Army: Snow and Ice

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department has taken to ensure that the Army maintains preparedness for conflict in Arctic conditions. [151998]

Mr Robathan: Arctic warfare is a Royal Marines capability which is supported by Army personnel.

The Royal Marines continue to train in mountain and cold weather warfare annually in Norway in preparation for contingent operations as part of the Royal Navy's response force task group which can be called upon to react to an emerging threat anywhere in the world. In addition, every two years the Royal Navy and Royal Marines come together with their NATO counterparts to exercise in the coastal regions of Norway as part of a bigger multinational force in order to practise the procedures and protocols required for the UK to operate with their coalition partners. The skills and lessons learned in the extreme conditions offered in the mountains and fjords of Norway can be applied to any environment in which the Royal Navy and Royal Marines may have to operate in the future.

Burma

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the role of the new defence attaché to Burma includes responsibility for meeting non-state military forces in that country. [151147]

Dr Murrison: UK officials in Rangoon meet regularly with both Government Ministers and representatives of a range of ethnic minority groups to discuss the peace process. The defence attaché may meet a similar range of interlocutors in the course of his duties.

18 Apr 2013 : Column 527W

Military Exercises

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assets are taking part in (a) Bersama Shield and (b) Exercise Real Thaw 13; how many personnel were deployed on each such operation; and what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of each operation. [150094]

Mr Robathan: RAF assets involved in the Langkawi International Maritime Aerospace (LIMA) exhibition and the Five Power Defence Arrangements' Exercise Bersama Shield 13 (which ran from 8 April to 18 April) totalled four Typhoon aircraft and some 130 personnel. The estimated extra costs to the Defence budget of participation are about £2 million.

There was no UK participation in the Portuguese-led Exercise Real Thaw 13.

Radioactive Materials

Mr Weir: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department is taking to ensure that private contractors with whom it has partnership agreements adhere to the requirements of the Radioactive Substances Act 1993. [151894]

Mr Dunne: All Ministry of Defence (MOD) contractors are required to comply with applicable legislation.

Regulation of radioactive substances is in part a devolved issue.

In Scotland, the application of the Radioactive Substances Act 1993 (RSA93) depends on the activity and the nature of any partnership between the contractor and the MOD. Generally, RSA93 applies to civilian defence contractors in Scotland and activities are regulated by the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA). Where the MOD is in control of the activities, SEPA nevertheless regulates as if the legislation applied, by administrative agreement with MOD.

RSA93 has been superseded in England and Wales by the Environmental Permitting England and Wales Regulations 2010 (EPR10). These apply to defence contractors in England and Wales. Where those contractors are in control, the Environment Agency (EA) regulates activities in England, while Natural Resources Wales carries out the same function in Wales. Similar to the case in Scotland where the MOD is in control of activities, the statutory regulator is responsible as if the legislation applied, by administrative agreement with MOD.

Unmanned Air Vehicles

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 24 October 2012, Official Report, column 878W, on unmanned air vehicles, if he will place in the Library the results of the review undertaken on army unmanned aerial systems training. [144045]

Mr Robathan: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 24 October 2012, Official Report, column 878W. The review referred to did not result in a formal

18 Apr 2013 : Column 528W

report for the Army's review of unmanned aerial systems training. The outcome of the Army's review coincided with the publication of the Hermes 450 ZK515 service inquiry. The outcome of the service inquiry superseded the Army's review and work is under way to improve training in line with the recommendations. A copy of the service inquiry report can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/service-inquiry-investigating-the-accident-involving-unmanned-air-system-uas-hermes-450-zk515-on-02-oct-11

Business, Innovation and Skills

Computers

Mr Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many (a) desktop computers, (b) laptop computers and (c) tablet devices his Department has purchased in the last two years. [151326]

Jo Swinson: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. However, records held by the IT directorate within the Department are as follows:

(a) The majority of our desktops are leased from our infrastructure provider, Fujitsu. However, we did purchase in 2012/13 five standalone desktop PCs for specialist use.

(b) In the last two years we have purchased approximately 354 laptops. Majority of these were purchased to replace existing laptops.

(c) In the last two years we have purchased approximately 44 tablets. The majority of these were purchased to run pilots to trial new ways of working and will be re-used within the Department. Others were purchased for specialist areas.

All purchases were supported by robust business cases.

Credit

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the average waiting time is for a consumer credit licence to be issued from the date of application to the date of issue. [151698]

Jo Swinson: The annual figures for 2010 to 2012 show a range between a mean average of 23 days in 2012 to a mean average of 29 in 2011.

 Total cases (applications for a credit licence)Mean average processing time (working days)

2010

7,641

25

2011

7,409

29

2012

6,977

23

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many applications for a consumer credit licence are currently awaiting a decision. [151699]

Jo Swinson: There were 782 open (no decision made) new consumer credit licence applications with the Office of Fair Trading at close of play on 15 April 2013.

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the average waiting time was for applications for a consumer credit licence in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [151700]

18 Apr 2013 : Column 529W

Jo Swinson: The following table gives details of the average processing time for applications for a consumer credit licence in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

 Total cases (applications for a credit licence)Mean average processing time (working days)

2010

7,641

25

2011

7,409

29

2012

6,977

23

Electric Motors: Industry

Mr Robin Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what support his Department is providing for the electric motor industry; and how much support is available to small and medium-sized enterprises. [151800]

Mr Willetts: Government have made a £400 million commitment over the lifetime of this Parliament to make the UK a leading market for ultra-low carbon vehicles; which includes electric vehicles. This includes providing support for collaborative research and development (R&D), consumer incentives, support for charging infrastructure and demonstration projects. The Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV) is a team working across Government with staff and funding from the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Department for Transport and the Department of Energy and Climate Change and is leading this work to support the early market for ultra-low emission vehicles (ULEV).

