Written Answers to Questions

Monday 26 November 2012

Scotland

Commonwealth Games 2014

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps his Department is taking to learn from the London 2012 Olympics Games in preparing for the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014. [129393]

David Mundell: In the coalition agreement, the UK Government committed to working with the Scottish Government to deliver a successful Commonwealth games in Glasgow 2014. The Prime Minister has assured the First Minister that UK departments will play a full and appropriate role in delivering their responsibilities and sharing their experience to contribute to the success of the Commonwealth games.

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had with organisers of the London 2012 Olympics on the sharing of advice to ensure the Glasgow Commonwealth Games in 2014 are a success. [129394]

David Mundell: The Scotland Office is in regular and active contact with all the departments with responsibilities for the organisation of the London 2012 Olympics to ensure that advice and expertise are shared with the organisers of the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth games. The Secretary of State for Scotland will be meeting with Lord Coe in the near future to discuss further.

Exports: Scotland

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps his Department is taking to further support the relationship between Scottish exporters and markets in the Middle East and North Africa. [129273]

David Mundell: The Government are committed to supporting UK businesses, including from Scotland, around the world. The Secretary of State for Scotland and I have direct engagement with many Scottish companies with investments around the world. Brian Wilson, chairman of Harris Tweed Hebrides, has been appointed a UK Business Ambassador with special focus on Scotland. He is currently carrying out a review of Scottish exporting and the support provided by the UK and Scottish Governments.

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Attorney-General

iPads

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Attorney-General how much the Crown Prosecution Service has spent on iPads in 2012-13 to date. [129402]

The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has spent no money on iPads in 2012-13 to date.

Lindis Percy

Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Attorney-General what the cost to the public purse was of the prosecution of Lindis Percy in April 2012 at Harrogate Magistrates' Court. [129062]

The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not operate a time recording system on individual cases but assesses cost through an activity-based costing model. Using this model, the estimated cost to the CPS of prosecuting Lindis Percy was £875. This costing is not specific to the case but is based on data produced on the indicative average cost for each defendant involved in a summary trial at the magistrates court. An uplift has been applied to take account of the higher than average number of hearings in this case and the length of the trial.

Communities and Local Government

Building Alterations: Planning Permission

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he plans to issue guidance to local authorities on use of powers to use Article 4 directions under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 to opt-out of the proposed changes to increase permitted development rights for extensions to homes and business premises in non-protected areas. [129701]

Nick Boles: Guidance on the use of Article 4 directions under the Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) Order 1995 (as amended) is contained in Replacement Appendix D to Department of the Environment Circular 9/95: General Development Consolidation Order 1995, a copy of which has been placed in the Library of the House. This was revised in June 2012 and there are no plans at present to update the guidance.

Fire Services: Pensions

Julie Elliott: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when he plans to respond to the consultation on the Firefighters' Pension Scheme proposals to allow members aged 48 years or older with 30 years' service in the scheme to take a contribution holiday. [129525]

Brandon Lewis: The proposal to provide certain categories of firefighter member with a contributions holiday is part of a wider consultation on proposed changes to the Firefighters' Pension Schemes.

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Since the conclusion of the consultation period, the Department has been considering its approach to a number of the proposals set out in that consultation. Once a final position has been reached on each of the proposals, the Department will publish the Government response.

Heathrow (SP)

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent representations he has received on Heathrow (SP) Ltd's purchase of the Princes Club in Sipson. [129221]

Nick Boles: The Department has no record of any representations having been received relating specifically to Heathrow (SP) Ltd's purchase of the Princes Club.

Planning Permission

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his policy is on reducing the six-week time limit for bringing a statutory appeal under section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990. [129727]

Nick Boles: There are no plans to reduce the six week time limit for statutory appeals under section 288 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990.

For the avoidance of doubt, this appeals procedure is separate from the judicial review process.

Education

Children in Care: Employment

Gavin Shuker: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether his Department undertakes a regular assessment of the employment choices of care leavers after they have left the care system. [128990]

Mr Timpson: The Department for Education collects information on the employment status of young people aged 19 who were looked after when aged 16. Information on the type of employment is not collected. Local authorities have clearly defined duties and responsibilities for their care leavers. The Care Leavers (England) Regulations 2010 and guidance 'Planning Transition for Adulthood for Care Leavers' requires local authorities to provide young people who turn 18 with appropriate leaving care support. This includes a regularly reviewed pathway plan and the allocation of a personal adviser to provide advice and support on a range of matters including education and employment. This continues until the young person reaches the age of 21, or beyond if they are still in education. The Department is currently funding the From Care2Work programme run by the National Care Advisory Service. This aims to improve employment opportunities for care leavers by offering young people work experience, and through apprenticeships to part and full time jobs in the public and private sector. Participants in the programme include Marriott Hotels and Tottenham Hotspur football club. Outcomes so far include:

105 local authorities creating 6,169 employment, training and education opportunities;

109 national employers, creating 580 work experience opportunities.

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Children in Care: Missing Persons

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education when he plans to publish the recommendations from his expert data group set up as a result of the APPG inquiry into children missing from care. [128660]

Mr Timpson: The Expert Data Group has been chaired by the Department and includes representatives from the Association of Directors of Children's Services, police organisations, the Office of the Children's Commissioner, The Children's Society and Ofsted. It has met frequently since July to consider how to safeguard looked after children who go missing, or are at risk of going missing, by developing improved local and national data collection arrangements, and strengthening practice among carers, children's homes, local authorities and the police.

The Expert Data Group is working alongside two other expert groups established to take forward work on the reform of children's residential care: a group focusing on how to improve arrangements, and the quality of care and support, for looked after children placed ‘out of area’ by their local authorities; and a further group with a broad remit to consider how to improve the overall quality of children's residential provision.

Once we have considered the Expert Data Group's proposals alongside those made by the other expert groups, we will announce the action we intend to take in due course.

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education when he plans to publish the recommendations from the task and finish group on out of borough placements set up as a result of the APPG inquiry into children missing from care. [128661]

Mr Timpson: The Out of Area Placements Task and Finish Group has been focusing on how to improve arrangements, and the quality of care and support, for looked after children placed 'out of area' by their local authorities. This is part of the wider work announced by Ministers in July to reform children's residential care. The Group has comprised senior expert representation from children's services, local authorities, providers, Ofsted and others. It has met frequently over the summer.

The Task and Finish Group has been working in parallel with two other expert groups established to take forward work on the reform of children's residential care: a group focusing on improving data about looked after children who go missing from care, and a further group with a broad remit to consider how to improve the overall quality of children's residential provision.

We are considering the Task and Finish Group's proposals alongside those made by the other expert groups, and will announce the action we intend to take in due course.

Further Education

Caroline Nokes: To ask the Secretary of State for Education for what reasons the Education Funding Agency wrote to organisations on 25 September 2012 to announce that all applications to establish new independent specialist colleges under the provider application process would not proceed any further; and what further support his Department intends to provide to organisations which had been involved in that application process. [129271]

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Matthew Hancock: From 2013/14 the Department, through the Education Funding Agency, is implementing new funding arrangements for independent specialist colleges and other institutions with specialist provision. These arrangements will support the Government's plans to introduce a more integrated approach to assessment and planning for young people with special educational needs from birth to age 25. Historically only a limited number of institutions—including independent specialist providers—have been eligible for the funding set aside for specialist provision, but the new funding arrangements mean that budgets will be made available for local authorities to commission provision and to contract with a wider range of institutions from August 2013. As both the funding and contracting arrangements are changing, the existing process to apply to become an Education Funding Agency-funded independent specialist college is no longer relevant and this is why we have ended that process. Given their vulnerability, high support needs and costs of providing specialist provision for these young people I do not believe that market entry should be uncontrolled under the new funding arrangements. As part of the transition planning the Education Funding Agency is working with the Local Government Association and local authorities to develop criteria to be applied before new specialist institutions can be funded. Local authorities have also informed the Education Funding Agency of all the places that they wish to commission in specialist institutions in 2013/14. This process has enabled potential new institutions to be identified and the new funding arrangements offer real opportunities to work with local authorities who will be commissioning placements in their organisations.

