Treasury

Alcoholic Drinks: Prices

Mr Brady: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the potential annual change in receipts to the Exchequer attributable to a minimum unit price for alcoholic drinks fixed at (a) 45 pence, (b) 50 pence and (c) 55 pence. [134761]

Sajid Javid: The Government are currently consulting on the introduction of a minimum unit price of 45p.

The Government also published a consultation stage impact assessment which sets out the impact of a 45p minimum unit price on a range of factors—this is available on the Home Office website.

Banks: Loans

Guto Bebb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the funding for lending scheme on bank lending to businesses in the hospitality sector. [135094]

Greg Clark: The funding for lending scheme targets the non-financial economy as a whole by providing lower-cost funding to banks linked to strong incentives to increase lending. It will take time for the impact to be fully reflected in lending data as it takes time for loans or mortgages to be approved and processed. The data published on 3 December show an increase in lending, and several banks have introduced a number of new and discounted funding for lending scheme products for SMEs.

Guto Bebb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent assessment he has made of the effect of the funding for lending scheme on small and medium-sized enterprises. [135095]

Greg Clark: The funding for lending scheme targets the non-financial economy as a whole, which includes small and medium-sized enterprises, by providing lower- cost funding to banks linked to strong incentives to increase lending. It will take time for the impact to be fully reflected in lending data as it takes time for loans or mortgages to be approved and processed. The data published on 3 December showed an increase in lending, and several banks have introduced a number of new and discounted funding for lending scheme products for SMEs.

Child Benefit

Chris Ruane: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many families in each parliamentary constituency have been moved into the highest rate tax bracket as a result of changes to child benefit eligibility, as announced in the 2012 Budget statement. [136109]

Mr Gauke: No individuals have become subject to the additional rate of income tax as a result of the introduction of the high income child benefit charge. The charge does not change the rate of income tax that an individual pays.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the marginal rate of tax will be after the introduction of changes to child benefit for families with an annual income of £50,000 who have (a) one child, (b) two, (c) three, (d) four, (e) five and (f) six children. [136225]

Mr Gauke: A typical individual with an annual income of £50,000 would have a marginal rate of tax of 40% or less after the introduction of the high income child benefit charge independent of the number of children.

Gordon Henderson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the total cost of child benefit was in each of the last five years. [136228]

Sajid Javid: The following table details the information requested for the most recent five years. This is taken from HMRC tax and NIC's receipts tables, which can be found here:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/statistics/receipts.htm

 Total spend (£ million)

2007-08

10,603

2008-09

11,262

2009-10

11,824

2010-11

12,160

2011-12

12,177

14 Jan 2013 : Column 563W

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of households affected by his planned changes to child benefit due to commence on 7 January 2013; and how much he estimates will be withdrawn from such households. [136245]

Mr Gauke: An estimate has been made of the number of people affected by the high income child benefit charge in 2013-14. This information was provided in response to parliamentary question number 125984 on 6 November 2012, Official Report, column 575W:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm121106/text/121106w0003.htm#121106117004094

The fiscal savings as a result of the high income child benefit charge are around £1.7 billion each year. This was set out at Budget 2012, with reference to spending review 2010 when the initial policy was announced.

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people in each parliamentary constituency have notified HM Revenue and Customs that they wish to stop receiving child benefit rather than pay the high income child benefit charge to date. [136972]

Mr Gauke: This information is not available at parliamentary constituency level.

Child Benefit: EU Nationals

Andrew Percy: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the total cost was of child benefit paid to non-UK EU citizens in each of the last five years. [136975]

Sajid Javid: The information requested is not available. Nationality is not a condition of entitlement to child benefit.

Child Benefit: Hartlepool

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of households in Hartlepool constituency that will be affected by his planned changes to child benefit due to commence on 7 January 2013; and how much he estimates will be withdrawn from such households. [136246]

Mr Gauke: Information on the number of individuals affected by the high income child benefit charge and the savings from the introduction of the charge are not available on a constituency basis.

Corporation Tax

Tim Farron: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to reduce the number of loopholes in the tax system so that larger corporations pay higher amounts of tax. [136582]

Mr Gauke: In December's autumn statement the Government closed down three corporation tax avoidance schemes aimed at large companies, and thus protected hundreds of millions of pounds in revenue.

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Since that time, we have also closed down a loophole that sought to exploit tax rules to generate artificial loss relief from a property business. To underscore the Government's commitment to tackling tax avoidance, on 3 December 2012, we announced a further investment of £77 million in HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to expand its anti-avoidance and evasion activity, specifically focusing on offshore evasion and avoidance by wealthy individuals and multinationals. This is expected to bring in an additional £2 billion in tax per year that would have otherwise gone unpaid. As part of this investment, HMRC will expand its risk assessment capability across the large business sector and increase its specialist transfer pricing resources to speed up its work to identify and challenge the transfer pricing arrangements of multinationals.

Following the Chancellor's call for international co-operation to strengthen international tax standards, the UK, Germany and France have pledged resources to the OECD to speed up work to tackle profit-shifting and base erosion at the global level.

Economic Growth

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what comparative assessment he has made of economic growth in (a) the UK, (b) the US and (c) Germany in the last two years. [133081]

Sajid Javid: The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) is responsible for producing independent economic and fiscal forecasts; however it does not currently make comparative forecasts at this level of country detail. UK GDP grew by 1.8% in 2010, compared with 4.2% in Germany and 2.4% in the US. Output then slowed to 0.9% in 2011 in the UK, compared with 3.0% in Germany and 1.8% in the US. In 2012 the IMF forecast UK GDP to contract by 0.4% compared with growth of 0.9% in Germany and 2.2% in the US. However, from 2013 and in each year to 2017, the IMF expects the UK to grow faster than Germany.

Financial Services: Regulation

Rushanara Ali: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps his Department has taken to ensure the Financial Conduct Authority will be a strong, open and proactive regulator of the financial services sector. [136611]

Greg Clark: The Financial Services Act 2012 establishes the Financial Conduct Authority, and it will begin operating on 1 April 2013. The new regulator will be proactive in tackling consumer detriment and securing better outcomes for consumers in financial services. To support this approach, the Government have given the FCA a number of new powers, including the ability to ban or place restrictions on products, and powers enabling increased regulatory transparency and disclosure.

Flood Control

Gregg McClymont: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether any Barnett consequentials will be received by each devolved Administration as a result of increased expenditure on flood risk management in each of the next three years. [136827]

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Danny Alexander: The autumn statement announced an additional £120 million allocation to DEFRA for flood risk management. The Barnett formula was applied in the normal way and the devolved Administrations received Barnett consequential totalling £23 million.

Food Banks

Luciana Berger: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the name and location is of each food bank that he or Ministers of his Department have visited since May 2010; and what the date was of each visit. [134625]

Sajid Javid: Treasury Ministers' official duties entail visits throughout the United Kingdom. As was the case with previous Administrations it is not normal practice to disclose details of all such visits.

The Government have protected poor and vulnerable groups as far as possible while undertaking the urgent task of tackling the fiscal deficit.

Work remains the best and most immediate way out of poverty and we have continued to prioritise providing the best possible work incentives through welfare reform and increasing the personal allowance.

Education is the most effective route out of poverty for the next generation. Autumn statement 2012 announced an additional £980 million investment in schools in England by the end of this Parliament.

Gift Aid

Richard Burden: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much Gift Aid has been claimed on donations made to the British Friends of Ariel in each of the last five years. [136463]

Sajid Javid: I am unable to answer the question because HM Revenue and Customs is subject to a strict duty of confidentiality in relation to customer information.

HM Revenue and Customs may not disclose customer information outside the Department without the permission of the customer, except where there is specific legislation permitting the disclosure.

Richard Burden: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what action the Government could take against an organisation registered for Gift Aid that gives false or incomplete information about the countries in which it operates. [136464]

Sajid Javid: Charities that are eligible to UK charity tax reliefs are generally not liable to pay tax on their income and gains provided that they apply the income and gains for wholly charitable purposes. Charities may apply their income and gains for charitable purposes outside the UK. The purposes must be charitable under the law of England and Wales and the charity must be able to satisfy HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) that it has taken reasonable steps to ensure that the payment will be applied for charitable purposes only.

If a charity applies its income or gains for non-charitable purposes, then tax relief will not be due and a charge to tax may arise.