BIS is also putting £9 million into the new Advanced Battery Centre at the High Value Manufacturing Catapult at Warwick.

There is no support specifically aimed at small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in this area. However, they can benefit from Government support for the automotive industry generally. In particular, many of the interventions under the Technology Strategy Board's Low Carbon Vehicles Innovation Platform are aimed at the supply chain which does include SMEs. SMEs will also benefit from our work with the automotive industry to develop a long-term industrial strategy which will be published later this year. OLEV will also be publishing an ultra-low emission vehicle strategy later this year.

Employee Ownership

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 4 March 2013, Official Report, column 877W, on employee ownership, by what date he plans to publish an updated impact assessment on the new employee shareholder status. [152038]

Jo Swinson: It is our intention to publish an updated impact assessment before the employment status comes into law in September 2013.

Genetically Modified Organisms: Wheat

Mr Meacher: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the cost of the additional autumn sown trial of GM wheat at Rothamsted Research will be; and how this cost will be funded. [151722]

18 Apr 2013 : Column 530W

Mr Willetts [holding answer 17 April 2013]: The field trial of wheat with a genetic modification to repel aphids is being undertaken at Rothamsted Research under a grant from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC). It is part of a wider programme of research aimed at making agriculture more sustainable, for example less reliant on insecticides and other inputs. Rothamsted has made an application to DEFRA for an additional autumn sown trial.

The field trial is part of a five BBSRC-funded project with a total value of £732,000. BBSRC has separately provided funding to Rothamsted for additional security measures for the trial after threats to destroy the experiment last summer. Costs to date of this are currently over £180,000.

Accurate figures for the autumn sown trial cannot be provided at this time as the application to DEFRA has not been approved and is subject to independent review and public consultation.

Graduates: Employment

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many graduates obtained a job within a year of leaving university in each year since 2000; and what proportion of the total number of graduates this represented for each such year. [151433]

Mr Willetts [holding answer 17 April 2013]: The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) collects data on the destinations of UK and EU domiciled graduates six months after qualifying through their Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey.

In 2010/11, 224,045 full-time first degree qualifiers responded to the survey with a known destination from a target population of 284,980, which amounts to an overall return rate of 79%.

Statistics on the number and proportion of full-time first degree graduates from UK Higher Education Institutions who were in employment six months after graduating from their course are provided in the table. These data do not include part-time students or those at other levels of study whose rates may be different. Other graduate destinations surveys existed prior to the DLHE survey, but it is not possible to provide employment rates from these on a consistent basis.

Information for the 2011/12 academic year will become available from the Higher Education Statistics Agency in June 2013.

Other than obtaining a job, there are other positive outcomes six months after graduating Higher Education such as further study, internships/work experience or travel. The 2010/11 Higher Education Performance Indicators showed that 90.3% of full time first degree leavers were in employment or further study six months after graduating.

Further information on employment indicators is available from the HESA Performance Indicators publication.

http://www.hesa.ac.uk/content/view/2072/141/

18 Apr 2013 : Column 531W

Full-time first degree qualifiers by employment activity, UK Higher Education Institutions, six months after graduating academic years 2002/03 to 2010/11
Academic yearEmployed(1)Total with known employment activity(2)Proportion employed (percentage of known)

2002/03

128,940

182,320

70.7

2003/04

134,175

187,840

71.4

2004/05

134,825

188,775

71.4

2005/06

135,255

188,330

71.8

2006/07

137,905

190,385

72.4

2007/08

139,310

200,070

69.6

2008/09

137,725

205,340

67.1

2009/10

149,445

213,390

70.0

2010/11

158,440

224,045

70.7

(1) Covers HE leavers employed in full-time, part-time and voluntary work including those in a combination of both work and study. (2) This excludes those who explicitly refused to answer as well as non respondents to the survey. Note: Numbers are rounded up or down to the nearest multiple of five, so components may not sum to totals. Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) Survey

Graduates: Unemployment

Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what

18 Apr 2013 : Column 532W

proportion of people who have studied

(a)

science-based and

(b)

non-science-based subjects at university were unemployed after (i) a year, (ii) two years and (iii) three years in the most recent period for which figures are available. [151092]

Mr Willetts: The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) collects data on the destinations of graduates six months after qualifying through the Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey. This is then followed up three and a half years after graduation through the Longitudinal DLHE survey.

HESA define science-based subjects with the Joint Academic Coding System (JACS) as Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects.

The proportions of UK domiciled full-time first degree graduates from UK higher education institutions not in work or further study by subject area of study for the latest years of data that are available have been provided in the following table.

Information for the 2011/12 academic year will become available from the Higher Education Statistics Agency in June 2013.

Destinations of UK domiciled(1) full-time first degree qualifiers by employment activity(2) and subject area of study(3): UK higher education institutions
Percentage
 Not in employment or further study
 2010/11 qualifiers2006/07 qualifiers
Subject area of study6 months after graduation3.5 years after graduation(4)

Science-based subjects (STEM)

12.2

5.4

Non-science-based subjects (non-STEM)

14.6

7.2

(1) Domicile refers to a student's permanent or home address prior to entry to their course (2) Statistics exclude those who explicitly refused to answer as well as non respondents to the survey. (3) Subject information is shown as Full Person Equivalents (FPEs) in the table. FPEs are derived by splitting student instances between the different subjects that make up their course aim. (4) Figures estimated using base figures from table 7 of the 2006/07 Longitudinal DLHE report. Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) Destinations of Leavers in Higher Education (DLHE) survey

Higher Education

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many people have (a) enrolled at and (b) graduated from universities in the UK in each year since 1997. [151431]

Mr Willetts: The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) collects and publishes data on student enrolments at UK higher education institutions (HEIs). Information on the number of enrolments and qualifiers at UK HEIs for the academic years 1997/98 to 2011/12 is provided in the tables.

