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Written Answers to Questions

Monday 25 March 2013

Business, Innovation and Skills

Bank Cards: Surcharges

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 11 February 2013, Official Report, column 524W, on bank cards: surcharges, when the legislative guidance that will accompany the ban on excessive surcharges will be published. [149740]

Jo Swinson: The guidance will be issued this week and will be placed on the Department's website:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-business-innovation-skills

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 11 February 2013, Official Report, column 542W, on bank cards: surcharges, what steps he will take to ensure that the legislative guidance is sufficiently detailed to ensure that surcharges are fully cost-reflective. [149907]

Jo Swinson: The prohibition against a trader charging consumers more than the costs borne by the trader for the use of a given means of payment is laid down in the Consumer Rights (Payment Surcharges) Regulations 2012 (SI 2012/3110). The guidance will indicate the kinds of costs which the Department considers may be reflected in any payment surcharge but it cannot change the requirements of the regulations nor is it a substitute for them. In practice, the size and nature of those costs will vary with the type of business concerned, the particular means of payment and the contractual arrangements on which the business relies to use those means. It will be for each trader who wishes to impose payment surcharges to assess the costs it incurs which are exclusively attributable to using a particular payment means and to ensure that the payment surcharge does not exceed those costs.

Copyright

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 12 March 2013, Official Report, column 173W, on copyright, which representatives of small and medium-sized enterprises he has met to discuss the regulatory effect of the modernising copyright proposals in the last year; if he will publish the (a) agenda and (b) minutes of any such meetings; and whether the issue of increased costs of litigation as a result of the modernising copyright proposals was discussed at such meetings. [149380]

Jo Swinson: Ministers in this Department have met a range of stakeholders, including representatives from the creative industries, on a number of occasions to discuss copyright issues including the Modernising

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Copyright proposals. A range of issues of interest to the relevant stakeholders were discussed. The Government has no plans to publish the agenda or minutes of these meetings.

The Government have introduced measures to reduce the costs of litigation on intellectual property issues through the Patents County Court, including caps on costs and damages and a new small claims track for simple cases.

Food

Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of consumer protection legislation in relation to the food industry. [144932]

Mr Heath: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

It is unacceptable for consumers to be misled in the way that has been recently uncovered and the fundamental principle established in food labelling rules is that information provided to the consumer must be accurate.

The Government will, of course, take account of the recent events concerning the discovery of significant amounts of horse DNA in beef products. However, we should keep in mind that food fraud and mis-labelling already contravenes current and forthcoming regulations and that we are looking carefully at how enforcement can be made more effective.

The Food Information to Consumers Regulation (EU) No. 1169/2011 came into force in November 2011 and most of the provisions will apply from 13 December 2014. Consumers are also protected by the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations (CPRs, 2008). It is an offence under the CPRs to omit material information, to hide material information or to provide material information in a manner which is unclear, unintelligible, or ambiguous. Material information is information which the average consumer needs, according to the context, to take an informed transactional decision.

Foreign Investment in UK

Mr Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what targets UK Trade and Investment has set for inward investment (a) projects in respect of and (b) visits to each nation and region of the UK. [149553]

Michael Fallon: UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) has a target for foreign direct investment projects covering all four nations. In 2013-14 the target is 750 investment projects. All devolved Administrations (including Northern Ireland) have their own investment promotion agencies who may have individual targets for foreign investments. UKTI has no visits target.

Mr Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the potential level of project opportunities for Northern Ireland arising from the UK Trade and Investment National Pipeline of prospective investors. [149554]

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Michael Fallon: UK Trade & Investment collects data from the UKTI network and local delivery partners on foreign direct investment opportunities. As of March 2013 there are 41 potential project opportunities where Northern Ireland is specifically tagged as a location of interest. There are a further 2,189 opportunities where the project could potentially occur at any location in the UK, including in Northern Ireland.

Mr Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many instances of foreign direct investment into Northern Ireland were identified or developed by the UK Trade and Investment network in each of the last three years. [149555]

Michael Fallon: UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) records data on all foreign direct investment projects into the UK. Instances of foreign direct investment into Northern Ireland identified and supported by the UKTI Network in each of the last three years are:

2011-12: 20 out of 27 total projects into Northern Ireland

2010-11: 7 out of 44 total projects into Northern Ireland

2009-10: 7 out of 49 total projects into Northern Ireland

Mr Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the relationship between UK Trade and Investment and Invest Northern Ireland. [149556]

Michael Fallon: UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) and Invest Northern Ireland (INI) have a good working relationship to support overseas exports and attract inward investment. By way of example, INI are now co-located with UKTI in India (Mumbai and Bangalore), Saudi Arabia (Jeddah), Iraq and Kurdistan (Erbil). Senior officials from both organisations meet regularly to discuss both strategic trade and investment issues, operational matters including service delivery arrangements, and trade and investment evaluation.

Growth Voucher Scheme

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the Financial Statement of 20 March 2013, Official Report, column 938, how funds will be distributed through small and medium-sized enterprises growth vouchers; how applications for funding will be made; by what date expected funds will be (a) allocated and (b) drawn down; and what processes, benchmarks and deadlines he and his officials have put in place in relation to those vouchers. [149937]

Michael Fallon: The growth vouchers programme announced in the Budget will be designed over the coming months with input from the private sector. The programme will test a variety of innovative approaches to helping small and medium-sized enterprises overcome barriers to achieving growth, such as limited use of external advice.

In January 2014, growth vouchers will be accessed through a new private sector led online marketplace and target up to £2,000 of match funding to firms with no more than 50 employees, helping them find the support they need, public and private.

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Overseas Trade: Russia

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment has been made of the factors which tend to inhibit UK businesses from seeking to operate in the Russian market; what assessment has been made of the extent to which the risks assessed by UK businesses are well-founded; and what he is doing to encourage UK businesses to venture into the Russian market. [149200]

Michael Fallon: Russia presents significant opportunities for UK business. It is the world's leading energy producer and its 9(th) largest economy. The Russian Government's economy modernisation and infrastructure development agenda is underpinned by 140 million consumers' appetite for quality services and goods.

Through the Overseas Business Risk service UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) have brought together authoritative, accessible and topical information on Russia, and the key issues related to the political, economic and business security environments.

http://www.ukti.gov.uk/export/countries/europe/easterneurope/russia/overseasbusinessrisk.html

There are difficulties associated with doing business in Russia with corruption often cited as the major concern. However, although Russia is ranked 112(th) on the World Bank's “ease of doing business” index (up this year from 120(th)) it compares relatively favourably with other BRIC markets: Brazil is 130(th) and India 132(nd).

UK companies should not be afraid of doing business in Russia. Neither should they, however, assume that business is done the same way in Russia as it is done within the European Union. UK Trade and Investment is a good source of information and advice which can help unlock potential opportunities in this market. UKTI has clear targets to assist increasing number of British businesses trading with Russia and to promote the UK's reputation as a trade and investment partner. At a strategic level the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills also co-chairs the annual UK-Russia Intergovernmental Steering Committee with First Deputy Prime Minister Igor Shuvalov.

Post Offices: Yorkshire and the Humber

Andrew Percy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many operational post offices there were in (a) Brigg and Goole constituency and (b) Yorkshire and the Humber in each of the last 10 years. [149944]

Jo Swinson: Post Office Ltd is responsible for operational matters concerning the post office network, which includes the information requested. I have therefore asked Paula Vennells, the chief executive of Post Office Ltd, to respond directly to the hon. Member and a copy of her reply will be placed in the Library of the House.

