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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 29 November 2012

Deputy Prime Minister

Lord Lieutenants

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will publish a list of the public engagements of the Lord Lieutenant for County Durham for the last 12 months. [130828]

Miss Chloe Smith: The activities of lords lieutenant are not the responsibility of central Government. It is a matter for each lord lieutenant to determine how he/she carries out his/her role. Accordingly, it is up to each lord lieutenant to promote honours as they see fit for their lieutenancy and to conduct public engagements appropriate to their role and relevant to their county.

West Lothian Question

Jonathan Lord: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent assessment he has made of progress on a resolution of the West Lothian Question; and when he expects the Commission on the consequences of devolution for the House of Commons will publish its report. [130844]

Miss Chloe Smith: The coalition programme for government includes a commitment to establish a commission to consider this issue. In January, the Government established a Commission on the consequences of devolution for the House of Commons. The terms of reference of the Commission are:

To consider how the House of Commons might deal with legislation which affects only part of the United Kingdom, following the devolution of certain legislative powers to the Scottish Parliament, the Northern Ireland Assembly and the National Assembly for Wales.

The Commission has started its work and will make its recommendations to the Government by the end of the current parliamentary session. The Commission has received written evidence and held oral evidence sessions across the UK. Information on the evidence received can be found at:

http://tmc.independent.gov.uk

Treasury

Air Passenger Duty

Michael Connarty: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent assessment he has made of the effect of air passenger duty on UK airports. [130596]

Sajid Javid: The Government undertook an extensive consultation on air passenger duty last year. The consultation gathered views and evidence from stakeholders,

29 Nov 2012 : Column 432W

which included views on the affect of APD. Over 500 responses were received from a wide range of stakeholders, including from airports, businesses, and consumers. The Government published its response to the consultation, including a summary of views received, on 6 December 2011.

Child Benefit

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the answer of 26 April 2012, Official Report, column 1064W, on income tax: rates and bands, what advice his Department has given to basic rate taxpayers who will become higher rate taxpayers in 2013-14 on their potential responsibilities relating to child benefit. [130129]

Mr Gauke: The high income child benefit charge applies to individuals with an income above £50,000 where they or their partner receives child benefit.

The information requested was provided in response to parliamentary question number 128153 on 20 November 2012, Official Report, column 433W:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm121120/text/121120w0002.htm#12112048002186

Employee Benefit Trusts

Mr Brady: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will review the maximum savings limit for HM Revenue and Customs-approved share plans; and if he will make a statement; [130645]

(2) what proportion of (a) ISA participants and (b) SAYE share plan participants saved the maximum annual allowance in the most recent year for which figures are available; [130646]

(3) if he will make it his policy to increase maximum savings limits for HM Revenue and Customs-approved share plans at least in line with inflation on an annual basis; [130647]

(4) if he will review the minimum holding period for share incentive plans, examining the estimated effect of reducing the minimum period to three years; and if he will make a statement; [130648]


(5) what steps he plans to take to address declining participation levels in (a) SAYE and (b) all-employee share incentive plans. [130649]

Mr Gauke: Information on the number of Save As You Earn (SAYE) participants who contributed the maximum £250 per month under the scheme is not available. However, Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs estimate that for SAYE options granted in 2010-11, the average amount contributed by participants was less than half of the maximum. Further details on the cost and use of SAYE can be found on the HMRC website at:

www.hmrc.gov.uk/statistics/share-schemes/table6-3.pdf

The Government has recently consulted on a range of proposals to simplify the tax advantaged employee share schemes and make them more attractive to businesses and employees. This follows recommendations published by the Office of Tax Simplification in March. The Government will announce its response to this consultation shortly.

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The Government keeps the relevant limits for the tax advantaged employee share schemes under review. However, it believes that rather than increasing the current limits, which would only be of benefit to participants who currently contribute the maximum amounts, available resources are better deployed in a package of simplification measures that will benefit a wider range of participants.

The Government has recently reviewed the minimum tax-free holding period for shares held in a Share Incentive Plan and decided not to proceed with any change. Further details can be found in chapter 5 of the document at:

customs.hmrc.gov.uk/channelsPortalWebApp/downloadFile?contentID=HMCE_PROD1_032132

Information on the numbers of ISA subscribers saving at the maximum, annual allowance can be found on the HMRC website at:

www.hmrc.gov.uk/statistics/isas/table9-7.xls

Excise Duties: Fuels

Tim Farron: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will consider the merits of extending the rural fuel derogation pilot to Cumbria. [130807]

Sajid Javid: Motorists on the Scottish islands and the Islands of Scilly are benefiting from the 5p per litre

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discount on pump prices since the Government introduced the rural fuel rebate pilot scheme earlier this year.

The Government will consider whether to seek EU approval for an extension of the scheme to other remote parts of the UK that are likely to display similar characteristics to the islands.

Pensioners: Scotland

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many pensioners there were in each income quintile in Scotland in each of the last three years for which figures are available. [130158]

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

Estimates on the income distribution are published annually in the Households Below Average Income Series. The latest year of data which is available is for 2010-11. For both tables, three-year periods spanning 2006-07 to 2010-11 have been used as single-year regional estimates are subject to volatility.

Table 1 shows the number of pensioners in each income quintile in Scotland, in each of the last three years, before housing costs, and Table 2 for after housing costs.

Table 1: Numbers of Pensioners in Scotland (millions), by income quintile, before housing costs, three-year averages
 Net equivalised disposable household income 
 Bottom quintileSecond quintileMiddle quintileFourth quintileTop quintileAll pensioners (million)

2006-07 to 2008-09

0.2

0.3

0.2

0.1

0.1

0.9

2007-08 to 2009-10

0.2

0.3

0.2

0.2

0.1

1.0

2008-09 to 2010-11

0.2

0.3

0.2

0.2

0.1

1.0

Table 2: Numbers of Pensioners in Scotland (millions), by income quintile, after housing costs, three-year averages
 Net equivalised disposable household income 
 Bottom quintileSecond quintileMiddle quintileFourth quintileTop quintileAll pensioners (million)

2006-07 to 2008-09

0.1

0.3

0.2

0.2

0.1

0.9

2007-08 to 2009-10

0.1

0.3

0.2

0.2

0.1

1.0

2008-09 to 2010-11

0.1

0.3

0.3

0.2

0.1

1.0

Notes: 1. These statistics are based on Households Below Average Income (HBAI) data sourced from the Family Resources Survey (FRS). This uses disposable household income, adjusted using modified OECD equivalisation factors for household size and composition, as an income measure as a proxy for standard of living. 2. Net disposable incomes have been used to answer the question. This includes earnings from employment and self-employment, state support, income from occupational and private pensions, investment income and other sources. Income tax payments, national insurance contributions, council tax/domestic rates and some other payments are deducted from incomes. 3. Figures have been presented on a before housing cost and an after housing cost basis. For before housing costs, housing costs are not deducted from income, while for after housing costs they are. 4. The preferred income measure for pensioners is after housing costs. Around three quarters of pensioners own their own homes and so have to pay out minimal housing costs from their disposable income compared to the current working age population who typically have to cover mortgage or rental housing costs. Considering pensioners' incomes compared to others after deducting housing costs allows for more meaningful comparisons of income between working age people and pensioners, and between pensioners overtime. 5. All estimates are based on survey data and are therefore subject to a degree of uncertainty. Small differences should be treated with caution as these will be affected by sampling error and variability in non-response. 6. The reference period for HBAI figures is the financial year. Three survey years have been combined because single year estimates are not considered to be sufficiently reliable. 7. Numbers of pensioners have been rounded to the nearest hundred thousand pensioners. 8. Figures may not sum due to rounding. 9. Longer time series data on pensioners is available within chapter 6 of the Households Below Average Income report at: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/index.php?page=hbai_arc

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State Retirement Pensions

Mr Raab: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the contribution by the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury of 2 July 2012, Official Report, column 696, stating that next year a full basic state pension is forecast to be £130 a year higher than under the previous Government's plans, how that forecast was calculated. [130723]

Mr Gauke: The forecast that a full basic state pension will be £130 a year higher in 2013-14 than under the previous Government's plans was based on the annual value of a full basic state pension in 2013-14 under the Government's policy of uprating by the triple lock (i.e. the highest of inflation, earnings or 2.5%) each year from 2012-13, compared with the previous Government's policy of uprating the basic state pension by earnings each year from 2012-13. The forecast was based on the OBR's Budget 12 forecasts for CPI and earnings.

