Special Educational Needs

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many places for post-16 high needs provision are being funded in each local authority; and what the actual number of places required is in each such authority for 2013-14. [136000]

Mr Laws [holding answer 9 January 2013]: The number of post-16 high needs places to be funded in 2013/14 in each local authority area is not yet available. We will provide further information when funding allocations have been finalised later this term.


Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many local authorities have made representations to him on changes to the amount made available for post-16 high needs provision; and what action he has taken as a result. [136259]

Mr Laws [holding answer 10 January 2013]: Between 1 December 2012 and 9 January 2013 the Education Funding Agency received representations from 25 local authorities about the adequacy of the funding to be allocated to them in respect of post-16 high needs students in 2013/14. Inquiries have been received in relation to various aspects of the funding reforms relating to post-16 students with high needs and each local authority has received a response or should receive one shortly.

The Department's total planned expenditure on post-16 high needs students will be 9% higher in the academic year beginning 2013 than it was in the academic year which began in 2011. As a result, no local authority area will receive funding for its high needs students in the 2013/14 academic year that is below the equivalent level of funding in the 2011/12 academic year.

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what guidance he has given to local authorities who have more people requiring places in high needs post-16 provision than will be funded in the next financial year. [136260]

21 Jan 2013 : Column 44W

Mr Laws [holding answer 10 January 2013]: The Department has consistently made it clear to local authorities that, to meet the costs of post-16 high needs students incurred in the next financial year, they will be able to draw upon their high needs budget, which is funded by the dedicated schools grant (DSG) they receive from the Education Funding Agency, and which covers children and young people with high needs from age 0 to 25.

In August 2012 the Education Funding Agency wrote to each local authority advising them of the indicative amounts that were in the baseline budgets in respect of their post-16 high needs students. This was to help local authorities to plan their provision for the 2013-14 financial year. Following data returns from local authorities, the agency again wrote to authorities in December 2012 to inform them of the proposed distribution of high needs places for 16 to 24-year-olds in their areas in the 2013/14 academic year. It also wrote to authorities to confirm the high needs element of their DSG allocations.

Local authorities have the opportunity, until 22 February, to submit exceptional cases to adjust the final distribution of funded places for post-16 students and high needs DSG allocations.

Speech Therapy

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what recent assessment he has made of the potential implications of reductions in funding to speech and language therapy services. [137552]

Dr Poulter: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department of Health.

The information requested is not collected centrally. Funding for speech and language therapy is provided within the National Health Service budget and decided by local NHS organisations. This process provides the means for addressing local needs within the health community, including the provision of speech and language therapy.

Visits Abroad

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many overseas trips he has taken for the purpose of official government business in the last 12 months. [137713]

Elizabeth Truss [holding answer 17 January 2013]:The Secretary of State for Education travelled overseas three times on official Government business in the last 12 months.

Written Questions

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) how many named day questions were answered within five days by his Department (a) since 1 September 2012 and (b) from September 2011 to September 2012; [137387]

(2) what proportion of named day questions from the hon. Member for East Worthing and Shoreham have been given a substantive answer within five days since September 2012. [137388]

21 Jan 2013 : Column 45W

Elizabeth Truss [holding answer 15 January 2013]: The data requested relating to the Department for Education's performance in answering named day parliamentary questions are set out in the following table.

21 Jan 2013 : Column 46W

Since September 2012 the hon. Member has tabled 70 named day questions for the Department for Education; of these 23 have been given a substantive answer within five days.

Commons named day PQs
Performance against standard
 20112012
 SepOctNovDecJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec

Due for answer

52

63

97

69

66

51

73

53

57

75

51

(1)

48

76

81

68

Answered

52

63

97

69

66

51

73

53

55

73

50

n/a

46

75

79

64

Met parliamentary deadline (set by MP)

14

6

13

10

23

19

16

20

15

4

10

n/a

3

17

6

34

Percentage

27

10

13

14

35

37

22

38

26

5

20

n/a

6

22

7

50

                 

Answered one to five days late

20

29

27

21

24

14

24

.32

26

29

28

n/a

9

32

37

14

Answered six or more days late

18

28

57

38

19

18

33

1

14

40

12

n/a

34

26

36

16

                 

Unanswered on 17 January 2013

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

2

2

1

n/a

2

1

2

4

(1) Recess

Cabinet Office

Big Society Capital

Robert Halfon: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many social impact bonds have been issued by Big Society Capital to date; what the total value of such bonds has been; and who received each such bond. [138771]

Mr Hurd: Big Society Capital has so far made investments in six social impact bonds. Details are available on Big Society Capital's website at:

http://www.bigsocietycapital.com/how-we-invest

Business: Surrey

Jonathan Lord: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what estimate he has made of the number of (a) small and (b) medium-sized businesses that were operating in (i) Woking and (ii) Surrey in each of the last five years. [138748]

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

Letter from Glen Watson, dated January 2013:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking for the estimate of (a) small and (b) medium sized businesses that were operating in (i) Woking and (ii) Surrey in each of the last five years. [138748]

Annual statistics on the number of businesses (enterprises) are available from the ONS release “UK Business: Activity, Size and Location” at:

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

Data on the number of enterprises broken down by districts, counties, unitary authorities within region and country and by employment size band can be found in table B1.2 of the publication.

The table below contains the count of (a) small and (b) medium sized businesses that were operating in Woking and Surrey from 2008 to 2012. Small businesses have been defined as those with an employment between 0 and 49 and medium-sized businesses as those with an employment between 50 and 249.

 20082009201020112012
 SmallMediumSmallMediumSmallMediumSmallMediumSmallMedium

Woking

3,935

60

3,935

65

3,865

65

3,855

65

4,080

70

Surrey

52,165

730

52,105

745

51,350

720

51,455

740

53,705

780

Notes: 1. The above figures have been rounded to the nearest 5. 2. These numbers do not include very small businesses, typically those below the threshold for VAT and PAYE.