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UK Trade & Investment: Northern Ireland

Mr Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many members of UK Trade & Investment overseas staff have visited Northern Ireland for the purposes of information gathering and fact-finding in each of the last five years. [149841]

Michael Fallon: UK Trade & Investment does not keep records of visits of overseas staff to Northern Ireland.

Home Department

Crimes of Violence: Females

Sarah Teather: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to paragraphs 46 to 48 of the Call to End Violence Against Women and Girls action plans, what steps her Department is taking to monitor the implementation of the recommended actions; and what specific role the Gender Champion at the UK Border Agency will have with respect to such actions. [149306]

Mr Harper: The Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) Action Plan was refreshed and re-launched on 8 March 2013—International Women's Day. The Home Office works closely with Departments across Government to monitor progress against the Action Plan. Home Office Ministers chair a regular Inter-Ministerial Group on Violence Against Women and Girls, in order to drive progress and hold Departments to account on their actions to tackle VAWG. The specific actions to which the hon. Member refers relate to gender sensitivity in the asylum system. These actions are also being incorporated into the UK Border Agency's ‘Women's Issues in the Asylum Claim’ action plan. The actions in this plan are regularly reviewed and monitored at meetings of the Quality and Equality Sub-Group of the National Asylum Stakeholder Forum. The UK Border Agency gender champion takes a close interest in all gender issues across the agency, and will take an oversight role in ensuring that these actions are completed.

Pat Glass: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations she has received from women's organisations on tackling violence against women. [149423]

Damian Green: The Government work closely with women's organisations to ensure our strategy to end violence against women and girls identifies, protects and supports victims.

Databases: Telecommunications

Mr David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what capital expenditure has been undertaken since May 2010 as part of the Communications Capability Development Programme. [149406]

James Brokenshire: I refer my right hon. Friend to my answer of 13 February 2013, Official Report, column 757W.

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many staff (a) of her Department and (b) seconded from (i) other Departments and agencies and (ii) the private sector are employed within

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the Communications Capabilities Directorate and on projects associated with the Communications Capabilities Directorate. [149638]

James Brokenshire: As at March 2013 the Communications Capabilities Development programme includes:

(a) 73 Home Office civil servants

(b) Staff Seconded from:

(i) Other Departments and agencies—6

(ii) The private sector—0.

Although not employed directly by the Home Office, the Communications Capabilities Development programme currently has a number of privately contracted subject matter experts and technical personnel deployed on the programme through support services contracts. Over the lifetime of the Communications Capabilities Development programme the number of these personnel has varied, responding to business need.

Driving: Eyesight

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what advice is given to police officers attending a road traffic accident to require drivers to be tested as to their competence to comply with the minimum distance eyesight requirement to read a vehicle number plate. [149879]

Damian Green: This is an operational matter for the police. The police can test a driver's eyesight at the roadside to determine whether he or she meets the minimum eyesight requirements for driving. If the driver fails the roadside test, the police can inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency who will revoke the driving licence.

Entry Clearances: Overseas Students

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of trends in the number of student visitor visas that have been issued in the last year. [149312]

Mr Harper: In 2012, 68,372 student visitor visas were issued, 6,966 more (+11%) than 2011.

Further detail is given in the Home Office Immigration Statistics October—December 2012. This states that although there has been a 6,966 increase in student visitor visas issued in 2012 at the same time as a fall in Tier 4 study visas of 52,066, the pattern of these changes for individual nationalities does not indicate a clear or consistent relationship. The nationalities accounting for most of the 52,066 fall in study visas issued (Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh) have seen only very slight changes in the number of student visitor visas issued (+73, +20, +8 and -12 respectively).

The Home Office Immigration Statistics October-December 2012, including a summary of trends is available at:

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

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Human Trafficking

Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will recommend that fighting modern-day slavery be made a strategic priority for police forces. [149427]

Mr Harper: My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for the Home Department set out in the Strategic Policing Requirement that fighting organised crime must be a priority for all police forces. While it is for police and crime commissioners to determine local policing priorities, they must have regard to this requirement. The requirement sets out the threats that the police must address and the appropriate national policing capabilities required to counter those threats, respecting the operational independence of the police.

I expect all forces to treat human trafficking extremely seriously.

Police and Crime Commissioners

Mr Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 17 December 2012, Official Report, column 500W, on police and crime commissioners, if she will review her Department's policy regarding free delivery of information regarding candidates for police and crime commissioner

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elections in light of the recent report by the Electoral Commission. [149547]

Damian Green: There is no such thing as a free mailing. Information about every candidate was published online and delivered free of charge to those who requested it. The Electoral Commission's proposals would entail spending taxpayers' money on supporting political candidates. It is the Government's job to balance this cost with the benefit to the public. The Government decided that the £30 million cost to send individual candidate mailings, as is the case in general elections, was not the right use of taxpayers' money.

Police: Northamptonshire

Andy Sawford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) police officers and (b) police community support officers there were in Northamptonshire police force area in (i) 2010, (ii) 2011, (iii) 2012 and (iv) 2013. [149477]

Damian Green: The latest available information shows the number of police officers and police community support officers in Northamptonshire police force, as at 31 March 2010 to 2012 and 30 September 2010 to 2012 (full-time equivalent). The next set of figures as at 31 March 2013 is due to be published in July 2013.

Number of police officers and police community support officers in Northamptonshire police force, as at 31 March and 30 September 2010 to 2012(1,2)
 Police OfficersPolice Community Support Officers

31 March 2010

1,343

164

30 September 2010

1,337

168

31 March 2011

1,306

166

30 September 2011

1,262

163

31 March 2012

1,234

161

30 September 2012

1,220

149

(1) This table contains full-time equivalent figures that have been rounded to the nearest whole number. (2) These figures are published within the Police Service Strength bulletins found on the Home Office website.

Sickness Absence

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many days (a) her Department and (b) each of its non-departmental public bodies has lost to staff sickness in each of the last five years; and what estimate she has made of the cost of such absence in each year; [147990]

(2) how many officials in (a) her Department and (b) each of its non-departmental public bodies have had (i) fewer than five days, (ii) five to 10 days, (iii) 10 to 15 days, (iv) 15 to 20 days, (v) 20 to 25 days, (vi) 25 to 50 days, (vii) 50 to 75 days, (viii) 75 to 100 days, (ix) 100 to 150 days, (x) 150 to 200 days, (xi) more than 200 days, (xii) more than three months, (xiii) more than six months and (xiv) more than one year on paid sick leave (A) consecutively and (B) in total in each of the last five years. [148009]

James Brokenshire: The information is as follows.

(a) Table 1 provides information on the number of days lost to staff sickness in the Home Department (including its Executive Agencies) for the last five full financial years, along with an estimate of the cost of such sickness absence.

(b) Table 2 provides information on the number of days lost to staff sickness for each non-departmental public body for the last five full financial years, along with an estimate of the cost of such sickness absence.

Information for the current financial year (2012-13) will be available from mid April 2013.

(c) Table 3 provides information on the number of days lost both to short (less than 28 calendar days) and long term (29 or more calendar days) sickness in the Home Department (including its Executive Agencies) for the last five full financial years.

(d) Table 4 provides information on the number of days lost both to short and long term sickness for each non-departmental public body for the last five full financial years.

