22 Jan 2013 : Column 129W

Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 22 January 2013

Electoral Commission Committee

Electoral Register

Chris Ruane: To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, which parliamentary constituencies were in local authority areas whose electoral registration officers did not reach the required performance indicators on Standard 3 in respect of electors who failed to register to vote; and if he will make a statement. [138198]

Mr Streeter: In 2011, 98 constituencies were in local authority areas where the Electoral Registration Officer (ERO) did not meet performance standard 3. This standard aims to ensure that EROs make the necessary house-to-house inquiries to ensure that all eligible residents are registered, in line with their legal duty to maintain complete and accurate electoral registers.

In 2012 the Commission reviewed the canvass plans of all EROs ahead of the annual canvass to confirm that arrangements were in place for the necessary house-to-house inquiries to be carried out. The Commission intervened where issues were identified and recommended improvements that should be made before the completion of the canvass. The Commission's report on ERO performance in 2012 will be published in spring 2013 and will assess the extent to which house-to-house inquiries are being carried out across Great Britain.

The constituencies in areas where EROs did not meet standard 3 in 2011 were:

Airdrie and Shotts

Angus

Arundel and South Downs

Aylesbury

Ayr, Carrick and Cumnock

Beaconsfield

Bognor Regis and Littlehampton

Boston and Skegness

Braintree

Brecon and Radnorshire

Bridgwater and West Somerset

Broxbourne

Buckingham

Cannock Chase

Castle Point

Central Ayrshire

Central Devon

Central Suffolk and North Ipswich

Chatham and Aylesford

Chichester

Coatbridge, Chyston and Bellshill

Cumbernauld, Kilsyth and Kirkintilloch East

22 Jan 2013 : Column 130W

Cynon Valley

Dumfrieshire, Clydesdale and Tweedsdale

Dunfermline and West Fife

East Devon

East Hampshire

East Kilbride, Strathaven and Lesmahagow

East Lothian

East Surrey

Edinburgh East

Edinburgh North and Leith

Edinburgh South

Edinburgh South West

Edinburgh West

Falkirk CC

Gillingham and Rainham

Glenrothes

Gravesham

Great Yarmouth

Kenilworth and Southam

Kilmarnock and Loudoun

Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath

Lanark and Hamilton East

Lancaster and Fleetwood

Linlithgow and East Falkirk

Livingstone

Louth and Horncastle

Ludlow

Maidenhead

Maldon

Meon Valley

Meriden

Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney

Mid Dorset and Poole North

Midlothian

Milton Keynes North

Milton Keynes South

Mole Valley

Monmouth

Montgomeryshire

Morecambe and Lunesdale

Motherwell and Wishaw

North Ayrshire and Arran

North Devon

North Dorset

North East Fife

North East Hampshire

North East Hertfordshire

North Herefordshire

North Shropshire

North Somerset

North Thanet

North Warwickshire

Ochil and South Perthshire

Perth and North Perthshire

Rhondda

Rochester and Strood

Rutherglen and Hamilton West

Shrewsbury and Atcham

Solihull

22 Jan 2013 : Column 131W

South Thanet

Stirling

Suffolk Coastal

Taunton Deane

Telford

The Wrekin

Tiverton and Honiton

Torfaen

Torridge and West Devon

Vale of Glamorgan

West Worcestershire

Weston-super-Mare

Windsor

Witham

Witney

Worthing West

Wycombe

In 2011, the Commission worked specifically with those EROs who had not met the standard in any of the previous three years to identify actions they should take to improve their performance.

The Commission will develop a revised set of performance standards to monitor the transition to Individual Electoral Registration in Great Britain.

Chris Ruane: To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, in which local authorities' electoral registration officers did not meet the performance standard 3 on house-to-house calls for non-registration in (a) 2008, (b) 2009, (c) 2010 and (d) 2011; and what steps have been taken against such officers. [138199]

Mr Streeter: The local authorities’ electoral registration officers (EROs) in the following list did not meet performance standard 3 in each of the years 2008 to 2011. This standard aims to ensure that EROs make the necessary house-to-house inquiries to ensure that all eligible residents are registered, in line with their legal duty to maintain complete and accurate electoral registers.

In 2011, the Commission carried out a detailed analysis of performance against this standard in response to feedback indicating that for various reasons, including local authority budget reductions, there may be a greater number of EROs in 2011 who would not meet this standard. This work confirmed that a higher number of EROs were not meeting the standard than in 2010.

2008

Rhondda, Cynon, Taff

The Vale of Glamorgan

Bridgnorth

Coventry

Nuneaton and Bedworth

Shrewsbury and Atcham

Solihull

Stratford Upon Avon

Craven

Leeds

Ryedale

Dumfries and Galloway

North Lanarkshire

22 Jan 2013 : Column 132W

Orkney Islands

Shetland Islands

South Lanarkshire

2009

Brentwood

Broadland

East Hertfordshire

Epping Forest

Uttlesford

Hyndburn

South Lakeland

Warrington

Basingstoke and Deane

East Hampshire

Runnymede

West Devon

West Somerset

Merthyr Tydfil

Newport

The Vale of Glamorgan

Warwick

2010

Brentwood

East Hertfordshire

Epping Forest

Hertsmere

Maldon

Hyndburn

Mid Devon

West Devon

2011

East Hertfordshire

Great Yarmouth

Maldon

Suffolk Coastal

Lancaster

Angus

Clackmannanshire

East Ayrshire

East Lothian

Edinburgh, City of

Falkirk

Fife

Midlothian

North Ayrshire

North Lanarkshire

Perth and Kinross

South Ayrshire

South Lanarkshire

Stirling

West Lothian

Arun

Chichester

East Hampshire

Gravesham

Hart

Medway

Milton Keynes

Mole Valley

Tandridge

Thanet

West Oxfordshire

Windsor and Maidenhead

Wycombe

22 Jan 2013 : Column 133W

East Devon

East Dorset

Mid Devon

North Devon

North Dorset

North Somerset

Sedgemoor

Taunton Deane

West Devon

West Somerset

Merthyr Tydfil

Powys

Rhondda, Cynon, Taff

The Vale of Glamorgan

Torfaen

Cannock Chase

Malvern Hills

North Warwickshire

Shropshire

Solihull

Warwick

Since 2008 the Commission has worked with EROs in local authorities that have not met one or more of the performance standards, to recommend improvements.

In 2011, the Commission worked specifically with those EROs who had not met the standard in any of the previous three years to identify actions they should take to improve their performance.

In 2012 the Commission reviewed the canvass plans of all EROs ahead of the annual canvass to confirm that arrangements were in place for the necessary house- to-house inquiries to be carried out. The Commission intervened where issues were identified and recommended improvements that should be made before the completion of the canvass. The Commission's report on ERO performance in 2012 will be published in spring 2013 and will assess the extent to which house-to-house inquiries are being carried out across Great Britain.