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If an organisation claims tax relief having provided HMRC with false or incomplete information about its tax liabilities then, in addition to requiring the charity to pay any tax and interest due, HMRC may impose a financial penalty. HMRC may take criminal proceedings in the most serious cases.

Government Departments: Buildings

John Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 4 December 2012, Official Report, column 691W, on Government Departments: Scotland, if he will assess the potential benefits of holding a central list of all Government-owned buildings. [135786]

Miss Chloe Smith: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Cabinet Office.

A central database of Government central civil estate properties and land across the UK already exists, which records the location of property, along with the associated information such as landlord, lease details and usage.

A subset of data from this is published on

www.data.gov.uk

on a quarterly basis. The data published include details of the location, tenure, and other key attributes for each asset.

Income Tax

Andrew Bridgen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of the working population paid income tax at a rate above the personal allowance in (a) 1996-97 and (b) 2009-10; and what estimate he has made of the proportion of the working population who will pay income tax at a rate above the personal allowance in 2013-14. [136112]

Mr Gauke: The proportion of the working population in employment/self-employment with employment income above the personal allowance is estimated to be as follows:

 Percentage

1996-97

0.86

2009-10

0.86

The equivalent proportion in 2013-14 is estimated to be 0.80%.

As a result of all of the changes to the personal allowance made by this Government, 2.2 million under 65s have been taken out of tax in 2013-14.

These estimates are based on the Family Resources Survey (FRS) in 1996-97, 2009-10 and FRS data for 2010-11 projected to 2013-14 with economic assumptions consistent with the Office for Budget Responsibility's December 2012 economic and fiscal outlook.

Robert Halfon: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the cost to the Exchequer of reintroducing an income tax rate of 10p on all earnings between £9,205 and £12,000 from financial year 2013-14; and if he will make a statement. [136279]

14 Jan 2013 : Column 567W

Mr Gauke: The autumn statement announced that the income tax personal allowance for 2013-14 will be increased to £9,440. This supersedes the Budget 2012 announcement that it would be increased to £9,205.

The cost to the Exchequer of reintroducing an income tax rate of 10p on all earnings between £9,440 and £12,230 (i.e., in the same band as the starting rate for savings) is estimated to be around £7.3 billion in 2013-14.

This estimate is based on the 2009-10 Survey of Personal Incomes, projected to 2013-14 using economic assumptions consistent with the Office for Budget Responsibility's December 2012 economic and fiscal outlook.

LIBOR

Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will take steps in conjunction with the Financial Services Authority to introduce new safeguards to ensure data processing and the administration of LIBOR financial information is robust and transparent; [135057]

(2) if he will hold discussions with the Financial Services Authority and the British Bankers’ Association on steps to ensure that future LIBOR data is processed and recorded accurately by financial data processing companies; [135058]

(3) whether he had discussions with the British Bankers’ Association on the processing of LIBOR data prior to LIBOR investigation by the Financial Services Authority. [135059]

Greg Clark: In September, the Government received Martin Wheatley's review into the LIBOR-setting process and accepted all its recommendations.

Mr Wheatley recommended that the submission to, and the administration of, LIBOR, should become regulated activities. The Financial Services Act 2012 makes this possible and a consultation on the precise activities to become regulated has recently completed.(1) In parallel, the Financial Services Authority (FSA) is consulting on the design of a supervisory regime for administrators of benchmarks, such as LIBOR.(2)

The Government believe these measures—alongside the market-led reforms outlined in the Wheatley review—are necessary to restore and maintain public confidence in LIBOR.

Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with 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.

(1 )For more information see:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/implementing_wheatley_review281112.pdf

(2) For more information see:

http://www.fsa.gov.uk/static/pubs/cp/cp12-36.pdf

Mutual Societies

Jonathan Evans: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to encourage new mutually-owned entrants in the financial services sector. [134926]

14 Jan 2013 : Column 568W

Greg Clark: As set out in the coalition agreement, the Government are committed to promote mutuals and foster diversity in financial services. The Co-operatives Consolidation Bill and the Credit Union Expansion Project help to create a supportive environment for both new and existing mutuals and the Verde divestment agreement between Lloyds and Co-op, when completed, will create a genuine mutually owned challenger to the major banks.

The Government announced in June that the Financial Services Authority and the Bank of England would review the prudential and conduct requirements for new entrants to the banking sector. This is intended to take positive action to remove barriers to entry and expansion in banking, and encourage both mutual and non-mutual new entrants.

National Insurance Contributions

Jeremy Lefroy: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much the Exchequer received in respect of employer and employee national insurance contributions in England in (a) 2009-10, (b) 2010-11 and (c) 2011-12. [136290]

Mr Gauke: The estimated amount of Class 1 national insurance contributions paid in England was:

(a) £33.4 billion by employees and £48.3 billion by employers, in 2009-10;

(b) £33.9 billion by employees and £48.6 billion by employers/in 2010-11.

Figures for 2011-12 are not available.

Estimates are based on a 1% sample of pay-as-you- earn (PAYE) data. The sample is based on accruals data; it relies upon P14 forms completed by employers at the end of each tax year and may differ from receipts figures that may be available from other sources.


Occupied Territories

Richard Burden: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much tax relief applied for via Gift Aid was received by organisations funding projects in Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories in each of the last five years. [136465]

Sajid Javid: HM Revenue and Customs does not record types of charity for Gift Aid claims, or have detailed information about the expenditure incurred by charities. Therefore the information requested on the value of tax reliefs received by organisations funding projects in Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories could not be obtained without disproportionate cost.

Child Poverty

Kate Green: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the effect on child poverty measured as the number of children living in households falling below 60% of median income before housing costs was of his announcement in the Budget 2012 that the Government would (a) increase the personal tax allowance by £1,100 in 2013-14, (b) introduce a taper on child benefit for individuals earning between £50,000 and £60,000 per annum, (c) reduce housing benefit payments to those deemed to be under-occupying their property from

14 Jan 2013 : Column 569W

April 2013,

(d)

freeze local housing allowance rates for one year from 2012,

(e)

implement the household benefit cap from 2013 with exemptions for nine months for those previously employed for a 12-month period and

(f)

allow couples in which one partner claims carer's allowance to qualify for working tax credit when one partner works at least 16 hours a week. [136319]

Mr Gauke: The information requested is not available in the form requested.

The Budget 2012 document sets out the analysis that was undertaken by HM Treasury for this fiscal event, available at:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/budget2012_documents.htm

HM Treasury did not undertake analysis of the specific measures included in Budget 2012 on child poverty. This analysis could be provided only at a disproportional cost to the Department.

The Government believe that looking at income in isolation is not a helpful measure to track progress towards its target of eradicating child poverty.

The Government are currently consulting on better measures of child poverty to inform their approach to eradicate child poverty—tackling its root causes, providing high-quality education, and helping people into work through universal credit.

Kate Green: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the effect on child poverty measured as the number of children living in households falling below 60 per cent of median income before housing costs was of his announcement in the autumn statement 2012 that (a) the personal tax allowance will rise to £9,440 in 2012-13 and (b) the uprating by one per cent for three years from 2013-14 of the main elements of (i) jobseeker's allowance, (ii) employment and support allowance (ESA), (iii) income support, (iv) applicable amounts for housing benefit, (v) maternity allowance, (vi) statutory sick pay, (vii) statutory maternity pay, (viii) statutory paternity pay, (ix) statutory adoption pay, (x) the couple and lone parent elements of working tax credits and (xi) the child element of child tax credits. [136320]

Mr Gauke: The information requested is not available in the form requested.

The autumn statement 2012 document sets out the analysis that was undertaken by HM Treasury for this fiscal event, available at:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/as2012_documents.htm

HM Treasury did not undertake analysis of the specific measures included in autumn statement 2012 on child poverty. This analysis could be provided only at a disproportional cost to the Department.

The Government believe looking at income in isolation is not a helpful measure to track progress towards their target of eradicating child poverty.

The Government are currently consulting on better measures of child poverty to inform their approach to eradicate child poverty—tackling its root causes, providing high-quality education, and helping people into work through universal credit.

14 Jan 2013 : Column 570W

Procurement

John Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many research contracts commissioned by his Department were not subject to a tendering process in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [135974]

Sajid Javid: HMT holds central records of contracts awarded (including those not subject to a competitive tendering process) with a value of £10,000 (excluding VAT) and over. All HMT contracts for research services in the period requested were subject to a competitive tendering process.

There may be contracts awarded below £10,000 during this period (including those not subject to a competitive tendering process) but to review this information in detail would be at a disproportionate cost.

