6 Nov 2012 : Column 535W

Databases

Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress her Department has made in developing the Home Office data hub; how many police forces have provided all the data that they are required to provide to the data hub; and if she will make a statement. [126627]

Damian Green [holding answer 5 November 2012]: 42 out of the 44 forces in England and Wales have provided test files and 34 are now supplying regular monthly crime data. Six of these forces' recorded crime statistics are produced using the data hub alone. It is currently not possible to say to what extent forces are accurately supplying all the required data to the data hub as we are in the process of a quality assurance exercise to determine this. Under the statutory annual data requirement for 2012-13, police personnel data sets are to be delivered in the second half of the financial year. We continue to work with forces to ensure the number that supply via the data hub increases.

Driving Under Influence: Drugs

Angela Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what recent assessment her Department has made of the accuracy of drug-driving testing devices in terms of identifying whether a driver (a) is driving under the influence of an illegal drug, (b) is driving while taking prescribed medication or (c) has impaired driving; and if she will make a statement; [126023]

(2) what progress her Department has made in developing the type approval process for drug driving devices; and if she will make a statement; [126073]

(3) what discussions she has had with (a) ministerial colleagues, (b) external stakeholders, (c) her Australian counterpart and (d) other overseas counterparts on the implementation in the UK of devices to detect drug-driving; and if she will make a statement. [126191]

Mr Jeremy Browne: In 2011, the Home Office published a Guide to Type Approval Procedures for Preliminary Drug Testing Devices used for transport law enforcement in Great Britain. This guide defines the requirements a preliminary drug testing device will need to meet in order to be considered for type approval together with the laboratory and other tests to which it will be subject. The guide was prepared by Home Office scientific advisers, taking full account of experience in other countries and the views of manufacturers, the police and independent experts.

Once approved the devices will be available for use in determining whether a driver might have particular potentially impairing drugs in his or her body, whether or not those drugs are controlled, prescribed or available over the counter. If a test result is positive a blood specimen will then be taken to provide evidence for a possible prosecution. It will be for the courts to decide if the person has committed a drug-driving offence.

The Home Office is currently in the process of testing a number of drug-screening devices to be used in police stations. The aim is for any devices which successfully pass all the tests to be type approved by the end of 2012.

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Female Genital Mutilation

Karl Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the number of girls being taken out of the country to have female genital mutilation performed. [126752]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The prevalence of female genital mutilation (FGM) in the UK is difficult to estimate because of the hidden nature of the crime. A study based on 2001 census data suggested that more than 20,000 girls under 15 could be at high risk of FGM in England and Wales.

Leveson Inquiry

Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what material the Leveson inquiry asked her to provide. [126624]

Damian Green [holding answer 5 November 2012]: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the Secretary of State’s witness statement to the Leveson inquiry, dated 30 April, and the associated exhibits. These are in the public domain on the inquiry website at:

www.levesoninquiry.org.uk

The inquiry asked the Secretary of State to provide this material in accordance with their questions which are included in the witness statement.

Organised Crime: Sexual Offences

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent estimate she has made of the number of boys involved in gangs who have been sexually exploited. [126187]

Mr Jeremy Browne: There are currently no data on the number of boys involved in gang violence that have been sexually exploited.

Police: Pensions

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent discussions she has had with Ministers in the Scottish Government regarding the pensions of the police in Scotland. [126368]

Damian Green: Home Office Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of partners, as well as organisations and individuals in the public and private sectors, as part of the process of policy development and delivery.

As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings.

Police: Powers

Ben Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how the police defines the use of warranted power; and how that definition applies to the activities of officers on restricted duties. [126296]

Damian Green: “Warranted power” and “restricted duty” are not terms which are defined in legislation. Police officers are attested under section 29 of the Police Act 1996 on appointment, and they then have all

6 Nov 2012 : Column 537W

the powers of a constable by virtue of section 30. The specific powers are set out in other legislation, notably the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984.

It is for the chief officer of the police force to decide whether it is appropriate for an officer's duties to be restricted in some way to take account of either a particular physical condition, while an allegation of misconduct is being investigated or where disciplinary proceedings are pending. Being placed on restricted duties may limit the activities an officer undertakes in the course of his job, but does not remove the powers that they have by virtue of being a constable.

Public Appointments

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many appointments made to the boards of public bodies overseen by her Department have been (a) male and (b) female since May 2010. [126145]

James Brokenshire: Between 1 May 2010 and 30 October 2012, 19 men and 14 women were appointed to the boards of executive and advisory non-departmental public bodies overseen by the Home Office.

Departmental Staff

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of her Department's staff are (a) male and (b) female. [126146]

James Brokenshire: As at 31 March 2012, 48% of Home Office employees were male and 52% were female.

(Figures are based on paid civil servants only, in line with Office for National Statistics workforce reporting standards).

Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of terrorism prevention and investigation measures on preventing terrorist-related activities; [126864]

(2) how many people are currently subject to terrorism prevention and investigation measures. [126865]

James Brokenshire: The Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011 allows the Secretary of State to impose a powerful range of measures to protect the public from a small number of individual terrorists who we cannot yet prosecute or deport. These powers are part of a package, with substantial extra resources for the police and security service, which may increase the opportunities for the collection of evidence that may be used in a prosecution.