Providers that applied through the Independent Specialist Provision: Provider Application Process prior to its closure in September 2012 have been contacted by the Education Funding Agency and given a web link to the Department website where updates about the new funding arrangements are published. The Education Funding Agency will contact these providers and advise them of the process for consideration and agreement to fund and contract when this is finalised by the end of December 2012.

Parents

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what measures of the extent of parental conflict the Government currently use. [129497]

Mr Timpson [holding answer 22 November 2012]: The Social Justice Outcomes Framework, which was announced on 31 October, includes an indicator of family stability and parental relationship quality. The family is the first and most important building block in a child's life, and supporting vulnerable families is crucial to the Government's strategy for fighting poverty. That is why the Government have committed £30 million to fund relationship support over the current spending review period (2011 to 2015).

Pupils: Foreign Nationals

Lindsay Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many children born outside the UK are enrolled in UK schools. [129396]

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Mr Laws [holding answer 22 November 2012]: It is not possible to answer this question directly with the available data. The School Census in England does not collect data on pupils' country of birth.

However, it is possible to use the Labour Force Survey (LFS) to make an estimate of the number of children of compulsory school-age born outside the UK. Of the 7.8 million children aged five to 15 years in the UK, 0.5 million (6.3%) were born outside the UK(1).

It is not possible to use the LFS to analyse how many of these children are enrolled in UK schools.

The 2011 ONS Census included questions on citizenship, the results of which should be available in 2013. This will provide further information on the number of school-age children born outside the UK, although again it will not indicate whether they are being educated in UK schools.

The Government are committed to ensuring that all children are able to access the education services they need, regardless of their nationality.

(1 )Based on LFS analysis of the four pooled quarters from quarter four 2011 to quarter three 2012

Schools: Disability

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what consultation his Department and its agencies conducted with (a) disabled people, (b) organisations representing disabled people and (c) architects prior to revising school building design specifications. [125877]

Mr Laws: The baseline designs for schools recently published by the Department are based on the Department's most recent output specification for the privately financed schools in the Priority School Building Programme (PSBP). Architects and contractors were consulted during the preparation of this output specification.

The PSBP private finance output specification was informed by the Department's current design guidance Building Bulletin 102 'Designing for disabled children and children with special educational needs'. This guidance resulted from extensive consultation with organisations representing disabled people, architects with experience of designing schools and schools. This guidance is due for review; part of this will involve seeking advice again from the same or similar organisations.

The baseline designs for schools can be seen at:

http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/adminandfinance/schoolscapital/buildingsanddesign/baseline/b00213595/baseline-designs---how-the-designs-address-the-brief/key-principles

The new private finance output specification is now available to download on the DFE website:

http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/adminandfinance/schoolscapital/buildingsanddesign/baseline/b00213573/facilities-output-specification-for-the-priority-school-building-proqramme-pfi-projects

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether (a) an equality impact assessment or (b) any other kind of assessment relating to the ability of persons with special educational needs and disabilities to access buildings was conducted by his Department or its agencies prior to changing the Priority Schools Building Programme baseline design specifications. [125878]

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Mr Laws: The Department did not carry out an equality impact assessment on the Priority Schools Building Programme baseline design specifications because the project did not involve the creation of new policy or regulations.

The baseline designs for schools, recently published by the Department, are based on the Department's most recent output specification, for the Priority School Building Programme (private finance projects). These designs are intended to meet all relevant regulations and to ensure the schools support pupils with special educational needs and are accessible to disabled people. Accessibility reviews were carried out to check that the designs met all requirements.

The baseline designs for schools can be seen at:

http://www.education.gov.uk/schoots/adminandfinance/schoolscapital/buildingsanddesign/baseline/b00213595/baseline-designs---how-the-desians-address-the-brief/key-principles

The new Output Specification for privately financed projects is now available to download on the DFE website:

http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/adminandfinance/schoolscapital/buildingsanddesign/baseline/b00213573/facilities-output-specification-for-the-priority-school-building-programme-pfi-projects

Special Educational Needs

Ian Mearns: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether local authorities can refuse to undertake a statutory assessment for special needs for home-educated children on the grounds that the child is not a registered pupil at a school. [129397]

Mr Timpson: No. Local authorities, under the Education Act 1996, have a duty, where necessary, to assess the special educational needs (SEN) of, and draw up SEN 'statements' for, children of compulsory school age in their area, whether they are registered at a school or not. Local authorities have a duty, where necessary, to assess and statement young people who are above compulsory school age and under the age of 19 only when those young people are registered at a school.

Teachers: Pensions

Jenny Chapman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many people were overpaid their pension by the Teacher Pension Agency in each year since 1991; and how much on average was repaid in each such year. [128555]

Mr Laws: The Teachers' Pension Scheme has been administered by Capita under contract to the Department for Education since 1996. Overpayment data are only available from 1997-98, and these are presented in the following table.

Pension overpayments can arise for a number of reasons if Capita is not notified of a change in a member's circumstances, such as the death of a member in receipt of pension, or a re-employed member in receipt of pension breaching their earning limit.

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 Number of membersAverage overpayment returned (£)

1997-98

177

223.21

1998-99

2,498

175.00

1999-00

6,766

685.92

2000-01

6,590

664.95

2001-02

4,038

1,186.70

2002-03

5,202

869.98

2003-04

5,521

1,585.46

2004-05

4,976

1,290.50

2005-06

4,935

1,208.84

2006-07

5,094

1,296.98

2007-08

4,822

1,321.29

2008-09

5,378

1,311.32

2009-10

5,879

3,758.73

2010-11

5,264

1,687.46

2011-12

5,861

1,817.93

Written Questions: Government Responses

Rehman Chishti: To ask the Secretary of State for Education when he plans to answer question 126466 tabled on 30 October 2012 for answer on 1 November 2012. [129929]

Mr Timpson: A response was issued to my hon. Friend's question on 22 November 2012, Official Report, column 561W.

Transport

Aviation: Security

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 29 October 2012, Official Report, column 4W, on aviation: security, what consideration he has given to compliance with human rights legislation in respect of individuals concerned about health risks or moral issues arising from undertaking a full-body scan at airports. [129866]

Mr Simon Burns: The Government consulted on a code of practice for the use of security scanner technology. The code addresses issues including health, privacy and data protection and requires airports to put suitable safeguards in place.

All security scanners in the UK use automatic threat recognition software—meaning that no images are viewed by human reviewers. All scanners in the UK use millimetre wave technology. Safety studies have concluded that there are no known health effects from the use of this technology.

Bus Services: Information and Communications Technology

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will bring forward legislative proposals to require that all new buses are fitted with onboard audio-visual information systems; and if he will make a statement. [129579]

Norman Baker: At present there are no plans to legislate to make audio visual systems on buses mandatory. This is because the business case for operators cannot

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be demonstrated and, particularly in the current economic climate, it is not appropriate to force financial burdens of this kind on the industry.

However, I understand the social benefits of having passenger information available for all bus users and have written to bus operators to encourage them to work in partnership with their local authorities, to see if the uptake of the necessary systems can be increased on a voluntary basis.

