Carers: Kingston upon Hull

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the number of registered carers in (a) Hull and (b) Kingston upon Hull North constituency. [144606]

Norman Lamb: The only regulated part of the social care workforce are social workers and nurses, occupational therapists and other therapists.

The number of registered social workers employed by councils with adult social services responsibilities is published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre. Data are not collected at constituency level and are therefore presented for Hull council only and are at whole time equivalent (WTE) level and individual worker level. As at September 2011 there were around 60 WTE adult social workers in Hull, this equates to around 70 individual adult social workers employed.

Chronic Illnesses

Mrs Riordan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether a comparative assessment has been made of the quality of life of patients suffering from chronic pain who are not taking prescription medications compared to patients who are taking such medications; and if he will make a statement. [144017]

Norman Lamb: No such comparative assessment has been made. A number of forms of treatment may be appropriate for people with chronic pain, including physiotherapy and spinal manipulation, pharmaceutical treatments, and in some cases surgical treatments. In many cases of less severe chronic pain, it may be possible to achieve satisfactory pain relief without use of prescription-only medicines. People with chronic pain should be encouraged and supported in taking control

28 Feb 2013 : Column 646W

of the management of their condition, including the choice of appropriate pain relief.

Direct Payments

Dr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what the take-up of direct payment has been in each local authority in London in each of the last three years; [143525]

(2) what assessment he has made of whether local authorities in England and Wales will have all council-funded service users and carers (a) on personal budgets and (b) as recipients of direct payment by April 2013. [143526]

Norman Lamb: Official statistics on local authority care package provision for service users and carers, including data on personal budget and direct payment provision, will be published later this year by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC).

The latest figures published in February 2013 by the HSCIC are for the period 2011-12 and show:

People receiving personal budgets and direct payments was 606,000 (up 38% from 2010-11 (446,000)) out of 1.4 million people receiving community-based services.

Of these, 192,000 received a direct payment. (increase of 9% from 2010-11 (176,000)).

National provision of personal budgets is 43% of users and carers (increase from 29.2% in 2010-11).

The 2013 objective, agreed by the adult social care sector, was revised in November 2012 to 70% of people receiving services to be issued a personal budget nationally. This reflects the fact that personal budgets may not be suitable for some people (for example re-ablement services, and equipment). Councils are continuing to make progress in order to reach the 2013 objective.

Take up (total numbers) of social service users receiving direct payments is collected by the HSCIC as part of the annual Referrals, Assessments and Packages of Care (RAP) collection from local authorities.

The table shows four years of data rather than the stated three. The surplus year (2008-09) has been supplied due to changes in the way direct payments were recorded in 2009-10. The change in that year means that 2009-10 data is not comparable with other years.

Data pre and post 2009-10 are comparable as the recording practice in 2009-10 was only used for one collection year.

Total number of service users receiving direct payments in each local authority in London in each of the last four years for the period 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11, 2011-12
 Date
 13 February 20132008-092009-102010-112011-12
  Direct PaymentsExisting and or New Direct Payments and Personal Budgets PaymentsDirect PaymentsDirect Payments

London boroughs

Barking and Dagenham

395

835

415

1,390

 

Barnet

635

810

960

1,030


Bexley

400

1,425

450

735


Brent

515

955

740

460


Bromley

385

745

435

405


Camden

320

880

530

675


City of London

20

65

70

100


Croydon

385

590

530

560


Ealing

460

860

580

870


Enfield

435

1,205

770

1,115

28 Feb 2013 : Column 647W

28 Feb 2013 : Column 648W


Greenwich

335

705

420

460


Hackney

265

420

395

410


Hammersmith and Fulham

255

370

380

450


Haringey

300

400

525

725


Harrow

620

1,065

860

910


Havering

350

510

510

580


Hillingdon

360

385

435

440


Hounslow

380

505

485

635


Islington

250

395

440

500


Kensington and Chelsea

360

1,450

595

585


Kingston-upon-Thames

265

395

240

250


Lambeth

325

355

440

515


Lewisham

455

485

620

855


Merton

245

340

345

440


Newham

465

855

935

985


Redbridge

350

580

1,180

790


Richmond upon Thames

425

1,285

565

500


Southwark

220

510

335

945


Sutton

425

535

415

435


Tower Hamlets

260

340

400

505


Waltham Forest

335

570

670

890


Wandsworth

625

420

425

450


Westminster

515

700

640

620







Age 18 +

London total

12,335

21,945

17,735

21,220

Notes: 1. Final 2011-12 data have been published on 15 February 2013—Measures from the Adult Social Care Outcomes Framework for England 2011-12 Final. 2. The data relates to adults aged 18+ 3. Figures are rounded to the nearest 5 Source: P2f RAP proforma, HSCIC

Fast Food

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Health pursuant to the answer of 18 January 2013, Official Report, column 943W, on fast food, if he will discuss that study's conclusions with the fast food industry. [145227]

Anna Soubry: We note with interest the report by the International Study of Asthma and Allergies in Childhood on fast food. We have no plans to discuss this report with the fast food industry.

Health Education

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether companies and brands featured during Change4Life television advertisements on 7 January 2013 paid for their own airtime; and whether the Change4Life campaign made any contributions to these costs. [144011]

Anna Soubry: All of the companies which advertised within the special Change4Life, Be Food Smart healthier advertisement break shown on 7 January 2013 paid for their own airtime and Change4Life did not contribute to their costs.

Health Services: Learning Disability

Mr Tom Clarke: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps his Department is taking to ensure that people with a learning disability are aware that they are entitled to an annual health check; [143874]

(2) what estimate he has made of the number of GPs who offer annual health checks for people with a learning disability; and what steps his Department is taking to ensure that these health checks are more readily accessible; [143875]

(3) what steps his Department is taking to promote annual health checks for people with learning disabilities; and what steps his Department is taking to raise awareness of this issue; [144235]

(4) what plans his Department has for the level of funding for annual health checks for people with learning disabilities. [144237]

Norman Lamb: The Government are committed to ensuring continued arrangements for annual health checks for people with learning difficulties.

That is why the arrangements for general practitioners to provide such checks are included in the Government’s proposals for changes to the General Medical Services contract for 2013-14.

28 Feb 2013 : Column 649W

Under such arrangements, participating general practitioners are required to maintain a register of learning disability patients and offer an annual health check to each patient on that register. There is an incentive of £102.16 payable to general practitioners for each completed annual health check.

