26 Mar 2013 : Column 1051W

26 Mar 2013 : Column 1052W

Non-departmental public body (NDPB)
 Reason for leaving20082009201020112012

Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board

Resignation

(1)n/a

(1)n/a

(1)n/a

4

12

 

Redundancy

(1)n/a

(1)n/a

(1)n/a

8

6

 

Total

(1)n/a

(1)n/a

(1)n/a

12

18

       

Commission for Rural Communities

Redundancy

(1)n/a

(1)n/a

(1)n/a

5

0

 

Transfer to other public sector post

(1)n/a

(1)n/a

(1)n/a

0

1

 

Other

(1)n/a

(1)n/a

(1)n/a

0

1

 

Total

(1)n/a

(1)n/a

(1)n/a

5

2

       

Consumer Council for Water

Resignation

11

6

2

5

3

 

Retirement

1

1

0

0

0

 

Other

2

11

8

5

0

 

Total

14

18

10

10

3

       

Environment Agency

Resignation

702

372

465

343

261

 

Retirement

270

196

235

148

103

 

Redundancy

75

31

47

65

8

 

Other

263

293

434

615

127

 

Total

1,310

892

1,181

1,171

499

       

Gangmasters Licensing Authority

Resignation

4

3

6

5

8

 

Retirement

2

1

0

0

0

 

Other

1

0

2

5

9

 

Total

7

4

8

10

17

       

Joint Nature Conservation Committee

Resignation

2

13

4

9

11

 

Retirement

1

3

0

0

2

 

Other

5

5

6

1

2

 

Total

8

21

10

10

15

       

Marine Management Organisation (created on 1 April 2010). Figures shown are for financial years 2010-11 and 2011-12

Resignation

(2)

(2)

(2)

11

8

 

Retirement

(2)

(2)

(2)

4

8

 

Redundancy

(2)

(2)

(2)

2

5

 

Transfer to other public sector post

(2)

(2)

(2)

1

2

 

Total

(2)

(2)

(2)

18

23

       

National Forest Company

Resignation

1

0

4

0

1

 

Retirement

0

0

0

1

0

 

Redundancy

0

0

0

4

0

 

Total

1

0

4

5

1

       

Natural England

Resignation

52

45

58

43

28

 

Retirement

13

15

22

6

8

 

Redundancy

153

1

7

336

38

 

Transfer to other public sector post

6

0

8

8

3

 

Other

7

7

5

10

1

26 Mar 2013 : Column 1053W

26 Mar 2013 : Column 1054W

 

Total

231

68

100

403

78

       

Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew

Resignation

50

34

45

28

22

 

Retirement

6

13

9

8

2

 

Redundancy

0

0

1

3

0

 

Other

65

64

62

41

33

 

Total

121

111

117

80

57

       

Sea Fish Industry Authority

Resignation

30

17

21

7

16

 

Retirement

0

0

1

1

1

 

Total

30

17

22

8

17

       

Sustainable Development Commission (abolished 31 March 2011)

Resignation

0

3

8

1

(2)

 

Retirement

0

0

1

(2)

(2)

 

Redundancy

0

0

3

29

(2)

 

Transfer to other public sector post

0

1

1

0

(2)

 

Other

1

3

4

0

(2)

 

Total

1

7

17

30

(2)

(1) For years where information is not available n/a is shown. (2) For years where body is no longer in existence.

Travel

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much his Department spent on (a) the Government Car Service and (b) other taxi or car services for ministerial travel in each year since 2009-10; and if he will make a statement. [142636]

Richard Benyon: The information is as follows.

(a) Departmental spend on the Government Cars Service is published in an annual written Ministerial Statement, details of which can be found within the Libraries of both Houses:

2009-10

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm101028/wmstext/101028m0001.htm#10102827000372

2010-11

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201212/cmhansrd/cm120116/wmstext/120116m0001.htm#12011611000194

2011-12

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm121220/wmstext/121220m0001.htm#12122056000216

Details of the costs for 2012-13 will be published in the normal way later this year.

(b) The Ministerial Code, published on 21 May 2010, included changes to the circumstances in which Ministers would be entitled to a car and driver. Junior DEFRA Ministers have given up their cars to reduce costs and currently use the central Government Cars Agency pool, unless the Secretary of State's car is available.

Private hire taxis are only used for ministerial travel when no other option is available, and when it is appropriate to do so. Since 2009, the costs were:

 Cost (£)

2009-10

22,705.05

2010-11

2,947.96

2011-12

2,515.05

2012 to date

2,389.94

UN Convention on Biological Diversity

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress the UK has made towards meeting the commitments it made at the Convention on Biodiversity Conference of the Parties in Nagoya on ecosystems mapping and accounting. [150060]

Richard Benyon: The UK has been making steady progress in these new and complex areas.

The Strategic Plan for Biodiversity agreed at Nagoya included a specific target to incorporate the values of biodiversity into national accounting and reporting systems by 2020. This forms part of our commitment to ensuring that natural capital is fully incorporated into the UK Environmental Accounts by the same date. The approach and milestones to achieve this goal have been set out by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) in an ambitious roadmap published in December 2012. DEFRA is now working with the ONS to implement this roadmap.

The UK has also made good progress in relation to ecosystem mapping, although this is not covered by a specific strategic plan target. Relevant projects include the development of maps of ecosystem functioning by Natural England; the sectoral pilots of ecosystems mapping

26 Mar 2013 : Column 1055W

by DEFRA and the Joint Nature Conservation Committee; and other DEFRA-funded research on mapping methodology. The UK is also collaborating with the European Union's project on Mapping and Assessment of Ecosystems and their Services.

Wind Power: Seas and Oceans

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will introduce a 160 decibel noise limit for pile driving in offshore windfarm construction. [149445]

Gregory Barker: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department of Energy and Climate Change.

Decisions on noise limits for pile driving in offshore wind farm construction are taken on a case by case basis after consideration of all relevant matters including the results of consultation with statutory nature conservation bodies and any mitigation measures proposed.