As part of the Government's Olympic and Paralympic legacy, we are currently looking more generally at a number of ways of improving the accessibility of public transport.

Regulations are already in place which outline the duties and expected behaviour of bus drivers towards disabled passengers. They are contained in the Conduct of Drivers, Inspectors, Conductors and Passengers Regulations 2002. Drivers must, where reasonable, assist disabled persons when asked and this may include announcing the required stop if asked to do so.

Bus Services: Internet

Lilian Greenwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what individuals and organisations he and officials in his Department have met to discuss the (a) creation and (b) funding of the website busforus.co.uk. [129755]

Norman Baker: The Secretary of State has not had any meetings regarding ‘Busforus’. At the Bus Partnership Forum on 18 January I met the Confederation of Passenger Transport UK (CPT), major bus operators, local authority representatives, Passenger Focus and Bus Users UK, at which it was agreed that the group would develop proposals to tackle transport issues for young people. On 26 June and on 10 September I met CPT, with my officials, to discuss CPT's project to facilitate a web-based transport information solution for young people. I launched ‘Busforus’ on 6 November at the EuroBus Expo in Birmingham. ‘Busforus’ is funded by the bus industry.

Lilian Greenwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much funding his Department has provided for the website busforus.co.uk. [129983]

Norman Baker: The Department does not fund ‘Busforus’. This web-based transport information solution was developed and is managed by the bus industry.

Dover Port

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on the sale of the Port of Dover; and if he will make a statement. [129825]

Stephen Hammond: The Government's position on the sale of trust ports remains unchanged from that announced in August 2011. The revised announced policy is that which the Government expects to follow when considering an application under the Ports Act. Dover Harbour Board's proposed Ports Act transfer scheme is being considered against the revised criteria for trust port sales set out within this policy.

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Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much (a) public and (b) private investment has been received by the Port of Dover since May 2010. [129893]

Stephen Hammond: The Port of Dover has received no public investment since May 2010. The Department for Transport does not collect information on private investment received by the port outside of that which is available in its published accounts.

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to take a decision on the proposed sale of the Port of Dover. [129894]

Mr Simon Burns: I have been considering the additional information provided in June by Dover Harbour Board, alongside the many representations received, on its application for a transfer scheme under the Ports Act 1991 that would, if confirmed, allow it to sell the port of Dover. I intend to make an announcement soon.

Electric Vehicles: Safety

Mr Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans his Department has to address the danger of silent hybrid and electric motor vehicles. [130205]

Norman Baker: The Department for Transport is working with international bodies to develop recommendations on adding artificial sound to quiet vehicles such as hybrid and electric motor vehicles. These recommendations are expected to specify the characteristic of the sound and the vehicle speed up to which the sound should be generated, so that levels from electric and conventional vehicles are similar. The Department recently published a research report on the audibility of electric vehicles and can be found at the following link:

http://assets.dft.gov.uk/publications/assessing-the-perceived-safety-risk-from-quiet-electric-and-hybrid-vehicles/PPR525-assessing-the-perceived-safety-risk-from-quiet-electric-and-hybrid-vehicles.pdf


Grants

Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what grant-giving programmes are operated by (a) his Department and (b) the bodies for which he is responsible; and which such programmes award grants in Scotland. [129147]

Norman Baker: The data requested can be found in the table below:

Grants paid by the Department for Transport(1)
CategoryPayable to / Affecting Scotland

Aviation

 

Air Transport accessibility complaint handling

Includes Scotland

Public Safety Zone S16 Grant

Includes Scotland

Radar Remediation Scheme re G4 phones

Includes Scotland

  

Low carbon road vehicles

 

Plugged-In Places electrical charging points

Includes Scotland

Low Carbon Vehicle Partnership

Not Scotland

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Plugged in vehicle and low carbon grants

Includes Scotland

Energy Saving Trust

Not Scotland

Low Carbon Vehicle Improvement Programme

Includes Scotland

Green Truck Trial

Includes Scotland

  

Buses

 

Real Time Information Grant

Not Scotland

Bus Service Operator Grants

Not Scotland

Concessionary Travel Preparation Grants

Not Scotland

  

Local authorities and non-rail London

 

Linking Local Communities

Not Scotland

LA Integrated Transport Block

Not Scotland

LA Road Maintenance

Not Scotland

LA Major Road Schemes

Not Scotland

PFI Grants to LAs

Not Scotland

Greater London Authority (TfL)

Not Scotland

Tram Train development (Sheffield)

Not Scotland

Olympics In-Venue Security to LOCOG

Not Scotland

  

Rail

 

Community Rail

Not Scotland

Railways for AN accessibility

Includes Scotland

Rail Safety and Standards Board

Activities benefit Scotland indirectly

Network Rail

Not Scotland

ITSO (Smart ticketing) Grant

Not Scotland

Crossrail

Not Scotland

PTEs—Northern England (including non-rail)

Not Scotland

Rail—Transport for London overland

Not Scotland

Rail—MerseyTravel

Not Scotland

Support for passenger rail services (Train Operating Companies)

Not Scotland

Trans European Network EU Programme

Includes Scotland, but DfT is EU payment agent only

  

Miscellaneous

 

Merchant Navy Days

Includes Scotland

Inland water safety (RoSPA)

Includes Scotland

Road Safety (to RoSPA)

Includes Scotland

Mountain Rescue

Includes Scotland

Sustainable Distribution

Not Scotland

Freight

Not Scotland

Community Transport

Not Scotland

Local Sustainable Transport Fund Grants

Not Scotland

Cycling England & Bikeability

Not Scotland

Highways Maintenance Efficiency

Not Scotland

(1 )Grants are only paid by the central Department.

High Speed 2 Railway Line

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will assess the adequacy of (a) his Department's and (b) HS2 Ltd's budgets for mitigation with a view to ensuring that budget constraints do not limit the examination and consideration of options for mitigation along the proposed route. [129690]

Mr Simon Burns: HS2 Ltd have considered a large number of mitigation options for the proposed route and will continue to look at ways to refine the design of

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the railway. Each proposed change will be evaluated on its own merits on the basis of a number of factors including environmental performance and engineering feasibility as well as value for money for the taxpayer.

Mobility Vehicles: Safety

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the contribution by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport of 21 March 2012, Official Report, column 258-61WH, on mobility vehicle safety, what progress has been made on reviewing policy and enforcement of legislation on mobility scooter safety. [129875]

Norman Baker: The Department for Transport continues to make progress on the review of mobility scooter safety. We have been in discussions with the industry and other stakeholders about a standardised assessment for new users (including an improved eyesight test), and how best to promote training and encourage the take up of insurance. The results of our discussions will be disseminated as soon as possible. We are continuing the work to identify a suitable legal mechanism for replacing the term 'invalid carriage', and suitable amendments to the regulations to enable the weight of powered wheelchairs to be increased will be laid as soon as possible. We will be completing shortly an evidence-gathering research project, as part of the exercise to develop a kite marking scheme for transport of scooters on public transport. The Department is engaging in discussions with operators and the industry regarding suitable designs and guidance to facilitate transport on public transport.

Motorcycles

Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the role and remit is of each committee and focus group established by his Department and the Driving Standards Agency involved in motorcycle training and testing (a) between May 2010 and August 2012 and (b) from August 2012 to date; and if he will make a statement. [130219]

Stephen Hammond: The groups established by the Department for Transport and the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) between May 2010 and August 2012 and involved in motorcycle training and testing are listed as follows.

No new groups have been established from August 2012 to date.