The Department does not have a figure for the number of general practitioner practices offering this service. However, the Learning Disability Public Health Observatory published its report on the number of patients with learning disabilities receiving health checks during 2011-12. The total number of checks increased from 23% in 2008-09 to 53% in 2011-12.

From April 2013, the NHS Commissioning Board will be responsible for commissioning primary medical services, including the arrangements for annual health checks for people with learning disabilities.

Heart Diseases: Babies

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what consideration he has given to rolling out pulse oximetry screening for all new-born babies. [145401]

Dr Poulter: The UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) advises Ministers and the national health service in all four countries about all aspects of screening policy and supports implementation. Using research evidence, pilot programmes and economic evaluation, it assesses the evidence for programmes against a set of internationally recognised criteria.

The UK NSC is currently reviewing the evidence for newborn screening for heart conditions using pulse oximetry against its criteria. A public consultation on the screening review will open shortly. Ministers expect to receive a recommendation from the UK NSC later this year.

Human Papillomavirus

Mr Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) how and when he intends to assess the outcome of his Department's HPV vaccination programme in terms of lives saved; [143999]

(2) what estimate he has made of the number of lives saved by the HPV vaccination programme each year; and what the estimated cost will be of each life saved. [144000]

Anna Soubry: The aim of the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination programme is to prevent cancers related to HPV. Given the difference in the age at which most cervical cancers occur and the age of routine HPV immunisation, an impact on cervical cancer incidence is not expected to be seen for at least a decade or more and is likely to be seen first in the results from the cervical screening programme before cancer registries. For this reason the Health Protection Agency has been commissioned to monitor the early impact of HPV immunisation on type-specific (vaccine and non-vaccine) HPV infection rates and initial results from this programme are anticipated to be published within the next year.

A study of the costs and benefits of the HPV vaccination programme, including on the number of cervical cancer cases, commissioned by the Department has been published: Jit M, Choi YH and Edmunds WJ, Economic evaluation

28 Feb 2013 : Column 650W

of human papillomavirus vaccination in the United Kingdom.

British Medical Journal

(BMJ) 2008; 337: a769.

www.bmj.com/content/337/bmj.a769

This was updated in 2011 and published: Jit M, Chapman R, Hughes O and Choi YH, Comparing bivalent and quadrivalent human papillomavirus vaccines: economic evaluation based on transmission model. BMJ 2011; 343: d5775.

www.bmj.com/content/343/bmj.d5775

The analytical framework adopted followed National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines, using quality-adjusted life years as the outcome measure. This assessment covers the impact on the quality and length of life of those affected by the disease and the impact on national health service resources.

Mr Blunt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) whether the costs of treating all recorded serious adverse reactions will be taken into account when calculating the cost of the HPV vaccination programme; [144001]

(2) what the cost to his Department is of each HPV vaccination; and what the total cost was of the Cervarix vaccination programme between 2008 and 2012; [144010]

(3) whether schools are paid for carrying out the HPV vaccination programme. [144189]

Anna Soubry: The costs of treating any potential adverse reaction to the Human Papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination, are not included in the costs of implementing the national HPV immunisation programme.

The approximate total cost of the HPV programme between 2008 and 2012 is shown in the table.

Financial yearApproximate programme costs (£ million) (excluding costs for the vaccine, storage and distribution)

2008-09

24.2

2009-10

46.1

2010-11

9.3

2011-12

8.9

2012-13

7.8

Costs for financial years include funding provided to primary care trusts (PCT) to support the implementation of the programme, communication materials and advertising, except for 2011-12 and 2012-13, where no advertising was produced.

The cost of HPV vaccine cannot be disclosed, as this information is commercially confidential. We estimate the cost of administering each dose at £10 a dose.

The routine HPV vaccination programme for girls aged 12-13 years ran in each financial year. In addition to this, in 2008-09 there was a catch up programme for those aged 17-18 years, and in 2009-10, a catch up programme for those aged 17-18 years, plus an accelerated catch up programme for those aged 14-16 years.

Schools do not receive payment for allowing the HPV programme to be administered on their premises.

28 Feb 2013 : Column 651W

London Health Improvement Board

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions he has had with the Mayor of London and London councils on the establishment of the London Health Improvement Board; and if he will make a statement. [145228]

Anna Soubry: The then Secretary of State, my right hon. Friend the Member for South Cambridgeshire (Mr Lansley), had a number of discussions with the Mayor about the London Health Improvement Board (LHIB). In addition, officials have had a number of discussions with the London Councils and the Local Government Association about the LHIB.

We recognise that in an area such as London there is potential for delivering health improvement services on a city-wide basis. The LHIB has been meeting since July 2011. On 23 May 2012, we introduced the Greater London Authority Act (Amendment) Order 2012. The Order was originally requested by the Greater London Authority (GLA) and the London boroughs. The intention of the order was to build on the LHIB arrangements established by the GLA and the London boroughs by allowing primary care trusts (until 2013) and local authorities (from 2013) to commission services from the GLA. Alongside this, the GLA have the power to engage in fundraising from private sponsors for public health activities as well.

Medicine: Research

Hazel Blears: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much his Department spent on (a) cancer, (b) stroke, (c) coronary heart disease and (d) dementia research in each financial year since 2008-09. [143929]

Anna Soubry: The figures are shown in the following table:

£ million
 CancerStrokeCardiovascular disease(1)Dementia

2008-09

133.7

16.9

42.7

18.4

2009-10

90.8

20.2

31.9

12.7

2010-11

102.1

20.9

31.3

18.6

2011-12

105.4

20.4

34.3

25.1

(1) Figures for the Department's total expenditure on coronary heart disease research are not available separately.

The decrease in funding in 2009-10 reflects a more transparent and accurate method for assessing disease-specific research and development (R&D) spend.

Prior to the establishment of the National Institute for Health Research in April 2006, the main part of the Department's total health research expenditure was devolved to and managed by national health service organisations.

The NHS organisations reported on their use of these allocations in annual R&D reports, and each report included figures for research spend on cancer and on degenerative neurological disorders. These figures have been included in the Department's estimates of total annual spend respectively on cancer research and dementia research up to 2008-09.

28 Feb 2013 : Column 652W

From April 2006 to March 2009, transitional research funding was allocated to these organisations at reducing levels. At the same time, an increasing amount of NHS research funding was awarded competitively through new NIHR programmes and schemes.

Older People: Loneliness

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment his Department has undertaken of the effect of loneliness on the mental health of elderly people. [145402]

Norman Lamb: The Department has not undertaken an assessment on the effects of loneliness on the mental health of elderly people.