Information for the 2012/13 academic year will become available from the Higher Education Statistics Agency in January 2014.

Prior to the academic year 1998/99 the HESA Standard Registered Population (SRP) is not available, therefore for the academic years 1997/98 to 1999/2000 the student population at 1 December has been provided as a comparison.

Enrolments include students across all years of study and therefore most students will appear as an enrolment in more than one year.

Total enrolments(1) and qualifiers, UK higher education institutions, academic years 1997/98 to 2011/12
Academic yearEnrolments (SRP)(2)Enrolments (snapshot)(3)Qualifiers (SRP)

1997/98

n/a

1,759,555

437,130

1998/99

1,882,100

1,806,075

446,940

1999/2000

1,907,055

1,816,365

460,260

2000/01

1,948,135

n/a

504,410

2001/02

2,042,585

n/a

521,500

2002/03

2,131,110

n/a

557,790

2003/04

2,200,180

n/a

595,640

2004/05

2,236,270

n/a

633,045

2005/06

2,281,240

n/a

640,850

2006/07

2,304,705

n/a

651,060

2007/08

2,306,105

n/a

676,460

18 Apr 2013 : Column 533W

18 Apr 2013 : Column 534W

2008/09

2,396,055

n/a

674,415

2009/10

2,493,420

n/a

716,940

2010/11

2,501,295

n/a

762,540

2011/12

2,496,645

n/a

787,205

(1) Covers students in all years of study. (2 )Coverage for the HESA Standard Registration Population (SRP) is available at the following link: http://www.hesa.ac.uk/index.php/content/view/1902/ (3) Student population at 1 December of the reporting academic year. Note: Figures have been rounded up or down to the nearest five, so components may not sum to totals. Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) Student Record.

Higher Education: Finance

Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what adjustments have been made and savings assumed in departmental expenditure for new regime UK-domiciled part-time undergraduate students entering higher education courses for the first time in 2012-13 at institutions which are not Higher Education Funding Council for England-fundable; and what assumption he has made of the number of part-time students who will be applying for fee loans; [151396]

(2) what adjustments have been made and what savings have been assumed in respect of Government expenditure for new regime UK-domiciled full-time undergraduate students entering higher education courses for the first time in 2012-13 at institutions which are not Higher Education Funding Council for England-fundable following the decline in participation in 2012-13; and on what number of full-time students those revised assumptions are based for (a) fee loans, (b) maintenance grants and (c) maintenance loans; [151639]

(3) what estimate he has made of Government expenditure on new regime UK-domiciled part-time undergraduate students entering higher education courses for the first time in 2012-13 at institutions which are not Higher Education Funding Council for England-fundable; and on what number of part-time students and at what average fee level those assumptions were based for fee loans; [151640]

(4) what estimate he has made of Government expenditure for new regime UK-domiciled full-time undergraduate students entering higher education courses for the first time in 2012-13 at institutions which are non-Higher Education Funding Council for England-fundable; and on what number of full-time students and at what average fee level those assumptions were based for (a) fee loans, (b) maintenance grants and (c) maintenance loans. [151655]

Mr Willetts: Student Loans Company (SLC) data on student finance for students at non-HEFCE fundable institutions, for academic year 2012/13, up to 31 March 2013, show the following expenditure, number of students and average support:

 Spend (£ million)Number of studentsAverage support (£ )

Full-time tuition fee loans

35

16,000

2,100

Full-time maintenance loans

58

17,000

3,400

Full-time grants

30

13,000

2,200

Part-time tuition fee loans

1

500

1,300

Part-time grants

0.1

200

500

These are not final figures for 2012/13 and are likely to change by the end of the year. The grants category includes both maintenance grants and targeted support such as the disabled students allowance.

We are in the process of reviewing our medium-term forecasts for expenditure on student finance for students at non-HEFCE fundable institutions to reflect the 2012-13 data.

Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the departmental expenditure was for new regime UK-domiciled full-time undergraduate students entering higher education courses for the first time in 2012-13 at institutions which are Higher Education Funding Council for England-fundable; and on what number of (a) full-time and (b) part-time students and at what average fee level assumptions were based for (i) fee loans, (ii) maintenance grants and (iii) maintenance loans. [151430]

Mr Willetts: Robust expenditure data for the 2012/13 academic year are not yet available and therefore we are not able to provide firm data on either the number of students supported or how the average levels of grant and loan compare to our assumptions. Provisional data on student numbers and average rates of support for the 2012/13 academic year can be found in the Student Loans Company's Statistical First Release of 29 November 2012.

A summary of estimated expenditure for the 2012-13 financial year—based on actual spend to end February and estimates for March—is shown as follows. This covers English students at UK institutions, EU students at institutions in England and both HEFCE-fundable and non-HEFCE-fundable institutions.