The Director General of the security service has said that he is content that the overall TPIM package mitigates risk.

In accordance with section 19 of the Terrorism Prevention and Investigation Measures Act 2011, the Secretary of State for the Home Department, my right hon. Friend

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the Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May), reports to Parliament each quarter on the exercise of her powers under that Act.

The most recent quarterly report, published on 7 September 2012, confirmed that as of the end of the reporting period (31 August 2012) nine individuals were subject to terrorism prevention and investigation measures. The next reporting period ends on 30 November 2012.

Metal: Theft

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the proportion of metal thefts that took place where the victim belonged to the scrap metal industry in each of the last three years. [126469]

Mr Jeremy Browne: This information is not collected by the Home Office. We are aware, as a result of regular engagement with police forces and the scrap metal industry, that legitimate scrap metal dealers have been victims of metal theft.

Theft: Motor Vehicles

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many thefts of motor vehicles there were in (a) Barrow and Furness constituency and (b) Cumbria in each of the last five years. [126267]

Mr Jeremy Browne: Statistics are not available for the constituency of Barrow and Furness. The available information relates to offences of theft of motor vehicles recorded in (a) the combined Community Safety Partnership areas of Barrow-in-Furness and South Lakeland and (b) Cumbria police force and is given in the table.

Offences of theft of a motor vehicle recorded in the combined Community Safety Partnership areas of Barrow-in-Furness and South Lakeland and in the Cumbria police force area
Number of offences
Financial yearBarrow-in-Furness and South LakelandCumbria

2007-08

153

615

2008-09

113

551

2009-10

118

437

2010-11

94

352

2011-12

59

290

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many thefts of each category of item there were from motor vehicles in (a) Barrow and Furness constituency and (b) Cumbria in each of the last five years. [126268]

Mr Jeremy Browne: Statistics are not available for the constituency of Barrow and Furness. The available information relates to offences of theft from a vehicle recorded in (a) the combined Community Safety Partnership areas of Barrow-in-Furness and South Lakeland and (b) Cumbria police force is given in the table. Information on the item stolen is not available from the police recorded crime statistics.

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Offences of theft from a vehicle recorded in the combined Community Safety Partnership areas of Barrow-in-Furness and South Lakeland and in the Cumbria police force area
Number of offences
Financial yearBarrow-in-Furness and South LakelandCumbria

2007-08

392

1,567

2008-09

422

1,420

2009-10

394

1,247

2010-11

418

1,098

2011-12

312

1,058

Communities and Local Government

Affordable Housing

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many affordable homes he estimates will not be built as a result of implementation of clause 5 of the Growth and Infrastructure Bill; and how many affordable homes he estimates will be built elsewhere as a result of the funding recently announced by his Department. [126136]

Nick Boles [holding answer 1 November 2012]: Unrealistic Section 106 agreements do not build houses. Our package of planning and housing measures will help ensure more homes are built than would otherwise be the case.

In addition, as outlined in the written ministerial statement of 6 September 2012, Official Report, column 30WS, the Government will invite bids to provide up to an additional 15,000 affordable homes through the use of loan guarantees, asset management flexibilities and capital funding. We also intend to extend our successful refurbishment programme to bring an additional 5,000 existing empty homes back into use.

EU Grants and Loans

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether unspent funds allocated to the UK under the European Regional Development Programme are returned to the EU; and whether that returned money leads to any saving to his Department directly or to the Exchequer. [126647]

Brandon Lewis [holding answer 5 November 2012]: The European Union (EU) budget commits European Regional Development Fund allocations to each member state by year. If a member state does not make these payments to eligible projects within the eligible time period, these funds remain within the EU budget. This reduces the costs of contributions for all member states including the UK Exchequer. It does not result in a direct one-for-one repatriation of these funds to the member state responsible.

As I informed the right hon. Member in my answer to him of 13 September 2012, Official Report, columns 306-08W, the 2007-13 programme is on course and on track. An average of more than 100% of the programme has been contractually committed or is awaiting contracting, with matched funding in place. We are exactly where we would expect to be at this point in the seven-year programme.

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Housing: Construction

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what representations he has received on his Department's plans to allow hoteliers to convert buildings into residential properties without local authority planning permission agreeing a change of use. [126498]

Nick Boles [holding answer 2 November 2012]: The proposals to grant permitted development rights for change of use from hotels to residential properties was one of a number of proposals contained within the consultation document “New opportunities for sustainable development and growth through the reuse of existing buildings”. The consultation closed on 11 September and we are reviewing the responses received.

Housing: Hampshire

Mr Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many housing starts there were in (a) Hampshire and (b) Southampton in the last quarter, and in the same quarter in each of the last five years. [126785]

Mr Prisk: The following table shows the total number of house building starts in Southampton and Hampshire for each quarter since the start of the financial year 2007-08.