Civil Servants: Disciplinary Proceedings

Mark Field: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office whether all Government employees, if subject to disciplinary allegations, are entitled to a disciplinary process that accords with the requirements of the ACAS Guide on Discipline and Grievances at Work and the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures. [137884]

21 Jan 2013 : Column 47W

Mr Maude [holding answer 18 January 2013]: Within the civil service, each Department is responsible for their own disciplinary procedures. The Cabinet Office recommends simple, clear procedures which closely follow the ACAS code of practice and guidance.

Crime: North West

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) how many cases of drug offences were reported in (a) Pendle constituency, (b) Lancashire and (c) the North West in each of the last five years; [138114]

(2) how many cases of domestic burglary were reported in (a) Pendle constituency, (b) Lancashire and (c) the North West in each of the last five years. [138115]

21 Jan 2013 : Column 48W

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

Letter from Glen Watson, dated January 2013:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics (ONS), I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Questions asking for the numbers of reported cases of domestic burglary and drug offences in (a) Pendle constituency, (b) Lancashire and (c) the North West in each of the last five years. (138114, 138115)

Police recorded crime figures are provided for the last five financial years (April to March) for Pendle local authority area, Lancashire Police Force Area, and the North West region. Crime data are not available at parliamentary constituency level, but in this instance the boundaries of Pendle constituency are those of Pendle Borough Council.

 2007-082008-092009-102010-112011-12

Pendle local authority

     

Burglary in a dwelling

289

307

210

192

234

Drug offences

325

262

401

359

294

      

Lancashire police force area

     

Burglary in a dwelling

4,987

5,114

4,436

4,367

4,279

Drug offences

4,277

4,521

5,234

4,913

4,732

      

North West region

     

Burglary in a dwelling

39,592

41,408

37,361

33,947

31,269

Drug offences

32,369

36,110

35,541

36,737

34,141

These data have been published by the ONS and have been extracted from the ‘Recorded crime data at local authority level from 2002/03', and ‘Recorded crime data at police force area level from 2002/03' files, available here:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/publications/re-reference-tables.html?edition=tcm%3A77-274949

The crime statistics data published by the ONS cover England and Wales only. Crime data for Scotland are published at:

http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Statistics/Browse/Crime-Justice

and data for Northern Ireland are published at:

http://www.psni.police.uk/index/updates/updates_statistics/update_crime_statistics.htm

Official Cars

Chris Skidmore: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what official guidance is issued to the Leader of the Opposition on the use of Government cars. [137219]

Mr Maude: In line with the practice under successive Administrations, the Leader of the Official Opposition is provided with the use of a Government car for duties and responsibilities associated with being Leader of the Official Opposition.

Publications

Jonathan Ashworth: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how often his Department produces a staff magazine. [137321]

Mr Maude: The Cabinet Office no longer has a weekly staff magazine. This has resulted in savings of around £100,000 a year for the Department.


Culture, Media and Sport

Internet

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 8 January 2013, Official Report, column 213W, on internet, what steps her Department is taking to increase internet take-up in (a) Glasgow North West, (b) Glasgow, (c) Scotland and (d) the UK. [137539]

Mr Hurd: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Cabinet Office.

The Government are committed to making public services available online. In support of this, the Government Digital Service within the Cabinet Office works with Go-ON:UK, a new charity created to build on and take forward the work started by Race Online 2012.

The Government continue to commit resources to meeting these aims through its Government Digital Strategy.

Morning Star

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions she has held with the Morning Star as part of her consultation on the future of the newspaper industry in relation to the Leveson Inquiry. [138561]

21 Jan 2013 : Column 49W

Mr Vaizey: None.

Tourism

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what consideration was given to including the measures on tourism in the pledges made by the Government in the Coalition Mid-Term Review. [137786]

Hugh Robertson [holding answer 17 January 2013]: Tourism is a key part of the UK Economy, generating a total of £44.6 billion gross value added, 3.55% of the economy, according to the latest figures. The Mid-Term Review document sets out the Government's focus to maintain a business environment that can support all parts of the economy and further improve on the creation of over 1 million private sector jobs.

World War I: Anniversaries

Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) if she will take steps to ensure that the success of British Empire and Dominion forces in (a) defeating the German Spring Offensive of March 1918 and (b) securing victory in the Battle of Amiens in August 1918 and the ensuing Hundred Days campaign will be recognised in the centenary commemorations of the First World War; and if she will make a statement; [137754]

(2) if she will take steps to ensure that the justice of the cause for which the armed forces of the British Empire and Dominions fought will be recognised in the centenary commemorations of the First World War, with particular reference to the liberation of Belgium and France; and if she will make a statement. [137755]

Mr Vaizey: On 11 October 2012, the Prime Minister set out the Government's plans for a £50 million programme to mark the centenary of the First World War. The Programme includes a number of national commemorative events, including the outbreak of the War, the first day of the Battle of the Somme and the cessation of hostilities on Armistice Day; further events, working with partners such as the Commonwealth War Graves Commission to commemorate the actions at Gallipoli, Jutland and Passchendaele; the refurbishment of the Imperial War Museum's First World War galleries and a programme of visits to First World War battlefields for secondary schools. Other elements of the programme are currently under consideration and will be announced in due course.

Deputy Prime Minister

Monarchy: Succession

Mr Andrew Turner: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what effect his planned changes to succession to the Crown will have on the role of the heir to the throne as (a) Duke of Cornwall and (b) Prince of Wales. [137708]

Miss Chloe Smith: The Succession to the Crown Bill does not change the rules governing the inheritance of royal titles. It removes two areas of discrimination with

21 Jan 2013 : Column 50W

regard to the rules of royal succession: the male preference primogeniture and the ban on the heir marrying a Roman Catholic.