The Department is working with organisations including the Campaign to End Loneliness, to understand the effects of loneliness and isolation, measure levels of social connectedness and to promote ways to tackle loneliness and isolation.

One of the key areas for action on the Mental Health Strategy “No Health Without Mental Health” is to address the social and other determinants of mental ill health across all ages, and the inequalities that can both cause and be the result of mental health problems including, for example, social isolation, particularly among older people.

Personal Independence Payment

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether clinicians will be performing personal independence payment (PIP) assessments subcontracted to NHS trusts by Atos; and what assessment he has made of the potential effects of clinicians conducting PIP assessments on the ability of NHS trusts to perform their clinical functions. [145009]

Norman Lamb: No information is held by this Department on the precise nature of the contracts between individual national health service trusts and ATOS for provision of personal independence payment assessments. Trusts undertaking work outside their core NHS functions must ensure that such work does not interfere with the provision of NHS services to patients and that profits are used to improve patient services.

Phenylbutazone

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what tests the Food Standards Agency is using to detect phenylbutazone; how many of each type of test have been conducted to date; and what the costs are of each type of test. [145155]

Anna Soubry: The analysis of kidney samples from horses presented for slaughter is undertaken by an approved laboratory using liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. The method used is accredited to ISO 17025. The number of tests undertaken between 30 January 2013, when the Food Standards Agency started 100% sampling of horses presented for slaughter for the presence of phenylbutazone, to 22 February 2013, is 328. The cost per sample is currently £170.

28 Feb 2013 : Column 653W

Prescriptions: Fees and Charges

Mrs Riordan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of the adult population under 60 years old is exempt from paying prescription charges. [144019]

Norman Lamb: The following groups aged under 60 are exempt from national health service prescription charges in England:

Under 16

Aged 16-18 And In Full Time Education

In receipt of Income Support or Income Related Employment Support Allowance

In receipt of Income Based Job Seeker’s Allowance

Holders of a valid NHS Tax Credit Exemption certificate

Holders of a valid Medical Exemption certificate

Holders of a valid Maternity Exemption certificate

Holders of a HC2 Certificate for the NHS Low Income Scheme

Holders of a valid War Pension exemption certificate

With a partner who is in receipt of Pension Credit Guarantee Credit

Information is not held centrally on the proportion of adults in England under 60 with an exemption from these charges.

Social Services

Jonathan Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the additional cost to local authorities of delivering the deferred payment scheme for social care. [144119]

Norman Lamb: The Government have announced that from April 2015 all local authorities will offer deferred payments schemes.

We will fund local authorities to help them offer the deferred payments. The funding required will depend on the scheme design and levels of uptake by the public.

We will publish more detailed proposals and analysis during 2013.

Social Services: Learning Disability

Dr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment has been made of the ability of service users with learning difficulties to manage their direct payments for social care. [143932]

Norman Lamb: The Department has not made an assessment of the ability of people with learning disabilities to manage their direct payment. Direct payments offer people choice and control over how their care and support is provided. It is mandatory for local authorities to offer direct payments to people eligible for social care services who consent to, and are able to, manage payments.

Local authorities are responsible for determining whether a person is capable of managing a direct payment. People can receive assistance in managing their payment and the Community Care, Services for Carers and Children's Services (Direct Payments) (England) Regulations 2009 allow direct payments to be made to a suitable person who receives and manages the payments on behalf of a person who lacks capacity.

28 Feb 2013 : Column 654W

South London Healthcare NHS Trust

Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what estimate he has made of the increased number of ambulance journeys required as a result of the proposed changes to the South London Healthcare NHS Trust. [143817]

Anna Soubry: The Trust Special Administrator's report did not provide any estimation about the number of ambulance journeys required as a result of the recommendations presented to the Secretary of State. It did, however, consider the impact of different options on travel times to an accident and emergency department, which helped shape the specific recommendations in the report.

Training

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much his Department spent on training and education for civil servants in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12; and if he will make a statement. [144088]

Dr Poulter: The Department's central corporate expenditure on learning and development for its civil servants in 2010-11 and 2011-12 is set out in the following table. It incorporates all staff grades including those civil servants on the graduate fast stream scheme.

Corporate human resources (HR) learning and development expenditure by financial year
 Expenditure (£)

2010-11

449,837

2011-12

485,234

Total

935,071


In addition, directorates also have learning and development budgets. Expenditure from these local budgets are not tracked centrally and information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Wales

Alcoholic Drinks

Tracey Crouch: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what estimate he has made of the level of alcohol-related absenteeism in his Department; whether his Department has an (a) internal alcohol policy and (b) occupational health strategy; and if he will publish such documents. [143975]

Stephen Crabb: The Ministry of Justice generates sickness absence reports in relation to staff at the Wales Office. It does not separately record the level of alcohol-related absenteeism from wider sickness absence reporting. The Wales Office's alcohol policy and occupational health strategy is provided by the Ministry of Justice, which is the key employer of Wales Office staff. I understand that copies of the Ministry of Justice's policies and guidance in respect of alcohol and occupational health are being placed in the Library of the House.

28 Feb 2013 : Column 655W

Organs: Donors

Glyn Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales whether his consent would be needed if the Welsh Government implemented their plans for an opt-out system of organ donation in Wales; and what discussions he has held with the Secretary of State for Health on this issue. [143876]

Mr David Jones: Under the Government of Wales Act 2006, the UK Government can refer issues of legislative competence to the Supreme Court. With each Assembly Bill, the Government will have to consider the question of whether its provisions are within the competence of the Assembly. I consider in relation to each Bill, as was the case for Measures, whether any of its provisions might have an adverse impact on the law as it applies in England.

Training

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much his Department spent on training and education for civil servants in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12; and if he will make a statement. [144096]

Stephen Crabb: The Wales Office spent £12,816 in 2010-11, and £27,091 in 2011-12, on training and education for its staff.

Treasury

Banks: Loans

Chris Leslie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what progress he has made in discussion with UK banks on achieving a commitment to collate and publish lending data that are disaggregated by institution and presented on a postcode-level basis; and if he will make a statement. [144813]

Greg Clark [holding answer 27 February 2013]:The Government agreed to work with the industry—through the British Bankers Association (BBA) and other interested parties—to secure a commitment from the banks that they will publish postcode level data by institution. If it is not possible to agree a satisfactory industry led solution, the Government agreed to introduce amendments to the Banking Reform Bill to ensure that the data are published.

The Government are currently engaging in discussions on this issue and will provide an update once the discussions have reached a conclusion.