Total house building starts Southampton and Hampshire 2007-08 to 2012-13
  SouthamptonHampshire

2007-08

Q1

217

1336

 

Q2

198

 

Q3

117

967

 

Q4

207

1373

2008-09

Q1

323

1527

 

Q2

302

1069

 

Q3

218

861

 

Q4

55

2009-10

Q1

30

 

Q2

231

1078

 

Q3

220

1149

 

Q4

152

1041

2010-11

Q1

69

1185

 

Q2

169

865

 

Q3

157

536

 

Q4

116

2011-12

Q1

143

787

 

Q2

77

785

 

Q3

106

532

 

Q4

46

710

2012-13

Q1

24

Figures for Hampshire are available for quarters only when all Hampshire districts reported data. Data have not been seasonally adjusted. Quarterly data at local authority level are subject to high levels of variation and should be treated with caution.

In addition to new build, we have a wide range of measures to increase supply. To date, the Government have sold enough formerly used surplus public sector

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land to deliver 33,000 new homes, we are investing £19.5 billion public and private funding in a programme to deliver 170,000 affordable homes, and we have introduced the NewBuy and FirstBuy schemes to help aspiring homeowners take their first step on to the housing ladder with a fraction of the deposit they would normally require.

Local Government: Procurement

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance he has given to local authorities to help locally-based small and medium-sized enterprises in respect of (a) larger contracts arising from shared services and (b) other aspects of their procurement services. [126603]

Brandon Lewis: Procurement in local government is a matter for local discretion but the Government are committed to encouraging a more open and level playing field for small and medium-sized enterprises and have taken steps to improve opportunities for them. Local authorities act independently of central Government and Ministers have not issued guidance to them on these matters.

Last year the Prime Minister launched a new, free-to-use, online Contracts Finder portal and a simplified pre-qualification questionnaire to make it easier and cheaper for small and medium enterprises to bid for public sector opportunities. The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, my right hon. Friend the Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr Pickles), has also made clear on several occasions that he expects pre-qualification questionnaires to be removed for contracts under the European threshold of £173,000.

Members: Correspondence

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when he intends to reply to the letter from the hon. Member for Mid Sussex (Nicholas Soames) of 27 June 2012, reference GCGC018782/12. [126437]

Nick Boles [holding answer 2 November 2012]: This letter was answered on 2 November 2012.

Mobile Phones

Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which companies supply (a) mobile telephones and (b) mobile data services to his Department. [125673]

Brandon Lewis: The Department for Communities and Local Government uses a combination of Orange and Vodafone contracts through cross-Government procurement frameworks let by the Government Procurement Service.

Having multiple suppliers is a legacy of contracts agreed under the last Administration. In due course, we will be moving to a single supplier to deliver greater value for money.

Non-domestic Rates

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the effect of the reduction of the

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Government's contribution to mandatory relief on business rates to 50% on local authorities' revenue; and if he will consider reversing the decision to reduce that contribution. [127086]

Brandon Lewis: The Government set out the details of the local business rate retention scheme in the technical consultation published in July 2012. The Government's response to the consultation will be published in due course.

For the avoidance of doubt, there is no change to the mandatory rate reliefs which eligible ratepayers (for example charities) actually receive.

Under the local retention of business rates, it is proposed that from April 2013, each local authority's business rates baseline will reflect the funding of mandatory reliefs that they currently grant (in other words, the baseline will be offset by 100% of the value of mandatory reliefs provided to ratepayers).

Thereafter, if a local authority's mandatory reliefs increase, the additional cost will be borne 50:50 between the authority and central Government (conversely, if the cost of mandatory reliefs were to decline, the saving will also be shared 50:50). This 50:50 sharing simply reflects the broader sharing of business-rate revenues between central and local government under the new localised system.

Private Rented Housing: North West

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the average monthly rent was in the private rented sector in each local authority in the north-west in each year since 2009. [126809]

Mr Prisk: Statistics on rents in the private rented sector by local authority are published by the Valuation Office Agency. The published information available is from 2011:

http://www.voa.gov.uk/corporate/statisticalReleases/120823_PRRM_ReleaseNotes.html#tables

Public Libraries

Bill Esterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will consider creating a ring-fenced grant for library services for local authorities. [126940]

Brandon Lewis: My Department has no plans to create a ring-fenced grant for library services. Libraries have always been funded and run by local authorities and it is right that local authorities should continue to have the freedom and flexibility to decide how best to provide a library service to their local community.

The removal of ring-fencing from local government grants has given local authorities the freedom over the money they receive and allows them to work with their residents to decide how best to make their spending decisions. Whitehall is not best placed to make detailed decisions about how local authorities should apportion funding to their services.

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Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012

Chris White: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what support he plans to give to local authorities in implementing the Public Services (Social Value) Act 2012. [126788]

Brandon Lewis: Local spending decisions are for local authorities themselves, but central Government have a significant role in creating the conditions for effective local procurement.

Our approach has been to influence and encourage the sector to streamline its procurement functions and open up tenders to a wider range of potential suppliers, including small and medium-sized enterprises as well as voluntary and community groups.

To help local authorities acquire the skills to better commission services we are working with the Cabinet Office and the Local Government Association to provide accessible learning opportunities on commissioning skills for all council officers.

Social Rented Housing: Greater London

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what recent estimate he has made of the effect of immigration on new social housing lets in London; [123843]

(2) what estimate he has made of the effect of immigration on social housing waiting lists in London over the last 10 years. [123844]

Mr Prisk: Under this Government, we have published a number of research reports on immigration that were commissioned by the last Administration but never published. They were placed in the Library further to the written ministerial statements of 1 March 2011, Official Report, column 19WS and 10 October 2011, Official Report, column 1WS.