Information supplied complies with Cabinet Office guidelines for the reporting of staff sickness. A further breakdown of this information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Information for the current financial year (2012-13) will be available from mid April 2013.

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Table 1: Home Office working days lost (full-time equivalent (FTE)) and cost of sickness absence: 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12(1)
Financial yearWorking days lost (FTE) to sickness absenceCost of sickness absence (£ million)Staff employed in period (FTE)(2)

2007-08

264,579

n/a

25,090

2008-09

228,521

24.28

25,875

2009-10

216,928

24.21

26,547

2010-11

221,525

24.46

29,224

2011-12

200,904

25.89

26,939

(1 )Information for the current financial year will not be available until mid April 2013. (2 )Information relating to staff employed during the period is included to show how the number of working days lost compares to the number of staff working in the Department during the same period. This is in line with Cabinet Office guidelines. Notes: 1. Extract Dates: 1 April of each year. 2. Periods covered: Data are given by financial year and each year covers the period 1 April to 31 March. 3. Organisational coverage: Includes Home Office Headquarters (including Border Force) and the Executive Agencies. For all years this includes the UK Border Agency, Identity and Passport Service and Criminal Records Bureau. Additionally, figures for 2011-12 include the Government Equalities Office (within Home Office Headquarters) and National Fraud Authority. 4. Employee coverage: Figures are based on FTE of all paid civil servants employed during the financial year (current and leavers), apart from the staff employed in period (FTE) for 2007-08, where it was only possible to provide the FTE figure for current paid civil servants as at 31 March 2008. 5. Transparency agenda considerations: Figures are provided in line with Cabinet Office guidelines and conventions on sickness absence reporting. 6. Rounding: Working days lost (FTE) and staff employed in post (FTE) figures are subject to rounding +/- 1. Cost of sickness absence figures are provided to the nearest £10,000. Sources: Data from 2008-09 onwards taken from Data View—the Home Office's single source of Office for National Statistics compliant monthly snapshot corporate Human Resources data. Data View was introduced in June 2008, therefore information for 2007-08 has been taken from other sources—Working Days Lost data from the Department's Permanent Secretaries Management Group (PSMG) quarterly sickness absence return and Staff Employed in Period data from the Department's Annual Civil Service Employment Survey (ACSES). Information on the cost of sickness absence for 2007-08 is not available.
Table 2: Home Office non-departmental public bodies working days lost and cost of sickness absence: 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12(1)
Financial yearNumber of days lost to sick absenceEstimate of cost of sickness absence (£ million)

2007-08

31,049

3.63

2008-09

25,346

3.63

2009-10

25,832

3.60

2010-11

28,269

3.91

2011-12

28,903

4.01

(1 )Information for the current financial year will not be available until mid April 2013. Note: This response includes data for the Independent Safeguarding Authority (from 2008 onwards), Independent Police Complaints Commission, Security Industry Authority (from 2008), the Serious Organised Crime Agency and the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner. Although the Equality and Human Rights Commission was sponsored by the Home Office during this period, their data are included in the response for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport. This response does not include data for the National Policing Improvement Agency as to do so would incur a disproportionate cost.
Table 3: Home Office working days lost (full-time equivalent (FTE)) by short and long term sickness absence: 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12(1)
 Working days lost (FTE) to sickness absences 
Financial yearShort-termLong-termStaff employed in period (FTE)(2)

2007-08

126,767

137,812

25,090

2008-09

116,552

111,969

25,875

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2009-10

116,874

100,055

26,547

2010-11

121,918

99,607

29,224

2011-12

105,365

95,538

26,939

(1 )Information for the current financial year will not be available until mid April 2013. (2 )Information relating to staff employed during the period is included to show how the number of working days lost compares to the number of staff working in the Department during the same period. This is in line with Cabinet Office guidelines. Notes: 1. Extract dates: 1 April of each year. 2. Periods covered: Data are given by financial year and each year covers the period 1 April to 31 March. 3. Organisational coverage: Includes Home Office Headquarters (including Border Force) and the Executive Agencies. For all years this includes the UK Border Agency, Identity and Passport Service and Criminal Records Bureau. Additionally, figures for 2011-12 include the Government Equalities Office (within Home Office Headquarters) and National Fraud Authority. 4. Employee coverage: Figures are based on FTE of all paid civil servants employed during the financial year (current and leavers), apart from the staff employed in period (FTE) for 2007-08, where it was only possible to provide the FTE figure for current paid civil servants as at 31( )March 2008. 5. Transparency agenda considerations: Figures are provided in line with Cabinet Office guidelines and conventions on sickness absence reporting. This includes classifying absences as short or long term rather than in the groupings stated in the question. Short term sickness absences are classified as those of 20 working days or 28 calendar days or less. Long term sickness absences are classified as those of 21 working days or 29 calendar days or more. 6. Rounding: All figures are subject to rounding +/- 1. Sources: Office for National Statistics compliant monthly snapshot corporate Human Resources data. Data View was introduced in June 2008, therefore information for 2007-08 has been taken from other sources—Working Days Lost data from the Department's Permanent Secretaries Management Group (PSMG) quarterly sickness absence return and Staff Employed in Period data from the Department's Annual Civil Service Employment Survey (ACSES).
Table 4: Home Office non-departmental public bodies days lost by short and long term sickness absence: 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10, 2010-11 and 2011-12(1)
 Working days lost to sickness
Financial yearShort-termLong-term

2007-08

30

262

2008-09

691

468

2009-10

1,229

239

2010-11

1,328

1,160

2011-12

1,239

1,027

(1) Information for the current financial year will not be available until mid April 2013. Note: This response includes data for the Independent Safeguarding Authority, Disclosure and Barring Service (from December 2012) and the Independent Police Complaints Commission. This response does not include data for the Security Industry Authority, the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner, the National Policing Improvement Agency and the Serious Organised Crime Agency, as to do so would incur a disproportionate cost.

Written Questions: Government Responses

Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she plans to answer question 146165 on charges for sexual offences tabled on 27 February 2013 for answer on 4 March 2013. [149405]

Damian Green: I answered parliamentary question 146165 on 21 March 2013, Official Report, column 798W. I am sorry for the delay in answering this parliamentary question.

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Attorney-General

Crime: Victims

Mr Hollobone: To ask the Attorney-General whether the Crown Prosecution Service in (a) Northamptonshire and (b) England always seeks where it can with the cases it prosecutes to ensure that victim impact statements are made and victim compensation orders sought. [149805]

The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has an important role to play in ensuring that a Victim Personal Statement (VPS) is available and that applications for Compensation Orders are made to the court in appropriate cases.

The CPS does not keep information on the number of VPS statements obtained or on the number of applications for compensation. However, in all cases, the prosecution advocate must be ready to assist the court to reach the appropriate decision as to sentence, and this includes drawing the court's attention to any VPS and its powers to award compensation, inviting the judge or magistrate to make such an order where appropriate.

Crown Prosecution Service

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General what recent assessment he has made of the quality and performance of internal anti-fraud controls at the Crown Prosecution Service. [149487]

The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) formally assessed its vulnerability to fraud in

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November 2011 when it conducted a fraud risk assessment under the auspices of the Treasury's ‘Managing the Risk of Financial Loss' initiative. The assessment provided an assurance that the CPS had appropriate and proportionate anti-fraud controls in place.

