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Written Answers to Questions

Monday 3 December 2012

International Development

Democratic Republic of Congo

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance her Department has offered to (a) Democratic Republic of Congo and (b) the surrounding region in 2012; and how monitoring of any such aid will occur. [131050]

Lynne Featherstone: The information requested is as follows:

(a) Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC):

The UK bilateral aid programme in DRC is now £140 million in 2012-13. The areas of intervention include:

Social sectors (health, malaria, water and sanitation, education);

Infrastructure (roads)

Transparency and accountability (mining sector, community-driven development, public finance management, reform of the security sector).

Future programmes will also focus on private sector development.

An additional £18 million of humanitarian aid was announced by the Secretary of State for International Development, the right hon. Member for Putney (Justine Greening), on 30 November 2012 in response to the crisis in Eastern DRC.

Monitoring:

The UK Government do not give money direct to the Government of DRC. UK bilateral assistance to DRC is provided mainly through the United Nations, the World Bank and non-governmental organisations which have robust monitoring and financial accounting systems to ensure aid reaches its intended recipients. In addition, we review all our contributions regularly to ensure our funds meet the objectives for which they were intended. This is done through quarterly reporting and annual reviews in addition to field visits.

(b) The Department for International Development (DFID) is providing the following assistance to those countries surrounding the DRC where we have a bilateral programme:

DFID bilateral programme, FY 2012-13
 £ million

Uganda

98.9

Rwanda

75.8

South Sudan

91

Tanzania

157

Zambia

55

(c) We review all our contributions regularly to ensure our funds meet the objectives for which they were intended. This is done through quarterly reporting and annual reviews in addition to field visits.

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Developing Countries: Building Regulations

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance her Department has provided to (a) Bangladesh and (b) other developing countries on building regulations and fire protection enforcement. [130991]

Mr Duncan: DFID Bangladesh supports the Government of Bangladesh's Comprehensive Disaster Management Programme (CDMP) to improve planning and response to many kinds of hazard, including fire. This includes training of volunteer and professional firefighters. CDMP works to improve the status and enforcement of the Bangladesh National Building Code. It also provides training to ensure contractors and technicians know how to build in line with the code.

Robust building and fire protection codes are important for the design of buildings that are resilient to natural disasters and other shocks. It is also important to ensure that there is full compliance with the building codes during construction. Our work to help countries, such as Nepal, to assess the resilience of their urban infrastructure and their level of disaster preparedness includes consideration of these issues.

Full information on DFID's support to developing countries on building regulations and fire protection enforcement is not held centrally and can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Kenya

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development if her Department will make representations to the Kenyan Government on the urgency and importance of resuming registration of refugee populations in the Dadaab refugee camps in order to guarantee the full protection of rights and access to life-saving services for children and their families. [131204]

Lynne Featherstone: On November 15 2012, the Kenyan Government agreed to restart refugee registration in the Dadaab camps. However, this is likely to be a temporary exercise and the UK Government will continue to look for opportunities to encourage the Kenyan authorities to fully restart registration on a permanent basis.

Marie Stopes International

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) whether funding from her Department was used to set up a Marie Stopes clinic in Belfast; [130860]

(2) what reports she has received of funding from her Department to Marie Stopes International being used within the UK. [130861]

Lynne Featherstone: The Department for International Development has not received any reports which suggest that the Department's funding has been used by Marie Stopes International to support work in the UK.

DFID's funding to Marie Stopes International (MSI) aims to deliver quality family planning and reproductive health care to vulnerable women in the poorest countries in Asia and Africa.

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Syria

Anas Sarwar: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment she has made of the humanitarian situation in Syria. [131172]

Mr Duncan: The humanitarian situation in Syria is extremely concerning and the onset of winter will leave many more people in a vulnerable situation. The United Nations estimates that 3 million people will be in need of food aid by the end of the year. At least 1.5 million people have had to flee their homes for other areas of the country. Over 460,000 refugees are seeking urgent assistance and the numbers are rising daily. Humanitarian agencies are providing some assistance but access in some areas is difficult as security deteriorates.

The UK is a leading donor, providing £53.5 million to deliver vital assistance to tens of thousands of people affected by the fighting. In Syria, UK aid is reaching around 100,000 people with food, and over 15,000 families with essential items like blankets and mattresses. UK aid is also helping Syrian refugees in the region, providing medical support for over 25,000 people, blankets and hygiene kits for more than 18,000 people and education for 1,000 children. We continue to consider what more we can do to respond to the urgent needs of the Syrian people.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Burma

Anas Sarwar: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with Burmese authorities on the human rights of the Rohingya. [131173]

Mr Swire: I most recently discussed the situation in Rakhine state, the scene of the recent violence between ethnic communities, with the Burmese Minister for the President's Office, U Soe Thane, on 7 November during his visit to the UK. This followed the meeting of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), and Burmese President Thein Sein in the margins of the Asia Europe Meeting in Laos on 6 November, where the Foreign Secretary called upon the Burmese Government to put an end to the violence.

I will be visiting Burma in the coming weeks and will continue to raise our concerns about the plight of the Rohingya with the Burmese Government. I also plan to visit Rakhine state to see the situation for myself.

Egypt

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will hold discussions with his Egyptian counterpart on President Mursi's recent extension of powers. [131048]

Alistair Burt: I discussed the situation in Egypt with the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Mohamed Kamal Amr, on 27 November and sought reassurances that a way forward would be found. The Foreign Minister has assured me that President Mursi was in dialogue with the Egyptian judiciary and civil society, and was hopeful this would be settled soon. We will continue to maintain close contact with the Egyptian authorities and the Opposition and monitor developments.

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Gambia

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what official contact he has had with the Government of Gambia in the last four months. [131144]

Mark Simmonds: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) has had no official contact with the Government of the Gambia in the last four months. On 20 October 2012, I spoke to the Gambian Foreign Minister to express the UK's concern over the Gambian Government's recent use of the death penalty. Our high commissioner in Banjul regularly engages with the Government of the Gambia on a wide range of issues including human rights, development and prosperity.

Maldives

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the dismissal of the Human Rights Minister for Maldives. [130560]

Alistair Burt: The British Government are closely monitoring events in Maldives, in conjunction with key international partners. We understand that the dismissal of Dhiyana Saeed followed her recent public criticisms of the police, and in particular the treatment of her husband during his recent arrest. We are concerned about the reports of political or physical intimidation of parliamentarians, and hope that all parties will exercise restraint in the coming months. We urge the Maldivian Government to implement the democratic reforms identified by the Commission of National Inquiry in August, and to ensure that the elections in 2013 are free, fair and fully inclusive.

Middle East

Dr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect of remarks by the Governor of Jericho on the alleged distribution of drugs by the Israeli government into Palestinian society on the wider Middle East peace process. [130932]

Alistair Burt: We are aware of these reported remarks but have not made an assessment of their effect on the wider middle east peace process.

Susan Elan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to promote compliance with international law in the conflict between Israel and Palestine. [131084]

Alistair Burt: We urge all parties to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law. We do this as part of regular contact at ministerial and senior official level.

In this context we continue to make clear to the Israeli Government our concern at ongoing settlement announcements. As we have made clear, settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) are illegal under international law.