The Government will set out its policy for uprating the basic state pension and other benefits in 2013-14 at the autumn statement.

Tax Avoidance

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many prosecutions HM Revenue and Customs has brought against companies for tax avoidance since 2004; [130526]

(2) how many prosecutions brought by HM Revenue and Customs against companies for tax avoidance have proceeded to court in each of the last five years. [130527]

Mr Gauke: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is not a prosecuting authority. Charging decisions and any subsequent prosecution in HMRC matters are carried out by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) upon receipt of evidence submitted by HMRC following criminal investigations. As tax avoidance is not illegal in itself, no cases have been submitted to the CPS for consideration and it follows that no cases have proceeded to court.

The Government set out its strategy for dealing with avoidance by working to prevent it before it occurs, detecting it early and applying effective counteraction in the document “Tackling Tax Avoidance”, published at Budget 2011. At the 2012 Budget, the Government announced a range of measures to close down tax loopholes and also announced that it would consult on a general anti-abuse rule with a view to legislating in Finance Bill 2013.

Tax Avoidance: Self-employed

Guto Bebb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what representations he has received on and what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the IR35 guidance issued in May 2012; [130369]

(2) when he plans to carry out the next IR35 review; and if he will publish the findings of that review; [130370]

(3) what assessment he has made of the compliance activity and administration of IR35 since the 2011 Budget. [130462]

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Mr Gauke: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has not received any representations on the IR35 guidance since it was published in May 2012.

Initial indications show a positive improvement in HMRC's administration of IR35.

HMRC will be reviewing their new approach to IR35 during summer 2013. The results and any findings of this review will be initially shared with the IR35 Forum and published once they have been finalised.

VAT: Energy

Tracey Crouch: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with his European counterparts on the Reasoned Opinion of the European Commission on the UK's reduced rate of VAT for energy-saving materials. [130420]

Mr Gauke: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given on 27 November 2012, Official Report, column 309W, and on 22 October 2012, Official Report, column 623W, to my hon. Friend the Member for Richmond Park (Zac Goldsmith).

Welfare Tax Credits

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the total value of tax credit overpayments yet to be paid is. [130163]

Mr Gauke: As of October 2012, the total outstanding amount of tax credits overpayments is £4.7 billion.

HMRC’s strategy for reducing tax credit overpayments is to continue to focus on getting it right first time. We are developing a greater understanding of the causes of overpayments and continue to re-engineer products and processes to reduce the amount of debt entering the system.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Burma

Mr Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of whether human rights abuses committed by the Burmese Army in northern Shan State and Kachin State, Burma would provide grounds for investigations of whether war crimes and crimes against humanity may have been committed. [129925]

Mr Swire: We remain seriously concerned about reported human rights abuses committed by the Burmese army and armed ethnic groups in northern Shan and Kachin States. On 27 November, the UN General Assembly Third Committee passed a resolution by consensus that addresses the human rights situation in Burma, including the need for the Burmese Government to prosecute those responsible for human rights violations. That this was agreed by consensus demonstrates for the first time the Burmese Government's commitment to resolving the many areas of concern, including accountability for past human rights abuses. We continue to urge the Burmese Government to meet that commitment. It will be important for any investigations into alleged atrocities

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to be transparent and thorough, ensuring that those who have committed crimes are held to account for their actions.

Middle East

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to ensure that Israel and Palestine comply with international law. [130074]

Alistair Burt: We urge all parties to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law.

It is important that Israel fulfils its obligations under international law. We have consistently condemned Israel's announcements to accelerate settlement building in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) and have called on Israel to reverse these.

We have also repeatedly made clear to the Israelis our serious concern at the 40% increase last year, as recorded by the UN, in demolitions of Palestinian properties in East Jerusalem and the West Bank. Our ambassador to Tel Aviv raised this issue with the Israeli Co-ordinator of Government Activities in the OPTs on 9 October. We view such demolitions and evictions as causing unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians; as harmful to the peace process; and, in all but the most limited circumstances, as contrary to international humanitarian law.

More generally, we continue to have serious concerns about the human rights situation in Israel and the OPTs, which we raise regularly with both Israeli and Palestinian authorities. More details can be found at:

http://fcohrdreport.readandcomment.com/human-rights-in-countries-of-concern/israel-and-the-opts/

Philippines

Paul Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will visit the Philippines to discuss the peace process in that country. [129992]

Mr Swire: The UK has been closely involved in the Mindanao peace negotiations as a member of the International Contact Group supporting the negotiations. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) has been in contact with the Philippines Foreign Minister about Mindanao and sent our ambassador in Manila to Mindanao on his behalf to meet the leaders of the Moro Islamic Liberation Front (MILF) when the framework deal was signed. Mindanao will be a significant theme during my forthcoming visit to Manila in December.

The Foreign Secretary is keen to visit the Philippines in 2013 but the diary is not fixed at present.

World War II: Military Decorations

Stephen Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will give consideration to revising the Government's rules on the acceptance of foreign awards to allow British veterans of the Arctic convoys to receive the Russian Ushakov medal. [130720]

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Mark Simmonds: Sir John Holmes was invited to undertake further work to implement the recommendations set out in his Military Medals Review published on 17 July 2012. The first phase of the further work has now been completed, covering a number of campaign medals, and this has been submitted for consideration. Further reviews will continue, one of which will be a fresh look at the policy on the acceptance of medals from other countries.

I am, however, seeking explanations as to whether this rule is necessary and desirable in all circumstances.

Education

Computers

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether (a) he and (b) his special advisers use any non-departmental issued computers or tablets for official business; and what steps he is taking to ensure that data stored on any such device can be searched in response to requests under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. [113427]

Elizabeth Truss [holding answer 21 June 2012]: The Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove), uses both equipment supplied by the Department and his own IT equipment as appropriate, depending on his location and circumstances. Where information is generated in the course of conducting Government business, it is stored on departmental systems. The Information Commissioner published guidance on 15 December 2011 concerning information held in private email accounts. The Cabinet Office is considering this and will issue further guidance to Departments. The Department will then review its own guidance accordingly, including on the storage of information and data.

Education: Havering

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many students in Havering took GCSEs; and how many of those students went on to complete A levels in each of the last five years. [130382]

Mr Laws: The information available is shown in the following table. It is a time series of how many young people were in maintained schools in Havering at academic age 15 and how many of these went on to pass at least one A level in the following three years. Academic age is the age at the start of the academic year. Taking the population at age 15 (generally GCSE year) is a good proxy for the population entered for GCSEs in Key Stage 4. For example, in 2011 nearly 98% of those reaching the end of Key Stage 4 in maintained schools in Havering entered both English and maths GCSE.