Following the discovery of fraudulent payments to a supplier in its West Midlands area, the CPS commissioned investigations to ascertain the extent of the fraudulent activity, how the prescribed controls were circumvented and whether the controls were being applied correctly in other parts of the organisation.

One strand of this activity will address specifically the question of the quality and performance of internal, anti-fraud controls at the CPS.

Driving: Eyesight

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Attorney-General how many drivers were prosecuted for failing to meet the minimum distance eyesight requirement to read a vehicle number plate in each of the last five years. [149880]

The Solicitor-General: The offence of driving a motor vehicle on a road after failing to meet the minimum distance eyesight requirement is prosecuted under section 96(1) and schedule 2 to the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988. The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) maintains no central record of the number of individual drivers that were prosecuted for this offence; however, a record is maintained of the number of offences charged that reached a magistrates court hearing.

  Financial year
Act/sectionOffence2008-092009-102010-112011-122012-13(1)

Road Traffic Act 1988 (96(1)) and Schedule 2 to the Road Traffic Offenders Act 1988

Drive a motor vehicle on a road with eyesight which did not comply with requirements

36

37

26

29

31

(1) April 2012 to February 2013.

This data relates solely to CPS prosecutions, as proceedings under this section are initially commenced by the police and are only prosecuted by the CPS once they become contested.

Prime Minister

Civil Servants: Codes of Practice

Mr Jenkin: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to his answers to the Liaison Committee of 12 March 2013, if he will take steps to revise (a) the terms of the Armstrong Memorandum or repudiate its terms and (b) the terms of the Civil Service Code in order to reflect the views he expressed; and if he will make a statement on the obligation of civil servants to appear before select committees to explain and defend the acts for which they are responsible. [149045]

The Prime Minister: In the Civil Service Reform Plan the Government committed to strengthen the accountability of the civil service and to clarify the responsibilities of accounting officers. The plan sets out various actions to address this. The Cabinet Office is reviewing the guidance for Departments on providing evidence to Select Committees. The Government will liaise with interested parties within Parliament as part of the review, including the Liaison Committee.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Horsemeat

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether there is an open criminal investigation into the illegal adulteration of horsemeat. [147226]

Mr Heath: Investigations are under way into a number of cases and are being led by the Food Standards Agency. Police forces are involved, the lead police force being the City of London police. It is not appropriate to comment in any further detail on ongoing investigations.

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Bovine Tuberculosis

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he has made an estimate of the proportion of badgers in the two pilot cull areas which will be (a) trapped, (b) snared and (c) baited before being killed; and what proportion he expects will be killed through other controlled shooting methods. [148776]

Mr Heath: Controlled shooting and cage-trapping followed by shooting are the only culling methods permitted under licence from Natural England. Both are likely to involve pre-baiting. In removing the minimum number of badgers, set out by Natural England to the licensees in authorisation letters issued on 27 February 2013, these methods can be used in combination or as single control methods.

It is for the licensees to decide how many badgers should be culled using the different methods.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many (a) farms were placed under bovine TB controls, (b) farms had bovine TB reactors and (c) cattle tested positive for bovine TB in each of the two pilot cull areas in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and how much compensation was paid to meet the cost of bovine TB reactors in each such pilot cull area in each such year. [148880]

Mr Heath: The number of cattle slaughtered as reactors in each of the last five years in England and the counties of Somerset and Gloucestershire (where the pilot areas are located) are:

 EnglandSomersetGloucestershire

2008

26,392

1,498

2,433

2009

25,539

1,235

2,268

2010

23,895

1,399

1,604

2011

25,879

1,918

1,781

2012

27,740

1,952

1,922

Data on how much compensation was paid to meet the cost of bovine TB reactors in each pilot cull area is not available. However, data on the average TB reactor values in England in the last five years can be used an indicator of the likely local average TB reactor values. The figures are:

 £

2008

1,027

2009

1,147

2010

1,162

2011

1,139

2012

1,205

These figures are derived from dividing the total compensation paid in England by the total number of TB reactors in England. The figures in 2012 are subject to change as more statistical data is received.

Figures are not currently available for the number of farms that were placed under bovine TB controls and the number of farms that had bovine TB reactors in this

25 Mar 2013 : Column 890W

period. These statistics will be published on DEFRA's website once additional quality assurance checks have been completed.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the likely cost to (a) his Department, (b) the Food and Environment Research Agency, (c) Natural England, (d) the Home Department, (e) local police constabularies and (f) other Government departments or organisations of supporting the bovine TB badger cull trials in each financial year from 2012-13 to 2018-19. [148881]

Mr Heath: The badger control policy is based on a cost-sharing approach with the farming industry. The industry will be responsible for the operational costs of delivering culling and DEFRA will bear the costs of licensing, monitoring and policing the policy. The costs to Government for a typical 350km(2) area as set out in the impact assessment are:

£0.4 million for licensing;

£0.7 million for monitoring;

£2 million for policing;

£0.1 million in relation to an increase in TB incidents in the neighbouring area.

We would expect these costs to be offset by savings as a result of reduced TB incidence within the control areas and in neighbouring areas, extending for five years beyond the culling period. The Government currently bears the majority of the cost of TB incidents by paying for TB testing and compensation for slaughtered animals.

The cost assumptions used to calculate these estimates are per pilot area over a four year period of culling. The pilots are subject to increased monitoring of the humaneness, effectiveness and safety of controlled shooting. We anticipate that Government costs would be lower for any culling areas licensed subsequently (including the pilot areas), as the monitoring costs in particular would be lower.

Total expenditure in 2014-15 and beyond will depend on Ministers' decisions on wider roll-out of the policy.

The cost to DEFRA of implementing this policy is being met from within its existing budget. Further details on the estimated costs are set out in the impact assessment, which is available on the DEFRA website at:

http://archive.defra.gov.uk/foodfarm/farmanimal/diseases/atoz/tb/documents/bovine-tb-impact-assessment.pdf

This will also be available in the Library of the House.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 18 March 2013, Official Report, column 392W, on bovine tuberculosis, if, before the two pilot culls commence, he will review the badger population estimates in light of (a) the significant short-term variations in badger numbers, (b) the addition of new badger cubs in the early spring pulse and (c) any other factors. [149499]

Mr Heath: The badger population estimates published on 22 February 2013 are based on fieldwork carried out in summer/autumn 2012. There will inevitably be some changes in the population between the time of this

25 Mar 2013 : Column 891W

fieldwork and the time of culling, due to births, natural deaths and migration. However, any difference between the population as measured at the same time point in different years is likely to be small. Therefore there is no intention to review the population estimates before the pilot culls commence.

British Overseas Territories

Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much funding was allocated to the UK Overseas Territories for projects relating to environmental protection in 2010 to 2015. [147114]

Richard Benyon: Between 2010 and 2013, DEFRA has allocated approximately £3.2 million to environmental projects in the UK overseas territories through the Darwin Initiative, the Flagship Species Fund, our international biodiversity budget and our research budget.

We will shortly be announcing the outcome of Round 19 of the Darwin Initiative which is expected to include over £2 million worth of new environmental projects in our overseas territories. This will include the first projects under the Government's new 'Darwin Plus' fund which is jointly funded by DEFRA, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Department for International Development (DFID).

In addition to this, the FCO and DFID also fund projects in our overseas territories through their Environment Programme and Official Development Assistance budget respectively.

Most Darwin Plus projects span at least two years but funding decisions for future years have yet to be taken.

