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Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 19 March 2013

Business, Innovation and Skills

Apprentices

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many of the 79 apprentices employed by his Department are aged under 19. [148681]

Jo Swinson: Of the 37 apprentices working in BIS HQ three are aged 19 or below. These data are not currently collected for our agencies.

Arms Trade: Libya

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills when the Defence and Security Industry Day in Tripoli is; which (a) Royal Navy vessels and (b) UK companies are involved; and if he will make a statement. [148982]

Michael Fallon: For security reasons, we do not disclose details of Royal Navy ships' programmes in advance.

The list of companies participating in the Defence and Security Industry Day is not yet complete and can be subject to change. After the event I will provide the requested information to the hon. Member and place a copy in the Libraries of the House.

The UK Government support responsible defence and security exports. Where export licences are required, licence applications will be examined case by case in the light of the exceptions to the current UN Arms Embargo on Libya and the Consolidated Criteria.

Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988

Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether full repeal of section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 is required by Directive 2011/77/EU, with reference to Article 2 paragraph 7 of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. [148889]

Jo Swinson: As stated in the Impact Assessment “Copyright Protection for Designs” of 15 May 2012, the repeal of section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 is required to clarify and update UK legislation and ensure that it is in line with EU law.

Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will review the one-in, one-out status of the repeal of section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 with reference to Article 2 paragraph 7 of the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. [148890]

19 Mar 2013 : Column 566W

Jo Swinson: The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, my right hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable), has no plans to carry out such a review.

This measure is not subject to the Government's One-In One-Out policy as it brings UK legislation into scope with EU legislation. All EU regulation is out of scope of "One-In One-Out".

Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the potential effects of the repeal of section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 on the re-opening of the Design Museum in 2015. [148891]

Jo Swinson: No such assessment has been made.

Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the additional public funding that will be required by museums in order to meet new licensing obligations arising from the repeal of section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. [148892]

Jo Swinson: No assessment has been made. The Government have said that they will consult on transitional arrangements following the repeal of section 52. This issue will be considered as part of that consultation.

Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what criteria he will consider in deciding the terms of the transitional period for businesses and institutions following the repeal of section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. [148893]

Jo Swinson: The Government have said that they will consult on transitional provisions following the repeal of section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, and it will take into account all relevant factors in making that decision.

Credit: Interest Rates

Mr Bellingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many payday loan companies have been closed down by the Office of Fair Trading in each of the last five years. [148614]

Jo Swinson: The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) have, in the time period specified, revoked the licence of one payday loan company (MCO Capital in 2012) and imposed requirements on two others (CIM Technologies Ltd, trading as Toothfairy Finance and Safeloans Limited, trading as Paydayok, in November and December 2010). Last month Government strengthened OFT's enforcement powers by giving them a new power to suspend a consumer credit licence with immediate effect where there is an urgent need to.

The OFT announced on 6 March 2013 the steps they are taking to tackle poor practice across the market which they found in their compliance review. Each of the leading 50 payday lenders, inspected as part of the compliance review and accounting for 90% of the payday market, will be given 12 weeks to change their business practices or risk losing their licences. The OFT also has specific enforcement action under way with more in the

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pipeline. This is in addition to the OFT writing to all payday lenders setting out their expectations of the industry and launching a consultation on a market investigation reference to look at wider market issues. Government and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) are also taking action to address the problems that consumers are experiencing in this market.

Graduates: Languages

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the supply of UK graduates with ASEAN language skills over the next decade. [148619]

Mr Willetts: Our higher education system is demand led and we do not forecast future student numbers in particular disciplines. Institutions make decisions on which courses to run informed by analysis of both student and employer demand.

Information specifically referring to those recently qualifying in ASEAN language courses is not available.

Graduates: Pay

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the pay rates of graduates at (a) graduation, (b) age 31, (c) age 41, (d) age 51 and (e) age 61. [148502]

Mr Willetts: Analysis of the latest data from the Labour Force survey (LFS)—Quarter 4 (October-December) 2012—provides the following estimates for average annual earnings in the UK of those in full-time employment with a first degree as their highest qualification:

Age bandMedian salary (£)

21-24

18,000

25-34

28,000

35-44

35,000

45-54

39,000

55-64

41,000

Given the LFS is a sample survey it cannot provide reliable estimates for specific ages; hence, age bands are used above. The figures use age 21-24 as a proxy for recent graduates.

Higher Education: Crawley

Henry Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what proportion of 18 to 24 year olds from Crawley constituency attended a higher education institution in (a) 2009, (b) 2010, (c) 2011 and (d) 2012. [148423]

Mr Willetts: Figures on progression to higher education are not published at parliamentary constituency level for individual years, nor for the age range requested.

The estimated proportions of maintained schools pupils from West Sussex who progressed to Higher Education by age 19 are shown in the table.

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Estimated proportions of maintained schools pupils from West Sussex who progressed to higher education by age 19 UK higher education institutions and English further education colleges
Academic yearPercentage entered HE

2006/07

31

2007/08

31

2008/09

33

2009/10

33

Source: Matched data from the DfE National Pupil Database, the HESA Student Record and the SFA ILR

Figures are not available before 2006/07. Robust figures by parliamentary constituency are not available from this source.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) have published rates of participation of young people in Higher Education over a five year span. HEFCE estimate that the progression rate by age 19 for Crawley parliamentary constituency was 28.1% in the period 2005/06 to 2009/10. This was lower than the rate for West Sussex (34.2%) and the overall rate for England (34.2%). HEFCE figures are not comparable with those produced by BIS as they use different methodology. HEFCE figures use population estimates while the BIS figures use matched data covering maintained schools pupils.

Information on progression of pupils to Higher Education is available from the BIS Widening Participation statistical release of August 2012.

http://www.bis.gov.uk/analysis/statistics/higher-education/official-statistics-releases/widening-participation-in-higher-education/widening-participation-in-higher-education-2012

The HEFCE report on young participation is available from the following link:

http://www.hefce.ac.Uk/pubs/year/2012/201226/#d.en.75676

Detailed information is available at the following link:

http://www.hefce.ac.uk/whatwedo/wp/ourresearch/polar/polar3data/

Indigo Public Affairs Ltd

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what meetings (a) he, (b) Ministers, (c) officials and (d) special political advisers of his Department have had with Indigo Public Affairs Ltd; and if he will publish full details of any such meetings. [148828]

Jo Swinson: Ministers' meetings with external organisations are published quarterly on the:

www.gov.uk

internet site and details are available via the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-business-innovation-skills/series/bis-quarterly-publications-april-to-june-2012

No meetings have been held between ministerial special advisers and Indigo Public Affairs Ltd.