A comprehensive answer on the limited eligibility of social housing for foreign nationals was outlined in the answer of 17 May 2012, Official Report, column 247W.

We do not collect information centrally on the nationality of households on housing waiting lists. Information on the new lettings of social housing by nationality of the tenant is published at:

www.communities.gov.uk/documents/housing/xls/2055516.xls

The figures show that, across England, almost one in 10 of those new to social tenancy are not UK nationals. The CORE data source is not comprehensive enough to provide a figure for London, but my Department is taking steps to address the under-reporting by some local authorities in London.

Notwithstanding, as outlined in the answer of 17 May 2012, based on data from the English Housing Survey data for 2009-10, it is roughly estimated that around a fifth of households in social housing in London are not British or Irish.

Such estimates provide a strong argument for the coalition Government's reforms to give councils greater powers and flexibilities over the allocation of social housing, so greater weight can be given both to those with genuinely local connections and to current and former members of the armed forces.

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Through the Localism Act, we have given back to councils the freedom to manage their own waiting lists. They are now able to decide who should qualify for social housing in their area, and to develop solutions which make best use of finite social housing stock.

Current and former members of our armed forces are one group who have previously lost out in the social housing system, because moving from base to base and living abroad leaves them without strong local connections. We have amended the law such that former personnel with urgent housing needs are always given high priority on waiting lists, and that personnel who move from base to base do not lose their qualification rights. New statutory guidance to councils sets out how their allocation schemes can give priority to current or ex-service personnel, including through the use of local preference criteria and local lettings policies.

Some councils are not using these new local flexibilities, and they should be held to account and challenged to justify their actions.

Tunnels: Greenwich

Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what steps his Department has taken to monitor the implementation of the funding agreement for the grant awarded by his Department to the Royal Borough of Greenwich for the refurbishment of Greenwich and Woolwich foot tunnels; [125245]

(2) whether the Royal Borough of Greenwich met the conditions of its contractual agreement with his Department for the refurbishment of the Greenwich and Woolwich foot tunnels. [125246]

Mr Prisk: The original Community Infrastructure Fund 2 agreement for the Greenwich and Woolwich foot tunnels was signed in November 2008 between the Department and the London borough of Greenwich.

The total funding allocation was £11.5 million for the refurbishment of the Greenwich and Woolwich rotunda, tunnels, stairwells and replacements of both lifts, including funding the associated mechanical and electrical works.

In December 2008 delivery and monitoring of the grants were then passed to the Homes and Communities Agency as DCLG's main delivery body. The agency monitored these grants and was content with progress on the eligible works they funded. The borough confirmed that all eligible works funded by the Homes and Communities Agency were completed as per the conditions of contract and that any remaining works would be funded from its own resources.

Responsibility for these grants then passed to the Greater London Authority on 1 April 2012 as part of the wider transfer of the agency's London responsibilities.

Urban Areas

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on what date he expects to release the funds for successful town team partnership bids to the relevant local authorities. [126997]

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Mr Prisk: As announced on 23 October 2012, more than 300 town teams applied to become town team partners. The Government's multi-million pound support programme will help them put key elements of their plans into action. The funds have already been released.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Bears

Kelvin Hopkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress the Government have made on seeking to eliminate bear bile farming through international negotiation or other means; and if he will make a statement. [126389]

Richard Benyon: We are committed to working to help the conservation of wild animals, including bears, worldwide. While we cannot intervene directly in the protection of wildlife abroad, we recognise that the farming of bears for their bile is an abhorrent practice. This Government raised concerns about animal welfare standards in China, including bears in bear bile farms, in a letter to the Chinese authorities earlier this year.

The UK helps to reduce the demand for bear bile by banning all commercial trade in and importation of bear bile or gall bladders irrespective of their source. Under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) some trade in bear products is allowed, particularly in products from captive-bred animals. However, the UK's ban is stricter than the Convention and is in place because we consider that such trade is likely to be detrimental to the species.

Bovine Tuberculosis

Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of progress in developing vaccines to tackle the spread of bovine TB. [126380]

Mr Heath: Cattle and badger vaccination are risk reduction measures, most likely to be successful in controlling bovine TB when used alongside other disease- control measures.

We are working on steps agreed with the European Commission to provide the necessary assurances on the safety and efficacy of a cattle vaccine and associated test to differentiate infected from vaccinated animals (DIVA). This is, however, a lengthy and complicated process, which means that we cannot yet say when a viable and legal cattle vaccine will be available in the field. Oral badger vaccine is still at the research stage and is not yet at the point where an application for a marketing authorisation can be made. An injectable badger vaccine is already available for use but there remain limitations to its practical deployment.

Floods

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to ensure inter-agency co-operation to (a) reduce the occurrence of flooding, (b) minimise the impact of flooding when it occurs and (c) improve recovery after flooding. [125846]

6 Nov 2012 : Column 546W

Richard Benyon: The Civil Contingencies Act 2004 requires agencies to maintain plans for preventing emergencies; reducing, controlling or mitigating the effects of emergencies in both the response and recovery phases and to co-operate with each other.