In addition, the Motorcycle Stakeholder Panel, established in November 2009, met throughout 2010 and 2011. The panel ensured stakeholders were informed of and able to offer input to DSA plans and provided a forum for them to represent their members.

Established in 2010:

The Motorcycle Test Review High Level Steering Group. Provides a high level oversight of the test review process.

Motorcycle Test Review Working Group. As part of the Government's wider work to promote safe, reasonable use of the road network, the specific focus of the motorcycle test review is to consider how to improve the practical motorcycle test in Great Britain. Specific areas for consideration include:

the content of the practical test;

safe delivery arrangements;

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adequate geographical coverage;

implications for the training industry;

implications of the EU third driving licence directive; and

cost implications for riders, trainers and DFT/DSA/DVLA.

Motorcycle Test Review Technical Sub-Group. Considers how best to implement the manoeuvres that should form part of the practical motorcycle test, having regard to the requirements of the EU driving licence directives; reports findings to the Working Group.

Motorcycle Booking Working Group. The working group was established following the announcement of the motorcycle test review to consider the issues trainers identified with booking test appointments. Its aim was to progress the findings of the trainer booking review undertaken in 2009, resolve the inefficiencies of the scheme and plan the implementation of the changes.

Established in 2011:

The Strategic Framework for Road Safety, published in May 2011, set out a commitment to ensure that motorcycle instructors have the appropriate skills and qualifications. DSA established the Learning to Ride Working Group, involving key motorcycle stakeholders, to progress this work. The group is considering a wide range of proposals, including possible changes to the qualification and quality assurance arrangements for motorcycle instructors.

Research Steering Group. Determines the methodology, quality assurance and governance of the research and reports this information to the Motorcycle Test Review Working Group.

Motorway Service Areas: Fuels

Harriett Baldwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to increase price competition among suppliers of fuel situated at motorway service stations. [130014]

Stephen Hammond: All motorway service areas are operated on a commercial basis by private companies and the Department for Transport has no powers to control prices charged at the sites.

As the UK's independent competition authority, it is for the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to investigate any cases of possible anti-competitive behaviour. On 5 September 2012, the OFT issued a call for information on the UK petrol and diesel sector.

Rescue Services: Scotland

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre Clyde was staffed at below risk-assessed levels in September and October 2012. [129282]

Stephen Hammond: Staffing levels at Clyde Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre were below risk assessed levels on 34 occasions during September 2012 and on 41 occasions during October 2012.

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for how many hours Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) Belfast will have had complete operational control of areas of coast currently co-ordinated by MRCC Clyde prior to November 2012. [129283]

Stephen Hammond: Pairing operations between Belfast and Clyde MRCCs have taken place on at least 36 occasions during the three years up to 1 November 2012.

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A more concentrated period of pairing operations has taken place during 2012 to prepare for the closure of Clyde. During October 2012, Belfast had complete control of Clyde's area of responsibility on 12 occasions, each occasion lasting on average seven hours.

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre (MRCC) Belfast and MRCC Stornoway staff will have been examined on their knowledge of the areas of coast currently co-ordinated by MRCC Clyde by the end of 2012. [129284]

Stephen Hammond: Staff at Belfast and Stornoway MRCCs will be formally examined on their knowledge of the areas they are taking responsibility for during December 2012.

This examination is not a one-off exercise: in addition staff at both stations have been actively engaged in a programme of training since early 2012 to enhance their awareness of their new operational areas. This training programme has included:

Scenario and competence based training developed by Clyde staff;

Briefings from RNLI Lifeboat Operations Managers, HMCG Sector Managers and watchkeeper visits to the Clyde area;

Live shadowing of Clyde incidents and reviews of Clyde incidents; and

Full pairing sessions where operational responsibility has been handed over to Belfast.

Road Signs and Markings

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much his Department has spent on the metrification of transport signs in the last three years; and what plans his Department has to convert transport signs to metric measurements in the UK. [129380]

Norman Baker: There has been no spending by this Department (including the Highways Agency) on the metrification of traffic signs in the last three years and there are no plans to change the law to allow the conversion of traffic signs in Great Britain to metric measurements. Traffic signing in Northern Ireland is a devolved matter and subject to separate regulations.

Roads: Accidents

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many road traffic collisions were responded to by police in (a) the Northumbria police force area and (b) England in (i) 2009, (ii) 2010, (iii) 2011 and (iv) 2012 to date; and how many such collisions involved a fatality. [129466]

Stephen Hammond: The Department only collects information relating to personal injury accidents, and therefore does not include damage-only accidents in its statistics.

The numbers of personal injury accidents reported to Northumbria police, and in England, in each year since 2009 were as follows:

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Reported number of accidents, Northumbria police and England, 2009-11
Number of accidents
 200920102011

Northumbria police

   

All accidents

3,958

3,599

3,426

Fatal accidents

40

31

28

    

England

   

All accidents

144,891

137,277

135,071

Fatal accidents

1,745

1,460

1,509

In-year totals for 2012 have only been published at Great Britain level. The latest published figures cover the period to June 2012 and are available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/ras45-quarterly-statistics

Figures for geographic areas within Great Britain for the year 2012 are due for publication in June 2013.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the average annual cost to the public purse is of road traffic accidents. [129999]

Stephen Hammond: The Department for Transport publishes the overall costs of road traffic accidents in “Reported Road Casualties in Great Britain: 2011 Annual Report”, which is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/9275/rrcgb2011-02.pdf

The figures separately identify medical and ambulance, and police costs; however costs to the public purse are not specifically identified.

Roads: Safety

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many local authorities in England have

26 Nov 2012 : Column 16W

terminated the employment of all road safety officers since May 2010. [129177]

Stephen Hammond: The Department for Transport does not collect information about the employment of road safety officers. Local authorities have a statutory obligation to provide road safety, but decisions about whether to employ road safety officers is a matter for local authorities to determine.

Severn River Crossing: Tolls

Paul Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects tolls on the two Severn crossings to come to an end. [129994]

Stephen Hammond: The Government has not taken any decisions on the level of tolls when the current concession with Severn River Crossings plc ends.

However, the Government has been clear that it will need to continue to toll after the current concession ends in order to recover costs incurred by UK taxpayers in relation to the crossings.

Shipping: Accidents

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions there have been maritime incidents involving vessels directed by (a) qualified registered pilots, (b) members of crew with a pilotage exemption certificate and (c) vessels without either a qualified registered pilot or someone with a pilotage exemption certificate in each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. [129574]

Stephen Hammond: The information requested is in the following table.

 ReportedInvestigatedPilot on boardPEC holder on boardNo pilot or PEC holder on board

2002

111

10

7

1

2

2003

94

3

0

1

2

2004

88

10

3

1

6

2005

185

10

3

3

4

2006

167

7

2

1

4

2007

191

4

2

2

0

2008

201

17

7

2

8

2009

181

9

2

1

6

2010

151

8

2

2

4

2011

190

5

1

1

3

2012(1)

113

2

0

2

0

(1) To 20 November. Note: This answer is derived from the Marine Accident investigation Branch database. The search criteria for incidents reported was restricted to collisions, contacts and groundings in port or harbour areas, and on rivers and canals. For each year the number of these reports that resulted in an MAIB investigation is shown with a breakdown of when a pilot was on board, a pilotage exemption certificate (PEC) holder was on board, or when there was no pilot. This information is not recorded for incidents that do not progress to an investigation.