EU Budget

Margaret Curran: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the value to Scotland of the UK rebate on the basis of the proposed Multiannual Financial Framework 2014-2020. [145223]

Danny Alexander: The Exchequer makes all UK contributions, less the abatement, to the EU budget. The UK abatement and contributions are not attributed to individual devolved Administrations.

28 Feb 2013 : Column 656W

The OBR provides independent forecasts for the UK, but not for devolved Administrations. The most recent forecast was published in December 2012 and can be found in Table 2.19 of Economic and Fiscal Outlook supplementary fiscal tables at:

http://budgetresponsibility.independent.gov.uk/economic-and-fiscal-outlook-december-2012

The OBR will update its forecasts at the time of Budget 2013.

High Speed 2 Railway Line

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what authority his Department has given to the Department for Transport for spending related to the High Speed 2 project; if he will publish all correspondence with the Department of Transport on that matter; and if he will make a statement. [145160]

Danny Alexander: The Government have allocated expenditure to HS2 Ltd during the current spending review period to design and develop plans for the proposed high speed route between London and Birmingham in support of the Hybrid Bill, and then the second phase to both Manchester and Leeds.

The Department for Transport is responsible for managing the resources allocated at the spending review within delegated spending limits.

The spending review document was published in October 2010 and is available online at:

http://cdn.hm-treasury.gov.uk/sr2010_completereport.pdf

Government Ministers and officials exchange routine correspondence as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such exchanges.

Infrastructure UK

John Healey: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 6 February 2013, Official Report, column 268W, on Infrastructure UK, what the total value of loans from Infrastructure UK to Partnerships UK was in (a) 2010-11, (b) 2011-12 and (c) 2012-13; and what the total value of such loans will be in 2014-15. [144974]

Danny Alexander: Loans from HM Treasury to Partnerships UK are published in the HM Treasury Annual Report and Accounts, available at:

www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/dep_perf_reports_index.htm

LIBOR

Chris Leslie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) who has been appointed to the tendering panel for the process to establish the new LIBOR administrator; and if he will make a statement; [144759]

(2) what the reasons are for the time taken in progressing the tendering process for the appointing of a new Libor administrator; and if he will make a statement. [144760]

Greg Clark [holding answer 27 February 2013]:The Government have been working with the British Bankers Association (BBA), the current administrator of LIBOR, to establish the process to appoint a new administrator.

28 Feb 2013 : Column 657W

The work of the Hogg Committee, which will identify the appropriate successor, is now in progress following the passage of a Resolution by BBA members, voted upon at an extraordinary general meeting of the BBA held on 25 February. The Committee has formally launched the tendering process.

The members of the Hogg Tendering Advisory Committee for LIBOR are as follows:

Baroness Hogg, (Chair), Chairman, Financial Reporting Council;

Paul Fisher, Executive Director, Markets; Bank of England;

George Handjinicolaou, Deputy CEO and Head of EMEA; International Swaps and Derivatives Association, Inc;

John Kingman, Second Permanent Secretary; HM Treasury;

John Stewart, Chairman; Legal and General Group Plc;

Colin Tyler, Chief Executive; Association of Corporate Treasurers;

Martin Wheatley, Managing Director; Financial Services Authority.

Mayor of London

Mr Thomas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what plans he has for the devolution of additional powers to the Mayor of London; and if he will make a statement. [145237]

Sajid Javid: The Chancellor plans to respond to Heseltine in the spring, which will look at devolution of powers to all places including London.

28 Feb 2013 : Column 658W

Non-domestic Rates: Appeals

Nic Dakin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 10 January 2013, Official Report, column 430W, on Valuation Office Agency, (1) if he will provide a full breakdown of the data on unresolved business rates appeals by appeals type at the end of the (a) 2011-12 and (b) 2010-11 financial year; [145261]

(2) how many of the 190,000 appeals against valuations for business rates cleared by the Valuation Office Agency in the financial year 2011-12 were (a) compiled list non-domestic rates appeals, (b) withdrawn and (c) duplications; [145262]

(3) how many of the 400,000 business rates appeals expected to be cleared by the Valuation Office Agency in the two years from the end of March 2011 to March 2013 are (a) compiled list non-domestic rates appeals, (b) withdrawn and (c) duplications. [145263]

Mr Gauke: The information is as follows:

(i) The following table shows the latest available statistics on outstanding proposals-(appeals) on the 2005 and 2010 rating lists. The numbers provided cover England and Wales.

 2005 rating list2010 rating list
 Unresolved 31 March:
Challenges(1)2011201220112012

On Compiled List

10,910

3,980

106,630

175,370

Material Change of Circumstances

46,800

36,010

36,520

37,270

Against VO Notices

17,340

10,640

26,240

28,840

Other

37,940

25,780

230

230

Total

113,000

76,410

169,610

241,700

(1) VOA Official Statistics, Local Rating Lists: Challenges, May 2012 http://www.voa.gov.uk/corporate/statisticalReleases/120503-localRatingListChallenges.html

(ii) The following table shows the latest available statistics on cleared proposals (appeals) on the 2005 and 2010 rating lists. The numbers provided cover England and Wales.

 2005 rating list2010 rating list
Challenges(1) 2011-12ClearedWithdrawnClearedWithdrawn

On Compiled List

7,000

3,350

124,840

64,100

Material Change of Circumstances

10,880

5,260

14,460

6,680

Against VO Notices

11,710

5,140

9,170

4,320

Other

12,170

11,440

90

40

Total

41,750

25,190

148,550

75,140

(1) VOA Official Statistics, Local Rating Lists: Challenges, May 2012 http://www.voa.gov.uk/corporate/statisticalReleases/120503-localRatingListChallenges.html

VOA does not currently produce statistics on the number of “duplications”.

(iii) The latest available statistics on outcomes of appeals or proposals are shown in the answer to (ii) above. No official statistics are produced for forecasts.

Pensions

Frank Dobson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of people who will be covered by the proposed guarantee of pensioners' rights to public servants transferred to the private sector. [145224]

28 Feb 2013 : Column 659W

Danny Alexander: The Fair Deal policy protects the pension of public sector workers that are transferred to the private sector. It requires that where staff are compulsorily transferred out of the public sector, the new employer must provide a broadly comparable pension scheme for the transferred staff.

The Government have committed to reform the Fair Deal policy by offering access to the public service pension schemes for newly transferring staff. The number of individuals that will be covered by the new policy will depend on the future number of staff transfers. The Government do not hold data on the number of staff who may be subject to such transfers in the future.