Deputy Prime Minister

Devolution

7. Charlie Elphicke: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent steps he has taken to devolve power away from Westminster and Whitehall. [149761]

10. Andrew George: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what plans he has to devolve power from Westminster and Whitehall. [149764]

The Deputy Prime Minister: We are devolving power to the most appropriate level through local enterprise partnerships, local government finance reforms, giving local authorities a general power of competence and City Deals. We have accepted in full or in part, 81 of Lord Heseltine's 89 recommendations which build on that work to decentralise power and drive growth.

We delivered a referendum in Wales which resulted in the Assembly assuming primary law making powers and we established the Silk Commission. In addition, the UK and Scottish Governments are working together to ensure the smooth implementation of Scotland Act 2012 which represents the greatest devolution of fiscal powers from London in 300 years.

Overseas Voter Regulations

8. Mike Freer: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what consideration he has given to changing the regulations on voting by UK citizens who are living overseas. [149762]

Miss Chloe Smith: UK citizens resident overseas can register to vote in UK and European parliamentary elections provided that they have been registered in the UK in the past 15 years.

We are extending the electoral timetable for UK parliamentary elections from 17 to 25 working days which will allow postal votes to be issued sooner and facilitate postal voting being viable for electors who are living overseas.

26 Mar 2013 : Column 1056W

Heseltine Review

9. Andrew Stunell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on the role of decentralisation in the implementation of the Heseltine review. [149763]

The Deputy Prime Minister: I very much welcome Lord Heseltine's important review, in particular his vision for greater decentralisation of economic powers and budgets to local areas.

I am in ongoing discussions with ministerial colleagues on the implementation of the Heseltine review and the role of decentralisation in that context.

Special Advisers

11. David Wright: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many special advisers work in his office. [149765]

The Deputy Prime Minister: The Government regularly publish details of special adviser numbers and pay bands. This information is available on the Cabinet Office website at

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/special-adviser-data-releases-numbers-and-costs-october-2012

Political and Constitutional Reform

12. Julie Elliott: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what constitutional and political reform he plans to pursue for the rest of the current Parliament. [149766]

The Deputy Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Lady to my answer to questions 3 and 5 at oral questions earlier today.

Spoilt Ballot Papers

14. Graham Jones: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what steps the Government plan to take to reduce the number of spoilt ballot papers in future elections. [149768]

Miss Chloe Smith: It is clearly of vital importance that voters can complete their ballot paper and make an effective voting choice. Guidance notices, which are prescribed in legislation, are displayed in polling booths, and information is provided in postal ballot packs, explaining how to mark voting preferences on the ballot paper at each type of election.

Improvements were made to the clarity of these notices as well as the ballot paper and other voter-facing forms used at the November 2012 Mayoral and Police and Crime Commissioner Elections. The Government will consider the extent to which the design changes made for those elections might be reflected at other elections to make the voting experience as accessible as possible.

Lobbying

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what representations he has received on the proposed statutory register of lobbyists since September 2012. [150234]

26 Mar 2013 : Column 1057W

Miss Chloe Smith: As Minister with responsibility for this policy, I have received a number of letters from Members of Parliament expressing an interest in our proposals for a statutory register of lobbyists. I have also received correspondence on the matter from a range of stakeholders.

The Government are committed to introducing a statutory register of lobbyists. We are continuing to carefully consider the evidence submitted in response to our consultation and will publish revised proposals in due course.

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what meetings he has had with interested parties on his plans to introduce a statutory register of lobbyists since September 2012. [150236]

Miss Chloe Smith: Cabinet Office Ministers have had no meetings with interested parties on the Government's plans for a proposed statutory register of lobbyists since September 2012.

The Government are committed to introducing a statutory register of lobbyists. We are continuing to carefully consider the evidence submitted in response to our consultation and will publish revised proposals in due course.

Energy and Climate Change

Carbon Sequestration: Tees Valley

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the effect on (a) Teesside's process industry and (b) levels of unemployment on Teesside on his decision not to award low carbon funding from the CCS Commercialisation Competition to Teesside. [149862]

Mr Hayes: The criteria by which projects in the carbon capture and storage competition were assessed are set out in the Invitation to Participate in Discussions (ITPD) documentation. This is available on the Contracts Finder website at:

http://www.contractsfinder.businesslink.gov.uk/

(search CCS Commercialisation)

Following the announcement on the selection of preferred bidders in the CCS competition on 20 March 2013, the remaining two bidders, Teesside Low Carbon and Captain Clean Energy, will be appointed as reserve projects. These bids may be called to participate in the next stage of the competition if one or both of the preferred bidders fails to enter into a front end engineering and design (FEED) contract by the summer.

Disclosure of Information

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many civil servants in his Department have been subject to non-disclosure agreements in each year since 2010. [150031]

Gregory Barker: The Department of Energy and Climate Change has interpreted the hon. Member’s reference to ‘non-disclosure agreements' as relating to individual compromise agreements between the Department

26 Mar 2013 : Column 1058W

and a current or former employee under which the employee or former employee has received a negotiated sum to specifically secure the confidentiality of the settlement.

Our records show that one such compromise agreement was concluded in the period from 1 January 2010 to date.

Energy: Housing

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the total annual expenditure on (a) electricity and (b) gas by domestic users was in each year since 2003. [149864]

Gregory Barker: DECC publishes data on total annual expenditure on electricity and gas by domestic consumers in Table 1.1.6 of the Digest of UK Energy Statistics (DUKES): The latest published data are shown in the following table:

Annual expenditure (£million)
 ElectricityGas

2003

7,660

6,260

2004

9,120

8,285

2005

9,665

8,215

2006

11,340

10,100

2007

12,540

9,950

2008

14,245

12,070

2009

14,535

12,605

2010

14,085

14,275

2011

14,695

12,310

Data for 2012 are not yet available.