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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. 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 the Israeli authorities. More details can be found at:

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

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to promote compliance with international law in the conflict between Israel and Palestine. [131228]

Alistair Burt: We urge all parties to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to respect their obligations under international humanitarian law. We do this as part of regular contact at ministerial and senior official level.

In this context we continue to make clear to the Israeli Government our concern at ongoing settlement announcements. As we have made clear, settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) are illegal under international law.

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. 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 the Israeli authorities. More details can be found at:

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

Mr Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will lead international efforts to assist the Egyptian Government in stopping the flow of illegal weaponry across its border with the Gaza Strip. [131296]

Alistair Burt: We welcome the Egyptian-led ceasefire in the recent Gaza crisis and will continue to give our full support to Egypt's efforts both to tackle the flow of illegal weaponry from the Sinai into the Gaza strip and to bring about the changes necessary to ease Israeli restrictions on Gaza.

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on how many occasions he has made representations to the Government of Israel on (a) compliance with UN resolutions, (b) the Geneva Convention and (c) international law since May 2010. [131398]

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Alistair Burt: We continue to 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. Our ambassador in Tel Aviv raised these issues with the Israeli Co-ordinator of Government Activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories on 9 October. We continue to raise our concerns so frequently with the Israeli authorities that we do not track the specific number of instances. More details can be found at:

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

Occupied Territories

Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if he will take steps to prevent house demolitions in East Jerusalem and the west bank; [130846]

(2) what recent discussions he has had with his Israeli counterpart on the cessation of demolition of Palestinian homes. [130847]

Alistair Burt: We have 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 in Tel Aviv raised this issue with the Israeli Co-ordinator of Government Activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories on 9 October 2012. 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.

In addition we continue to support Palestinians facing demolition of their homes or eviction through support to the Norwegian Refugee Council legal aid programme which helps individuals to challenge these decisions in the Israeli legal system.

Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received to indicate the number of houses in the occupied west bank which have been demolished since 1967. [130848]

Alistair Burt: We are aware of reports provided by the International Committee against House Demolitions that over 26,000 demolitions have taken place since 1967. We have 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 in Tel Aviv raised this issue with the Israeli Co-ordinator of Government Activities in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) on 9 October 2012. 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.

In addition we continue to support Palestinians facing demolition of their homes or eviction in the OPTs through support to the Norwegian Refugee Council legal aid programme which helps individuals to challenge these decisions in the Israeli legal system.

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Sri Lanka

Fiona Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the situation for religious minorities in Sri Lanka; and what steps he is taking to promote the right to freedom of religion or belief in Sri Lanka. [131051]

Alistair Burt: Sri Lankan people are generally free to practise their religion. But religious groups have complained of onerous administrative burdens placed on certain religions and religious education that does not take into account minority faiths. We have also received reports of discrimination against certain religious groups. Our high commission monitors developments carefully on all human rights concerns in Sri Lanka, and keeps in contact with religious leaders. We regularly urge the Sri Lankan Government to make progress on all human rights issues.

Fiona Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he will raise as a matter of concern with the Government of Sri Lanka the circular from 2011 allowing local authorities to determine whether religious activities should be allowed to continue. [131052]

Alistair Burt: The British high commission in Sri Lanka is aware of this September 2011 circular but has not raised it specifically with the Sri Lankan Government. Our high commission monitors developments carefully on all human rights concerns in Sri Lanka, including religious freedom, and keeps in contact with religious leaders. We regularly urge the Sri Lankan Government to make progress on all human rights issues. The British high commission will be looking into the issue further.

Fiona Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to promote ethnic and religious pluralism in Sri Lanka. [131174]

Alistair Burt: Sri Lankan people are generally free to practise their religion. But religious groups have complained of onerous administrative burdens placed on certain religions and religious education that does not take into account minority faiths. We have also received reports of discrimination against certain religious groups. Our high commission monitors developments carefully on all human rights concerns in Sri Lanka, and keeps in contact with religious leaders. We regularly urge the Sri Lankan Government to make progress on all human rights issues.

Northern Ireland

Middle East

Mr Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discussions she has held with Ministers in the (a) Foreign and Commonwealth Office and (b) Northern Ireland Executive on using expertise within Northern Ireland of peace and reconciliation to help the Middle East peace process. [131277]

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Mike Penning: We regularly receive visitors from the Middle East and elsewhere who seek to learn lessons from the Northern Ireland peace process, some referred by the Foreign Office. Such visitors are also seen at times by the Northern Ireland Executive or representatives of parties in it.

Energy and Climate Change

Carbon Emissions

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent discussions he has had with his international counterparts on carbon emission targets. [131140]

Gregory Barker: The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, the right hon. Member for Kingston and Surbiton (Mr Davey), and I are attending the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Doha between 2 and 7 December 2012, where we will be meeting with international counterparts to discuss a comprehensive range of issues pertaining to international climate change, including reducing carbon emissions. We will update the House on our return to the UK on progress in these discussions. Prior to the Doha conference, DECC Ministers discussed these issues with counterparts at the pre-COP conference in Seoul and the EU Environment Council in October, and at the Major Economies Forum meeting in New York in September.

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of recent international negotiations on reducing carbon emissions. [131141]

Gregory Barker: The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, the right hon. Member for Kingston and Surbiton (Mr Davey), and I are attending the Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change in Doha between 2 and 7 December 2012, where we will be meeting with international counterparts to discuss a comprehensive range of issues pertaining to international climate change, including reducing carbon emissions. We will update the House on our return to the UK on progress in these negotiations.

Energy Company Obligation

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to the answer of 2 July 2012, Official Report, column 425W, on Warm Home discount scheme, what progress he has made on exploring whether Government data could be used to confirm a customer's eligibility for Energy Company Obligation support. [131216]

Gregory Barker: An ECO referrals service will be launched via the Energy Saving Advice Service (ESAS) in early 2013. Government data will be used to check eligibility for ECO Affordable Warmth assistance, where the customer consents to this.

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In exchange, ECO obligated supply companies will commit to provide a minimum level of assistance to customers referred via this route through a voluntary agreement with the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

In addition over one million pension credit recipients will be identified to the energy supply companies through the Warm Home discount scheme in 2012-13 and will receive an energy supplier funded discount on their energy bill of £130. The State Pension Credit (Warm Home Discount) Regulations 2011 also allow participating energy supply companies to use the information that these customers are in receipt of pension credit to target their ECO support.

Energy Supply

David Mowat: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what consideration he has given to improving grid connections with Europe in order to ensure future energy security; and if he will make a statement. [131152]

Mr Hayes: Government have no direct role in building interconnectors between Britain and other European countries. Interconnection is a commercially-driven market with a number of different companies involved. Britain currently has 4 GW of interconnection with France, Northern Ireland, Ireland and the Netherlands. Further interconnection is likely, with developers investigating potential projects with France, Belgium, Norway and Iceland, among others. The Government have recently commissioned analysis into the benefits and risks for Britain of further interconnection.

Energy: Prices

Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the effect of his proposals for tariff reform on the profits made by the six major energy companies. [131224]

Gregory Barker: The Government are in the process of assessing, including through the analysis of evidence provided in response to our discussion document, “Ensuring a better deal for energy consumers”, the impact of their proposals for tariff reform on competiveness in the retail energy market, and the impact on consumer bills:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/consultations/better_deal/better_deal.aspx

The Government do not undertake assessments specifically on the profit margins of particular companies.