Scotland

Alcoholic Drinks

Tracey Crouch: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimate he has made of the level of alcohol-related absenteeism in his Department; whether his Department has an (a) internal alcohol policy and (b) occupational health strategy; and if he will publish such documents. [143972]

David Mundell: All Scotland Office staff are on secondment from other Government bodies, principally the Scottish Government and the Ministry of Justice, which remain their employers. All staff in the Office are covered by their parent bodies' absence management processes and alcohol-misuse policy. Staff also have access to an independent health care provider. While the Scotland Office maintains local absence records, there is no indication of any alcohol-related absences.

Cycling

Mr Bradshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland who his Department's cycling champion is. [144445]

David Mundell: The Scotland Office does not have an official cycling champion. Cycling to work is supported by the Scotland Office through the provision of facilities for storing bicycles and showers. Additionally all staff in the Scotland Office are on secondment from other Government bodies, mainly the Scottish Government and the Ministry of Justice, and are able to access Cycle to Work schemes operated by their parent bodies.

Mr Bradshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland (1) what progress his Department has made on implementing the Cycle to Work guarantee; [144463]

(2) whether his Department has signed up to the Government's Cycle to Work scheme. [144476]

David Mundell: All staff in the Scotland Office are on secondment from other Government bodies, mainly the Scottish Government and the Ministry of Justice, and are able to access Cycle to Work schemes operated by their parent bodies.

Dover House

Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland on how many occasions and to whom Dover House has been hired for commercial purposes since

28 Feb 2013 : Column 660W

May 2010; and what income was derived from each such hire. [145324]

Michael Moore: Rooms in the Scotland Office have been hired for commercial purposes on two occasions since May 2010. £1,500 income was derived from the makers of the film Skyfall. £3,500 income was derived from Channel 4.

Official Hospitality

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much his Department has spent on catering and hospitality in each year since May 2010. [145045]

David Mundell: The Scotland Office expenditure for ministerial hospitality purposes in each year since. May 2010 is as shown in the following table (the following information relates to calendar years):

 Total (£)

2010 (May to December)(1)

2011

31,116.67

2012

30,948.45

2013 (January only)

5,695.00

(1) For 2010, the Scotland Office does not retain the information in the format requested.

Separate totals for catering purposes are also not recorded and therefore unavailable.

All expenditure incurred is in accordance with the principles of Managing Public Money and the Treasury handbook on Regularity and Propriety.

Public Appointments

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many people he appointed to public bodies in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12; (i) how many and (ii) what proportion of those appointees were (A) black or from an ethnic minority, (B) Hindu, (C) Muslim and (D) Chinese in each of those years; and if he will make a statement. [144113]

David Mundell: The Scotland Office's only public body is the Boundary Commission for Scotland. During the period requested, only one new appointment has been made to the Commission. That appointment commenced on 1 January 2011 and the appointee has not declared an ethnic minority status. All ministerial appointments to the Commission are carried out in accordance with the Commissioner for Public Appointment's Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies.

Referendums

Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether his department has had any discussions with the Scottish Government on the potential consequences for voters in Scotland of a UK general election or referendum occurring after a referendum in Scotland that produced a result in favour of Scottish independence but before any formal dissolution between the nations of the United Kingdom. [144646]

28 Feb 2013 : Column 661W

David Mundell: The Secretary of State for Scotland, the right hon. Member for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk (Michael Moore), has not had any discussions with the Scottish Government on the potential consequences for voters in Scotland of a UK general election or referendum occurring after a referendum in Scotland that produced a result in favour of Scottish independence but before any formal dissolution between the nations of the United Kingdom. The UK Government remain committed to the United Kingdom and we are confident that the people of Scotland will vote to remain a part of the UK.

Training

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much his Department spent on training and education for civil servants in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12; and if he will make a statement. [144093]

David Mundell: The Scotland Office encourages all staff to undertake learning and development activities. The majority of such opportunities are provided through the Scottish Government and the Ministry of Justice from where the majority of our staff are seconded. The figures in the following table show direct spending by the Scotland Office on training.

 Spend (£)

2010-11

12,671

2011-12

3,111

International Development

Africa

James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assistance her Department has provided for the development of local and regional stock exchanges in Africa. [145011]

Mr Duncan: The Department for International Development (DFID) provides assistance to African stock exchanges in a number of areas, typically channelled through multi-donor Trusts whose purpose is to develop the financial sector. For example, in Tanzania DFID and other donors support the stock exchange regulator to develop a new market segment at the Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange called the Enterprise Growth Market, which is similar to the Alternative Investment Market at the London Stock Exchange. In Ethiopia, the DFID-supported Investment Climate Facility for Africa is helping to modernise the Ethiopian Commodity Exchange by introducing risk management instruments, facilitating trade and increasing members' access to online trading. In Southern Africa, DFID has provided support to the Committee of Southern African Development Community Stock Exchanges to develop business plans to improve the integration of capital markets in the region.

Burma

Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what information her Department holds on how much the Burmese Government budgets for (a) health, (b) education and (c) the military were in 2012-13. [144886]

28 Feb 2013 : Column 662W

Mr Duncan: According to Government sources, health made up 3%, education 6%, and defence 16% of the total national budget in 2012-13.

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which capacity-building projects with the government of Burma her Department is funding. [145156]

Justine Greening: Because of the diverse nature of capacity building work, it would not be possible to provide a definitive list of capacity building projects involving the Government of Burma without incurring disproportionate costs.

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development pursuant to the answer of 12 February 2013, Official Report, column 686W, on Burma, whether the Government of Burma is allowing international humanitarian access to all internally displaced people in Kachin state following representations by her Department. [145325]

Justine Greening: Some areas of Kachin State are not accessible to international humanitarian aid for internally displaced people. Access to these areas relies on a number of factors including successful negotiations between the Government of Burma and the Kachin Independence Organisation (KIO), and ensuring the safety and security of humanitarian aid workers. The UK, and other international partners, continue to raise the importance of humanitarian access with the Government, KIO and international humanitarian aid agencies.

Central African Republic

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she made of humanitarian needs in the Central African Republic; and what steps she is taking with international actors to support aid agencies in the region. [145116]

Lynne Featherstone: According to latest reports from the United Nations, the situation in Central African Republic (CAR) remains calm but unpredictable despite the ceasefire agreement signed on 11 January 2013 in Libreville, Gabon, by the CAR Government and the rebel group known as the Seleka Coalition. The humanitarian situation is still worrying and access to affected areas due to insecurity remains a major concern for humanitarian agencies.