The Digest of UK Energy Statistics is available on the DECC website:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-of-energy-climate-change/series/digest-of-uk-energy-statistics-dukes

Energy: North Sea

Grahame M. Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent assessment he has made of the infrastructure developments required at ports on the north-east coast to accommodate future growth in the offshore (a) oil and gas and (b) renewable energy industries. [149490]

Mr Hayes: The National Policy Statement for Ports, which was designated in January 2012 and is available on the gov.uk website, strongly emphasizes the vital importance of the UK port sector in catering for a range of energy imports and exports including offshore wind and hydrocarbons. Ports in the north-east of England are well placed to respond to the demand in these sectors.

Fuel Poverty

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many and what proportion of people lived in fuel poverty in each of the last 30 years (a) nationally and (b) in each region. [149355]

Gregory Barker: The following table shows the number and proportion of households in fuel poverty for each country in the UK, for each year that data are available since the measurement of fuel poverty started in 1996.

26 Mar 2013 : Column 1059W

26 Mar 2013 : Column 1060W

  199620032004200520062007200820092010

England

Thousand

5,100

1,222

1,236

1,529

2,432

2,819

3,335

3,964

3,536

 

Percentage

25

6

6

7

11

13

16

18

16

  199620022003-042004-052005-062007200820092010

Scotland

Thousand

756

293

350

419

543

586

618

770

658

 

Percentage

36

13

15

18

24

25

27

33

28

  20042005*2006*20082009*2010*

Wales

Thousand

134

167

250

332

368

332

 

Percentage

11

14

21

26

29

26

  200420062009

Northern Ireland

Thousand

154

226

302

 

Percentage

24

34

44

Data for England are taken from the annual Fuel Poverty Statistics, based on the English Housing Survey (EHS). Data for Scotland are taken from the Scottish House Condition Survey. This survey changed to a calendar year basis in 2007, making it consistent with the English Housing Survey. Data for Wales are taken from the Living in Wales survey. Years marked with an asterisk (*) indicate those for which fuel poverty in Wales has been estimated, by taking data from a previous year where actual data were available, and applying predicted price and income changes. Data for Northern Ireland are taken from the Northern Ireland House Condition Survey.

The following table shows the number and proportion of households in fuel poverty in each region in England between 2003 and 2010. This information is only available from 2003 onwards. This table can also be found in the long-term trends tables of our annual fuel poverty publication (in table 19). This can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-of-energy-climate-change/series/fuel-poverty-statistics

 Fuel poor20032004200520062007200820092010

North East

Thousand

95

103

126

179

206

236

272

238

 

Percentage

8.7

9.5

11.5

16.4

18.6

21.2

24.1

21.3

Yorkshire and the Humber

Thousand

180

163

169

273

333

407

444

415

 

Percentage

8.6

7.7

8.0

12.7

15.5

18.2

19.9

18.6

North West

Thousand

178

190

268

415

412

531

649

601

 

Percentage

6.3

6.6

9.2

14.2

16.1

18.1

22.1

20.3

East Midlands

Thousand

112

101

145

236

212

359

398

341

 

Percentage

6.3

5.7

8.1

12.9

14.8

19.2

21.4

18.1

West Midlands

Thousand

146

153

197

304

383

500

589

485

 

Percentage

6.7

7.0

8.9

13.7

17.2

22.5

26.2

21.6

South West

Thousand

139

134

181

256

259

339

411

342

 

Percentage

6.5

6.2

8.3

11.6

11.7

75.5

18.4

15.2

East of England

Thousand

115

141

155

224

253

292

388

381

 

Percentage

5.1

6.1

6.7

9.7

10.8

12.5

16.2

16.0

South East

Thousand

149

133

169

291

333

342

411

401

 

Percentage

4.4

3.9

4.9

8.5

9.5

9.9

11.8

11.5

London

Thousand

108

119

120

254

309

328

402

331

 

Percentage

3.6

3.9

3.9

8.3

10.0

10.8

13.3

10.9

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what consideration his Department has given to introducing lifeline tariffs for those energy customers in the UK who are at most risk of energy poverty. [149855]

Gregory Barker: Help with energy bills for those in the UK who are in or at risk of fuel poverty is provided by the warm home discount. This provides help annually to around two million low income and vulnerable households. This winter that included a £130 discount on electricity bills paid to around 1.16 million of the poorest pensioners.

In addition, Ofgem's retail market review proposals will ensure that all consumers are on the cheapest tariff in line with their preferences. The Government have also introduced clauses into the Energy Bill so that we can act to implement these important reforms in the event that Ofgem's proposals are frustrated or unduly delayed.

26 Mar 2013 : Column 1061W

Green Deal Scheme

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how much his Department has spent on outside consultancy services for the Green Deal since May 2010. [149982]

Gregory Barker: The Department has focused on developing the Green Deal through industry-led working groups, so we have not engaged consultants in any significant way, but we have taken some consultancy advice with spend as follows:

2010-11: £178,000

2011-12: £305,000

Green Park Interim and Executive

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the purpose was of his Department's payment of £5,400 to Green Park Interim and Executive Ltd on 18 January 2013. [149981]

Gregory Barker: The Department has employed a short-term contractor from Green Park Interim and Executive Ltd to undertake specialist work as part of our departmental digital strategy.

Home Energy Conservation Act 1995

Dr Whitehead: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he plans to take after 31 March 2013 in response to the publication of the reports pursuant to the Home Energy Conservation Act 1995; and if he will make a statement. [149616]

Gregory Barker: The Home Energy Conservation Act (HECA) reporting requirements were revitalised and fundamentally changed with new guidance being issued to all English local authorities (LAs) in July 2012. The reports due by 31 March 2013 are therefore the first time LAs have reported under the new arrangements.

The Department will consider the HECA reports to review the action proposed by LAs and how we might best work with them to improve the energy efficiency of their residential accommodation, including sharing best practice.

Northern Ireland

Dr McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent discussions he has had with Ministers in the Northern Ireland Executive; and what issues were discussed. [150254]

Gregory Barker: DECC Ministers meet regularly with Ministers from the devolved Administrations to discuss a range of issues. As has been the case with successive Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings.

