,400

Johnstone's Just Desserts Limited

1,000

Kandie Imports

1,000

KSM Superclean Ltd

1,400

Lallemand UK Ltd

1,400

Lamar Group Ltd

1,400

Laser Support Services Ltd

1,000

Lee's of Scotland

1,000

Lindean Mill Glass Ltd

1,400

Links Golf Tours St Andrews Limited

1,800

Loch Duart Ltd

1,000

Loch Fyne Oysters Ltd

1,800

Lochcarron John Buchan Ltd

1,000

Machine Vision Products

1,400

Machine Vision Products

1,800

Macleans Highland Bakery Ltd

1,000

Macnaughton Holdings Limited

1,000

Margot Steel Designs

1,000

Meldrum House Estates Ltd

1,800

Milbro Sports Ltd

1,000

Moorbrook Textiles Limited t/a Robert Noble

1,000

Morag Macpherson Textiles

1,000

MW Encap Limited

1,800

MW Encap Limited

1,800

MYB Textiles Limited

1,400

5 Nov 2012 : Column 458W

Mylnefield Research Services Ltd

1,400

Nairns Oatcakes Ltd

1,000

Nexus Oncology Ltd

1,000

Niki Jones

1,000

OEG Offshore Ltd

1,000

Paradigm Flow Solutions

1,000

Pickone

1,400

Playfair Farms

1,800

Professional Beauty Systems Ltd

1,400

QCTR Limited

1,000

Rabbie's Trail Burners Ltd

1,000

Rainbow Technology Systems Ltd

1,400

Red Island Ltd

1,000

Reel Service Ltd

1,400

Reid & Taylor

1,000

Replin Fabrics

1,000

Resistance Wires Ltd

1,000

Retronix Ltd

1,800

Retronix Semiconductor Limited

1,800

RF Global Solutions Ltd

1,800

Robert Cullen Ltd

1,400

S &T Knitwear Manufacturing Ltd

1,200

Safe Dreams Limited

1,000

Samantha Holmes

1,000

Samantha Holmes

1,000

Savantech Limited

1,800

Scienscope International

1,400

Sekers Fabrics Ltd

1,400

Semefab (Scotland) Limited

1,800

Sensewhere Ltd

1,800

Shortbread House of Edinburgh Limited

1,000

Skea Organics Ltd

1,400

Smart Safetech Ltd

1,000

Smart Tech Ltd

1,000

So You Media Ltd

1,400

Solid Form Solutions Ltd

1,800

Sports Labs Ltd

1,000

St James Smokehouse (Scotland) Limited

1,000

Stats (UK) Limited

1,000

Steepest Ascent Ltd

1,800

Stepper Technology Limited

1,800

Stepper Technology Limited

1,800

Studio Scotland Ltd

1,400

TAG Games Ltd

1,000

Task Geoscience Ltd

1,400

Tayside Machinery Ltd

1,000

Technocomm Ltd

1,800

Teknek Europe Ltd

1,400

Teknek Europe Ltd

1,400

Tessuti

1,400

Tessuti

1,400

The Decal Company Ltd

1,400

The Decal Company Ltd

1,400

The Futurist Cinema Company Limited

1,400

The House of Cheviot Ltd

1,000

Tom Hannah (Agencies) Ltd

1,000

Totseat Ltd

1,000

Touch EMAS Ltd

1,000

Usan Salmon Fisheries Ltd

1,000

Visible Ink Television Ltd

1,800

Voyage Decoration Ltd

1,400

5 Nov 2012 : Column 459W

Waddler

1,200

Waddler

1,200

Wallace Cameron &. Company Limited

1,000

Wemyss Weavcraft Ltd

1,400

Word Maker Ltd

1,000

Worldbeating Products

1,400

X-Axys Ltd

1,000

X-Axys Ltd

1,400

X-Axys Ltd

1,400

X-Axys Ltd

1,800

Yestek Ltd

1,000

Yestek Ltd

1,800

Yieldmax Ltd

1,400

Young SET Ambassadors Ltd

1,800

Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 30 October 2012, Official Report, column 176W, on trade promotion, what the titles were of the reports commissioned on behalf of Scottish firms under the Overseas Market Introduction Service. [126797]

Mr Swire: UK Trade & Investment's Overseas Market Introduction Service orders, including their titles, contain potentially commercially sensitive information which cannot be released without the authority of each commissioning UK company, contributor or named company or individual in each market. Answering the question fully would require obtaining the authority of over 300 UK companies or individuals and significantly more companies across a number of overseas markets and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 30 October 2012, Official Report, column 176W, on trade promotion, how many firms were supported under UK Trade and Investment's market visit support programme in each of the last five years. [126798]

Mr Swire: The figures given as follows for the last five years include both group market visits and solo visits.