Flood and coastal erosion risk-management is undertaken by the Environment Agency, local authorities and Internal Drainage Boards, often in collaboration with other local partners such as water companies and flood groups. The Environment Agency, working with Regional Flood and Coastal Committees, oversees the allocation of funding, to agree the flood defence programme each year. We aim to spend more than £2.17 billion over the four years to 2015 on flood and coastal erosion risk-management, improving protection for 145,000 homes.

The Government have drawn up guidance for multi-agency flood planning, based on good practice and lessons learned from real flooding events. Each Local Resilience Forum has the responsibility of preparing a multi-agency flood plan to ensure the co-ordination of the local response to flooding in its area, including recovery planning where it relates to flooding.

In addition to this, the Flood Forecasting Centre and Met Office consistently provide a high-quality forecasting service to local authorities, Government agencies and Departments, as for example during the flooding incidents over the spring and summer this year. They accurately predict risks, which enable appropriate and timely action to be taken on the ground. The Environment Agency and local authorities respond to these warnings by clearing channels and culverts of blockages and debris in advance, checking flood defences and flood storage basins, and putting temporary defences in place.

Floods: Insurance

Craig Whittaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made on the development of a Statement of Principles on the provision of flood insurance from June 2013. [126239]

Richard Benyon [holding answer 5 November 2012]: The availability and affordability of insurance in flood risk areas is an important issue for this Government.

The existing Statement of Principles, agreed in 2008, provides only limited help in addressing the availability of home insurance in areas of flood risk, and does nothing to address its affordability.

We want to reach a sustainable solution that addresses both the availability and the affordability of flood insurance.

The insurance industry and the Government continue to work together towards this goal. We are considering a number of options and further announcements will be made in due course.

Forests

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the Independent Panel on Forestry report's recommendation that 15% of the total area of the UK be dedicated to forestry and woodland by 2060. [126376]

6 Nov 2012 : Column 547W

Mr Heath: The Government set out in the “Natural Environment” White Paper their ambition for a major increase in the area of woodland in England and for forests and woodlands to play a full part in achieving a resilient and coherent ecological network across England. We are currently considering the report from the Independent Panel on Forestry, including its recommendations relating to increasing woodland cover. We will be responding to the panel's report in January 2013.

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what recent assessment he has made of the effects on health and wellbeing of the Public Forest Estate and general woodlands; [126458]

(2) what recent assessment he has made of the benefits to local communities of the Public Forest Estate and general woodlands. [126496]

Mr Heath: Forest Research, an agency of the Forestry Commission, carries out a range of research into people, trees and woodland. Its research aims to develop an understanding about the relationships between forestry and society by concentrating on the social dimension of sustainable forest management, and using qualitative and quantitative research methods in social science. It has published numerous reports covering this subject area which are available on its website.

Sky Lanterns: South West

Jack Lopresti: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress he has made on mitigating the effect of sky lanterns on the farming community in the south-west. [126694]

Mr Heath: The Government are aware of concerns about the impacts of sky lanterns on animals, crops and property and have taken steps to raise public awareness about the potential dangers sky lanterns pose, and to encourage people to think carefully before using them. During the approach to bonfire night DEFRA has appealed through local media for people to consider alternatives to sky lanterns.

I have commissioned an independent study to examine the scale of the risks associated with the use of sky lanterns, and their impact on livestock, plants and the environment. The results of this study will help to determine whether any future Government action may be required.

Trees: Diseases

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on what date Chalara fraxinea was identified in the UK; and on what date Ministers in his Department were informed. [126499]

Mr Heath: Chalara fraxinea was first confirmed in the UK on 7 March 2012, following an investigation on 20 February 2012 of suspect symptoms at a nursery in Buckinghamshire by the Food and Environment Research Agency's Plant Health and Seeds Inspectorate. Ministers were first informed of the finding on 3 April 2012.

6 Nov 2012 : Column 548W

Turtles: Cayman Islands

Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what requests he has received for technical support from the Cayman Islands Government in respect of the Cayman Turtle Farm. [125978]

Richard Benyon: This Government have not received any requests for technical support from the Cayman Islands Government in respect of the Cayman Turtle Farm.

Attorney-General

National Assembly for Wales

Owen Smith: To ask the Attorney-General what the total cost was of (a) legal advice, (b) civil service work hours and (c) other costs of the Law Officers' Departments' consideration of whether to refer the National Assembly for Wales (Official Languages) Bill to the Supreme Court. [126999]

The Attorney-General: As part of my role, I consider all Bills passed by the Welsh Assembly, the Northern Ireland Assembly and the Scottish Parliament and I have the power to refer the question of whether any Bill is within legislative competence to the Supreme Court.

The Attorney-General's Office does not separately record the cost of work undertaken on each specific Bill and therefore I cannot provide reliable data without incurring disproportionate cost.

House of Commons Commission

BBC Parliament: Subtitling

Kate Green: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, what recent discussions have taken place with the BBC regarding the provision of subtitles to aid deaf viewers of the BBC Parliament channel. [126077]

John Thurso: Discussions with the BBC took place most recently in October 2012. The BBC is not under any statutory obligation, but BBC Parliament is increasing its subtitling of proceedings in the Chamber and next year plans to provide subtitling for 65% of sittings.

