Livestock: Transport

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for South Thanet, of 25 October 2012, Official Report, column 1065, when he expects to receive the official report on the slaughter of 47 sheep at the Port of Ramsgate in September 2012; if he will place in the Library a copy of (a) the report and (b) the letter sent from his Department to the High Court on the transport of live animals via the Port of Ramsgate; and if he will make a statement. [130536]

Mr Heath: The information is as follows:

(a) I received the report which I had requested from the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency on their internal review of procedures following the regrettable events on 12 September at Ramsgate in October 2012. At the request of Kent Trading Standards, the prosecuting authority, the report was withheld until any possibility of prejudicing their criminal investigation and any subsequent criminal proceedings had passed. I placed the report in the House of Commons Library on Monday 4 March 2013.

(b) The letter sent from DEFRA to the High Court was a formal application by DEFRA to intervene in the proceedings between Barco de Vapor representing the livestock transporters, and Thanet district council who have responsibility for Ramsgate Port. I have now placed the letter of application in the House of Commons Library.

Offices

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many regional offices his Department has. [149327]

Richard Benyon: Core DEFRA has no regional delivery offices, but does have staff working in a number of locations outside London, including Bristol, York and Alnwick.

Schmallenberg Virus

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect of Schmallenberg disease on (a) adult cattle, (b) calves, (c) adult sheep and (d) lambs. [149171]

Mr Heath: While many animals and farms in GB may have been infected, clinical signs in adult sheep and beef cattle to date have been non-existent. The signs in dairy cattle of a raised temperature, reduced milk yield and in some cases diarrhoea are mild/moderate, short-lived

22 Mar 2013 : Column 853W

and similar to other endemic diseases due to their non-specific nature. In an individual dairy cow these mild clinical signs may last up to five days, and across the herd as a whole for several weeks. The main impact is in pregnancy on the developing foetus. The virus attacks the developing neurological system and limbs of foetal lambs or calves resulting in malformations such as domed heads, fixed bent limbs and jaw deformities. The affected newborns are often born dead or die shortly after birth. Birthing may be difficult due to the foetal limb presentation and care needs to be taken in assisting the mother, seeking veterinary assistance as appropriate. Post partum after care should be provided as with any other difficult birth.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans he has to introduce a vaccine to treat Schmallenberg disease in cattle. [149172]

Mr Heath: The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) recently issued an updated press release (February 2013) regarding a submission for provisional marketing authorisation for a Schmallenberg vaccine from MSD Animal Health pharmaceutical company (MSD). The VMD and MSD have been working together, ensuring that safety data are complete for provisional marketing authorisation to be granted. The VMD must ascertain, through a rigorous scientific assessment process, that proper care is taken to ensure any vaccine is safe for the relevant livestock. We are hopeful it will be available for use prior to the next sheep breeding season, ideally in early summer before the peak of midge activity.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with (a) his EU counterparts and (b) the EU Commission on Schmallenberg disease. [149173]

Mr Heath: The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) has been appointed by the Commission to collate data on Schmallenberg from all affected member states and report in this at the EU level. In order to achieve this they hold regular Schmallenberg Working Group meetings which DEFRA attends. Schmallenberg is discussed regularly at meetings with European counterparts, including those of the Chief Veterinary Officers, and with the Commission in relation to the developing knowledge base and also third country trade impacts.

DEFRA continues to work with European colleagues to fund research at the Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency into how the virus works and at the Pirbright Institute into how midges spread the virus. The European Commission is match funding this research as well as programmes in other member states (MSs). The results of the EU wide research are shared across MSs to enable a more comprehensive picture of the virus to be developed and understood. As such the scientists working for DEFRA on Schmallenberg virus are also in regular contact with their European counterparts.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of a vaccine against Schmallenberg disease in providing immunity for (a) an adult cow and (b) an unborn calf. [149174]

22 Mar 2013 : Column 854W

Mr Heath: The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) recently issued an updated press release (February 2013) regarding a submission for provisional marketing authorisation for a Schmallenberg vaccine from MSD Animal Health pharmaceutical company (MSD). The VMD and MSD have been working together, ensuring that safety data are complete for marketing. The VMD must ascertain, through a rigorous scientific assessment process, that proper care is taken to ensure any vaccine is safe for the relevant livestock.

We would expect that offspring born to Schmallenberg infected animals or vaccinated animals will have a certain level of protective immunity lasting a few months as a result of maternal antibodies received in the first milk from their mothers. These antibody levels will drop with age and the offspring will then be unprotected until they themselves are vaccinated.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the economic effect on farmers of losses of cattle and calves through Schmallenberg disease; and if he will make a statement. [149175]

Mr Heath: DEFRA has updated the economic impact assessment for the current lambing season in England for Schmallenberg Virus. This gives an expected cost of £2.3 million, of which £1.9 million (80%) falls upon farmers and £0.5 million (20%) which includes research, is Government spending. This can be compared to enzootic abortion and endemic disease in the UK flock with an annual UK cost of £17.7 million.

For cattle, the expected costs are higher, as the cost of an individual animal is higher, but these are still below the cost of other endemic diseases in cattle. That is not to underestimate the effect on an individual farm business, which may be considerable.