 Number

2007-08

834

2008-09

1,023

2009-10

1,306

2010-11

1,721

2011-12

1,398

Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 30 October 2012, Official Report, columns 176W, on trade promotion, what the names were of the Scottish companies that took part in Scottish missions under UK Trade and Investment's market visit support programme; and when each such visit took place. [126802]

Mr Swire: 39 companies agreed to attend missions with UKTI's Market Visit Support (MVS) funding. Five of these companies ultimately did not undertake

5 Nov 2012 : Column 460W

visits and did not receive MVS funding. The 34 companies who participated in the missions with MVS funds were:

17-21 October 2011

BeccaFlory

Carbon Masters

ClickNetherfield

Eribé Knitwear Design

High Voltage Instruments

Omega Diagnostics Group plc

Power of Youth

World Club HQ

28 November-2 December 2011

Anniesland College

BCF Technology Ltd

City of Glasgow College

Gentech International

Global Solutions (AIC) Ltd

Gordon & MacPhail

Nautronix

St Andrews Golf Experience Ltd

Timorous Beasties

7-13 December 2011

Advocates Ltd

Apex Sports International (Scotland) Ltd

Anderson Strathern

Ardaich Ltd

Edinburgh College of Art, University of Edinburgh

Falkirk Whisky Distillery Co. Ltd

Gentech

G7 Consultants

Midland Electrical Winding & Contracting (Scotland) Ltd

Original Skin Co.

PFP

5-10 January 2012

Andy Scott Public Art

Edutrain

Key Facilities Management International Ltd

Lightwaters

Synergie Scotland

User Vision

Women and Equalities

Equality and Human Rights Commission

Tim Loughton: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what funding has been given to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in each of the last five years; what studies the EHRC has produced; and if she will conduct a value for money assessment of such contributions. [126782]

Mrs Grant: The following table shows the grant in aid from the sponsor department to the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) in each of the last five years:

5 Nov 2012 : Column 461W

 Grant in aid (£000)

2006-08

50,851

2008-09

59,264

2009-10

55,049

2010-11

50,774

2011-12

35,975

This money was used to support a wide range of activities, including studies, which for the purpose of answering this question we have interpreted has as comprising the EHRC's research reports. Since its inception the EHRC has published 86 main research reports plus 35 other briefings and reviews. A list providing the title; author; and year of publication of each report has been placed in the House library.

In May 2012 we announced in ‘Building a fairer Britain: Reform of the Equality and Human Rights Commission—Response to the consultation’ a comprehensive review of the EHRC's budget. This includes considering whether the EHRC's activities are delivering value for taxpayers' money.

Transport

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects the DVLA Front Office Counter Services tender to be awarded; and what the reasons are for the time taken to award the tender. [126556]

Stephen Hammond: The DVLA is entering the final stages of its Front Office Counter Services procurement. It is expected that the contract award will be made before the end of November following assurance of the whole procurement process.

Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what provisions of the DVLA Front Office Counter Services contract will be non-exclusive. [126557]

Stephen Hammond: The entire Front Office Counter Services contract will be awarded on a non-exclusive basis.

Electric Vehicles

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many registered (a) electric vehicles and (b) hybrid vehicles there were in the UK in the latest period for which figures are available. [126478]

Stephen Hammond: The numbers of licensed electric and hybrid electric vehicles in Great Britain as at 30 June 2012 are shown in the following table. Statistics for the UK are not compiled centrally by the Department for Transport as the registration of cars in Northern Ireland is administered separately by the Northern Ireland Driver and Vehicle Agency.

5 Nov 2012 : Column 462W

 (a) Electric vehicles(b) Hybrid vehicles(1)

Vehicles licensed in Great Britain, as at 30 June 2012

71,830

114,904

(1) Hybrid vehicles consist of petrol electric hybrids and diesel electric hybrids. Source: “Vehicle Licensing Statistics, Great Britain: Quarter 2 2012” (DFT). These statistics are derived from the DVLA vehicle register, an operational database used to handle the licensing of vehicles registered in Great Britain.