Information on any meetings held with the Department's officials could be provided only at disproportionate costs.

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Minimum Wage

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills by how much and what

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percentage the minimum wage was increased in each year since its introduction. [148426]

Jo Swinson: Information on changes to the minimum wage rates since 1999 are set out in the following table.

 Adult rateYouth development rate16-17 year rateApprentice rate
 £ per hourPercentage change£ per hourPercentage change£ per hourPercentage change£ per hourPercentage change

1 October 2012

6.19

1.8

4.98

0.0

3.68

0.0

2.65

1.9

1 October 2011

6.08

2.5

4.98

1.2

3.68

1.1

2.60

4.0

1 October 2010

5.93

2.2

4.92

1.9

3.64

2.0

2.50

1 October 2009

5.80

1.2

4.83

1.3

3.57

1.1

1 October 2008

5.73

3.8

4.77

3.7

3.53

3.8

1 October 2007

5.52

3.2

4.60

3.4

3.40

3.0

1 October 2006

5.35

5.9

4.45

4.7

3.30

10.0

1 October 2005

5.05

4.1

4.25

3.7

3.00

0.0

1 October 2004

4.85

7.8

4.10

7.9

3.00

1 October 2003

4.50

7.1

3.80

5.6

1 October 2002

4.20

2.4

3.60

2.9

1 October 2001

4.10

10.8

3.50

9.4

1 October 2000

3.70

2.8

3.20

0.0

1 June 2000

3.60

0.0

3.20

6.7

1 April 1999

3.60

3.00

Mobile Phones

Mr Havard: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills which company holds the largest contract to provide mobile telephony services to his Department; how much is paid each year under that contract; how many individual devices are covered by the contract; when the contract was awarded; and when and how the contract will next be reviewed. [148295]

Jo Swinson: Vodafone plc provides all mobile telephony services to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

This contract was let in July 2011 via the Government Procurement Service Framework Agreement ‘Mobile Solutions II Catalogue Central Government Proposition’ and will run for four years. The contract is fixed for four years and can only be terminated by the Cabinet Office if they can prove (via a market benchmark exercise) it no longer offers value for money.

Amounts paid to Vodafone each financial year under the contract are:

1 July 2011 to 31 March 2012: £445,116.09

1 April 2012 to 18 March 2013: £468,337.87

The number of individual devices currently covered by the contract are:

3G Broadband for use with laptop computers: 439

Mobile phones: 627

Blackberry devices: 1,012.

Overseas Students: Entry Clearances

Nadine Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the number of visa-holding foreign undergraduate and graduate students with visas on (a) economic growth and (b) average university funding. [149005]

Mr Willetts: We have not made any specific assessment on the effect that visa-holding overseas students have made on economic growth. However, the value of further and higher education exports (which includes economic value brought to the economy by overseas students) was valued at £9 billion in 2008/09 and we estimate this will double by 2025.

BIS recently released a report on HE Education Exports which can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/education-exports-estimating-their-value-to-the-uk

No specific assessment of the effect of overseas visa holding students on average university funding has been made. However, in 2011/12, tuition fee income from non-EU students was worth around £3.2 billion in UK Higher Education Institutions, up from around £2.6 billion in 2009/10. This represents around 12% of total UK HEIs income or around 36% of all tuition fee income received by HEIs.

Transport

Commuters

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 23 January 2013, Official Report, column 446W, on commuters, what the (a) means and (b) usage of transport was for commuting to work in each of the last 30 years. [148397]

Norman Baker: Estimates of the usual method of travel to work for 1992 and 2002 to 2011 by country and English region of residence from the Labour Force Survey are published in table TSGB0108, downloadable from:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/34987/tsab0108.xls

Data for other years is not available.

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Cycling: Pedestrian Areas

Mark Hendrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department is taking to prevent cyclists riding illegally on the pavement. [148245]

Norman Baker: The enforcement of cycling offences is an operational matter for the police. The police can issue a Fixed Penalty Notice (FPN) of £30 or if pursued through the courts the maximum fine is £500.

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many cases were decided outside of the 90-working day target period by the Medical Group in the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [148702]

Stephen Hammond: The following table shows the number of cases that were closed outside of the 90-day target. These cases are generally complex and can involve ongoing communication with the customer and their doctors. Some cases also need medical testing or an on road driving assessment.

 Total cases closedCases closed after 90 working daysPercentage of cases

2007-08

629,776

41,816

6.6

2008-09

605,443

37,695

6.2

2009-10

654,145

42,045

6.4

2010-11

730,498

53,912

7.4

2011-12

695,263

53,368

7.7

Great Western Railway Line

John Howell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport by what date he expects all railway stations on the Great Western route to have step-free access to platforms. [148714]

Norman Baker [holding answer 18 March 2013]: There is no programme for all stations on the Great Western route to have step free access. We do however take improving access at stations seriously and have therefore continued with the national Access for All programme, launched in 2006. This includes eight projects on Great Western worth around £17 million, and five of these are these are now complete. We have also announced £100 million to extend the programme until 2019 and further Great Western stations will be considered for this funding.

Indigo Public Affairs Ltd

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what meetings (a) he, (b) Ministers, (c) officials and (d) special political advisers have had with Indigo Public Affairs Ltd; and if he will publish full details of any such meetings. [148832]

Norman Baker: Details of ministerial meetings with external organisations are published every quarter and this information can be accessed on the Gov.uk website via the following link:

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

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To ascertain if there have been any meetings between officials or special advisers and representatives from Indigo Public Affairs Ltd would incur disproportionate costs.

Pay

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much was paid to officials in (a) his Department and (b) its non-departmental public bodies in bonuses and other payments in addition to salary in each of the last five years; how many officials received such payments; and what the monetary value was of the 20 largest payments made in each year. [148033]

Norman Baker: The amount paid to officials in (a) the Department for Transport and its six Executive Agencies and (b) its non-departmental public bodies in non-consolidated performance payments and other payments in addition to salary in each of the last 4 years is shown in the table below. The amount spent in 2008/09 can only be provided at disproportionate cost.