Defence

Assets

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost to the public purse of the UK-based defence estate was in the latest period for which figures are available. [131942]

Mr Francois [holding answer 6 December 2012]: The Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) is responsible for the management of the Defence estate in the UK. In financial year 2011-12 DIO expenditure on the UK estate was some £2.9 billion.

Contracts and Meetings

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many contracts were awarded by his Department to Oracle in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012; [138021]

(2) how many contracts were awarded by his Department to Xerox in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012; [138029]

22 Jan 2013 : Column 134W

(3) how many contracts were awarded by his Department to DELL CSC in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012; [138037]

(4) how many contracts were awarded by his Department to Symantec in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012;l [138045]

(5) how many contracts were awarded by his Department to Amazon in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012; [138053]

(6) how many contracts were awarded by his Department to Google in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [138061]

(7) how many meetings he and officials of his Department had with Google in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012; [138069]

(8) how many meetings he and officials of his Department had with Amazon in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012; [138077]

(9) how many meetings he and officials of his Department had with Oracle in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012; [138085]

(10) how many meetings he and officials of his Department had with Xerox in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012; [138093]

(11) how many meetings he and officials of his Department had with Dell CSC in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012; [138101]

(12) how many meetings he and officials of his Department had with Symantec in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [138109]

Mr Dunne: The number of contracts awarded to the named companies in 2010, 2011 and 2012 is shown in the following table. The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has not awarded any contracts to Amazon during this period. The table includes contracts let by MOD agencies and trading funds.

Company201020112012

Oracle

17

14

8

Xerox

1

2

DELL

2

1

CSC (Computer Sciences Corporation)

1

1

Symantec

3

Google

1

1

Information about meetings between officials and these companies could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Details of all ministerial meetings with external organisations, including companies, are published in the MOD Transparency returns, which are available at this address:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/ministers-gifts-hospitality-travel-and-meetings

No meetings were held between Ministers and the named companies in 2010, 2011 or 2012.

22 Jan 2013 : Column 135W

Cybercrime

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress his Department has made on developing UK computer emergency response teams. [137569]

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

Three significant Government computer emergency response teams (CERT), MODCERT (for defence), GOVCERTUK (for Government Departments) and CSIRTUK (for the CNI), have been in place for some time, as well as others across the public and private sectors.

On 3 December 2012, Official Report, column 41WS, the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, my right hon. Friend the Member for Horsham (Mr Maude), informed the House on progress in support of the UK Cyber Security Strategy, which announced our intention to establish a UK National CERT. This will build on existing structures and enhance national co-ordination and international liaison regarding cyber incidents.

Military Aircraft

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the findings of the National Audit Office's Major Projects Reports 2012, published in January 2013, whether he plans to extend the life of the VC10 and Tristar fleets. [138162]

Mr Dunne: A decision was taken in late December 2012 to resource an extension of the VC10 fleet until September 2013, but the Ministry of Defence currently has no plans to extend the out of service date for TriStar beyond that mentioned in the National Audit Office's Major Projects Report 2012.

Piracy

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many UK personnel are deployed on anti-piracy operations; [138409]

(2) how many UK ships are on deployments aimed at stopping piracy. [138417]

Mr Robathan: As at 21 January 2013, HMS Northumberland is available to support the Combined Maritime Force counter-piracy operation in the Gulf. There are approximately 200 personnel aboard. The UK also provides the Operational Commander together with 50% of the HQ staff in the UK-based Operational Headquarters (Northwood). As the opportunity arises, the Royal Navy contributes ships which are transiting through the area of operations to support counter-piracy operations.

There is also one UK Lynx flight, with approximately 15 personnel, on board the French ship Surcouf supporting the European Union counter-piracy operation, Operation Atalanta. The UK also contributes five counter-piracy liaison officers to Atalanta who are based in Bahrain, Dijbouti, Mombassa, the Seychelles and Tanzania.

22 Jan 2013 : Column 136W

Scotland

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many meeting requests the Minister for the Armed Forces has received from the Scottish Minister for Transport and Veteran Affairs since 4 September 2012; and how many visits the Minister for the Armed Forces has made to Scotland since that date. [132357]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 10 December 2012]: I have received one personal letter from the Scottish Minister for Transport and Veteran Affairs, in which he requested a meeting. The Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, my right hon. Friend the Member for Rayleigh and Wickford (Mr Francois), and he have subsequently met. Since 4 September 2012, the Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), together with the Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology, my hon. Friend the Member for Ludlow (Mr Dunne), and I have each made one visit to Scotland.

Since 2010, I have visited Scotland six times as a Defence Minister; met with the Scottish Minister for Housing and Communities; and offered to meet with the Scottish Cabinet Secretary for Rural Affairs and the Environment, but he declined the offer.

Space Technology

Peter Luff: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the UK National Space Security Policy will be published. [138157]

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

Following the Cabinet Office-led drafting of the UK National Space Security Policy, I can confirm that we intend to publish the policy as soon as is feasible and officials in this Department and in the Ministry of Defence are working towards this.

Veterans

Sir Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent progress has been made on the review being carried out by the Special Representative for Veterans' Transition. [138448]

Mr Francois: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 7 January 2013, Official Report, column 51W, to my hon. Friend the Member for Burton (Andrew Griffiths).

Leader of the House

Business Committee

Mr Chope: To ask the Leader of the House pursuant to his answer of 15 January 2013, Official Report, column 685W, on the Business Committee, if the House Business Committee will be in place by May 2013. [138793]

Mr Lansley: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 15 January 2013, Official Report, 685W.

22 Jan 2013 : Column 137W

Energy and Climate Change

Amazon

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many contracts were awarded by his Department to Amazon in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [138054]

Gregory Barker: The Department of Energy and Climate Change does not record this information centrally and would be available only at disproportionate cost.

The Department's Financial records show that a payment of £75 was made through the Department's financial system to Amazon between the 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2012.

Biofuels

Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what sustainability standards must be met by applicants before his Department will provide support to proposed biofuel projects. [138808]

Mr Hayes: The Department of Energy and Climate Change provides support to renewable electricity generated from bioliquids through the Renewables Obligation. Eligibility is dependent on complying with the mandatory sustainability standards set out in the Renewable Energy Directive. These include restrictions on the use of bioliquids produced from land important for biodiversity or from land with high carbon stocks. The sustainability standards also include a life cycle greenhouse gas saving of at least 35%.

For proposed projects which require development consent under the Planning Act 2008 the current national policy statement sets out that consent should not be granted to a proposed biomass or bioliquid-fuelled generating station unless it is satisfied that the operator will (so far as it can reasonably be expected to do so) ensure that the biomass or bioliquid fuel it burns meets applicable Renewables Obligation sustainability criteria, whether or not Renewables Obligation Certificates are being claimed. Where appropriate, a requirement to this effect may be included in the development consent order.

Dell

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many contracts were awarded by his Department to Dell CSC in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [138038]

Gregory Barker: The Department of Energy and Climate Change does not record this information centrally and would be available only at disproportionate cost.