Student finance expenditure by type of support for financial year
2012-13£ million

Maintenance Loans, cash outlay to 2012-13 full-time entrants

830

Fee Loans, cash outlay to 2012-13 full-time entrants

1,210

18 Apr 2013 : Column 535W

Fee Loans, cash outlay to 2012-13 part-time entrants

30

Maintenance Grants, expenditure on both new and continuing students

1,460

Higher Education: Part-time Education

Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what adjustments have been made and what savings have been assumed in respect of Government expenditure for new regime UK-domiciled part-time students entering higher education courses for the first time in 2012-13 at institutions which are Higher Education Funding Council for England-fundable following the decline in participation in 2012-13; and on what number of part-time students those revised assumptions are based for fee loans. [151638]

Mr Willetts: Data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency suggest that part-time entrant numbers at HEFCE-fundable providers have declined by 25% in 2012/13. We have updated our student finance forecasts to account for this and have assumed no change in entrant numbers in subsequent years. We are still monitoring the take-up rate of loans as the academic year continues. While it appears the take-up rate could be much lower than our assumption of 90% we have not yet revised our forecasts to account for that factor. The change in our forecasts caused by the decline in participation is as follows:

Cash outlay on fee loans to part-time students by financial year
£ million
 2012-132013-142014-15

Original forecasts

120

320

480

Estimated outturn based on end February 2013 expenditure

30

Forecasts updated for decline in entrants but not take-up rate

240

360

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many students started part-time undergraduate degree courses at each university in England in (a) 2010-11, (b) 2011-12 and (c) 2012-13 (i) in total and (ii) by university; and if he will make a statement. [151855]

Mr Willetts: The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) collects and publishes data on students at UK higher education institutions (HEIs). A table showing the number of part-time entrants to undergraduate degree courses for individual HEIs in England in the academic years 2009/10 to 2011/12 has been placed in the Libraries of the House.

HESA figures for the 2012/13 academic year will be available from January 2014.

Lung Diseases: Research

Bob Blackman: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much funding (a) his Department and (b) the Medical Research Council allocated to research into (i) lung cancer, (ii) adult asthma, (iii) pneumonia, (iv) chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, (v) idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis,

18 Apr 2013 : Column 536W

(vi) mesothelioma and (vii) childhood wheezing and childhood respiratory infection in each of the last three years. [151228]

Mr Willetts: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) through programmes under the Technology Strategy Board, has allocated funding to projects with spend in the years as specified as follows:

£
 2010/112011/122012/13

Lung Cancer

47,158

930,405

Adult asthma

29,005

Pneumonia

Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease

100,405

732,720

Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis

Mesothelioma

Childhood wheezing and respiratory infection

Total

0

147,563

1,692,129

The Medical Research Councils (MRC's) expenditure for respiratory disease and lung cancer can be found in the following table:

£ million
 RespiratoryLung Cancer

2009/10(1)

39.3

6.7

2010/11(2)

32.5

n/a

2011/12(2)

33.0

n/a

(1) Actual expenditure. (2 )Forecasted expenditure.

When breaking out expenditure on cancer the MRC looks at research by site, therefore the information requested on mesothelioma is included in the data provided above for lung cancer. Adult asthma, pneumonia, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, and childhood wheezing and childhood respiratory infection are all constituent parts of the respiratory portfolio and the MRC does not normally break this information down to this level. However, data are available on expenditure relating to pulmonary fibrosis as follows (note this excludes expenditure on research relating to cystic fibrosis):

 Pulmonary fibrosis (£ million)

2009/10(1)

2.1

2010/11(2)

n/a

2011/12(2)

n/a

(1 )Actual expenditure. (2) Forecasted expenditure.

MRC-funded research on pulmonary fibrosis ranges from fundamental research on the mechanisms of pulmonary fibrosis to clinical studies to inform new treatments. The portfolio includes research on idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) and pulmonary fibrosis resulting from exposure to toxic substances or where it is secondary to another disease or condition. The majority of MRC's research in this area either relates directly to IPF or to fundamental mechanisms of pulmonary fibrosis which will inform IPF.

I have provided the information that the MRC currently has available. The lung cancer portfolio is due to be updated later in the year. The portfolio for pulmonary

18 Apr 2013 : Column 537W

fibrosis is not routinely identified from the wider respiratory portfolio, and is not due to be updated. Information for the 2012/13 financial year will not be available until the annual report and accounts have been published.

Nuclear Power

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills with reference to his Department's announcement of 26 March 2013 of £31 million of funding for new nuclear technology, whether the 36 funding awards from the £31 million for nuclear research, development and training will be subject to full cost recovery in cases where the funded project benefits companies involved in nuclear new build. [151616]

Mr Willetts: The 36 projects being supported are already part funded by business with at least £13 million of the £31 million being invested by the businesses involved. The Government funding has been awarded in order to stimulate innovation and growth for UK business in the nuclear sector and is awarded to businesses, universities and research and technology organisations to develop innovative technologies.

It is hoped that these research and development (R&D) projects, which are still some way from market, will ultimately become commercialised after the end of the projects, hence creating new jobs, increasing business profitability and contributing to growth. Under these circumstances, Government grants for R&D are not usually subject to recovery.

Postgraduate Education

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what representations he has received on concerns that postgraduate students are turning to high-interest rate loans and credit cards. [150914]

Mr Willetts: Postgraduate research and taught training are important both to individuals and to developing higher level skills for the economy. Ministers have received a range of representations about support and funding for postgraduate students, including mention of prospective postgraduate students considering (high-interest rate) loans and other means to fund their studies. Ministers are also aware that the National Union of Students has published two reports “Broke and Broken” and “Steps towards a fairer system of postgraduate taught funding in England” which have both highlighted that over 15% of the postgraduate taught students they surveyed (in 2010) had claimed to be funding at least part of their study through credit card and overdraft debt.

The Government provide funding to support eligible individuals undertaking postgraduate qualifications. The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) provides funding to higher education institutions (HEIs) in England to meet some of the costs incurred by HEIs of teaching students on taught postgraduate courses and of supervising students in the first three years of a postgraduate research degree programme. In 2012-13, HEFCE has maintained the allocation for taught postgraduate provision at £135 million, similar to levels for 2011-12. HEFCE has increased support for postgraduate research degree supervision to £240 million. In addition

18 Apr 2013 : Column 538W

the Research Councils will invest £340 million in postgraduate research provision, which includes provision for stipends for postgraduate research students.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) also supports professional and career development loans (PCDLs) provided by Barclays and the Co-operative Bank. PCDLs are deferred-repayment bank loans of up to £10,000 for up to two years’ study, usually repaid over a period of one to five years. Postgraduate taught courses account for almost 90% of the 8,000 loans each year. In addition, BIS and the Northern Ireland Administration are providing support for up to 500 students to undertake specific aerospace related MSc programmes at UK universities for academic year 2013/14 through to 2015/16. £3 million funding from Government will be matched by industry.