The UN has recently released a Consolidated Appeal (CAP) for CAR in 2013. This appeal is requesting $129 million to assist 646,000 people this year.

At present all UK humanitarian funding for CAR is channelled through the European Community Humanitarian Office (ECHO) and the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs' Central Emergency Response Fund (OCHA CERF). We await news from both these agencies on their disbursements in CAR in 2013.

28 Feb 2013 : Column 663W

Palestinians

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps her Department (a) has taken and (b) plans to take to ensure that UK financial aid to the Palestinian Authority is not used for incitement against Israel and the West. [144820]

Mr Duncan: We oppose the advocacy of national, racial or religious hatred that constitutes incitement to discrimination, hostility or violence in all circumstances. We do not hesitate to raise instances of incitement with both the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Israel whenever we feel this appropriate. Our memorandum of understanding with the PA reaffirms the PA's commitment to non-violence and makes clear that our aid is intended to contribute towards a peaceful and prosperous Palestinian state and society by improving fiscal sustainability, improving public satisfaction and lowering fiduciary risk. We engage closely with the PA to ensure our money has maximum effect on achieving the intended goals.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what processes are in place to ensure that UK-funded, EU-funded and UN-funded non-governmental organisations in the Palestinian Authority do not promote incitement against Israel and the West. [144889]

Mr Duncan: We deplore incitement on either side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including any comments that could stir up hatred and prejudice in a region that needs a culture of peace and mutual respect. UK, EU and UN-funded non-governmental organisations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are subject to rigorous due diligence assessments to ensure that funds are used for legitimate development purposes.

Swaziland

James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment she has made of rates of AIDS and HIV infection in Swaziland. [144746]

Lynne Featherstone: DFID is very concerned about the rate of HIV in Swaziland. UNAIDS reports that the HIV prevalence rate in Swaziland is 26% of adults aged 15 to 49 and that there are an estimated 6,800 HIV related deaths per year. 190,000 people are estimated to be living with HIV in Swaziland.

Although DFID does not provide direct support to HIV prevention programmes in Swaziland we recently gave £27 million to a four year programme on Behavioural Change Communication to raise awareness of HIV/AIDS in Southern Africa, including Swaziland.

James Duddridge: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what support her Department is giving to Swaziland; and what representations she has received on the development needs of Swaziland. [144747]

Lynne Featherstone: Swaziland does not receive any direct development funding from the UK. Swaziland does, however, benefit from some of DFID's Southern

28 Feb 2013 : Column 664W

Africa regional programmes, including DFID's Regional Transboundary Water Project, which aims to improve the management of shared water resources in Southern Africa. DFID co-finances two renewable energy projects in Swaziland as part of the Scaling up of the Energy and Environment Partnership in Southern and East Africa.

DFID funds several regional civil society programmes in Southern Africa which operate in Swaziland, including a £4.5 million grant to Save the Children for a five-year programme on economic literacy and participatory budgeting, and a £4.2 million grant to GenderLinks for a five year programme supporting women to know and demand their rights.

Culture, Media and Sport

Advertising: Children

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent discussions she has had with editors and proprietors of national newspapers on the role they can play in reducing the sexualisation of children. [144280]

Mr Vaizey: The Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Basingstoke (Maria Miller), has not had any recent discussions with the editors and proprietors of national newspapers on the role they can play in reducing the sexualisation of children. The Government are taking forward work in this area through the implementation of the recommendations of the Bailey Review.

Auctions: Internet

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether bidding fee auction websites must apply for a licence from the Gambling Commission in order to operate in the UK. [144916]

Hugh Robertson: Bidding fee auction websites must only apply for a Gambling Commission licence if they are located in Great Britain and are providing facilities for gambling as defined under the Gambling Act 2005. The Gambling Commission has advised that is not normally the case.

BBC

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what recent representations she has made to the BBC Trust on ensuring that the BBC is transparent in reporting the costs of making in-house radio content; [139542]

(2) what recent representations she has made to the BBC Trust on ensuring that the BBC is transparent in publication of its spend on radio content and provides a breakdown of the cost of in-house versus independent radio production. [139543]

Mr Vaizey: It is a matter for the BBC Trust to ensure that the BBC observes high standards of openness and transparency in both these matters in line with the BBC Charter and Agreement.

28 Feb 2013 : Column 665W

Broadband

Mike Crockart: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when she expects state aid for the Super Connected Cities project to be approved. [144542]

Mr Vaizey: My Department continues to work with the European Commission on those elements of the Super-Connected Cities programme which might require state aid.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans she has to enable competition in the supply of superfast broadband services. [144663]

Mr Vaizey: The UK has a highly competitive broadband market. Ofcom is responsible for ensuring competition in telecommunication services and regularly carry out market reviews to assess this. In the superfast broadband market BT Openreach is required to ensure service providers can provide services over their network on an equivalence basis to BT Retail, with Talk Talk Group and Sky, two of the largest providers offering services. Virgin Media offer competition with superfast broadband available to nearly 50% of homes in the UK. In addition, all networks built using subsidy from the Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) rural programme will be required to offer open access, ensuring any provider can offer services to these networks on an equal basis. On 7 September, the Government also announced a series of measures to reduce the barriers to deployment of superfast broadband, reducing red tape and bureaucracy to enable communications providers to deploy competing networks.

India

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what contribution her Department made to the recent trade delegation to India led by the Prime Minister. [145405]

Hugh Robertson: My Department worked closely with the Prime Minister's office and other Government Departments on a range of issues addressed during his recent visit to India. We supported the announcement by the British Council of “Re-Imagine”, a new five-year, £5 million arts programme which will stimulate a range of cultural exchanges and support a much-needed modern, mutual, UK-India relationship that is not relying on the past, but looking to the future.

I was pleased that the British Library, the British Museum and the Premier League were able to join the Prime Minister's delegation, who were also joined during the visit by some members of the England Women's Cricket Team. We want to see a step change in cultural and sporting exchanges with India. We will see this reciprocal relationship flourish further during the Alchemy Festival at the Southbank Centre in London in April. These cultural exchanges also underpin our drive to boost exports in fashion, film and other creative industries. These exports, together with increasing levels of tourism from India, will contribute to the economic growth of the UK while enhancing our quality of life and enabling British audiences to experience the best contemporary art from India.

28 Feb 2013 : Column 666W

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 recent assessment she has made of the provision of free community internet access points for use by those who do not have internet access at home in (a) Glasgow North West, (b) Glasgow, (c) Scotland and (d) the UK. [137537]

Mr Vaizey: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer given by the Minister for Civil Society, my hon. Friend the Member for Ruislip, Northwood and Pinner (Mr Hurd), on 17 January 2013, Official Report, column 896W.