The Department's financial records show that in 2010 the Department paid Dell Corporation UK for one personal computer including software. No other payments were made to Dell from 2010 to 2012.

The Department contracts with Fujitsu for Information Technology which includes the supply of Dell laptop computers.

22 Jan 2013 : Column 138W

Departmental Responsibilities

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what his Department's top three policy implementation (a) successes and (b) failures have been since May 2010. [138374]

Gregory Barker: The policy implementation priorities of the Department of Energy and Climate Change can be found in the Department's Structural Reform Plan, progress against which is reported on the Government's Business Plan Website:

http://transparency.number10.gov.uk/business-plan

A broader look at implementation progress can be found in the Government's Mid-Term Review document:

http://midtermreview.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/

published on 7 January 2013, and the Programme for Government Update, published on 9 January 2013:

http://midtermreview.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/programme-for-government-update/

Energy Company Obligation

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many (a) installations and (b) assessments have been completed under the Energy Company Obligation since October 2012. [138783]

Gregory Barker: Under ECO there is no requirement for suppliers to report on the number of assessments made. Ofgem, as the Administrator of the ECO scheme, will be providing monthly information on progress made against installation of measures by obligated energy suppliers. The first of these reports is due after energy suppliers have submitted to Ofgem at the end of February, and will cover all measures installed since last October. However, there is strong evidence that ECO activity is already under way, with company offers available in the market place and a number of partnerships between energy companies and local authorities—including in Bristol, Birmingham and Leeds—under way. The Government's Energy Savings Advice Service has also provided a significant number of referrals for Affordable-Warmth eligible customers, and the first legally binding auction on the ECO brokerage platform was successfully held on 15 January, selling packages of work to install hundreds of eligible measures over the coming months.

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when the Energy Company Obligation brokerage system will be in operation. [138784]

Gregory Barker: The Energy Company Obligation brokerage system is now in operation. The first auction was held on 15 January 2013, and ECO delivery worth over £1 million was successfully traded. Auctions will now be held fortnightly.

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many installations took place under the (a) Carbon Emissions Reduction Target and (b) Community Energy Saving Programme in each month from October to December 2012. [138785]

22 Jan 2013 : Column 139W

Gregory Barker: Delivery data on the Carbon Emissions Reduction Target (CERT) and the Community Energy Saving Programme (CESP) is not published on a monthly basis.

Both CERT and CESP ended on 31 December 2012 and the Ofgem final reports on the schemes, including installations undertaken in the last three months of 2012, will be published in May 2013.

Contracts

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many contracts were awarded by his Department to Google in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [138062]

Gregory Barker: The Department of Energy and Climate Change does not record this information centrally and would be available only at disproportionate cost.

The Department's Financial records show that no payments were made through the Department's financial system to Google from 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2012.

Members: Correspondence

Mr Baron: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when he plans to respond to the letter of 5 November 2012 from the hon. Member for Basildon and Billericay regarding Energy Bill reform. [138788]

Gregory Barker: I have now replied to my hon. Friend, and I apologise for the delay in doing so.

Offshore Industry

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change with reference to the Shell Kulluk rig accident in December 2012, if he will take steps to review the regulatory procedures of the UK oil and gas industry. [138684]

Mr Hayes: I am advised that the Kulluk, an Arctic-class drilling barge, was being towed from the Beaufort Sea in Alaskan Arctic waters back to Seattle following Shell's first drilling season in the region. Its tow vessel lost control during a harsh winter storm, resulting in the barge being grounded.

As this incident is the subject of investigation by the US regulatory authorities, I would not wish to comment on the circumstances of the Kulluk's grounding. We will of course consider whether there are any implications for the UK regulatory regime from this incident once the results of such investigations are known. I would, however, note that the Kulluk was not engaged in drilling operations at the time of this event.

Offshore Industry: Arctic

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change with reference to the Shell Kulluk rig accident in December 2012, if he will take steps to secure an agreement at global level on a moratorium on drilling for oil or gas in the Arctic Circle. [138683]

22 Jan 2013 : Column 140W

Mr Hayes: As it is currently the subject of investigation by the US regulatory authorities, it would not be appropriate for me to comment on the grounding of the Kulluk or its implications.

Oracle

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many contracts were awarded by his Department to Oracle in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [138022]

Gregory Barker: The Department of Energy and Climate Change does not record this information centrally and would be available only at disproportionate cost.

The Department's financial records show that from January 2010 to 31 December 2012 payments were made to Oracle for Oracle licences. In 2010-11 payments were made for Oracle support and in 2011 a payment was made for an Oracle service contract.

Symantec

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many contracts were awarded by his Department to Symantec in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [138046]

Gregory Barker: The Department of Energy and Climate Change does not record this information centrally and would be available only at disproportionate cost.

The Department's financial records show that no payments were made through the Department's financial system to Symantec from 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2012.

Xerox

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many contracts were awarded by his Department to Xerox in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [138030]

Gregory Barker: The Department of Energy and Climate Change does not record this information centrally and would be available only at disproportionate cost.

The Department's financial records show that, from 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2012, the Department has paid Xerox for photocopier rental.

House of Commons Commission

Sickness Absence

Chris Ruane: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, pursuant to the answer of 14 January 2013, Official Report, column 487W, on sick leave, when the revision of the House of Commons Service guidance on workplace stress began; when this work will be complete; what procedures are in place to involve hon. Members in drawing up the guidance; and what evidence has been considered so far on the usefulness of mindfulness practice in relieving workplace stress. [138129]

22 Jan 2013 : Column 141W

John Thurso: Work to revise the stress policy for staff of the House began in October 2011, and is scheduled for completion in late spring. As part of this work, the Safety, Health and Wellbeing Service has reviewed how mindfulness practice may be of use in relieving workplace stress. As the stress policy will form part of the House of Commons staff handbook, Members would not routinely be involved in the consultation process. The Head of Safety, Health and Wellbeing would be happy to discuss mindfulness-based therapies with the hon. Member.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Air Pollution

Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department makes of emissions from appliances which are installed in smoke control areas; and if he will make a statement. [136915]

Richard Benyon: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 9 January 2013, Official Report, column 304W.

Government Procurement Card

Jonathan Ashworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) staff and (b) special advisers in his Department have use of a Government Procurement Card. [137269]

Richard Benyon: As of 12 January 2013, 688 core DEFRA employees hold a Government Procurement Card (GPC).

The GPC can only be issued to permanent civil servants employed within core DEFRA. Special advisers are classed as non-permanent staff and therefore are not eligible to hold a GPC.

Horses: Disease Control

Mr Tom Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps his Department is taking to tackle the spread of infectious equine diseases. [137235]

Mr Heath: The risk of incursion of equine diseases into the UK is low but ever present. We monitor disease outbreaks around the world to assess the risk of disease incursion through natural means, and work closely with the UK Border Agency to manage proportionately the risk of incursion from illegal imports. Should there be a disease outbreak, we have tried and tested contingency plans that are evidence based and regularly reviewed, developed in close partnership with delivery agents and stakeholders. The last confirmed case of exotic equine disease was in October 2012, where we acted quickly to prevent spread of equine infectious anaemia in south-west England.