Pupils in maintained schools in Havering at age 15 going on to achieve at least one A level by age 18
  Of whom achieved at least one A level by age 18:
Cohort age 18 in:Size of cohort at age 15NumberProportion (percentage)

2007

3,070

1,160

38

2008

3,020

1,120

37

2009

3,070

1,170

38

2010

3,080

1,190

39

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2011

3,050

1,240

41

Source: DFE Matched Administrative Data

email

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) whether (a) he or (b) his special advisers (i) sent or (ii) received emails relating to the Building Schools for the Future programme through their private email accounts; [113426]

(2) whether (a) he and (b) his special advisers have used the private email account known as Mrs Blurt to discuss (i) the decision to cancel the Building Schools for the Future Programme in Sandwell and (ii) other Government business since 2010; on how many occasions any such usage took place; and if he will make a statement; [113924]

(3) with reference to the answer to the hon. Member for Liverpool, West Derby of 11 January 2012, Official Report, column 317W, on email, whether (a) he and (b) his special advisers used private email accounts to discuss the decision to cancel the Building Schools for the Future programme in Sandwell; and if he will place in the Library a copy of any such item of correspondence. [113927]

Elizabeth Truss [holding answers 21 and 26 June 2012]: The Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove), and his special advisers use equipment and systems provided by the Department and their own IT equipment as appropriate, depending on their location and circumstances. Where information is generated in the course of conducting Government business, it is stored on departmental systems.

Foster Care

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many children live in foster care. [130276]

Mr Timpson: The number of looked after children placed in foster care is shown in the following table.

The information is extracted from the Department's Statistical First Release, Children looked after by local authorities in England, 2012. This can be found at:

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

Information on the placements of looked after children can found in Table A3.

Children looked after at 31 March placed in foster care(1, 2, 3). years ending 31 March 2008 to 2012, coverage: England
Number
Placement at 31 March20082009201020112012

Foster placements

41,960

43,910

46,890

48,180

50,260

      

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Foster placement inside council boundary

     

With relative or friend

5,000

4,960

5,320

5,390

5,280

With other foster carer

     

Provided by council

19,580

19,900

20,520

21,040

21,760

Arranged through agency(4)

2,740

3,320

4,020

4,400

5,180

      

Foster placement outside council boundary

     

With relative or friend

1,900

1,940

2,080

2,090

2,090

With other foster carer

     

Provided by council

5,210

5,750

5,970

5,940

6,050

Arranged through agency(4)

7,530

8,040

8,980

9,320

9,900

(1) Numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10. (2) Figures exclude children looked after under an agreed series of short term placements. (3) Amendments and corrections sent by some local authorities after the publication date of previous materials. (4) This category includes placement provider codes "Other Local Authority provision", "private provision" and "voluntary/third sector provision" for 2009 to 2012. Source: SSDA903

Foster Care: Crimes of Violence

Andrew Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many foster parents were assaulted by their foster children in the most recent year for which figures are available. [130625]

Mr Timpson: Figures on assaults by foster children of their foster carers are not collected centrally.

Foster carers should be supported to manage the needs of their foster children in a way that keeps the child, the foster carer and the foster carer's family safe. If, despite appropriate support, it is clear that the child cannot be cared for within a particular placement in a way that is safe for all concerned, the responsible local authority should review the child's care plan to decide whether they should be moved to a more appropriate placement.

Free School Meals

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what proportion of pupils are (a) entitled to free school meals and (b) claim free school meals in each (i) local authority area and (b) region of England. [127143]

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Mr Laws: Information is available on the number and percentage of pupils both known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals. This has been placed in the House Libraries.

Information on the number of pupils known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals as at January 2012 is published in the Statistical First Release ‘Schools, Pupils and their Characteristics, January 2012' available at:

http://www.education.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s001071/index.shtml

Further Education: Disadvantaged

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many 16 to 18-year-olds who are entitled to free school meals are studying in a general further education or sixth form college in each local authority area in England. [130293]

Mr Laws [holding answer 27 November 2012]: It is not possible to determine whether learners in colleges would meet the current free school meals criteria. However, we can estimate how many 16 to 18-year-olds in FE colleges and sixth form colleges were eligible for free school meals (FSM) when they were in year 11.

The allocation to LA can be done either on the basis of the location of the college or the address of the student. For example, in 2010/11 there were a total of 735 16 to 18-year-olds studying full-time in colleges located in Middlesbrough who had been eligible for FSM at 15. This compares with 585 16 to 18-year-olds living in Middlesbrough studying full time in colleges who had been eligible for FSM at 15. The answer to this question applies the second of these methods and uses the address of the student in the allocation to LA. This is because some colleges have sites in more than one LA; using the main address of the college would allocate all of the students to only one LA in each such case.

The information requested has been placed in the House Libraries.

Physical Education: Teachers

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many specialist physical education teachers his Department expects to train in the academic year 2013-14; and how many were trained in each academic year since 2008-09. [125569]

Mr Laws [holding answer 6 November 2012]: Trainee teachers complete their training and obtain qualified teacher status (QTS) over a period of one to four academic years. It therefore follows that the number of physical education trainee teachers expected to complete their training in the 2013/14 academic year will be indicated by the number of trainees entering courses in the preceding four years.

It is expected that 890 physical education teacher trainees will enter initial teacher training (ITT) in the 2013/14 academic year. This number is higher than the expected figure of 835 in 2012/13. Included within the 2013/14 figure is an interim recruitment target of 555 postgraduate physical education trainees who already hold a degree with a classification 2:1 or above. Both figures for 2013/14 are expected to be finalised early next year.

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The available information on the number of specialist physical education teachers who completed training and obtained QTS in 2008/09 and 2009/10 is presented in the following table.

Figures for 2010/11 are expected to be published in early 2013.

Physical education trainee teachers completing training and gaining QTS in England, 2008/09 to 2009/10
 2008/092009/10

Mainstream(1)

1,220

1,240

Employment-based ITT(2)

530

410

(1) Includes universities and other higher education institutions and school-centred ITT (SCITT) but excludes employment-based routes and cases where QTS was granted on assessment without a course of initial teacher training. (2 )Excludes universities and other higher education institutions and SCITT as well as cases where QTS was granted on assessment without a course of initial teacher training. Note: Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. Source: Teaching Agency Performance Profiles

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many graduates have applied to undertake training as specialist physical education teachers in 2013-14; and how many applied to train in each academic year since 2008-09. [125570]

Mr Laws [holding answer 6 November 2012]: Information on the number of applications made through the Graduate Teacher Training Registry (GTTR) for physical education Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE) courses in England commencing between academic years 2008/09 and 2012/13 is in the following table. Other physical education initial teacher training (ITT) routes are available for graduates but records of applications via these routes are not held centrally.

The GTTR have not yet begun reporting on applications for PGCE courses starting in academic year 2013/14.

