22 Mar 2013 : Column 825W

22 Mar 2013 : Column 825W

Written Answers to Questions

Friday 22 March 2013

House of Commons Commission

Pay

Jim Sheridan: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, (1) what estimate the Commission has made of the number of employees of the House of Commons Service who will receive a (a) 1 per cent, (b) 2 per cent, (c) 3 per cent, (d) 4 per cent and (e) 5 per cent pay rise or above in the proposed salary revisions; [148934]

(2) what the average pay rise will be in the proposed salary revisions of (a) the lowest paid employees of the House of Commons Service and (b) senior managers in the House of Commons Service. [148935]

John Thurso: The House of Commons negotiates pay for staff in pay bands A to E and catering pay bands separately. No offer or award has yet been made for senior staff, whose pay has been frozen for the last three years, and whose numbers have been reduced as part of the savings programme. For other staff a pay offer has been issued to the House trade unions which seeks to meet the statutory duty of being broadly in line with the civil service and to facilitate the introduction of a new contract for staff which increases the length of the working week from 34 to 36 hours (as in the civil service) and replaces a wide variety of overtime entitlements and various unsocial hours payments which have accrued over the years with a more equitable system. Under the offer, all staff would receive a 1% consolidated pay increase in each year, except for those in pay bands A to E who are paid at the maximum of their pay band who would receive 1% non-consolidated (non pensionable) one-off payments each year. The lowest paid staff who earn less than £21,000 per annum would receive a consolidated increase of at least £250 a year, which is equivalent to an increase of at least 1.2%. A number of staff in pay bands A to E would receive additional consolidated increases as part of implementing pay reform. The amount each member of staff receives will depend on their individual situation, including how far they have progressed within their payband.

The numbers of staff in the House of Commons and PICT who would receive (a) 1%, (b) 2%, (c) 3%, (d) 4%, (e) 5% per annum on average for the duration of the three-year pay deal are estimated to be as follows:

Average percentage increase in consolidated basic pay 2013-15 per annumNumbers of staff in the House of Commons Service and in PICT (headcount)

Not more than 1%

463

Greater than 1% to less than or equal to 2%

253

22 Mar 2013 : Column 826W

Greater than 2% to less than or equal to 3%

136

Greater than 3% to less than or equal to 4%

128

Greater than 4% to less than or equal to 5%

192

5% or greater

561

Work and Pensions

Universal Credit

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what IT system will be used to implement universal credit pathfinders from 1 April 2013. [149391]

Mr Hoban: A number of IT systems will be used to support the universal credit pathfinders from 29 April the main components of which are: Customer Management, Business Process Management, Rules Engine, Payment Management, Real Time Earnings and Work Services.

Universal credit will also link to a number of existing DWP corporate IT systems.

Work Capability Assessment

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what training is undertaken by mental function champions before they begin their role. [149605]

Mr Hoban: All Atos health care professionals are fully trained and approved to assess people with mental health conditions. Training in mental health issues is a core part of their induction training and all engage in a programme of continuing medical education which includes modules on mental health issues.

In addition, mental function champions receive additional facilitated training on mental health topics and are expected to maintain their subject expertise through continuous professional development.

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the recruitment policies and procedures are for mental function champions; and if there is a specific criteria used by Atos when allocating these roles to fill existing Atos Healthcare Professional positions. [149634]

Mr Hoban: Consistent policies and procedures are followed by Atos Healthcare to recruit all their health care professionals. Mental function champions are selected from within the ranks of Atos Healthcare Professionals based on their previous mental health experience and proven experience as a disability analyst.

22 Mar 2013 : Column 827W

Defence

Armed Forces: Electoral Register

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service personnel are registered to vote in each constituent part of the UK. [149189]

Mr Dunne [holding answer 21 March 2013]: I refer the hon. Member to the answer that the Minister of State, Ministry of Defence, the right hon. Member for Rayleigh and Wickford(Mr Francois), gave on 18 March 2013, Official Report, column 437W, to the right hon. Member for East Renfrewshire (Mr Murphy). No data is requested or held on the place in which service personnel are registered to vote.

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service personnel were registered to vote in Northern Ireland in (a) 2002 and (b) 2012. [149393]

Mr Dunne: I refer the hon. Member to the answer that my right hon. Friend the Minister of State gave on 18 March 2013, Official Report, column 437W, to the right hon. Member for East Renfrewshire. No data are requested or held on place of registration so the information requested is not held.

Armed Forces: Pensions

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 1 March 2013, Official Report, column 717W, on armed forces: redundancy, what calculation his Department has made of the average actuarial loss of pension income of those who have, since May 2010, been made redundant within one year of their intended pension point. [148942]

Mr Dunne: I refer the hon. Member to the answer that the Minister of State, Ministry of Defence, my right hon. Friend the Member for Rayleigh and Wickford (Mr Francois), gave on 1 March 2013, Official Report, column 717W.

The Ministry of Defence has not calculated the average actuarial loss of pension income of those who have, since May 2010, been made redundant within one year of their immediate pension point.

The impact of not being eligible for immediate pension is offset by the compensation lump sum or special capital payment. The average tax free payment for service personnel terminating from service with less than one year to serve to their immediate pension point was £73,383. In addition, their pension benefits will be preserved for later payment.

Armed Forces: Young People

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many soldiers are aged (a) 18 years and (b) 19 years in the (i) Infantry and (ii) Army. [149241]

22 Mar 2013 : Column 828W

Mr Dunne [holding answer 21 March 2013]: There are 920 soldiers aged 18 years in the Infantry and 2,560 in the Army as a whole.

There are 1,100 soldiers aged 19 years in the Infantry and 3,060 in the Army as a whole.

These numbers cover both trained and untrained regular soldiers, and exclude officers.

British Antarctic Survey

Mr Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 7 March 2013, Official Report, column 1182W, on British Antarctic Survey, how many of the 548 staff employed by the British Antarctic Survey have been in post for 20 years or more; and how many of those who have worked for 20 years or more have been awarded the Polar Medal. [149621]

Mr Dunne: Information provided by British Antarctic Survey identifies that 77 of the staff currently employed by British Antarctic Survey have been in post for 20 years or more. Of these 37 have been awarded the Polar Medal,

Mr Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 7 March 2013, Official Report, column 1182W, on British Antarctic Survey, how many Polar Medal nominations have been submitted by the British Antarctic Survey in the last 10 years; and how many were successful. [149622]

Mr Dunne: The Polar Medal Assessment Committee does not retain records of nominations received that are not successful. British Antarctic Survey has confirmed that over the past 10 years it has submitted 50 nominations and of those 48 were successful. It should be noted that any nomination submitted from the British Antarctic Survey goes through a robust internal process to ensure that it meets the qualification criteria before submission.