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of whether calves born in 2014 to cows which have Schmallenberg disease in 2013 will be given immunity to that disease; and if he will make a statement. [149176]

Mr Heath: As with many viral infections, we would expect that unaffected offspring born to Schmallenberg infected animals will have a certain level of protective immunity lasting a few months as a result of maternal antibodies. These antibodies are received in the first milk from the mother when the newborns' gut is, for a few hours following birth, able to absorb them into the body. These antibody levels will drop over the following weeks and months and the offspring will then be unprotected until they themselves are either infected or vaccinated. This is the situation with related viruses, such as Akabane virus in Australia, where each year the offspring are at risk of infection.

Telephone Services

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs 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. [147818]

22 Mar 2013 : Column 855W

Richard Benyon: The following table represents the telephone numbers currently in use by core DEFRA and its Executive agencies.

 Phone numbers
 08000808084408450870

Core DEFRA

1

0

0

5

1

Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency

1

0

2

4

1

Food and Environment Research Agency

1

0

2

0

0

Rural Payments Agency

1

0

0

7

0

Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether his Department's customer service telephone lines are restricted to those beginning 0870. [149023]

Richard Benyon: The DEFRA Helpline provides a single point of contact for all core DEFRA general inquiries from the public and uses an 0845 number not an 0870 number.

Education

Staff

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will list the (a) job titles, (b) grades and (c) responsibilities of staff in his Department's Safeguarding Group in (i) May 2010, (ii) February 2013 and (iii) the future after departmental restructuring. [146072]

Elizabeth Truss [holding answer 4 March 2013]: The information is provided in the following tables. The Department for Education does not retain specific information on individual job titles for members of staff.

Responsibilities of safeguarding staff in May 2010
DivisionFTE

Child Safeguarding

17.40

Child Safety Unit

20.00

Group Leadership and Admin.

7.00

National Safeguarding Delivery Unit

15.80

Safeguarding Operations

11.54

Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act

4.00

Total

75.74

Grades of safeguarding staff in May 2010
GradeFTE

EA AA SG Band 2

0.00

EA AO

7.11

EO

18.33

GRADE 6

7.08

22 Mar 2013 : Column 856W

GRADE 7

12.40

HEO

11.82

SCS Band 1

3.00

SCS Band 1A

1.00

SCS Band 2

1.00

SCS Band 3

0.00

SEO

14.00

The Department has not yet confirmed work force numbers for February 2013. As of 31 January 2013, there were 76.0 full-time equivalents working in the Safeguarding Group.

After departmental restructuring, staff will be flexibly deployed across the new Children's Social Care policy family.

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will list the (a) job titles, (b) responsibilities and (c) grades of staff in his Department's (i) Children, Young People and Families Directorate in May 2010 and (ii) Children's Services and Departmental Strategy Directorate in February 2013. [146073]

Elizabeth Truss [holding answer 4 March 2013]: The Department for Education does not retain specific information on individual job titles for staff. The responsibilities of members of staff by group are provided in the following table:

Responsibilities of CYPFD staff in May 2010
ResponsibilityFTE

Directorate Support

20.58

Child Well Being

40.97

Families

92.19

Contact Point

20.83

Safeguarding

77.74

Supporting Delivery

91.61

Early Years and SEN

117.04

Total

460.96

Grades of CYPFD in May 2010
GradeFTE

EA AA SG Band 2

2.00

EA AO

17.52

EO

72.86

GRADE 6

27.23

GRADE 7

109.87

HEO

87.30

SCS Band 1

21.29

SCS Band 1A

1.00

SCS Band 2

6.00

SCS Band 3

1.00

SEO

114.89

The Department has not yet confirmed work force numbers for February 2013. The responsibilities of CSDSD staff as of 31 January 2013 are as follows:

Responsibilities of CSDSD staff as of 31 January 2013
GroupFTE

Directorate Leadership and Support

21.0

Families

93.7

Safeguarding Group

7S.0

22 Mar 2013 : Column 857W

Supporting Delivery Group

126.0

Early Years and SEN

100.8

Communications Group

140.5

Strategic Analysis, International

46.3

Strategy, Performance and Private Office

113.8

Total

717.1

Grades of CSDSD staff as of 31 January 2013
GradeFTE

EA

77.1

EO

128.2

HEO

133.4

SEO

159.3

GRADE 7

140.5

GRADE 6

44.5

SCS

34.1

Business, Innovation and Skills

Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988

Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills with which members ECHO has held discussions concerning the repeal of section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 in the last year. [149505]

Jo Swinson: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills has not held any such discussions.

Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he has taken to ensure that the advice from the Regulatory Policy Committee (a) in its review of the impact assessment of the proposed repeal of section 52 of the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988 and (b) in other circumstances is accepted across Government. [149625]

Jo Swinson: The Regulatory Policy Committee is a scrutiny body independent from government. It comments on the quality of the Government's analysis of policy proposals, including the evidence provided in support. The Regulatory Policy Committee stated that the impact assessment in question was fit for purpose. The Government have, however, committed to consulting on transitional provisions that would seek evidence on when, and how best, to implement the proposed repeal.