Pupils: Disadvantaged

Gregg McClymont: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether any Barnett consequentials will be received by each devolved Administration as a result of increased expenditure on the pupil premium in each of the next three years. [136825]

Danny Alexander: The Department for Education's budgets for the pupil premium for the years 2011-12 to 2014-15 were set in the 2010 spending review, and the Barnett formula was applied in the normal way.

Revenue and Customs

Stephen Timms: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether HM Revenue and Customs staff who administer tax credits in call centres will transfer to the Department for Work and Pensions under the TUPE rules, if their centre is selected for the delivery of universal credit. [136667]

Mr Gauke: Movement of staff between central Government Departments does not involve a change in employer so TUPE regulations cannot apply. However, relevant staff working in HM Revenue and Customs sites selected to become UC service centres will move to DWP under existing civil service policies that allow the transfer of staff across Government Departments.

Tax Avoidance

Rushanara Ali: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the Finance Act 2012, what steps his Department plans to take to discourage tax avoidance and the use of tax havens by controlled foreign companies. [136612]

Mr Gauke: The new Controlled Foreign Companies (CFC) rules were introduced by the Finance Act 2012 as part of the corporate tax roadmap and came into effect on 1 January 2013. The rules are anti-avoidance provisions designed to prevent UK tax resident companies from artificially diverting their UK profits to controlled companies in low-tax jurisdictions to reduce their UK tax bill. They work by charging UK tax on those profits and so act as a deterrent to this behaviour.

14 Jan 2013 : Column 571W

Amendments to the CFC rules were announced on 11 December 2012 for inclusion in the Finance Bill 2013, to counter one disclosed avoidance scheme along with other identified planning opportunities.

Tax Evasion

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many companies have been (a) investigated and (b) prosecuted for tax evasion in each of the last five years. [136111]

Mr Gauke: The term “investigation” can cover many types of interventions undertaken by HMRC. For instance any tax return submitted by a company can be looked at to ensure its accuracy, and HMRC engages with individuals and companies on their tax affairs on the telephone and by carrying out compliance visits. HMRC carries out hundreds of thousands of such interventions every year.

The majority of tax evasion cases are dealt with using cost-effective civil settlement procedures.

HMRC also has the power to investigate criminally those that seek to defraud the Exchequer, and it publishes its policy on when it will use this power.

HMRC is not a prosecuting authority. Where cases do proceed to the criminal courts the prosecution is carried out by the relevant independent prosecuting authority. This is the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) in England and Wales, the Crown Office and Procurator Fiscal Service (COPFS) in Scotland, and the Public Prosecution Service in Northern Ireland (PPSNI).

Along with the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), HMRC and its prosecuting authority are legislatively able to pursue corporate offending. However, establishing guilty knowledge and securing convictions against companies is notoriously difficult. Therefore when HMRC undertakes a criminal investigation into a company for tax evasion with a view to prosecution, it will pursue the officers of the company for their actions on behalf of that company, rather than the company per se.

Details of the total number of individuals prosecuted and convicted for tax offences are set out in the following table. These include offences in relation to both direct and indirect tax, excise, and tax credits.

 ProsecutionsConvictions

2007-08

526

638

2008-09

416

469

2009-10

296

419

2010-11

402

327

2011-12

497

399

Prosecution and conviction figures in any given year do not necessarily relate to the same individuals due to timing and length of case. Prior to 2010-11, prosecution figures relate to cases as opposed to individuals.

A breakdown of prosecutions and convictions for tax evasion between individuals and those related to companies is available only at disproportionate cost.

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Taxation: Energy

Caroline Flint: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish the total amount of (a) UK corporation tax, (b) employers' national insurance contributions, (c) business rates paid and (d) employment taxes and environmental taxes collected in the UK by (i) Centrica, (ii) Electricite de France S.A., (iii) E.ON SE, (iv) Iberdrola, (v) RWE AG and (vi) Scottish and Southern Energy, net of any credits that may have been obtained against those UK tax liabilities for taxes paid outside of the UK in each of the last five years; and if he will make a statement. [136678]

Mr Gauke: HM Revenue and Customs is unable to disclose the amount of tax collected in the UK by (i) Centrica, (ii) Electricite de France S.A., (iii) E.ON SE, (iv) Iberdrola. (v) RWE AG and (vi) Scottish and Southern Energy. To do so would be a breach of HM Revenue and Customs' duty of confidentiality.

Taxation: Public Houses

Greg Mulholland: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much unpaid VAT or non-domestic rates was written off by the Insolvency Service on behalf of applicants who previously ran or operated public houses in each of the last five years. [136457]

Jo Swinson: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

There will be claims in respect of unpaid VAT and non-domestic rates in most insolvency proceedings involving the failure of public houses. The Insolvency Service does not hold records which would enable the data requested to be provided.

Welfare Tax Credits

Stephen Timms: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many households with a self-employed member claimed tax credits in the latest period for which figures are available; and for how many such households self-employment was the main source of income. [133307]

Sajid Javid: There were approximately 950,000 households in the UK declaring some self-employment income, who were in a positive tax credit award.

Approximately 675,000 of these households earn the majority of their income (over 50%) from self-employment.

These figures are based on the latest available finalised data for 2010-11.

Working Tax Credit: EU Nationals

Andrew Percy: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the cost to the Exchequer was of working tax credits paid to non-UK EU citizens of each nationality in each of the last five years. [136571]

Sajid Javid: The information requested is not available. Nationality is not a condition of entitlement to the child and working tax credits.

Tax credits are intended to provide support to families with children in the UK and to those in low-paid work here. As a result, eligibility for tax credits depends on

14 Jan 2013 : Column 573W

the claimants being present and ordinarily resident in the UK. In addition, child tax credit claimants must have a right to reside in the UK.

Business, Innovation and Skills

Apprentices: Catering

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many people have so far (a) started and (b) completed apprenticeships under the Asian Culinary Excellence initiative. [136668]

Matthew Hancock: The pilot to develop centres of excellence in Asian and Oriental cuisine is operated by the provider People 1st in partnership with the Hospitality Guild and funded by the Growth and Innovation Fund.

The most current figures, in terms of engagement with the pilot, are as follows:

413 registered interest in the pilot

138 attended information and assessment sessions

64 pre-employment starts

38 completed pre-employment

7 progressed to an apprenticeship

13 work experience completed with a further 12 to be placed in January 2013

Of the £1.75 million allocated funding to People 1st through the Growth and Innovation Fund; approximately £250,000 is invested in the centres of excellence.

Aviation

Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many air miles were accumulated by each Minister in his Department in 2012; how such air miles were used; and whether such air miles were donated to charity. [137088]

Jo Swinson: It is the policy within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) that frequent flyer benefits, including air miles obtained by spending public money and accumulated from official business travel, must not be used for private purposes.

All official business travel within BIS must be booked using the central departmental travel provider. This provider has been instructed by the Department not to accumulate any type of frequent flyer benefits against travel ticket bookings made by any member of the Department including Ministers.

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Business

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills with reference to The Coalition: Mid-Term Review, published on 7 January 2013, page 9, what the 11 specific sector strategies are that he intends to publish in the coming year; and when he intends each such strategy to be published. [136274]

Michael Fallon: We are committed to developing a long-term strategic partnership in the 11 key sectors as follows. Working with industry, we will produce a set of strategies that outline a long-term vision for each sector and an action plan for delivery. The timeline for publications is as follows:

Sector strategy:

Life Sciences—update published December 2012

Aerospace—due to publish in early 2013

Nuclear—due to publish in early 2013

Oil and Gas—due to publish in early 2013

Offshore Wind—due to publish in early 2013

Agri-science—due to publish in spring 2013

Education—due to publish in spring 2013

Information Economy—due to publish in spring 2013

Automotive—due to publish in spring 2013

Construction—due to publish in summer 2013

Professional business services—due to publish in summer 2013

The analysis supporting the choice of 11 sectors is available in the following publication: BIS Economics Paper No. 18, “Industrial Strategy: UK Sector Analysis”, September 2012.

Available at:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/analysis/economics/main-economics-papers

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills with reference to The Coalition: Mid-Term Review, published on 7 January 2013, page 10, when the catapult technology and innovation centres in cell therapies, the connected digital economy, future cities, high value manufacturing, offshore renewable energy, satellite applications and transport systems will be established; and where each such centre will be based. [136288]

Mr Willetts: The Technology Strategy Board continues to make good progress in establishing the network of catapult centres. The location (where announced) and date of establishment of the catapults are:

CatapultLocationDate established/to be established(1)

High Value Manufacturing

7 partner centres around the country, no central HQ

Opened for business in October 2011

Cell Therapy

Tower Wing, Guy's Hospital, London

September 2012: Leadership team now in place

Offshore Renewable Energy

HQ in Glasgow with an operations centre at Narec in Blyth.