Peat Bogs

Glyn Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) what reports he has received on whether floating roads, built to provide vehicular access over windfarms, sink into peatlands; [149719]

26 Mar 2013 : Column 1062W

(2) what assessment he has made of the risk of drying out, cracking and potential peat-pipe formation on peatlands as a result of construction of floating roads; [149720]

(3) how many windfarm developments involving deep peat have received a formal risk matrix prior to construction to date; [149721]

(4) what assessment he has made of the risk posed by peat slides that occur as a result of constructing windfarms on peatland. [149722]

Gregory Barker: Applicants for consent for major energy infrastructure must provide assessments of potential biodiversity and geological impacts which would include an assessment of the effects of locating the infrastructure on peatland if that was the case. The decision-making authority would need to take such impacts into account before making its decision.

The National Policy Statement for Renewable Energy Infrastructure (EN-3)(1) contains further information on the assessment of applications for consent for onshore wind farms on peat.

The Department has not undertaken, nor received, any specific assessments on these issues.

(1)https://Whitehall-admin.production.alphagov.co.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/37048/1940-nps-renewable-energy-en3.pdf

Glyn Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the potential for reducing UK greenhouse gas emissions by including peatlands in the total green house gas emissions calculation; and if he will place details of any such analysis in the Library. [149723]

Gregory Barker: We acknowledge the importance of peatlands in maintaining carbon stocks and recognise their potential for sequestering additional carbon.

At present, peatlands are not accounted for in UK greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets calculation. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will publish a methodology to account for peatlands in July 2013, and we are currently considering what land use and forestry activities the UK will account for in the period 2013-20.

The UK greenhouse gas inventory is published every year and includes emissions estimates from peat extraction within the Wetlands category of the Land Use, Land Use Change and Forestry (LULUCF) sector of the annual UK greenhouse gas inventory.

Public Expenditure

Chris Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change with reference to the estimated Resource DEL underspend in financial year 2012-13 of £300 million as set out in Table 2.5 of the Budget 2013 Red Book which service areas in his Department have received reduced resources; what the amounts of resource reduction were; and if he will make a statement. [150193]

Gregory Barker: Table 2.5 of the Budget 2013 Red Book shows the difference between Budget 2012 plans and the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC)'s latest estimates of its full-year position.

26 Mar 2013 : Column 1063W

In addition to forecast underspend against final plans, since Budget 2012 the Department surrendered £253 million of RDEL at the supplementary estimates. Of this, £73 million is available for future years through the Budget Exchange mechanism, £189 million was switched from the Department's resource budget to the capital budget and an offsetting amount of £9 million was transferred to DECC from other Government Departments.

The Department will set out its spending for the year in detail in its annual accounts in the usual way.

Radioactive Waste

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the selection of a site for the storage of radioactive waste from existing and former nuclear sites; and if he will make a statement. [149683][Official Report, 17 April 2013, Vol. 561, c. 1MC.]

Mr Hayes: The UK's higher activity radioactive waste is currently held in safe and secure storage facilities at various nuclear sites around the country. Government set out our approach to implementing a geological disposal facility (GDF) to dispose of the UK's higher activity radioactive waste in the 2008 White Paper “Managing Radioactive Waste Safely: A Framework for Implementing Geological Disposal”.

The Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) process is based on the principles of voluntarism and partnership. It is a staged process, one in which potential host communities ‘decide to participate' (without commitment) in site identification and assessment for a potential GDF. To date, no sites have been selected. The Managing Radioactive Waste Safely (MRWS) programme is a very long-term one, and Government remain confident that a suitable site for a GDF will be found.

The current invitation remains open for volunteer communities to express an interest, without commitment, in the MRWS process. At the same time, Government have been working to learn the lessons of the recent experience gained in west Cumbria—as the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change affirmed in his written ministerial statement earlier today, we will launch in May a public call for evidence on the site selection process of the MRWS programme. The evidence provided in response to this call will inform a public consultation later this year on how this process might be improved.

With regards to the recent experience in west Cumbria, both Copeland and Allerdale borough councils decided to proceed to site identification and assessment, however, Cumbria county council did not. Since Government had given a specific commitment in west Cumbria that there should be agreement at both borough and county level before progressing to the next stage, this decision brought the existing site selection process to an end in west Cumbria.

Said Business School

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the purpose was of his Department's payment of £25,000 to Oxford Said Business School Ltd on 16 January 2013. [149979]

Gregory Barker: This payment was for a DECC director's place on cohort 3 of the Major Projects Leadership Academy (MPLA).

26 Mar 2013 : Column 1064W

SMP Commercial

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the purpose was of his Department's payment of £326,782.54 to SMP Commercial in January 2013. [149980]

Gregory Barker: “SMP Commercial” is a business area within the Department of Energy and Climate Change. The expenditure relates to payments to suppliers supporting the delivery of the Smart Metering Implementation Programme's competitions for the Data and Communications Company.

Telephone Services

John Healey: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change for each of the principal access numbers operated by (a) his Department and (b) the agencies for which he is responsible, what revenue has been retained by (i) the telephone provider for that line and (ii) his Department in each of the last three years. [149993]

Gregory Barker: For the numbers operated by this Department and its agencies, the Department has taken zero revenue in the last three years.

Any revenue which may be retained by the telephone provider is not specifically known to the Department at this time.

John Healey: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change which telephone lines are operated by (a) his Department and (b) the agencies for which he is responsible for public enquiries or other services; what the (i) principal access number and (ii) telephone service provider is for each number; and which such lines (A) are free to the caller and (B) may incur a charge to the caller. [150016]

Gregory Barker: This Department and its agencies operate the following numbers:

Department Public Enquiry Unit/Press Office—0300 060 4000 (operated by Level 3 as a standard non-geographic number at a national rate to the caller).