BIS continues to work with HEFCE who are gathering evidence on the role and nature of postgraduate provision, and the potential impact of higher education funding changes on graduate choices for postgraduate study.

Telephone Services

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 18 March 2013, Official Report, columns 515-7W, on telephone services, whether a UK landline number beginning with 01, 02 or 03 is publicly available as an alternative to the 0800, 0844, 0845 and 0870 numbers in use by his Department and the agencies for which he is responsible. [151629]

Jo Swinson: There are no alternative UK landline numbers to the 0800, 0844, 0845 and 0870 numbers in use by the Department.

I have approached the chief executives of the Department’s agencies and they will respond to the hon. Member directly.

Letter from David Parker, dated 16 April 2013:

Thank you for your question addressed to the Secretary of State for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills asking whether a UK landline number beginning with 01, 02 or 03 is publicly available as an alternative to the 0800, 0844, 0845 and 0870 numbers in use by his Department and the agencies for which he is responsible.

The UK Space Agency does have a UK landline number beginning with 02 in use for the public however this is not an alternative to any 0800, 0808, 0844, 0845 and 0870 telephone numbers.

Letter from Nick Jobling, dated 16 April 2013:

I am replying on behalf of the Chief Executive of the Met Office to your Parliamentary Question tabled on 10 April 2013, UIN 151629 to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The public can access the Met Office Weather Desk with weather related enquiries, any time of the day or night, by telephone, fax, email, and social media. To contact the Weather Desk by telephone, the public can choose to call either 01392 885680 or 0870 900 0100.

I hope this helps.

Letter from Kim Thorneywork, dated 16 April 2013:

Thank you for your question in asking the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, pursuant to the Answer of 18 March 2013, Official Report, columns 515-7W, on telephone services, whether a UK landline number beginning with 01, 02 or 03 is publicly available as an alternative to the 0800, 0844, 0845 and 0870 numbers in use by his Department and the agencies for which he is responsible.

18 Apr 2013 : Column 539W

Please be advised that the non geographic telephone numbers in use by the Skills Funding Agency do not have an alternative UK landline number beginning with 01, 02 or 03.

Letter from John Alty, dated 16 April 2013:

I am responding in respect of the Intellectual Property Office to your Parliamentary Question tabled 10th April 2013, to the Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

A new 0300 phone number replaced the 0845 number in June 2010. The 0845 number sits in the background and isn't advertised to customers. Around 10% of customers continue to contact us on this number. A standard 01 number is also available for customers to use.

Letter from Dr Vanessa Lawrence CB, dated 17 April 2013:

As Director General and Chief Executive of Ordnance Survey, I have been asked to respond to your Parliamentary Question asking the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, “whether a UK landline number beginning with 01, 02 or 03 is publicly available as an alternative to the 0800, 0844, 0845 and 0870 numbers in use by his Department and the agencies for which he is responsible”.

Ordnance Survey does not generally offer alternatives to the 0845 numbers available to the public. The one exception is the textphone service used by deaf and hard-of-hearing customers, which uses an 02-prefix number.

I hope this information is helpful.

Letter from Tim Moss, dated 17 April 2013:

I am replying on behalf of Companies House to your Parliamentary Question tabled 10 April 2013, to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, (JIN 151629.

Companies House's principal number, that of its Contact Centre, is a UK landline number, 0303 1234500. This can be used instead of the 0845 number it also uses for one of its services.

Letter from Dr Richard Judge, dated 17 April 2013:

The Secretary of State for Business Innovation and Skills has asked me to reply to your question pursuant to the Answer of 18 March 2013, Official Report, columns 515-7W, on telephone services, whether a UK landline number beginning with 01, 02 or 03 is publicly available as an alternative to the 0800, 0844, 0845 and 0870 numbers in use by his Department and the agencies for which he is responsible.

In addition to the two 0845 numbers quoted in my earlier letter, The Insolvency Service makes the following numbers available on its website:

1. A redundancy enquiry line on number 0330 331 0020;

2. Numbers for individual official receiver's offices and our estate accounting function which give their telephone area code.

Letter from Peter Mason, dated 16 April 2013:

I am responding in respect of the National Measurement Office (NMO) to your Parliamentary Question tabled on 10 April 2013, asking the Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) about publicly available UK landline numbers.

NMO uses UK landline numbers beginning with 02. These are publicly available on the NMO website under the following contact web links:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/nmo/contact-us

http://www.bis.gov.uk/nmo/contact-us/staff-contacts

NMO does not use any UK landline numbers beginning with 01 or 03 (nor any 0800, 0844, 0845 and 0870 numbers).

Letter from Malcolm Dawson, dated 17 April 2013:

I write on behalf of Land Registry in response to Parliamentary Question 151629 tabled on 10 April 2013 which asked the following:

To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, pursuant to the Answer of 18 March 2013, Official Report, columns 515-7W, on telephone services, whether a UK landline number beginning with 01, 02 or 03 is publicly available as an alternative to the 0800, 0844, 0345 and 0870 numbers in use by his Department and the agencies for which he is responsible.

18 Apr 2013 : Column 540W

I can confirm that we do not have any UK landline telephone numbers beginning with 01, 02, or 03 available as alternatives to the 0800 or 0844 numbers which are used by Land Registry.

I hope you find this information useful.