Climate Change

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the Environment Agency's capability to

25 Mar 2013 : Column 892W

deliver its new climate change adaptation role as the delivery arm of the Government's National Adaptation Programme. [147726]

Richard Benyon: DEFRA has not made a formal assessment of the Environment Agency's new climate change adaptation role. However, the Environment Agency has considerable expertise on climate adaptation, for example, through its lead role in flood risk management and the sustainable use of water resources. It is able to draw on its local delivery network and partners to reach key audiences, including business and local authorities. DEFRA will continue to evaluate the effectiveness of the Climate Ready Support Service.

Dogs: Imports

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many dogs were added to the Index of Exempted Dogs in 2012. [146518]

Mr Heath: I can confirm that 497 dogs were added to the Index of Exempted Dogs in 2012.

Environment Agency

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many legal cases brought against the Environment Agency between May 2010 and February 2013 were (a) successful and (b) unsuccessful; what the value of settlements was in each successful case; who the recipients were in each such case; and what the cost of defending these cases was. [147888]

Richard Benyon: Of the legal cases brought against the Environment Agency between May 2010 and February 2013, (a) 41 were successful and (b) 78 were unsuccessful. The following table contains the value of settlements in each successful case, and where possible the recipients and the costs of defending those cases. It is correct as of 14 March 2013.

 Recipient(1)Value of settlement (£)Cost to defend(2)

1.

Health and Safety Executive

(3)228,563

38,000

2.

 

206,000

21,070

3.

 

187,734

7,610

4.

 

160,000

53,600

5.

 

110,000

22,000

6.

Manchester Ship Canal Company Ltd and Peel Holdings (Land and Property) Ltd

(4)80,000

51,780

7.

 

75,790

13,060

8.

 

50,750

12,000

9.

 

47,000

1,932

10.

 

45,600

560

11.

 

45,021

(2)

12.

 

44,500

5,970

13.

 

31,500

2,700

14.

 

30,966

3,580

15.

 

29,512

626

16.

 

25,716

1,490

17.

East Riding of Yorkshire Council

25,550

8,530

18.

 

25,485

3,230

25 Mar 2013 : Column 893W

25 Mar 2013 : Column 894W

19.

 

16,200

3,350

20.

 

15,112

3,060

21.

 

14,500

(2)

22.

 

11,250

1,400

23.

 

10,566

1,270

24.

 

10,216

1,660

25.

 

10,000

6,750

26.

 

10,450

1,310

27.

 

10,000

17,900

28.

 

8,800

1,240

29.

 

4,000

(2)

30.

 

2,000

(2)

31.

 

500

6,260

32.

EMR Group

(5)

17,951

33.

EMR Group

(5)

1,642

34.

n/a

No payment

35,000

35.

n/a

No payment

(6)10,300

36

n/a

No payment

9,730

37.

n/a

No payment

5,940

38.

n/a

No payment

4,250

39.

n/a

No payment

(2)

40.

n/a

No payment

0

41.

n/a

No payment

0

(1 )Some payee data is anonymised for data protection reasons. (2) Where a figure is absent this information could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Costs do not include those related to the in-house team—this could be provided for each case only at disproportionate cost. (3) In fines, costs to HSE and statutory charge. (4) Awarded to claimants. This has not been paid as case is under appeal. (5) Claimant counsel's costs yet to be settled. (6) Estimated.

Findus

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether he intends to meet Mr Dale Morrison of Findus to discuss that company's response to the contamination of meat products. [146530]

Mr Heath: The discovery of horse DNA in products labelled as beef is completely unacceptable. Findus was represented at the meeting held by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on 18 February with food industry leaders. At that meeting it was agreed that food businesses and Government had to work together to restore consumer confidence in the UK food industry.

It is the responsibility of food businesses across the supply chain to ensure that food is correctly described and ingredients are as stated on the label. Investigations into cases where horsemeat has been discovered will continue.

Flood Control

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what discussions he has had with the Environment Agency on the provision of adequate funding to prepare and adapt homes, businesses, agricultural practices and infrastructure against the threat of flooding; [147894]

(2) what additional funding his Department has made available to the Environment Agency for new projects to prepare and adapt homes, businesses, agricultural practices and infrastructure against the threat of flooding. [147895]

Richard Benyon: DEFRA is on course to spend £2.3 billion on reducing the risk from flooding and coastal erosion over the four years to 2015. The Partnership Funding approach makes funding available towards any worthwhile flood and coastal erosion risk management scheme. The amount of funding the scheme will attract is based on factors such as damages avoided to homes, businesses, agricultural land and infrastructure.

Many flood management projects, funded wholly or partly by DEFRA, and maintenance work, undertaken by the Environment Agency, reduce the risk to farmland. For example, schemes which completed in 2011-12 provided an improved standard of flood protection to more than 180,000 acres [74,000 hectares] of farm land.

The partnership funding formula sets the economic benefits of protecting critical infrastructure at a lower rate than for protecting households. This sends a clear signal to the owners of critical infrastructure that they must adapt and make it more resilient to climate change, not expect the taxpayer to defend it in every case.

The 2012 autumn statement announced £120 million for flood defences in England during this spending period, which will speed up the construction of around 50 schemes, protecting up to 60,000 households and delivering up to £1 billion in economic benefits. Half of the funding has been targeted to schemes that will, in

25 Mar 2013 : Column 895W

addition to delivering improved protection to households, deliver economic growth, create jobs and grow the economy.

For example new defences can now go ahead in Exeter (which will create over 1,000 jobs, protect over 2,000 homes and businesses which employ 4,700 people) and in Ipswich a tidal barrier will improve flood protection to ten hectares (24.7 acres) of development land attracting more business to the area and creating 4,000 jobs.

On 6 December 2012, DEFRA launched a new scheme to support innovative demonstration projects designed to improve a community's overall resilience to flooding. £5 million will be available to fund a total of up to 20 projects in the period up to March 2015.

The scheme aims to:

Enhance flood risk management and preparedness in ways which improve a community's overall resilience;

Demonstrably improve the community's financial resilience in relation to flooding; and

Deliver sustained improvements which have the potential to be applied in other areas.

Projects funded under this scheme are likely to combine a number of different elements which, taken together, could achieve a significant, quantifiable improvement in resilience. The kinds of project that could be funded include:

Installation of property level protection measures coupled with a wider package of innovative community measures;

Improving local flood risk mapping and modelling where existing data sets may not accurately capture the local level of risk;

Inspiring local communities to become more active participants in their flood management by supporting practical measures such as “gully watch” schemes or installation of local monitoring equipment;

Disseminating information or carrying out local exercises to improve flood awareness and preparedness;

Building financial resilience such as developing new insurance with rent schemes.

The application window closed on 16 January 2013 with the submission of over 40 proposals from across the country. They are now being examined by officials. The successful projects will start work shortly.

Food Standards Agency

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much funding his Department has allocated to the Food Standards Agency in each of the last three financial years. [146525]

Mr Heath: DEFRA does not allocate funding to the Food Standards Agency.

Horses: Death

Mr Gray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many horses died in the last year for which figures are available; and how many issued horse passports were cancelled in that year. [145366]

Mr Heath: As of 2 July 2012, a total of 114,961 horses whose passports had been issued by UK Passport Issuing Organisations had been reported as having died. It is not possible to break this total down by year.