Mr Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 25 February 2013, Official Report, column 22W, on medals, how many of the eight people who sit on the Polar Medal Nomination Committee (a) work for the British Antarctic Survey, (b) have previously worked for the British Antarctic Survey and (c) are otherwise associated with the British Antarctic Survey. [149623]

Mr Dunne: Based on the information available to the United Kingdom Polar Medal Assessment Committee, of the eight people who currently sit on the committee, two are currently employed by the British Antarctic Survey, and all have, at some time, previously worked for the British Antarctic Survey as employees or associates.

Telephone Services

Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department's customer service telephone lines are restricted to those beginning 0870. [149020]

Mr Dunne: I refer the hon. Member to the answer that the Minister of State, Ministry of Defence, my right hon. Friend the Member for Rayleigh and Wickford

22 Mar 2013 : Column 829W

(Mr Francois), gave on 18 March 2013,

Official Report

, column 443W, to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Richard Burden).

In addition to the telephone numbers listed in that answer, the Ministry of Defence also uses Subscriber Trunk Dialling (STD) telephone numbers for customer service purposes.

Warships

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the current value of each (a) Type 45, (b) Type 42, (c) Type 23, (d) Hunt Class MCV, (e) Sandown Class MCV, (f) Archer Class and (b) Scimitar Class vessel. [145094]

Mr Dunne: The current values of the Royal Navy vessels are shown in the following tables. The values quoted reflect the Net Book Value (NBV) of the asset, which is calculated by adding the cost of any major up grades to the original capital cost of the asset and deducting depreciation. Depreciation is a measure of the decrease in value of an asset over time.

The values quoted bear no relation to the replacement costs of the assets and capabilities.

Type 45 destroyers
NameNBV (£ million)

HMS Dragon

402

HMS Diamond

478

HMS Dauntless

511

HMS Daring

(1)1,566

Type 42 destroyers
NameNBV (£ million)

HMS Edinburgh

5

HMS York

12

Type 23 Frigates
NameNBV (£ million)

HMS Argyll

188

HMS Lancaster

58

HMS Iron Duke

39

HMS Monmouth

46

HMS Montrose

49

HMS Westminster

55

HMS Northumberland

51

HMS Richmond

67

HMS Somerset

67

HMS Sutherland

71

HMS KENT

106

HMS Portland

80

HMS St Albans

95

Hunt Class MCV
NameNBV (£ million)

HMS Ledbury

105

HMS Cattistock

18

HMS Brocklesby

18

HMS Middleton

19

HMS Chiddingfold

19

HMS Hurworth

22

HMS Atherstone

23

HMS Quorn

25

22 Mar 2013 : Column 830W

Sandown Class MCV
NameNBV (£ million)

HMS Ramsey

61

HMS Blyth

32

HMS Shoreham

35

HMS Bangor

29

HMS Grimsby

27

HMS Pembroke

26

HMS Penzance

24

NameNBV (£ million)

Archer Class

(2)3

Scimitar Class

(3)0

(1) The T45 class delivered a much larger proportion of the intangible development cost with the First in Class, which is amortised over the life of the vessel rather than over the entire class. Subsequent deliveries across the T45 class include a reduced intangible balance to reflect the learning curve, which is also amortised across the life of each vessel. (2) There are 15 boats in the Archer Class with a range of current NBVs. The figure shown above is the aggregate NBV of all the vessels in the class. (3) There are two vessels in the Scimitar Class with an aggregate NBV of £310,000. For consistency with the approach taken to rounding the other figures, the NBV of the class is shown as zero. Note: The NBVs shown above are all rounded to the nearest £ million.

Deputy Prime Minister

Lobbying

Thomas Docherty: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he expects to publish his revised proposals for the registration of lobbyists. [149390]

Miss Chloe Smith: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Livingston (Graeme Morrice) on 20 March 2013, Official Report, column 727W.

The Government received a large response to its consultation on ‘Introducing a Statutory Register of Lobbyists’ in April 2012. The large response generated from the public shows how important this issue is, and why we are working hard to get our proposals right.

Royal Charters

Mr Andrew Turner: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many new Royal Charters have (a) been granted and (b) been abolished (i) since 2010, (ii) between 1997 and 2010, (iii) between 1990 and 1997 and (iv) between 1982 and 1990; and which Government Departments were the lead Department in each such case. [149586]

The Deputy Prime Minister: A list of all charters granted or surrendered since 1231 is available on the Privy Council website:

http://privycouncil.independent.gov.uk/royal-charters/chartered-bodies/

No charters have been “abolished” for over a century.

Information on which Government Departments were consulted in each case could be provided only at disproportionate cost. I can confirm, however, that in every case the Privy Council Office seeks advice from relevant Government Departments with a policy interest in the affairs of the petitioning body, and/or the Charity Commission, in the case of charities.

22 Mar 2013 : Column 831W

Energy and Climate Change

British Overseas Territories

Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many civil servants, or full-time equivalents, in his Department are working on matters related to the UK Overseas Territories. [149516]

Gregory Barker: The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) does not have any civil servants solely focusing on work relating to the UK Overseas Territories.

DFCC does, however, provide information on progress with United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) negotiations and reviews, with other Government Departments, Overseas Territories' bids for funding under the Darwin plus scheme, an environment and climate fund for the UK's Overseas Territories. DECC also responds to requests from the Overseas Territories for advice and information, as part of the Department's commitment in the Government's White Paper ‘The Overseas Territories: Security, Success and Sustainability’, published on 28 June 2012.

Energy: Housing

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what projects he has proposed for support through the debt guarantee scheme. [148937]

Gregory Barker: The Department of Energy and Climate Change has not proposed support for any projects under the National Loan Guarantee Scheme.

Telephone Services

Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether his Department's customer service telephone lines are restricted to those beginning 0870. [149022]

Gregory Barker: Customer service telephone lines are not restricted to 0870 numbers at the Department of Energy and Climate Change. There are also 020 and 0300 numbers to the Department among others, detailed though the Gov.uk website.

Transport

Blue Badge Scheme

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy that the criteria for the issuing of Blue Badges should take into account the amount of space required by someone with restricted lower limb mobility to gain access or leave their vehicle; and if he will make a statement. [149352]

Norman Baker: The eligibility criteria for Blue Badges are set out in the Disabled Persons (Badges for Motor Vehicles) (England) Regulations 2000, as amended, and provide that a badge may be issued to someone who has “a permanent and substantial disability which causes inability to walk or very considerable difficulty in walking”.

22 Mar 2013 : Column 832W

Eligibility is not condition specific, and to ensure that the blue badge scheme continues to protect preferential parking facilities for those with the greatest mobility needs there are no plans to extend eligibility.