Applications for physical education PGCE courses commencing in academic years 2008/09 to 2012/13 in England.
Academic year of the start of trainingApplications

2008/09

2,300

2009/10

2,665

2010/11

3,250

2011/12

3,340

2012/13

2,955

Notes: 1. Figures are rounded to the nearest five and include some applications which were subsequently withdrawn. 2. Some applications for postgraduate ITT courses are made independently of the GTTR and are not included in the figures. 3. Membership of the GTTR changes between years, therefore the number of higher education institutions covered in this table varies from year to year. 4. The applications are shown against the year training would commence if accepted. The majority of applications would typically have been made in the previous academic year, though some may be made early in the academic year of training commencing. 5. Applications are counted for providers in England where physical education was at least one of the choices made. Individual applicants can place more than one application, and so the number of applicants may be smaller. Source: GTTR

Primary Education: Yorkshire and the Humber

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how much (a) revenue and (b) capital funding was provided per pupil in state primary schools in (i) York and (ii) Yorkshire and the Humber in 1997 and each year since in (A) cash terms and (B) at 2012 prices. [127823]

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Mr Laws: The requested information was provided to the hon. Member in the answer given by the hon. Member for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton (Mr Gibb) on 25 June 2012, Official Report, column 130W. The only change to the answer given in June is that there has been an increase in capital funding in 2012-13 from £8.6 million to £8.7 million for York local authority, and from £289.7 million to £293.7 million for the Yorkshire and Humber region, due to the allocation of short break capital funding being made in August.

Schools: Finance

Pauline Latham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) what the effect will be of the Government's commitment to extend the minimum funding guarantee beyond 2014-15; [130186]

(2) what representations he has received on the effect of current funding changes for schools in Mid Derbyshire; [130188]

(3) how he plans to improve the system of per pupil funding for schools in England; [130189]

(4) what representations he has received on the effect of his changes to school funding on primary schools; [130190]


(5) what progress his Department has made on implementing a new national funding formula for schools in England. [130191]

Mr Laws: On 26 March 2012 the Secretary of State for Education, the right hon. Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove), announced the Government's intention to introduce a new national funding formula (NFF) during the next spending review period. An NFF would address the current unfairness in the distribution of funding between local authority areas.

In the meantime, as a first step towards an NFF, we are making a number of changes to the way that local authorities distribute funding to schools. From April 2013, funding will be distributed to schools using much simpler local formulae and on a much more transparent basis.

The Department has received representation from Derbyshire county council and the head teacher of St Thomas More Catholic School in Derbyshire—replies were sent on 23 July and 24 October respectively—and has received a number of representations from primary schools in England.

We have assured schools that are concerned about their funding that we will be carrying out a careful review in early 2013 of the 2013-14 school funding arrangements. We will work with schools and local authorities to explore their effect and to consider whether further changes need to be made in April 2014, in order to move us closer towards a national funding formula.

Schools that see changes in their funding will have some planning certainty through the minimum funding guarantee (MFG). The MFG means that, in most cases, schools will not lose more than 1.5% of their budgets, per pupil, in 2013-14 and 2014-15.

Although we cannot give an exact figure for the MFG in future years until after the next spending review, we can confirm that an MFG will continue to

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operate, in order to offer protection against unmanageable falls in school budgets. This will help us to make steady progress towards the goal of a consistent national formula.

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) what analysis his Department undertook before taking its decision to reduce the number of schools funding indicators from 37 to 11; [130451]

(2) what representations his Department has received from local authorities on the changes to the schools funding consultation on School Funding Reform: Rationale and Principles; [130452]

(3) what assessment he has made of the effect on flexibility for local authorities arising from the reduction in the number of schools funding indicators from 37 to 11. [130453]

Mr Laws: The Department published a summary of responses to 'School Funding Reform: Rationale and Principles' on 19 July 2011. A copy of this document can be found on the Department's website.

http://www.education.gov.uk/schools/adminandfinance/financialmanagement/schoolsrevenuefunding/a00215225/school-funding-reform

The Department published two further consultations following this: 'School Funding Reform: Proposals for a Fairer System' (published on 19 July 2011); and ‘School Funding Reform: Next Steps towards a Fairer System' (published on 26 March 2012). The March document set out the Department's intention to reduce the number of factors that local authorities can use in configuring their school funding formulae. Prior to the publication of the March document, the Department considered which of the 37 existing factors were required in order to deliver a pupil-led funding system. In order to assess the impact of removing some of those factors, the Department analysed the annual data returns which set out local authority expenditure on education and consulted with its stakeholder groups. An Equalities Impact Assessment was published alongside the March document and can also be found on our website.

Following publication of the March document, the Department considered representations from local authorities, maintained schools and Academies before publishing final decisions on 28 June 2012 in the document ‘School Funding Reform: Arrangements for 2013-14'.

The Department will be carrying out a careful review, in early 2013, of the 2013-14 school funding arrangements. We will work with schools and local authorities to explore their effect and to consider whether further changes need to be made in April 2014, in order to move us closer towards a national funding formula.

The impact of these changes to schools will be limited due to the protections we have put in place. The Minimum Funding Guarantee (MFG) means that, in most cases, schools will not lose more than 1.5% of their budgets, per pupil, in 2013-14 and 2014-15.

Although we cannot give an exact figure for the MFG in future years, until after the next spending review, we can confirm that an MFG will continue to operate, in order to offer protection against unmanageable falls in school budgets. This will help us to make steady progress towards the goal of a consistent national formula.

29 Nov 2012 : Column 445W

Teachers

Mr Robin Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) what information his Department holds on the employment rate of newly qualified teachers in the (a) state and (b) independent sector by training institution. [130457]

(2) if he will provide information on the employment rate of newly qualified teachers in state education in the (a) primary and (b) secondary sector in each of their first five years post-qualification, by institution providing teacher training in the latest period for which figures are available. [130458]

Mr Laws: Three tables have been placed in the Library detailing;

(1) the employment rate in the (a) state and (b) independent sector of final year initial teacher training trainees who achieved Qualified Teacher Status six months after course completion by training institution,

(2a) the employment status of Newly Qualified Teachers in the five years after completing primary initial teacher training by institution providing teacher training, and

(2b) the employment status of Newly Qualified Teachers in the five years after completing secondary initial teacher training by institution providing teacher training.

The information in (1) is provided for initial teacher training trainees who achieved Qualified Teacher Status in the 2010/11 academic year and represents the latest available data. Similar data are also available for initial teacher training trainees who achieved Qualified Teacher Status in the 2008/09 and 2009/10 academic years. Information for academic years prior to these back to 1998/99 cover mainstream routes of initial teacher training only.

The information in (2a) and (2b) is provided for Newly Qualified Teachers who completed their training in 2005/06, representing the most recent cohort for whom five years of data are available. Similar data are available for Newly Qualified Teachers who completed their training in 2004/05 and for fewer years for Newly Qualified Teachers who completed training in 2006/07, 2007/08, 2008/09 and 2009/10. Information on the employment rates into state-funded schools is not available for this group, so the employment rates into all types of schools have been provided instead.

Vocational Education

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether his Department funds any non-governmental organisations that promote employment training in primary or secondary schools in England; to which organisations any such funding was provided; and what the value of any such funding was. [130087]

Mr Laws: The Department for Education does not directly fund any non-governmental organisations that promote employment training in primary or secondary schools. We do co-sponsor the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) alongside the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). UKCES fund initiatives that focus on tackling youth unemployment, addressing the skills gap and promoting economic growth.

29 Nov 2012 : Column 446W

Church Commissioners

Dementia

Paul Burstow: To ask the hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners, what steps the Church Commissioners plan to take to support the Prime Minister's Dementia Challenge and the work of each of the challenge groups; what resources he has committed; what timescale he has set for this work; and if he will make a statement. [129372]

Sir Tony Baldry: The Church of England is well placed to help the Prime Minister deliver his Dementia Challenge Initiative and the Bishop of Carlisle is a member of the Dementia Challenge team.

The Church of England has 20,000 licensed parish ministers, 1,600 chaplains and 7,000 retired clergy with permission to officiate who undertake work on a daily basis with vulnerable communities and have extensive pastoral and community expertise. These clergy, chaplains and ministers will be important figures in promoting dementia-friendly communities.