Trust Ports

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the Written Ministerial Statement of 15 September 2011, Official Report, columns 65-66WS, on the sale of trust ports, whether he has received any offers from UK or non-UK companies within the criteria published by his Department in August 2011. [129679]

Stephen Hammond: No such offers have been received. The Ports Act process would normally be initiated with an application by the relevant Harbour Authority to the

26 Nov 2012 : Column 17W

Secretary of State for approval of a transfer scheme, and that application would be considered while having regard to the Department's published criteria.

West Coast Railway Line: Franchises

Jonathan Reynolds: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the cost to the public purse was of cancelling the award of the West Coast Mainline rail franchise; and if he will make a statement. [129795]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department will remunerate fully bidders for the direct and reasonable costs of putting together their bids and expects this cost to be approximately £40 million. The Department expects additional costs from mobilising Directly Operated Railways (DOR), reissuing the tender and carrying out two independent reviews. The Department will monitor these costs closely and be fully transparent in keeping the House informed.

Women and Equalities

Equal Pay

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what steps she is taking to ensure employers in (a) Liverpool, Walton constituency, (b) Merseyside and (c) England implement equal pay for women. [129686]

Jo Swinson: The Government are taking a range of steps, aimed at employers and employees, to ensure pay equality and tackle sex discrimination.

We have launched a voluntary initiative to promote transparency on gender equality. Think, Act, Report asks private and voluntary sector employers to tackle barriers for women at work by taking a step by step approach to greater transparency on pay and other workplace issues. On 14 November, Government published a progress report which showed that over a million employees are working in organisations signed up to this initiative.

Through the Employment and Regulatory Reform Bill we are introducing a power for Ministers to make regulations at a later date to require employment tribunals to order equal pay audits where an employer has been found to have breached equal pay laws.

Finally, we are making it easier for SMEs and micro businesses to get good quality advice and support on equality and employment related matters through a series of regional events, including in St Helens on 23 January 2013. Short guides are also available on the Government Equalities Office website which explain the law for businesses and employees clearly.

Prime Minister

Middle East

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 13 November 2012, Official Report, column 143W, on the Middle East, with which representatives of (a) the United Arab Emirates and (b) Saudi Arabia he discussed human rights; and which aspects of human rights were raised at those meetings. [129761]

26 Nov 2012 : Column 18W

Paul Flynn: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 19 November 2012, Official Report, column 341, on human rights in the Middle East, if he will publish the responses he received from each government representative. [130020]

The Prime Minister: In the United Arab Emirates, I met the President of the UAE, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, the Foreign Minister of the UAE and the Ruler of Dubai, in addition to a number of business and civic leaders. My meetings in Saudi Arabia involved King Abdullah, Crown Prince Salman, Prince Miteb bin Abdulaziz, Makkah Governor (Prince Khalid Al-Faisal bin Abdulaziz), Foreign Minister (Prince Saud Al-Faisal bin Abdulaziz), Special Envoy of the King (Prince Muqrin bin Abdulaziz), Chief of General Intelligence (Prince Bandar bin Sultan), Commander of the National Guard (Prince Miteb bin Abdullah), Saudi Ambassador to the United Kingdom (Prince Mohammed bin Nawaf), Minister of Interior (Prince Mohammed bin Nayef), and Vice Foreign Minister (Prince Abdulaziz bin Abdullah), together with representatives from the academic and legal communities. As I said in the previous answer I gave on 13 November 2012, Official Report, column 143W, no subjects were off limits during our conversations, and the visit was focused on the objectives of supporting prosperity, security and open societies in the region.

Defence

Syria

Mr Spencer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will make it his policy not to commit British forces to combat in Syria. [129599]

Mr Philip Hammond: As the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), made clear to the House on 20 November 2012, Official Report, columns 449-50, we believe that a diplomatic and political solution is necessary to deliver a sustainable solution to the crisis in Syria.

However, while perusing such a solution, we will not rule out any option, in accordance with international law, that might save innocent lives in Syria and prevent the destabilisation of a region that is critical to the security of the UK.

Afghanistan

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the destination of equipment removed from Afghanistan will be as a result of the drawdown of troops. [128429]

Mr Robathan: No decisions have yet been taken on the return of equipment from Afghanistan.

Armed Forces: Cadets

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many sea cadets there are in each part of the UK; and what steps he is taking to increase the number of sea cadets. [128425]

26 Nov 2012 : Column 19W

Mr Francois: Sea cadet units are independent charities in their own right. They are affiliated to the Marine Society and Sea Cadets (MSSC), which in itself is a charity. The Sea Cadet Corps is run by the MSSC under a memorandum of understanding with the Royal Navy. As at 1 April 2012, there were 13,860(1) sea cadets in the UK. This number cannot be broken down into specific regions.

Sea cadet numbers are growing at approximately 3% per annum. To encourage the continuing growth of numbers, the MSSC is seeking to make the Sea Cadet Corps experience more attractive, accessible and relevant.

In addition, the cadet expansion programme launched in June 2012 includes the option for state secondary schools in England to open sea cadet units.

(1) Source—National Statistics TSP7—UK Reserve Forces and MOD Sponsored Cadet Forces April 2012.

Armed Forces: Health

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to examine the physical and mental state of soldiers prior to deployment. [129325]

Mr Francois [holding answer 22 November 2012]: All armed forces personnel undergo a thorough programme of training and preparation prior to operational deployment. This will include checks on their health to ensure that they are both physically and mentally fit for operational service. No personnel will be deployed on a particular operation unless they have been medically assessed as fit to do so.

Armed Forces: Sexual Offences

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what information newly-recruited members of the armed forces receive on how to report (a) rape and (b) sexual assault; and if he will make a statement. [128567]

Mr Francois: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 26 October 2012, Official Report, columns 1073-74W, which advised that each service had a code which set out the values and standards expected from service personnel. In addition, the following information is given to newly recruited members.

Army recruits receive, as part of their training, a leaflet detailing the Army Code of Conduct and Behaviour for Recruits. Although this does not specifically mention sexual assault or rape, it does talk about all forms of harassment whether physical or mental, and includes a full list of people and organisations the individual should go to if they have a complaint.

Navy recruits receive training which covers the role of the Service Police and in addition are advised of the duty to report incidents where they suspect another person of committing an offence, and how they can make a complaint themselves, whether this concerns criminal conduct or a grievance about their treatment.

Royal Air Force recruits receive information concerning the non-governmental organisations which provide advice and support to serving personnel such as the Royal Air Force Association (RAFA), which provides a range of welfare services.

26 Nov 2012 : Column 20W

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many calls to the Speak Out helpline have related to reports of (a) rape and (b) sexual assault in each year since 2000; and if he will make a statement. [129430]

Mr Francois: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 25 October 2012, Official Report, columns 978-79W.

BATUS Canada

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had with his Canadian counterpart on culling deer and elk at BATUS Canada. [128430]

Mr Robathan: The Secretary of State for Defence has had no discussions with his Canadian counterpart on culling deer and elk at British Army Training Unit Suffield in Canada. This is a sovereign issue for the Canadian Government.

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent progress has been made on gym and swimming pool facilities at BATUS Canada. [128431]

Mr Robathan: All personnel stationed at British Army Training Unit Suffield have access to gym and sports facilities. This includes a swimming pool, which was closed recently due to a leak. Surveys and tests have been conducted to determine the source of the leak, the results of which are awaited. A decision will then be taken on the way ahead.

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the role of BATUS Canada is in logistics training. [128435]

Mr Robathan: Logistic units deploy to British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS) in order to train for their operational roles, as well as to provide real life support, for example, food, cleaning and laundry to the combat troops eg infantry, cavalry and Army Air Corps and to combat support, eg Royal Artillery, Royal Engineers and Royal Signals units in their brigade. The provision of real life support to troops training at BATUS is both an essential enabler to other units' training as well as being a training opportunity in itself for those logistic units.