To assist with accessing or leaving vehicles the dimensions of on-street disabled persons' parking spaces are prescribed in legislation in the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions 2002 (TSRGD) and take into account the need for extra space.

Croydon Tramlink

Steve Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answer of 18 March 2013, Official Report, column 454W and 7 March 2013, Official Report, column 1110W, on the Croydon Tramlink; whether he has received any representations from the Mayor of London seeking funding for the extension of the Croydon Tramlink to Crystal Palace since May 2010; and what the date was of the last such representation. [149629]

Stephen Hammond: Any decision to extend the Croydon tramlink to Crystal Palace would be for the Mayor and Transport for London, who would also need to ensure funding was in place for such a scheme.

We have no record of the Mayor making representations to the Secretary of State regarding the Croydon tramlink since May 2010.

Motorways: Litter

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the answers of 11 March 2013, Official Report, columns 20-22W, on motorways: litter, when he intends to supply the information requested in the original questions in respect of the slip roads in Denton at the M67 Junctions (a) 1, (b) 1a, (c) 2, (d) 23 and (e) 24. [149373]

Stephen Hammond: The Highways Agency's new maintenance contract for trunk roads and motorways within the geographical area known as Area 10, commenced in early November 2012. The Highways Agency has addressed performance issues that emerged during the early months of the new contract, and the new litter inspection and clearance regime is firmly established.

Work to remove litter from the slip roads at Junctions 1, 1A, and 2, of the M67 motorway, and Junctions 23 and 24 of the M60, is currently being scheduled.

I have asked the Highways Agency to inform you of its planned schedule for clearing litter from these locations once this has been finalised. A copy of the letter will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Railway Stations: Disability

Jonathan Reynolds: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate his Department has made of the cost of making all UK rail stations compliant with the Equality Act 2010. [149717]

Norman Baker: Compliance with the Equality Act 2010 is the responsibility of individual train operating companies. However, the Act does not necessarily require changes to physical infrastructure, only that operators make reasonable adjustments to allow disabled passengers to

22 Mar 2013 : Column 833W

access their services. Legally this can be achieved by providing a free accessible taxi to the next station that the passenger can use, but that is not an ideal arrangement and the Department is keen, through its Access for All programme, to make as many stations fully accessible as possible.

The Department for Transport has not assessed the cost of providing every station in the country with step free access.

Trams: Greater Manchester

Jonathan Reynolds: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the viability of the Tram Train technology in Greater Manchester. [149713]

Norman Baker: In developing the strategic case for Tram Train, the Department for Transport and Network Rail considered a number of sites for the pilot and locations on the network where the lessons of the pilot might sensibly be rolled out, including possible applications in Greater Manchester.

I understand that Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM) is currently considering possible Tram Train, Metrolink and other rapid transit developments on a number of corridors in their area. The pilot will share best practice with TfGM but it is for them to develop their own priorities.

Justice

Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what estimate he has made of the cost to the courts system of trying Chris Huhne and Vicky Pryce. [149507]

Mrs Grant: Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service, HMCTS, does not cost individual cases.

The HMCTS annual report provides information on average costs per court sitting day. For 2011-12 the average judicial and staff costs of a Crown court sitting day were £992 and £665 respectively.

Annual Leave

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many officials in (a) his 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. [147744]

Damian Green: Civil servants within the Ministry of Justice and its executive agencies (National Offender Management Service, HM Court and Tribunal Service and the Office of the Public Guardian) are eligible to take 2.5 privilege days per year.

This is consistent with their terms and conditions of employment.

The number of civil servants working in the Ministry of Justice and executive agencies that are eligible to take privilege days is shown in the following table.

22 Mar 2013 : Column 834W

Civil servants in the Ministry of Justice and agencies as at 31 January 2013
  Number

Ministry of Justice

Ministerial Department

4,510

HM Courts and Tribunals Service

Executive agency

19,403

National Offender Management Service

Executive agency

43,225

The Office of the Public Guardian

Executive agency

473

No official estimate has been made of the cost to the Department of privilege days.

The actual cost is dependent on when the privilege days falls, how many people take leave on that day, and what work is re-prioritised or re-scheduled as a result of the absence.

For non-departmental public bodies, this information is not centrally held. This information has been requested from the Department's non-departmental public bodies and when available, will be placed in the House of Commons Library.

Offenders: Fines

Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what discussions his Department has had with (a) the Department for Work and Pensions, (b) the Department for Education, (c) the Child Poverty Unit and (d) the Office of the Children's Commissioner on the effect on dependent children of proposed charges to recover the costs of collecting fines from offenders since July 2012; [148433]

(2) what assessment his Department has made of the effect on child poverty targets of proposed charges to recover the costs of collecting fines from offenders; [148434]

(3) what estimate his Department has made of cost to the Exchequer of appeals from those affected by proposed charges to recover the costs of collecting fines from offenders. [148435]

Mrs Grant: An impact assessment on the provisions in clause 24 of the Crime and Courts Bill has been published alongside the Bill and is available at:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/about-us/legislation/crime-courts-part2/

An equality impact assessment has also been produced with regards to provisions in clause 24.

Prior to introducing the collection costs HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) will undertake a further impact assessment.

The information HMCTS holds on offenders is provided by the prosecuting authorities, the offenders themselves and by using the tracing tools HMCTS has at its disposal such as the Experian credit reference agency and the Department for Work and Pensions customer information system. Many offenders do not provide any information directly to the court so HMCTS does not hold data on how many offenders who owe fines also have children.

Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he expects the developing and testing of the computer system to be used to administer the

22 Mar 2013 : Column 835W

collection of costs under Clause 24 of the Crime and Courts Bill to be completed. [148439]

Mrs Grant: Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service is currently looking at options with regards to the future delivery of compliance and enforcement services, this includes issues pertaining to the IT system to support that. The delivery of any new systems will be dependant on the solution we follow.

Prisoners: Females

Gareth Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many female prisoners (a) had children under five years when they entered prison and (b) were pregnant when entering prison in each of the last five years. [149177]

Jeremy Wright: The information is as follows:

(a) Data on the number of female prisoners who had children less than five years of age when they entered prison are not routinely collected. This information could be obtained only by collating figures from individual prisoners at a disproportionate cost.

A survey of prisoners sentenced to between one month and four years in 2005 and 2006 in England and Wales found that 19% of female prisoners reported having children aged under five years. The survey also showed that 30% of male prisoners reported having children aged under five.

(b) Data on the number of female prisoners who were pregnant when entering prison is not routinely collected. This information could be obtained only by collating figures from individual prisoners at a disproportionate cost.