The Church of England is also working to support parish nursing ministries. This is a fairly new resource which is growing across the UK. Parish nursing ministries work with local registered nurses who have some community experience and local churches to help support and develop whole person health ministry to a community.

Transport

Shropshire to London Link

12. Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will hold discussions with west coast main line bidders on introducing a direct link from Shropshire to London. [130593]

Mr Simon Burns: In general, Ministers do not discuss these issues with bidders during live rail franchising competitions.

When we end the suspension of the rail franchising programme and re-launch a new Intercity West Coast franchise competition, hon. Members and their constituents will be able to approach bidders directly to discuss the potential for introducing direct passenger train services from Shropshire to London.

High Speed 2: Midlands

16. Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his latest assessment is of the potential benefits of High Speed 2 to industry and businesses in the midlands; and if he will make a statement. [130600]

Mr McLoughlin: Our most recent analysis points to business benefits of up to £50 billion for our economy. Businesses around the West Midlands will find themselves right at the heart of the new network—with the investment and jobs that it will bring.

29 Nov 2012 : Column 447W

Airports: South East

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the Heseltine Review: a new partnership, if he will accept recommendation 60 on airport capacity in the South East. [131064]

Mr Simon Burns: The Secretary of State for Transport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire Dales (Mr McLoughlin), is committed to maintaining the current published timetable for the Airports Commission.

If the commission is to succeed, it must put in place a robust evidence base for any recommendations. The timetable has been designed so as to allow the commissioners sufficient time to consider all the credible options on an equal basis, including those which have not yet been subjected to substantial development or evaluation.

Dover Port

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he or officials from his Department have had with (a) UK-based and (b) non-UK based companies on the sale of the Port of Dover. [129826]

Stephen Hammond: The Department has had no discussions with any companies, in connection with any bids which they might wish to make for the Port of Dover, should it be for sale, which (pending the decision on Dover Harbour Board's proposed application) it is currently not. However in late 2011 and early 2012 there were facilitated discussions with Dover Harbour Board and other interested parties on the possible mechanisms of a transfer scheme that might or might not facilitate a sale at some future date, further to the Secretary of State for Transport's statement on 15 September 2011, Official Report, columns 65-66WS.

Heathrow Airport: Railways

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department plans that Heathrow would be served solely by Crossrail services if the Heathrow Express Track Access Agreement is not renewed on expiry; and what assessment his Department has made of the consequent change in journey times and projected modal shift. [130698]

Mr Simon Burns: Heathrow Express is an Open Access operator and track access rights for that service are due to expire in 2023. Full Crossrail services are due to start serving the airport in 2019 and will provide direct access to the City, West End and Canary Wharf without interchanging at Paddington.

The granting of track access rights, and potential renewal of these rights is a matter for Heathrow Express, Network Rail and the Office for Rail Regulation. Since these rights do not expire for 11 years we have not considered how the airport would be served if these rights were not extended and how overall accessibility to the airport would be impacted given the improvements to access that Crossrail will also deliver.

29 Nov 2012 : Column 448W

High Speed 2 Railway Line

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many HS2 Exceptional Hardship Scheme applications have been rejected on grounds that they failed to fulfil EHS criteria (a) one, (b) two, (c) three, (d) four and (e) five. [130559]

Mr Simon Burns: The following table sets out the number of times the Exceptional Hardship Scheme (EHS) panel has recommended that an application has not met each of the criteria for the scheme:

 CriteriaNumber of times

1

Property type

22

2

Location of property

107

3

Effort to sell

169

4

No prior knowledge

0

5

Exceptional hardship

244

It should be noted that an unsuccessful application may fail to meet more than one criterion, so the sum of the number of times criteria have not been met is greater than the number of unsuccessful applications to the EHS.

Graham Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to mitigate the environmental effect of High Speed 2; and if he will make a statement. [130597]

Mr Simon Burns: We are committed to reducing environmental impacts as far as practicable and as part of this HS2 Ltd is undertaking an environmental impact assessment of the route.

We also meet regularly with community forums and environmental groups such as the National Trust to identify opportunities for environmental mitigation and enhancements, such as the creation of new wildlife habitats.

We will consult on a draft Environmental Statement for HS2 in spring 2013.

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 13 September 2012, Official Report, column 370W, on the High Speed 2 railway line, what the average landscape value per hectare is before mitigation is taken into account for each section along the current High Speed Rail 2 preferred line of route; and if he will make a statement. [130935]

Mr Simon Burns: Before mitigation measures such as tunnels are taken into account the average landscape value per hectare in the HS2 Economic case on each section of the current HS2 preferred line of route between London and Birmingham is as follows:

Section of routeValue per hectare, present value (£2001)

Euston to Old Oak Common

199,014

Old Oak Common to River Pinn

1,639,272

River Pinn to M25

221,089

M25 to Amersham

292,963

29 Nov 2012 : Column 449W

Amersham to Chilterns Northern Edge

247,484

Chilterns Northern Edge to A421 near Finmere

96,231

A421 near Finmere to Long Itchington Tunnel

128,753

Long Itchington Tunnel to Burton Green

237,871

Burton Green to Balsall Common crossing WCML

99,967

Balsall Common crossing WCML to Crossing M42

170,965

Crossing M42 near M6 toll to Lichfield

186,155

Lichfield to WCML

129,619

Crossing M42 near M6 Toll to Birmingham

60,042

Valuation of different land types is based on the values in the Department for Communities and Local Government document ‘Valuing the external benefits of undeveloped land’ and is not unique to HS2.


Highways Agency: Planning Permission

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he has taken to improve the efficiency of the Highways Agency in respect of its function as a statutory consultee on planning applications. [130511]

Stephen Hammond: On 22 November, the Highways Agency published an improvement plan which sets out a series of actions to improve the efficiency of its planning function, and to provide greater transparency in the monitoring and reporting of its performance in this area of activity.

A copy of the improvement plan may be found at:

http://www.highways.gov.uk/our-road-network/planning/improvement-plan/

Reports on progress will be provided twice-yearly, and new actions will be added when these are identified based on feedback from stakeholders.

Railways: Franchises

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many staff in his Department were working on rail franchising in (a) June 2010, (b) January 2011, (c) August 2012 and (d) November 2012. [130656]

Mr Simon Burns: The rail franchising process involves input from many staff at various parts of the process, many of whom contribute their expertise alongside their other tasks. This includes both internal and external specialists and advisers, as well as senior staff, whose involvement in franchising is occasional. The Department does not, therefore, hold the information in the format requested.

The structure of rail franchising processes within the Department and the roles and responsibilities of those involved, are being examined as part of the two independent reviews that are currently ongoing. Their reports will be available in due course.

29 Nov 2012 : Column 450W

Rescue Services: Snow and Ice

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps (a) he and (b) his officials have made to improve the Coastguard Rescue Service's operational resilience in the event of adverse winter weather. [130834]

Stephen Hammond: The Coastguard Rescue Service (CRS) is routinely operationally resilient to deal with adverse winter weather. No particular changes have been made this year as the level of equipment, training and operational instructions for the CRS has proved fully capable to date, and dynamic risk assessment is standard practice.

Coastguard Rescue Teams and their vehicles are equipped, as standard, to deal with adverse weather events. This is demonstrated by their incident response in previous years.

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the potential effect of adverse winter weather on the work of the coastguard stations at (a) Brixham, (b) Clyde, (c) Forth, (d) Great Yarmouth, (e) Liverpool, (f) Portland, (g) Swansea and (h) Walton-on-the-Naze. [130837]

Stephen Hammond: The Maritime and Coastguard Agency's Business Continuity Plans (BCP) are function based and not location-based, so no specific assessment has been made of the locations listed.