Garages and Petrol Stations

Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) when he expects the current study by Deloitte into the downstream oil industry to be completed; and if he will publish the findings of that study; [129741]

(2) what research his Department has conducted on the number of motor fuel filling stations required to ensure the maintenance of adequate supplies of fuels to (a) urban and (b) rural areas since 2010; and if he will make a statement. [131462]

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Mr Hayes: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on 27 November 2012, Official Report, column 312W.

Nuclear Power Stations

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether he plans to finance the 16GW of new nuclear power by 2025 through (a) levies additional to the Levy Control Framework cap of £7.6 billion by 2020 and (b) other financing mechanisms; if he will provide details of any such mechanisms; if he will ensure full transparency of all such funding mechanisms; and if he will make a statement. [131005]

Mr Hayes: The Energy Bill, now introduced, sets out the way in which low carbon projects will be funded for the future. The levy control framework sets the overall DECC budget for these projects until the end of the financial year 2020-21. Budgets post 2020-21 will be agreed nearer the time. Any nuclear projects coming online at or before end 2020-21 will fall within the existing budget; any plants that begin generating electricity post 2020-21 will be subject to future budget settlements.

Nuclear Power Stations: Safety

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change with reference to the Office for Nuclear Regulation's report “Japanese earthquake and tsunami: Implementing the lessons for the UK's nuclear industry”, published in October 2012, what the (a) cost to date has been and (b) estimated future costs will be to his Department of implementing the recommendations made specifically to Government in that report. [130022]

Mr Hayes: Nuclear safety is a top priority and as such any associated costs to the Department will be borne out of the overall departmental budget.

The Government are not able to comment on any associated costs to the nuclear operating companies, as such costs are part of the overall and ongoing costs of ensuring the safe operation of nuclear facilities.

Renewable Energy

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will make it his policy to ask the House of Commons Energy and Climate Change Committee to carry out an analysis of the comparative (a) feasibility and (b) cost of using alternative low carbon solutions, including a combination of (i) energy demand reduction, (ii) renewable energy and (iii) investment in interconnectors, to meet the equivalent of his proposed 16GW of electricity to be provided by new nuclear power stations by 2025; and if he will make a statement. [131006]

Mr Hayes: Different technology mixes to meet decarbonisation and energy security objectives have already been considered as part of the strategic work of the Department. DECC first published its 2050 calculator and pathways analysis in 2010. The model presents a framework through which to consider some of the choices and trade-offs over the next 40 years. It is rooted in scientific and engineering realities, looking at what is thought to be physically and technically feasible

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in each sector. The calculator is system-wide, covering all parts of the economy and all greenhouse gases emissions released in the UK, and as such includes energy demand reduction opportunities, renewable energy and interconnectors. In December 2011, costs analysis was added to the 2050 calculator. In addition, DECC has recently commissioned additional analysis into the impacts of different levels of further interconnection on GB.

While it is theoretically possible to meet our energy objectives without new nuclear, it would be very challenging to do so. We would also expect the costs of meeting the objectives to be higher without new nuclear, as it is a proven technology and expected to be the cheapest low-carbon source of electricity in the future.

The Energy Bill, published on 29 November, contains our measures for Electricity Market Reform (EMR) which will encourage the right conditions for private sector investment in low carbon energy development. The Government do not set technology specific targets, but have designed EMR to be flexible to different outcomes and to allow opportunity for all forms of generation to come forward, to ultimately provide a least cost mix. This will enable new nuclear, alongside renewables and fossil fuels with carbon capture and storage, together with energy demand reduction, to play a key role in our energy mix.

The long-term vision is a market where low carbon generators compete fairly under a robust and stable carbon price. New nuclear power should be able to contribute as much as possible to the UK's need for new capacity within that competitive framework.

Wind and Nuclear Power

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent assessment he has made of the (a) strike price per MW hour and (b) length of contract required for investment in (i) onshore wind, (ii) offshore wind and (iii) new nuclear power under contracts for difference; and if he will make a statement. [131007]

Mr Hayes: As set out by the Department in May of this year, I will set strike prices for renewables technologies in the EMR delivery plan, to be published in 2013. I will make an assessment of those strike prices on the basis of analysis received from the System Operator and other relevant evidence, including a report of external scrutiny by a panel of technical experts. I will then publish a draft of the first delivery plan for consultation in July 2013, and a final delivery plan by end of 2013, subject to Royal Assent on the Energy Bill.

The Department's assessment is that the length of the feed in tariff with a contract for differences (CfD) for wind farms should be 15 years. This provides an appropriate balance between minimising the overall costs of the CfD to electricity consumers, ensuring that the CfD scheme is affordable, and facilitating lower costs of capital.

The Government are currently in discussions with NNB Generation Company Ltd about a potential early CfD (“investment contract”) for the first new nuclear power station. These discussions are ongoing, and no conclusion has been reached about the strike price or contract length required for investment.

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Wind Power

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent discussions he has had with his European counterparts on the de-rating of wind turbines. [130363]

Mr Hayes: I have had no discussions with European counterparts regarding de-rating of wind turbines.

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent discussions he has had with wind turbine manufacturers on the advertising of de-rated turbines. [130364]

Mr Hayes: My officials have met and discussed this issue with wind turbine manufacturers and RenewablesUK as part of the recent comprehensive review of the FITs scheme. As indicated in the Government response to Phase 2B of the review, published in July, DECC takes the issue of turbine de-rating seriously. It should be noted that only 0.009% of installations supported by FITs could potentially have been de-rated in this way.

We have acted to address a similar issue of downsizing of hydro sites and are committed to finding a solution for wind. Following publication of the response we have already met with representatives from the sector to take this forward.

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the practice of de-rating. [130366]

Dan Byles: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what safeguards are in place to prevent onshore wind farm operators from deliberately running large wind turbines at sub-optimal levels in order to qualify for the higher subsidy available to sub-500kW turbines; and if he will make a statement. [130519]

Mr Hayes: We are aware that a very small number of manufacturers have started to sell turbines which have been “de-rated” to allow them to benefit from higher tariffs. To date, only 32 turbines have been installed in the relevant band, representing just 0.009% of installations supported by FITs.

My officials have met and discussed this issue with wind turbine manufacturers and RenewableUK as part of the recent comprehensive review of the FITs scheme. As indicated in the Government response to Phase 2B of the review, published in July, DECC takes the issue of turbine de-rating seriously. We have acted to address a similar issue for hydro sites and are committed to doing the same for wind. Following publication of the response we have already met with representatives from the sector to take this forward.

Home Department

Carbon Monoxide: Poisoning

Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many deaths there have been from carbon monoxide poisoning in domestic premises due to faulty biomass boilers in the latest year for which figures are available; and if she will make a statement. [131202]

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Mr Foster: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Communities and Local Government.

The information requested is not held centrally.

The best available information on carbon monoxide poisoning is set out in the annual report of the Cross Government Group on Gas Safety and Carbon Monoxide Awareness which is available online at:

www.hse.gov.uk/gas/domestic/cross-government-group.htm

College of Policing

Mr Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what responsibility the College of Policing will have for police staff working for private sector companies providing services to police forces in England and Wales. [130428]

Damian Green: The College of Policing will have a remit to work with Police and Crime Commissioners and forces to improve standards across all areas of policing, including those functions which can be carried out by private sector companies.