Department Out of Hours emergency inquiries—020 7215 3505 (operated by BT as a local rate charge to the caller).

Energy Saving Scotland—0800 512 012 (operated by BT and free to BT landline users).

The Coal Authority (subsidence and mining report inquiries)—0845 762 6848 (operated by BT as a standard non-geographic number charged at up to 10p per minute).

Wind Power

Nadine Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate his Department has made of the (a) level of carbon emissions resulting from the construction of each onshore wind turbine and (b) total amount of energy produced by such turbines annually. [149008]

Gregory Barker: The carbon footprint for onshore wind electricity production ranges between 8-20gCO2eq/kWh, taking into account emissions incurred during the manufacture, construction, maintenance, and decommissioning phases:

http://www.parliament.uk/documents/post/postpn_383-carbon-footprint-electricity-generation.pdf

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Research suggests that the average wind farm is expected to generate at least 20 to 25 times the energy used in its manufacture, installation, operation and eventual decommissioning over its lifetime; the average energy payback time for a wind farm is between three and 10 months:

http://www.soest.hawaii.edu/GG/FACULTY/ITO/GG410/Wind/Kubiszewski_EROI_Wind_RenEn10.pdf

In 2011, onshore wind generated 1.0.4 TWh of electricity. This is taken from the Digest of United Kingdom Energy Statistics (DUKES) 2012, table 6.4, which is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/renewable-sources-of-energy-chapter-6-digest-of-united-kingdom-energy-statistics-dukes

Wind Power: Thames Estuary

Dr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the establishment of windfarms on commercial shipping in the Thames Estuary. [148546]

Mr Hayes: We recognise that it is important that the offshore wind and shipping industries are able to work alongside each other to maximise the benefits for both sectors and for the United Kingdom as a whole.

All applications for renewable energy developments are considered within a formal process. Any consideration of the potential impacts of any wind farm in the Thames Estuary, including upon shipping and shipping lanes, during this process will take account of the views of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (the Government's advisers on navigational safety matters), Trinity House and other relevant stakeholders, including port authorities.

In addition, there are regular meetings between the shipping industry (commercial and recreational), wind farm developers, regulators and Government to discuss shipping and renewable energy issues through the Nautical and Offshore Renewable Energy Liaison Group.

Business, Innovation and Skills

Fires

Peter Aldous: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what steps his Department is taking to make the UK economy more resilient to incidents of fire; [149537]

(2) what steps his Department is taking to reduce the (a) number and (b) severity of fires in industrial and commercial premises. [149539]

Michael Fallon: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by the Under-Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, my hon. Friend the Member for Great Yarmouth (Brandon Lewis), on 14 March 2013, Official Report, column reference 287W.

Green Deal Finance Company

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much capital has the Green Investment Bank provided to the Green Deal finance company since the establishment of that company. [149983]

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Michael Fallon: Details of the Green Investment Bank's participation in the finance package for the Green Deal are due to be announced shortly.

Green Investment Bank

Chris Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the Budget 2013 Red Book, Table 2.5, which capital items and projects are no longer proceeding as a consequence of the underspend by the Green Investment Bank in 2012-13; and if he will make a statement. [150124]

Michael Fallon: There are no specific projects or capital spending plans that are no longer proceeding. The UK Green Investment Bank has full flexibility to carry forward capital under-spends within this spending review period. The bank is confident it will commit the full £3 billion the Government are providing for the period to April 2015.

Higher Education: Admissions

Damian Hinds: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what information his Department holds on the rate of university admissions, excluding admissions from overseas, of young people from different ethnic groups and each income level relative to the proportion of such groups to the overall population of young people; [149447]

(2) what information his Department holds on the rate of university admissions, excluding admissions from overseas, of young people from different ethnic groups, relative to the proportion of such groups to the overall population of young people; and what those figures would be if different levels of academic achievement were taken into account. [149448]

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.

Pamela Nash: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many university applications made through UCAS came from students at private and independent schools in each of the last five years. [149690]

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Mr Willetts: The information is given in the table:

UK domiciled applicants to UCAS who were from independent schools
 Year of entry
 20082009201020112012

Total UK applicants

502,461

544,285

586,821

589,350

544,752

of which:

     

from independent schools

42,018

43,848

42,386

38,410

36,068

Higher Education: Radicalism

Pamela Nash: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what working groups his Department has formed on combating religious extremism in universities. [149798]

Mr Willetts: There are no BIS led working groups on combating religious extremism in universities. Officials in BIS are part of the wider Home Office and DCLG led groups on preventing extremism.

Higher Education: Scotland

Pamela Nash: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on how many occasions the Minister of State for Universities has (a) met, (b) spoken on the telephone and (c) corresponded with the vice-chancellors of universities in Scotland in each year since 2010. [149799]

Mr Willetts: Ministers' meetings with external organisations are published quarterly on the gov.uk internet site and details are available via the following link:

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

I have not spoken on the telephone with the vice-chancellors of universities in Scotland in each year since 2010.

I have corresponded with Scottish vice-chancellors on 13 occasions since 2010.

Industrial Disputes

Nia Griffith: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether he has made a public response to the concerns recently raised by the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, with regards to proscriptions on the right to strike such as the ban on secondary picketing in force since 1982; and what assessment he has made of those concerns. [149969]

Jo Swinson: Although the Special Rapporteur has identified some preliminary findings, his full report is yet to be published.

The Government support the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association and believes that the UK complies with human rights obligations in respect of trade union law.

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Overseas Trade: Israel

Martin Vickers: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the UK-Israel Tech Hub. [149725]

Mr Willetts: The UK-Israel Tech Hub was launched in October 2011 by my right hon. Friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer, and with the active support and involvement of BIS, in order to drive UK economic growth by helping British companies partner with the best of Israeli innovation.

The Hub conducted a process of strategic planning and consultation with industry leaders on both sides to identify sectors with unique UK/Israel synergies—including Digital, Biomed, Cleantech, Arabic Internet, Government IT and Finance. Within these sectors, priorities have been mapped out and targeted activities executed to address these priorities.