December 2012: Leadership team now in place

Satellite Applications

Harwell Science and Innovation Campus, Oxford

January 2013: Leadership team now in place

Connected Digital Economy

London

Target is February 2013: CEO now in place

Future Cities

To be announced

Target is March 2013 to have leadership team in place

Transport Systems

To be announced

Target is April 2013 to have leadership team in place

14 Jan 2013 : Column 575W

The Technology Strategy Board has adopted the following definition for when a new catapult centre becomes “operational” or “established”:

The catapult is established as a legal entity with supervisory governance in place;

The senior leadership team is in place;

A grant funding agreement is in place;

The initial work programme has been agreed; and

Initial projects are agreed/underway (e.g. research, capital investment, demonstrators, commercial projects.)

As with any far-sighted investment of this nature, there will be a significant period—potentially several years—in which the catapult centres, operating as an autonomous entities, continue to build their capability and commission new facilities.

Business: Advisory Services

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 19 December 2012, Official Report, column 810W, on business finance, whether the mentors available to successful applicants under the Start-Up Loans scheme (a) include previous totals provided by his Department, (b) include those available through the Mentorsme web portal and (c) are distinct from those previously announced. [136736]

Michael Fallon: The previous totals of mentors provided by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

14 Jan 2013 : Column 576W

refer to the total number of mentors accessible via Mentorsme, the national mentoring portal, which is funded and operated by the British Bankers’ Association (BBA).

The mentors available for successful applicants under the Start-Up Loans scheme come from a number of sources, including from mentoring organisations listed on the Mentorsme portal. Some of these mentors will therefore have been included in our totals.

In addition the Start-Up Loans scheme also recruits mentors directly and encourages potential mentors to sign up via the Start-Up Loans website.

Business: Government Assistance

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many firms in each region (a) are taking part in, (b) were not found to be suitable for, (c) are still being assessed for and (d) are judged suitable but who are not yet taking part in the Growth Accelerator programme since its inception. [136737]

Michael Fallon: The numbers of companies involved in the Growth Accelerator programme by area, as of 9 January 2013, is set out in the following table. Although Growth Accelerator is delivered on a national basis, there is a lead contractor in each of four different areas of England; we have therefore set out the data requested against these delivery areas.

AreaLead contractorCurrently taking partNot found to be suitableBeing assessedJudge suitable but not yet taking part(1)

London and Hertfordshire

Grant Thornton

372

27

286

142

Southwest and Southeast

Oxford Innovation

495

54

340

124

Midlands

Pera

765

76

417

189

North

Winning Pitch

728

24

775

168

Total

 

2,360

181

1,818

623

(1) Some of these may still choose not to join it.

Business: Research

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what plans he has to increase research and development expenditure by business enterprises. [136519]

Mr Willetts: The Government are encouraging the increase of research and development (R&D) expenditure by business through a range of measures, including R&D tax credits and the programmes delivered by the Technology Strategy Board.

R&D tax credits are the single largest Government support for business investment in R&D. In the year ending March 2011 claims totalled £1.1 billion on expenditure of £10.9 billion.

The rate of tax relief available through the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) R&D tax credit was raised to 225% from April 2012, making it among the most competitive regimes in the world, which is likely to further incentivise companies to invest in R&D. The Government believe that the Above the Line (ATL) credit being introduced on 1 April 2013 for large companies will be effective in influencing R&D investment decisions and help to increase the overall level of R&D activity in the UK.

The Technology Strategy Board is the Government's prime channel for supporting business-led technology innovation. It delivers a range of programmes in support of businesses undertaking research and development including Collaborative R&D, Smart and Knowledge Transfer Partnerships.

The Technology Strategy Board also provides opportunities for innovative businesses through the growing network of Catapult centres. Since June 2007 the Technology Strategy Board has provided £960 million in support for businesses across the UK ranging from pre start-up, start-up and early stage micro businesses, to large multi-nationals.

In addition, we have taken a number of further actions which are likely to increase business expenditure on R&D including: the introduction of an Innovation Vouchers programme, additional support to help companies access venture capital, increased investment in the Small Business Research Initiative, and the new UK Research Partnership Investment Fund (UK RPIF), which will

14 Jan 2013 : Column 577W

secure over £1 billion support for the development of new research facilities and partnerships between universities, businesses and charities.

Business: Scotland

Gregg McClymont: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) how many Scottish based applications made to the Start-Up Loans scheme have been (a) received and (b) successful since May 2010; [136826]

(2) how many of the new businesses that have received assistance from the Start-Up Loans scheme are based in Scotland. [136872]

Michael Fallon: The Start-Up Loans scheme is England only and does not operate in Scotland.

Business: Young People

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many loans have been made under the Start-Up Loans for young people programme in each month since the introduction of the programme; and what proportion of the total amount allocated to the programme was spent in each month. [136227]

Michael Fallon: The monthly breakdown of loans made under the Start-Up Loans scheme is as follows:

2012Number

September

24

October

22

November

258

December

158

Total

462

The actual monthly spend under the Start-Up Loans scheme is as follows:

 £

September

22,500

October

47,700

November

811,044

December

729,765

This is in line with projections.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many loans have been made under the Start-Up Loans for young people programme in each constituency since the introduction of the programme. [136265]

Michael Fallon: We do not collect or hold data by constituency. Start-Up Loans are available across England. A breakdown by region (as of 3 January 2013) is as follows:

 Percentage

East Midlands

5

East of England

3

Greater London

34

North East England

3

14 Jan 2013 : Column 578W

North West

9

South East

19

South West

7

West Midlands

14

Yorkshire and Humber

6

Comet Group

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills when he expects the Insolvency Service to have completed its report on Comet; and what timetable he has set for this process. [136734]

Jo Swinson: The investigation is still at a very early stage. It would be premature to set a rigid end date, and to do so might restrict the depth and thoroughness of the inquiry. However, the Insolvency Service aims to complete the vast majority of this type of investigation within six months and intends to report on findings and progress to the Secretary of State within that time scale.

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what information he plans to make available to the public following the Insolvency Service report on Comet; and what discussions and meetings he and officials in his Department have had with external parties on this matter. [136735]

Jo Swinson: The Insolvency Service's fact-finding inquiry into the circumstances surrounding the insolvency of Comet Group Ltd is being conducted under section 447 of the Companies Act, and publication of the findings of this type of investigation is prohibited under law.

The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, my right hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable), has not discussed the inquiry with any external parties, and it would not be appropriate to do so while the inquiry is ongoing. The Insolvency Service will not be disclosing what meetings officials have held with external parties because to do so could seriously compromise the ongoing investigation.

Credit: Interest Rates

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the number of payday loan shops in each parliamentary constituency. [136222]

Jo Swinson: Government are not aware of any estimate of the number of payday loan shops in each parliamentary constituency. The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) set out in the interim report of its ongoing compliance review of payday lenders that it was aware of around 240 payday lenders. While some of these lenders operate exclusively online, of the remainder, I expect that some will be sole traders and some will be multiple traders.

We are of course concerned about the evidence of problems with payday lending that consumers across constituency boundaries are experiencing. The Government are therefore taking co-ordinated action to tackle detriment in this market, including agreeing revised voluntary

14 Jan 2013 : Column 579W

codes with industry and the OFT's ongoing compliance review. We are also strengthening OFT enforcement powers with a new power to suspend a business's credit licence with immediate effect, or on a date specified by the OFT, where the OFT considers it is urgently necessary in order to protect the interests of consumers and prevent serious actual or potential consumer detriment. This power comes into effect next month.

Further, we have announced our intention to transfer the regulation of consumer credit from the OFT to the new Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) in 2014 subject to the design of a proportionate regime and powers in the Financial Services Act 2012 to do so. The FCA will have a diverse range of regulatory powers to address problems across all consumer credit markets, including being able to ban products or specific product features, levy fines and determine consumer redress.