Incinerators: Greater London

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had on the potential effects on human health in Newham of the operation of the South East London Combined Heat and Power incinerator. [137767]

22 Jan 2013 : Column 142W

Richard Benyon: The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for North Shropshire (Mr Paterson), has not held any discussions on the potential effects on human health in Newham of the South East London Combined Heat and Power incinerator.

Energy from waste incinerators are regulated under environmental permits granted by the Environment Agency to meet the strict emissions standards of the waste incineration directive. The Environment Agency currently has no regulatory or compliance concerns regarding the performance of the South East London Combined Heat and Power incinerator and is not aware of any public health issues. Any potential effects on health would be a matter for the Environment Agency to assess in conjunction with the Health Protection Agency.

Scotland

Meetings

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) how many meetings he and members of his Department had with Google in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012; [137977]

(2) how many meetings he and members of his Department had with Amazon in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012; [137978]

(3) how many meetings he and members of his Department had with Oracle in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012; [137979]

(4) how many meetings he and members of his Department had with Xerox in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012; [137980]

(5) how many meetings he and members of his Department had with Dell CSC in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012; [137981]

(6) how many meetings he and members of his Department had with Symantec in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [137982]

David Mundell: Scotland Office Ministers have not had any meetings with Google, Amazon, Oracle, Xerox, Dell CSC or Symantec in 2010, 2011 or 2012. An official had one meeting with Oracle in 2011 and one meeting with Google in 2012.

Transport

Bus Services

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many meetings (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department have had with representatives from Greener Journeys in the last 12 months; and what areas of bus policy were discussed at each such meeting. [138489]

Norman Baker: Department for Transport (DfT) Ministers have had no one-to-one meetings with representatives from Greener Journeys in the last 12 months, however, they have attended events such as the launch of the Buses and Economic Growth report in July 2012 and Party Conferences in September 2012.

DfT officials have had 3 meetings with representatives from Greener Journeys in the last 12 months to discuss various aspects of bus policy, including the publication of their “Buses and Economic Growth” report.

22 Jan 2013 : Column 143W

High Speed 2 Railway Line

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he has decided to run a public consultation exercise on the compensation provisions for those living on or near to the proposed route for Phase 2 of High Speed 2. [138792]

Mr Simon Burns: When we announce our initial preferred route for Phase Two of High Speed Rail, we will also consult on an exceptional hardship scheme for those affected.

Railways: Bolton

Mr Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to help reduce overcrowding on commuter rail services serving Bolton. [137834]

Mr Simon Burns: Additional carriages funded by the Department for Transport were made available to Northern Rail from December 2011 under the last High Level Output Specification (HLOS). These carriages are used to provide more places on peak services to and from the cities of Northern England.

The Department is working with the railway industry to deliver additional capacity on services at Bolton station over the next few years. As set out in HLOS2, for Control Period 5 (2014-19), the route from Manchester to Preston via Bolton will be electrified enabling longer electric trains to operate on local services through Bolton.

In February 2012, the Department reached agreement with First TransPennine Express for the introduction of 10 new electric trains that will come into service between Manchester and Scotland from December 2013.

These four-coach electric trains will provide more seats on the popular Manchester to Scotland route. Initially the trains will run via Wigan, but an increase in capacity between Manchester and Preston will provide operators with opportunities to reduce crowding on the line via Bolton.

The Department is also working with Northern and Transport for Greater Manchester—who sponsor and specify local services in their area—on further schemes for train services between Manchester and Preston as the electrification of routes in the north-west takes place.

Southend Airport

James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment his Department has made of the economic effect of London Southend airport. [137835]

Mr Simon Burns: The Department for Transport has not produced its own assessment of the economic effect of London Southend airport. However, we fully recognise the contributions that airports such as Southend can make to local and regional economies, their important role in maintaining the UK's air connectivity, and their potential for helping accommodate forecast growth in demand for aviation in the UK. In this regard it is encouraging to note the recent developments at Southend airport, including the new railway station and terminal, and the successful launch of more commercial flights to an increased number of European destinations last year. Furthermore, the airport is extending its terminal

22 Jan 2013 : Column 144W

to allow it to handle more passengers from 2014. These developments will benefit not only the airport but the area around Southend as well as the wider region.

Treasury

Child Trust Fund

Thomas Docherty: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many eligible children received the initial lump sum payment as part of the Child Trust Fund between 1 September 2002 and 2 January 2011; [138706]

(2) what estimate he has made of the average value of child trust funds (a) now and (b) in the year the owners turn 18 for each of the years the initial lump sum was payable for. [138707]

Sajid Javid: Every child trust fund holder between 1 September 2002 and 2 January 2011 received an initial Government payment to their account. Information on numbers of child trust funds held in each year, and on the value of these accounts, is published by HM Revenue and Customs at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/ctf/stats.htm

Child trust funds will mature between 2020 and 2029 as account holders reach age 18. No estimates have been made of the average future value of child trust funds on maturity. This future value will depend upon what further payments are made to these accounts and the investment growth they achieve.

High Speed 2 Railway Line

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he expects the private sector to provide funding for High Speed 2. [138791]

Danny Alexander: UK infrastructure is attractive to potential investors, and therefore it is to be expected that the Government will consider opportunities for third party funding and financing. The Government have made clear that they will explore the scope for third party funding and financing in relation to High Speed 2, but are not currently at a stage in the process where it is possible to take forward detailed discussions with potential investors.

Income Tax

Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of additional-rate of income taxpayers with annual incomes of (a) between £150,000 and £250,000, (b) between £250,000 and £500,000, (c) between £500,000 and £1,000,000 and (d) over £1,000,000 in each (i) nation and region of the UK and (ii) parliamentary constituency in the current and next financial years; and what the average change in annual income solely derived from the change in the additional rate of income tax in April 2013 will be in each category. [138583]

Mr Gauke: The information is as follows:

(i) Estimates of additional rate taxpayer numbers by income range are published in Table 2.5 ‘Income tax liabilities by income range, 2009-10 to 2012-13’, and by

22 Jan 2013 : Column 145W

country and region in Table 2.2 ‘Number of individual income taxpayers by marginal rate, gender and age, by country and region, 1999-2000 to 2012-13’, available on the HMRC website:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/statistics/tax-statistics/table2-5.pdf

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/statistics/tax-statistics/table2-2.pdf

These statistics are based on the 2009-10 Survey of Personal Incomes (SPI) projected in-line with the Office for Budget Responsibility's March 2012 economic and fiscal outlook.

(ii) Data on the number of additional rate tax payers at parliamentary constituency levels are not published.

An estimate of the impact of reducing the additional rate of income tax to 45% broken down by region or income level is not available as the significant behavioural response associated with changes in personal tax rates is only estimated in aggregate.