Prisoners: Personal Property

Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what restrictions apply to prisoners' personal property and material retained in their possession whilst detained in the secure estate. [148782]

Jeremy Wright: Prisoners are allowed to have sufficient authorised property 'in possession' for their daily needs. Currently, every governing governor/director (of a contracted prison) has devolved responsibility to determine the type of facilities and possessions prisoners may have access to, subject to their status under the Incentive and Earned Privileges scheme and the limitations of volumetric control. The review of the Incentives and Earned Privileges scheme is looking at items that prisoners are allowed to hold in possession in their cells to ensure they are appropriate and have been truly earned through hard work and good behaviour.

The procedures for the management of prisoners' property can be found in Prison Service Instruction (PSI) 12/2011. The Incentives and Earned Privileges scheme national policy framework is set out in PSI 11/2011. A copy of both PSIs can be found in the House of Commons Library.

PSIs 11/2011 and 12/2011 apply equally to all prisons in England and Wales.

22 Mar 2013 : Column 836W

Prisons

Mr Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what progress his Department is making in replacing prisons with high costs per prison place with new or expanded low-cost prisons. [148887]

Jeremy Wright: The average cost at HMP Oakwood, our newest prison, is £13,200 per place. This is less than half the average cost of existing prison places and sets the benchmark for future costs.

Following the announcement on 10 January 2013, the Ministry of Justice has begun the feasibility work on construction of a new prison of around 2,000 places in the priority areas of London, North West England or North Wales. In addition, we plan to significantly increase capacity at four existing prisons by building additional houseblocks to provide up to 1,260 new places.

The potential new prison would form part of the strategy to replace old and inefficient accommodation, as well as that with limited long-term strategic value, with modern capacity which is designed to better meet the demand for prison places and which supports our aim to reduce reoffending.

Prisons: Food

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the cost was of food per prison inmate in the last year for which figures are available; and what the total cost was for all prison inmates in each of the last five years. [147923]

Jeremy Wright: On the basis of currently available information for the financial year ending March 2012, the average daily cost for food (including beverages) per prisoner in public sector prisons in England and Wales was £2.26.

The total cost spent on food for prisoners within public sector prisons for the past five years is shown in the following table:

Fiscal year ending MarchCost of food (public sector prisons) (£000)

2008

55,624

2009

62,228

2010

59,959

2011

60,750

2012

62,675


From October 2012, a new food contract was signed which will significantly reduce the cost of prison food and which will contribute to the Government's strategic aim of driving down the cost of imprisonment.

Probation: Northamptonshire

Andy Sawford: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent assessment he has made of the performance of the Northamptonshire Probation Trust in reducing reoffending. [148874]

Jeremy Wright: The performance of probation trusts is kept under constant review. The Ministry of Justice publishes quarterly proven reoffending rates for offenders supervised by probation trusts.

22 Mar 2013 : Column 837W

The reoffending rates for Northamptonshire Probation Trust can be found at the following link:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/statistics/reoffending/proven-re-offending

Reoffenders

Andy Sawford: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what reoffending rates were in each county in the latest period for which figures are available; and what the change has been in reoffending rates in each (a) county and (b) probation service area in each of the last three years. [148875]

Jeremy Wright: Table 1, which will be placed in the Library, includes the reoffending rates by upper-tier local authority in each of the last three years for offenders who were released from custody, received a non-custodial conviction at court, received a caution, reprimand, warning or tested positive for opiates or cocaine. These figures are published quarterly and can be found in table 13c via the following link:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/statistics/reoffending/proven-re-offending

22 Mar 2013 : Column 838W

Table 2, as follows, shows reoffending rates, by probation trust area in each of the last three years.

The probation trust area is based on an offender's address at the time of their most recent offence. However, this does not mean the offender was under the supervision of the probation trust in that area.

When comparing reoffending rates between different areas, the differences may be due to:

Different types of offenders; areas where the offenders have high numbers of previous offences are likely to have higher proven reoffending rates.

Police activity; areas with high police detection rates are likely to have higher proven reoffending rates.

Age profile of offenders in the area; areas with a younger population are likely to have higher proven reoffending rates.

Comparing proven reoffending over time within local authorities or probation trust areas will be affected by any significant changes in these factors.

A proven reoffence is defined as any offence committed in a one year follow-up period and receiving a court conviction, caution, reprimand or warning in the one year follow-up. Following this one year period, a further six month waiting period is allowed for cases to progress through the courts.

Table 2: Proven reoffending of adult and juvenile offenders, by probation area, April 2008 to March 2011 rolling quarters
Probation areaApril 2008 to March 2009April 2009 to March 2010April 2010 to March 2011
 Number of offenders in cohortProportion of offenders who reoffend (%)Number of offenders in cohortProportion of offenders who reoffend (%)Number of offenders in cohortProportion of offenders who reoffend (%)