Domestic Visits

Andy Sawford: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills which constituencies Ministers in his Department have visited in an official capacity in the last 12 months. [149090]

Jo Swinson: Ministers have made official visits to the following constituencies in the last 12 months. However, they will have made other visits for example to deliver a

22 Mar 2013 : Column 858W

speech which will have been recorded as a speech not a visit. To include all of these would incur disproportionate costs.

Aberavon

Aberdeen North

Aberdeen South

Aldershot

Amber Valley

Aylesbury

Balham

Barrow and Furness

Basingstoke

Bassetlaw

Battersea

Belfast East

Belfast South

Bermondsey and Old Southwark

Beverley and Holderness

Birmingham, Hall Green

Birmingham, Perry Barr

Birmingham, Selly Oak

Birmingham, Yardley

Blackburn

Blaydon

Blyth Valley

Bolton West

Bootle

Bosworth

Bournemouth West

Brigg and Goole

Brighton, Pavilion

Bristol North West

Bristol West

Broxbourne

Broxtowe

Cambridge

Cardiff Central

Cardiff North

Cardiff South and Penarth

Carlisle

Castle Point

Chatham and Aylesford

Cheltenham

Chesterfield

Chippenham

Cities of London and Westminster

City of Chester

City of Durham

Coventry North East

Coventry South

Crawley

Croydon North

Darlington

Don Valley

Doncaster Central

Dudley North

Dudley South

Dunfermline and West Fife

Easington

22 Mar 2013 : Column 859W

East Devon

East Worthing and Shoreham

Eastleigh

Edinburgh East

Edinburgh South West

Ellesmere Port and Neston

Exeter

Filton and Bradley Stoke

Folkestone and Hythe

Fylde

Garston and Halewood

Gateshead

Glasgow Central

Glasgow North

Gloucester

Great Yarmouth

Guildford

Halton

Hammersmith

Harlow

Hemel Hempstead

Henley

Hereford and South Herefordshire

Hexham

Holborn and St. Pancras

Huddersfield

Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey

Ipswich

Islington South and Finsbury

Kenilworth and Southam

Kingston upon Hull East

Leeds Central

Leeds North West

Leicester East

Leicester South

Leicester West

Lewes

Lichfield

Lincoln

Linlithgow and East Falkirk

Liverpool, Riverside

Loughborough

Macclesfield and Tatton

Manchester Central

Meriden

Mid Worcestershire

Midlothian

Newbury

Newcastle upon Tyne Central

Newcastle upon Tyne East

Newcastle-under-Lyme

Newport

North Swindon

North Tyneside

North West Norfolk

Norwich North

Norwich South

Nottingham East

Nottingham North

22 Mar 2013 : Column 860W

Nottingham South

Nuneaton

Oxford East

Oxford West and Abingdon

Paisley and Renfrewshire North

Perth and North Perthshire

Peterborough

Plymouth, Moor View

Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport

Poplar and Limehouse

Portsmouth South

Pudsey

Redcar

Ribble Valley

Richmond Park

Rochester and Strood

Rochford and Southend East

Romsey and Southampton North

Rossendale and Darwen

Rotherham

Rugby

Ruschcliffe

Saffron Walden

Salford and Eccles

Scarborough and Whitby

Scunthorpe

Sedgefield

Selby and Ainsty

Sheffield Central

Sheffield, Brightside and Hillsborough

Slough

Solihull

Somerton and Frame

South Cambridgeshire

South Derbyshire

South Leicestershire

South Norfolk

South Suffolk

Southampton, Itchen

Southend West

South port

St Albans

Stafford

Stoke-on-Trent Central

Stoke-on-Trent North

Stowmarket

Stroud

Surrey Heath

Tewkesbury

Thirsk and Malton

Thurrock

Tonbridge and Malling

Wakefield

Wandsworth

Wantage

Washington and Sunderland West

Waveney

Weaver Vale

Welwyn Hatfield

22 Mar 2013 : Column 861W

West Ham

West Worcestershire

Westmorland and Lonsdale

Windsor

Witney

Worcester

York Central

York Outer

Higher Education: Ethnic Groups

Damian Hinds: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what information his Department holds on the rate of admissions, excluding admissions from overseas, to (a) Oxford and Cambridge, (b) Russell Group universities, (c) non-Russell Group universities and (d) all universities of young people from different ethnic groups, relative to their proportion of the overall population of young people. [149120]

Mr Willetts: The information is not held centrally. Data on applications and acceptances to full-time undergraduate courses by ethnic group are collected by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) and are available from their website at:

http://www.ucas.com/about_us/stat_services/stats_online/data_tables/

Information on the numbers of entrants to both full-time and part-time undergraduate courses by ethnic group is collected by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) and is available from their website at:

http://www.hesa.ac.uk/index.php/content/view/1973/239/

Neither organisation publishes admissions by ethnic group as a percentage of the overall population of young people.

Both UCAS and HESA are organisations independent from Government. The Government are firmly committed to improving the information available about higher education through the key information set and other initiatives, and is in favour of transparency on who applies to and who attends higher education.

Regional Growth Fund

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what his policy is on the allocation of regional growth funds to rural areas; and if he will make a statement. [149844]

Michael Fallon: The Regional Growth Fund is a competitive fund and the projects and programmes selected will be those which best meet the criteria and in particular protect or safeguard jobs and leverage private sector investment in areas that are currently overly dependent on the public sector. There is no policy on the allocation of the Fund to rural areas.