Deloitte

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many meetings Ministers and officials in his Department had with Deloitte in each month of (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [135979]

Jo Swinson: Details of BIS Ministers' meetings with external organisations are published on a quarterly basis at:

www.bis.gov.uk/bisministerialdata

Information about meetings between Deloitte and BIS officials is not held centrally, and can be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Engineering: Prizes

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to The Coalition: Mid-Term Review, published on 7 January 2013, page 10, what steps he plans to take to promote the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering. [136289]

Mr Willetts: BIS Ministers are taking every opportunity to promote the Queen Elizabeth Prize for Engineering, working with the Royal Academy of Engineering, and believe it has real potential to inspire future generations of engineers. Indeed the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the right hon. Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable) highlighted this prize in his keynote speech at the Confederation of British Industry's annual conference in November 2012.

In addition, the Department's Chief Scientific Adviser, Professor John Perkins—himself an eminent engineer—is working closely with the Royal Academy of Engineering and others to examine engineering workforce issues. BIS is also responsible for a range of activities designed to promote engineering and manufacturing as career opportunities. The See Inside Manufacturing campaign has done this by showing young people around some of the UK's leading industrial companies. Complementing this, we have programmes such as science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) ambassadors, apprenticeship ambassadors, Make It in Great Britain and the very successful Big Bang Fair which this year involved 170 organisations with 56,000 people at the main event in Birmingham.

14 Jan 2013 : Column 580W

EU External Trade

Mr Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many free trade areas the EU has negotiated with non-EU countries; and how many such areas it is currently negotiating. [136642]

Michael Fallon: At present, the European Union (EU) has free trade agreements (FTA) with four countries, namely: Chile, South Africa, Mexico, and South Korea. As part of the wider European economic area, the EU has adopted FTAs with Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Switzerland.

Negotiations with central America (comprising El Salvador; Costa Rica; Guatemala; Nicaragua; Honduras and Panama), the Andean nations of Peru and Colombia, and Ukraine have been concluded, and will be ratified in due course.

Negotiations are ongoing with nine individual countries or groups of countries, namely: Canada; India; Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Venezuela, Uruguay and Paraguay); Malaysia; Vietnam; Moldova; Georgia; Armenia; and the Gulf Co-operation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates).

Political agreement on the FTA with Singapore was reached in December 2012 and we are confident that negotiations with Canada will be concluded in the coming months. The Government are supportive of negotiations starting in 2013 with Japan, Thailand and the USA.

Export Credit Guarantees: Argentina

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will publish details of the £45 million in debts owed to UK Export Finance by Argentina for mechanical goods; when UK Export Finance made loans to Argentina; to which individuals and organisations such loans were made; and what the purpose of those loans was. [136356]

Michael Fallon: It is not possible to provide details of individual export transactions, where such information exists, as this would incur disproportionate cost. UK Export Finance (UKEF) did not provide any loans. UKEF provides guarantees on loans made by banks to overseas buyers of UK exports and insurance to exporters against the risk of not being paid by an overseas buyer.

Exports

Mr Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the value was of UK exports (a) within and (b) without the EU in each of the last 12 years. [136641]

Michael Fallon: The value of UK goods exports within the EU and outside the EU since 1998 can be found on the Office for National Statistics website at

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/datasets-and-tables/data-selector.html?dataset=mret

Data for goods and services exports can also be found in the Pink Book time series at

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/datasets-and-tables/data-selector.html?dataset=pb

14 Jan 2013 : Column 581W

The latest data (2011 data from the Pink Book 2012 table 9.3) show that the UK exported £493 billion of goods and services, of which £234 billion was to the EU-27 and the remaining £259 billion to outside the EU-27. 2012 data are planned for release in July 2013.

London Metropolitan University

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what has been the total cost of establishing his Department's task force for international students at London Metropolitan university (LMU); how many students have been assisted by the task force; how many such students have been given leave to remain at LMU; and to which other higher education institutions students assisted by the task force have been sent. [136573]

Mr Willetts: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) announced a support fund of up to £2 million to help London Metropolitan university international students who had reasonably incurred financial costs as a direct result of the UK Boarder Agency's (UKBA) decision to revoke the university's Tier 4 licence. Task force members (BIS, Higher Education Funding Council for England—HEFCE, UKBA, London Metropolitan university, Universities UK and National Union of Students) provided their time to oversee the work at no additional cost. The task force provided assistance in the form of advice, guidance and financial support, to all students affected by the revocation of the university's Tier 4 licence, whether they were already studying at the university or considering applying for the academic year 2012/13. Specifically, London Metropolitan university established a clearing house to help the university's overseas students find places with other higher education (HE) providers.

The court order decision of 5 October 2012 allowed non-EEA students in the UK currently enrolled at London Metropolitan university, or with an offer of a place, and who already had a valid Tier 4 visa to study there, to complete their course, or complete the 2012/13 academic year ending in summer 2013, whichever was the sooner. A significant majority of London Metropolitan university overseas students continued their studies in 2012/13. On behalf of the task force, HEFCE has been administering a support fund to assist students who had experienced direct additional costs arising from the revocation. At 9 January 2013, HEFCE had made total payments of £682,000 to 352 students whose application for financial assistance from the support fund was successful. HEFCE continues to receive applications from students who believe they are experiencing an additional cost burden because of the revocation of London Metropolitan university's Tier 4 licence.

Students assisted by the task force have found places at a range of higher education providers. Sixteen higher education institutions participated directly with the university's clearing house, which are listed as follows. However, providers from across the country provided assistance to place London Metropolitan university overseas students.

Brunel University

City University

University of East London

University of Greenwich

14 Jan 2013 : Column 582W

London South Bank University

Middlesex University

Roehampton University

University of West London

Westminster University

BPP University College

College of Law

Kingston University

London School of Business and Finance

ifs School of Finance

Regent's College

Information about the numbers of students given leave to remain is a matter for the UK Borders Agency.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much debt is currently owed by London Metropolitan university to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE); how much of the debt originally owed to HEFCE has been repaid; and what recent discussions have taken place with London Metropolitan university on the future rate of repayment of this debt. [136574]

Mr Willetts: London Metropolitan university is currently repaying to the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) £36.5 million of overpaid grant incurred in previous years. The university has repaid £19.03 million to date. It is also due to repay £4 million of recoverable grant in 2014-15 as part of a Strategic Development Fund (SDF) project approved in December 2010.

The university has been granted permission by HEFCE to reschedule repayments of the remaining £17.5 million from £7.5 million in 2012-13 and £10 million in 2013-14 as currently agreed, to £2.5 million starting in 2013-14 and ending in 2019-20. This decision has been made to allow London Metropolitan university greater financial flexibility following the revocation of its Tier 4 licence to recruit overseas students. HEFCE is considering a request from the university to convert the £4 million SDF recoverable grant to a non-repayable grant, to enable it to invest in its new strategic action plan.

Money Lenders: Ashfield

Gloria De Piero: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent steps his Department has taken to reduce illegal money lending in Ashfield constituency; and what recent discussions his Department has had in this respect. [136945]

Jo Swinson: Until April 2012 BIS directly funded Trading Standards to take on complex cases which crossed individual local authority boundaries. This included setting up an Illegal Money Lending Team for England.

On 1 April 2012, the Government published their response to the consultation on empowering and protecting consumers, which set out the decision to establish a National Trading Standards Board (NTSB) for England and Wales. During 2012/13, the NTSB has continued to fund the delivery of the Illegal Money Lending Team in England, which includes the same level of protection in the East Midlands. The NTSB reports to BIS on progress on a quarterly basis, and BIS is represented on the NTSB.

14 Jan 2013 : Column 583W

Nuclear Power: Trade Promotion

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what financial support his Department is providing for the Civil Nuclear Energy Showcase in London on 5-6 February 2013, organised by UK Trade and Investment. [136554]

Michael Fallon: The budget for the UK Civil Nuclear Energy Showcase is £110,000: £60,000 from UK Trade and Investment's programme budget and £50,000 from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to allow 22 commercial officers to accompany participating delegates from key overseas markets.

Overseas Trade

Stephen Mosley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps UK Trade and Investment is taking to assist UK companies in taking advantage of trade opportunities in brownfield management and remediation. [136277]

Michael Fallon: UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) pro-actively promotes the UK strengths and capability of the contaminated land and remediation (CLR) industry. Land remediation is part of the environment that is a priority sector in UKTI's “water and environment” export strategy. We assist UK companies through a programme of activities, which the CLR industry can take advantage of. This includes:

participation at international exhibitions and conferences, supported through the UKTI Trade Access Programme;

access to international buyers through “UKTI meet the buyer” events that are UK based;

UK based country specific briefings at UK exhibitions and conferences;

inward and outward trade missions to UKTI target markets;

access to international markets via UKTI's Overseas Market Introduction Service;

advice on developing meaningful export business plans through “Passport to Export” and “Gateway to Export”;

pursuit of High Value Opportunities in target markets; and

in consultation with the lead trade association Contaminated Land: Applications in Real Environments (CLAIRE), UKTI published “The UK Land Remediation Capability” document, used by UKTI to champion UK capability globally.