Justice

Coroners’ Courts Support Service

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what Government funding is provided to the Coroners’ Courts Support Service; what assessment he has made of the adequacy of that funding; and if he will make a statement. [137732]

Mrs Grant: The Ministry of Justice has responsibility for coroner law and policy only. It does not have operational responsibility for coroners so is not resourced to fund coroners and associated services. However, since the Coroners’ Courts Support Service (CCSS) was set up in 2003, the Ministry of Justice (and its predecessor departments) has provided the organisation with funding of up to £15,000 a year to enable it to expand into new coroners’ courts. This funding covers the cost of recruiting and training CCSS volunteers. This financial year the MOJ is providing the CCSS with £60,000 towards their running costs on an exceptional basis.

Detention and Training Orders

Mr Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many children were released from (a) secure children's homes, (b) secure training centres and (c) young offender institutions at the mid-point of a Detention and Training Order with an intensive supervision and surveillance requirement and an electronic curfew in each of the last three years. [138525]

Jeremy Wright: It is not possible to match the type of institution an offender is released from with the type of requirements imposed except at disproportionate cost; however, information on new electronic monitoring orders imposed on subjects serving a Detention and Training Order in England and Wales between 2010 and 2012 is contained in the following table:

New electronic monitoring starts on release from a Detention and Training Order, England and Wales, 2010-12(1)
 201020112012

Adult (aged 18+)

498

422

397

Juvenile (aged 10 to 17)

1,593

1,579

1,463

Total

2,091

2,001

1,860

(1 )These figures have been drawn from administrative data systems. Although care is taken when processing and analysing the returns, the detail collected is subject to the inaccuracies inherent in any large scale recording system. Note: Age group is determined by age at the start of the electronic monitoring order.

The Detention and Training Order is served half in custody and half under supervision in the community. Under-18s will be supervised by youth offending teams (YOTs) on release. Where an under-18 is assessed as presenting a high risk of reoffending then the YOT may put them on intensive supervision and surveillance for the supervision part of the DTO. This consists of a night time electronically monitored curfew and up to 25 hours a week of intensive supervision.

21 Jan 2013 : Column 51W

Although the DTO is a juvenile sentence those who turn 18 will remain on the order and may also remain under the supervision of a YOT until the order has ended.

The data are from the electronic monitoring service providers.

Drugs: Rehabilitation

Andrew Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 3 December 2012, Official Report, columns 666-7W, on prisons: drugs and alcoholic drinks, if he will publish details of the length of time that such prisoners were remanded in custody for the latest year for which figures are available. [137581]

Jeremy Wright: We are unable to publish information on the length of time that such prisoners—as mentioned previously in written answer of 3 December 2012, Official Report, columns 666-7W—were remanded in custody. It is not possible to identify those prisoners who are drugs and alcohol dependent from centrally held data sources without incurring a disproportionate cost.

For all remand prisoners the average time spent on remand awaiting trial and/or sentence is nine weeks.

These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems which, as with any large scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service

Mike Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps his Department takes to make HM Courts and Tribunals Service staff aware of the provisions of the Data Protection (Processing of Sensitive Data) (Elected Representatives) Order 2002 under the Data Protection Act 1998; and if he will make a statement. [138322]

Mrs Grant: The Data Access and Compliance team in the Ministry provides relevant staff with training, advice and guidance on all provisions of the Data Protection Act 1998 and the broader data protection framework. The Information Commissioner is the UK's independent authority responsible for administering and enforcing information rights, and provides guidance and advice to organisations on, among other things, the Data Protection Act, including the Data Protection (Processing of Sensitive Personal Data) (Elected Representatives) Order 2002.

The training, advice and guidance provided by the Data Access and Compliance team are in line with the Information Commissioner's Office guidelines.

Mike Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what advice has been given to HM Courts and Tribunals Service staff on dealing with representations from hon. Members on behalf of their constituents who are sponsors and are making enquiries about their relatives' visit visa or entry clearance applications appeals; and if he will make a statement. [138323]

21 Jan 2013 : Column 52W

Mrs Grant: When dealing with representations from hon. Members on behalf of their constituents HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) staff are required to take into account both Data Protection Act requirements (including those relating to hon. Members) and Judicial directions.

The Judicial directions require that data can only be released to the appellant or those authorised by the appellant.

HMCTS staff are therefore authorised to respond substantively to representations from hon. Members on behalf of their constituents who are sponsors where the appellant has consented to this.

Mike Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what training is given to HM Courts and Tribunals Service staff on dealing with representations from hon. Members; and if he will make a statement. [138324]

Mrs Grant: HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) staff may deal with representations from hon. Members in a number of ways including responding to inquiries addressed to a court or tribunal, preparation of answers to parliamentary questions, verbal briefing of Ministers and drafting written responses to ministerial correspondence and other official replies. HMCTS staff whose roles specifically include dealing with such representations receive training in answering telephone calls and responding to written correspondence from Members and their offices. This training aims to ensure that staff can identify what information a Member needs or what further action must be taken in response to representations. It also trains staff to understand what information a Minister or other official should provide to the Member. This ensures that Members are provided with appropriate case specific details to assist their constituents, resolve their inquiries and also that appropriate action is taken by HMCTS.

Legal Aid Scheme: Negligence

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether the Government will offer costs protection to claimants in professional negligence cases following the implementation of Part II of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 in April 2013; if any such measures will include (a) Qualified One Way Costs Shifting, (b) alternative dispute resolution in the pre-action protocol and (c) a statutory adjudication procedure as already used in construction disputes; and if he will delay implementation of Part II of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act in professional negligence and liability disputes until some costs protection is available. [137544]

Mrs Grant: Costs protection—in the form of qualified one way costs shifting (QOCS)—is being introduced from April 2013 for personal injury cases (including clinical negligence) only. The Government announced on 12 December 2012, Official Report, column 39WS, that it will delay implementation of the provisions in Part 2 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 for defamation and privacy proceedings until a costs protection regime has been developed.