Culture, Media and Sport

Betting

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many people are employed by the betting industry. [149513]

22 Mar 2013 : Column 862W

Hugh Robertson: According to Gambling Commission industry statistics for the period April 2011 to March 2012, the betting industry employs 54,449 people, including those in full or part-time posts.

Betting Shops

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether she has received any evidence to suggest that betting shops are targeted at deprived areas. [149515]

Hugh Robertson: The Government are aware of concerns about the concentration of betting shops in some local communities, but believe that sufficient powers exist under gambling and planning legislation to allow local authorities to manage the overall retail diversity, vitality and viability of town centres and to ensure necessary public protection.

Digital Economy Act 2010

Dr Thérèse Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of effects of the delay of the implementation of the Digital Economy Act 2010 on investment in UK content businesses. [144863]

Mr Vaizey: The Government are aware that copyright owners have asserted that the cost to investment in UK content businesses resulting from the delayed implementation of the Digital Economy Act 2010 (DEA) is significant. The Government have not undertaken their own assessment.

The Government are committed to implementing the online infringement of copyright provisions of the DEA but it is important to take time to ensure it is implemented property. Meanwhile, we continue to work with industry and the enforcement authorities in areas such as payment facilitation and online advertising in order to make online piracy less profitable for sites which exploit copyright infringement for criminal advantage. I am pleased to see that the UK's creative industries continue to thrive in a challenging environment, and that globally recorded music has turned the corner, with the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) reporting growth in recorded music sales in 2012, the first time sales have grown since 1999.

Gaming Machines

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the Government's policy is on electronic gaming machines. [149511]

Hugh Robertson: The Government are committed to creating the conditions for growth across the leisure sector, but will only support proposals that do not compromise the licensing objectives of keeping crime out of gambling, ensuring gambling is fair and protecting children and vulnerable adults. The Government's policy on electronic gaming machines is consistent with this approach, but will be further informed by responses to the consultation on the triennial review of gaming machine stake and prize limits which closes on 9 April.

22 Mar 2013 : Column 863W

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what consideration the Government has given to calls to reduce the levels of stakes and prizes on electronic gaming machines. [149512]

Hugh Robertson: The Government are aware of concerns that have been raised about the stake and prize levels of category B2 gaming machines and we have asked for evidence of links between those machines and problem gambling as part of the current consultation on proposals for changes to maximum stake and prize limits for Category B, C and D gaming machines which closes on 9 April.

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what evidence the her Department has received to suggest that electronic gaming machines are addictive. [149514]

Hugh Robertson: The Government are currently in the process of taking evidence around electronic gaming machines as part of the consultation on the triennial review of gaming machine stake and prize limits. The Government recognise that although most people who gamble do so safely, problem gambling can arise in a wide range of gambling forms including, but not limited to, electronic gaming machines. The Responsible Gambling Trust has recently announced a programme of academic research into gaming machines, which should contribute to a better understanding of gaming machine play patterns, player behaviour and evidence where players may be experiencing problems.

Heritage Lottery Fund

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what mechanisms exist within the Heritage Lottery Fund to ensure funding for urban parks is directed to those parks with the greatest need and in areas with high levels of social, economic and environmental deprivation. [147200]

Mr Vaizey: The application process is competitive and decision makers use their judgment to choose which applications to support. Decisions are made twice a year, and it is a two-round process. The HLF Board, which in England is also joined by representatives from Big Lottery's England Committee due to the joint nature of the programme, consider the heritage focus of the park or cemetery, the need or opportunity presented by the project, why it should go ahead now and the need for lottery funding, the outcomes of the project, value for money, project planning, financial risk and the long-term sustainability of the project.

HLF works closely with local authorities particularly where there have been lower levels of spend historically. All Parks for People applicants are encouraged to set out where there is real need for our funding—the guidance prompts applicants to describe whether there are social, economic or environmental needs in the local community. When decisions are taken, they consider whether “communities will be a better place to live, work or visit” alongside the need to assess the heritage merit of any application. Through this approach 60% of our funding awarded to parks (under both PfP and our general programmes) has gone to deprived communities.

22 Mar 2013 : Column 864W

Recognising the challenges facing local authorities and the parks sector, HLF is now offering greater support and leadership to both, our Parks for People grantees and green space organisations. During 2012, HLF and BIG worked with the charity Nesta on one-day ‘Innovation Lab’, investigating the appetite for new management and funding models for parks, and as a result we are now exploring future options and ways to stimulate innovation in local authority park departments.

In October 2012, HLF and BIG hosted the first UK Public Parks summit in London, attended by 170 sector leaders, highlighting both successful park management strategies and the future pressures on urban green space. The summit team has also worked with the Land Trust in developing a new web-based toolkit about income generation for parks, to be launched this spring. This February, HLF commissioned new research gathering baseline data about the state of UK parks in 2013, which will in turn influence future funding directions and policy for green space. Later this year HLF will launch a new online community, sharing good practice, offering advice, information and opportunities for the parks sector to network and discuss issues they face. HLF's new Policy Adviser will also support parks already awarded funding under the Parks for People programme, helping managers sustain the benefits of their award in the long term.