Following the launch of the Hub, I visited Israel at the end of October 2011, on a high tech mission to promote the UK as a natural partner for Israeli high tech and to develop an understanding of the Israeli high tech scene.

I also co-chair the UK-Israel High Tech Council, launched in March 2012, with Israel's Chief Scientist, Avi Hasson.

The UK-Israel Tech Hub has been defined as a three-year experiment and the assessment to date is that it is meeting and even exceeding expectations within this short time frame. Achievements to date include:

In the digital sector—three inward investment successes (opening offices in the UK), over 20 prospective commercial partnerships, and a positive change in perception among Israeli participants regarding the attractiveness of the tech environment; and

In the biomed sector—three Israeli companies planning clinical trials in the UK.

Visits Abroad

Mr Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many overseas visits have been made by Ministers of his Department to support trade and investment in each year since 2010. [150349]

Michael Fallon: Details of all overseas visits undertaken by Ministers at the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills are published on a quarterly basis on the gov.uk website

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

Details covering 2012 Q4 will be published shortly.

The information includes name, date, destination, purpose of the trip and cost by each Minister.

Treasury

Bank Notes

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will discuss with the Governor of the Bank of England the possibility and merits of introducing plastic banknotes into circulation. [149459]

Sajid Javid: The Chancellor of the Exchequer regularly meets with the Governor of the Bank of England to discuss a wide range of issues.

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The issuing of banknotes is the responsibility of the Bank of England. The Bank of England is committed to ensuring public confidence in the availability, quality and security of the currency. The bank continually looks at the security features of the notes and at methods of production and printing, including the use of alternative substrates.

Climate Change Levy: Bricks

Peter Luff: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to his Statement on the exemption of the ceramics industry for the Climate Change Levy, Official Report, column 938, if brick-making is included in the exemption; and if he will make a statement. [149977]

Sajid Javid: Budget 2013 announced that the Government will introduce exemptions from the climate change levy for energy used in metallurgical and mineralogical processes from 1 April 2014.

The Government are working closely with industry to determine the appropriate scope and design of this relief, including which processes should be covered.

Economic Growth

Ann McKechin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the financial statement of 20 March 2013, Official Report, column 938, whether the single local growth fund will be funded by his Department or by existing funding transferred from other Government departments. [150149]

Danny Alexander: The Government announced at the autumn statement of 5 December 2012, Official Report, columns 871-882, that we would devolve a greater proportion of growth-related spending on the basis of plans developed by LEPs by creating a single funding pot for local areas from April 2015.

The Government's response to the Heseltine Review published on the 18 March 2013 confirmed that the Government would create a single local growth fund with the full details on the size and content to be announced alongside the spending round later this year.

Ann McKechin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the financial statement of 20 March 2013, Official Report, column 938, which Government departments will contribute from their departmental budgets to the single local growth fund. [150150]

Danny Alexander: The Government's response to the Heseltine Review published on 18 March 2013 confirmed that the Government would create a single local growth fund with the full details on the size and content to be announced alongside the spending round later this year.

The response confirmed that the single local growth fund would contain elements of transport, housing and skills budgets. And that as part of the spending round the Government will also review all the other funding streams that Lord Heseltine identified in his report.

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Equitable Life Assurance Society: Compensation

Mr Cox: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects the Equitable Life payment scheme to have completed the paying out of compensation to policyholders. [149699]

Sajid Javid: The payment scheme expects to complete payments in 2014 as planned.

Excise Duties: Beer

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the 1980 court ruling in the case of European Commission vs UK, Number 170/78, what assessment he has made of the extent to which his decision to cut duty for beer, but not other alcoholic beverages, complies with European law. [149896]

Sajid Javid: EU law requires duty on average strength beer and wine to be broadly similar, which, following the Budget, remains the case across the UK.

The average strength of wine has been increasing in recent years and per unit of alcohol the duty on wine has increased by less than the duty on beer.

Financial Services: Cyprus

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what meetings and communications (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Department have had with their counterparts at the Ministry of Defence on the effect of the Cypriot savings levy on members of the UK armed forces serving in Cyprus; [149631]

(2) pursuant to his oral statement of 18 March 2013, Official Report, column 167W, when he is planning to meet the Secretary of State for Defence on the situation of UK armed forces personnel potentially affected by the Cypriot savings levy; [149632]

(3) what his definition is of the phrase reasonable losses, for which the Government will compensate members of the armed forces who are serving in Cyprus and are affected by the Cypriot savings levy. [149633]

Greg Clark [holding answer 22 March 2013]: My right hon. Friend the Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs made clear that all military and government personnel sent to serve in Cyprus, and their families will be protected from any losses on their personal deposits. This applies to any affected personal account—current accounts and savings accounts.

The Chancellor and his ministerial colleagues meet regularly to discuss a wide range of issues.

Treasury Ministers and officials engage with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors, as part of the process of policy development and delivery.

The Treasury publishes a list of ministerial meetings with external organisations. This is available online at:

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/minister_hospitality.htm

John Mann: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what support he is offering to UK citizens with bank deposits in Cyprus of over 100,000 euros; [150165]

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(2) what assessment he has made of the potential cost to the public purse of guaranteeing certain bank deposits of UK citizens in Cyprus. [150226]

Greg Clark: Deposits in Cypriot banks in Cyprus are subject to the laws and regulations of the Republic of Cyprus.

Those who have been sent to Cyprus to serve our military or our Government, and their families, will be protected in full from any losses on their personal deposits.

As the situation in Cyprus is still fluid, with banks remaining shut and the details of proposals not yet finalised, it is not possible to offer a figure on what the cost of this commitment is, and it would be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.

We continue to monitor the situation closely.