Drugs: Crime

Nick de Bois: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 30 October 2012, Official Report, column 179W, on drugs: crime, if she will take steps to universally define the term drug dealer in (a) her Department and (b) its associated public bodies; and if she will make a statement. [131337]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The Home Office has no plans to provide a universal definition for the term ‘drug dealer’. While there is no statutory definition there is a common understanding of what constitutes “dealing”, informed by the offences in the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971 and associated legislation.

Drugs: Misuse

Julie Elliott: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps her Department is taking to prevent the selling of legal high drugs (a) over the internet and (b) over the counter. [131066]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The Government take the issue of new psychoactive substances (so called ‘legal highs') very seriously.

In May 2012 the Government published a new psychoactive substances (NPS) action plan which sets out a number of actions to address the trade in these substances. The action plan is available at:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/alcohol-drugs/drugs/annual-review-drug-strategy-2010/drug-strategy2010-review-may2012?view=Binary

A copy of the plan will be placed in the House Library.

Action to restrict drug supply, including illegal NPS, is a priority for law enforcement and the Home Office is working closely with the Serious Organised Crime Agency, Border Force and the police to develop new approaches to identify importers, distributors and sellers of NPS. This activity includes action to close websites advertising illegal NPS; the creation of a multi-agency working group to identify and tackle the trade in NPS by organised

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criminals; ongoing development of a national intelligence picture; and the publication of Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) practice guidance on NPS for the police.

Police: Training

Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what training is provided to police officers on how to deal with criminality online. [130643]

James Brokenshire [holding answer 29 November 2012]: As part of the National Cyber Security Programme, cyber awareness training for all police officers is being designed by the Police Central e-Crime Unit. A capability framework for regions and forces to assist in their development of their cyber response in line with the Strategic Policing Requirement is also being developed.

Prostitution

Gavin Shuker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on what occasions (a) officials and (b) Ministers of her Department met representatives of other Government Departments to determine policy on prostitution since May 2010. [131342]

Mr Jeremy Browne: Home Office Ministers and officials have regular meetings with colleagues from other Departments as part of the process of policy development and delivery.

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

The Government are committed to tackling the harm and exploitation associated with prostitution. The cross-government Action Plan to end Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) sets out our commitment to ensure that those involved in prostitution are protected from violence, free from exploitation and, where appropriate, given help to leave.

Rape: Crime Prevention

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much her Department plans to spend on the rape prevention campaign between December 2012 and December 2013. [130954]

James Brokenshire [holding answer 30 November 2012]: The Home Office has allocated £1 million to fund the rape prevention campaign which will run from December 2012 to January 2013.

Treasury

Air Passenger Duty

Jonathan Lord: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the change was in the level of air passenger duty from (a) 1997 to 2010 and (b) 2010 to date. [130986]

Sajid Javid: Historic rates of air passenger duty can be found online here:

https://www.uktradeinfo.com/Statistics/Pages/TaxAndDuty Bulletins.aspx

3 Dec 2012 : Column 593W

Child Benefit

Nick Smith: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff, and at what cost, HM Revenue and Customs will require to implement the clawback of child benefit from 7 January 2013. [128154]

Mr Gauke: Our latest view is that the number of staff required to implement the high income child benefit charge will vary over time. For 2012-13 HMRC's current estimate is for 475 full-time equivalent staff, costing around £11.7 million. From 2013-14 onwards HMRC's current estimate is for 450 full-time equivalent staff, costing around £11.3 million.

The estimate of costs incurred to date is approximately half the initially expected cost of the first phase of the project.

Credit Unions: North East

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate the Financial Services Authority has made of the number of credit unions in the North East in each year since 2007. [130274]

Greg Clark: The Government are supportive of the role that credit unions play in providing diversity within the financial sector. The Government do not hold information on individual credit unions.

Debt Relief (Developing Countries) Act 2010

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make an estimate of how much the provisions of the UK Debt Relief (Developing Countries) Act 2010 will save highly indebted countries in coming years. [130056]

Greg Clark: The UK Government made permanent the Debt Relief (Developing Countries) Act 2010 on 25 May 2011.

The impact assessment for the Debt Relief (Developing Countries) Act suggests direct benefits of between zero and £26 million a year to heavily indebted poor countries.

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with his counterparts in the British Overseas Territories and Crown Dependencies on adopting the provisions of the Debt Relief (Developing Countries) Act 2010; and if he will make a statement. [130239]

Greg Clark: The UK Government made permanent the Debt Relief (Developing Countries) Act 2010 on 25 May 2011.

Jersey has recently adopted a similar legislation. The UK will continue to share its experience of addressing non-participation in debt relief with Britain's Crown Dependencies and Overseas territories.

Excise Duties: Aviation

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) whether he has considered freezing the duty payable on aviation fuel; [130667]

3 Dec 2012 : Column 594W

(2) what representations he has received on duty on aviation fuel. [130668]

Sajid Javid: All aviation fuel duty has been frozen since March 2011. The duty payable on aviation fuel depends on the type of fuel and the purpose of use. No duty is payable on any fuel used for international flights. Aviation turbine fuel used in private pleasure flying in turbine powered aircraft is subject to duty at the same rate as road diesel at 57.95p per litre. Aviation gasoline used in piston powered aircraft is subject to duty at 37.70p per litre. Other uses of aviation fuel in the UK do not attract duty. The Chancellor of the Exchequer keeps all taxes under review.

Treasury Ministers and officials receive representations from a wide variety of authorities as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings and discussions.

Excise Duties: Fuels

Jonathan Lord: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what the change was in the level of fuel duty from (a) 1997 to 2010 and (b) 2010 to date; [130987]

(2) what steps his Department has taken to reduce the effect on motorists of fluctuations in the price of oil. [130988]

Sajid Javid: Information on historic fuel duty rates by fuel type is published in table 8 of the UK Trade Info Hydrocarbon Oils Bulletin at:

https://www.uktradeinfo.com/Statistics/Pages/TaxAndDuty bulletins.aspx

The table shows that the main petrol duty rate rose by 16.91 pence per litre between 1997 and May 2010, and by 0.76 pence per litre between May 2010 and now.

The Government have cut fuel duty, cancelled the previous Government's fuel duty escalator, ensured that fuel duty has remained frozen for 21 months and introduced a fair fuel stabiliser. As a result, pump prices are 10p a litre lower than they would have been under the previous Government.

The fair fuel stabiliser took effect from 21 March 2012. I refer my hon. Friend to the written statement made by the Parliamentary Secretary, Cabinet Office, my hon. Friend the Member for Norwich North (Miss Smith), on 21 March 2012, Official Report, column 57WS.

Financial Services: Disadvantaged

Andrew Griffiths: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the cost has been of the (a) Financial Inclusion Taskforce and (b) Financial Inclusion Fund in each year since 2005; and if he will provide a breakdown of spending in each case for each category of spending. [130691]

Sajid Javid: A Financial Inclusion Taskforce was established in 2005 to monitor and evaluate the Government's financial inclusion strategy. The taskforce was allocated £3 million from the Financial Inclusion Fund for the period 2005-07, and £2 million for 2008-11.