In the West Ham constituency, we have funded one park-related project. This was in 1998 to develop a general restoration plan for Newham's parks (£25,000).

Olympic Games 2012

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent representations she has received from businesses on the operation of Olympic marketing licences. [149508]

Hugh Robertson: I have received no recent representations from businesses on the operation of the Supplier Recognition Scheme for companies which supplied the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. I would encourage companies which supplied the Games to apply for a licence under the scheme, which is run by the British Olympic Association. Licensed suppliers can refer to their work on the 2012 Games in business to business communications, and at trade fairs, both in the UK and overseas. The Supplier Recognition Scheme is another first for London 2012: the first time that the International Olympic Committee has agreed to the legal restrictions placed on suppliers and contractors being relaxed in this way.

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many firms have submitted applications for Olympic marketing licences in 2013 to date; and how many such applications have been (a) approved and (b) rejected. [149509]

Hugh Robertson: As at 20 March, 620 companies had applied for licences under the Supplier Recognition Scheme, run by the British Olympic Association for companies which supplied the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. 435 applications had been approved and 95 rejected.

22 Mar 2013 : Column 865W

Tourism

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the role of local enterprise partnerships in promoting investment in regional tourist economies. [149236]

Hugh Robertson [holding answer 21 March 2013]: It is too early to make an assessment of how successful Local Enterprise Partnerships have been in promoting investment in regional tourist economies. However, many LEPs do recognise the role that tourism and the wider visitor economy can play in delivering local growth. VisitEngland has developed relationships with them to provide expertise on their local visitor economies, respond to requests for the provision of tourism intelligence and connect the LEP to appropriate tourism partners locally.

World Heritage Sites

Naomi Long: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what her policy is on advising UNESCO and the World Heritage Committee of a planning application which may affect the Outstanding Universal Value of a World Heritage Site. [149193]

Mr Vaizey: The UK Government comply with paragraph 172 of the Operational Guidelines for the Implementation of the World Heritage Convention and informs UNESCO at appropriate points in the planning process.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Bahrain

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government's policy is on the European Union Parliament resolution adopted on 17 January 2013 on the human rights situation in Bahrain. [149015]

Alistair Burt: European Parliament resolutions are statements of MEPs' political views, rather than those of member states. On the specific Bahrain resolution, the UK agreed with some elements but not others.

The UK remains concerned about the situation in Bahrain and regularly raises this with the Bahraini authorities. I visited Bahrain on 11 March and discussed a wide range of topics, including human rights with both Government and opposition figures. Progress is being made in Bahrain, albeit slowly. We are encouraged by the National Consensus Dialogue and by the appointment of the Crown Prince to a government position, but more needs to be done. We will continue to support the Bahraini Government in their reform efforts.

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the aims and objectives are of Government policy towards Bahrain. [149084]

Alistair Burt: Bahrain is an important regional ally for the UK. We enjoy a relationship based on common interests in many areas, including trade and investment, education, culture, defence, and security. Our aim is to

22 Mar 2013 : Column 866W

strengthen our engagement in these areas and support the Government's foreign policy objectives of security, prosperity, and support for UK nationals overseas. This close relationship allows us to have frank conversations with the Bahraini Government in other areas, such as human rights, the UK's values, and the importance of the rule of law. We are supporting the Bahraini Government in their reform efforts and are encouraged that the Government and Opposition have engaged in a National Dialogue. I and my ministerial colleagues visit Bahrain, or meet with senior Bahraini visitors, on a regular basis.

Bosnia

Yasmin Qureshi: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what capacity building support he is providing to Bosnian institutions. [149117]

Mr Lidington: The UK provides capacity-building support to Bosnian institutions through a series of targeted bilateral programmes, aimed at assisting Bosnia and Herzegovina with the most challenging aspects of the EU accession process. In 2012-13, the British embassy in Sarajevo invested over £900,000 in programmes designed to promote institutional reform, focusing on improving the capacity of the justice and security sectors, so that they are able to implement the reforms necessary for EU accession. This bilateral support is in addition to assistance provided to Bosnia and Herzegovina through the European Commission's Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA) funding. Bosnia and Hezegovina also receives technical assistance from the UK through EU IPA funded twinning.

Yasmin Qureshi: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to support Bosnia to become a candidate for EU and NATO membership. [149118]

Mr Lidington: The UK Government strongly supports Bosnia and Herzegovina's (BiH) EU and NATO membership ambitions. I refer to my response to the hon. Member on 11 March 2013, Official Report, column 52W. We continue to deliver clear and consistent messages to BiH's leaders on the importance of a committed effort to meet the conditions required for progress towards accession to both the EU and NATO. The UK is supporting progress through a number of programmes designed to assist BiH make the reforms necessary for accession. These include projects to increase the capacity of the State and Entity Parliaments to co-ordinate implementation of the EU and NATO integration processes, anti-corruption efforts and work to bring the justice and security sectors in line with international standards. It is now for BiH's leaders to demonstrate their commitment by taking action. We urge BiH's leaders to deliver on what they have agreed to do as soon as possible so that the Stabilisation and Association Agreement with the EU can come into force, thus paving the way for Bosnia and Herzegovina to apply for EU membership.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Yasmin Qureshi: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 11 March 2013, Official Report, column 53W,

22 Mar 2013 : Column 867W

on Bosnia and Herzegovina, which Minister will represent the Government at the Srebrenica memorial event in 2013. [149113]

Mr Lidington: No decision has yet been taken in respect of ministerial attendance at the 2013 Srebrenica anniversary commemorations. In 2012, Her Majesty's ambassador to Bosnia and Herzegovina represented the Government. In 2010 and 2011, the Senior Minister of State, my noble Friend, the right hon. Baroness Warsi also attended.