Visits Abroad

Mr Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what his Department's budget was for overseas travel for officials and Ministers in 2012-13. [151350]

Jo Swinson: The Department does not have an individual budget for overseas travel as such costs form part of the overall travel budget allocations made to individual departmental business areas which cover both UK and overseas travel. However, our procurement records show that in the 2012-13 financial year a total of £2,872,973 was spent on overseas air fares, overseas rail fares and overseas hotels with the Department's corporate travel provider.

Culture, Media and Sport

Freeview

16. Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps she is taking to ensure that consumers do not lose Freeview TV reception as part of the roll-out of 4G. [151756]

Mr Vaizey: Government require the winners of the 800 MHz spectrum licences to make sure that viewers who could suffer interference from 4G mobile services receive the help they need to enable them to continue watching TV. The mobile network operators are doing this through at800, a company they have set up with £180 million of their own funding.

Broadband

Karl Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment she has made of the outcome of the 4G spectrum auction. [151751]

Mr Vaizey: I was delighted that the auction of 800 MHz and 2.6 GHz spectrum conducted by Ofcom in January and February delivered results that represent a significant achievement for the future of mobile communications in the UK.

The mobile network operators' investment in networks and most of all from use of the spectrum will provide a significant economic boost to the UK.

The operators will quickly start to roll out competitive high speed mobile broadband services across the country which will be a major contributor to the UK digital growth strategy.

Entertainments: Licensing

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 7 January 2013, Official Report, columns5-6WS, on entertainment licensing reform, when she plans to bring forward legislative proposals to bring into effect the Government's policy on deregulation of entertainment licensing. [151966]

18 Apr 2013 : Column 541W

Hugh Robertson: In the coming weeks, we will lay an Order before Parliament that will free up most performances of plays, exhibitions of dance and indoor sport from the unnecessary bureaucracy and cost imposed by the Licensing Act 2003. With the will of both Houses, we aim to bring this Order into force as quickly as possible, so that thousands of community organisations and charities across England and Wales can benefit from licence-free performances, starting this summer. Further measures, announced on 7 January, require changes to primary legislation and will be brought before Parliament later this year.

Television: Licensing

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many pensioners claimed the over-75 free television licence (a) in Morecambe and Lunesdale constituency, (b) in Lancashire and (c) nationally in the latest period for which figures are available. [151846]

Mr Vaizey: The BBC does not hold a breakdown of how many ‘Over-75 licences’ have been claimed for any area smaller than the UK. However, the total number of ‘Over-75 licences’ in force nationally as at the end of financial year 2011-12 was 3,908,306.

Education

Children: Day Care

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether he will publish any responses to the More Great Childcare consultation which reject the premise of the questions posed. [151035]

Elizabeth Truss: The Government will publish full reports on all consultations resulting from the publication of More Great Childcare, in line with usual practice.

Education: Secure Accommodation

Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps his Department is taking to address low educational attainment for those in the secure youth estate. [148445]

Mr Timpson: To ensure that young people receive effective education while they are in custody, establishments should be conducting initial assessments of young people's literacy, numeracy and any particular learning needs. Such assessments should happen as soon as possible after the young person's arrival in custody and should take account of information from the organisations and professionals that have worked with the young person previously. The custodial provider should then develop a learning plan to ensure that, while the young person is in custody, he or she benefits from education and training designed to meet individual needs.

On 14 February 2013 the Government launched a consultation on “Transforming Youth Custody: Putting Education at the Heart of Detention”. It describes the Government's plans for placing high quality education at the centre of youth custody.

Plans to reform youth custody will see young people appropriately punished while at the same time learning to take responsibility for their actions and gaining the skills and qualifications they need to lead productive,

18 Apr 2013 : Column 542W

law-abiding lives. The paper invites views and outline proposals from a wide range of stakeholders and providers describing how they would implement the Government’s vision for secure colleges. The consultation closes on 30 April 2013 and plans will be developed as a result, culminating in a Government response to the consultation responses it receives.

E-mail

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether he or his special advisers currently use private e-mail accounts for the purposes of conducting official Government business; and what steps he is taking to ensure that any such accounts can be searched in response to requests submitted under the Freedom of Information Act 2000. [142999]

Elizabeth Truss: The Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove), and his special advisers use equipment and systems provided by the Department and their own IT equipment as appropriate, depending on their location and circumstances. Where information is generated in the course of conducting Government business, it is stored on departmental systems.

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education which Minister in his Department applied exemptions 36(2)(b)(ii) and (2)(c) to the request submitted by the hon. Member for West Bromwich East under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 on private email accounts (reference 2013/0001056). [143001]

Elizabeth Truss: Information is exempt under section 36 (2) if, in the reasonable opinion of a qualified person, disclosure of the information would be likely to have the effects set out in the Act. In this case the qualified person was myself.

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether (a) he or (b) his special advisers (i) sent or (ii) received emails relating to the Building Schools for the Future programme in Sandwell through non-departmental (A) email accounts or (B) social networking sites; and if he will make a statement. [143425]

Elizabeth Truss: The Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove), and his special advisers use equipment and systems provided by the Department and their own IT equipment as appropriate, depending on their location and circumstances. Where information is generated in the course of conducting Government business, it is stored on departmental systems. Neither the Secretary of State nor his special advisers use social networking sites for Government business.

Faith Schools

Eric Ollerenshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what proportion of (a) primary and (b) secondary schools are designated as faith schools; and how many such schools are (i) Catholic, (ii) Protestant, (iii) Muslim, (iv) Jewish, (v) Hindu, (vi) Sikh and (vii) other faiths. [147885]

18 Apr 2013 : Column 543W

Elizabeth Truss: Data held by the Department record the religious character declared by the school.