£
 Department for TransportNon-departmental public bodies

2009/10

25,791,157

1,050,888

2010/11

24,468,126

1,072,427

2011/12

24,968,877

1,089,421

2012/13

21,883,239

1,144,632

The number of officials who received these payments can only be provided at disproportionate cost.

The monetary value of the 20 largest payments in each of these years is shown in the table below, these payments include those made by the Department for Transport and its non-departmental public bodies.

£
 2009/102010/112011/122012/13

1

65,450

53,768

16,750

21,093

2

40,213

40,213

14,206

17,052

3

30,203

35,700

12,407

15,334

4

28,801

25,000

11,491

14,765

5

23,964

24,962

10,000

13,848

6

23,555

23,740

9,760

13,500

7

22,483

23,242

9,611

12,500

8

21,624

22,890

9,500

11,568

9

21,529

22,886

9,500

10,000

10

21,517

21,219

9,500

9,500

11

21,305

21,179

9,500

9,500

12

20,678

17,261

9,487

9,500

13

20,441

16,381

9,248

9,500

14

19,208

15,521

9,206

8,550

15

18,794

15,000

8,075

8,137

16

18,612

14,810

7,695

8,075

17

17,833

14,408

7,000

7,836

18

16,407

13,966

7,000

7,090

19

16,400

13,663

7,000

7,000

20

16,088

13,129

7,000

7,000

Since 2010-11 the Government has restricted performance related payments for senior civil servants to the top 25% of performers (from 65% in previous years), saving the taxpayer around £15 million. They are only paid to reward excellence, for example to recognise and incentivise those responsible for delivering high quality public services

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and savings to the taxpayer. Pay decisions for non-senior staff are delegated to individual departments, enabling them the tailor reward packages that meet their own workforce and business needs.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what allowances and subsidies in addition to salary were available to officials in (a) his Department and (b) its non-departmental public bodies in each of the last five years; and what the monetary value was of such payments and allowances in each such year. [148052]

Norman Baker: Within the Department for Transport, its six Executive Agencies and its non-departmental public bodies there are a number of different allowances and payments available to employees who meet the relevant criteria.

Information on categories of payment and the monetary values of each category can only be provided at disproportionate cost.

The table below shows the amount spent on allowances in (a) the Department for Transport and its six Executive Agencies and (b) its non-departmental public bodies in each of the last 4 years. The amount spent in 2008/09 can only be provided at disproportionate cost.

£
 Department for TransportNon-Departmental Public Bodies

2009/10

20,410,992.76

507,042.24

2010/11

19,041,930.24

591,194.76

2011/12

17,859,101.58

563,576.61

2012/13

15,583,100.31

661,220.78

The Department is currently reviewing terms and conditions as part of the Civil Service Reform Plan in order to deliver a modern employment offer for the Civil Service. This includes a review of allowances and other such payments.

Railways: Litter

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with Network Rail on their capacity to clear litter and rubbish from land in their ownership bordering railway lines. [148473]

Mr Simon Burns: The Secretary of State for Transport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire Dales (Mr McLoughlin), has held no discussions with Network

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Rail on line-side litter clearance. Network Rail is a private sector company limited by guarantee and this is an operational matter for the company, in which Ministers have no powers to intervene.

Network Rail has its own operational policies on litter and rubbish clearance, consistent with current legislation. It operates under a network licence enforced and amended by the independent Office of Rail Regulation.

Recruitment

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many officials were recruited to (a) his Department and (b) each of its non-departmental public bodies in each of the last five years. [147976]

Norman Baker: The number of officials recruited over the last five years by the Department for Transport and its six Executive Agencies can be found in the table below:

Financial YearOther Government Dept TransfersExternal CandidatesTotal

2008/09

30

481

521

2009/10

52

602

654

2010/11

28

328

356

2011/12

40

202

242

2012/13

15

445

460

The number recruited by the Department's non-departmental public bodies can be found in the table below:

Financial YearAppointments

2008/09

53

2009/10

48

2010/11

55

2011/12

57

2012/13

167

Roads: Accidents

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people were killed in road traffic accidents on (a) motorways, (b) A roads and (c) B roads in each of the last 10 years. [148499]

Stephen Hammond: In each of the last 10 years in Great Britain, the number of people killed in reported personal injury accidents on (a) motorways, (b) A roads and (c) B roads were as follows:

Fatalities
Road Type2002200320042005200620072008200920102011

Motorways

224

217

164

204

187

183

158

132

118

106

A roads

2,005

2,024

1,824

1,797

1,815

1,611

1,408

1,267

1,050

1,109

B roads

458

506

465

442

416

454

359

330

265

271

Data for the year 2012 will be available in June 2013.

Roads: East Sussex

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what additional funding has been provided to his Department to mitigate any environmental effects of the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road; [147847]

(2) how much his Department has spent on compulsory purchase orders for the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road to date; [147848]

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(3) what land in north-east Bexhill has been brought by commercial and property developers following the decision to build the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road; [147849]

(4) how much funding for the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road has been provided by the Government; [147851]

(5) how much has been contributed by third parties to the building of the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road to date; [147856]

(6) what land in north-east Bexhill was bought by commercial and property developers in the 12 months prior to the decision to build the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road. [147858]

Norman Baker: The promoter of the Bexhill-Hastings Link Road is East Sussex County Council. The Council is responsible for delivering the scheme and for obtaining the necessary statutory consents such as compulsory purchase orders.

In March 2012 the Department provisionally approved a maximum £56.85 million funding contribution towards the scheme. This is subject to final approval and the Department is currently considering a final funding application from East Sussex County Council submitted in December 2012.

That application includes a breakdown of scheme costs (including land and compensation costs) and other funding sources.

It also includes a document (Annex 12) entitled ‘Developer Interest’ which provides an update of the proposed development at North East Bexhill.

The total scheme cost includes an estimated £21 million for environmental mitigation measures, in addition, the Department specified a condition to its provisional funding approval to the Council to make additional provision for further offsetting environmental and biodiversity measures. These are described in Annex 11 of the Council's application for final funding.