The approach to resilience is common to all Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centres, and the associated 164 Remote Radio Sites (RRS) situated throughout the UK. The implementation of a plan will be subject to further risk assessment that takes into account the reason why the BCP has been invoked and the prevailing weather.

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many maritime incidents that were the result of adverse winter weather required assistance from the coastguard station at (a) Brixham, (b) Clyde, (c) Forth, (d) Great Yarmouth, (e) Liverpool, (f) Portland, (g) Swansea and (h) Walton-on-the-Naze in each year since 2008. [130838]

Stephen Hammond: This information is not available as Her Majesty's Coastguard does not record whether maritime incidents are as a result of adverse weather.

Roads: Animals

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the average cost to the public purse of installing a wildlife crossing. [129998]

Stephen Hammond: The Department does not collect information on the provision of wildlife crossing for the local authority road network. Illustrative costs for the Strategic Road Network (SRN) have been included in the following table. Any supplementary information to that contained within the table is embedded within non-specific budget costs and therefore could be calculated only at disproportionate costs.

29 Nov 2012 : Column 451W

29 Nov 2012 : Column 452W

Table of illustrative costs of wildlife crossings constructed on the SRN between 2008 to 2010
Wildlife crossings constructed by the Highways Agency 2008 to 2010
Project nameTypes of featuresCapital costs (approximate) (£)

Major projects

  

M6 Carlisle to Guardsmill Extension

8 wildlife crossings

275,000

A590 High and Low Newton Bypass

wildlife crossing

85,000

A419 Blunsdon Bypass

3 wildlife crossings

16,000

A38 Dobwalls Bypass

3 wildlife crossings

300,000

A69 Haydon Bridge Bypass

wildlife crossing

60,000

A3 Hindhead Improvement

7 wildlife crossings

62,000

A595 Parton—Lillyhall Improvement

3 wildlife crossings

50,000

A14 Haughley New St—Stowmarket Improvement

2 wildlife crossings

(1)5,000

M40 Junction 15 (Longbridge Roundabout)

4 wildlife crossings

20,000

A421 Bedford to M1 Junction 13

2 wildlife crossings

41,000

A1 Dishforth to Leeming Improvement (A1 Dishforth to Barton)

4 wildlife crossings

26,000

A46 Newark—Widmerpool Improvement

15 wildlife crossings

95,000

   

Area teams—network delivery and development

  

Area 3 A31 Kingstream

wildlife crossing

55,000

Area 3 St Leornards

wildlife crossing

35,000

Area 3 A3 Morley

wildlife crossing

10,000

Area 3 Welwyn Garden City

wildlife crossing

35,000

Area 5 M25

wildlife crossing

34,000

Area 6 Belstead Brook

wildlife crossing

65,000

Area 8 A45 Barton Brook

wildlife crossing

80,000

Area 10 M6 jcn 29 Tasker Wood

wildlife crossing

39,000

Area 13 09/10

3 wildlife crossings

271,000

Area 13 08/09

wildlife crossing

188,000

Area 14 A1 Sandy's Letch—2 crossings

2 wildlife crossings

222,000

Area 14 A1 Warren Burn

wildlife crossing

48,000

Area 14 A1 River Aln

wildlife crossing

71,000

Area 14 Cawledge Burn

wildlife crossing

174,000

Area 14 Newlands Burn

wildlife crossing

118,000

Total

 

2,480,000

(1) In the period

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) deaths and (b) serious injuries have occurred as a result of road traffic accidents involving animals in the last year. [130000]

Stephen Hammond: In Great Britain in 2011 there were eight fatalities and 139 serious injuries resulting from personal injury road accidents involving animals (other than a ridden horse) on the carriageway.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent estimate he has made of the annual cost to the public purse of road traffic accidents involving animals. [130407]

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:

http://assets.dft.gov.uk/statistics/releases/road-accidents-and-safety-annual-report-2011/rrcgb2011-04.pdf

The report gives the number of reported road traffic accidents in 2011 where a police officer attended the scene and recorded an animal or object on the carriageway as a contributory factor in fatal, serious or slight accidents.

However, no estimate has been made of the costs to the public purse of road traffic accidents involving animals.

Shipping: Training

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy to permit shipping companies not in the tonnage tax scheme to apply to the Maritime Training Trust for the use of Payment in Lieu of Training funds to provide training schemes for UK seafarers; and if he will make a statement. [130830]

Stephen Hammond: The Maritime Training Trust is an independent body and decisions on how it spends PILOT funds are a matter for the Trust itself.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many seafarer (a) ratings and (b) officers completed training courses funded from Payment in Lieu of Training made by companies in the tonnage tax scheme in each year since 2001-02. [130831]

Stephen Hammond: The Department does not hold this information. The Maritime Training Trust makes its own decisions on how to spend the funds it receives from Payments in Lieu of Training.

Tonnage Tax

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the average payment in lieu of training (PILOT) made by a shipping company participating in the tonnage tax scheme was in each financial year since 2000-01. [130798]

29 Nov 2012 : Column 453W

Stephen Hammond: The information requested is not available. However, the number of PILOT payments made in respect of each tonnage tax training commitment year is given in the following table:

 Number of: 
 Company groups in tonnage taxTrainee monthsMonths met by making PILOT paymentsPILOT rate per trainee month (£)

2000-01

15

862

186

550

     

2001-02

42

4,689

1,142

(1)550

 

(2)562

     

2002-03

59

9,590

1,657

573

2003-04

59

13,043

2,457

591

2004-05

71

15,612

3,293

608

2005-06

77

16,549

4,066

621

2006-07

79

17,648

4,410

634 ¦

2007-08

86

18,805

3,021

652

2008-09

90

¦ 20,816

2,810

671

2009-10

90

21,909

3,929

685

2010-11(3)

90

22,138

4,128

743

(1) October to January. (2) February to September. (3) 2010-11 is the last year for which complete information is available.

Transport: Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he plans to take to ensure that areas of outstanding natural beauty are protected from major transport infrastructure projects; and if he will make a statement. [130947]

Mr Simon Burns: Decisions on any infrastructure investment will always take account of the relevant planning policy as appropriate. They are also informed by an appraisal of the environmental effects including an assessment of any effect on an area of outstanding natural beauty (AONB).

Where it is not possible to avoid such areas, measures to reduce the environmental effect will be considered carefully. For example, on High Speed 2, less than two miles of the 13 miles of the route through the Chilterns AONB would be at surface level.

West Coast Railway Line: Franchises

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) predicted revenue, (b) revenue support and (c) premium payment will be paid by Virgin Trains in respect of the 12-month contract being negotiated by his Department to run the InterCity West Coast mainline from 9 December 2012. [130653]

Mr Simon Burns: For reasons of commercial confidentiality, I am unable to provide this information.

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the letter sent by his Department's Head of Major Projects, Mr Peter Strachan, to bidders in the InterCity West Coast franchise competition was seen and approved by (a) Ministers in his Department and (b) Mr Sam Laidlaw prior to it being sent. [130654]

29 Nov 2012 : Column 454W

Mr Simon Burns: Following the announcement of its decision to cancel the InterCity West Coast competition on 3 October, in accordance with its obligations the Department set out in writing the reasons for its decision to all bidders in the competition. Those letters were approved by officials at an appropriate level in the Department. This was a separate process from the review being carried out by Mr Sam Laidlaw and the letters were not seen by him or his Inquiry prior to their despatch.