Mass Media

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what meetings (a) she and (b) officials in her Department have held with representatives of the media since the publication by Lord Justice Leveson of his report on press standards; and what the outcomes were of those meetings. [145026]

Mr Vaizey: All external meetings, including those with editors and proprietors, are published on the departmental website in accordance with Cabinet Office guidelines.

http://www.transparency.culture.gov.uk/category/other/meetings/

Regulation

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many regulations her Department introduced between 1 June 2012 and 31 January 2013; if she will list those regulations; and what estimate she has made of the total cost of their introduction. [144695]

Hugh Robertson: We have introduced five sets of regulations between 1 June 2012 and 31 January 2013. They are:

The Wireless Telegraphy (Control of Interference from Apparatus) (The London Olympic Games and Paralympic Games) Regulations 2012.

The Video Recordings (Labelling) Regulations 2012.

The Digital Economy Act 2010 (Transitional Provision) Regulations 2012.

The Gambling (Licence Fees) (Miscellaneous Amendments) Regulations 2012.

The Authorisation of Frequency Use for the Provision of Mobile Satellite Services (European Union) (Amendment) Regulations 2012.

To collate the total cost of their introduction could be achieved only at disproportionate cost.

Television: Licensing

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate she has made of the number of pensioners who will claim free television licences in (a) Glasgow North West constituency, (b) Glasgow, (c) Scotland and (d) the UK in (i) 2014, (ii) 2015 and (iii) 2016. [144214]

28 Feb 2013 : Column 667W

Mr Vaizey: The Government have made no estimate and does not hold relevant data. Although the BBC does not prepare forecasts for over 75 licences for any area smaller than the UK, it does prepare forecasts for financial years rather than calendar years, based on the trend in growth of Over-75 licences from year to year. The following figures have been rounded down to the nearest thousand. As with any forecasts, these figures are subject to change as new information becomes available.

O75 forecast volumes
 Estimated over O75 licences

2013-14

3,937,000

2014-15

3,971,000

2015-16

4,009,000

2016-17

4,044,000

Video Games

Chris White: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many meetings officials in her Department have had with video games businesses in the last 12 months. [137724]

Mr Vaizey: The Department does not hold centrally a list of all meetings held by officials and to collate this information for the period requested would incur disproportionate cost. The Department continues to have close links with the video games industry.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Alcoholic Drinks

Tracey Crouch: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the level of alcohol-related absenteeism in his Department; whether his Department has an (a) internal alcohol policy and (b) occupational health strategy; and if he will publish such documents. [143966]

Alistair Burt: We have made no estimate of alcohol-related absenteeism. While alcohol may be a contributing factor in some cases, individuals who self-certify or GPs who provide fit notes are more likely to cite contributing conditions, such as stress, or resulting conditions, like liver disease, as the cause of the absence.

I have placed a copy of the Alcohol Policy, which sets out our response to alcohol related incidents at work, in the Library of the House.

While we do not have an occupational health strategy, occupational health advice is a central part of our package of health and welfare support to all staff.

Arctic

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions his Department has had with member states of the Arctic Council on setting the limits of financial liability for oil and gas operations within their national jurisdictions in the Arctic. [144825]

28 Feb 2013 : Column 668W

Mark Simmonds: There have been no recent discussions between the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and member states of the Arctic Council on setting the limits of financial liability for oil and gas operations within their national jurisdictions in the Arctic. Though financial liability for oil and gas operations was not specifically discussed during the recent ministerial visit to Norway, both sides stressed the importance of ensuring oil and gas development in the region is undertaken with the highest regard for the environment.

Burma

Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made on whether the Government of Burma has fully met the conditions required for the continued suspension of EU sanctions. [144714]

Mr Swire: On 23 April 2012, EU Foreign Ministers agreed to suspend all EU Sanctions on Burma for one year, apart from the arms embargo and restrictions on the supply of equipment which could be used for international repression. This was in recognition of the significant progress made by the Burmese Government against the EU’s benchmarks as set out in Council Conclusions of January 2012. This included the release of a significant number of political prisoners, the signing of ceasefires with 10 of 11 major armed ethnic groups and the largely free and fair parliamentary by-elections on 1 April 2012.

By 22 April this year, EU Foreign Ministers must consider whether to lift, suspend or re-impose sanctions on Burma. The decision by EU Foreign Ministers will be influenced by the Burmese Government's efforts to make further progress against remaining benchmarks. If unanimity cannot be reached, sanctions will fall away in their entirety.

Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which repressive laws have been completely repealed in Burma. [144715]

Mr Swire: The Burmese Government have emphasised that the establishment of rule of law is a priority, and has taken some steps in this regard. For example, in January this year they repealed a law limiting the right to associate in groups of more than four people. However, there are still many older laws on the statute books which can be used to curb individual liberties.

The Burmese Parliament is currently undertaking an assessment of all of the country's laws, and its response for the most part has been to amend old laws (for example, recently the Bar Council Law was amended to allow 10 of 13 people on the Council to be elected, rather than appointed by the Attorney-General) rather than to fully repeal them.

Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Burma regarding increased land confiscation in that country. [144716]

Mr Swire: Since the suspension of EU sanctions in April 2012, the British Government have encouraged responsible trade and investment in support of Burma's democratic reform process. The British Government

28 Feb 2013 : Column 669W

have provided funds to support the implementation of the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative in Burma, through which civil society and community leaders will be engaged in decisions over investments in the natural resources and extractives sectors.

Neither the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), nor I have to date raised the specific issue of land confiscation with the Burmese Government.

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government are working with its EU counterparts on pushing for a regional Association of Southeast Asian Nations-led response to the refugee crisis resulting from ongoing sectarian violence in Rakhine state in Burma. [144717]

Mr Swire: On 13 December 2012, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), discussed the situation in Burma with newly appointed Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Secretary-General, Le Luong Minh, during his visit to London. We have also discussed the issue bilaterally with Thailand and Indonesia.

In October 2012, former ASEAN Secretary-General, Surin Pitsuwan, suggested that there should be an increased role for ASEAN to help Burma address the situation in Rakhine State. Unfortunately, the necessary consensus on this proposal could not be reached by ASEAN member states.

The British Government have so far committed £2 million towards relief efforts in Rakhine State. Following my own visit to Rakhine State in December 2012, on 11 February I called on the international community to match the UK's efforts. We continue to work closely with international organisations, such as the EU and UN, to support the provision of humanitarian assistance to those people affected by inter-communal violence in Burma's Rakhine State.