Overseas Trade: Germany

Mr Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the value of Germany's (a) most recent structural surplus in its trade with the UK and (b) structural surplus over each of the last five years. [136644]

Michael Fallon: The balance of trade (goods and services) between the UK and Germany is publicly available in the Office for National Statistics (ONS) “Pink Book 2012” publication. More timely data for goods only are available via the time series tool on the ONS website at:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/datasets-and-tables/data-selector.html?cdid=ENYW&dataset=mret&table-id=F2

and show the UK balance of trade with Germany is -£5,846 million in Quarter 3 2012.

14 Jan 2013 : Column 584W

Overseas Trade: Morocco

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what proportion of the UK's £510 million exports to Morocco to November 2011 were to Western Sahara. [135947]

Michael Fallon: Overseas trade statistics published by HM Revenue and Customs do not currently differentiate between the countries/territories of Morocco and Western Sahara.

Therefore it is not currently possible to give a value for UK exports to Western Sahara.

New EU legislation (regulation 1106/2012) will mean that from 1 January 2013 Western Sahara will have its own geo-nomenclature code and so trade statistics will be collected from that point forward. The first months' results should be published in March this year.

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what proportion of the £381 million of imports from Morocco to the UK was from Western Sahara. [135948]

Michael Fallon: Overseas trade statistics published by HM Revenue and Customs do not currently differentiate between the countries/territories of Morocco and Western Sahara.

Therefore it is not currently possible to give a value for UK imports from Western Sahara.

New EU legislation (regulation 1106/2012) will mean that from 1 January 2013 Western Sahara will have its own geo-nomenclature code and so trade statistics will be collected from that point forward. The first months' results should be published in March this year.

Part-time Employment

Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what proportion of staff in his Department work part-time. [137021]

Jo Swinson: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) employs 340 part-time staff, which equates to 11% of the overall BIS workforce. This figure is based as at 1 December 2012 and includes UK Trade and Investment.

Procurement

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many research contracts commissioned by his Department were not subject to a tendering process in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [135972]

Jo Swinson: The number of research contracts commissioned by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills for each of the requested years is as follows:

 Contracts

(a) 2010

(1)

(b) 2011

13

(c) 2012

18

(1 )No information available.

14 Jan 2013 : Column 585W

It is to be noted that each of these contracts was awarded through the Single Tender Action (STA) process.

STAs are only allowed for a defined number of exceptional circumstances and is not a mechanism for avoiding a competitive process where such a process would prove possible or beneficial.

Research

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what research his Department has undertaken to assess the relative merits of spending programmes in encouraging innovation and investment in research and development. [136518]

Mr Willetts: The Government encourage research and development (R&D) expenditure by business through a range of measures, including R&D tax credits and the programmes delivered by the Technology Strategy Board.

R&D Tax Credits are the single largest Government support for business investment in R&D. In 2010 BIS and HMRC commissioned qualitative research into businesses' R&D decision-making process as part of the evaluation of R&D tax credits. This focused on how far it is possible to determine whether R&D tax credits and grants for R&D resulted in companies undertaking research that they would not otherwise have done.

The Technology Strategy Board is the Government's prime channel for supporting business-led technology innovation. It delivers a range of programmes in support of businesses undertaking research and development including Collaborative R&D, Smart and Knowledge Transfer Partnerships.

The Technology Strategy Board undertakes in-depth evaluations of each of its support programmes—an evaluation of Smart was completed in 2009 (when the programme was delivered by the regional development agencies), a review of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships was completed in 2010, and an evaluation of Collaborative R&D was completed in 2011.

Also, at an individual project level, the Technology Strategy Board undertakes post project evaluation at one year and five years after completion of a project, particularly to understand the economic impact.

It is also currently undertaking work to further develop a framework to continue to build and refine its metrics and impact measures to be able to understand at a more detailed level the impact of its activities.

The Technology Strategy Board is currently the subject of a formal triennial review which will assess its performance amongst other issues.

Sickness Absence

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 12 December 2012, Official Report, column 401W, on sick leave, if he will make an assessment of the contribution mindfulness-based practice can make to reducing workplace stress and staff absences in his Department. [136205]

Jo Swinson: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 12 December 2012, Official Report, column 401W.

14 Jan 2013 : Column 586W

BIS is not able to make such an assessment. BIS refers employees with health issues to an independent medical adviser (MA) who is an occupational health expert for advice on how best to support and facilitate their return to work. The actions and support available are relative to the individual circumstances of the case.

Sustainable Development

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what progress has been made on the delivery of the actions in the (a) Resource Security Action Plan and (b) Technology Strategy Board Resource Efficiency Strategy; and if he will make a statement. [136688]

Michael Fallon: The key actions from the Resource Security Action Plan are on schedule for completion and are being taken forward by Government, our delivery partners WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme), the Technology Strategy Board (TSB), the Environmental Sustainability Knowledge Transfer Network, Green Alliance and business.

The Circular Economy Task Force has been convened by Green Alliance and is due to report in the summer. The Environmental Sustainability Knowledge Transfer Network is developing the Resources Dashboard, a test version is currently available online at:

www.resourcedashboard.co.uk

and a more developed version will launch later in 2013. The TSB and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA)-funded Innovation Challenge competition has been run and seven projects have now been funded, while WRAP has commissioned research into critical material flows and launched demonstration trials to look at recovery of materials.

The scope for applying the principle of Individual Producer Responsibility (IPR) more generally to the Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) system and proposals to expand WEEE data capture will be covered in the consultation document on the transposition of the recast of the WEEE directive to be published by the end of March.

A report on IPR was published by this Department in July 2012 and its findings are being considered in the context of the broader consultation exercise.

The TSB has made good progress in delivering the actions in its Resource Efficiency Strategy. It has used a range of mechanisms to provide effective engagement with businesses working to improve efficient use of resources. For example, some 25 competitions have been launched or are planned which aim to engage innovative organisations in specific resource efficiency projects where there are demonstrable benefits and clear market opportunities.

Additionally, the TSB has established the Environmental Sustainability Knowledge Transfer Network (ESKTN) which is successful in providing support to some 10,000 members in the environmental sustainability landscape, and significant collaboration has been developed between research councils, DEFRA, WRAP and others through the TSB's high level Resource Efficiency Steering Group to identify areas where the TSB can add most value.

14 Jan 2013 : Column 587W

International engagement is also strong through several European ERA-NET schemes which focus on key sustainability issues and eco-innovation.

Trade Promotion: Libya

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will list the names and companies of those who accompanied the Minister without Portfolio at the Cabinet Office, on his trade mission to Libya from 2 to 6 December 2012. [136539]

Mr Kenneth Clarke: I have been asked to reply as Minister without Portfolio.

The companies which participated in the 2-6 December 2012 Middle East Association trade mission to Libya, which I led, comprised 22 organisations from sectors including health care, education, defence, design and engineering, aviation services and oil and gas equipment.

The companies are: WS Atkins and Partners Overseas, BAE Systems, BPP Learning Media, CTEQ Ltd, English UK, Enviro Technology Services plc, Excalibur Group Holdings Limited, General Dynamics UK Limited, HR Wallingford, James Andrew international, John Reid and Sons (Strucsteel) Ltd, London Corporate Training, Multi-Tek International, NATS Ltd, Norbain SD Limited, Salamanca Risk Management, Team Simoco, Travelex, Ultra Electronics,Universal Trade and Investment Associates, Weir Oil and Gas.

UK Trade with EU

Mr Cash: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the balance of trade between the (a) eurozone and (b) each of the member states is with the UK. [136643]

Michael Fallon: The balance of trade between the eurozone and each EU member state with the UK can be found on the Office for National Statistics website. The latest data for goods only for the eurozone and selected member states can be found in the “UK Trade—November 2012” release on 9 January 2013 at

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/uktrade/uk-trade/november-2012/stb-uk-trade--november-2012.html.