Avon and Somerset

17,326

28.2

15,978

28.2

16,228

29.4

Bedfordshire

7,062

24.6

6,973

24.4

6,602

24.3

Cambridgeshire

8,553

28.3

9,016

27.3

8,941

26.2

Cheshire

11,401

26.0

10,597

25.1

10,240

24.9

Cumbria

7,587

29.5

6,972

26.9

6,470

29.4

Derbyshire

12,315

24.3

9,735

24.8

9,523

25.7

Devon and Cornwall

17,895

25.9

16,309

25.2

16,239

25.7

Dorset

7,661

26.2

7,078

25.1

6,358

25.4

Durham

8,803

28.4

8,130

29.5

8,576

30.1

Dyfed-Powys

6,305

25.2

5,925

26.2

5,880

26.9

Essex

22,010

23.6

21,215

22.6

17,724

24.0

Gloucestershire

7,451

25.9

6,641

23.8

4,902

23.1

Greater Manchester

38,070

28.0

34,751

27.6

34,772

27.7

Gwent

9,261

25.4

8,175

26.6

7,801

28.2

Hampshire

22,217

27.1

21,437

26.1

20,490

26.3

Hertfordshire

11,714

23.7

11,885

22.7

11,118

23.5

Humberside

12,708

28.9

11,914

29.1

11,787

29.9

Kent

21,659

24.6

20,864

23.8

18,450

25.1

Lancashire

21,309

29.0

20,628

29.7

20,159

29.4

Leicestershire

10,490

23.8

9,808

24.3

9,815

24.6

Lincolnshire

8,086

24.5

7,652

23.8

7,064

25.9

London

109,515

26.9

108,161

26.5

103,018

26.9

Merseyside

22,458

30.8

21,647

30.4

20,530

31.0

Norfolk

9,025

27.3

8,681

26.0

8,561

27.1

North Wales

9,724

28.0

9,637

27.0

8,543

26.7

North Yorkshire

8,518

27.2

8,008

26.2

7,369

27.4

Northamptonshire

7,977

26.4

7,920

24.9

7,767

24.5

Northumbria

26,132

30.9

23,057

30.9

20,991

31.4

Nottinghamshire

15,229

28.1

15,013

28.1

15,205

28.9

South Wales

18,181

30.0

17,284

29.7

16,342

30.8

South Yorkshire

19,525

28.4

18,380

27.4

15,867

27.9

Staffordshire

11,811

25.2

10,667

24.7

11,302

23.9

Suffolk

8,161

26.9

7,540

25.4

6,627

27.1

22 Mar 2013 : Column 839W

22 Mar 2013 : Column 840W

Surrey

8,647

22.9

8,198

22.8

7,719

22.8

Sussex

17,087

25.1

16,880

24.5

16,245

23.6

Teesside

10,886

32.4

10,485

32.4

10,306

32.5

Thames Valley

23,887

25.4

21,015

25.4

20,209

25.9

Warwickshire

5,639

23.9

5,232

23.4

4,715

20.5

West Mercia

14,135

25.0

12,383

23.9

11,119

25.3

West Midlands

44,702

26.6

37,189

25.2

30,833

26.1

West Yorkshire

32,335

28.8

30,920

26.9

28,148

27.8

Wiltshire

6,375

23.2

6,493

22.5

5,875

22.3

Unknown

5,796

2.3

5,082

1.9

5,312

2.0

Total

725,628

681,555

641,742

Reoffenders: Veterans

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will make an assessment of the effectiveness of the Veterans Treatment Court system in the US in limiting reoffending by former service personnel. [148115]

Jeremy Wright: The Government are committed to transforming the rehabilitation of offenders to reduce reoffending. We have considered the Veterans Treatment Court system in the US and note that circumstances in the US are very different to England and Wales, not least in the scale and geographical spread of former service men and women. In developing a Liaison and Diversion service at police custody and in courts we are better able to identify the mental health needs of offenders and direct them to appropriate treatment at an early stage in the Criminal Justice System.

Telephone Services

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) 0800, (b) 0808, (c) 0844, (d) 0845 and (e) 0870 telephone numbers for the public are in use by (i) his Department and (ii) the agencies for which he is responsible. [147823]

Mrs Grant: The information held centrally for the public use of (a) 0800, (b) 0808, (c) 0844, (d) 0845 and (e) 0870 telephone numbers in use by (i) the Ministry of Justice and (ii) the agencies for which it is responsible is as follows:

(a) 0800 numbers: 14

(b) No recorded 0808 numbers

(c) 0844 numbers: eight

(d) 0845 numbers: 33

(e) 0870 numbers: 96 (these are all fax numbers).

The Department's approach is not to use 084 or 087 for non-geographic numbers and instead, wherever possible, to assign 0300 numbers, for which the tariff is similar to calling an 01 or 02 (geographic) number, whether the caller is using a fixed line or a mobile phone. The Department currently uses 41 ‘0300’ numbers.

Youth Custody: Crimes of Violence

Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many incidents of offender-on-offender violence there have been in (a) secure children's homes, (b) secure training centres, (c) youth offender institutions and (d) young offender institutions in each year since May 2005. [148383]

Jeremy Wright: Maintaining the safety of young people in custody is a priority. Establishments employ a range of strategies to maintain order, promote effective behaviour management and prevent incidents escalating to violence. Table 1 shows the number of assaults committed by young people where the victim was a young person and the number of fights involving young people in each year from 2008 to 2011. The figures are broken down by sectors in the young people's custodial estate; (a) secure children's homes, (b) secure training centres and (c) under-18 young offender institutions. Complete data is only available from 2008 onwards, 2012 data is not available yet and will be published in January 2014.

The Youth Justice Board does not count the number of individual young people involved in a fight or who have committed an assault. Therefore the table will include the same young person multiple times if they were involved in multiple incidents throughout the time period.

It has not been possible to identify prisoner-on-prisoner violence in all over-18 young offender institutions (YOI), as YOIs within adult prisons can-not be identified in the data. As a proxy, for part (d) Table 2 shows the number of prisoner-on-prisoner incidents of assault (including fights) involving 18 to 20-year-olds in all adult prisons including dedicated 18-20 YOIs. It is not possible to provide a breakdown of this data to show the number of fights involving 18 to 20-year-olds in all adult prisons. Statistics are published for prisoner on prisoner assault incidents on an annual basis in the Safety in Custody statistics bulletin. The latest statistics published for prisoner on prisoner assaults is for the calendar year 2011. Figures for 2012 are scheduled to be released on 25 April 2013.

NOMS do not count the number of individual people who have committed an assault. Therefore the table will include the same person multiple times if they were involved in multiple incidents throughout the time period.

22 Mar 2013 : Column 841W

Table 1: Number of assaults and fights involving young people in each year
 2008200920102011

Number of assaults where victim was a young person

    

Secure children's homes

389

397

348

412

Secure training centres

463

454

580

541

Under-18 young offender institutions

1,623

1,349

1,251

1,416

Total

2,475

2,200

2,179

2,369

     

Number of fights

    

Secure children's homes

91

67

105

75

Secure training centres

518

355

350

340

Under-18 young offender institutions

2,219

2,033

1,925

2,140

Total

2,828

2,455

2,380

2,555

Source: Monthly returns from the youth secure estate to the Youth Justice Board
Table 2: Number of prisoner-on-prisoner assault incidents involving 18 to 20-year-olds
Number of prisoner-on-prisoner assaults (including fights)2005(1)200620072008200920102011

18-20 young offender institutions(2)

1,598

2,501

2,624

2,867

3,042

2,519

2,817

(1) Figures for 2005 are based on data from 1 May to 31 December 2005, therefore this figure is lower than other years as it does not reflect a full year's data. (2) Figures show the number of prisoner-on-prisoner assaults (including fights) involving 18 to 20-year-olds in all adult prisons including dedicated 18-20 YOIs. Source: National Offender Management Service's National Offender Management Information System (NOMIS)

International Development

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Yasmin Qureshi: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what capacity building support she is providing to Bosnian institutions. [149119]

Mr Duncan: DFID contributed £80 million of bilateral assistance to Bosnia and Herzegovina between 2003 to 2011. With Bosnia and Herzegovina having passed beyond the post-conflict resolution stage DFID concluded its assistance to enable Bosnia and Herzegovina to take up longer term support through the EU and other multilateral organisations.

Ma'an News Agency

Mr Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development (1) how much UK aid is given to Ma'an News Agency; [149627]

22 Mar 2013 : Column 842W

(2) what recent representations she has made to Ma'an News Agency. [149628]

Mr Duncan: No UK aid is given to Ma'an News Agency.