Pay: Peterborough

Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) if he will estimate the number of individuals in work in Peterborough constituency who earn between £9,440 and £12,230 per annum; [149592]

(2) if he will estimate how many individuals in Peterborough constituency earn between £9,205 and £12,000; and if he will make a statement. [150102]

Mr Hurd: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Cabinet Office.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Glen Watson, dated March 2013:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the number of individuals in work in Peterborough constituency who earn between £9,440 & £12,230 per annum (149592); and £9,205 & £12,000 per annum (150102).

In April 2012, no reliable statistics can be produced from ASHE on the proportion of employee jobs with the gross annual earnings specified in Peterborough constituency due to the small sample size at this geographical breakdown.

PAYE

Stephen Timms: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reasons he has delayed for small firms the requirement in the new PAYE Real Time Information system that employers should make a PAYE submission on or before each payment to an employee; and in what circumstances he would consider a further such delay. [150223]

Mr Gauke: In developing PAYE Real Time Information (RTI) HMRC has worked closely with employers, their representatives, payroll bureaux and agents to understand the impact of RTI. As a consequence of these consultations it recognises that some small employers who pay their employees more frequently but currently only process their payroll monthly may need longer to adapt to reporting PAYE information in real time. HMRC has therefore agreed a transitional relaxation of reporting arrangements for small businesses. However, all businesses will still be required to report real time information at

26 Mar 2013 : Column 1072W

the time of their payroll or at the very latest by the end of the tax month. Working with representatives of small business and the accountancy profession, HMRC agreed this as an appropriate easement at the start of this transitional year for RTI in which it is supporting all businesses through the implementation without the threat of penalties.

HMRC has no plans to extend this reporting relaxation beyond 5 October 2013. It will, however, continue to work with employer representatives during the summer to assess the impact of RTI on the smallest businesses and consider whether it can make improvements to real time reporting which will address their concerns without compromising the benefits of RTI or the success of the Department for Work and Pension's universal credit.

Public Expenditure: Wales

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what Barnett consequentials will be awarded to the Welsh Government as a result of the creation of a new UK aerospace technology institute. [149809]

Danny Alexander: The proposed funding will be directed towards science and innovation on a UK wide basis and, as these matters are reserved, there will be no Barnett consequentials.

However Wales will benefit directly from the Aerospace Technology Institute (ATI) with businesses such as those in the aerospace cluster based around the North Wales border benefiting from access to the £2.1 billion fund.

Social Security Benefits: Greater London

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how many people in Poplar and Limehouse constituency will be affected by the changes to working tax credit due to take place in April 2013; [149811]

(2) how many people in Poplar and Limehouse will be affected by the changes in child benefit due to take effect in April 2013. [149873]

Sajid Javid: Forecasts of the number of tax credits claimants are not available at parliamentary constituency level and we have not estimated the number of people who would be affected by working tax credit policy changes. As at December 2012, there were 6.3 thousand in-work families in Poplar and Limehouse constituency. This information can be found in HMRC's published National Statistics here:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/statistics/prov-geog-stats/cwtc-geog-dec12.xls

There are no changes to the pre-announced child benefit policy taking place at April 2013. As at August 2012, there were 15.7 thousand families in receipt of child benefit in Poplar and Limehouse constituency. More information can be found in HMRC's published National Statistics, here:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/statistics/child-geog-stats/chb-geog-aug12.xls

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Taxation: Electricity

Chris Heaton-Harris: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will consider the merits of introducing an hypothecated windfall tax to remove unanticipated and unreasonable profit resulting from the interaction of the Renewables Obligation and the Carbon Price Support; and if he will consider allocating the revenue from such a tax to electricity consumers. [R] [149540]

Sajid Javid: The Government have no current plans to impose a windfall tax. Our priority is to provide business with the confidence to invest and expand, helping to return the UK economy to sustainable, balanced growth. This means having a tax system that is competitive, stable, simple and predictable. The carbon price floor will provide greater certainty for investors to incentivise investment now in new low carbon electricity generation.

Communities and Local Government

Council Tax Benefits

Sir Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which local authorities applied for additional funds to supplement their new council tax support schemes by 31 January 2013; and how much has been allocated to each such local authority. [144024]

Brandon Lewis: Further to the offer outlined in my written statement of 16 October 2012, Official Report, columns 13-14WS, 195 billing authorities will receive transition funding to help them in the first year of running local council tax support. This represents more than two-thirds of billing authorities. A table detailing the funding has been placed in the Library.

The localisation of council tax support will help tackle the deficit, delivering ongoing savings of £470 million a year of taxpayers' money, and it will give all councils stronger incentives to cut fraud, promote local enterprise and get people back into work.

The transition scheme is promoting best practice that I hope all councils will learn from, and will help give councils time to deliver savings from fraud and error, which saw £200 million wrongly paid out in 2011-12.

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how many and which local authorities in England have (a) applied for council tax benefit transition grants and (b) been successful; [145232]

(2) how much council tax transition grant has been awarded to local authorities in England in total to date. [145233]

Brandon Lewis [holding answer 28 February 2013]:I refer the right hon. Member to the response I gave to the hon. Member for North Devon (Sir Nick Harvey) today, PQ 144024.

Housing

Damian Hinds: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to his answer of 18 October 2011, Official Report, column 905W, on housing, what recent assessment he has made of the effect of (a) increasing longevity, (b) net immigration, (c) average size of household and (d) other factors on demand for housing. [149738]

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Mr Prisk: Since the question was last asked, no new projections of household growth have been made, and as such the answer is the same as in October 2011.

Housing Associations: Greater London

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the level of arrears of housing associations based in London; and if he will make a statement. [145966]

Mr Prisk [holding answer 4 March 2013]:The 2012 Global Accounts of housing providers, published by the social housing regulator on Wednesday 20 March, show that current tenant arrears at the end of the 2011-12 financial year were 4.8% in England.

This is an improvement on performance in arrears compared to 2010-11. The report also notes that the overall financial performance of the sector improved compared to the year before.

We are not able to provide information on the level of arrears of housing associations in London because many housing associations own stock across local authority areas.