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions the Government have had with the government of Thailand regarding reports that Thai officials have been selling Burmese refugees to trafficking criminals. [144718]

Mr Swire: Through the European Union, the UK engages in ongoing discussions with Thailand across a range of migration related issues. In June 2012, the EU Delegation to Thailand jointly hosted a two day seminar on migration management with the Thai authorities. This encompassed specific discussions with representatives of the Royal Thai Police and relevant Ministries on tackling human trafficking and transnational organised crime.

During the visit of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), to Thailand in November 2012, the UK agreed to provide capacity-building to Thailand on how best to tackle illegal migration. We will continue to co-operate with the Thai authorities on efforts to disrupt human trafficking and illegal migration. These issues will be included in the

28 Feb 2013 : Column 670W

agenda for the first UK-Thailand Strategic Dialogue which I will lead later this year.

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government are taking to encourage the government of Thailand to grant the UN High Commissioner for Refugees full and permanent access to conduct refugee screening for all Rohingya refugees fleeing from the sectarian violence in Rakhine state in Burma. [144719]

Mr Swire: Our embassy in Bangkok regularly raises the issue of the Rohingya with the appropriate Thai authorities both bilaterally and through the European Commission, pushing for full and permanent access by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organisation for Migration to those Rohingya detained in Thailand.

We continue to follow the issue closely, in close conjunction with UNHCR.

Central African Republic

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has received on breaches of the ceasefire agreed as part of the Libreville peace agreement in the Central African Republic (CAR); and what steps he is taking to support the new government of national unity in the CAR in achieving the goals of that agreement. [145115]

Mark Simmonds: We welcome the Libreville peace agreement, and the subsequent formation of the government of national unity. Although we have received no direct representations on breaches of the ceasefire, we believe the situation is still precarious, and the international community must remain closely engaged with the government of national unity to ensure full implementation of the peace agreement. We continue to work closely with France on the UN Security Council's response to the situation in Central African Republic (CAR), including on this month's (March) review of the UN Integrated Peacebuilding Office in the CAR’s (BINUCA) priorities.

Public Appointments

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many people he appointed to public bodies in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12; (i) how many and (ii) what proportion of those appointees were (A) black or from an ethnic minority, (B) Hindu, (C) Muslim and (D) Chinese in each of those years; and if he will make a statement. [144107]

Alistair Burt: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), is responsible for five public bodies; the British Council, the Great Britain and China Centre, the Marshall Aid Commemoration Commission, the Westminster Foundation for Democracy and the Foreign Compensation Commission. He made the following appointments and re-appointments in 2010-11 and 2011-12:

28 Feb 2013 : Column 671W

 2010-112011-12

New appointments

6

3

Re-appointments

4

3

Total

10

6

The Commissioner for Public Appointments collates and publishes information on the number of appointments of candidates from ethnic minority backgrounds; however this information is not broken down by ethnic group.

Copies of the 2010-11 and 2011-12 annual reports are available at

http://publicappointmentscommissioner.independent.gov.uk

Copies are available in the Library of the House.

Training

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department spent on training and education for civil servants in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12; and if he will make a statement. [144087]

Alistair Burt: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), has made strengthening the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) as an institution a priority, under the heading of ‘Diplomatic Excellence', a programme, which has the ambition of sustaining the FCO as the best diplomatic service in the world.

This includes building up the skills and expertise of staff in languages, economic expertise, knowledge of individual countries, regions and cultures, and core diplomatic skills such as negotiation.

For example, we are investing more in language training to make it more effective, including by:

lengthening training programmes and increasing the number of speakers in key languages such as Arabic and Mandarin

increasing the number of jobs overseas for which language skills will be an absolute requirement

providing lunchtime and after-work classes, and e-learning resources to ensure that speakers can develop and maintain skills while on home postings

The FCO employs approximately 14,000 staff worldwide, made up of UK-based civil servants and locally engaged (LE) staff. Approximately 80% of FCO staff are based overseas which is why we invest in providing L&D overseas.

The FCO spent approximately £20.8 million in 2010-2011 and £18.7 million in 2011-12 on L&D for its work force. On a more limited definition, spend on training and education courses in the UK was £12.1 million and £9.8 million respectively.

This is the first time that we have been able to report our best estimates of the full costs for the FCO as a result of improved financial reporting.

We continue to emphasise value for money in L&D provision. This includes the full use of central Civil Service Learning resources, savings through re-procurement, a greater emphasis on workplace learning and the more effective use of evaluation.

28 Feb 2013 : Column 672W

Women and Equalities

Marriage

Lady Hermon: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what consultation or discussions she held with the Northern Ireland Justice Minister on the Government's proposals for equal civil marriage. [142541]

Mrs Grant: I am engaging with the hon. Member for East Antrim (Sammy Wilson) in his role as Minister of Finance and Personnel about the Government's proposals in the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, with a view to ensuring that the Bill works in the UK as a whole.

Lady Hermon: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities how many people who responded to the Government's consultation on equal civil marriage were resident in Northern Ireland; and what proportion of those people were (a) in favour of and (b) against the proposals. [142542]

Mrs Grant: The Government received over 228,000 responses, along with nineteen petitions, to its consultation on extending marriage in England and Wales to same sex couples. In the event that a Government consultation is likely to receive a high volume of responses, it is not standard practice to collect either names or the contact details of those individuals that respond. We are, therefore, unable to identify responses from individuals in Northern Ireland.

We received written responses from the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and Traditional Unionist Voice.

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what measures she plans to introduce to ensure protection for religious groups whose opposition to same sex marriage ceremonies in their premises is challenged via the European Court of Human Rights. [142600]

Mrs Grant: As the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport and Minister for Women and Equalities made clear at the Second Reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill, the Bill contains full protection against successful legal challenge of a religious organisation's refusal to conduct a marriage of same sex couples.

The Bill contains a quadruple lock of religious protections which deliver on this commitment. No religious organisation will be allowed to solemnize marriages of same sex couples according to its rites or on its premises unless the governing authority of the organisation has formally chosen to “opt in”. It is clearly provided in the Bill that no religious organisation can be compelled to “opt in”. So any challenge in the European Court of Human Rights would be brought against the Government, not the religious organisation. Even if an organisation does opt in, no minister of religion (or person involved in the solemnization) can be compelled to take part. We have made separate arrangements to protect the Church of England and the Church in Wales because of their unique legal positions.