Overseas Aid: Audit

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what her policy is on auditing projects funded by her Department; what methodology is used; and if she will make a statement. [149636]

Mr Duncan: DFID has rigorous systems and processes to ensure that its aid reaches and delivers results for its international recipients. It provides aid across several modalities including Budget Support or Financial Aid to recipient Governments, funding to multilaterals such as the World Bank, grant arrangements and direct contracts. Each of their modalities is subject to differing audit and assurance processes as informed by the differing control environment.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many projects have been funded by her Department which have failed an audit or a quality assurance assessment in the last five years. [149637]

Mr Duncan: DFID has rigorous systems and processes to ensure that its aid reaches and delivers results for its international recipients. Aid is delivered through several mechanisms including Budget Support or Financial Aid to recipient Governments, funding to multilateral such as the World Bank, grant arrangements and direct contracts. Each of these is subject to differing audit and assurance processes as informed by the respective control environment.

Audit and assurance processes require an assessment of whether funds have been used for their intended purposes. This information is included in the Department's routine reviews carried out annually for each project or programme and at their completion. Appropriate action must be taken for any risks or issues identified, and this action is monitored.

Palestine

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many projects her Department has funded in Palestine which have been subject to auditing and quality assurance assessments in each of the last five years; and the total number of such projects in that period. [149635]

Mr Duncan: All of our projects are subject to rigorous quality assurance assessments prior to approval, annually and at project completion. In addition, all project partners must provide audited financial statements of their expenditure each year. Full details of the projects which the UK supports are available on our website:

http://projects.dfid.gov.uk/Default.aspx?countrySelect=WB-OccupiedPalestinian_territories

22 Mar 2013 : Column 843W

Treasury

Members: Correspondence

Mr Meacher: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when HM Revenue and Customs plans to reply to the letter which he passed to them received from the right hon. Member for Oldham West and Royton on 19 October 2012, having been sent on 12 January 2013 the consent as requested in their letter of 19 November 2012. [149088]

Mr Gauke: The letter was replied to in full on 5 February 2013. A duplicate copy was sent to the right hon. Member on 18 March 2013.

PAYE

Stephen Timms: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the ability of small firms to comply with the on or before rule in the PAYE Real Time Information system. [149096]

Mr Gauke: The Tax Information and Impact Note (TUN) published on 15 March 2013 included an updated assessment of the impact RTI will have on small business.

HMRC has commissioned independent research exploring the impact of PAYE Real Time Information on all employers in the pilot including small firms. This research is looking at confidence levels, ease and the overall impact of RTI on the employers’ businesses. The findings will be used in conjunction with a wider evaluation of the pilot, which will include an assessment of the impacts on HMRC. The TIIN will be updated later this year using that evidence.

In the meantime HMRC has recently announced a relaxation of the on or before reporting arrangements for small businesses for a transitional period.

Until 5 October 2013, employers with fewer than 50 employees, who find it difficult to report every payment to employees at the time of payment, may send information to HMRC by the date of their regular payroll run, but no later than the end of the tax month (5th).

Superannuation Act 2010

Chris Skidmore: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate what the (a) total and (b) average annual saving arising from the Superannuation Act 2010 has been. [148949]

Mr Maude: I am replying as the Minister with responsibility for the Civil Service Compensation Scheme.

Latest estimates produced by the National Audit Office (NAO) suggest that Departments will save an estimated £400 million annually on the civil service paybill from paid exits that took place in 2011 alone. The initial cash cost of these paid exits in 2011 under the revised Civil Service Compensation Scheme was £600 million. The NAO estimates this is a saving of 40% to 50% compared with if those same exits had taken place under the previous terms.

The civil service is now 14% smaller since the general election, contributing to paybill savings of £1.5 billion for the tax payer last year alone.

22 Mar 2013 : Column 844W

Home Department

Communications Data Bill (Draft)

Naomi Long: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what consultations she has had with (a) the Northern Ireland Executive, (b) local authorities and (c) the Police Service of Northern Ireland on the provisions of the revised draft Communications Data Bill. [149167]

James Brokenshire: Home Office officials have had meetings with a variety of organisations and individuals, as part of the process of developing the revised Communications Data Bill. Although Communications Data is a reserved matter, this has included meetings with key groups in Northern Ireland that will be affected by the Bill.

Firearms: Licensing

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment she has made of the efficacy of her Department's guidance to police forces on the issuing of firearms to individuals with a history of domestic violence, mental health problems or drug and alcohol problems. [149467]

Damian Green: The Home Office's Firearms Law Guidance to the Police is currently being revised and will address the issuing of firearm and shotgun certificates to such individuals.

Staff

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many staff her Department employed in each of the past five years; how many such staff were employed in London; how many such staff were employed in other regions of England; how many posts moved from London to these regions; and what steps she is taking to move her staff to regional offices. [145695]

James Brokenshire: Table 1 shows the number of paid civil servants employed by the Home Department on 31 December of each year between 2008 and 2012.

Table 2 shows the number of paid civil servants employed by the Home Department on 31 December of each year between 2008 and 2012 that were based in London.

Table 3 shows the number of paid civil servants employed by the Home Department on 31 December of each year between 2008 and 2012 that were based in other parts of England.

Information about how many posts moved from London to other parts of England over the past five years, is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

The Home Office continues to look for opportunities to reduce costs and improve value for money including through staff relocation.

22 Mar 2013 : Column 845W

Table 1: How many staff her Department employed in each of the past five years
 Headcount (full-time equivalency)
 December
 20082009201020112012

Total number of employees

24,030

24,660

27,838

24,844

24,624

Notes: 1. Extract Dates: 1 January for each of the years included. 2. Periods Covered: Data is based on current, paid staff as at 31 December for each year. 3. Organisational Coverage: For December 2008 to December 2010 the Executive agencies included are the UK Border Agency (UKBA), Identity and Passport Service (IPS) and Criminal Records Bureau (CRB). It should be noted that in April 2010 around 4,639 (FTE) HM Revenue and Customs detection employees joined UKBA in a Machinery of Government change. Data for December 2011 and December 2012 additionally includes the National Fraud Authority and the Government Equalities Office—GEO (part of Home Office Headquarters). Data for December 2012 excludes CRB employees who moved from the core Home Office to the Disclosure and Barring Service in December 2012. 4. Employee Coverage: Figures given are headcount (full-time equivalent) for all current paid civil servants. 5. Transparency Agenda Considerations: The definition of employee coverage is consistent with that used in the Department's Workforce Management information monthly return to Cabinet Office and the Quarterly Public Sector Employment Survey to the Office for National Statistics. Source: Data View—the Home Office's single source of Office for National Statistics compliant monthly snapshot corporate Human Resources data.
Table 2: How many staff were employed in London
 Headcount (full-time equivalency)
 December
Region20082009201020112012