Housing: Construction

Mr Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his policy is on the promotion of new build, zero carbon homes. [147872]

Mr Foster [holding answer 14 March 2013]:Budget 2013 reaffirmed the Government's commitment to implementing ‘zero carbon homes' from 2016. The Department will publish a detailed plan, setting out its response to the 2012 consultation on the energy efficiency requirements in building regulations, by May 2013. The Government will then consult on next steps, including on the means of delivering allowable solutions, by summer recess.

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government when he next intends to issue guidance to local authorities on support for self-builders. [150161]

Mr Prisk: Industry-led guidance ‘Planning for Custom Build Housing: A Practice Guide’ was launched in November 2012 by the National Self Build Association. This offers advice to local authorities, housing associations, developers and self-build community groups on the ways they can facilitate self- and custom-build development and make it easier for people to build their own homes. The guidance can be downloaded free from their website.

We are currently reviewing what further steps can be taken to ensure that self-build and genuine small scale development is not adversely affected by the introduction of the Community Infrastructure Levy.

Housing: Sustainable Development

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many of the major housing decisions made in 2012 attained (a) Code level 4 and (b) Code level 5 or above of the Code

26 Mar 2013 : Column 1075W

for Sustainable Homes; how many such houses were built on greenfield land; what proportion of the completed units were affordable; and if he will make a statement. [150185]

Mr Foster: The Government do not hold information in the form requested, distinguishing the types of sites on which Code homes are constructed. Statistical information about the Code for Sustainable Homes and the energy performance of buildings is however published quarterly on the Gov.uk website. In 2012 Code level 4 completion certificates were issued for 9,468 homes, of which 7,640 were publicly funded. Similarly in 2012, Code level 5 and 6 completion certificates were issued for 234 homes, of which 211 were publicly funded.

Olympic Games 2012

Gordon Henderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether any funds from the public purse will be spent refurbishing and modifying the Olympic Stadium in preparation for any sale. [149863]

Brandon Lewis: Parliament, in passing the Localism Act, devolved a number of functions, including responsibility for the Olympic legacy in London, to the Mayor of London. Therefore, the Mayor is now accountable to Londoners and the London Assembly for the delivery of these functions in London and the use of the resources provided to support them. The Mayor established the London Legacy Development Corporation to manage the long-term planning, development, management and maintenance of the Olympic Park and its facilities after the London 2012 Games. There are no current plans to sell the stadium.

On 22 March the Corporation announced that West Ham United Football Club has been confirmed as the stadium's long-term anchor tenant with a 99 year concession, paying approximately £2 million in rent per year. West Ham will also make a contribution of £15 million towards the cost of transforming the stadium into a multi-use venue with a roof to pitch side and retractable seating that is suitable for athletics, football and other events.

The remaining funding for the transformation of the stadium will come from the London borough of Newham (£40 million), the Corporation/Mayor of London (£52.6 million), the Public Sector Funding Package (£38.7 million) and the Public Works Loan Board (£18.7 million).

The Government are committed to ensuring that the Olympic Stadium provides a long-term and viable legacy for the Olympic Games and therefore agreed to make an exceptional contribution of £25 million towards the transformation costs, should it be required once the tenders are returned.

The total public sector contribution towards the cost of transforming the stadium is £175 million. The stadium and its transformation will be managed by the Legacy Corporation and Newham council using a dedicated joint venture E20 Stadium LLP. The partnership, announced in July 2012, will help secure extensive community benefits including jobs and sport and education activity, with community access to both the stadium and the new 400m community track. The E20 Stadium partnership will now procure a stadium

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operator to manage the venue, coordinate community and sporting use, and to bring in various concerts and events.

The stadium transformation will ensure that it has both the capacity and facilities to attract cultural and sporting events on a one-off basis and through long-term regular use.

Planning Permission

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether his Department has any plans to deregulate the publication of planning permission applications in local newspapers. [149335]

Brandon Lewis [holding answer 21 March 2013]: Ministers have been clear that, in an internet age, commercial newspapers should expect over time less state advertising as more information is syndicated online by local authorities for free. The flipside is the free press should not face state unfair competition from town hall newspapers and municipal propaganda dressed up as local reporting.

However, my Department does not have any current plans to remove the statutory requirement for certain planning applications to be advertised in newspapers. Such notices ensure that the public are informed of decisions by their local authority which may affect their quality of life, local amenity or their property. This is especially the case in relation to planning applications, where there is a limited period for local residents to make representations.

The last Administration produced a consultation paper on this issue, proposing to remove the statutory requirements to publish notices in newspapers (Department for Communities and Local Government, ‘Publicity for planning applications’, July 2009). This was not well-received. Following that consultation, the Administration concluded:

“The Government has decided not to take forward this amendment. This means that the statutory requirement to publish certain applications in newspapers remains. It is clear from the responses that some members of the public and community groups rely on the statutory notices in newspapers to learn about planning applications in their area. The Government is not convinced that good alternative arrangements can be readily rolled out”.

(Department for Communities and Local Government, ‘Publicity for planning applications: Summary of responses to consultation’, December 2009, p. 14).

More broadly, in response to his implicit suggestion that such notices should be abolished in newspapers, I would direct the hon. Member to a passage from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:

“People of Earth, your attention, please... This is Prostetnic Vogon Jeltz of the Galactic Hyperspace Planning Council. As you will no doubt be aware, the plans for development of the outlying regions of the Galaxy require the building of a hyperspatial express route through your star system, and regrettably, your planet is one of those scheduled for demolition. The process will take slightly less than two of your Earth minutes. Thank you...

There's no point in acting surprised about it. All the planning charts and demolition orders have been on display at your local planning department in Alpha Centauri for fifty of your Earth years, so you've had plenty of time to lodge any formal complaint and it's far too late to start making a fuss about it now...

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What do you mean you've never been to Alpha Centauri? Oh, for heaven's sake, mankind, it's only four light years away, you know. I'm sorry, but if you can't be bothered to take an interest in local affairs, that's your own lookout. Energize the demolition beams.”