21 Jan 2013 : Column 53W

Costs protection will not be available in other proceedings, including professional negligence, when the relevant provision in Part 2 of the Act comes into effect on 1 April 2013. However, the Government will keep under review whether to introduce costs protection in other areas of litigation, in the light of the experience of QOCS.

Offenders: Rehabilitation

Richard Fuller: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps he is taking to extend the use of the prison chaplaincy service in rehabilitation post release from prison. [137728]

Jeremy Wright: Chaplains in prisons will continue to have a significant role to play in terms of helping to link those prisoners that wish, with their faith communities on release. There are many local resettlement schemes, including Community Chaplaincies, that work closely with Chaplaincy teams in prisons in order to provide support through the gate and post release.

My Department has recently published the consultation ‘Transforming Rehabilitation—a revolution in the way we manage offenders’. The proposals in this document include opening up delivery of rehabilitative services in the community to a wide range of providers. We expect lead providers, incentivised by payment by results contracts, to make use of the whole range of organisations which work with offenders, signposting offenders to other services that work to reduce reoffending and sub contracting with expert local organisations.

Richard Fuller: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he expects the mentoring scheme for recently released prisoners to be rolled out across the UK. [137729]

Jeremy Wright: We have published a consultation paper ‘Transforming Rehabilitation: a revolution in the way we manage offenders’, on 9 January this year. The paper sets out our commitment to opening up rehabilitative services to a range of new providers, who will be paid by results to help offenders turn their lives around. As a part of this we expect to see more use of innovative approaches such as mentoring, and offenders receiving targeted support to tackle the root causes of offending.

We intend to apply this approach across rehabilitative services in the community by 2015.

Personal Injury: Compensation

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what progress has been made on implementation of the planned 10 per cent increase in general damages for personal injury claims; what discussions he has had with the judiciary on the issue; whether the uplift will be reflected in the next edition of the Guidelines for General Damages Personal Injury; when the next edition of the Guidelines will be published; and if he will make a statement. [137766]

Mrs Grant: On 10 October 2012 the Court of Appeal gave judgment in the case of Simmons v. Castle. This will result in an increase of 10% in the level of general damages for non-pecuniary loss, such as pain, suffering and general amenity—but not limited to personal injury.

21 Jan 2013 : Column 54W

The increase applies to all personal injury cases except where the case is funded under a conditional fee agreement entered into before 1 April 2013.

In respect of discussions with the judiciary, I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given by my hon. Friend the Member for Huntingdon (Mr Djanogly) on 9 February 2012, Official Report, column 446W.

The guidelines in the current, eleventh edition of the Judicial College's “Guidelines for the assessment of general damages in personal injury cases” apply now, and so do not include the increase from April. That guide is published independently, and the publisher will determine when to issue the next edition. However, updates will be available on the judiciary website.

Prison Service

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the (a) target and (b) actual current absence rates are for Prison Service officers in England; and what the equivalent rates are in (i) Scotland, (ii) Wales and (iii) Northern Ireland. [138569]

Jeremy Wright: There is no target for the level of sickness absence specifically for the grade of prison officer in England and Wales. Targets are set for sickness absence covering all staff at each establishment but a corporate target for sickness absence is not set.

For the 12 months up to 30 September 2012 (the date of the latest published data) the average number of working days lost to sickness absence by prison officers in public sector Prison Service establishments in England was 11.5. The equivalent figure for the public sector in Wales was 8.0. Information relating to private sector establishments is not collected on the same basis as that required by the Cabinet Office of the public sector. For this reason figures for the private sector are not presented here.

The Ministry of Justice does not hold information on the sickness absence rates of prison officers in Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Prison Services for Scotland and Northern Ireland are both devolved and are the responsibility of the devolved Ministers.

Social Security Benefits: Appeals

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the average length of time was from the beginning of (a) an income support, (b) a tax credits and (c) a disability living allowance appeal to the clearance or disposal of the case (i) nationally and (ii) at the Hull tribunal venue in each month since April 2010. [137707]

Mrs Grant: Appeals against decisions made by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) on an individual's entitlement to income support (IS) and disability living allowance (DLA) and appeals against decisions made by Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs on an individual's entitlement to tax credits, are heard by the First-tier Tribunal—Social Security and Child Support, administered by Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS).

At present appeals for IS and DLA are initially received by the DWP and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for tax credits. On receipt DWP and

21 Jan 2013 : Column 55W

HMRC consider whether they wish to revise their original decision and, if they do not, send the appeal along with their response to the tribunal. The following tables shows the average time from submission to DWP and HMRC to receipt at HMCTS.

Average time in working days from submission to DWP to receipt at HMCTS
 2010-112011-122012-13
 DLAISDLAISDLAIS

April

31.3

81.7

26.7

50.3

29.3

65.4

May

30.8

79.1

28.0

50.0

31.9

66.1

June

32.3

67.8

29.7

53.8

33.7

67.0

July

32.0

70.5

31.8

60.8

36.1

73.1

August

31.4

65.8

31.1

64.1

36.3

73.8

September

30.5

60.5

32.2

61.0

34.9

75.9

October

29.9

68.1

32.2

70.0

35.4

76.7

November

28.9

62.4

29.7

63.8

31.9

72.6

December

27.7

56.4

29.8

59.4

31.0

71.5

January

29.5

59.2

31.0

63.9

February

28.6

61.1

29.1

65.7

March

26.0

59.8

28.4

63.4

YTD

29.9

66.4

30.0

61.3

33.5

71.7

Average time in working days from submission to HMRC to receipt at HMCTS
 2010-112011- 122012- 13
 BAU(1)EL(2)BAUELBAUEL