25 Mar 2013 : Column 896W

Passports for horses that are slaughtered in an abattoir are invalidated on site and returned to the issuing organisation. Passports for horses that die in other circumstances are returned to the issuing organisation for invalidation.

Livestock: Transport

Mr Donohoe: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what records his Department holds on the number of sheep which have died at the port of Ramsgate since September 2012; and what assessment he has made of the fitness for purpose of that port for the export of live animals. [149559]

Mr Heath: Since the 12 September 2012 incident, one sheep was euthanised in October on veterinary advice at the port of Ramsgate.

Article 22 and 23 of Council Regulation 1/2005 require the Competent Authority to ensure that there are arrangements in place to deal with emergencies, if they occur, at the port of Ramsgate. There is no requirement under the regulation for the port to have animal handling facilities. Animal Health Veterinary Laboratories Agency staff are present at the port for all sailings and will invoke emergency procedures if required.

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to his statement of 4 March 2013 on AHVLA report on events of 12 September 2012, when the summary of actions referred to in Annex C will be implemented. [149197]

Mr Heath: All measures highlighted in my statement of 4 March 2013 have been implemented by the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency.

Meat

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what proportion of (a) beef, (b) lamb, (c) pork and (d) bacon used by each Government Department comes from British sources. [145281]

Mr Heath: DEFRA does not have figures relating to the sourcing of food by each Government Department. However, figures relating to DEFRA's own contract show that between July and December last year 100% of (a) beef, (b) lamb, and (c) uncured pork was UK sourced or produced. Bacon was sourced from the UK and the European Union.

Meat: Sampling

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the estimated cost of sampling 100 grams of processed and frozen meat by the Food Standards Agency is; and if he will make a statement. [143222]

Mr Heath: The Food Standards Agency advise me that the cost for the sampling of processed and frozen meat by local authorities is approximately £300 for each sample.

25 Mar 2013 : Column 897W

Analytical costs are £250 plus a sample handling fee of £50, which is paid to the local authority taking the sample. The Food Standards Agency has also paid an additional £250 for a quick turnaround of samples which are part of phases one to three.

Phenylbutazone

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) whether any horse carcasses that tested positive for phenylbutazone were subsequently found to have had a false horse passport in (a) each of the last three years and (b) 2013 to date; [144794]

25 Mar 2013 : Column 898W

(2) what the (a) country of origin and (b) issuing organisation of the passports of those horse carcasses which tested positive for phenylbutazone was in (i) each of the last three years and (ii) 2013 to date. [144795]

Mr Heath: The information set out in the following table shows details of horses that have been tested and contained residues of phenylbutazone from 2010 to date. It is based on results from the statutory residues surveillance programme under Council Directive 96/23/EC implemented by the Veterinary Medicines Directorate, the Food Standards Agency's (FSA) supplementary testing in the second half of 2012 and the initial results from the FSA's 100% testing which commenced on 30 January 2013.

 Case no.False passport?Country of origin of horseIssuing organisation

2010

1005349

No

Great Britain

Weatherbys Thoroughbred Ltd

 

1005352

No

Great Britain

Welsh Pony and Cob Society

 

1016168

Passport destroyed by passport issuing organisation(1)

Ireland

Weatherbys (Ireland) Ltd

 

1016171

No

Great Britain

Pleasure Horse Society

 

1016172

Passport untraceable, details supplied by passport issuing organisation(1)

America

Weatherbys Group Ltd

2011

1114326

No

Great Britain

Weatherbys Thoroughbred Ltd

2012

1207301

No

Ireland

Weatherbys Thoroughbred Ltd

 

1207312

Unable to trace horse passport

Ireland

Unknown(2)

 

1207058

Passport destroyed by passport issuing organisation(1)

Unknown(3)

Pet-ID Equine

 

1217081

No

Great Britain

Weatherbys Group Ltd

 

1232843

Passport destroyed by passport issuing organisation(1)(,)(2)

Ireland

Horse Sport Ireland

 

Unknown(4)

No

Unknown

Welsh Pony and Cob Society

 

Unknown(4)

No

Unknown

Gypsy Pony Society

 

Unknown(4)

No

Unknown

Verband Der Zuchter des Oldenburger Perdes E.V.

 

Unknown(4)

No

Unknown

Weatherbys Group Ltd

2013

S13-001303

Under investigation

Great Britain

Horse Passport Agency Ltd

 

S13-001304

Under investigation

Great Britain

The National Pony Society

 

S13-001328

No

Great Britain

The Veteran Horse Society

 

S13-001362

Under investigation

Great Britain

Horse Passport Agency Ltd

 

S13-001364

Under investigation

Great Britain

The British Horses Society

 

S13-001396

Under investigation

Great Britain

Weatherbys Group Ltd

 

S13-001414

Under investigation

Great Britain

The Arab Horse Society

 

S13-001416

Under investigation

United Kingdom

The Arab Horse Society

 

S13-001399

Under investigation

United Kingdom

Dartmoor Pony Society

 

S13-001443

Under investigation

Great Britain

Pet-ID Equine

 

S13-001452

Under investigation

Great Britain

Gypsy Cob Society Ltd

 

S13-001464

Under investigation

Great Britain

Weatherbys Group Ltd

 

S13-001512

Under investigation

Great Britain

Weatherbys Group Ltd

(1) Passport issuing organisations are legally permitted to destroy the invalidated passports of horses that have been slaughtered or died. (2) The passport number was known which indicated the origin of the horse. (3) The passport was destroyed and the passport number could not be obtained, which would have indicated the country of origin. (4) No information available.

Water Charges: East of England

Mr Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the average percentage change in domestic water bills has been in each local authority area in the East of England in each of the last three years. [148083]

Richard Benyon: The water industry regulator, Ofwat, does not hold data by local authority area but by water company. Prior to privatisation in 1989 customers were billed by regional state-owned water boards and since privatisation the regulator has set price limits for water companies. Every five years Ofwat sets price limits for the water and sewerage companies. This is the amount they are able to charge customers and this process is

25 Mar 2013 : Column 899W

known as a Price Review. At Price Review, Ofwat sets a five-year price cap to which the rate of inflation is added annually. All companies have a charges scheme, which must be approved by Ofwat on an annual basis.

Prices reflect the amount of revenue each company must collect from its customers in order to maintain high quality water services and the need to finance day-to-day activities and to invest in the necessary infrastructure. These costs differ from region to region. At a household level, the size of the bill and the extent of change also depend on whether a customer is metered or unmetered.

The changes in average water bills for the five companies supplying the east of England region for the last three years are set out in the table. These take into account a rate of inflation based on the retail price index (RPI) annual inflation as at the previous November. The figures in brackets represent the changes as agreed under the Price Review, excluding RPI.

Percentage
 2013-142012-132011-12

Anglian Water

2.8 (-0.1)

6.9 (1.7)

4.7 (-0.1)

Essex and Suffolk

3 (0)

5.1 (-0.1)

9.4 (4.6)

Cambridge Water

2.8 (-0.2)

6.2 (1)

2.6 (-2.1)

Affinity (East)

1.4 (-1.6)

1.6 (-3.6)

1.6 (-3.1)

Affinity(Central)

0.1 (-2.9)

1.4 (-3.8)

5.3 (0.6)

Offshore Wind Farms: Noise

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what measures are required in UK waters to reduce the impact from noise attributable to wind farm construction on wildlife protected by the EU Habitats Directive. [149531]

Richard Benyon: An assessment of predicted noise impacts from the construction of offshore wind farms on receptors, including marine wildlife, is undertaken as part of the environmental impact assessment process. This outcome is documented in an environmental statement that applicants are required to submit to support their application.