The application and supporting documents are available on the Council's website at the following link:

http://www.eastsussex.gov.uk/roadsandtransport/bexhillhastingslinkroad/fundingbids.htm

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport for what reasons he has not launched a new public consultation on the proposed Bexhill-Hastings Link Road. [147853]

Norman Baker: The public and stakeholders have had many opportunities to contribute to decision-making about the scheme and have been consulted at key stages. In 2004 the scheme promoter, East Sussex County Council, presented route options for a link road for public consultation. The scheme was the subject of a planning application in 2007 and a public inquiry in 2009. In 2011 the Council updated its consultation with the public by holding six focus groups with participants drawn randomly.

Between 9 September 2011 and 14 October 2011 the Department provided an opportunity for the public to comment on the Council's “best and final” funding bid submitted in September 2011.

In December 2011 the Department initiated a three month review of transport options to deliver regeneration and growth to the Bexhill/Hastings area. This involved

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further consultation with supporters and opponents of the scheme through correspondence, a plenary meeting and individual bi-lateral meetings with departmental officials.

The Department is currently considering the Council's final funding application submitted in December 2012. Any monies expended to date have therefore been at the Council's own risk.

Shipping: Qualifications

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will conduct an assessment of the effect which the lack of an internationally recognised STCW Certificate of Competency for officers on workboats under 500 gross tonnage has on the UK workboat industry. [148903]

Stephen Hammond: The National Workboat Association (NWA) has been in contact with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) on the matter of introducing a Certificate of Competency for Masters of Workboats of less than 500 gross tonnage operating in the unlimited area. The MCA is taking this forward in conjunction with the NWA. The development of this Certificate has my full support and as such I have allocated extra resources to expedite the required regulatory procedures.

In recognition of the importance of this matter, I have agreed to meet with industry to discuss their concerns. An assessment of the benefits of this new Certificate of Competency is an integral part of the required impact assessment and is currently being drafted by the MCA.

Home Department

Alcoholic Drinks: Prices

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will make a statement on the age of the data used in the Sheffield Model underpinning the Government's consultation for a minimum unit price for alcohol. [R] [148883]

Damian Green: The university of Sheffield's School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) model has been used to assess the impact of minimum unit pricing on alcohol consumption and alcohol harms. This model was developed in 2009 using the best available data at the time. Full information on the data used for the Sheffield Alcohol Policy Model Version 2.0 is set out in their published report, which can accessed from:

http://www.nice.org.uk/nicemedia/live/11828/46443/46443.pdf

Where possible, the Government have uprated the price data to account for inflation. Full details of this adjustment are set out in the consultation stage impact assessment for minimum unit pricing which can be accessed via:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/about-us/consultations/alcohol-consultation/ia-minimum-unit-pricing?view=Binary

Assaults on Police

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers have been hospitalised following violent assaults in the line of duty in the last 12 months. [148276]

19 Mar 2013 : Column 577W

Damian Green: The following table provides figures on the number of police officers in England and Wales assaulted, by severity of injury, between April 2011 and March 2012. This is the latest 12 months for which information is available.

It is not possible to determine whether police officers have been hospitalised.

Number of police officers in England and Wales assaulted, by severity of injury, 2011-12
 Number

Minor or no injury

7,241

Serious injury

263

Deaths

0

Notes: 1. Figures are provisional and have not been verified by police forces. 2. Figures are provided on a headcount basis. 3. These figures include those assaults on officers off duty, whilst acting in their capacity as police officers. 4. Data on assaults are taken from the self-reported assault data held within HR or health and safety systems, or similar. 5. Minor injury are those assaults for which the charge would be under section 47 Offences Against the Persons Act (assault occasioning bodily harm), section 38 Offences Against the Persons Act (assault with intent to resist arrest), sections 89(1) (assault on a constable and assault on person assisting a constable) and 89(2) Police Act 1996 (resisting or wilfully obstructing a constable in the execution of his duty) and section 39 Criminal Justice Act 1998 (common assault and battery). 6. Serious injury are those assaults for which the charge would be under section 18 (wounding with intent to do grievous bodily harm) and section 20 Offences Against the Person Act 1861 (inflicting grievous bodily harm, with intent and malicious wounding).

Asylum: Children

Jonathan Ashworth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps she is taking to end the detention of children seeking asylum in the UK. [148296]

Mr Harper: The Government made a commitment to end child detention for immigration purposes and have met that commitment by radically changing the system to ensure that the welfare of the child is at the heart of the decision and returns process. In exceptional circumstances, however, unaccompanied children may be held very briefly while alternative arrangements are made for their care and safety. To release unaccompanied children before social workers have arrived to collect them could potentially put them at greater risk.

Customs: Drugs

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what amount of class (a) A, (b) B and (c) C drugs were confiscated at UK sea ports between 2010 and 2012. [148353]

Mr Harper: The following table shows drug seizures from 1 January 2010 to 31 December 2012 at sea ports:

Drug classQuantity (tonnes)(1)

Class A

5.7

Class B

56.4

Class C

0.3

(1) Conversion factors have been applied to convert tablets and litres to kilos Note: The figures quoted are management information which are subject to internal quality checks and may be subject to change.

There are no published data for drug seizures at sea ports. However, I refer my hon. Friend to the Border Force publication for drugs seizures within the UK and

19 Mar 2013 : Column 578W

the Home Office Statistical Bulletin—‘Seizures of Drugs in England and Wales’—which contain data regarding drug seizures. However, these do not identify seizures made at sea ports.

Border Force figures

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/aboutus/drug-seizures/

Home Office Statistics

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/science-research-statistics/research-statistics/police-research/hosb1212/hosb1212?view=Binary

Deportation: Uganda

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what reports she has received on the death of Jackie Nanyonjo, who was recently deported to Uganda; and if she will make a statement; [148668]

(2) what recent assessment she has made of the conduct of the UK Border Agency contractor, Reliance, during the deportation of Jackie Nanyonjo; [148669]

(3) what discussions she has had with the UK Border Agency concerning the deportation of Jackie Nanyonjo to Uganda. [148670]

Mr Harper: We are aware of reports from Uganda of the death of Ms Nanyonjo over a month after her removal from the UK. The UK Border Agency has asked the Foreign and Commonwealth Office for assistance and until the facts are known it would be inappropriate to comment further.