April

96.0

114.0

94.0

234.0

May

95.0

132.0

100.0

181.0

June

98.0

127.0

90.0

195.0

21 Jan 2013 : Column 56W

July

111.0

158.0

100.0

236.0

August

121.0

172.0

107.0

277.0

September

124.0

166.0

106.0

271.0

October

289.0

49.0

117.0

154.0

114.0

239.0

November

150.0

61.0

113.0

196.0

120.0

254.0

December

111.0

90.0

96.0

189.0

118.0

265.0

January

92.0

106.0

102.0

189.0

February

91.0

114.0

82.0

180.0

March

92.0

119.0

90.0

189.0

YTD

137.5

89.8

103.8

163.8

105.4

239.1

(1) BAU—Business As Usual appeals are those appeals received against decisions made in the normal day-to-day activity of administering tax credits. (2) EL—Exchequer Loss appeals are those appeals received against decisions made in targeted compliance activity cases. These are likely to have denied or restricted entitlement resulting in the recovery of amounts already paid. Note: DWP deal with appeals in respect of income support and disability living allowance. HMRC deal with appeals in respect of tax credits. Figures show the average time taken for the clearance of the appeal from receipt to sending the appeal to HMCTS These are national figures. Figures which are specific to Hull venue are not available.

The following tables show the average time taken in weeks from receipt of an appeal to outcome by the tribunal in respect of (a) income support, (b) tax credits, (c) disability living allowance (i) nationally and (ii) in Hull for each month from April 2010 to June 2012 (the latest period for which figures are available).

Average time in weeks from receipt at HMCTS to outcome April 2010 to June 2012
2010-11
 AprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecJanFebMar

(i) National

            

(a) Income support

18

17.3

17.4

19.7

18.7

20.2

20.6

19.6

20.1

20.3

22.7

24.5

(b) Tax credits(1)

12.7

12.4

13.7

13.9

16.2

15.9

15.6

16.0

16.1

17.6

17.3

16.7

(c) DLA

19.8

19.5

20.3

21.2

21.6

21.6

22.3

22.8

23.7

26.3

25.7

27.6

             

(ii) Hull

            

(a) Income support

15.3

10.7

20.6

19.3

11.9

34.5

26.7

19.2

21.9

7.6

26.0

16.5

(b)Tax credits

4.0

0.0

18.1

0.0

15.3

20.0

18.5

18.9

7.6

24.0

0.0

2.4

(c) DLA

17.4

19.4

23.2

22.1

23.6

22.8

21.0

24.6

25.8

19.5

24.0

29.3

2011-12
 AprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecJanFebMar

(i) National

            

(a) Income support

22.9

25.2

24.8

26.3

27.4

26.6

25.4

23.6

24.1

24.3

21.9

22.1

(b) Tax credits

16.6

18.2

16.0

19.3

18.8

19.5

17.4

16.8

16.2

19.7

21.4

19.4

(c) DLA

27.9

28.3

28.5

29.1

28.7

28.2

28.3

28.4

27.3

26.4

25.0

24.9

             

(ii) Hull

            

(a) Income support

8.8

7.9

24.4

20.1

10.4

22.1

8.3

6.4

12.6

19.1

17.0

19.8

(b) Tax credits

1.0

9.2

13.0

6.8

0.0

1.6

2.4

16.5

31.4

0.0

0.0

0.0

(c) DLA

23.0

24.5

24.8

28.7

28.5

31.1

31.2

32.8

26.7

28.6

27.8

29.5

2012
 AprilMayJune

(i) National

   

(a) Income support

22.3

21.6

21.9

(b)Tax credits

22.6

21.3

24.7

(c) DLA

24.7

25.8

25.1

    

21 Jan 2013 : Column 57W

(ii) Hull(2)

   

(a) Income support

8.4

9.5

45.0

(b) Tax credits

0.0

47.8

25.8

(c) DLA

32.1

26.8

27.0

(1) Tax credit comprises of four benefits: child tax credit, working families tax credit, working tax credit and family credit. (2) Data by venue can be volatile. The number of appeals dealt with can be very low particularly when broken down by individual benefit. One long running case can therefore significantly affect average times. Note : These data are taken from management information

The total number of disposals in the jurisdiction has increased significantly from 279,000 in 2009-10 to 380,000 in 2010-11, and 433,600 appeals in 2011-12. HMCTS continues to work hard at a national level to increase the capacity of the SSCS Tribunal and reduce waiting times—specifically recruitment of additional judges and medically qualified members is carried out on an ongoing basis within the jurisdictions; the review and continuous improvement of administrative processes both internally and between HMCTS and DWP; work to increase judicial sitting capacity by improving the processes used to allocate judges and members to sessions; further increasing the use of Saturday sessions as well as rolling out a three-session day, where feasible, following a successful pilot in Glasgow. Work is also ongoing to identify additional suitable hearing rooms in Hull in order to increase the tribunal’s hearing capacity in that area.

Transport

A12

Mr Carswell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans his Department has to provide funding for investment to upgrade the A12. [137549]

Stephen Hammond: The Highways Agency has a £1.4 million programme of enhancements for the A12 in 2012-13. The Department has no current plans for a major road project on the A12.

The Highways Agency is currently developing a route based strategy for the A12 from its junction with the M25 to its junction with the A14, which when completed will help inform the identification of future needs for the route.

A66

Rory Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will develop dual carriageway roads on the A66 between Scotch Corner and Penrith. [138431]

Stephen Hammond: The Department has no current plans to develop proposals for dual carriageway roads on the A66 between Scotch Corner and Penrith.

In preparing for future investment decisions, the Department will consider the current and future forecast performance of the strategic road network to identify and prioritise the scale of identified problems.