3 Dec 2012 : Column 595W

The. Financial Inclusion Fund was allocated £120 million for the period 2005-07. The Treasury Select Committee Report: ‘Financial inclusion: the roles of the Government and the FSA, and financial capability’ (First Report of the Session 2006-07) sets out how the fund was allocated in this period.

It is available on the Parliament website:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmtreasy/53/53.pdf

A further £130 million funding for the Financial Inclusion Fund was allocated for the period 2008-11. ‘Financial inclusion: an action plan for 2008-11’ sets out how the fund was allocated in this period. It is available on the HM Treasury website:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/financial inclusion_actionplan061207.pdf

The Financial Inclusion Fund closed on 31 March 2011.

Fossil Fuels: Prices

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the potential effect of (a) high, (b) medium and (c) low fossil fuel prices on (i) domestic demand, (ii) investment and (iii) aggregate demand in the economy; and if he will make a statement. [131004]

Sajid Javid: The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) is responsible for producing independent economic and fiscal forecasts. In September 2010, the OBR published a working paper, ‘Assessment of the Effect of Oil Price Fluctuations on the Public Finances’. This analysis by the OBR suggests that a 20% increase in the price of oil reduces actual output by approximately 0.2% compared to a baseline scenario. In its March 2012 ‘Economic and fiscal outlook’, the OBR estimated that an immediate $50 shock to the oil price would lead to GDP growth in 2012-13 falling from its central forecast of 1.0% to 0.3%.

Minimum Wage

Teresa Pearce: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many national minimum wage claims have been brought against employers (a) by employees, (b) by trade union and (c) following HM Revenue and Customs PAYE audits in the last 12 months. [131278]

Mr Gauke: HMRC categorises claims from workers as complaints and treats information from other sources, including trade unions and internal referrals from HMRC colleagues, such as those carrying out PAYE audits, as third-party information.

HMRC will investigate all complaints it receives on payment of the national minimum wage and, in the period October 2011 to October 2012, 2,027 complaints from workers were received and referred to compliance teams for investigation.

Information provided to HMRC from third parties is analysed using risk indicators and employers with the highest risk are referred for compliance action. In the period October 2011 to October 2012, 550 third-party referrals were received, of which 342 were taken forward for compliance action.

3 Dec 2012 : Column 596W

PAYE

Stephen Timms: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many employers he expects to be participating in the PAYE real time information pilot at the end of each month from November 2012 to the end of April 2013. [130041]

Mr Gauke: HMRC's strategy for the remaining months of the RTI pilot is to focus on bringing on the largest PAYE schemes (by number of employments). HMRC is also aiming to bring new PAYE schemes directly into RTI as they are set up.

HMRC's current projections for PAYE schemes participating in the PAYE real time information pilot are shown in the following table:

 Number (Up to)

November 2012

65,000

December 2012

100,000

January 2013

120,000

February 2013

140,000

March 2013

185,000

The pilot is due to end in March 2013.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many hashes from the payment system have been (a) matched and (b) not matched to real time information (RTI) data from employers since the start of the RTI pilot. [130376]

Mr Gauke: Since the start of the RTI pilot HMRC have matched 6,441,719 hashes received in RTI submissions with hashes from the BACS payment system.

HMRC do not hold data on hashes from the BACS payment system that are unmatched.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his most recent estimate is of the funding allocated by his Department to the PAYE real time information project in (a) 2011-12, (b) 2012-13 and (c) 2013-14. [131095]

Mr Gauke: As part of HMRC's spending review 2010 funding settlement, the Department was allocated an additional £124 million to meet the costs of the PAYE real time information project. The following table illustrates the allocation:

£ million (nominal)
 2011-122012-132013-142014-15

RDEL

18

22

22

16

Of which:

    

Depreciation

0

5

5

6

     

CDEL

40

3

3

0

Following public consultation there have been changes made to the design of the RTI solution and plans for the pilot year have also changed. As a result the cost of RTI will be higher than the spending review 2010 allocation. HMRC is working to determine the scale of the increase and is looking at how these additional costs will be met.

3 Dec 2012 : Column 597W

Revenue and Customs: Correspondence

Alison McGovern: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average response time was for letters sent to HM Revenue and Customs by (a) hon. Members and (b) members of the public in the most recent period for which figures are available. [130940]

Mr Gauke: HMRC does not hold average response times for letters sent by (a) hon. Members or (b) members of the public. This information could be made available only at disproportionate cost.

HMRC has a target to deal with 80% of ministerial correspondence within 15 working days of receipt. This target is also applicable to letters from members of the public. HMRC is meeting this target, current performance in October 2012 being 80.5%.

Succession

Gavin Shuker: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what the total value of gifts made to the Government from the estate of deceased persons was in 2010-11; [131281]

(2) what the total value of payments made to the Government on a voluntary basis with no contingent financial benefit to the donor was in 2010-11. [131282]

Sajid Javid: A total of £1,083,537.55 was received by the Government as gifts to the nation in the financial year 2010-11. Of this at least £1,081,311.84 was received from the estates of deceased persons, and £54,634.36 was received as bequests for the reduction of the national debt.

Taxation: Environment Protection

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make an assessment of the likely macroeconomic effects of investing revenues raised from carbon taxes into improving the energy efficiency of homes occupied by people at risk of fuel poverty in terms of (a) job creation, (b) GDP and (c) other effects; whether he plans to meet representatives of the Energy Bill Revolution Coalition to discuss such proposals; and if he will make a statement. [131003]

Sajid Javid: The Government are committed to supporting people, especially in low income and vulnerable households, to heat their homes more affordably. The Government have a range of policies to address fuel poverty and help people with their bills, including Warm Front, the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target, Community Energy Saving Programme, warm home discount, winter fuel payments and cold weather payments. From next year, the Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation will help improve homes' energy efficiency.

Spending priorities are not, in general, determined by the way in which the money is raised as this could impart inflexibility, including limiting the amount of spend on a particular issue, with reduced value for money for taxpayers.

3 Dec 2012 : Column 598W

Welfare Tax Credits

Mr Ruffley: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people in (a) Bury St Edmunds constituency, (b) Suffolk and (c) England and Wales were in receipt of (i) child tax credit and (ii) working tax credit in each of the last three years; and how much was spent in (A) Bury St Edmunds constituency, (B) Suffolk and (C) England and Wales on (1) child tax credit and (2) working tax credit in each such year. [130621]

Mr Gauke: This information is published every year in the HMRC publication “Child and Working Tax Credits Statistics: Finalised Awards”. These publications can be accessed from:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/statistics/fin-main-stats.htm

The number of families receiving each element broken down by region is presented in Table 3. Statistics for total spend are not published but can be calculated using the number of families and the average entitlement (also published in Table 3).

For ease the data requested are reproduced as follows. Data for 2011-12 are not yet available (published in May 2013); therefore the data are presented for 2009-10 and 2010-11. Breakdowns are not available for Suffolk, so statistics for the “East” region are provided as an alternative (see Annex A for list of parliamentary constituencies in the East region).