(a) As of 8 March 2013, there were 16,783 state-funded mainstream primary schools in England, of which 37% (6,194) were recorded as faith schools. Of these: 4,386 were recorded as Church of England; 1,662 were recorded as Roman Catholic; six were recorded as Muslim; 33 were recorded as Jewish; three were recorded as Hindu; three were recorded as Sikh; and 101 were recorded as other faiths (other Christian, mixed types, Quaker, and Methodist).

(b) As of 8 March 2013, there were 3,281 state-funded mainstream secondary schools in England, of which 19% (628) were recorded as faith schools. Of these: 207 were recorded as Church of England; 323 were recorded as Roman Catholic; eight were recorded as Muslim; ten were recorded as Jewish; three were recorded as Hindu; one was recorded as Sikh; and 77 were recorded as other faiths (other Christian, mixed types, and Quaker).

Source:

Edubase

http://www.education.gov.uk/edubase/home.xhtml

GCE AS-level

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education pursuant to the answer of 12 March 2013, Official Report, column 142W, on GCE: AS-level, how many universities have made representations to him (a) in support of abolishing AS-levels, (b) in support of separating AS-levels from A-levels and (c) against making such changes to the status of AS-levels. [149664]

Elizabeth Truss [holding answer 25 March 2013]: Since the publication of the White Paper, “The Importance of Teaching”, in November 2010, discussions of our plans for A-level reform, including the changes to the AS qualification, have taken place with a wide range individuals from universities and organisations, including the Russell Group and Universities UK. Ofqual also consulted on A-level reform earlier in the year. It is for individuals and groups to decide whether to make their views public, including any responses to Ofqual's consultation on A-levels.

GCSE

Andrew Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many and what proportion of pupils who did not have a statement of special educational needs (a) nationally and (b) in each local authority achieved an A* to C grade in both English and mathematics GCSE but excluding equivalents in each year since 1997. [150169]

18 Apr 2013 : Column 544W

Elizabeth Truss [holding answer 26 March 2013]:The requested information, for the academic years 2007/08 to 2011/12, has been placed in the House Libraries. Information for earlier years could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Ministers: Codes of Practice

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what arrangements are in place to ensure that Ministers in his Department comply with clauses 1.2(b) and 1.2(d) of the Ministerial Code. [150166]

Elizabeth Truss [holding answer 26 March 2013]: All DFE Ministers comply with the Ministerial Code.

Pre-school Education: Special Educational Needs

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what guidance he provides to local authorities on the employment of early years area special educational needs co-ordinators. [151036]

Elizabeth Truss: The Department last issued guidance to local authorities on the employment of early years area special educational needs co-ordinators (SENCOs) in 2002.

We are in the process of revising the statutory Special Educational Needs (SEN) “Code of Practice” for the first time since 2001, to reflect the reforms set out in the Children and Families Bill. We will take this opportunity to review whether, and if so how, good practice on the area SENCO role can be reflected in the “Code of Practice” as part of the overall approach to providing for children with special educational needs.

Pupil Exclusions: Yorkshire and the Humber

Andrew Percy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many children between the ages of four and 11 years were (a) suspended and (b) suspended more than once from school in (i) Brigg and Goole constituency and (ii) Yorkshire and the Humber in the latest period for which figures are available. [150159]

Elizabeth Truss [holding answer Tuesday 16 March 2013]: Information on the number of pupil enrolments aged between four and 11 receiving one or more, or two or more fixed period exclusions in Brigg and Goole constituency and Yorkshire and the Humber in 2010/11 is shown in the table.

The latest published information on permanent and fixed period exclusions is available in the “Permanent and Fixed Period Exclusions from Schools in England 2010/11” Statistical First Release at:

http://www.education.gov.uk/researchandstatistics/statistics/a00211337/

State-funded primary, state-funded secondary and special schools(1,2,3,4): Number of pupil enrolments aged between four and 11 receiving one or more fixed period exclusions(5,6), Yorkshire and the Humber region and Brigg and Goole constituency, 2010/11
 Number of pupil enrolments receiving one or more fixed period exclusions
 State-funded primary schools(1,2)State-funded secondary schools(1,3)Special schools(4)Total(1,2,3,4)
 NumberPercentage of school population(7)NumberPercentage of school population(7)NumberPercentage of school population(7)NumberPercentage of school population(7)

Yorkshire and the Humber region

1,910

0.48

1,710

2.96

80

2.65

3,690

0.81

18 Apr 2013 : Column 545W

18 Apr 2013 : Column 546W

Brigg and Goole constituency

13

0.21

25

2.52

0

0.00

38

0.53

 Number of pupil enrolments receiving two or more fixed period exclusions
 State-funded primary schools(1,2)State-funded secondary schools(1,3)Special schools(4)Total(1,2,3,4)
 NumberPercentage of school population(7)NumberPercentage of school population(7)NumberPercentage of school population(7)NumberPercentage of school population(7)

Yorkshire and the Humber region

720

0.18

700

1.22

50

1.57

1,470

0.32

Brigg and Goole constituency

5

0.08

9

0.15

0

0.00

14

0.20

(1) Includes middle schools as deemed. (2) Includes primary academies. (3 )Includes city technology colleges and secondary academies (including all-through academies). (4) Includes maintained and non-maintained special schools. Excludes general hospital schools. (5) Pupils may be counted more than once if they moved schools during the year, or are registered at more than one school. (6) Age as at 31 August 2010. (7 )The number of pupil enrolments expressed as a percentage of the number (headcount) of pupils aged between four and 11 (excluding dually registered pupils) as at January 2011. Note: Regional totals have been rounded to the nearest 10. Totals may not appear to equal the sum of constituent parts. Source: School Census.