The latest trade balance for the eurozone and all member states (goods and services) can be found in the “Pink Book 2012”, Table 9.3 at

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/bop/united-kingdom-balance-of-payments/2012/index.html

and is shown in the following table:

CountrySeries codeBalance of trade (UK, £ million)

Austria

LGMD

-1,323

Belgium

A8HC

-2,474

Cyprus

A8HD

392

Estonia

ZWSQ

79

Finland

LGMG

34

France

LGMH

-1,135

Germany

LGMI

-15,662

Greece

LGMJ

-242

Ireland

LGMK

10,112

Italy

LGML

-2,858

Luxembourg

A8HF

239

14 Jan 2013 : Column 588W

Malta

A8HG

191

Netherlands

LGMM

1,301

Portugal

LGMN

-972

Slovakia

ZWTD

-579

Slovenia

ZWTC

-82

Spain

LGMO

-6,152

eurozone

 

-19,131

Source: ONSPB2012

Women and Equalities

Males: Education

Mr Hollobone: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what discussions she has had with her ministerial colleagues in the Department for Education on improving the educational attainment of white boys in deprived areas. [136254]

Mrs Grant [holding answer 10 January 2013]: Improving the educational attainment of white boys in deprived areas has been discussed as part of the Government's work on social mobility.

The Social Mobility Progress report, published in May 2012 committed GEO “to explore the barriers [to social mobility] … and how they could be addressed, with an initial focus on … poor White boys”. The GEO is currently taking this forward.

Marriage

Stephen Doughty: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what discussions she has had with the Church in Wales on proposals to prohibit the Church in Wales from conducting same-sex marriages. [136298]

Mrs Grant: The Church in Wales responded to the consultation on equal civil marriage and its views were considered as the Government's proposals on equal marriage were developed. However, it was appropriate that the proposals were shared with Parliament first.

We continue to have constructive engagement with the Church in Wales as we work towards introducing legislation to Parliament.

Defence

Service Complaints Systems

15. Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to ensure that service complaints systems work efficiently, effectively and fairly. [136416]

Mr Francois: The Government remain committed to an efficient, effective and fair system of service complaints, and draws on the advice of the independent service complaints commissioner in achieving this. She has highlighted the fundamental importance of the timely handling of complaints. Learning from her recommendations, our continuous improvement work and our recent review of the system, we are making changes focused on improving timeliness.

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In addition, from January this year we have a new arrangement for working with the commissioner, so that she can comment on live cases if she sees the kind of procedural delay which can lead to escalation, dissatisfaction and additional time taken to reach resolution. We are also restructuring the way we monitor progress on complaints, to help identify the causes of undue delay, so that we can act to prevent recurrence.

Syria

16. Mike Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the options for military assistance to the Syrian opposition. [136417]

Mr Robathan: We continue to believe that a diplomatic and political solution is the best way to resolve the crisis in Syria, but do not however rule out any option in accordance with international law that might save innocent lives and prevent the destabilisation of the region.

RAF Form 856B

17. Tessa Munt: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how an ex-serviceman who has legally changed his name to escape harassment can obtain a revised copy of his RAF Form 856B Certificate of Qualifications document in his new name. [136418]

Mr Francois: The RAF form 856B Certificate of Qualifications no longer exists. As such, it is not possible to obtain a revised copy if a person has legally changed their name. I wrote to the hon. Lady about this issue in November as did my predecessor in August and September.

Defence Attaché Network

19. Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the Defence Attaché network. [136420]

Dr Murrison: The Ministry of Defence keeps the Defence Attaché Network under constant review. It forms a key element of international Defence engagement and is central to our cross-departmental commitment to overseas security co-operation.

Veterans: Homelessness

20. Simon Hughes: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent steps his Department has taken to tackle homelessness among veterans; and if he will make a statement. [136421]

Mr Francois: The Ministry of Defence works closely with the Department for Communities and Local Government and the devolved Administrations which have responsibility for this issue. We also work with other Government Departments, ex-service organisations and other service providers to ensure a co-ordinated and structured approach. Our aim is to prevent new service leavers becoming homeless and to provide an effective safety net for ex-service personnel.

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The Department for Communities and Local Government has introduced measures to make it easier for ex-service personnel to access social housing. They recently regulated that local authorities shall not apply residence criteria to members and former members of the armed forces, and will also seek to introduce regulation so that local authorities give them additional preference.

Following the success of Mike Jackson House, a 25-unit supported housing project for ex-service personnel which opened in Aldershot in 2008, The Beacon was officially opened in March 2012 in Catterick. It provides a 31-bed facility for veterans at risk of homelessness. These houses are both managed by Riverside English Churches Housing Group on land donated by the MOD, and offer short-term housing, training and employment support while ex-service personnel plan their return to independent living.

NATO Member States

21. Stephen Gilbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to encourage other NATO member states to contribute to operations. [136423]

Dr Murrison: We are constantly engaged in discussions with our Allies about contributions to operations. The UK is a leading advocate for Allies prioritising their defence spending to deliver deployable capabilities for operational purposes. As important as having the right capabilities is the political will to use them: this is a point we stress constantly both bilaterally and when NATO Defence Ministers meet, as they will, in Brussels next month.

Reservists

Bob Blackman: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the likely proportion of reservists who will participate in future operational deployments. [136408]

Mr Robathan: The proportion of reserves deployed on future operations will depend on the type of operation, taking account of factors such as its scale and complexity. The Government have already announced, however, that under Army 2020 we expect the reserves to play an increasingly important and integrated role in the future, operating in formed combat and support units in addition to providing augmentation and particular specialisms as they do already.

Afghanistan

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 21 November 2012, Official Report, column 491W, on Afghanistan, from which ranks those personnel who have served tours of more than (a) eight, (b) nine, (c) 12, (d) 18 and (e) 24 months came. [131836]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 6 December 2012]: Providing this information may lead to the identification of those individuals who are serving or have served in Afghanistan. As such, I am withholding further details as their disclosure would, or would be likely to, prejudice the security of the members of the armed forces.

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Dr Fox: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much has been spent by his Department on cases brought by public interest lawyers against the Government on behalf of Afghan nationals. [136177][Official Report, 29 January 2013, Vol. 557, c. 3MC.]

Mr Robathan: The total cost to date of cases brought by Public Interest Lawyers Ltd on behalf of Afghan nationals (including cases brought on behalf of UK nationals relating to the interests of Afghan nationals) is approximately £1,451,000, excluding the cost of Ministry of Defence (MOD) staff time.

In addition, the MOD has incurred costs of around £683,000 on cases brought on behalf of Afghan nationals by other firms including Leigh Day and Co.

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent estimate he has made of the cost of repatriating equipment back to the UK following the withdrawal of British troops from Afghanistan. [136235]

Mr Dunne: The Ministry of Defence is still in the process of determining what pieces of equipment and materiel should be repatriated from Afghanistan, and by what means. We are therefore currently unable to give accurate figures for the cost of doing so.

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the required budget of the Afghan security forces from 2015; and what contribution the UK will make. [136236]

Mr Robathan: The initial annual budget will be $4.1 billion. We believe this will be sufficient for the force levels required and it will be reviewed regularly against the developing security environment. At the 2012 Chicago summit, the UK announced an annual contribution of £70 million towards this total, which is in addition to maintaining our current development assistance of £178 million a year.

As the Afghan economy and the revenues of the Afghan Government grow, Afghanistan's yearly share will increase progressively from at least US$500 million in 2015, with the aim that it can assume, no later than 2024, full financial responsibility for its own security forces. In the light of this, during this so called ‘Transformation Decade’ we expect international donors will be able to reduce their financial contributions commensurate with the Afghan Government taking over financial responsibility.

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the combat-enabling functions of the Afghan National Army. [136239]

Mr Robathan: We carry out formal assessments on the capability of the Afghan National Security Forces on a routine and regular basis.

There has been real progress in the development of the Afghan National Army (ANA) since the NATO Training Mission—Afghanistan was established in 2009. Their capacity and capability has improved significantly in this time. They are now deploying in formed units,

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carrying out their own operations and conducting their own training. Nationally, the Afghan National Security Forces as a whole now lead 80% of conventional operations and carry out 90% of their training.

The ANA still depend on ISAF allies for some key enablers. Ensuring the ANA's ability to sustain and enable its own operations will be a major focus of ISAF's efforts in Afghanistan over the next two years. The NATO Training Mission—Afghanistan recognise that developing their logistic capability, medical care and air support in particular will be essential to ensuring they become a fully sustainable force.