Number of families receiving child tax credit (CTC). working tax credit (WTC), and both in each region
Thousand
 2010-11
 CTCWTCCTC and WTCTotal

Bury St Edmunds

6.9

0.6

2.7

10.2

East England(1)

345

36

156

537

England and Wales

3,358

468

1,740

5,566

(1) Data for Suffolk are not available.
Thousand
 2009-10
 CTCWTCCTC and WTCTotal

Bury St Edmunds

6.9

0.5

2.5

10.0

East England

351

32

149

531

England and Wales

3,426

414

1,672

5,512

Total entitlement for those receiving CTC, WTC, and both in each region
£ million
 2010-11
 CTCWTCCTC and WTCTotal

Bury St Edmunds

15.1

1.5

21.2

37.8

East England(1)

913

83

1,271

2,267

England and Wales

9,742

1,122

14,456

25,320

(1) Data for Suffolk are not available.

3 Dec 2012 : Column 599W

£ million
 2009-10
 CTCWTCCTC and WTCTotal

Bury St Edmunds

14.5

1.2

20.0

35.8

East England

890

72

1,193

2,154

England and Wales

9,576

975

13,703

24,254

Mark Durkan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what processes are in place to ensure that the Tax Credit Office applies the correct postage when sending letters to (a) the Republic of Ireland and (b) other European destinations. [130951]

Mr Gauke: The Tax Credit Office identify claimant addresses that are outside of GB and NI. Any correspondence for those addresses is delivered using a dedicated postal service for overseas mail and the postal contractor responsible for this service selects the correct postage rate for delivery.

West Coast Railway Line: Franchises

Maria Eagle: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment his Department has made of the costs incurred by the Government through the failure to award the west coast main line rail franchise; and if he will make a statement. [130733]

Danny Alexander: The Department for Transport is responsible for providing an estimate of the costs which it has incurred through the cancellation of the west coast main line rail franchise.

The full costs of the cancellation of the Intercity west coast franchise will not be quantifiable until after the Department for Transport has received the final findings of the Brown Review, which are due at the end of this year.

Cabinet Office

Childbirth

Andrew Griffiths: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) which 10 (a) lower layer super output areas, (b) medium layer super output areas and (c) wards had the highest (i) number and (ii) proportion of sole registered births in each of the last five years; [130673]

(2) which 10 (a) lower layer super output areas, (b) medium layer super output areas and (c) wards had the highest (i) number and (ii) proportion of children born outside of marriage in each of the last five years; [130674]

(3) which 10 (a) lower layer super output areas, (b) medium layer super output areas and (c) wards had the highest (i) number and (ii) proportion of sole registered live births in each of the last five years; [130675]

(4) how many and what proportion of births were sole registered births in each (a) lower layer super output area, (b) medium layer super output area and (c) ward in each of the last five years; [130680]

3 Dec 2012 : Column 600W

(5) how many and what proportion of children were born outside marriage in each (a) lower layer super output area, (b) medium layer super output area and (c) ward in each of the last five years; [130681]

(6) how many and what proportion of births were sole-registered live births in each (a) lower layer super output area, (b) medium layer super output area and (c) ward in each of the last five years; [130682]

(7) how many and what proportion of births outside marriage were joint registrations in each (a) lower layer super output area, (b) medium layer super output area and (c) ward in each of the last five years; [130684]

(8) how many and what proportion of birth registrations outside marriage were from parents living at the same address in each (a) lower layer super output area, (b) medium layer super output area and (c) ward in each of the last five years. [130685]

Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Glen Watson:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent questions asking:

1. Which 10 (a) lower super output areas, (b) medium layer super output areas and (c) wards had the highest (i) number and (ii) proportion of sole registered births in each of the last five years [130673]

2. Which 10 (a) lower super output areas, (b) medium layer super output areas and (c) wards had the highest (i) number and (ii) proportion of children born outside of marriage in each of the last five years [130674]

3. Which 10 (a) lower super output areas, (b) medium layer super output areas and (c) wards had the highest (i) number and (ii) proportion of sole registered live births in each of the last five years [130675]

4. How many and what proportion of births were sole registered births in each (a) lower layer super output area, (b) medium layer super output area and (c) ward in each of the last five years [130680]

5. How many and what proportion of children were born outside marriage in each (a) lower layer super output area, (b) medium layer super output area and (c) ward in each of the last five years [130681]

6. How many and what proportion of births were sole registered live births in each (a) lower layer super output area, (b) medium layer super output area and (c) ward in each of the last five years [130682]

7. How many and what proportion of births outside marriage were joint registrations in each (a) lower layer super output area, (b) medium layer super output area and (c) ward in each of the last five years [130684]

8. How many and what proportion of birth registrations outside marriage were from parents living at the same address in each (a) lower layer super output area, (b) medium layer super output area and (c) ward in each of the last five years [130685]

Table 1 provides the number and proportion of live births that were (a) registered outside marriage, (b) registered jointly outside marriage, (c) registered jointly outside marriage to parents at the same address, and (d) sole registered in England and Wales for census wards from 2007 to 2011 (the latest year available).

Table 2 provides the 10 census wards with the highest number and proportion of live births that were (a) registered outside marriage, (b) registered jointly outside marriage, (c) registered jointly outside marriage to parents at the same address, and (d) sole registered in England and Wales from 2007 to 2011 (the latest year available).

3 Dec 2012 : Column 601W

In line with the Office for National Statistics policy on protecting the confidentiality of birth statistics, figures of less than three births have been suppressed. Where the proportion of births by registration type exceeds a threshold of 90 per cent, cells have been grouped and the corresponding numbers have been suppressed.

Figures for live and total births by lower super output area and middle super output area have not been provided to prevent possible disclosure, which could occur by comparing tables provided in this answer and live birth figures which are already available for census wards. Figures for total births by census ward have not been provided for the same reason.

The policy on protecting the confidentiality of birth statistics is available at:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/guide-method/best-practice/disclosure-control-policy-for-birth-and-death-statistics/index.html

Live births in England and Wales by the mother's usual area of residence and marital status are published annually on the National Statistics website. The latest data were published in October 2012 and are available at:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob1/births-by-area-of-usual-residence-of-mother--england-and-wales/2011/index.html

Due to the size of the tables, they will be stored in the House of Commons Library.

Divorce

Andrew Griffiths: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) which 10 (a) lower layer super output areas, (b) medium layer super output areas and (c) wards had the highest level of divorce in each of the last five years; [130676]

(2) how many and what proportion of married couples divorced in each (a) lower layer super output area, (b) medium layer super output area and (c) ward in each of the last five years; [130679]

Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Glen Watson, dated November 2012:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics (ONS), I have been asked to reply to your recent questions.

ONS does not produce divorce statistics by area. This is because divorce data provided to ONS by the courts does not contain information on the area of residence of the parties. Information on the location of the court is available, but this is not a good indicator of where the parties lived either before or after separation, as the two parties may choose the court they wish to use and courts are not evenly spread around England and Wales.

Lone Parents

Andrew Griffiths: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) which 10 (a) lower layer super output areas, (b) medium layer super output areas and (c) wards had the highest (i) number and (ii) proportion of single-parent families in each of the last five years; [130671]

(2) which 10 (a) lower layer super output areas, (b) medium layer super output areas and (c) wards had the highest (i) number and (ii) proportion of lone-mother families in each of the last five years; [130672]

(3) how many and what proportion of families with children were single-parent families in each (a) lower layer super output area, (b) medium layer super output area and (c) ward in each of the last five years; [130677]

3 Dec 2012 : Column 602W

(4) how many and what proportion of families were lone-mother families in each (a) lower layer super output area, (b) medium layer super output area and (c) ward in each of the last five years. [130678]

Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Glen Watson, dated November 2012:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your questions.