The application is widely consulted upon with advisors, including the Statutory Nature Conservation Bodies and the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science that have a specialist understanding of the implications of noise on marine receptors.

Depending on the outcome of the assessment and responses received, noise mitigation measures may be added as licence conditions to ensure that noise is reduced to acceptable limits.

Communities and Local Government

Centre for Global Eco-Innovation

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what work Inventya Ltd carried out on behalf of the Centre for

25 Mar 2013 : Column 900W

Global Innovation; and what steps his Department took to assess the value of such work to the project. [149257]

Brandon Lewis: Inventya provide specialist consultancy to small medium-sized enterprises to support commercialisation of products to market as part of the Centre for Global Eco-Innovation. Lancaster university as project applicant assess the value of the work being undertaken by Inventya as they are a delivery partner to the project.

Troubled Families Project

Jessica Morden: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) for how many families local authorities have been able to claim the payment by results element of the Troubled Families Programme since April 2012; [149881]

(2) for how many families local authorities have been able to claim the payment by results element of the Troubled Families Programme since April 2012, by local authority. [149889]

Brandon Lewis: As of the end of December 2012, local authorities claimed results for successfully turning around the lives of 1,675 troubled families. In line with the terms of the payment-by-results scheme, which is set out in the Financial Framework for the troubled families programme, local authorities will receive payment for five out of every six families they successfully turn around.

In March 2013, the Department published progress information on the Troubled Families programme, broken down by local authority. This information is available on the Department's website:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/136318/130228_-_PI_for_publication.xls

The final column 'Number of families turned round' represents the number of results claimed for families by each local authority.

We will publish this data regularly throughout the Troubled Families Programme.

Fires

Peter Aldous: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps his Department is taking to make the UK economy more resilient to incidents of fire. [149538]

Brandon Lewis: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to him on 14 March 2013, Official Report, column 287W.

Help to Buy: London

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the financial statement of 20 March 2013, Official Report, column 942, how many people in London will benefit from the announced Help to Buy scheme. [149948]

Mr Prisk: In London, the Mayor will work with the Homes and Communities Agency to support new build home purchases through Help to Buy: equity loan and

25 Mar 2013 : Column 901W

new private rented homes through Build to Rent. This will involve a minimum of £750 million of funding up to 2015-16.

Help to Buy: equity loan is a demand led scheme and the numbers of people who will benefit is dependent on a number of factors including take up and price of properties being purchased.

Indigo Public Affairs

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what meetings (a) he, (b) Ministers, (c) officials and (d) special political advisers of his Department have had with Indigo Public Affairs Ltd; and if he will publish full details of any such meetings. [148829]

Brandon Lewis [holding answer 19 March 2013]: Details of Ministers’ meetings with external organisations are routinely published on my Department's website.

www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-communities-and-local-government/series/dclg-ministerial-data

Details of officials’ departmental meetings are not held centrally, although I can inform the hon. Member that special advisers are not aware of any such meetings. All representatives of the Department act in accordance with “Guidance on Planning Propriety Issues”, which is published at:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/planning-propriety-issues-guidance

Mobile Phones

Mr Streeter: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which company holds the largest contract to provide mobile telephony services to his Department; how much is paid each year under that contract; how many individual devices are covered by the contract; when the contract was awarded; and when and how the contract will next be reviewed. [148403]

Brandon Lewis: The Department's only mobile telephony services contract is with Vodafone. It currently has 862 mobile devices on issue to staff and has spent £213,799 (including. VAT) for the period of 1 January 2012 to 31 January 2013.

Although DCLG has had contracts with Vodafone for individual devices, the current contract for this service started on 7 October 2011 and is under a Government Framework Agreement (reference RM526 (Mobile Solutions II—Lot 1, Part 3)) and with an end date of 7 October 2015.

My Department reviews usage of the contracts and compliance to terms on an ongoing basis. In addition, DCLG will liaise with the Government Procurement Service approximately one year before the current agreement expires to establish opportunities for the Department to benefit from collaborative central Government arrangements and otherwise will tender our ongoing requirements.

In a lean business environment the Department recognises the advantages in remote working that mobile devices bring. To drive down overall costs the Department has signed up to a centrally negotiated telephony agreement.

25 Mar 2013 : Column 902W

The Department has used the collective bargaining power of the DCLG group to qualify for savings with suppliers.

Help to Buy: Impact Assessment

Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether his Department has conducted an impact assessment of the effects of the Help to Buy equity loan scheme on house prices. [149899]

Mr Prisk: The scheme will help up to 74,000 home buyers over the three years to March 2016. By way of context, the Office for Budget Responsibility has estimated that in the same period there will be over 3.4 million property transactions. Homes purchased under the Help to Buy: equity loan scheme would therefore only account for 2% of overall property transactions, and hence it is unlikely they would have any material effect on house prices.

Recruitment

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many officials were recruited to (a) his Department and (b) each of its non-departmental public bodies in each of the last five years. [147963]

Brandon Lewis: My Department has recruited the following numbers of staff in each of the last five years:

 2008-092009-102010-112011-122012-13

Permanent

169

202

48

26

99

Fixed-term

37

67

10

4

26

The civil service entered a recruitment freeze in May 2010 and overall civil service numbers are 15% down from the last general election. Many of the above staff recruited since May 2010 were to fill business critical vacancies, vacancies requiring technical skills, cross-Whitehall talent management programmes, or recruitment commitments made prior to new controls announced in May 2010.

Excluding Fast Stream staff, the majority of the staff joining the Department since May 2010 were existing civil servants on transfer from another Department to fill a vacancy left through natural turnover, rather than new civil service appointments.

Information for numbers of staff recruited by the Department's agencies and non-executive public bodies is not held centrally.

The Department's major programme of restructuring has reduced headcount by 37% on a like-for-like basis with the October 2010 baseline position.

Based on current estimates (which reflect accounting consequences from machinery of government changes), the DCLG Group is reducing its annual running costs by 41% in real terms between 2010-11 and 2014-15. This equates to net savings of at least £532 million over this spending review period and includes savings of around £420 million from the closure of the Government offices for the regions.

25 Mar 2013 : Column 903W

Social Rented Housing

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will conduct a survey (a) nationally, (b) by region and (c) by local authority area of the number of registered social landlords who intend to let affordable rented homes in new schemes only to working households; and if he will make a statement. [149268]

Mr Prisk: There are no plans to conduct any surveys of the number of registered providers intending to let homes at an affordable rent only to working households.

Allocations and nominations processes for affordable rent homes are expected to mirror the existing frameworks for social rented housing. Providers will be under the same statutory and regulatory obligations when allocating affordable rent homes as they are when allocating properties for social rent.

There is scope for local flexibility. Provided that a local authority's overall scheme is framed around the statutory reasonable preference categories, local authorities can opt to reserve certain properties for allocation to other client groups. They may decide to exercise this discretion in relation to affordable rent, e.g. to target it at households in work but on low incomes. Similarly, providers will have discretion to allocate properties to households who are in work where those properties do not form part of nominations agreements with local authorities.

Telephone Services

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government 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. [147813]

Brandon Lewis: Neither the Department nor the Planning Inspectorate use any of these numbers for members of the public.