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what consideration his Department has given to conducting winter training at BATUS Canada. [128440]

Mr Robathan: Winter training in British Army Training Unit Suffield is currently not undertaken. Our requirement for armoured and armoured infantry battlegroup training can be met by exercising in the months from April to October.

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what opportunities are available for training at BATUS Canada for UK-based armed forces pilots. [128449]

26 Nov 2012 : Column 21W

Mr Robathan: British Army Training Unit Suffield offers many opportunities for UK armed forces helicopter pilots including integrated air and land training in support of multiple Battle Groups; Manned Airborne Surveillance in a unique environment developing pilots for forward deployment; and environmental training in an austere operating environment for all aspects of aviation operations.

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress his Department has made on replacing the welfare service at BATUS Canada; and if he will consider the potential to deliver this service through a partnership with SSAFA Forces Help. [128453]

Mr Robathan: Welfare services in British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS) are currently provided by the Unit Welfare Officer, Women's Royal Voluntary Service and the Canadian base padre. Each battle group training at BATUS will also have its own support staff.

While discussions were held with SSAFA in April this year, no decisions have been made on the replacement of the welfare service.

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to enable the armed forces of (a) Commonwealth countries, (b) European countries and (c) other UK allies to use the training ground facility at BATUS Canada. [128466]

Mr Robathan: A number of allied nations already train at British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS) either separately or alongside the UK. On an annual basis, a Canadian Light Armoured Vehicle Company trains at BATUS alongside British Army units which results in a British and Canadian army unit gaining valuable interoperability training. Exchange officers from a variety of other nations, including NATO, EU and other allies also participate in UK training at BATUS.

In addition the United States, Britain, Canada, Australia and New Zealand all have the opportunity to participate in training at BATUS.

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what period is covered by the environmental agreement between the Army and the Canadian authorities at BATUS Canada; and whether the terms of that agreement can be changed. [128467]

Mr Robathan: Environmental issues are covered in the memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the Canadian Department of National Defence and the UK's Ministry of Defence. The MOU is open-ended and may be renegotiated at any time with the mutual consent of both parties.

Consultants

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people were contracted as consultants to his Department and its agencies in each of the last five years; and what the highest level of remuneration paid to any such person in each of those years was. [126638]

26 Nov 2012 : Column 22W

Mr Francois [holding answer 5 November 2012]:The Ministry of Defence (MOD) specifies its required output to be achieved at a particular price on consultancy contracts, as defined by the Cabinet Office. The MOD does not specify the number of people to be employed nor their individual remuneration. These are matters for the contractor.

Danny Nightingale

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assistance his Department is providing the family of Sergeant Danny Nightingale. [128937]

Mr Francois [holding answer 19 November 2012]: Welfare provision is being made to the family of Sergeant Daniel Nightingale by the Army. This is being delivered through a combined effort by in-service unit welfare officers, the Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen's Families Association, and the welfare team at the Military Corrective Training Centre, Colchester.

Defence: Finance

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the 2012-13 defence budget; and if he will make a statement. [129610]

Mr Philip Hammond: The 2012-13 budget was fixed as part of spending review 2010, copies of which are available in the Library of the House. The total in near cash terms is £34.4 billion.

Defence: Procurement

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which projects being delivered for his Department by (a) Babcock, (b) Boeing, (c) Cobham, (d) the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company, (e) Finmeccanica, (f) General Dynamics, (g) Kelloggs-Brown-Root, (h) Lockheed Martin (i) Marshall Aerospace, (j) Northrup Grumman, (k) Rolls-Royce, (l) Thales and (m) Ultra Electronics are running over budget; and by how much in each case. [128063]

Mr Dunne [holding answer 13 November 2012]: The information will take time to collate and the commercial sensitivity of the data could prevent full disclosure. I will write to the hon. Member as soon as I am in a position to provide further information.

Defence: Scotland

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people are employed by (a) his Department and (b) the armed forces in Scotland. [127753]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 9 November 2012]: As at 1 July 2012 there were 11,020 regular armed forces personnel, 2,820 reservists and 4,480 civilians employed in Scotland by the Ministry of Defence.

26 Nov 2012 : Column 23W

Depleted Uranium

Sir Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is on the future of CHARM 3 following the expiry of its propellant charge in 2013. [129318]

Mr Dunne [holding answer 22 November 2012]: The Charm 3 propellant charge is subject to a Life Extension programme. In 2013, this will provide evidence from analysis and testing about whether the safe life of the charge can be extended or whether to replace stocks.

Devonport Dockyard

Oliver Colvile: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what investment in infrastructure and machinery was made by his Department in HMNB Devonport dockyard in each year from 2008 to 2010. [129484]

Mr Dunne [holding answer 22 November 2012]: The Ministry of Defence does not hold centrally details of how much has been invested in Her Majesty's Naval Base Devonport in each year from 2008 to 2010. The information will need to be collected from the relevant teams and will take some time to collate. I will write to the hon. Member when the figures are available.

European Fighter Aircraft

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what mix of weapon systems can be deployed on the pylons of the Typhoon at any one time; and if he will make a statement. [129311]

Mr Dunne [holding answer 22 November 2012]: The Typhoon pylons can accommodate any of the following weapon systems:

Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missile (AMRAAM),

Advanced Short Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM),

1,000 lb Enhanced Paveway II guided bomb

Typhoon's pylon configuration provides the flexibility for the aircraft to deploy a number of permutations of these weapon systems in dedicated air-to-air or air-to-surface roles; or in a 'swing' role allowing the prosecution of both air and ground targets in a single mission. The exact mix of weapons is optimised to reflect operational requirements.

Germany

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what criteria will be used for the decision on whether or not to reduce the strength of the 16th Tank Transporter Squadron in Germany. [128447]

Mr Robathan: Under the strategic defence and security review it was announced that the Army would withdraw from Germany by 2020 and reduce its heavy armour by around 40% and heavy artillery by around 35%. This will lead to a reduced requirement for the capability provided by heavy equipment transporters and 16 Tank Transporter Squadron will be withdrawn from the order of battle.

26 Nov 2012 : Column 24W

Middle East

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether any part of the exercise Austere Challenge 2012 took place in the Occupied Palestinian Territories; and whether permission was received for the exercise to take place. [129927]

Mr Robathan: Austere Challenge 2012 was a joint US-Israeli anti-ballistic missile exercise. The UK was not involved in the exercise and, as such, the Ministry of Defence has no knowledge of whether areas of the Occupied Palestinian Territories were involved or whether permission was applied for or received.

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what involvement UK armed forces personnel have in Operation Austere Challenge. [129928]

Mr Robathan: None.

Military Aircraft

Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is on the future of the Sentinel aircraft after the Afghanistan conflict in respect of continued active service. [129164]

Mr Dunne: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my hon. Friend the then Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, Member for Mid Worcestershire (Peter Luff), on 17 October 2011, Official Report, column 601W, to the hon. Member for Bridgend (Mrs Moon).