21 Jan 2013 : Column 58W

Bus Services

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what regulatory powers govern the operation of (a) Quality Contracts, (b) Quality Partnerships and (c) Better Bus Areas; and how much his Department has made available to each type of scheme in the latest period for which figures are available. [137804]

Norman Baker: The regulations governing the operation of Quality Contract and Quality Partnership Schemes are set out in the Transport Act 2000 (as amended by the Local Transport Act 2008) and the supporting secondary legislation:

The Quality Partnership Schemes (England) Regulations 2009

The Quality Partnership Schemes (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2009

The Public Service Vehicles (Registration of Local Services) (Quality Contracts Schemes) (England and Wales) Regulations 2009

The Quality Contracts Schemes (Pension Protections) 2009

The Quality Contracts Schemes (Application of TUPE) Regulations 2009.

Statutory guidance is available online at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/improving-local-transport/supporting-pages/increasing-the-use-of-buses

and can be made available in the Library of the House.

Quality Partnership Schemes do not attract specific central Government funding, but are in operation in the following areas that successfully bid for Better Bus Area funding in 2012: Bristol, Merseyside, Nottingham, South Yorkshire and the West Midlands. The full breakdown of Better Bus Area funds awarded to successful local authorities in March 2012 is as follows:

£
Local authorityCapitalRevenue

Bedford

98,620

119,550

Blackpool

1,032,000

41,000

Bournemouth

2,434,000

1,001,000

Bracknell

121,200

178,800

Brighton and Hove

2,100,000

1,380,000

Bristol

4,079,000

907,000

Cambridgeshire

1,462,000

262,000

Derby

1,116,000

1,060,000

Greater Manchester ITA

3,522,000

1,477,000

Hampshire

3,590,760

886,440

Leicestershire

2,241,800

320,300

Merseyside ITA

4,184,000

23,000

Milton Keynes

872,000

1,358,000

Norfolk

1,981,200

602,100

Nottingham

3,080,000

1,828,000

Slough

1,415,000

0

South Yorkshire

2,512,000

2,396,000

Southend on Sea

1,292,000

285,000

Torbay

400,000

114,700

Tyne and Wear ITA

3,889,000

1,083,000

West Midlands

3,000,000

2,000,000

West Yorkshire

2,387,600

2,587,400

Wiltshire

354,320

40,000

York

1,765,000

1,160,000

Total

48,929,500

21,110,290

Total capital and revenue

 

70,039,790

21 Jan 2013 : Column 59W

There are no Quality Contract Schemes currently in operation. No decision has yet been made on the funding or regulatory arrangements for future Better Bus Areas as part of the Government's proposals for the devolution of Bus Service Operators' Grant.

Bus Services: Finance

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much his Department has allocated to each transport authority as part of the better bus area fund. [137601]

21 Jan 2013 : Column 60W

Norman Baker: The Better Bus Area concept is designed to provide financial encouragement for partnership working between local authorities and local bus operators, with an aim of increasing bus patronage and support the Department's aims of creating growth and cutting carbon. Numerous bids were received and evaluated in the first stage, with a total of 24 successful local transport authorities being awarded a total of just over £70m in March 2012.

The breakdown of funds awarded to successful local authorities was as follows:

Local AuthorityCapital (£s)Revenue (£s)

Bedford

98,620

119,550

Blackpool

1,032,000

41,000

Bournemouth

2,434,000

1,001,000

Bracknell

121,200

178,800

Brighton & Hove

2,100,000

1,380,000

Bristol

4,079,000

907,000

Cambridgeshire

1,462,000

262,000

Derby

1,116,000

1,060,000

Greater Manchester ITA

3,522,000

1,477,000

Hampshire

3,590,760

886,440

Leicestershire

2,241,800

320,300

Merseyside ITA

4,184,000

23,000

Milton Keynes

872,000

1,358,000

Norfolk

1,981,200

602,100

Nottingham

3,080,000

1,828,000

Slough

1,415,000

0

South Yorkshire

2,512,000

2,396,000

Southend on Sea

1,292,000

285,000

Torbay

400,000

114,700

Tyne and Wear ITA

3,889,000

1,083,000

West Midlands

3,000,000

2,000,000

West Yorkshire

2,387,600

2,587,400

Wiltshire

354,320

40,000

York

1,765,000

1,160,000

Total

48,929,500

21,110,290

 

70,039,790

Bus Services: Tyne and Wear

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many recipients of free bus passes there were in (a) Tyne and Wear and (b) Sunderland in each year for which figures are available. [137602]

Norman Baker: The Department for Transport's survey of Travel Concession Authorities (TCAs) in 2011 showed that in Tyne and Wear 242,000 bus passes were on issue to residents in the financial year 2011/12. Further information is published in Table Bus0890 at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/bus08-concessionary-travel

The Department does not have information for Sunderland as it is a lower tier local authority which is not a TCA.

Driver And Vehicle Licensing Agency

Mike Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what arrangements are in place for the processing of biometric cards when DVLA is made aware of the compassionate circumstances of the applicants; and if he will make a statement. [138319]

Stephen Hammond: The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency is responsible purely for the production of the Biometric Residence Permit card on behalf of the UK Border Agency. The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency would not be aware of the status of any application and is unable to intervene in any way.

Mike Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what arrangements are in place for the issuing by DVLA of biometric cards on behalf of the UK Border Agency; and if he will make a statement. [138320]

Stephen Hammond: The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency receives data files for the Biometric Residence Permit from the UK Border Agency on a daily basis. The cards are usually produced and despatched within 18 hours of receipt. All the data files are deleted once the cards have been successfully produced.

Mike Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the average timescale is for issuing biometric cards by DVLA when they receive notification from the UK Border Agency; and if he will make a statement. [138321]

21 Jan 2013 : Column 61W

Stephen Hammond: Biometric residence permit cards are usually produced and despatched within 18 hours of receipt of the data files being received at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency from the UK Border Agency.