Yasmin Qureshi: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what support he is providing to people who were the victims of sexual violence during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. [149114]

Mr Lidington: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is committed to addressing the outstanding issues related to wartime sexual violence in Bosnia and Herzegovina. As part of the FCO's Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative, the British embassy in Sarajevo has allocated funding to a number of programmes designed to address the impunity of perpetrators and provide support to victims. We are working with the UN Population Fund to design a project aimed at improving the access to support services for victims. The embassy is also engaging with the State High Judicial and Prosecutorial Council to design a project which will improve the witness protection measures for those survivors who would otherwise be reluctant to come forward.

Yasmin Qureshi: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government is taking to bring suspected perpetrators of sexual violence during the war in Bosnia and Herzegovina to trial. [149115]

Mr Lidington: Our embassy in Sarajevo continues to address issues related to the effective prosecution of war crimes cases, including those that involved sexual violence. Our support to the State Prosecutors Office has had a direct impact on the number of cases processed. We are working alongside a number of bilateral donors to prepare the ground for a large-scale EU Instrument for Pre-Accession (IPA) project, due to begin in 2014, intended to address the significant backlog of cases in cantonal and district courts. Our embassy will provide support for the Mostar Prosecutor's Office, which currently has the highest number of sexual violence cases outstanding.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office deployed two experts from the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative to Bosnia and Herzegovina in March. These experts worked with the Federation Judicial and Prosecutorial Training Centre to provide training for 40 judges and prosecutors dealing with wartime sexual violence cases in the state and entity courts to prosecute cases in accordance with international standards. This was the first stage of a broader project, undertaken in cooperation with the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), aimed at improving the process of war crimes cases, including wartime sexual violence cases.

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Yasmin Qureshi: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what support he is providing to the families of people who were killed in the Srebrenica genocide. [149116]

Mr Lidington: The UK Government are committed to justice and reconciliation in Srebrenica and throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina. The British embassy has periodic contact with representatives of survivors groups, and a considerable proportion of FCO programme funding, over £2.5 million in recent years, directly contributes to efforts to tackle the legacy of the conflict and the genocide in Srebrenica. Our funding tends to focus on providing support through organisations such as the State Prosecutor's Office, where FCO financial support to the Srebrenica team from 2004 until December 2012 has had a direct impact on the number of successful prosecutions for Srebrenica-related war crimes. We have also funded work to rebuild infrastructure and socio-economic activities aimed at supporting sustainable returns to the Srebrenica area. We also continue to offer substantial political support to the International Commission on Missing Persons as they continue their work to identify the remains of the victims of the genocide.

British Indian Ocean Territory

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what legislation has been passed to designate the marine protected area declared in the British Indian Ocean Territory. [149010]

Mark Simmonds: The Marine Protected Area was proclaimed on 1 April 2010. Marine protection is enforced by existing legislation. We hope that legislation to further implement the marine protected area will be enacted soon. This will be subject to the decision of the High Court, which is currently considering a judicial review challenging aspects of the consultation of the British Indian Ocean Territory marine protected area.

British Nationals Abroad: Homicide

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many family liaison officers have worked with UK-based families bereaved by the murder or manslaughter of a British national relative abroad in each of the last five years. [149619]

Mark Simmonds: Information on how many family liaison officers have worked with UK-based families bereaved by murder or manslaughter in the last five years is not held centrally by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and to provide this information would require a disproportionate cost. However, figures are available for 2012 and the first quarter of 2013 from other sources. During 2012 family liaison officers worked with 11 UK-based families, and in the first quarter of 2013 they worked with six.

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs under which circumstances Government makes additional resources available to support families bereaved by homicide abroad; and in how many cases any additional resources have been provided in each of the last five years. [149620]

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Mark Simmonds: Families bereaved by homicide abroad receive a wide range of consular support both directly and via our external partners. The support that families receive is described on page 19 of our publication, Support for British Nationals Abroad available online at:

www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/35519/support-for-british-nationals-abroad.pdf

and the Guide for Bereaved Families at:

www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/35526/bereaved-families.pdf

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has provided assistance to the following number of cases in each of the last five years:

 Cases

2008-09

65

2009-10

58

2010-11

62

2011-12

67

2012-13(1)

60

(1) Up to and including February 2013

The range of assistance provided is dependent on the needs of each family and unique to each. To provide more information on the nature of the assistance provided would involve a disproportionate cost.