The UK Border Agency takes the welfare of all detainees very seriously and it has not received any complaints regarding the removal of Jackie Nanyonjo.

However, the UK Border Agency has asked the Professional Standards Unit to undertake a review of the documentation and CCTV footage available for the removal.

The UK Border Agency detention and escorting service provider changed their name on 14 January 2013 from Reliance to Tascor Services Ltd.

Domestic Visits: Prime Minister

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average cost to a local constabulary was of providing security during a constituency visit from the Prime Minister in the last year for which figures are available. [149050]

Damian Green: Information on the average cost to local constabularies of providing security for constituency visits by the Prime Minister is not held centrally by the Home Office.

Entry Clearances

Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what the average waiting time was for Business Visitor Visa applications in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012; [148727]

(2) what the average waiting time was for Family Visitor Visa applications in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012; [148728]

19 Mar 2013 : Column 579W

(3) what the average waiting time was for student visitor visa applications in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012; [148729]

(4) what the average waiting time was for general visitor visa applications in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [148730]

Mr Harper [holding answer 18 March 2013]: The information the hon. Member has requested is shown in the following table:

Visa application processing times (working days), January 2010 to December 2012
Visa type201020112012

General visit

5

6

6

Business visit

5

5

5

Family visit

7

8

8

Student visit

6

7

8

Notes: 1. All figures quoted have been derived from management information and are therefore provisional and subject to change. This information has not been quality assured under National Statistics protocols. 2. Figures relate to individuals. 3. Data relate to all specified visa applications processed between 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2012. 4. Processing time is based on the average number of working days from biometric enrolment to decision date. Figures relate to completed applications only. 5. Student visas include visitor visas for English Language students, 6. Data generated on 14 March 2013.

Entry Clearances: Business

Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) visas were issued in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [148980]

Mr Harper: Following changes to the Immigration Rules, the Points-Based System Tier 1 (Graduate entrepreneur) route was introduced in April 2012.

Applications in the Tier 1 (Graduate entrepreneur) route can currently only be made from within the UK. The available statistics relate to the number of grants of an extension of stay in the Tier 1 (Graduate entrepreneur) route and are published in table ex.01.q in the Home Office statistical release ‘Immigration Statistics'. 27 applications were granted in 2012, excluding dependants.

The latest Home Office immigration statistics on extensions of stay are published in the release Immigration Statistics October-December, which is available from the Library of the House and on the Department's website at:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/science-research-statistics/research-statistics/immigration-asylum-research/immigration-q4-2012/

Hezbollah

Mr Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment she has made of (a) fundraising and (b) recruitment by Herzbollah in the (i) UK and (ii) EU. [148781]

James Brokenshire: I cannot comment on intelligence assessments.

Mr Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether she plans to proscribe Hezbollah. [148788]

19 Mar 2013 : Column 580W

James Brokenshire: The UK proscribed Hezbollah's External Security Organisation in 2001. In 2008 the proscription was extended to include the whole of Hezbollah's military apparatus, namely the Jihad Council and all the units reporting to it.

Immigrants: Detainees

Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) when detainees with an address in Northern Ireland are granted bail or temporary release from an immigration removal centre in England or Scotland, which body covers the cost of their return to their address in Northern Ireland; [148779]

(2) when a detainee with an address in Northern Ireland successfully challenges their detention in an immigration removal centre in England or Scotland, which body covers the cost of their return to their residence in Northern Ireland. [148780]

Mr Harper: When a detainee held in an immigration centre in England or Scotland needs to be released to an address in Northern Ireland, or any other UK address, the immigration centre operator (either a public or private sector service provider operated centre) issues the detainee with a travel warrant, which allows the detainee to travel to his nearest rail station. In the case of Northern Ireland this warrant would cover the cost of the ferry between the mainland and Northern Ireland. The money for the warrant forms part of the operating cost for any immigration removal centre and is therefore fully funded by the UK Border Agency.

Immigration

Nadine Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what assessment her Department has made of the potential effects of the introduction of a points system for immigration similar to that operated in Australia on employment rates in the UK; [149007]

(2) what assessment her Department has made of the potential effect of (a) increased and (b) decreased immigration on the rate of employment of British citizens. [149009]

Mr Harper: The UK implemented a points-based system (PBS) for economic migration in 2008. Since 2010, the PBS has been systematically over-hauled to ensure it supports a selective immigration system that delivers the brightest and best migrants the UK needs.

Net migration has fallen to 163,000 in the year to June 2012, down from a peak of 255,000 in the year to September 2010. At the same time, recent Labour Force Survey figures show a rise in employment for UK nationals, but much smaller growth in numbers of foreign nationals in employment.

In January 2012, the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) published an analysis of the impacts of migration, which included an analysis of labour market impacts. It can be found at:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/aboutus/workingwithus/indbodies/mac/reports-publications/

19 Mar 2013 : Column 581W

Independent Police Complaints Commission

Mr Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 12 March 2013, Official Report, column 148W, on the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC), from what date she expects the transfer of resources from individual police professional standards departments to the IPCC to have taken place. [148769]

Damian Green: No date has yet been agreed.

Members: Correspondence

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she plans to reply to the letter to her dated 7 February 2013, from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Mr Atta Ullah Khan. [148904]

Mr Harper: I wrote to the right hon. Member on 18 March 2013.

Metropolitan Police

Nick de Bois: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if she will take steps to ensure the continuation of the existing travel agreement between the Association of Train Operating Companies and the Metropolitan Police Service; [148625]

(2) what representations she has received on the continuation of the existing travel agreement between the Association of Train Operating Companies and the Metropolitan Police Service; and if she will make a statement. [148626]

Damian Green [holding answer 18 March 2013]: The arrangement with the Association of Train Operating Companies is a matter for the Metropolitan Police, as a local agreement with that force.

Recruitment

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many officials were recruited to (a) her Department and (b) each of its non-departmental public bodies in each of the last five years. [147971]

James Brokenshire: The information is as follows:

(a) The number of officials recruited to the Home Department, including Executive agencies, appears in Table 1.

(b) The number of officials recruited to each of our non-departmental public bodies in each of the last five years, appears in Table 2.

This response includes data for the Independent Safeguarding Authority, Independent Police Complaints Commission, Serious Organised Crime Agency and the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner. Although the Equality and Human Rights Commission was sponsored by the Home Office during this period, data on the recruitment of officials will be included in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport response.