The number and type of families in the UK can be estimated using the Annual Population Survey. However, due to small sample sizes at these small geographical levels, estimates of families from this source are not sufficiently robust for these areas. The smallest geography for which estimates are sufficiently robust is local authority or parliamentary constituency.

Statistics about lone parents for super output areas and wards will be published on 30 January 2013 using data from the 2011 Census.

New Businesses: Suffolk

Dr Thérèse Coffey: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office when he expects the Office for National Statistics to publish figures on the number of enterprise births in Suffolk Coastal constituency in (a) 2011 and (b) 2012. [131474]

Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Glen Watson, dated November 2012:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question regarding when the Office for National Statistics will publish figures on the number of enterprise births in the Suffolk Coastal constituency in (a) 2011 and (b) 2012. [131474]

The Business Demography publication containing 2011 data will be published on 13th December 2012 and will be available via the following link. This will contain data at a district, county and unitary authority level within region and country. Data for 2011 at constituency level are available on this date on request. The Business Demography 2012 publication date has not yet been agreed.

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/bus-register/business-demography/index.html

Teenage Pregnancy

Mr Ruffley: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many teenage pregnancies there have been in (a) Suffolk, (b) Norfolk, (c) Cambridgeshire, (d) Essex, (e) Bedfordshire, (f) Hertfordshire and (g) England and Wales in each of the last three years. [131193]

Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Glen Watson, dated November 2012:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent question on how many teenage pregnancies there have been in (a) Suffolk, (b) Norfolk, (c) Cambridgeshire, (d) Essex, (e) Bedfordshire, (f) Hertfordshire, (g) England and Wales in each of the last three years, by local authority area. (131193)

3 Dec 2012 : Column 603W

This question has been answered using conceptions data to represent pregnancies. Conception statistics are estimated for women usually resident in England and Wales and are based on birth registrations and abortion records. The latest year for which figures on conceptions are available is 2010.

Table 1 shows the number of conceptions to women aged under 18 for the local authorities of interest from 2008 to 2010.

Table 1: Number of under 18 conceptions, 2008 to 2010
Area of usual residenceUnder 18 conceptions
 201020092008

Suffolk

344

373

407

Babergh

27

29

36

Forest Heath

19

20

19

Ipswich

86

89

106

Mid Suffolk

42

35

33

St Edmundsbury

49

58

55

Suffolk Coastal

37

48

47

Waveney

84

94

111

    

Norfolk

487

532

500

Breckland

75

80

73

Broadland

45

46

47

Great Yarmouth

92

122

69

King's Lynn and West Norfolk

79

101

87

North Norfolk

44

49

57

Norwich

99

95

109

South Norfolk

53

59

58

    

Cambridgeshire

264

305

265

Cambridge

51

74

53

East Cambridgeshire

24

25

25

Fenland

66

59

65

Huntingdonshire

75

87

73

South Cambridgeshire

48

60

49

    

Essex

745

814

812

Basildon

134

142

155

Braintree

75

82

84

Brentwood

16

31

21

Castle Point

46

52

52

Chelmsford

86

71

87

Colchester

92

93

104

Epping Forest

51

66

62

Harlow

56

54

50

Maldon

37

33

32

Rochford

36

46

44

Tendring

86

109

98

Uttlesford

30

35

23

    

Bedford UA(1)

117

115

123

Central Bedfordshire UA(2)

166

153

152

    

Hertfordshire

502

501

520

Broxbourne

63

54

63

Dacorum

67

64

67

East Hertfordshire

54

54

52

3 Dec 2012 : Column 604W

Hertsmere

33

35

39

North Hertfordshire

45

56

58

St Albans

52

38

51

Stevenage

49

61

58

Three Rivers

34

38

35

Watford

39

38

42

Welwyn Hatfield

66

63

55

England and Wales

34,633

38,259

41,361

(1 )Bedford UA comprises the former district of Bedford (abolished 2009). (2 )Central Bedfordshire UA comprises the former districts of mid-Bedfordshire and South Bedfordshire (abolished 2009). Note: Conceptions in England and Wales 2010 is available on the ONS website and provides numbers and rates of under 18 conceptions in England and Wales from 1998 to 2010: www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob1/conception-statistics--england-and-wales/2010/index.html

Teenage Pregnancy: Suffolk

Mr Ruffley: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many girls under the age of 16 years (a) became pregnant and (b) gave birth in (i) Bury St Edmunds constituency and (ii) Suffolk county council area in each of the last three years by age. [131194]

Mr Hurd: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Glen Watson, dated November 2012:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent question on how many girls under the age of 16 years (a) became pregnant and (b) gave birth in (i) Bury St Edmunds constituency and (ii) Suffolk county council area in each of the last three years by age. (131194)

This question has been answered using conceptions data to represent pregnancies. Conception statistics are estimated for women usually resident in England and Wales and are based on birth registrations and abortion records. The latest year for which figures on conceptions are available is 2010.

Table 1 provides figures on under 16 conceptions for St Edmundsbury while Table 2 provides figures on under 16 conceptions for Suffolk.

Data has been provided for the non-metropolitan district of St Edmundsbury rather than the parliamentary constituency of Bury St Edmunds. Figures cannot be provided for parliamentary constituencies because of the risk of disclosing information on conceptions due to small differences with local authority boundaries. The figures for St Edmundsbury are three year aggregates because ONS does not publish data by single year for individual local authorities to protect the confidentiality of individuals.

Table 1: Under 16 conceptions for St Edmundsbury, three year aggregates, 2008-10
Area of usual residenceNumber of conceptionsConceptions leading to maternities

St Edmundsbury

27

9

Table 2: Under 16 conceptions for Suffolk, 2008-10
 201020092008
 Number of conceptionsConceptions leading to maternitiesNumber of conceptionsConceptions leading to maternitiesNumber of conceptionsConceptions leading to maternities

Suffolk

68

24

58

27

65

31

3 Dec 2012 : Column 605W

Conceptions in England and Wales 2010 is available on the ONS website and provides numbers and rates for under 16 conceptions in England and Wales:

www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob1/conception-statistics--england-and-wales/2010/index.html

Women and Equalities

Equality: Impact Assessments

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what recent discussions she has had with the Prime Minister over the proposal to abolish equality impact assessments. [130110]

Maria Miller: It has never been a legal requirement to produce an equality impact assessment (EIA). The equality duty requires public bodies to consider the likely effects of their policies and programmes on different people but there is no requirement to produce a document to do this, still less a long, complex EIA. I held discussions with the Prime Minister and relevant Cabinet colleagues about stopping the production of unnecessary EIAs, ahead of the Prime Minister’s announcement on 19 November.

Transport

Bus Services

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the written ministerial statement from the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Transport of 6 November 2012, Official Report, column 37WS, on Green Bus Fund, which operators have been issued funds; how much each such operator has been issued with; and how many vehicles were purchased. [129376]

Norman Baker: Currently, none of the additional £20 million Green Bus Fund grant has been paid. As such, additional details such as successful operators or the buses funded are not available. Bidding guidance for this new round of the Fund will be published on the Department's website shortly.