Driving: Licensing

Nick de Bois: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will estimate the number of individuals driving in the UK on (a) driving licences issued inside the European Union and (b) driving licences issued outside the European Union; and if he will make a statement. [137532]

Stephen Hammond: The law allows drivers from the European Community to drive until they reach the age of 70 (or the age of 45 for holders of bus and lorry licences), while drivers from outside the European Union may drive here for up to 12 months from their date of last entry to the UK. Information on those driving on licences issued outside the UK is not recorded.

Nick de Bois: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to reduce the number of non-UK driving licence holders who do not apply for a full UK driving licence within 12 months; and if he will make a statement. [137585]

Stephen Hammond: The law already requires driving licence holders from outside the European Community to exchange their driving licence or pass the relevant driving test if they wish to continue driving beyond 12 months. Those who fail to do so commit an offence. Enforcement is a matter for the police and the courts. Drivers who continue to drive beyond the 12 month period commit an offence and risk a fine of up to £1,000 and three to six penalty points.

Heathrow Airport

Mary Macleod: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent research his Department commissioned on (a) noise and (b) health effects on local communities of the Operational Freedoms trials at Heathrow airport. [137669]

Mr Simon Burns: The operational freedoms trial is being run by Heathrow Airport Ltd, which is regularly publishing data in consultation with stakeholders. The UK's independent aviation regulator, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), has been appointed to supervise the operational freedoms trial. The CAA will supplement the airport's analysis with its own assessment of the positive and negative impacts of the measures being trialled, including on noise.

The Government's decisions on operational freedoms at Heathrow will follow public consultation, which will be a further opportunity for local authorities, residents and other stakeholders to express their views and submit evidence on the impacts of the trial.

High Speed 2 Railway Line

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many new public sector jobs have been created to promote HS2; and what the cost to the public purse is of such jobs. [138618]

21 Jan 2013 : Column 62W

Mr Simon Burns: There are 10 permanent jobs within the HS2 Ltd Communications team engaged in the promotion of HS2 plus two jobs which are fixed term appointments. These fixed term appointments are due to end in March 2013 and July 2013 respectively.

The total cost of employment of all 12 roles is £45,559 per calendar month, including pay and employer NI and pension contributions.

M23: West Sussex

Henry Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he plans to take to reduce the effect on nearby residents of noise levels from the M23 in West Sussex. [138400]

Stephen Hammond: Any steps to reduce the effect on residents of traffic noise from the M23 in West Sussex will be taken in line with the environmental noise regulations and through the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs' (DEFRA) noise action plans, which have been prepared in accordance with these regulations.

DEFRA's noise action plans have identified two Important Areas, with First Priority Locations along the M23 near Pound Hill and Worth. Investigations by the Highways Agency has identified the most effective noise mitigation measures for these areas as resurfacing with a low noise surface. In accordance with current maintenance policy, resurfacing is carried out at the end of the asset life.

The Agency has no specific schemes allocated in its four-year forward programme for low noise surfacing in West Sussex, although localised repairs may be undertaken to keep the carriageway safe and serviceable.

An Important Area without First Priority Locations has also been identified on the M23 near Burleys Wood. The Agency will shortly be carrying out investigations to identify what, if any, noise mitigation measures could address the noise issues identified.

Midland Main Railway Line

Mr Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will ensure that a requirement for new electric trains forms part of the specification for the renewal of the Midland Mainline franchise in 2015. [137813]

Mr Simon Burns: It is very unlikely that we would let a franchise on a line currently undergoing electrification on terms that did not include a commitment to run electric trains on that line.

However we would wait until we carried out a full consultation with industry stakeholders and the public before deciding what specific terms to include in the Invitation to Tender.

Oxford Economic Research Associates

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many meetings (a) he, (b) Ministers in his Department and (c) officials in his Department have had with Oxera since 1 January 2012. [137603]

21 Jan 2013 : Column 63W

Norman Baker: Staff from the Department for Transport routinely meet a range of organisations from both the public and private sectors. The Department does not, as a matter of routine, collect data on the total number of meetings by staff with specific organisations.

Details of Ministerial and Permanent Secretary meetings with external organisations are routinely published every quarter and information can be accessed on the Gov.Uk website via the following links:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ministerial-transparency-data

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/permanent-secretary-meetings-with-external-organisations

Information covering the period up to the end of December 2012 will be published in due course.

Parking Attendants

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to ensure that anyone working in a parking enforcement company and who has access to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency register of vehicle owners is registered with the Security Industry Authority. [138433]

Stephen Hammond: Private parking management companies wishing to request vehicle keeper information from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency must meet the appropriate legislative and contractual requirements. They are also required to maintain membership of an accredited trade association and ensure their operations comply with a code of practice. The British Parking Association is currently the only accredited trade association for the parking industry.

Parking enforcement operatives are required to register with the Security Industry Authority only if they are involved in vehicle immobilisation.

Railways: Freight

Mrs Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the answer of 26 March 2012, Official Report, columns 947-8W, on aviation: Hertfordshire, whether (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department have had any discussions on (i) the Helioslough Radlett rail freight exchange proposal and (ii) other rail freight issues since May 2012; and whether he has received any representations on these issues since May 2012. [138621]

Mr Simon Burns: Neither Ministers nor officials have held any discussions on the Helioslough Radlett rail freight exchange proposal since May 2012. I received a meeting request from the director of Helioslough in November 2012 which I declined. All other representations have been redirected to the Department for Communities and Local Government.

The Freight Minister and I also received representations in November 2012 relating to proposed developments at Colnbrook and at Daventry, to which I responded that the proposals in question are currently in the planning system and therefore subject to decision from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government.

Ministers and officials have regular discussions with a number of bodies on the broader rail freight issues in which the Department for Transport has a policy interest.