19 Mar 2013 : Column 582W

This response does not include data for the Security Industry Authority and the National Policing Improvement Agency, as to do so would be at disproportionate cost.

Table 1: Home Office new employees 2008-09 to 2011-12
Financial yearNumber of new employees

2008-09

1,113

2009-10

1,814

2010-11

427

2011-12

175

Table 2: Non-departmental public bodies 2008-09 to 2011-12
Financial yearNumber of New employees

2008-09

864

2009-10

779

2010-11

382

2011-12

115

Sussex Police

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of criminal allegations investigated by Sussex Police resulted in (a) a file being sent to the Crown Prosecution Service and (b) a successful prosecution in each of the last five years. [148508]

Damian Green [holding answer 18 March 2013]: Information on criminal allegations investigated by the police is not available centrally. In addition, we are not able to provide figures on the number of files sent to the Crown Prosecution Service.

The available information from the police recorded crime statistics collected by the Home Office relates to all offences recorded by the police in Sussex and detected by means of a charge or summons and is given in Table 1. Statistics for defendants prosecuted in the Sussex Area have been provided by the Crown Prosecution Service and are given in Table 2.

Table 1: Offences recorded by the police in Sussex and detected by means of a charge or summons
Number of offences
Financial yearOffences recordedDetected by means of a charge or summons

2007-08

119,393

17,595

2008-09

107,591

15,790

2009-10

101,200

16,768

2010-11

97,134

16,761

2011-12

96,546

15,124

Table 2: Volume and proportion of defendants prosecuted in Sussex
 ConvictionsUnsuccessful 
 NumberPercentageNumberPercentageTotal

2007-08

19,745

83.6

3,881

16.4

23,626

2008-09

18,641

86.1

3,019

13.9

21,660

2009-10

18,154

87.0

2,715

13.0

20,869

2010-11

17,581

86.4

2,770

13.6

20,351

2011-12

15,685

86.5

2,451

13.5

18,136

Telephone Services

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) 0800, (b) 0808, (c) 0844, (d) 0845 and (e) 0870 telephone numbers for the public are in use by (i) her Department and (ii) the agencies for which she is responsible. [147821]

19 Mar 2013 : Column 583W

James Brokenshire: Information on the use of these numbers by the Home Office and its agencies is set out in the following table.

 In use

Home Office

 

(a) 800

0

(b) 808

0

(c) 844

0

(d) 845

0

(e) 870

4

  

UK Border Agency

 

(a) 800

1

(b) 808

0

(c) 844

0

(d) 845

3

(e) 870

3

  

Identity and Passport Service

 

(a) 800

0

(b) 808

0

(c) 844

0

(d) 845

12

(e) 870

0

Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether her Department's customer service telephone lines are restricted to those beginning 0870. [149026]

James Brokenshire: The Department uses a range of prefixes for its customer service telephone lines, namely 0800, 0845, 0300 and 0870.

UK Border Agency

Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the cost was of overtime incurred by staff at the UK Border Agency in (a) 2008, (b) 2009, (c) 2010 and (d) 2011. [146665]

Mr Harper [holding answer 7 March 2013]: The cost of overtime per calendar year in the UK Border Agency (including Border Force at that time) was as follows:

 £ million

(a) 2008

7.994

(b) 2009

12.628

(c) 2010

7.265

(d) 2011

5.541

The information provided is for staff at Grade 6 and below in the UK Border Agency. Senior civil servants are not entitled to overtime payments.

House of Commons Commission

Security

Mr Amess: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, (1) whether police officers and security officers working outside the north end of Westminster Hall are provided with waterproof clothing; and if he will make a statement; [147935]

19 Mar 2013 : Column 584W

(2) if the Commission will arrange for a police box outside the north end of Westminster Hall to protect police and security officers on duty from adverse weather conditions; what representations he has received from (a) the Police Federation and (b) other representatives of police and security officers about the installation of a police box at that location; and if he will make a statement. [147936]

John Thurso: Police and security officers at the Palace of Westminster are employees of the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) under contract to the House; the issuing of uniform is a matter for the MPS. The hon. Member may wish to raise the matter with Chief Superintendent Ed Bateman.

Neither police managers nor the House authorities are aware of any request having been made by members of police staff for the provision of a police box outside the north door of Westminster Hall. Police managers tell us that they do not consider that there is a convincing argument for the provision of a shelter of this kind.

The MPS tell us that the visibility and availability of MPS staff is their paramount concern. To be a visible deterrent and in a position to act in response to any incidents, officers need to be outside for the majority of the time including peak times. Where appropriate, additional shelters are provided along with guidance as to when officers can use them and changes that can be made during bad weather.

Northern Ireland

Crime and Courts Bill

Mr Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discussions she has had with the Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland about the Crime and Courts Bill and its application to Northern Ireland. [148755]

Mike Penning: The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chipping Barnet (Mrs Villiers), and I have regular discussions with the Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland about all matters affecting national security in Northern Ireland. The Northern Ireland Office has also been in contact with the Police Service of Northern Ireland about provisions of the Bill which have an impact on the PSNI. There have been a number of operational discussions and workshops between the National Crime Agency and the Police Service of Northern Ireland in Belfast.

Organised Crime

Mr Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment she has made of the potential consequences for tackling organised crime of the decision to disapply provisions of the Crime and Courts Bill from Northern Ireland. [148759]

Mike Penning: The overall impact of the decision to disapply provisions of the Crime and Courts Bill from Northern Ireland will depend on the alternative arrangements made by the Northern Ireland Executive. However, as my hon. Friend the Minister of State at the Home Office has made clear, this decision will have serious implications for the fight against serious and organised crime in Northern Ireland and the integrity of the asset recovery regime.

19 Mar 2013 : Column 585W

The Government will continue to make every effort to minimise the operational impact of the Executive's decision and to ensure that the people of Northern Ireland benefit as much as possible from the National Crime Agency.