Military Bases

Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many RAF personnel are based at (a) NSA Menwith Hill, (B) USAF Lakenheath, (c) USAF Mildenhall, (d) USAF Feltwell, (e) USAF Molesworth, (f) USAF Fairford, (g) USAF Croughton, (h) USAF Barford St John, (i) Bleinheim Crescent and (j) USAF Barford. [129073]

Mr Francois: The numbers of RAF personnel based at the stations listed are shown in the following table:

BaseNumber of RAF personnel

RAF Croughton

1

RAF Fairford

 

RAF Welford

 

RAF Barford St John

 

Blenheim Crescent

 
  

RAF Lakenheath

1

RAF Feltwell

 
  

RAF Menwith Hill

3

  

RAF Mildenhall

4

  

RAF Alconbury

1

RAF Molesworth

2

26 Nov 2012 : Column 25W

RAF Fairford, RAF Welford, RAF Barford St John and Blenheim Crescent are administered by RAF Croughton, and RAF Feltwell is administered by RAF Lakenheath; as such there are no RAF personnel based at these sites.

RAF Molesworth is also administered separately, by RAF Alconbury, although there are two RAF personnel based at RAF Molesworth.

There is no additional base at RAF Barford, beyond RAF Barford St John.

Military Exercises

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service personnel were injured

26 Nov 2012 : Column 26W

while on army training exercises at

(a)

BATUS Canada,

(b)

BATUK Kenya and

(c)

facilities within the UK in each of the last five years. [128450]

Mr Robathan: The following table shows the numbers of service personnel that were identified as receiving injuries while on training exercises at British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS) Canada, British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) and within the UK. Across the same period a further 61 injuries have occurred within Canada and 49 within Kenya, the exact location of which are not specified.

Location2007-082008-092009-102010-11(1)2011-12Total

BATUS Canada

72

92

68

222

103

557

BATUK Kenya

0

11

10

19

24

64

UK

437

712

733

1,000

817

3,699

(1) The significant increase in reported accidents in 2010-11 was due predominantly to the introduction of a more comprehensive approach to accident reporting and for BATUS Canada a 50% increase in the number of training exercises that year. Therefore, the results for 2010-11 and 2011-12 are not directly comparable with previous years.

Navy

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent incidents have been attended by the Royal Navy Fishery Protection Squadron. [128999]

Mr Robathan: Between 1 November 2011 and 1 November 2012 the Royal Navy Fishery Protection Squadron were engaged in the following incidents:

Type of incidentNumber

Routine inspections of fishing vessels within British fishery limits (UK economic fishery zone) to enforce UK and EU fisheries legislation

1,195

Infringements found for prosecution purposes

312

Miscellaneous fishing incidents

2

Non-fishing incidents

2

Search and rescue incidents

10

Norway

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost to his Department was of winter training in Norway in each of the last five years. [128441]

Mr Robathan: Navy Command has incurred the following costs in respect of winter training in Norway:

Financial yearTotal (£ million)

2007-08

6.06

2008-09

0.07

2009-10

4.20

2010-11

0

2011-12

0.38

Figures include costs such as travel and subsistence, clothing, equipment support, accommodation stores, in country living expenses and allowances, and fuel. Excluded are costs such as deployed ships' costs service and civilian manpower, ammunition, and communication and information services which cannot be separately identified for this specific training.

Over the last five years, brigade level deployments to Afghanistan have resulted in a variation in the levels of participation in Norwegian training. This has led to lower or no costs in some years.

The Army's Commando trained units and personnel also participate in the winter deployments and incur costs. It is not possible to split these costs out from the units' wider budgets.

Olympic Games 2012: Security

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many security incidents involving the armed forces occurred during the London 2012 Olympic Games sailing events at Weymouth. [128426]

Mr Robathan: There were no security related incidents that involved the armed forces during the London 2012 Olympic Games at Weymouth.

Poland

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence over what period the army conducted training exercises in Poland; and for what reasons Poland is no longer used for army training exercises. [128428]

Mr Robathan: The Army conducted training exercises in Poland during the period 1993 to 2007 and we remain grateful to Poland for hosting our training in their country.

26 Nov 2012 : Column 27W

The Army currently focuses its training in those locations that best meet the needs of preparing for operations in Afghanistan.

Press: Subscriptions

Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department spent on newspapers, periodicals and trade publications in the last 12 months. [125730]

Mr Francois: The Ministry of Defence accesses a pan-Government framework contract for the purchase of print and electronic journals on subscription. The contract is primarily used to purchase academic, technical, medical and trade publications for the MOD colleges, training centres, technical information centres and medical units, including those in operational theatres. A small number of recreational titles are taken for use in Personnel Recovery Centres. Expenditure under this contract for FY 2011-12 was £617,520.

Unit newspaper requirements tend to be fluid and subject to short-notice amendment. They are not therefore suitable for fixed-term subscription. MOD units may make their own supply arrangements with local distributors. Information on such arrangements is not held centrally and because the MOD employs around a quarter of a million personnel across several thousand units at multiple locations in the UK and worldwide could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

RAF Prestwick

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has for the future of RAF Prestwick. [129586]

Mr Francois: An announcement on the future of RAF Prestwick will be made in due course.

Sickness Absence

Mike Freer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many days on average staff of his Department in each pay grade were absent from work as a result of ill health in each of the last 12 months. [125732]

Mr Francois: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) takes a robust approach to managing civilian sickness absence. Occupational health and well-being advice and support is available to all employees and line managers.

Sickness absence rates by average working days lost (AWDL) per full-time equivalent (FTE) employee in the MOD for the 12 months ending 30 June 2012 are shown in the following table.

Grade (Equivalent)(1)Average working days lost (FTE)(2,3)

Administrative Assistant

11.68

Administrative Officer

9.68

Executive Officer

7.89

Higher Executive Officer

6.01

Senior Executive Officer

4.91

Grade 7

3.80

Grade 6

3.13

26 Nov 2012 : Column 28W

Senior Civil Servant

1.31

Unknown(4)

6.28

(1) Equivalent civil service grades have been used to amalgamate MOD non-industrial, industrial and trading fund grades, according to Cabinet Office definitions. (2) Data presented reflect the current Cabinet Office definition, setting a maximum absence of 225 days per person, and exclude data for weekends, annual leave and bank holidays. Excludes personnel on zero pay. (3) Average days lost per FTE are calculated by dividing the total working days lost by a weighted average of the first of the month strengths for the period (the strengths at the start and end of the month receiving a weighting of 0.5 and the strengths of the interim months a weighting of 1). (4 )Unknown = when grades are not recorded on the personnel system.

A breakdown of the average working days lost per month is not available as the MOD calculates the figure over a rolling 12-month period to take account of any seasonality.

Grade equivalent rates, as used in Cabinet Office absence reporting, include non-industrial, industrial and trading fund personnel, but exclude Royal Fleet Auxiliary and locally engaged civilians for whom sickness absence data are not readily available.

Trident

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 11 June 2012, Official Report, column 115W, to the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South, for what reasons his Department has not published an annual report to Parliament on the Trident Renewal Programme; and when he expects to publish the report. [129580]

Mr Dunne: The Ministry of Defence is committed to updating Parliament annually on progress with the United Kingdom's future nuclear deterrent. We intend to publish the next update shortly.

Military Training: Tyres

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment his Department has made of the potential financial benefits of purchasing tyres for use at overseas training grounds locally. [128468]

Mr Robathan: No assessment has been made of purchasing tyres locally for use at overseas training grounds. Military units training overseas are supplied routinely through the Ministry of Defence supply chain system, which ensures that the correct items are supplied, to the right standard and economies of scale, across the range of vehicle variants.

Unmanned Air Vehicles

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department is taking to offer assistance to families affected by drone strikes; and if he will make a statement. [126287]

Mr Robathan: Currently the UK operates armed remotely piloted air systems only in Afghanistan. The protection of the Afghan civilian population is at the core of our military strategy in Afghanistan. International Security Assistance Force and UK forces have strict operating procedures to minimise the risk of civilian casualties occurring and to investigate any incidents that do happen.