High Speed 2 Railway Line

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which potential construction sites his Department is considering in respect of High Speed 2 that are within Chesham and Amersham constituency. [126553]

Mr McLoughlin: No final decisions will be taken about the exact placement of construction sites along the route before we have properly considered the views of local consultees. Any new information will be shared as soon as possible with local communities through the HS2 Community Forums.

On 25 October we published a consultation on safeguarding, including draft maps setting out the land that HS2 Ltd currently expect will be needed to operate and construct the railway, including potential construction sites. These maps are available at the following address:

http://highspeedrail.dft.gov.uk/consultations-0

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the written ministerial statements of 17 July 2012, OfficialReport, columns 139-40WS, and 18 September 2012, Official Report, columns 44-5WS, on High Speed 2, what assessment he has made of the suitability of the involvement of Dialogue for Design in his Department's consultation on compensation for those affected by High Speed 2. [126628]

Mr McLoughlin: The property and compensation consultation response analysis contract was awarded to Dialogue by Design in March this year following a competitive tender process and we are satisfied they can deliver the response analysis for this consultation in a way that is thorough and robust. We have also updated our systems and processes to minimise the risk of such errors reoccurring.

London Midland: Franchises

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he has taken to ensure that the timetables and standards of service specified in the London Midland franchise are kept to. [126641]

Norman Baker: London Midland has been provided with no relief from its obligation to run a full timetable as a result of its current shortage of driving staff and is fully aware that appropriate action will be taken if and when benchmarks are breached. My officials are in daily contact with London Midland management, and I have spoken with London Midland's Managing Director to ensure that the operator is taking all appropriate steps to resume full service operation as soon as possible.

5 Nov 2012 : Column 463W

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he has taken to enforce penalties against Govia for poor performance in the running of the London Midland franchise. [126642]

Norman Baker: As at today's date, London Midland is not yet in breach of the contractual cancellations benchmarks set out in its Franchise Agreement, performance against which is calculated as a rolling annual average. If and when these benchmarks are breached, the Department has a range of potential enforcement measures available, and will take appropriate and proportionate action.

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the performance standard achieved by Govia, if he will consider ending the London Midland franchise at the initial expiry date. [126645]

Norman Baker: We retain the option to end the London Midland franchise at the Initial Expiry Date. This decision will be based on a range of factors.

As specified in the Franchise Agreement, the Department will exercise discretion as to whether to allow the franchise to continue to the later Expiry Date. We will take current performance and LM's resolution of the current problems into account in doing so.

National Air Traffic Services

Mr Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy to require National Air Traffic Services to sell its unused former training college at Hurn Airport; and if he will make a statement. [126629]

Mr McLoughlin: National Air Traffic Services was part-privatised in 2001. A proposal to sell any of its significant assets would be a matter for the NATS Board to consider in the first instance, in accordance with its governance arrangements.

Public Appointments

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many appointments made to the boards of public bodies overseen by his Department have been (a) male and (b) female since May 2010. [126169]

Norman Baker: The number of appointments made to the boards, of public bodies overseen by the Department for Transport split by male and female since May 2010 are:

25 Male and 5 Female new appointments.

Staff

Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport 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. [125710]

Norman Baker: The Department was formed in 2002 and is made up of a Central Department DfT(C) and six Executive Agencies as follows:

5 Nov 2012 : Column 464W

Driver & Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)

Highways Agency (HA)

Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA)

Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA)

Driving Standards Agency (DSA)

Vehicle & Operator Services Agency (VOSA)

This response includes both the Central Department and the Executive Agencies.

(a) Recruitment agency fees

DfT does not hold figures for monthly spend as recruitment agency fees are paid in total and not on a monthly basis. Our accounting systems report that the total departmental spend for the relevant period was £120,149.68. By comparison, total Departmental spend for the 2009-10 financial year was £6,128,339.

(b) Outplacement agency fees for displaced or redundant staff

DfT has spent no money on outplacement agency fees for displaced or redundant staff in the last 12 months. Displaced or redundant staff are now supported by the Civil Service Transition Centre.

(c) Staff training

The reported spend on training for the department was:

 £

October 11

272,760

November 11

519,735

December 11

343,954

January 12

345,946

February 12

430,765

March 12

893,674

April 12

128,555

May 12

306,203

June 12

171,296

July 12

447,110

August 12

426,899

September 12

444,096

Total

4,730,993

By comparison, total Departmental spend for the 2009-10 financial year was £12,558,897.

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of his Department's staff are (a) male and (b) female. [126170]

Norman Baker: In the Department for Transport, including its six executive agencies, 57.7% of permanent staff are male and 42.3% female.