Culture, Media and Sport

Cinemas: Hearing Impairment

Michael Ellis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent discussions she has had with cinema owners and proprietors about increasing the use of digital projection equipment so as to aid the subtitling of films for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. [148355]

Mr Vaizey: My officials have remained in regular contact with the cinema industry through the Government's eAccessibility Forum on the issue of Subtitling and Audio Description (AD) of films for those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Figures from the industry trade body, the Cinema Exhibitors' Association, indicate that there are now around 1,000 Subtitled and Audio Description (AD) screenings every week in UK cinemas, an increase of over 500% in the last five years.

With the increasing roll-out of digital projection technology across the UK sector, the capability to screen subtitled and audio described films is likely to increase over the next 12 months.

However, given general audience resistance to subtitling, cinemas are also actively exploring a range of ‘personalised’ subtitling equipment, which they hope will begin appearing in UK cinemas in the next couple of years. This should further increase the accessibility of cinema for disabled customers.

David Livingstone

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether she plans to make arrangements for the celebration of the 200th anniversary of the birth of Dr Livingstone. [148320]

Mr Vaizey: I welcome the enormous contribution that Dr Livingstone made as an explorer, writer, missionary, medic and anti-slavery campaigner. I am delighted that planning for the celebration of the 200th anniversary of his birth is being carried out by David Livingstone 200, an umbrella organisation which is overseeing the anniversary. More information can be found on its website at the following link:

www.davidlivingstone200.org

Heritage Lottery Fund

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what Heritage Lottery Fund provision is available for restoring and improving urban parks. [147199]

Mr Vaizey: HLF provides lottery funding for parks through a range of programmes:

The Parks for People programme awards grants from £100,000 to £5 million to conserve historic public parks and cemeteries, and involve the local community in the site's long term management and activities. HLF has been funding parks since 1996, and, in 2006, the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) joined the initiative, joint-funding projects in England. Over the last 18 years, around £650 million

19 Mar 2013 : Column 586W

has been awarded to over 770 parks across the UK; £120 million of this amount has been awarded to parks in London. In 2013-14, £32 million will be committed to new projects across the UK.

In October 2012, the Parks for People programme was re-launched, aligning with HLF's new strategic framework, to fund projects which make a lasting difference to heritage, people and communities. For the first time, historic cemeteries are also able to apply for funding, the application process has been simplified, and HLF can fund up to 95% of project costs, which can include both capital works and activities. Furthermore, volunteer time can contribute towards match funding and greater emphasis is placed on improving long term park management, developing skills, and making local communities better places to live, work and visit.

Parks and urban green spaces can also receive funding for focused capital or activity projects through our general programmes, such as ‘Heritage Grants' (awards from £100,000 upwards), ‘Our Heritage' (£10,000 to £100,000) and the new ‘Sharing Heritage' programme (£3,000 to £10,000). These small grant programmes offer opportunities for community groups, park Friends and user groups to apply quickly and deliver projects themselves, building their skills, capacity and achieving outcomes for the local area. The recently-launched ‘Catalyst: Building fundraising capacity' programme offers grants of £3,000 to £10,000 to heritage organisations (including park user groups) to develop fundraising skills and private-giving initiatives. We are also soon to launch 'Start-up Grants' (£3,000 to £10,000) to support voluntary or community groups who are taking on new responsibility for looking after or engaging people with heritage.

Internet: Children

Andrew Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps the Government are taking to ensure adequate online protection is provided on mobile devices for children who access the internet. [148643]

Mr Vaizey: Through the UK Council for Child Internet Safety, UKCCIS, the Government are already working with the mobile phone industry to increase the availability and awareness of parental controls on mobile handsets. Additionally, in its response to the Department for Education's consultation on internet parental controls published in December last year, the Government asked all of the ICT industries, including retailers and device manufacturers, to work together to develop universally-available, family-friendly internet access which is easy to use.

This will build on safeguards already in place for mobile devices. In 2004, mobile network operators, through the Mobile Broadband Group, published a ‘UK code of practice for the self-regulation of new forms of content on mobiles’ (including access to internet browsing and video and picture messaging). This was further updated in 2009 to cover wider internet access (including access to further visual content, mobile gaming and chat rooms). This code requires operators to offer a filter for mobile handsets so that access to inappropriate content via the internet can be restricted. As a result, the majority of handsets sold in the UK, including all of those sold as pay-as-you-go, are sold with filters activated.

Annual Leave

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many officials in (a) her Department and (b) each of its agencies and non-departmental public bodies qualify for privilege days; and what the total cost to the public purse was of the number of privilege days utilised each year by such officials. [147734]

19 Mar 2013 : Column 587W

Hugh Robertson: All DCMS employees are entitled to 2.5 days privilege holidays, in line with the rest of the civil service, as follows:

Maundy Thursday (half day)

19 Mar 2013 : Column 588W

The Queen's Birthday (one day)

Christmas/New Year period (one day)

The total cost to the public purse for the financial years is shown in the following table:

 Financial year
 2011-122012-132013-14 (forecast)

Average FTE

456.9

425.9

330

Average Salary (includes SCS and employer's cost such as NI and Pensions) (£)

75,393

74,562

62,449

Cost of privilege days per employee (£)

516.39

510.70

171.09

Total Cost (£)

235,938.59

217,507.13

56,459.70

We do not hold central records for our non-departmental public bodies.

Sickness Absence

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many days (a) her Department and (b) each of its non-departmental public bodies has lost to staff sickness in each of the last five years; and what estimate she has made of the cost of such absence in each year. [147983]

Hugh Robertson: The following table shows the proportion of days, on average, staff were absent as a result of ill health in each of the last five financial years.

Financial year2007-082008-092009-102010-112011-12

Total average working days lost

2.1

3.3

4.8

4.9

4.2

Estimated cost of such absence per employee (£)

476.19

748.30

1,088.44

1,111.11

952.38

For 2011-12 the civil service wide sickness rate was 7.6 average working days lost.

DCMS is committed to the health and welfare of its staff, helping them to stay healthy and reducing the need for sick leave. Support is provided to staff returning from long-term sick leave, referring them to occupational health, to advise on how best to facilitate a return to work and offering access to an Employee Assistance programme, for independent advice and support.

We do not hold central records for our non-departmental public bodies.