The Homes and Communities Agency uses a low-cost 030 number. It inherited a 0845 number that was previously the general contact number for the (now defunct) Tenants Services Authority; this was retained for legacy reasons to re-divert to the Homes and Communities Agency rather than disconnect. However, the number that the Homes and Communities Agency advertises to the public is the 030 number.

Culture, Media and Sport

Mobile Infrastructure Project

Mr Reid: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 18 December 2012, Official Report, column 683W, on mobile telephones, when in the spring she expects to appoint a supplier for the Mobile Infrastructure Project. [149933]

Mr Vaizey: The Department is in the final stage of the Mobile Infrastructure Project and expect to award the MIP provider contract in early May.

25 Mar 2013 : Column 904W

Digital Switchover

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions she has had with her counterpart at the Department of Energy and Climate Change about the lessons of Digital Switchover in engaging consumers for the forthcoming roll-out of smart meters. [148990]

Mr Vaizey: Ministers within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport regularly meet colleagues at the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) to discuss a range of matters.

Internet

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 11 March 2013, Official Report, column 60W, on internet, if she will consider conducting an assessment of the provision of free community internet access points for use by those who do not have internet access at home in (a) Glasgow North West constituency, (b) Glasgow, (c) Scotland and (d) the UK. [149269]

Mr Vaizey: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has no plans to make an assessment of the provision of free community internet access points across the UK. The Government's broadband policies and programmes are focused on ensuring that as many people as possible have access to broadband where they live. Our broadband programme is aiming to ensure that 90% of the population has access to superfast broadband, with the remainder of the population having access to at least 2 Mbps service. In addition, the recent auction of spectrum will lead to the competitive provision of 4G mobile broadband services from the summer, with one of the operators having an obligation in its licence to reach at least 98% of the population. Other broadband technologies are also available now, including fixed wireless and satellite which is capable of serving almost 100% of UK premises. Furthermore, the Universal Offers initiative launched in January this year by the Society of Chief Librarians (SCL) commented that most public libraries provide digital access for the community and have done so for some time.

Public Expenditure

Helen Goodman: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the Financial Statement of 20 March 2013, Official Report, column 935, how her Department intends to cut one per cent from its budget. [149943]

Hugh Robertson: Almost all Department for Culture, Media and Sport funding is passed directly to our arm's length bodies. We will be discussing with our bodies what this means in practice. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport has always been clear, however, that she expects the frontline services, which the public value, to be protected as far as possible, and for savings to be made through efficiencies and from ending lower value activity.

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Public Libraries

Mark Hendrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much income was obtained from libraries in England from (a) library fines, (b) loans of books, audio and other materials and (c) room hire in (i) 2009-10, (ii) 2010-11 and (iii) 2011-12. [149712]

Mr Vaizey: The detail requested is not held centrally by this Department, as it is a matter for individual authorities. However the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (OPFA) collect financial information data annually from the library authorities and details of overdue charges, lettings, and hire of audio and visual materials is available from CIPFA for the years requested. Copies of CIPFA statistics are available in the House Library.


Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Arms Trade: Human Rights

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he plans to take to prohibit states with questionable human rights records from attending the September 2013 London DSEi arms fair. [149270]

Alistair Burt: The British Government undertakes a thorough case-by-case assessment before issuing any formal invitations to foreign governments wishing to attend events such as DSEi. Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms are mandatory considerations in this process. We will review the invitations we have given if the situation in any one country changes significantly prior to an exhibition. Any subsequent defence sales are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria.

British Indian Ocean Territory

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 5 March 2013, Official Report, column 904W, on Chagos Islands, whether his taking stock process will include material evidence from the 2002 Flexibility Study into the practicalities of voluntary repatriation of Chagossians. [149446]

Mark Simmonds: Evidence from the 2002 Feasibility Study will be considered as part of the review of our policy towards the British Indian Ocean Territory.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Islington North, of 6 March 2013, Official Report, column 1018W, on Chagos Islands, if he will complete the taking stock of his policy towards resettlement before the end of 2013. [149465]

Mark Simmonds: Ministers want to consider British Indian Ocean Territory policy options carefully, given the complexity of the issues. Our review of policy will

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be thorough. We do not have a timetable for the conclusion of the review and will inform Parliament as soon as we are in a position to do so.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 12 March 2013, Official Report, column 168W, on British Indian Ocean Territory, if, as part of his agreement with interested stakeholders, he will consult those exiled Chagossians who are interested in the opportunity of voluntary repatriation in respect of the (a) costs to them, (b) benefits to the UK in having a presence on the islands and (c) any other consequences of pursuing such a policy. [149500]

Mark Simmonds: Ministers and officials continue to engage with Chagossians as part of our review of policy. This will include the costs, benefits and other consequences of any kind of resettlement.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make an assessment of Professor Paul Kench's 5 October 2012 review of his Department's 2002 feasibility study into the practical consequences of a policy of voluntary repatriation of Chagossians to the Chagos Islands. [149501]

Mark Simmonds: As part of our review of our policy on the British Indian Ocean Territory, we will consider all relevant contributions, submissions and views, as appropriate.

Central America

Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to co-ordinate the work of his Department with that of the Department for International Development in central America; and if he will make a statement. [149454]

Mr Swire: The Department for International Development (DFID) no longer has a bilateral aid programme in central America. This is in line with the Government's decision to focus their aid activity on a small number of the poorest and most fragile states where the UK is well-placed to make a significant impact. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials are nonetheless in contact with DFID about work in central America on a case by case basis.

China

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether any Government (a) Minister and (b) official has been denied a visa by the Chinese authorities in the last 12 months. [149908]

Mr Hague: I can confirm that no Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Minister or official has been denied a visa by the Chinese authorities in the last 12 months. The FCO has not been informed of a Minister or official from any other Government Department having been denied a visa by the Chinese authorities in the last 12 months.

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Colombia

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on progress being made in the Colombian peace talks. [149733]

Mr Swire: We strongly welcome President Santos's decision to enter into peace negotiations with the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC). It brings the hope of sustainable peace for all Colombians after decades of conflict.

The latest round of talks started on Friday 15 March in Cuba. The two negotiating teams are working to a five point agenda, the first of which is rural development. The agenda recognises that the historic injustices suffered by vulnerable groups need to be addressed to bring about sustainable peace.

On 1 March, Government negotiators in Havana gave an update on the status of the talks and announced that important progress had been made on the first agenda point. The FARC's chief negotiator has recognised that the process has advanced further than any previous peace process in Colombia.

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the human rights situation in Colombia; and what reports he has received on progress made over recent years in tackling impunity from the law in that country. [149736]

Mr Swire: We welcome the Colombian Government's genuine effort to improve respect for human rights in Colombia, including through its land restitution and victims reparations processes. Progress has been made on prosecutions for extra-judicial killings, and in 2012 there were no reported cases of “false positives” in Colombia. Illegal armed groups commit most of the human rights violations in Colombia and we encourage the Colombian Government to do more to provide justice for the victims of violations.

The Colombian justice system is currently suffering from a backlog and a lack of resources. President Santos has committed to addressing these problems by implementing a package of reforms to de-politicise the

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judiciary, improve its administration, give it greater resources, and de-congest its caseload. Additionally, Colombia's Attorney-General has committed to providing extra prosecutors for the National Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Unit. Last year our embassy in Colombia helped the Attorney-General's office to improve the efficiency of its case management.