London

11,465

11,775

12,304

10,724

11,177

Notes: 1. Extract Dates: 1 January for each of the years included. 2. Periods Covered: Data is based on current, paid staff as at 31 December for each year. 3. Organisational Coverage: December 2008 to December 2010 the Executive agencies included are the UK Border Agency (UKBA), Identity and Passport Service (IPS) and Criminal Records Bureau (CRB). It should be noted that in April 2010 around 4,639 (FTE) HM Revenue and Customs detection employees joined UKBA in a Machinery of Government change. Data for December 2011 and December 2012 additionally includes the National Fraud Authority and the Government Equalities Office – GEO (part of Home Office Headquarters). Data for December 2012 excludes CRB employees who moved from the core Home Office to the Disclosure and Barring Service in December 2012. 4. Employee Coverage: Figures given are headcount (full-time equivalent) for all current paid civil servants. 5. Transparency Agenda Considerations: The definition of employee coverage is consistent with that used in the Department's Workforce Management Information monthly return to Cabinet Office and the Quarterly Public Sector Employment Survey to the Office for National Statistics. Source: Data View—the Home Office's single source of Office for National Statistics compliant monthly snapshot corporate Human Resources data.
Table 3: How many staff were employed in other regions of England
 Headcount (full-time equivalency)
 December
Region20082009201020112012

East Midlands

168

189

186

166

174

East of England

935

886

1,127

1,060

1,197

22 Mar 2013 : Column 846W

North East

846

803

860

817

866

North West

4,056

4,357

4,630

3,846

3,343

South East

2,475

2,062

3,742

3,532

3,335

South West

186

250

310

307

295

West Midlands

563

631

757

674

707

Yorkshire and the Humber

2,201

2,149

2,192

2,063

2,013

Not known

33

119

15

13

5

Total

11,463

11,445

13,819

12,477

11,935

Notes: 1. Extract Dates: 1 January for each of the years included. 2. Periods Covered: Data is based on current, paid staff as at 31 December for each year. 3. Organisational Coverage: Data provided includes Home Office Headquarters and the Executive agencies. For December 2008 to December 2010 the Executive agencies included are the UK Border Agency (UKBA), Identity and Passport Service (IPS) and Criminal Records Bureau (CRB). It should be noted that in April 2010 around 4,639 (FTE) HM Revenue and Customs detection employees joined UKBA in a Machinery of Government change. Data for December 2011 and December 2012 additionally includes the National Fraud Authority and the Government Equalities Office—GEO (part of Home Office Headquarters). Data for December 2012 excludes CRB employees who moved from the core Home Office to the Disclosure and Barring Service in December 2012. 4. Employee Coverage: Figures given are headcount (full-time equivalent) for all current paid civil servants. 5. Transparency Agenda Considerations: The definition of employee coverage is consistent with that used in the Department's Workforce Management Information monthly return to Cabinet Office and the Quarterly Public Sector Employment Survey to the Office for National Statistics. Source: Data View—the Home Office's single source of Office for National Statistics compliant monthly snapshot corporate Human Resources data.

Vetting

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department for what reason convictions which are spent under the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974 are included on enhanced Criminal Records Bureau checks. [146776]

James Brokenshire [holding answer 7 March 2013]: Enhanced criminal record certificates are issued by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) which took over the functions of the Criminal Records Bureau from 1 December 2012. In accordance with Part V of the Police Act 1997, these certificates include details of the convictions and cautions relating to the applicant which are held in central police records. Eligibility for enhanced criminal record certificates is restricted to certain sensitive purposes, such as considering suitability to work considering spent as well as unspent convictions.

Health

Learning Disability

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to ensure that adults with moderate to mild learning difficulties are recognised as having a disability. [149566]

22 Mar 2013 : Column 847W

Norman Lamb: The Equality Act 2010 defines a disabled person as a person with a disability. A person has a disability for the purposes of the Act if he or she has a physical or mental impairment and the impairment has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. This definition would include people with moderate to mild learning difficulties.

Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether a gagging clause was part of the settlement Martin Yeates received when he resigned as chief executive of Mid Staffordshire Hospital Foundation. [149624]

Dr Poulter: Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust has confirmed that Martin Yeates did not receive a special severance payment when he left the trust's employment.

He was entitled to six months' salary on notice of his resignation, which he received in lieu of notice. As Mr Yeates did not receive a payment over and above his contractual entitlement, HM Treasury approval was not required. We understand from Monitor that this payment was made in the context of a compromise agreement between the trust and Mr Yeates, the terms of which are confidential between the parties, and therefore are not known to the Department.

The Department has been consistently clear that nothing within a contract of employment or compromise agreement should prevent an individual from speaking out about issues such as patient care and safety, or anything else that could be in the wider public interest.

NICE: Value Assessments

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence takes account of the age of patients when making a value assessment of new treatments. [149394]

Norman Lamb: As an independent body, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) is responsible for the development of its methods and processes which are periodically reviewed and consulted upon.

NICE's “Social Value Judgements: Principles for the Development of NICE Guidance” document describes how age is taken into account in the development of its guidance. The document is at:

www.nice.org.uk/media/C18/30/SVJ2PUBLICATION2008.pdf

Cabinet Office

Cybercrime

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) what steps he is taking to help protect UK companies from cyber attack; [148399]

(2) what assessment he has made of potential cyber security threats against UK private-sector companies. [148427]

22 Mar 2013 : Column 848W

Miss Chloe Smith: The National Cyber Security Strategy published in November 2011 assessed the range of cyber threats to UK companies, including fraud and the theft of intellectual property. As part of this work, in September 2012 the Government issued the '10 Steps to Cyber Security' guidance, which offered practical advice for board members on safeguarding their most valuable online assets. Later this month, we will be launching the Cyber Security Information Sharing Partnership (CISP) to facilitate information sharing on cyber threats and mitigations between industry and Government.

The Government published a detailed account of its work to address cyber threats to the UK in the Cyber Security Strategy in November 2011. The annual update of this was then published on 3 December 2012. More detail is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/cyber-security-strategy

Databases: Telecommunications

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what steps he is taking to improve cross-Government communications. [148920]

Mr Hurd: The Government is taking steps to improve Government communications. These steps include:

The Communications Delivery Board chaired is now the ultimate coordinating and decision making authority for Government communication;

The Board approved the first ever Annual Plan for Government Communications in 2012 and the work of seven cross Government communication hubs;

A programme of capability reviews of departmental communications directorates is under way;

A single brand identity for HM Government has been introduced and departmental websites are being migrated onto a single web domain:

www.gov.uk

Energy: Meters

Priti Patel: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) what discussions he has had with his counterpart at the Department for Energy and Climate Change to ensure that the procurement of smart meters takes full account of his Department's policy towards the future deployments of smart grids; [148991]


(2) what discussions he has had with his counterpart at the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs about the roll-out of smart meters for (a) electricity and (b) water. [148992]

Mr Maude: In line with the practice of previous Administrations, details of internal discussions are not normally disclosed.