Termination of Employment

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many officials in (a) her Department and (b) each of its non-departmental public bodies have left that body due to (i) resignation, (ii) retirement, (iii) redundancy, (iv) transferral to another public sector post and (v) another reason in each of the last five years. [147945]

Hugh Robertson: The number of employees who have left DCMS due to (i) resignation, (ii) retirement, (iii) redundancy, (iv) transfer to another public sector post and (v) another reason in each of the last five financial years is shown in the following table:

Financial yearResignationRetirementVoluntary redundancyTransfer to another public sector postAnother reason

2012-13 to date

19

0

48

45

22

2011-12

6

3

27

21

11

2010-11

7

1

20

14

4

2009-10

19

2

0

37

7

2008-09

24

5

0

41

7

We do not hold central records for non-departmental public bodies.

Energy and Climate Change

Arctic

Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what modelling his Department has carried out on the effects of loss of Arctic ice on the world's climate; and what the conclusions of any such modelling were. [148699]

Gregory Barker: The Department funds research by the Met Office Hadley Centre to improve representations of Arctic sea-ice in its climate and earth system models.

Recent modelling by the Met Office Hadley Centre and several other centres, worldwide present a range of dates for an essentially sea-ice free Arctic in late summer.

19 Mar 2013 : Column 589W

We understand that this is now considered possible as early as 2025 to 2030 but may be much later in the century.

The Department recognises the importance of Arctic change to global climate and is currently funding research at the Met Office Hadley Centre and in collaboration with the NERC Arctic Research Programme to understand better the impacts of reduced sea-ice on potential methane release and possible implications for European weather and climate. This work is on-going.

Electricity Generation

David Mowat: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will take steps to ensure that any measures to support the functioning of, and access to, the electricity market implemented under the powers provided in Chapter 6 of Part 1 of the Energy Bill will be open to all market participants and not limited to (a) specific technologies or (b) those accessing specific market intervention mechanisms such as a contract for differences FiT. [148953]

Mr Hayes: The Government are taking these powers to enable us to intervene if it is appropriate to do so in support of the Government's energy policy objectives. We will consider the applicability of any possible measures if it is shown that intervention is necessary.

David Mowat: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change in what ways he intends that the electricity market reform programme will ensure that market participation from demand-side activities and embedded generation is improved. [148954]

Mr Hayes: We have already confirmed that Demand Side Response measures will be able to participate in the capacity market. In addition, we recently consulted on a range of options to deliver permanent reductions in electricity demand. The consultation sought views on a range of approaches including financial incentives alongside a range of non-financial options. The consultation closed on 31 January and we will announce the policy approach in time to make amendments to the Energy Bill if appropriate.

The Government are committed to ensuring that all generators are able to participate in the market. Our assessment is that Contracts for Difference will provide significant benefits to all generators due to the way that price risk is dealt with. Independent generators have raised some particular concerns and we have included powers in the Energy Bill to allow the Government to intervene if the market does not respond as we expect.

Energy Supply

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what consideration he has given to the development of local smart grids in securing a sustainable energy future for the UK. [148988]

Mr Hayes: Smart grids have an important role to play in keeping energy bills down and supporting our low carbon future. Smart technologies and approaches will help Distribution Network Operators (DNOs) to avoid or defer the need for expensive grid reinforcement and

19 Mar 2013 : Column 590W

support distributed generation. They will also help homes and communities to manage the energy use more effectively in order to reduce their energy bills.

In 2011, DECC and Ofgem, the energy regulator, set up the Smart Grid Forum to coordinate policy across the sector. Last year, it commissioned analysis to understand better the value that smart grid technologies can deliver, and concluded that they could drive down network costs by up to £1l billion in the period to 2050.

Furthermore, the rollout of smart meters across Great Britain from next year will provide a critical platform for the development of a smart grid by providing better information and improving communication between consumers, electricity suppliers and network companies.

The UK is also supporting innovation of smart technologies and commercial arrangements through a number of funding streams. In particular, Ofgem's Low Carbon Networks Fund has made £500 million available to networks over five years (2010-2015) to trial new technologies and approaches.

Energy: Meters

Chris Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the number of households in the UK with prepayment (a) gas and (b) electricity meters. [148676]

Gregory Barker: The independent regulator, Ofgem, monitors and publishes information about the use of prepayment meters in its Social Obligations Annual Reports and Domestic suppliers' quarterly social obligations data reports. In Q2 of 2012 (latest data to be published) there were 4.2 million electricity prepayment meter and 3 million gas prepayment meter consumers in Great Britain:

http://www.ofgem.gov.uk/Sustainability/SocAction/Monitoring/SoObMonitor/Documents1/Domestic %20suppliers%20quarterly%20debt%20and%20disconnections %20Q1%20and%20Q2%202012.pdf

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he is taking to inform consumers in (a) Witham constituency, (b) Essex, (c) the East of England and (iv) Great Britain about the roll-out of smart meters. [148986]

Mr Hayes: The Government's vision is for every home and smaller businesses in Great Britain to have smart electricity and gas meters. DECC published the smart meter Consumer Engagement Strategy in December 2012 which provides details of how domestic and non-domestic consumers will be engaged.

A number of parties will play a role in consumer engagement across Great Britain. Suppliers will have the primary role as they are the main interface with consumers before, during and after installation. Supplier engagement will be supported by a programme of centralised engagement undertaken by a Central Delivery Body (CDB). Trusted third-parties, such as community groups, charities and local authorities, will have an important role to play in engaging consumers and we expect the CDB to help facilitate and coordinate their involvement. The Department is also working with stakeholders to ensure that accurate information on smart meters is available in the run up to mass roll-out, for instance on the Government website.

19 Mar 2013 : Column 591W

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what discussions he has had with Digital UK about lessons learnt from the Digital Switchover in engaging consumers for the forthcoming roll-out of smart meters. [148987]

Mr Hayes: The Government's vision is for every home and smaller businesses in Great Britain to have smart electricity and gas meters. DECC published the smart meter Consumer Engagement Strategy in December 2012 which provides details of how domestic and non-domestic consumers will be engaged.

The Government have sought to learn lessons from other relevant programmes including Digital UK, whose representatives have briefed DECC and stakeholders to inform the development of the strategy.

Fuel Poverty

Chris Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent assessment he has made of levels of fuel poverty. [148698]

Gregory Barker: The latest available statistics suggest that in 2010, 4.75 million households in the UK were in fuel poverty, with 3.5 million households in England being fuel poor. Figures for 2011 will be published on 16 May 2013.