Education

Children in Care: Cumbria

Sir Tony Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many children have been taken into care in Cumbria in the last (a) six and (b) 12 months; and if he will make an assessment of the comparative figures for other local authorities. [126381]

Mr Timpson: The number of children who were taken into care in Cumbria in the last (a) six months and (b) 12 months, up to 31 March 2012, was 75 and 120, respectively. The following table shows the same information for all local authorities in England.

6 Nov 2012 : Column 549W

Children taken into care are children who started to be looked after under a care order, police protection, an emergency protection order or under a child-assessment order. If a child was taken into care on more than one occasion over the year and one of the occasions was in the last six months of the year then that child has been counted in both the 12 months and the six months totals. For this reason, counts for the separate six month periods add up to more than the 12 month figure.

The information for children taken into care in the last 12 months is also published in table LAC1 of the Department's Statistical First Release, “Children Looked After by Local Authorities in England (including adoption and care leavers)—year ending 31 March 2011”. This publication can be found at:

http://www.education.gov.uk/researchandstatistics/statistics/allstatistics/a00213762/children-looked-after-las-england

Children who were taken into care during the year ending 31 March, by local authority(1,2,3,4,5), year ending 31 March 2012Coverage: England
Number
 
 Children taken into care during the last 12 months to 31 March 2012(2)Children taken into care during the last 6 months to 31 March 2012(3)

England

10,100

6,490

   

North East

500

330

Darlington

15

10

Durham

85

60

Gateshead

40

40

Hartlepool

15

5

Middlesbrough

45

35

Newcastle upon Tyne

60

25

North Tyneside

30

20

Northumberland

25

15

Redcar and Cleveland

40

20

South Tyneside

60

35

Stockton-on-Tees

40

35

Sunderland

40

30

   

North West

1,620

1,130

Blackburn with Darwen

65

35

Blackpool

50

25

Bolton

80

55

Bury

65

55

Cheshire East

50

25

Cheshire West and Chester

55

35

Cumbria

120

75

Halton

30

20

Knowsley

10

x

Lancashire

210

140

Liverpool

90

60

Manchester

160

130

Oldham

70

40

Rochdale

75

50

Salford

60

60

Sefton

60

45

St Helens

35

30

Stockport

60

45

Tameside

60

35

Trafford

40

30

Warrington

45

35

Wigan

60

45

Wirral

80

60

6 Nov 2012 : Column 550W

   

Yorkshire and the Humber

1,200

800

Barnsley

55

25

Bradford

120

100

Calderdale

45

30

Doncaster

100

75

East Riding of Yorkshire

45

45

Kingston upon Hull, City of

65

40

Kirklees

95

70

Leeds

230

155

North East Lincolnshire

25

15

North Lincolnshire

25

10

North Yorkshire

60

45

Rotherham

70

35

Sheffield

130

85

Wakefield

85

50

York

50

20

   

East Midlands

660

440

Derby

75

50

Derbyshire

105

85

Leicester

70

50

Leicestershire

60

35

Lincolnshire

80

55

Northamptonshire

90

55

Nottingham

85

55

Nottinghamshire

95

55

Rutland

x

x

   

West Midlands

1,190

740

Birmingham

280

145

Coventry

85

55

Dudley

60

45

Herefordshire

35

15

Sandwell

95

55

Shropshire

20

20

Solihull

40

35

Staffordshire

110

70

Stoke-on-Trent

85

55

Telford and Wrekin

60

35

Walsall

65

40

Warwickshire

95

70

Wolverhampton

105

70

Worcestershire

55

30

   

East of England

940

580

Bedford Borough

40

35

Central Bedfordshire

40

20

Cambridgeshire

75

45

Essex

200

100

Hertfordshire

135

90

Luton

50

30

Norfolk

130

90

Peterborough

75

50

Southend-on-Sea

35

30

Suffolk

110

60

6 Nov 2012 : Column 551W

Thurrock

55

30

   

London

1,890

1,130

Inner London

950

550

Camden

65

40

City of London

0

0

Hackney

60

45

Hammersmith and Fulham

30

25

Haringey

150

55

Islington

70

45

Kensington and Chelsea

15

10

Lambeth

85

55

Lewisham

75

45

Newham

90

70

Southwark

115

50

Tower Hamlets

100

60

Wandsworth

50

25

Westminster

45

25

   

Outer London

930

570

Barking and Dagenham

105

55

Barnet

65

45

Bexley

50

35

Brent

85

65

Bromley

40

30

Croydon

45

15

Ealing

70

45

Enfield

70

35

Greenwich

110

60

Harrow

25

15

Havering

25

15

Hillingdon

40

30

Hounslow

65

40

Kingston upon Thames

15

10

Merton

25

10

Redbridge

25

20

Richmond upon Thames

10

10

Sutton

30

20

Waltham Forest

40

15

   

South East

1,340

860

Bracknell Forest

15

10

Brighton and Hove

95

70

Buckinghamshire

50

25

East Sussex

125

60

Hampshire

135

80

Isle of Wight

20

10

Kent

275

185

Medway Towns

35

35

Milton Keynes

45

30

Oxfordshire

100

75

Portsmouth

30

30

Reading

45

30

Slough

25

20

Southampton

65

45

Surrey

130

75

6 Nov 2012 : Column 552W

West Berkshire

15

10

West Sussex

120

65

Windsor and Maidenhead

15

10

Wokingham

x

x

   