21 Jan 2013 : Column 64W

Railways: Safety

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what safety measures have been implemented since the Tebay rail accident. [138503]

Mr Simon Burns: The RSSB (formally the Rail Safety and Standards Board) held an independent inquiry into the Tebay accident of 15 February 2004. Its report, “Track Worker Fatalities at Tebay on 15 February 2004”, was published in October 2004 (a summary is available from

www.rssb.co.uk/LEARNING/Documents/FI2884.pdf

and contained 12 recommendations. All have been successfully implemented.

In February 2012 Network Rail announced plans to spend £5 million to further improve the safety of its road-rail vehicles ("RRVs") by adding extra disc brakes to more than 300 flat trolleys used to move materials to and from railway worksites. It is also developing a secondary protection and warning system, with the close involvement of rail unions, and other measures aimed at reducing the risks of and from runaway vehicles.

In the longer term, Network Rail is seeking to design and develop a new generation of RRVs specifically built for use on the railway. The Office of Rail Regulation, the industry's independent health and safety regulator, has had a focused inspection programme looking to improve the safe use of RRVs since 2009 and plans to continue monitoring whether the industry is controlling the risk from and to the use of RRVs in 2013-14, including Network Rail's development of a new generation of RRVs.

Roads: Snow and Ice

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to educate people on the dangers of driving in ice and snow. [138314]

Stephen Hammond: Rules 226 to 237 of the Highway Code provide practical advice on driving in adverse weather conditions. In particular, rules 228 to 231 relate specifically to icy and snowy weather. In addition the Highways Agency website has also published seasonal advice on planning journeys and driving safely in different kinds of weather, including winter conditions.

Rolling Stock: Procurement

Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what savings he expects to be made through the reductions in replacement and repair of rail track following the Intercity Express programme. [137646]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department for Transport estimates the Intercity Express programme trains will see a reduction of approximately 38% in variable track access charges per seat-mile compared with existing high speed trains. Variable track access charges can be used as a proxy for track wear costs.

Shipping Lanes

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to (a) maintain and (b) increase usage of the shipping lane between Barrow and Douglas. [138529]

21 Jan 2013 : Column 65W

Stephen Hammond: The Government work closely with public and private stakeholders to facilitate maritime trade and improve maritime safety and prevent pollution. There are no specific measures in place by the Government in relation to the Barrow to Douglas maritime route.

Transport: Finance

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether transport authorities opting for a Quality Contract Scheme are exempt from transport improvement funds. [138183]

Norman Baker: There are currently no barriers that prevent local transport authorities considering or planning Quality Contract Schemes from receiving central Government funding. Tyne and Wear ITA and West Yorkshire ITA both received Better Bus Area funding in 2012.

No decision has yet been taken on the treatment of Quality Contract Schemes under the proposed devolution of bus service operators' grant.

Unmanned Air Vehicles

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his Department's policy is on the use of unmanned aerial vehicles to take photographs and conduct surveillance in the UK. [138557]

Mr Simon Burns: The Government recognise the potential of unmanned aircraft systems, now referred to as Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS), in a variety of civil applications, particularly in crisis management situations. The ability to stay on station for prolonged periods of time with cameras and other sensors without the need to refuel or consider pilot fatigue makes them ideal for monitoring disaster and security events or for other environmental applications, such as crop and vegetation monitoring. Police forces, fire services and a growing number of farmers are all showing an interest in operating RPAS. However, we recognise there are some concerns from the general public about the use of RPAS in urban areas, particularly in relation to privacy and data protection. Operators are required to take into consideration European and national legislation, such as the Data Protection Act 1998 and the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, when conducting operations and ensure that data is managed sensitively and securely in accordance with these rules. We do not believe that any additional regulatory changes are needed to ensure adequate privacy and data protection.

House of Commons Commission

Nurseries

Michael Fabricant: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, how many places are available for children at the House of Commons nursery; and what the average usage of the nursery has been between Monday and Thursday when the House has been sitting, over the last 12 months for which figures are available. [137456]

21 Jan 2013 : Column 66W

John Thurso: The House of Commons nursery has the capacity to care for 40 children, of which no more than 15 can be under the age of two. During 2012 the average usage of the nursery on Mondays to Thursdays when the House was sitting was 32.5%. Following a publicity campaign, usage is increasing with three new children starting this month.

Defence

Aircraft Carriers

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to ensure that aircraft carriers do not sail without proper air support. [138233]

Mr Dunne: The level of air support required by the Queen Elizabeth carriers will be assessed prior to deployment by the appropriate operational authority taking into account all relevant factors, including the level of threat.

Armed Forces: Rape

Duncan Hames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 25 October 2012, Official Report, column 986W, on Royal Military Police: sexual offences, whether information relating to the number of rape allegations reported to the Royal Military Police is now held centrally; whether information on the number of such allegations made in each year between 2001 and 2012 is now available; if he will publish any such information; and if he will make a statement. [136766]

Mr Francois: The information for the full period from 2000 is not held centrally and to provide figures of each reported allegation of rape and sexual assault would require a manual check of the records incurring disproportionate cost.

However, I can advise that the total number of rape cases including attempted rape cases, reported to and dealt with by the Royal Military Police, where the Royal Military Police have jurisdiction and the investigative lead since the implementation of the Armed Forces Act 2006 on 31 October 2009, are as follows:

 Total

2009 (from 31 October)

4

2010

25

2011

21

2012 (until 30 September)

19

Crime: Victims

Chris Heaton-Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the potential effects on matters for which his Department is responsible of the recently adopted Directive 2012/29/EU establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime. [136765]

Mr Francois: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) worked closely with the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) to ensure MOD interests were taken into account as MOJ led the negotiations on the UK Government position on directive

21 Jan 2013 : Column 67W

2012/29/EU. This included a joint assessment of provisions in the directive where we judged that clarification of the intended effect on the Service Justice System was required, as applied both inside and outside of the EU. The directive, as adopted, addresses these areas such that any associated administrative burden on the Service Justice System has been mitigated. At the same time, it ensures a commitment to safeguarding the rights of victims in cases that involve the armed forces.