Egypt

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the aims and objectives are of Government policy towards Egypt. [149080]

Alistair Burt: The Government have made clear that their priority is to support the transition towards democratically accountable governance and a free society, underpinned by strong institutions, respect for the rule of law and a vibrant economy, in accordance with the wishes of the Egyptian people. Our work towards this goal includes support through our Arab Partnership initiative, which is funding a range of political and economic reform projects, and through the G8 and EU, where we are leveraging greater support for political and economic reform. In addition we are strengthening trade and investment relationships and working with Egypt on our shared interest for greater security in the region.

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the Government are taking to help support stability in the Sinai. [149085]

Alistair Burt: The Sinai faces a range of security and economic challenges. Warnings in FCO travel advice for the region reflect recent security incidents and ongoing criminal activity there. We regularly raise our concerns about security in the Sinai with the Egyptian authorities, who have assured us of their commitment to addressing the situation. We have offered to share British experience in this field.

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Falkland Islands

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department have had with representatives of the Holy See about the status of the Falkland Islands; and if he has any plans to discuss (i) the status of the Falkland Islands and (ii) the recent referendum in the Falkland Islands on its constitutional status with Pope Francis. [149389]

Mr Swire: Officials have discussed this issue with representatives of the Holy See. During our discussions, our ambassador to the Holy See set out the position of the United Kingdom on the Falkland Islands. The Holy See's long-standing position has been that it considers the question of the Falkland Islands to be a bilateral one between sovereign nations, and that it does not have a role to play. We do not expect this position to change.

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Holy See on the will of the people of the Falkland Islands following the Argentinian President's recent meeting with the Pope. [149392]

Mr Swire: The Falkland Islands Government referendum was a clear expression of the Islanders' wishes and we hope that the international community will respect their views. Our ambassador to the Holy See has set out the position of the United Kingdom on the Falkland Islands in discussions with senior Holy See officials. The Holy See's long-standing position has been that it considers the question of the Falkland Islands to be a bilateral one between sovereign nations, and that it does not have a role to play. We do not expect this position to change.

Hezbollah

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had on the proscription of Hezbollah. [148910]

Alistair Burt: It remains our view that it is imperative that the EU takes robust action in response to the terrorist attack carried out in Bulgaria by members of Hezbollah's military wing on European soil. We are engaged in discussions with EU partners on designation of Hezbollah's military wing under the EU's terrorist asset freezing regime.

My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs also discussed the issue of Hezbollah and EU designation with both Prime Minister Mikati and President Sleiman during his recent visit to Beirut. They agreed on the importance of Lebanon's full cooperation with the Bulgarian investigation into the bombing, and the Secretary of State made clear that the UK does not believe that designation would affect EU relations with Lebanon or Lebanon's stability.

Jordan

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the aims and objectives are of Government policy towards Jordan. [149083]

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Alistair Burt: The UK's policy towards Jordan reflects the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's priorities of safeguarding Britain's national security, building Britain's prosperity and supporting British nationals around the world.

We continue to believe that increased political participation by citizens and greater economic opportunity offering them a greater stake in their state is the surest route to long-term regional stability. We welcomed parliamentary elections held in January 2013 and look forward to working with the new Jordanian Government to assist the implementation of political and economic reforms, including through support from the Arab Partnership.

We are also assisting Jordan to host the over 330,000 registered Syrian refugees. Additionally the UK works closely with Jordan on issues of mutual interest, including regional foreign policy, counter-terrorism and defence.

Lebanon

Michael Ellis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the security situation in southern Lebanon. [148906]

Alistair Burt: We welcome the current calm in southern Lebanon and the positive role played by United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon in maintaining it. We are urging both Lebanon and Israel to take advantage of the ceasefire to implement their commitments under Security Council Resolution 1701 and to conduct negotiations towards a permanent peace, including settling all outstanding border disputes.

Middle East

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what support the Government is providing to projects to encourage young Palestinians and Israelis to work together. [148908]

Alistair Burt: The Government recognise the importance of supporting constituencies committed to resolving the conflict peacefully and generating dialogue between Israelis and Palestinians. We are currently developing Conflict Pool projects for Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the financial year 2013-14 including those that foster co-existence.

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions has he had with his US counterpart on the conflict between Israel and Palestine. [148909]

Alistair Burt: There is no more urgent foreign policy priority for 2013 than restarting negotiations between Israelis and Palestinians. Both the Prime Minister and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs discussed this issue with US Secretary of State John Kerry during his recent visit to London. We are committed to working actively with the United States, the Israelis and Palestinians, and our other international partners, to achieve progress before the window for a two state solution closes.

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Dr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the Hamas Charter and its effect on the Middle East Peace Process. [148926]

Alistair Burt: The Government's position remains that if Hamas wishes to be treated by the UK and the rest of the international community like other Islamist movements in the region, it must first make credible steps towards renouncing violence, recognising Israel and accepting previously signed agreements, in line with the Quartet principles. We are following ongoing discussions on Palestinian reconciliation. If, through the reconciliation process with Fatah, Hamas supports a new unified Palestinian Government which rejects violence and pursues a negotiated peace, that would be a good first step.

We also urge Hamas to continue to respect the ceasefire agreed with Israel on 21 November 2012. We are calling on all sides to take advantage of the continuing talks in Cairo to address the fundamental issues facing Gaza, including more access for people and goods and an end to the smuggling of weapons into Gaza.