South West

750

480

Bath and North East Somerset

20

15

Bournemouth

65

30

Bristol, City of

110

55

Cornwall

100

80

Devon

75

60

Dorset

25

20

Gloucestershire

45

25

Isles of Scilly

0

0

North Somerset

15

15

Plymouth

60

30

Poole

25

15

Somerset

95

50

South Gloucestershire

30

20

Swindon

20

20

Torbay

30

20

Wiltshire

40

25

(1) England and regional totals have been rounded to the nearest 10. Local authority numbers have been rounded to the nearest five. (2) Only the first occasion on which a child was taken into care during the year has been counted. (3) Only the first occasion on which a child was taken into care during the six months has been counted. (4) Figures exclude children looked-after under an agreed series of short-term placements. (5) Historical data may differ from older publications. This is mainly due to the implementation of amendments and corrections sent by some local authorities after the publication date of previous materials. Notes: 1. Children who were taken into care are children who started to be looked after under a care order, police protection, an emergency protection order or under a child assessment order. 2. ‘x’ = figures not shown in order to protect confidentiality. Source: SSDA 903

Free School Meals: Further Education

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what estimate he has made of the cost of extending free school meal eligibility to 16 to 18-year-olds studying at further education or sixth- form colleges. [126996]

Mr Laws: We are currently assessing options for free school meal eligibility for 16 to 18-year-olds in further education and sixth-form colleges. Estimates given to the House by the then Minister of State for Education, the hon. Member for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton (Mr Gibb), to the right hon. Member for Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough (Mr Blunkett), on 13 June 2012, Official Report, columns 92-95WH, placed costs in a range of £38 million to £70 million:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm120613/halltext/120613h0001.htm#12061355000394l

6 Nov 2012 : Column 553W

Physical Education: Teachers

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps he has taken to ensure that primary school teachers are trained in teaching fundamental movement skills. [125571]

Mr Laws: The Secretary of State for Education does not set the content of initial teacher training courses or require that training providers deliver teaching in fundamental movement skills. It is for training providers to decide what trainees should be taught to enable them to achieve the Teachers' Standards. The Department does not mandate content of initial teacher training courses. Trainees must know and understand the relevant statutory and non-statutory curriculums and frameworks and other relevant information applicable to the age and ability range for which they are trained.

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what proportion of the initial teacher- training syllabus for primary school teachers is devoted to physical education. [125854]

Mr Laws: The Secretary of State for Education does not set the content of initial teacher training courses or require that training providers devote a proportion of

6 Nov 2012 : Column 554W

the syllabus to physical education. It is for training providers to decide what trainees should be taught to enable them to achieve the Teachers' Standards. The Department does not mandate content of initial teacher- training courses. Trainees must know and understand the relevant statutory and non-statutory curriculums and frameworks and other relevant information applicable to the age and ability range for which they are trained.

Justice

Assaults on Police

Gareth Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many convictions for assaults on police officers there have been in each of the last 10 years; and what the sentence imposed was in each case. [126371]

Jeremy Wright: The number of defendants found guilty at all courts for the offence of assault on a constable, by sentence breakdown, in England and Wales from 2002 to 2011 can be viewed in the table. Where more serious assaults on a police officer are committed, for example actual bodily harm or grievous bodily harm, a more serious offence will be charged and it is not possible to identify these cases from the recording of the offence.

Defendants found guilty at all courts and sentenced for ‘assault on a constable’(1), England and Wales, 2002-11(2, 3, 4)
Outcome2002200320042005200620072008200920102011

Guilty

6,506

7,883

9,342

9,946

9,654

9,921

9,640

9,189

8,695

9,224

Sentenced

6,510

7,881

9,333

9,943

9,653

9,913

9,622

9,215

8,729

9,241

Absolute discharge

14

32

15

22

34

32

27

20

22

31

Conditional discharge

779

1,020

1,115

1,135

1,019

1,124

919

752

814

799

Fine

1,061

1,270

1,335

1,206

987

933

980

1,283

1,253

1,782

Community sentence

3,193

3,874

4,809

5,034

4,459

4,614

4,794

4,710

4,209

4,318

Suspended suspended

37

39

46

283

1,027

1,119

984

812

768

737

Immediate custody

1,277

1,449

1,782

1,960

1,709

1,715

1,589

1,461

1,368

1,255

Otherwise dealt with

149

197

231

303

418

376

329

177

295

319

Average custodial sentence length (months)(5)

2.9

2.8

2.9

2.8

2.8

2.8

2.7

2.7

2.5

2.4

Average fine (£)

148

152

162

170

184

197

192

175

165

144

(1) Includes offence under: Police Act 1996, S.89 (1) (2) The figures given in the table relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe. (3) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data-collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used. (4) The number of offenders sentenced can differ from those found guilty as it may be the case that a defendant found guilty in a particular year, and committed for sentence at the Crown court, may be sentenced in the following year. (5) Excludes life and indeterminate sentences. Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services—Ministry of Justice.