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 24 October 2012, Official Report, column 892W, on bus services: EU law, if he will place in the Library submissions made to the consultation by (a) bus operators and (b) trade associations representing bus operators. [129377]

Norman Baker: The Department for Transport undertook a consultation exercise on the application of EU Regulation 181/2011 between 18 July 2012 and 11 October 2012.

A formal Government response will be published in January 2013, and at that time I will publish all of the consultation responses.

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Blackley and Broughton of 29 October 2012,

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Official Report

, column 5W, on bus services, if he will place in the Library a copy of minutes of the Bus Service Operator's Grant Better Bus Area working groups sent to the hon. Member for Blackley and Broughton. [129496]

Norman Baker: Yes.

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans his Department has to encourage more competition for bus service operators; and what investment his Department has made to modernise bus services in the last 12 months. [130561]

Norman Baker: The Government accepted the findings of the recent Competition Commission inquiry into local bus markets and is implementing the Commission's remedies that are designed to open up local markets by reducing barriers to entry and expansion. This is part of a wider package of proposals to improve local bus services set out in “Green Light for Better Buses” published in March 2012.

The Government invested £100 million in improving local bus services in 2012 through the Better Bus Area Fund and the third round of the Green Bus Fund. In the same period, we expect to fund of the order of £100 million of local authority major schemes targeted at improvements to bus services such as the Greater Bristol Bus Network and new cross-city services in Manchester. In addition there are 579 individual bus improvement measures in the 96 projects supported by the £600 million Local Sustainable Transport Fund.

Bus Services: Tyne and Wear

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what representations he has received on the application of quality contracts schemes under the Local Transport Act 2008 to the Tyne and Wear area; and what response he has made to any such representations. [129771]

Norman Baker: I have regular discussions with bus companies and local transport authorities, including those in Tyne and Wear, which may include the topic of bus quality contract schemes. My position on quality contract schemes is clear, local transport authorities have the flexibility to impose a regulated model for bus services through a quality contract scheme, if they decide that is the best way to deliver their public transport policies. Central Government has no role in these decisions, but I am following developments with interest.

Heathrow Airport: Air Pollution

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if his Department will assess the potential effect on air quality of a third runway at Heathrow. [130927]

Mr Simon Burns: The Government's position on a third runway at Heathrow remains as set out in our programme for government and therefore my Department has no plans to assess the potential effect on air quality of a third runway at the airport.

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Heathrow Airport: Railways

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what (a) consultations and (b) studies were conducted before allocating £0.5 billion to the proposed western connection to Heathrow; [130637]

(2) whether there will be any public funding of the operating costs of the proposed western connection to Heathrow; [130638]

(3) if his Department will publish a detailed business case for the proposed western connection to Heathrow. [130699]

Mr Simon Burns: The High Level Output Specification published in July 2012 sets out the Government's plans for investment in rail in the 2014-19 period. It includes funding for the development of a new western rail access to Heathrow airport, subject to business case and agreement of terms with the Heathrow aviation industry.

A new western rail access to Heathrow was included in Network Rail's Great Western and London and South East Route Utilisation Strategies. Network Rail consulted publicly in the development of both documents. A new connection was subsequently included in Network Rail's Initial Industry Plan published in September 2011.

The rail industry is currently developing plans for the delivery of a new western rail access. Options for ownership and operation of the new connection will be considered as the rail industry develops the proposal.

High Speed 2 Railway Line

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 proportion of the affected land in the Amersham-Chilterns northern edge section is valued at £103 per hectare per year; whether £103 per hectare per year is the lowest valuation of any land type; and if he will make a statement. [130934]

Mr Simon Burns: 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.

For the purposes of the HS2 economic landscape assessment, we valued land in perpetuity rather than per year, and the lowest valued category of land was priced at £9,820 per hectare.

The land between Amersham and the Chilterns northern edge was given the highest valuation per hectare along the entire HS2 route, even though 78% of the land in the section falls into the “agriculture intensive or extensive” category which is valued at £9,820 per hectare. This is because of the high value placed upon the remaining 22% of land.

It is also important to bear in mind that the monetary value attributed to land is not the only factor in decision making. For example, landscape specialists will be making visual assessments of the quality of landscape as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment and this information will be important to the route design process.

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Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department has assessed the economic affect of High Speed 2 on the Chilterns area of outstanding natural beauty; and if he will make a statement. [130948]

Mr Simon Burns: The Appraisal of Sustainability (AOS) for HS2 contained a strategic assessment of the economic effects of HS2. The AOS is available at

www.dft.gov.uk/aos

and Appendix 3, the Socio-Economic report includes the details of the economic assessment.

As part of the Environmental Impact Assessment process, a more detailed economic assessment will be carried out and we expect to consult on the resulting draft Environmental Statement in spring 2013.

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to mitigate the effect of High Speed 2 on (a) the Misbourne, Colne and Chess rivers, (b) the chalk aquifer and (c) other bodies of water; and if he will make a statement. [130949]

Mr Simon Burns: The effects on surface and underground water are an important consideration for HS2 Ltd. Changes made to the route as a result of the consultation in 2011 meant that many impacts were minimised, such as the realigned deep tunnel under the Chilterns avoiding impacting on the River Misbourne and ensuring the Chilterns aquifer was avoided. Where HS2 crosses water bodies, rivers and flood plains, HS2 Ltd will continue to work closely with the Environment Agency and local people to help make sure that they use the most suitable methods to minimise impacts.

Currently the design process is being informed, in part, through concerns from residents about local rivers during engagement at community forums and through issues identified as part of the Environmental Impact Assessment process.

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the processes for the development of High Speed 2 comply with the (a) strategic environmental assessment directive, (b) Environmental Assessment of Plans and Programmes Regulations 2004 and (c) environmental impact assessment directive on the assessment of the effects of certain public and private projects on the environment; and if he will make a statement. [130980]

Mr Simon Burns: My Department understands the requirements of these directives and regulations and has carefully considered them in connection with HS2. The Government's HS2 proposals do not constitute a plan or programme within the meaning of the strategic environmental assessment (SEA) directive and the 2004 regulations and, therefore, there was not a requirement to undertake a SEA. However, my Department decided that it would be appropriate and beneficial to apply SEA principles to the Appraisal of Sustainability published in 2011. We will take all necessary steps to meet the objectives of the environmental impact assessment directive, including production of an Environmental Statement, which will accompany the Hybrid Bill to inform Parliament's decisions on HS2, and public consultation.

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Public Transport

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to (a) incentivise or (b) disincentivise transport authorities from pursuing quality contract schemes. [129257]

Norman Baker: I have no plans to (a) incentivise or (b) disincentivise transport authorities from pursuing quality contract schemes. The decision to pursue a Quality Contract Scheme is for the Local Transport Authority.

Public Transport: Disability

Lindsay Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department is developing a strategy for improving access to transport for people with (a) autism, (b) sight loss and (c) impaired mobility. [131201]

Norman Baker: The Department for Transport will be publishing an Accessibility Action Plan shortly. The plan will build on the success achieved in improving accessibility on public transport during the Olympic and Paralympic Games. At the heart of the plan is the importance of improving door to door journeys. It has been developed in partnership with disabled people and their organisations to ensure the most effective steps are being taken.