Dr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received that militants in the Sinai test-fired a long-range missile. [148928]

Alistair Burt: We have not received any reports about militants test-firing a long-range missile in the Sinai.

We are concerned about the security situation in the Sinai. We continue to monitor the situation and discuss it with the Egyptian authorities.

Occupied Territories

Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Government of Israel on the announcement of 3,500 homes in planning area E1. [148950]

Alistair Burt: We condemned the Israeli Government's recent decision to unfreeze planning in the area known as E1. Settlements are illegal under international law, and settlements in this area risk altering the situation on the ground in a way that threatens the very viability of a two state solution. I formally summoned the Israeli ambassador to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 3 December, to make clear the depth of our concerns.

We will continue to make our concerns about settlements, including planning for the El area, clear to the Israeli authorities.

Palestinians

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the effects of settlement expansion on the development of the Palestinian economy. [148911]

Alistair Burt: Our position on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) is clear: they are illegal under international law, an obstacle to peace and make a two-state solution, with Jerusalem as

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a shared capital, harder to achieve. Settlements also impact on the Palestinian economy in a number of ways.

According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the OPTs, about one third of land within the outer limits of settlements is privately owned Palestinian land. Settlements therefore increasingly reduce the amount of land, including agricultural land, available for Palestinian use, and restrict access to water sources.

Settler violence can also impact on Palestinian livelihoods. There have been incidents of settlers damaging or uprooting olive trees, the sole source of income for many Palestinian farmers. According to OCHA the olive oil industry makes up 14% of the agricultural income for the OPTs and supports the livelihoods of approximately 80,000 families.

Settlements contribute to the fragmentation of the West Bank and impede movement and access around the West Bank. For example, 124 km of roads in the West Bank are exclusively for the use of Israeli settlers and armed forces and closed to all Palestinians. This makes it difficult for Palestinians, particularly those who live close to settlements, to move around and to access agricultural land, or to travel for employment purposes.

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of economic progress in the West Bank. [148912]

Alistair Burt: The Government continue to assess that Israeli restrictions on movement and access in the West Bank and Gaza are the single biggest obstacle to trade and economic development, and hence one of the most important causes of the current financial difficulties of the Palestinian Authority along with the withholding by Israel of customs revenues due to the Palestinian Authority. This is in line with the assessment of the World Bank's Economic Monitoring Report to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee on 19 March.

We continue to lobby the Israeli Government to ease its restrictions on movement and access and to transfer the customs revenues in a timely and predictable manner in accordance with its obligations under the Paris Protocol.

Dr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received that the UN-backed marathon in Gaza was cancelled after Hamas banned women from participating. [148927]

Alistair Burt: We have received media reports stating that the UN-backed marathon in Gaza was cancelled for these reasons.

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his Israeli counterpart on the water supply to Palestinians in Gaza. [149092]

Alistair Burt: It is important to ensure the fair and effective distribution of shared water resources across the Middle East. The Government continue to press the Israeli Government, bilaterally and by working with

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others such as the European Union, on the need to ensure adequate access to water in Gaza. These resources are limited and therefore require the effective co-operation of all parties to manage them in such a manner that ensures there will be enough for all.

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the foreign policy implications of shortage of water in Gaza. [149094]

Alistair Burt: The fair and effective distribution of shared water resources across the Middle East is of great concern to us. The Government continue to press the Israeli Government, bilaterally and by working with others such as the European Union, on the need to ensure adequate access to water in Gaza. These resources are limited and therefore require the effective co-operation of all parties to manage them in such a manner that ensures there will be enough for all.

Qatar

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the aims and objectives are of Government policy towards Qatar. [149082]

Alistair Burt: Qatar is an important regional ally for the UK. We enjoy a relationship based on common interests in many areas, including trade and investment, education, culture, defence, and security. Our aim is to strengthen our engagement in these areas and support the Government's foreign policy objectives of security, prosperity, and support for UK nationals overseas. Qatar's close relationship with the UK is reflected in its multiple investments here. I and my ministerial colleagues visit Qatar, or meet with senior Qatari visitors to the UK on a regular basis.

Saudi Arabia

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the aims and objectives are of Government policy towards Saudi Arabia. [149081]

Alistair Burt: Saudi Arabia is an important regional ally for the UK. We enjoy a relationship based on common interests in many areas, including trade and investment, education, culture, defence, and security. Our aim is to strengthen our engagement in these areas and support the Government's foreign policy objectives of security, prosperity, and support for UK nationals overseas. This close relationship allows us to have frank conversations with the Saudi Arabian Government in other areas, such as human rights, the UK's values, and the importance of the rule of law. I and my ministerial colleagues visit the Kingdom, or meet with senior Saudi visitors to the UK on a regular basis.

United Arab Emirates

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the aims and objectives are of Government policy towards the UAE. [149079]

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Alistair Burt: The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is an important regional ally for the UK. We enjoy a relationship based on common interests in many areas, including trade and investment, education, culture, defence, and security. Our aim is to strengthen our engagement in these areas and support the government's foreign policy

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objectives of security, prosperity, and support for UK nationals overseas. One vehicle for doing this is the UK-UAE “Task Force” which I chair together with my UAE counterpart and which meets four times a year. The UAE is a key trading partner for the UK.