Government Departments: ICT

Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will list the existing public sector IT contracts held for all Government departments. [149044]

Miss Chloe Smith: I welcome the interest of the right hon. Member in the question of public sector procurement. Sadly the last Administration maintained no central

22 Mar 2013 : Column 849W

record or oversight of Government's contracts ICT or otherwise. Since January 2011, this Government has published all contracts over the value of £10,000 on Contracts Finder:

https://www.gov.uk/contracts-finder

Since the last general election our efficiency and reform programme has supported Departments in making billions of pounds of savings, including the following:

By developing a Common infrastructure strategy we have saved over £60 million from telecommunications spend in 2011-12;

By applying scrutiny to ICT and digital services we have stopped spend of £40 million;

By scrutinising ICT business cases we have reduced planned expenditure on approved projects by over £140 million;

By centralising our spend on common goods and services we have made over £350 million price savings;

By introducing policies requiring Departments to purchase less we have reduced purchased volumes on some contracts saving £65 million;

By renegotiating deals with some of the largest suppliers to Government we have saved almost £440 million.

Official Residences

Thomas Docherty: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office pursuant to the answer of 13 February 2013, Official Report, column 720W, on official residences, where information on the number of bedrooms at (a) Chequers, (b) Chevening and (c) Dorneywood is made publicly available. [147394]

Mr Maude: Chequers, Chevening and Dorneywood are managed by independent trustees.

Information about the residences is available, for example, in the House of Commons Library Note (SN/PC/03367).

Public Sector: Procurement

Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what assistance or guidance the Government provide to small and medium-sized enterprises on bidding for public sector contracts. [149042]

Miss Chloe Smith: At the time of the general election only a small fraction of Government contracts went to the small and medium-sized enterprises which are the life blood of the economy. Because we want to see Britain on the rise, this Government set an aspiration that, by 2015, 25% of Government procurement by value (directly and in supply chains) should go to SMEs. Procurement by value with SMEs is indeed rising.

We are implementing a wide range of measures to open up the way Government do business to make sure that small companies, charities and voluntary organisations are in the best possible position to compete for contracts:

We have streamlined the procurement process with faster and simpler procedures.

We have removed long standing bureaucracies such as pre-qualification questionnaires for contracts below the EU threshold.

We require central Government opportunities over £10,000 to be advertised on Contracts Finder.

We are breaking down large ICT contracts through the controls process.

22 Mar 2013 : Column 850W

We have provided a right to challenge poor procurement practice through the highly successful Mystery Shopper service.

And we have required all departments to develop action plans with stretching targets to increase their spend with SMEs.

At the time of the general election there was little information available within Government, and no transparency externally, about the proportion of Government business going to SMEs. This information is now published at departmental level regularly.

Regulatory Policy Committee

Mike Weatherley: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office on how many occasions the Reducing Regulation Cabinet sub-committee has exercised the powers within its remit to ensure that advice from the Regulatory Policy Committee is followed across Government. [149626]

Mr Letwin: Information relating to the proceedings of Cabinet Committees is generally not disclosed as to do so could harm the frankness and candour of internal discussion.

Communities and Local Government

Clothing: Fire Prevention

Julie Elliott: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 13 February 2013, Official Report, column 745W, on clothing: fire prevention, how many cases of (a) injury and (b) death of children have occurred as a result of fire in (i) 2009, (ii) 2010, (iii) 2011 and (iv) 2012. [149078]

Brandon Lewis: The latest annual figures for fire casualties aged under sixteen are shown in the following table:

Fire fatalities and non-fatal casualties aged under 16, England 2009-10 to 2011-12
 2009-102010-112011-12

Fatalities

21

19

13

Of which:

   

Item first ignited was clothing

1

5

3

    

Non-fatal casualties

1,092

1,253

1,105

Of which:

   

Item first ignited was clothing

88

85

77

Source: Fire and rescue incident records.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Bees

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the change in the bee population between 2005 and 2012. [149395]

22 Mar 2013 : Column 851W

Mr Heath: Specific data on the honey bee population between 2005 and 2012 are not available. The population varies during the year from around 20,000 per colony in the winter to 60,000 per colony in the summer. A study carried out by ADAS Consulting Ltd in 2001 estimated that there were 230,000 managed honey bee colonies in England. We are not aware of any subsequent estimates that have been published. However, the National Bee Unit, part of the Food and Environment Research Agency, has a voluntary database of beekeepers. Data for 2005 are not available but in 2006, there were approximately 12,000 beekeepers managing approximately 100,000 colonies registered compared to over 29,000 beekeepers managing over 139,000 colonies in 2013.

In addition to the honey bee, there are many species of wild bee in our countryside, a number of which have been the focus of conservation action. Information on the distribution and status of wild bees is available through the websites of voluntary groups such as the Bumblebee Conservation Trust or the Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society or from the Government-supported National Biodiversity Network Gateway which is an on-line database of information on the distribution of wildlife in the UK.

Circuses: Animal Welfare

Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he plans to publish draft legislation on the banning of wild animals in circuses. [149353]

Mr Heath: It remains our firm intention to publish a draft Bill this session which would ban the use of wild animals in travelling circuses.

In the meantime, we have introduced a strict licensing scheme, which came into force in January, to ensure good welfare as long as wild animals remain in travelling circuses.

Under the new Welfare of Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses (England) Regulations 2012, two circuses in England have been issued with licences to use wild animals, following thorough inspection by DEFRA-appointed vets.

To retain these licences, the circuses will be required to maintain very high standards of animal welfare and will need to conduct their activities with greater transparency and accountability than ever before. Using both planned and unannounced inspections, DEFRA will be keeping a very close eye on those circuses and the welfare of their wild animals until the ban which many people are calling for can be achieved.

Consumer Council for Water

Mr Havard: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which company holds the largest contract to provide mobile telephony services to the Consumer Council for Water; 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. [148405]

22 Mar 2013 : Column 852W

Richard Benyon: Vodafone holds the largest contract to provide mobile telephony services to the Consumer Council for Water (CCW). It started on 8 July 2011 and covers 29 devices.

CCW has spent the following since the contract began:

 £

2011-12

6,051.54

2012-13

(1)5,078.62

(1) Latest data—up to and including 18 March 2013.

The current contract was put in place through the Government Procurement Service and expires on 30 March 2015. We would expect the same approach to be taken to procuring a replacement contract at that time.