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the UK's long-term contribution to the Afghan National Military Academy will be; and if he will make a statement. [136240]

Mr Robathan: The National Military Academy of Afghanistan (NMAA) is located at the Qargha site, outside Kabul, which will also be home to the Afghan National Army Officer Academy where the UK will be the coalition lead partner.

At its peak UK support to the Afghan National Army Officer Academy will include approximately 90 mentoring staff. UK military personnel will also be deployed to sustain and protect our advisory footprint.

The NMAA modelled after the US Military Academy at West Point, is a US-sponsored officer training institution running since November 2008. It is not directly supported by the UK.

Together the National Military Academy of Afghanistan and the Afghan National Army Officer Academy will form part of the Afghan National Defence University.

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library copies of the metrics his Department uses to assess the effectiveness of Afghan security forces. [136242]

Mr Robathan: Much of our assessment on the development of the Afghan National Security Forces effectives is based on International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) data. My right hon. Friend will understand that this information is both classified and owned by ISAF and therefore cannot be released.

Air Force: Air Traffic Control

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) which radars and control centres in Scotland will be upgraded as a part of Project Marshall; and when he expects Project Marshall to begin; [136310]

(2) whether (a) Remote Radar Head Saxa Vord, (b) Remote Radar Head Benbecula and (c) Control and Reporting Centre Buchan will have a military role under plans set out in Project Marshall; [136311]

(3) how much will be spent under Project Marshall in (a) Scotland, (b) England, (c) Wales, (d) Northern Ireland and (e) overseas; and what proportion of total spending under the project will be allocated to each such area. [136312]

Mr Dunne: Radars and control centres at RAF Kinloss, RAF Lossiemouth, Hebrides Ranges (St Kilda and Benbecula) RAF Tain, West Freugh Range, Cape Wrath

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Range (Garvey Island) and HMS Gannet (Prestwick) are currently within the scope of Project Marshall. It is planned that the Terminal Air Traffic Management capability provided by the equipment at these locations will in future be provided through a service provision under Project Marshall, the exact location of equipment to support these services being subject to the detail of the winning bidder's proposed solutions. Project Marshall is currently in the Assessment Phase and bidders have yet to present their proposed solutions. As such, information on the possible expenditure by location has yet to be determined. Contract award is planned for 2015, at which point MOD would move forward with the chosen solution.

Saxa Vord, Benbecula and Buchan are Air Defence sites and their military role is unaffected by Project Marshall.

Armed Forces: Crime

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which services are not offered to armed forces personnel who are victims of crime where they refuse to give their consent for their commanding officer to be notified; and if he will make a statement. [136190]

Mr Francois: All armed forces personnel who are victims of relevant criminal conduct wherever it occurs (United Kingdom or overseas) are entitled to and offered, if practical, immediate unfettered access to victim support services, regardless of whether they choose to consent for their commanding officer to be notified. The service police will ask for consent to pass their details to victim support services who are completely independent of the military chain of command. They will also provide the victim with the contact details of such support services, should the victim wish to make independent contact at a later date. In the United Kingdom, serving personnel who are victims can access the same services as their civilian counterparts. For those serving (and their dependents) overseas, the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association run an accredited independent victim support scheme for the military community.

Recognising the unique nature of military service the Ministry of Defence has a non statutory Code of Practice on services to be provided by the armed forces to victims of crime (Joint Service Publication 839). This is modelled on the Ministry of Justice Code which was originally issued by the Home Office under section 32 of the Domestic Violence, Crime and Victims Act 2004, but tailored to meet the requirements of the armed forces. It is mandatory and governs the minimum level of service to be provided. The Code requires among others, for commanding officers to provide certain services in addition to the professionally trained victim support detailed above.

Withholding consent for a commanding officer to be informed does not preclude a victim from approaching their own unit welfare services which, if they deem it appropriate, can provide all of the services a commanding officer would be mandated to in accordance with the Joint Service Publication.

The victim liaison officer is a person appointed by the suspect's commanding officer and is responsible for keeping the victim informed of events in respect of relevant conduct concerning the suspect or accused. In

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the event that the suspect and the victim are from within the same unit, and the victim does not wish the Commanding Officer to be informed, the unit welfare services are, again, empowered to appoint a victim liaison officer while maintaining the confidentiality of the victim.

Armed Forces: Lost Property

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of JSP 839 in (a) recording losses of equipment and (b) preventing future losses; and if he will make a statement. [136176]

Mr Francois: The reporting and categorisation of materiel losses is undertaken in accordance with JSP 886 (Defence Logistics Support Chain Manual), This JSP is routinely reviewed to assess and maintain the effectiveness of our procedures for recording losses; the last major review was undertaken during financial year 2010-11. This confirmed that the JSP provides robust policy advice but also recommended improvements to the reporting framework which have been implemented.

Armed Forces: Sexual Offences

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what role the Royal Military Police has in investigating allegations of (a) rape, (b) sexual assault and (c) assault by penetration in the (i) Royal Navy and (ii) Royal Air Force. [136154]

Mr Francois: The Royal Military Police normally only investigate allegations of rape, sexual assault or assault by penetration involving Royal Navy and Royal Air Force personnel if an incident is alleged to have occurred in an overseas base or theatre of operations for which the Royal Military Police have the Service Police lead. More generally, allegations involving members of the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force personnel are dealt with by their respective Service Police force (the Royal Navy Police or the Royal Air Force Police) or by the civilian police.

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what role the Office of Standards of Casework has in reviewing data in relation to (a) rape, (b) sexual assault and (c) assault by penetration; and if he will make a statement. [136159]

Mr Francois: The Office for Standards of Casework (Army) is responsible for reviewing proven Summary Hearing cases, Courts Martial and administrative casework (where a major sanction has been awarded) for all offence types, including rape, sexual assault and assault by penetration, in order to ensure that casework is dealt with fairly and in a timely manner. While this responsibility relates primarily to Army cases, in instances where there are joint units and organisations for which the Army is the Higher Authority for disciplinary and administrative matters, these cases may include some Royal Navy and Royal Air Force personnel.

Offences of rape, sexual assault and assault by penetration can only be dealt with by Court Martial. The role of the Office for Standards of Casework (Army) is to review the paper and electronic records held in relation to each

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Court Martial to ensure that the processes which have been followed are in accordance with regulations and that the records held are accurate. It is also responsible for identifying and sharing best practice and identifying remedial action to eliminate delay and inefficiency.

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many serving armed forces personnel have been convicted of assault by penetration in a civilian court since 2005; and if he will make a statement. [136193]

Mr Francois: Currently, there are no serving armed forces personnel who have been convicted in civil court for assault by penetration who are subject to the Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA).

Records are not held centrally of any convictions where MAPPA do not apply and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish the (a) rank and (b) gender composition of court martial juries in each case of (i) rape, (ii) sexual assault and (iii) assault by penetration since 2005; and if he will make a statement. [136194]

Mr Francois: Information on the gender composition of court martial boards is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish the guidance in relation to the selection of court martial juries in cases of (a) rape, (b) sexual assault and (c) assault by penetration; and if he will make a statement. [136195]

Mr Francois: A court martial is constituted in accordance with section 155 of the Armed Forces Act 2006, which is available from the Government's legislation website:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2006/52/contents

The composition of a board of members for a court martial is governed by specific statutory provisions within the Armed Forces Act 2006 (section 156 and section 157) and The Armed Forces (Court Martial) Rules 2009 (rules 29, 31, 32, 33, 34 and 36), which are a Statutory Instrument and also available on the same website at the following address:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2009/2041/contents/made

Specification of board members (effectively the equivalent of jury selection in a civil court) is conducted by or on behalf of the Ministry of Defence's court administration officer, a civil servant appointed by the Defence Council who is independent of the armed forces chain of command. The court administration officer, or his representative, is responsible for specifying court martial board members to ensure they are eligible in accordance with the Armed Forces Act 2006 and The Armed Forces (Court Martial) Rules 2009. In general terms, the size of a court martial board is primarily dictated by the seriousness of the offence. Lesser offences have boards of three members while the more serious offences (including sexual offences) generally attract boards of five members or more. All board members must be of at least the same rank or senior to the defendant.

Beyond complying with the law, the court administration officer does not specify board members by rank, sex, ethnicity, age etc. However, if, upon representation from

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the prosecution and/or defence, the Judge Advocate directs that one or more board members are to be of a particular type or to have a particular qualification, the court administration officer complies with the direction.