For more details see the HMRC report “The Exchequer effect of the 50 per cent additional rate of income tax”, available at:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/budget2012/excheq-income-tax-2042.pdf

Multinational Companies: Company Accounts

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for International Development on the introduction of country-by-country reporting of financial information by UK-based multinational corporations. [138629]

Mr Gauke: The issue of country-by-country reporting has been extensively discussed with representatives from both civil society and industry in the context of the proposed EU accounting directive. The Government believe the best way to make progress in this area is to support the EU proposals to improve transparency in the extractives (gas, oil and mining) and forestry sectors.

PAYE

Stephen Timms: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he will be able to draw conclusions from the current PAYE real time information pilot about the ability of that system to support the accurate calculation of universal credit. [138516]

Mr Gauke: Under PAYE real time information (RTI) employers will report PAYE information to HMRC each time they pay their employees. RTI relating to universal credit (UC) claimants will be shared with Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) who will use the data to calculate the amount of credit due.

The RTI pilot is going well and research findings indicate that the majority of employers have found it works well for them. HMRC is on track for around 6 million individual records covered by the RTI system by the end of March 2013. The pilot has also been successful in proving the technology works.

A fully scoped test plan is currently in place to test the IT interface between DWP and HMRC, with the interface having been tested successfully last year.

As the RTI pilot progresses through to national implementation from April, alongside the universal credit pathfinder from late April, HMRC and DWP are working

22 Jan 2013 : Column 146W

closely together to monitor RTI returns, data quality and ensuring RTI data meets the needs of universal credit.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what level of hash matching accuracy in PAYE Real Time Information would meet the requirements for (a) tax calculation by HM Revenue and Customs and (b) universal credit calculation by the Department for Work and Pensions. [138518]

Mr Gauke: Hash matching provides HM RC with an additional layer of assurance and allows comparisons to be made between the payment to the employee's bank account via Bacs under a service user number (SUN), and the net pay amount reported in a real time information (RTI) return. Successful hash matching is not a prerequisite for tax calculation. Many employees will be paid by payment methods other than Bacs under a SUN. Hash matching is not possible for these payments.

Hashes included in RTI returns may be unmatched for a number of reasons. HMRC will analyse patterns on non-matching for PAYE schemes and feed this into the pool of risk assessment information used to target employer compliance activity.

Similarly, hash matching accuracy rates will not effect individual UC calculations. However, DWP will use the information for risk assessment and high proportions of successfully confirmed payments will support more robust risk assessment by DWP.

Tax Avoidance

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received on extending Disclosure of Tax Avoidance Schemes requirements to subsidiaries of UK companies operating in developing countries; and whether he has considered proposals to introduce such measures. [138656]

Mr Gauke: I have received representations from various sources. DOTAS is highly specific to the UK in that the requirement to disclose is restricted to arrangements that fall within certain descriptions based in UK legislation, and cannot be applied to other countries' taxes. If a UK company is operating in another country and tries to avoid UK tax on the profits then DOTAS can apply provided the DOTAS ‘hallmarks' are satisfied. The UK has held discussions with a number of countries who are looking to introduce their own disclosure rules to share our experience of DOTAS.

Taxation

John Robertson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate he has made of the number of people who (a) overpaid and (b) underpaid tax in each financial year since 2008; [138445]

(2) what estimate he has made of the amount that was (a) overpaid and (b) underpaid in tax in each financial year since 2008; [138446]

(3) what estimate he has made of the number of people who have been asked to pay back tax in this year following an underpayment or similar error in previous financial years. [138447]

Mr Gauke: This information is not available centrally, and could be researched only at disproportionate cost.

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Taxation: Business

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received on the effect of the taxation regime on medium-sized businesses; and what measures he plans to take following any such representations. [138678]

Mr Gauke: Treasury Ministers and officials receive representations from a wide range of organisations and individuals in the public and private sectors 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 such representations.

VAT: Fraud

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent assessment he has made of levels of VAT fraud; and what measures he is taking to tackle this problem. [138631]

Mr Gauke: HMRC's latest estimate of tax lost to VAT fraud is approximately £5 billion in 2010-11, which includes criminal attacks, evasion and the hidden economy.

VAT fraud is a component of the total VAT tax gap which is estimated at £9.6 billion in 2010-11. This is published in ‘Measuring Tax Gaps 2012’:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/statistics/tax-gaps/mtg-2012.pdf

Estimates of the different components of the tax gap are tentative and subject to greater uncertainty than the overall tax gap.

The Government underlined their commitment to tackling all forms of fraud, evasion and avoidance with their original reinvestment of £917 million over the four year period from April 2011 in HMRC. This will enable HMRC to better tackle fraud, evasion, avoidance and organised crime over the spending review period.

On 3 December 2012, the Government announced they will provide a further £77 million in additional funding to enable HMRC to expand their anti-avoidance and evasion work. This investment will focus on evasion and avoidance by wealthy individuals and multinationals. It will cover the current Spending Review period, which finishes at the end of March 2015.

Winter Fuel Payments

Kwasi Kwarteng: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the likely level of revenue to the Exchequer of (a) removing winter fuel allowance from people who pay the higher rate of income tax and (b) making winter fuel allowance taxable for recipients paying the basic income tax rate. [138399]

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

The estimates in the following tables are based on Department for Work and Pensions expenditure forecasts combined with information on the tax paid by older people from Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs Survey of Personal Incomes.

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(a) The following table provides estimates of the expenditure associated with winter fuel payments, for higher rate taxpayers, assuming the 2012/13 payment rate of £200 for people who have reached women's state pension age and are under 80, and £300 for people aged 80 or over. The figures are expressed in cash terms and rounded to the nearest £10 million.

Support for older people, millions of pounds, cash terms
 Winter fuel payments expenditure for higher rate taxpayers

2012-13

90

2013-14

100

2014-15

100

2015-16

100

2016-17

100

(b) The following table provides estimates of how much would be paid in income tax on winter fuel payments at 20% for basic rate taxpayers if the payments were not exempt from taxation, assuming the 2012/13 payment rate of £200 for people who have reached women's state pension age and are under 80, and £300 for people aged 80 or over. The figures are expressed in cash terms and rounded to the nearest £10 million.

Estimated reversion to Exchequer if winter fuel payments for basic rate taxpayers were subject to income tax, millions of pounds, cash terms

2012-13

200

2013-14

200

2014-15

200

2015-16

210

2016-17

220

International Development

Mali

Mr Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what contingency plans her Department has to deal with an increase in the number of internal refugees in Mali as a result of the current military activity. [138457]

Mr Duncan: The UK is closely monitoring the humanitarian situation in Mali to ensure that needs are being met effectively and efficiently, and is liaising daily with the United Nations, non-governmental organisations and others to ensure that a comprehensive response takes place.

The UK is currently providing urgent humanitarian aid (food, health are and clean water) to some 200,000 people directly affected by the Mali crisis, including those internally displaced.