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport in what month he intends to publish his Department's internal Human Resources report into malpractice in awarding the West Coast Mainline rail contract; and if he will publish the report, if necessary redacting names for reasons of data protection or privacy. [130655]

Mr Simon Burns: It would not be appropriate for the Department to publish the report of an internal fact-finding investigation into whether or not any official has a disciplinary case to answer. Accordingly, the Department does not intend to publish the internal Human Resources investigation into the role and conduct of officials in the award process for the InterCity West Coast franchise.

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether the Laidlaw inquiry into the failure to award the West Coast train franchise will be affected by his Department's human resources inquiry; and if he will make a statement on how the reports are interlinked. [130728]

Mr Simon Burns: No. Although the two reviews are as far as possible working from the same evidence base their roles are distinct, as shown by their separate terms of reference. The purpose of the Laidlaw inquiry is to identify the lessons to be learned for the Department and to recommend what measures the Department should implement to ensure the sound running of future rail franchise competitions. The purpose of the human resources inquiry is to gather facts into the role and conduct of the officials involved in the award process for the Intercity West Coast franchise in order to establish whether or not there is a disciplinary case to answer.

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he plans to publish the internal Departmental human resources report into the awarding of the West Coast Mainline rail franchise; and if he will undertake to publish the report. [130729]

Mr Simon Burns: It would not be appropriate for the Department to publish the report of an internal fact-finding investigation into whether or not any official has a disciplinary case to answer. Accordingly, the Department does not intend to publish the internal human resources investigation into the role and conduct of officials in the award process for the InterCity West Coast franchise.

Leader of the House

Human Trafficking Ministerial Group

Michael Connarty: To ask the Leader of the House what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for the Home Department on plans for scrutiny of the Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group on Human Trafficking's first annual report. [130616]

29 Nov 2012 : Column 455W

Mr Lansley: I have had no direct discussions on this subject.

However, I would like to reiterate what the Immigration Minister and chair of the Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group, my hon. Friend the Member for Forest of Dean (Mr Harper), said:

“Human trafficking is abhorrent and the UK Government is committed to combating this crime in all its forms”.

Prime Minister

Food Banks

Fiona O'Donnell: To ask the Prime Minister whether he has visited a food bank in the last six months; and whether he plans to visit a food bank in the next six months. [130769]

The Prime Minister: I have meetings and discussions with a wide range of organisations and individuals at a variety of locations around the country. My engagements are announced as and when appropriate.

Northern Ireland

Hospitals: Parking

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what information her Department holds on the cost of introducing free parking at NHS trusts in Northern Ireland; and what discussions she has had with the Northern Ireland Executive on what effect that introduction has had. [130350]

Mike Penning: The cost of parking at NHS trusts in Northern Ireland is a devolved matter and not one for which I or the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Mrs Villiers), have ministerial responsibility.

Wales

Energy: Prices

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent assessment he had made of the effect of energy costs on business investment decisions in Wales. [130719]

Mr David Jones: The Government has earmarked up to £250 million for this over the spending review period to reduce the impact of policy on the costs of electricity for the most electricity-intensive industries. We are currently seeking views from the business community and other interested parties on our proposed approach, including eligibility thresholds for compensation, so that the industries most at risk receive the necessary help.

Tata Steel

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions and meetings (a) he and (b) his officials have had with the management of Tata Steel. [130718]

Mr David Jones: I spoke to Tata Steel yesterday, and my officials spoke to them last week regarding their operations in Wales.

29 Nov 2012 : Column 456W

Home Department

Police and Crime Commissioners

Mr Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many requests for election material relating to the police and crime commissioner elections had been made via (a) the telephone number 0800 1070708 and (b) www.choosemypcc.org.uk by 8 November 2012; how many responses to such requests were dispatched by that date; and how many of those responses were sent by (i) first class and (ii) second class post. [128371]

Damian Green [holding answer 13 November 2012]: As of 5 pm on 8 November 2012, there were 111,372 completed leaflet requests of which:

(a) 86,068 were made via the PCC candidate information orderline 0800 1070708;

(b) 25,304 were made online via

www.choosemypcc.org.uk

By 5 pm on 8 November, 107,559 leaflets had been dispatched in response to these requests. Of the leaflets dispatched:

(i) 56,931 were sent by first class post;

(ii) 50,628 were sent by second class post.

At this point, there were 3,813 leaflets which had not been dispatched due to the fact that they were either in the system for processing, spam orders, bulk candidate requests or orders for areas where elections were not taking place.

Mr Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans she has to update her Department's Best Value and Planning Guidance for Police Authorities and Forces 2003 to take account of the commissioning powers of police and crime commissioners. [130329]

Damian Green: This guidance will not apply to police and crime commissioners as they are not Best Value authorities.

Police: Training

Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what training is provided to police officers on protecting children when they are online. [130642]

Mr Jeremy Browne: There is a wide range of training available to police officers seeking to protect children online, from a number of providers, including Interpol and Europol. In particular, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) provides a number of courses that are available for police officers and for parents, carers and child care professionals, CEOP also provides general safety information for children through its “ThinkUKnow” website and training programme, which officers can provide to children.

UK Border Agency

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will direct the UK Border Agency to respond in a timely manner to the e-mail of

29 Nov 2012 : Column 457W

24 October 2012 and the follow-up call from the office of the hon. Member for Birmingham Northfield in respect of the case of Mohammed Jagne. [130558]

Mr Harper [holding answer 28 November 2012]: The MP Account Manager team replied to the hon. Gentleman on 26 November 2012.

Written Questions: Government Responses

Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she plans to answer question 127049 on visa extensions. [130235]

Mr Harper [holding answer 27 November 2012]:I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given on 28 November 2012, Official Report, column 337W.

Defence

Apache Helicopters

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is on the wet assembly for the Apache helicopter; what estimate he has made of the associated costs; and if he will make a statement. [130504]

Mr Dunne [holding answer 28 November 2012]: The current Apache AH Mk1 aircraft are based on the US Army Apache AH64D. In common with those aircraft, the Apache AH MK1 airframes were dry-built. There is currently no engineering solution available, and therefore no cost information, for undertaking a retro-wet assembly of the in-service aircraft airframes. They have, however, been treated with a two-stage protection process to reduce the effects of corrosion and maintain the airworthiness of the aircraft in the maritime operating environment.

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is on the number of operational Apache helicopters; and if he will make a statement. [130505]

Mr Dunne [holding answer 28 November 2012]: The Army Air Corps operates a fleet of 66 Apache helicopters, which meets the current operational requirement for Attack Helicopters.

Apache, which is currently supporting operations in Afghanistan, has been in service with the Army since 2001 and is due to undergo a capability sustainment programme in the near future. This upgrade will ensure the capability remains in service out to 2040. The number of aircraft to be upgraded as part of this programme will be based on an assessment of the future operational requirement and will be decided at the main investment decision point, which is currently planned for 2014.

One aircraft was recently removed from the fleet having been assessed as beyond repair as a result of damage sustained following a heavy landing on operations in 2008. The damage was not caused as a result of enemy action and neither pilot was injured in the incident.

Armed Forces: Uniforms

Mr Alan Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when his Department approved the Panther chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear protection suit produced by Remploy. [129845]

29 Nov 2012 : Column 458W

Mr Dunne: The Panther CBRN protective suit produced by Remploy is neither in service with nor approved for use by UK armed forces.

DSTL has undertaken some test and evaluation work on the Panther suit on a commercial basis for Remploy. However, while the result of such work is sometimes published by companies as part of their advertising literature, this does not constitute DSTL or any Government endorsement of the product nor does it imply that the equipment has been approved for use by UK armed forces.