26 Nov 2012 : Column 29W

There is a system in place for handling claims for compensation brought against the Ministry of Defence by Afghan civilians and we have an area claims officer located in Lashkar Gah. This claims officer travels throughout Helmand province and makes visits further afield to ensure that all claims receive attention.

We ensure that Afghan locals are aware of the claims scheme available to them through announcements on local radio and leaflets distributed by the military stabilisation support teams, who collate the details of claims that can not reach the area claims officer. Provincial and district governors are also aware of, and support, the compensation process.

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department has provided armed and unarmed drone assistance outside (a) Afghanistan and (b) Libya in the last three years. [126294]

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what recent assessment he has made of his Department's use of (a) armed and (b) unarmed remotely piloted air systems outside Afghanistan; and if he will make a statement; [126286]

(2) whether UK pilots are permitted to carry out armed drone strikes other than as part of ongoing military operations in Afghanistan. [126288]

Mr Robathan: Her Majesty's Government do not use armed remotely piloted air systems against terrorist suspects outside Afghanistan. However, UK personnel flew armed remotely piloted air systems missions against Gaddafi's forces in Libya in 2011, in support of the NATO humanitarian mission authorised under UN Security Council Resolution 1973.

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 2 November 2012, Official Report, column 428W, on unmanned aerial vehicles, whether he has any plans to deploy Scan Eagle on (a) Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers and (b) any other ship in the Royal Navy. [129406]

Mr Dunne [holding answer 22 November 2012]: The Scan Eagle Unmanned Air System is not in service with UK armed forces, and the Ministry of Defence currently has no plan to acquire it.

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer by the then Minister of State for the Armed Forces to Question 178 of the inquiry by the Defence Committee into Future Maritime Surveillance, Session 2012-13, HC 110, and Session 2010-12, HC 1918-i, what the evidential basis was for his statement that it would be possible to fly unmanned aerial vehicles from the new aircraft carriers for surveillance purposes. [129541]

Mr Dunne: Unmanned air vehicles (UAV) have been operating in several navies since 2005. As UAVs are generally lighter than manned aircraft it is likely that they could be launched from our new carriers during their planned 50-year life. UAVs have varying sizes, endurance and capabilities, and are constantly evolving.

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Although not all would be suitable for carrier operations, the UK has previously conducted trials with a Scan Eagle UAV flown from a frigate and is currently considering another such concept demonstration.

USA

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what external contracts the British Defence Staff have in the US; and what the monetary value is of each contract. [128005]

Mr Dunne: There are two procurement routes available to the British Defence Staff (BDS) based in the United States; Foreign Military Sales (FMS) and Direct Commercial Sales (DCS)

FMS is the process for foreign governments and international organisations to purchase military articles and services from the US Government. The number of extant FMS cases is as follows:

 $ billion/number

Extant cases value ($ billion)

6.4

Number of open cases as at October 2012

436

DCS is a US-based United Kingdom Defence Procurement Office (UKDPO) commercial acquisition service encompassing the full range of activities normally undertaken by UK commercial staff, but offering additional services in respect of payment, law of contract, licensing and shipping.

The detail of individual DCS contracting is not held centrally and can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Warships

Mr Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the number of (a) frigates and (b) destroyers in the fleet by 2020. [129852]

Mr Dunne: The 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review stipulated that the Royal Navy will operate a fleet of 19 destroyers and frigates in 2020, comprising six Type 45 destroyers and 13 Type 26 frigates.

Written Questions: Government Responses

Rehman Chishti: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he plans to answer question 124378 tabled on 18 October 2012 for answer on 22 October 2012. [129685]

Mr Robathan: The Minister for International Security Strategy, my hon. Friend the Member for South West Wiltshire (Dr Murrison), replied to my hon. Friend on 21 November 2012, Official Report, column 494W. I apologise for the delay.

Home Department

Animal Experiments

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the written answer of

26 Nov 2012 : Column 31W

12 September 2012,

Official Report,

column 259W, on animal experiments, if she will instruct the five Home Office Inspectorate offices to publish the information they hold under section 19b on the project licences authorising the 235 procedures using cats reported in the Statistics of Scientific Procedures on Living Animals, Great Britain 2011. [128413]

James Brokenshire: We have no plans to do so. The information in the project licences was provided in confidence by the applicants and Section 24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 applies.

Section 24 prohibits the disclosure of confidential information relating to the use of animals in scientific procedures by Home Office Ministers and officials other than in the discharge of their functions under the 1986 Act.

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what method is used to calculate the severity limits for protocols authorising experiments on cats, in respect of the information provided by applicants as part of the project licence process, on (a) the anticipated pain, harm and distress expected to be experienced by the cats, (b) measures to prevent or control occurrence and severity and (c) practicable and realistic humane end-points. [128414]

James Brokenshire: The severity limit for each protocol is determined by the upper limit of the expected adverse effects that may be encountered by a protected animal, taking into account the measures specified in the licence for avoiding and controlling adverse effects. It represents the worst potential outcome for any animal subjected to the protocol, even if it may only be experienced by a small number of the animals to be used.

In assessing the severity limit of a protocol, account is taken of the effect of all the procedures (whether regulated or not) applied to each animal or group of animals; the nature and extent of the likely adverse effects; the action taken to mitigate these effects; and the humane endpoints to be applied.

Further information on the categorisation of severity limits can be found in paragraph 5.42 of the published Guidance on the Operation of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (HC321).

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what methodology was used for the cost-benefit assessments of proposed scientific procedures on cats that were conducted as part of the project licence process in 2011; and if she will publish those assessments. [128415]

James Brokenshire: In assessing benefit, the Secretary of State must be satisfied that the proposed programme of work is scientifically valid and is likely to meet its stated objectives. The potential benefit relates to the extent to which man, animals, plants or the environment may benefit if the project is wholly successful in meeting its declared objectives. It relates to the value that may be placed on the specific outcomes of the programme of work, rather than the importance of the general area of activity.

Cost is considered as the adverse welfare effects (pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm) likely to be experienced

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by the protected animals used during the course of the study. Further information on cost/benefit assessment is set out in Appendix I of the published Guidance on the Operation of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (HC321).

We have no plans to publish cost/benefit assessments. These assessments discuss confidential information submitted in applications and section 24 of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 applies.

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether her Department undertakes inspections to ensure that scientific procedures on cats do not have excessive adverse effects on the animals and do not exceed their permitted severity levels; and if she will publish the findings of any such inspections undertaken in the last year. [128416]

James Brokenshire: The Home Office Inspectorate implements a risk-based approach to inspection for all establishments designated under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.

Inspectors may review records of procedures, as well as viewing procedures in progress. Where severity limits or the other controls in licences have been or are likely to be breached, project licence holders must notify the Home Office as required by Standard Condition 8 of their project licence authority.

Failure to do so would be treated as a potential infringement and subject to a full investigation by the Inspectorate.

We have no plans to publish inspection reports.

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the extent to which scientific procedures on animals performed under the project licence authorities achieve the expected outcomes and benefits; and if she will make a statement. [128417]

James Brokenshire: As part of the inspection process, Home Office Inspectors review records of procedures, as well as viewing procedures in progress, the adverse effects on the animals, the humane endpoints being applied and the review of the authorised protocols within the relevant project licence. Any discrepancies in the expected outcomes and benefits are investigated and action taken where appropriate.

In addition, under standard condition 11, project licence holders must submit details of publications resulting from licensed programmes of work, and achievements from previous work conducted under project licences are considered as part of the assessment of applications for new project licences.