To date, we assess that the UK's recent contribution of £15 million for the Sahel region, of which £8 million is going towards supporting conflict-affected Malians, is adequately helping to address current identified needs. Should further unmet needs emerge, the UK stands ready to take further actions including lobbying other donor governments to do more.

22 Jan 2013 : Column 149W

Mr Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions she has had to co-ordinate the UK's humanitarian response in Mali with the military of France. [138459]

Mr Duncan: DFID does not directly co-ordinate its humanitarian response in Mali with the French Military. All UK humanitarian aid is being channelled through neutral and impartial humanitarian partners, who are best placed to meet the critical needs in Mali.

Mr Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions she has had on the establishment of a humanitarian corridor to allow civilians to leave areas of military activity within the state of Mali. [138460]

Mr Duncan: The humanitarian international community have not so far initiated any discussion on the establishment of a “humanitarian corridor” to allow civilians to leave areas of military activity within Mali.

The UK will continue to press for an immediate end to violence against civilians, and for full and unhindered access for neutral and impartial humanitarian agencies to help those in need.

Multinational Companies: Company Accounts

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent representations she has received from developing countries on the introduction of country-by-country reporting of financial information by UK-based multinational corporations. [138679]

Mr Duncan: The Secretary of State for International Development, my right hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Justine Greening) has received no representations from developing countries regarding country-by-country reporting of financial information by UK-based multinational corporations.

Overseas Aid

Sir Tony Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what research her Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated to investigate the links between energy and water policy. [138535]

Mr Duncan: The Government's Foresight Report on the Future of Food and Farming, which DFID and the Department for Environment and Rural Affairs sponsored, explored the critical linkages between food, water and energy policies. The links between water and energy will be a key element in understanding the future sustainability of energy supplies and water resources in the developing world.

DFID's Water Security Programme is supporting the Water Partnership Programme to develop economic modelling to better investigate water energy linkages and policies in developing countries. DFID has also supported work on water and energy policies for river basins. For example, the Ganges Strategic Basin Assessment evaluated the benefits and trade-offs of different approaches to delivering water and energy security to inform future policies and investments.

22 Jan 2013 : Column 150W

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development whether she anticipates that any countries that previously received aid from her Department but have had such aid cancelled will again receive aid from her Department in the next two years. [138762]

Mr Duncan: In the current spending review since implementing the conclusions of DFID's bilateral aid review, DFID has not cancelled all aid to any country.

In this period DFID has suspended some bilateral aid to three countries: Rwanda, Uganda and Malawi. In Rwanda DFID did not release £21 million of general budget support scheduled for December 2012. The Secretary of State for International Development, my right hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Justine Greening), will return to the issue of general budget support to Rwanda later in 2013. In December 2012 DFID froze all UK aid spent through the Government of Uganda due to concerns that aid money may have been misused. With investigations ongoing it is too early to anticipate decisions on resumption. In Malawi DFID suspended general budget support in July 2011 due to economic and governance concerns. The Malawi Government have made good progress with reforms but it is too early to anticipate when general budget support will resume.

Sub-Saharan Africa

Sir Tony Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps her Department is taking to ensure that improvements are made in water and sanitation provision in Sub-Saharan Africa. [138537]

Mr Duncan: We believe it is right to concentrate on where the need for water and sanitation provision is greatest and where progress may be in danger of stagnating. This is where our engagement will be most effective in transforming and improving the lives of the poorest people. As a result most of our water, sanitation and hygiene programmes focus on Africa and South Asia.

DFID currently has water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) programmes in 15 countries, nine of which are in Africa, and these are the principal routes through which we will deliver results. In addition, we will look to build on existing partnerships with a range of organisations such as the Water and Sanitation Program, Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor and WaterAid, as well as through exploring further options including new partnerships with the UN, civil society and the private sector.

Sir Tony Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much funding her Department allocated for water and sanitation initiatives in Sub-Saharan Africa in the last year for which figures are available. [138538]

Mr Duncan: Full details of the Department for International Development (DFID) bilateral aid expenditure by sector is published in Statistics on International Development (SID) which is available online at:

www.dfid.gov.uk

The report for 2011-12 was published in October 2012.

22 Jan 2013 : Column 151W

Details of the spending for Department for International Development (DFID) bilateral aid expenditure for the water and sanitation sector (by region) over the previous five completed financial years are as follows:

DFID bilateral expenditure by broad sector and region 2007-08 to 20011-12: Water supply and sanitation
£000
  of which(1):
 Total bilateral programmeAfricaAsiaEuropeAmericasPacific

2007-08

71,629

40,442

19,371

926

2008-09

88,467

52,473

27,165

1,383

2009-10

105,912

66,599

18,821

1,034

2010-11

112,061

69,252

27,421

1,246

480

2011-12

142,191

89,451

31,296

(1)Regional data will not sum to the total as some sector information is not allocable by region.

Home Department

Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to page 45 of the publication A Guide for licence holders on the Operation of the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, what the definition is of the term ‘household product’. [138617]

Damian Green [holding answer 21 January 2013]: There is no authoritative definition of ‘household product' in UK or European legislation. For the purposes of the current annual statistical collection, project licence holders are required to report the use of animals to test ‘substances used in the household'. Where there is uncertainty, decisions on whether procedures should be recorded under this heading are taken on a case-by-case basis. No procedures were reported for this purpose in 2011, the latest year for which figures are available.

Asylum

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many asylum seekers have (a) died, (b) given birth and (c) been found to be a victim of trafficking or torture while in the fast track detention process in each year since its inception. [131054]

Mr Harper [holding answer 5 December 2012]:The information is as follows:

(a) Deaths within detention facilities are extremely rare and figures for deaths within the detained fast track process are not held in a format compatible with National Statistics protocols. Internal management information shows that since the inception of the fast track process two deaths of asylum seekers have occurred. One in 2004 and one in 2011.

(b) No asylum seekers have given birth while in Detained Fast Track. Pregnant females may only be detained within the fast track process up until the 24 week of pregnancy.

(c) We do not hold data regarding the number of applicants within the Detained Fast Track who have been found to be victims of trafficking or torture.

22 Jan 2013 : Column 152W

However, once it is considered that there are reasonable grounds to believe that applicants may potentially be a victim of trafficking, the case is removed from the DFT process. It follows that those “found to be victims of trafficking” will already have been released much earlier and will not be in the process when they are so found.

Civil Disorder

Frank Dobson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 15 January 2013, Official Report, columns 648-9W, on civil disorder, if she will place in the Library the summary information record from the Office of Police and Crime Commissioner relating to applications for compensation following the civil disorder in 2011. [138512]

Damian Green: This data is not held centrally. Accurate information pertaining to applications for compensation following the civil disorder in 2011 can be obtained from Offices of Police and Crime Commissioners (OPCCs) and the Mayor's Office of Policing and Crime (MOPAC). OPCCs and MOPAC are responsible for assessing individual claims and paying compensation as they see fit under the Riot (Damages) Act 1886.