Criminal Injuries Compensation: Cumbria

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people received compensation payments under the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme in (a) Barrow and Furness constituency and (b) Cumbria in each of the last five years; and what the total cost was in each case in each year. [126995]

Mrs Grant: I have placed the breakdown of individual payments, including the range of postcodes the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) have used to define Cumbria, in the parliamentary Library. CICA does not hold any information that would allow it to extract figures based on parliamentary constituencies. For the purposes of answering this question they have therefore defined Barrow and Furness as the postcode range from LA13 to LA16.

The overall totals are as follows:

 Number of claimsTotal cost (£)
Financial yearCumbriaOf which: Barrow and FurnessCumbriaOf which: Barrow and Furness

2007-08

341

44

1,334,029

124,038

2008-09

328

40

1,374,616

156,375

2009-10

350

41

2,330,398

167,828

6 Nov 2012 : Column 555W

2010-11

406

49

2,294,202

174,033

2011-12

354

43

3,200,901

317.456

Judiciary: Pensions

Dan Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 17 July 2012, Official Report, columns 131-32WS, when he expects to bring forward proposals to reform the judicial pension scheme in line with wider public service pension reform. [126387]

Jeremy Wright: Discussions are still ongoing and I will make a further statement once they have been concluded.

Legal Aid Scheme

Mr Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the three most expensive criminal cases were in each of the last five years in terms of legal aid expenditure. [126609]

Jeremy Wright: The information is not readily available. I will write to my hon. Friend once the cases have been identified by the Legal Services Commission (LSC).

Organised Crime: Females

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the number of girls involved in gangs who have been sexually exploited. [125510]

Mr Jeremy Browne: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Home Department.

There are currently very little data on the number of girls involved in gang violence who have been sexually exploited. Research by the organisation Race on the Agenda (2010; 2011) exposed the harm that women and girls can experience as a result of their relationships with gang-associated male family members and peers.

To help address this problem, the Government's “Ending Gang and Youth Violence” report, published in November 2012, announced £1.2 million of additional funding over three years (until March 2015) to improve services for young people under 18 suffering sexual violence, with a focus on sexual exploitation by gangs.

Payment by Results

Guy Opperman: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether he plans to implement payment by results to prevent offending. [126390]

Jeremy Wright: By 2015, we intend to apply the payment by results approach to the majority of rehabilitation work conducted with offenders in the community. We will commission providers to rehabilitate offenders, and reward those who are successful at reducing reoffending.

We will be announcing detailed proposals soon.

6 Nov 2012 : Column 556W

Prisoners: Death

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many people died while in custody of the Prison Service in each calendar year (a) from 2001 to 2011 and (b) in 2012 to date; [127221]

(2) how many people, by ethnic group, died while in custody of the Prison Service in each calendar year (a) from 2001 to 2011 and (b) in 2012 to date. [127222]

Jeremy Wright: Table 1 shows the total number of deaths in prison custody by calendar year from 2001 to 2011 and figures to 30 June 2012 and a breakdown of those figures by ethnicity.

The latest information on deaths in prison custody can be found in the Safety in Custody Statistics bulletin which is updated each quarter. It can be found at the following weblink;

http://www.justice.gov.uk/statistics/prisons-and-probation/safety-in-custody

Table 1: Deaths in prison custody by year and ethnicity
 WhiteAsianBlackMixedChinese/otherTotal

2001

131

3

7

n/a

1

142

2002

148

6

8

n/a

2

164

2003

167

6

8

n/a

2

183

2004

186

10

9

3

0

208

2005

145

6

20

3

0

174

2006

134

6

10

2

1

153

2007

151

9

21

2

2

185

2008

143

13

2

3

4

165

2009

153

6

3

6

1

169

2010

172

11

11

2

1

197

2011

167

8

12

4

1

192

2012 (to 30 June)

88

6

8

1

103

n/a = Not available—mixed category used from 2004

Prisons: Private Sector

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice on what occasions private prisons have refused to take new prisoners; and for what reasons such refusals were made. [127058]

Jeremy Wright: The information requested is not collected centrally and could not be obtained without incurring disproportionate cost.

All prisons have criteria for accepting new prisoners. Provided the prisoner meets these criteria, he or she will usually be accepted. However, a prison may decline to accept a prisoner for a number of reasons, including the prisoner's not meeting the acceptance criteria, late arrival at the establishment or the prison having reached its full capacity.

Public Expenditure

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice with reference to the answer of 8 March 2012, Official Report, columns 853-4W, on public expenditure, how much has been saved by his Department in the areas of (a) administration and (b) front-line efficiency since May 2010; and how much he expects to save in each area in (i) 2012-13, (ii) 2013-14 and (iii) 2014-15. [127052]

6 Nov 2012 : Column 557W

Mrs Grant: Since the spending review settlement, the Department made savings in its back-office (administration) functions of £210 million and £220 million of front-line efficiencies in 2011-12. The Department expects to make additional savings in future years as follows:

£ million
 AdministrationFront line

2012-13

250

90

2013-14

20

100

2014-15

50

70

Note: Annual totals rounded to the nearest £10 million.

Therefore, over the course of this spending review period the Department plans to make savings in its back-office (administration) functions of £530 million and £480 million of front-line efficiencies. The nature of forecasting savings which are to be delivered in future years mean that figures will inevitably be subject to some change as we move through the spending review period.