Armoured Fighting Vehicles

Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the likely total cost of the upgrade to the Viking fleet. [129161]

Mr Dunne: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 23 October 2012, Official Report, column 806W, to the hon. Member for Moray (Mr Angus Robertson).

Atomic Weapons Establishment

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which universities host Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) William Penney fellowships funded by the AWE; and what the cost was of the AWE William Penney Fellowships programme in the last year for which figures are available. [129544]

Mr Dunne: The university of Bristol, Cranfield university, the university of Edinburgh, Heriot Watt university and the university of Cambridge currently have academics who have been awarded a William Penney Fellowship. In addition ‘visiting' William Penney Fellows are also hosted by the university of Cambridge.

The Atomic Weapons Establishment budgeted £226,000 for the William Penney Fellowship for financial year 2011-2012, which is the last year for which figures are available.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 3 September 2012, Official Report, column 44W, on AWE: research, from which UK universities academics have participated in exchange visits to US establishments under the terms of the 1958 US-UK Mutual Defense Agreement in the last three years. [129588]

Mr Dunne: Academic staff from Oxford university have taken part in exchange visits to US establishments under the terms of the 1958 Mutual Defense Agreement in the last three years.

Defence Equipment

Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he will publish his Department's future equipment programme; and if he will make a statement. [130430]

Mr Dunne: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 26 November 2012, Official Report, column 7.

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Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is on the operational use of the Voyager transport aircraft in (a) troop carrier and (b) refuelling modes. [130049]

Mr Dunne [holding answer 27 November 2012]: Voyager will be employed in both the air-to-air refuelling and passenger transport roles. It will be covered by the Ministry of Defence's overarching policy for the operational employment of all air transport and air-to-air refuelling aircraft, rather than a policy specific to Voyager. The details of how and when Voyager will be used will be decided by Air Command as the operational need dictates.

Guided Weapons

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his policy is on Block 1, 2 and 3 Spear Capability; and if he will make a statement. [130051]

Mr Dunne [holding answer 27 November 2012]: The Selective Precision Effects At Range (SPEAR) capability is focused on the enduring requirement to engage mobile and fixed targets in hostile and complex environments. The strategy for delivering this requirement is through a range of weapon solutions which address the diverse target set. SPEAR Capability 1, 2 and 3 are separate projects within this strategy and are at different phases of the procurement cycle:

SPEAR Cap 1—Paveway IV (In-Service)

SPEAR Cap 2—DMS Brimstone (Demonstration and Manufacture)

SPEAR Cap 3—Air to Ground capability for Joint Strike Fighter (Assessment)

Indonesia

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the principal terms are of the agreement he signed with the President of Indonesia on 1 November 2012; and if he will place a copy of that agreement in the Library. [130773]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 29 November 2012]: The Defence memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed between the UK and Indonesia on 1 November 2012 brings together the core aspects of the UK-Indonesia Defence relationship and re-affirms our commitment to strengthening it, in line with the wider Government focus on the Asia Pacific region.

The MOU provides, without commitment, a framework for enhancing co-operative activities in the field of defence and military relations between the participants in areas of mutual interest, based on the principles of respect, trust and mutual benefit. The MOU will not be published, since to do so would prejudice the UK's relationship with Indonesia.

Military Aircraft

Mr Scott: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions he has had on the ordering of suitable aircraft for the future carrier force. [130204]

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Mr Dunne: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 26 November 2012, Official Report, column 5, to the hon. Member for Kingston upon Hull North (Diana Johnson).

Military Alliances

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of possible multi-national collaborative military projects. [130012]

Mr Dunne: As we made clear in the strategic defence and security review (SDSR), and the National Security Through Technology White Paper, our preference when working with other countries on defence procurement is to do so on a bilateral basis. However, we will continue to work multilaterally, such as through NATO or the EU, where this offers clear benefit to the UK.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to ensure that partner companies in future collaborative defence projects are chosen by a lead prime contractor as in the Joint Strike Fighter project. [130403]

Mr Dunne: The industrial arrangements for the Joint Strike Fighter are an example of good practice in collaborative defence projects. That said, the industrial arrangements that underpin production in future projects will be determined on a case-by-case basis by the participating nations.

The Ministry of Defence will require future collaborative defence projects to provide value for money through shared investment and economies of scale in production. And, wherever possible, our preference is to have a lead prime contractor selected on the basis of open competition throughout the supply chain.

NATO Countries

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) which NATO member states have sent maritime patrol aircraft to (a) RAF Lossiemouth and (b) RAF Leuchars since March 2010; which aircraft were sent; and what the purpose was of their visit; [129842]

(2) on how many occasions (a) Royal Canadian Air Force P-140 Aurora aircraft and (b) United States Navy P-3 Orion aircraft have flown patrolling sorties in the North Atlantic from RAF bases in Scotland in the last two years. [129843]

Mr Robathan: The US, Canada, France and Norway have sent maritime patrol aircraft to RAF Lossiemouth and RAF Leuchars since March 2010, either as part of joint exercises or on trials deployment. The aircraft sent include P3 Orion, CP140 Aurora, Atlantique 11 and P-8A Poseidon.

The number of sorties is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

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Rescue Services

Sir Alan Beith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether Ministry of Defence police inquiries into the abandoned search and rescue helicopter contract have been completed; and if he will make a statement. [129926]

Mr Dunne: The Ministry of Defence police investigation into the search and rescue helicopter contract is currently at an advanced stage. It would, therefore be inappropriate to disclose any information at this time.

I will write to the right hon. Member when the investigation is completed, with the information requested.

Unmanned Air Vehicles

Rehman Chishti: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many times (a) British forces have flown US unmanned aerial vehicles and (b) US forces have flown British unmanned aerial vehicles in the latest period for which figures are available. [128974]

Mr Robathan: The information will take time to collate. I will write to my hon. Friend as soon as it is available. UK Forces have only ever flown US unmanned aerial vehicles outside Afghanistan, during Operation Ellamy in Libya.

Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects the Watchkeeper and Reaper planes to begin active service in the RAF. [129165]

Mr Dunne: The date when Watchkeeper, which is in the final stages of flight trials, will enter service with the Army has yet to be determined. The Ministry of Defence remains committed to deploying it to Afghanistan at the earliest opportunity. Reaper entered service with the RAF in 2007.

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made with the Rotary Wing Unmanned Air Programme; and if he will make a statement. [130503]

Mr Dunne [holding answer 28 November 2012]: The rotary wing unmanned air system capability concept demonstrator is a two-year research project to explore how a Rotary Wing unmanned air system might be used to fill a range of maritime roles. An advertisement was placed in the Defence Contracts Bulletin in July 2012, and Expressions of Interest were received from a number of companies. The competitive process is ongoing.

Warships

Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many ships he estimates will be equipped with maritime imagery manipulation and storage; and at what cost. [129163]

Mr Dunne: In relation to vessels currently under construction or planned, decisions have yet to be taken as to the systems to be used for analysis of this kind of data.

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Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agricultural Wages Board

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) how many responses he has received to the consultation on the closure of the Agricultural Wages Board; and when the consultation response will be available on his Department's website and in the Library; [130324]

(2) how many responses his Department has received to its consultation on the closure of the Agricultural Wages Board; and when the consultation response will be published. [130545]

Mr Heath: DEFRA is currently considering the responses to the consultation exercise on the proposed abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board, 15 Agricultural Wages Committees and 16 Agricultural Dwelling House Advisory Committees in England. Details of the responses to the consultation will be made available in due course.