Crime: Exposure to Lead

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent research her Department has commissioned on the potential effect of human exposure to lead on crime levels in the UK; and if she will place a copy of any such research in the Library. [137863]

Mr Jeremy Browne [holding answer 18 January 2013]: The Home Office has not commissioned any research on the potential effects of human exposure to lead on crime levels.

DNA

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will instruct police forces not to require DNA samples as legislated for in the Crime and Security Act 2010 from those convicted solely of consensual acts which are no longer criminal. [138486]

Damian Green: Police forces are currently carrying out an exercise to take DNA samples and fingerprints from those with convictions for sexual offences who do not currently have DNA and fingerprint records on the national databases. Guidance issued to forces by the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) in July 2012 clearly states that forces should not seek to obtain a DNA sample from those who have convictions relating only to consensual homosexual acts which are no longer criminal. The ACPO Criminal Records Office issued further guidance to forces on 15 January 2013 to emphasise this point.

Entry Clearances: Business

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average application processing time is for people wishing to obtain visas to participate on inward business delegations to the UK from (a) China, (b) the US, (c) Saudi Arabia, (d) Brazil, (e) Russia, (f) South Africa, (g) United Arab

22 Jan 2013 : Column 153W

Emirates,

(h)

Jordan,

(i)

Canada,

(j)

Kuwait,

(k)

Libya,

(l)

Algeria,

(m)

Columbia,

(n)

Venezuela and

(o)

Argentina. [137957]

Mr Harper: The UK Border Agency does not hold data specifically for inward business delegations. Instead, we have provided management information on applications for business visit visas as this is the most appropriate visa category for business delegations.

Argentinian, American and Canadian nationals are non visa nationals, so they may not require a visa to come to the UK depending on the nature of the delegations' work.

Business visit visa applications processed in calendar year 2012.
NationalityAverage processing time (days)

Algeria

9.7

Argentina

9.1

Brazil

5.0

Canada

5.6

China

3.9

Colombia

3.5

Jordan

4.2

Kuwait

2.9

Libya

11.6

Russia

10.4

Saudi Arabia

2.3

South Africa

4.2

United Arab Emirates

3.2

United States

5.2

Venezuela

4.3

These data are based on internal UK Border Agency management information. They are provisional and subject to change.

Entry Clearances: Overseas Students

Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many students who were interviewed out-of-country in 2012 as part of the visa application process had their visa application refused; what the (a) country and (b) region of origin was of those students; at what level they had planned to study; and what subjects they had planned to study. [136786]

Mr Harper: To provide accurate data to answer this question would incur disproportionate costs.

Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the number of overseas students based in the UK who were unable to return home in December 2012 as a result of delays by the UK Border Agency in returning travel documents to them. [136829]

Mr Harper [holding answer 15 January 2012]:The UK Border Agency received a total of 79 requests during December 2012 for passports for return travel. All these requests were completed and passports returned by 24 December 2012.

Illegal Immigrants: Employment

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many business establishments in (a) the UK, (b) the East of England and (c) Essex have been visited by the UK Border Agency to investigate the employment of illegal foreign national

22 Jan 2013 : Column 154W

workers in each year since 2008; and in which businesses such illegal workers have been found. [136049]

Mr Harper: The UK Border Agency does not collate information centrally on the number of illegal working enforcement visits specifically by the East of England or at county level. However, information is available relating to activity at a national level and at a regional level for Midlands and East of England combined.

Since January 2008, the UK Border Agency has carried out the following number of illegal working enforcement visits:

Number of illegal working enforcement visits
 National totalMidlands and East of England

2008

7489

1052

2009

5684

864

2010

6530

1121

2011

5488

1038

2012

(1—)

(1—)

(1) Calendar year information not currently available

This is internal management information. It is provisional and subject to change.

The UK Border Agency conducts intelligence led operations against a broad range of diverse businesses which may be knowingly or unknowingly employing people illegally.

National Wildlife Crime Unit

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what funding her Department plans to allocate to the UK National Wildlife Crime Unit in each of the next two financial years; and if she will make a statement. [137066]

Mr Jeremy Browne [holding answer 15 January 2013]: The Home Office will provide specific funding for the National Wildlife Crime Unit of £136,000 for 2013-14. Total central Government funding to the police in England and Wales in 2013-14 will be almost £9 billion, demonstrating our continued commitment to protecting the public and tackling all types of crime.

In addition, the police receive around a quarter of their total funding from the police precept component of council tax.

No decisions have so far been taken in relation to funding in 2014-15.

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she expects to confirm the funding to be allocated to the National Wildlife Crime Unit for 2013-14. [137805]

Mr Jeremy Browne [holding answer 21 January 2013]: The Home Office will provide specific funding for the National Wildlife Crime Unit of £136,000 for 2013-14. Total central Government funding to the police in England and Wales in 2013-14 will be almost £9 billion, demonstrating our continued commitment to protecting the public and tackling all types of crime.

In addition, the police receive around a quarter of their total funding from the police precept component of council tax.

22 Jan 2013 : Column 155W

Organised Crime

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much her Department has spent on tackling gang-related crime in (a) Liverpool, Walton constituency, (b) Liverpool and (c) England and Wales in each of the last 10 years. [137861]

Mr Jeremy Browne [holding answer 18 January 2013]: In the years 2003 to 2007, the Home Office did not allocate specific funding to tackle gang-related crime. Figures for funding allocated specifically to tackle gang-related crime in England and Wales and in Liverpool since 2007 are in the following table. The Home Office does not hold these figures at constituency level.

The Home Office also paid unringfenced grants to local authorities to be spent on local community safety priorities which are not included here. Some of this money may have been used for gang-related activities, however we do not hold that information.

£
 Funding streamEngland & WalesLiverpool

2012-13

Ending Gang and Youth Violence

10 million

567,000

 

Communities Against Guns, Gangs and Knives Fund

2.5 million

167,000

 

Communities Against Guns, Gangs and Knives Programme

1.75 million

0

 

Young People's Advocates Funding

400,000

0

 

Total

14,150,000

733,000

    

2011-12

Communities Against Guns, Gangs and Knives Fund

2 million

126,000

 

Communities Against Guns, Gangs and Knives Programme

1.75 million

0

 

Total

3.75 million

126,000

    

2010-11

Tackling Knives Action Programme (TKAP) Phase 111

4 million

(1)140,000

 

Community Fund (for community based organisations working to tackle gun, knife crime and gangs)

1.5 million

(1)137,000


TOTAL

5.5 million

277,000

    

2009-10

TKAP Phase II

7 million

(1)500,000


Community Fund

1.5 million

(1)134,000

 

Total

8.5 million

634,000

    

2008-09

TKAP

7 million

(1)416,000

    

2007-08

Tackling Gangs Action Programme

1.5 million

(1)314,000

(1 )Merseyside Note: All figures are rounded to the nearest £1,000.

Piracy

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress she has made on licensing firearms provision for private security contractors to protect vessels against piracy in international waters. [138531]

22 Jan 2013 : Column 156W

Damian Green: Arrangements are now in place for Private Maritime Security Companies (PMSCs) to apply to the Secretary of State for an authority under section 5 of the Firearms Act 1968 to allow the use of armed guards on UK registered ships to protect against piracy in international waters.

Police: Pay

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the potential effect on recruitment numbers for new officers to the police of her acceptance of the recommendation by the Police Arbitration Tribunal to reduce the starting salary for police constables by £4,000 per annum; and if she will make a statement. [138305]

Damian Green: The Secretary of State for the Home Department, my right hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May), accepted the tribunal's recommendation that the starting salary should be between £19,000 and £22,000 depending on skills, relevant experience and local recruitment needs. Under this proposal, new constables will be able to reach the maximum pay more quickly than at present.

Tom Winsor's Independent Review of Police Officers’ and Staff Remuneration and Conditions recommended a new pay scale after considering a range of evidence, including on recruitment and retention. Details of this are set out in the report.

When this recommendation was considered in the formal negotiation machinery, where police officers and leaders are represented, evidence on recruitment and retention was again taken into account. The Police Arbitration Tribunal's report, which sets out the consideration of these issues, has been placed in the House Library.

The Secretary of State considered the outcome of this process very carefully, in line with her statutory duties, before deciding to accept the recommendation.

Work and Pensions

Biomass: Safety

Dr Francis: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent consideration he has given to the health and safety aspects of biomass plants with regard to the incidence of accidental fires associated with the use of different fuels. [137012]

Mr Hoban: Health and Safety Executive officials have recently joined in discussions between the Environment Agency, Chief Fire Officers Association, Wood Recycling Association and Tyre Recycling Association on good practice guidance on safe storage of combustible materials.

Correspondence

Mr Chope: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will place in the Library a copy of the response from the Minister for disabled people to the letter of 3 January 2013 from the Director of Policy and Research at the Multiple Sclerosis Society. [138632]

22 Jan 2013 : Column 157W

Esther McVey: I have been sent a copy of this letter by a number of hon. Members, and I can assure you that I will be replying shortly. I will, of course, be very happy to place a copy of my reply in the Library.

Disability Living Allowance

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions at what point, having changed his or her study arrangements, a student with cancer becomes eligible for disability living allowance. [137344]

Esther McVey: Being in employment or undertaking study or training does not affect eligibility to disability living allowance (DLA).

Entitlement to DLA is not based on having a specific health condition, but depends on what help the person needs with personal care as a result of their disability and/or the extent of their mobility difficulties.

Employers' Liability

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of the current insurance arrangements of employers are registered with the Employers' Liability Tracing Office. [137765]

Mr Hoban: The Employers' Liability Tracing Office is a public company limited by guarantee. It advises in its 12-month report for 2011-12 that as of April 2012, there are 149 members, representing 99% of the employers' liability insurance market.

Employment and Support Allowance

Mr Hain: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average proportion of claimants placed (a) without appeal and (b) after an unsuccessful appeal in the work-related employment and support allowance category at the initial assessment stage is for (i) England, (ii) Wales, (iii) Scotland and (iv) Northern Ireland. [137623]

Mr Hoban: The Department regularly publishes official statistics on employment and support allowance (ESA) and the work capability assessment (WCA), which can be found at:

http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/workingage/index.php?page=esa_wca

The publication and its supplementary tables present information on new claims for employment and support allowance in Great Britain, but not Northern Ireland which has its own benefit system. Supplementary table 6 shows the Work Related Activity Group (WRAG) outcomes at the initial functional assessment split into reasons for assignment for Great Britain.

For ESA claims made between October 2008 and February 2012, 21% have been placed into the Work Related Activity Group after appeal in England, 22% in Wales and 34% Scotland.

Mr Hain: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many appeals are pending for people who have been assessed for employment and support allowance. [137624]

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Mr Hoban: The information is not readily available and has not previously been published as statistics.

We will consider whether it is feasible to produce the statistics requested within the disproportionate cost limit, and if so, we will issue them in an official statistic release in accordance with the code of practice for official statistics.

Employment Schemes

Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what consideration he has given to including voluntary work with charities as a part of mandatory work activity. [137842]

Mr Hoban: The mandatory work activity scheme involves jobseeker's allowance claimants being mandated to periods of work-related activity that are of benefit to the community. Contracted providers source these placements on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions and are obliged to ensure placements are of benefit to the local community. Because of this, some of the placements will be with charities.

Farms: Safety

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the likely level of farm injuries and fatalities in each of the next three years. [137224]

Mr Hoban: The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) does not estimate future rates of fatal and non-fatal injuries in this or other sectors. HSE's concern is to work with the agriculture industry to reduce the currently relatively high rate of occupational fatalities and injuries.

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what funding has been allocated to on-farm inspection for health and safety in each of the last five years; and how much has been allocated for each year to 2015. [137225]

Mr Hoban: The Health and Safety Executive does not allocate funding on the basis of sector-specific activities and therefore holds no records of the cost of farm inspections.

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many farm inspections for health and safety have taken place in each of the last five years; and how many he expects to take place in each year to 2015. [137226]

Mr Hoban: Prior to 2011-12, data on the numbers of inspections were not required as part of the Health and Safety Executive's (HSE) performance measures and were therefore not collated. In 2011-12, HSE undertook 643 inspections on farms and the vast majority of these related to inspections undertaken following an investigation or where compliance with health and safety law was known to be poor.

HSE does not routinely proactively inspect farms as this has not been found to be the most effective intervention technique and other approaches, such as holding Safety

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and Health Awareness Days are used instead. Therefore, no targets have been set for the numbers of farm inspections up to 2015.

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities on farms. [137227]

Mr Hoban: The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recognises agriculture as a priority industry. In consultation with key industry stakeholders, it has developed an Agriculture Sector Strategy to address fatal and non-fatal injuries and work related ill health in agriculture.

Working with the key farming stakeholders, HSE is supporting industry led Farm Safety Partnership (England) and the On-Farm Health and Safety Charter (Wales).

In addition, HSE runs an annual programme in Great Britain of farming Safety Health and Awareness Days for farmers. These are a proven and trusted mechanism for promoting awareness and understanding of the risks and control measures in the industry and are well supported and received by the farming community.

In the past two years, HSE has also reviewed and re-structured the agriculture web pages on its website making the advice more accessible, succinct and focused on what needs to be done to comply with the law. HSE has also launched an agriculture specific e-Bulletin, published every two months, which is now received by over 14,000 farmers in Great Britain.

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of recent trends in the number of injuries and fatalities on farms. [137228]

Mr Hoban: Thirty-three fatal injuries to workers (employed and self-employed) were reported to the Health and Safety Executive in 2011-12. The average over the previous five years was 35.

The main causes of fatal injuries include: moving vehicles; struck by a falling/moving object; contact with moving machinery; falls; injured by an animal, and drowning or asphyxiation. This profile has not changed in recent years but the relative ranking varies from year to year.