Pupils: Travellers

Mr Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many school attendance orders were served on the parents of Traveller and Gypsy children in each local education authority area in each of the last five years. [148735]

Mr Laws: Local authorities are required to serve school attendance orders where a parent cannot demonstrate that their child of compulsory school age is receiving suitable education and in the opinion of the local authority it is expedient that the child should attend a school. The Department does not collect information on how many school attendance orders are issued by local authorities.

Residence Orders

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (a) how many residence orders have been made to a non-parent in relation to a child and (b) how many such children were previously in the care system in (i) 1 April 2011 to 31 March 2012 and (ii) each of the last 10 years in (A) England and Wales and (B) each region. [150148]

Mr Timpson [holding answer 26 March 2013]: The current family court data collection system has a facility to collect data on the applicant and the respondent's relationship to the child in residence cases, but the system does not record information on who is named in the resulting court order. It is therefore not possible to tell how many residence orders in relation to children have been made which name a non-parent.

In England, a total of 7,290 children have ceased to be looked after between 2006 and 2012 due to the granting of a residence order. The following table gives the regional breakdown of looked after children who have ceased to be looked after due to the granting of a residence order for these years. This information covers England only; information relating to Wales can be found on the Welsh Government website.

However, it is not possible to identify how many of these children were subject to a residence order which names a non-parent.

Children who ceased to be looked after during the years ending 31 March due to the granting of a residence order(1,2,3,4); years ending 31 March 2006 to 2012, coverage: England
 Number of children who ceased to be looked after due to the granting of a residence order
 2006200720082009201020112012

England

930

1030

910

930

1010

1190

1290

        

North East

90

70

80

70

80

120

120

North West

120

200

170

160

200

240

230

Yorkshire and the Humber

110

120

100

100

140

140

170

East Midlands

40

80

70

70

50

100

90

West Midlands

120

140

120

120

140

170

150

East of England

80

50

80

90

80

100

110

London

200

160

120

100

130

120

180

South East

80

130

100

140

100

110

120

South West

100

70

70

80

90

100

110

(1) Only the last occasion on which a child ceased to be looked after in the year has been counted. (2) Figures exclude children who were looked after under an agreed series of short term placements. (3) Figures have been rounded to the nearest 10. (4) Information on residence orders was collected for the first time in 2006. Source: SSDA903

18 Apr 2013 : Column 547W

Schools: Repairs and Maintenance

Stephen Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what the total estimate provided by local authorities is for the backlog of school repairs from Priority 1 to 4; and if he will place a list of local authorities along with the repair backlog for each local authority in the Library. [150690]

Mr Laws: At this time it is not possible to provide an estimate of the backlog of school repairs ranging from Priority 1 to 4.

The Department has not collected any data on school condition since 2005. The Department is now in the process of collecting data on school condition by means of actual property data surveys. When these surveys have been completed the information collected, along with the validated local authority data, will be used to provide an estimate of the outstanding costs of school repairs.

It is expected this process will be completed by the end of October 2013.

The results of the school surveys and the validated local authority information will be made available through an appropriate dissemination process currently being finalised by the Education Funding Agency.

Secondment

Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) pursuant to the answer of 1 March 2013, Official Report, column 754W, on secondment, what the lengths are of the secondments of those civil servants to organisations which sponsor academies; [148633]

(2) what the names are of the organisations to which the civil servants have been seconded. [148634]

Elizabeth Truss: The Department has four members of staff on secondment to organisations which sponsor academies: two at United Learning Trust, one at REach2 and one at The David Ross Educational Trust. All four members of staff are on secondment for a period of two years. In each case their salaries are reimbursed to the Department.

Women and Equalities

Women’s Business Council

6. Nick de Bois: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what assessment she has made of the work of the Women’s Business Council; and when the Council intends to publish its recommendations. [151735]

Jo Swinson: The Women’s Business Council, chaired by Ruby McGregor Smith, has made excellent progress since being set up in May 2012.

It has been exploring how we can maximise women’s contribution to our economy and I look forward to its report and recommendations this summer.

Equality Impact Assessments

7. Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what discussions she had with ministerial colleagues prior to Budget 2013 on equality impact assessments; and if she will make a statement. [151738]

18 Apr 2013 : Column 548W

Maria Miller: As the Prime Minister has made clear, Government Departments do not need to do equality impact assessments. Equality is far more than simply a tick-box exercise. All Departments, including the Treasury, consider equality during policy making as a matter of course. For example, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury hosted a round-table in March with a range of equality stakeholders ahead of the spending review in June.

Working Mothers

Karl Turner: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what steps she is taking to support working mothers. [151737]

Jo Swinson: Working mothers make a huge contribution to the economy and the Government continue to support them in a number of ways.

We have already put in place a number of measures to help with the cost of child care and announced further support to be introduced in 2015.

In addition we have extended support for child care costs to those who work less than 16 hours a week; increased Government-funded early education places for three and four-year-olds to 15 hours a week; and extended this so that 260,000 two-year-olds from lower income families can also access a place from September 2014.

Our radical reforms to parental leave will allow working mothers and working fathers to choose how best to share caring responsibilities, allowing them to balance their work and caring responsibilities and progress their careers.

Energy and Climate Change

Telephone Services

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to the answer of 18 March 2013, Official Report, column 380W, on telephone services, whether a UK landline number beginning with 01, 02 or 03 is publicly available as an alternative to the 0800 and 0845 number in use by his Department and the agencies for which he is responsible. [151626]

Gregory Barker: The Department’s HQ in Westminster does provide an 02 and an 03 number for public inquiries.

DECC has four agencies:

Committee on Climate Change—which provides an 02 number.

Nuclear Decommissioning Authority—which provides an 01 number.

Coal Authority—which provides an 01 number.

Civil Nuclear Police Authority—which also provides an 01 number.

Visits Abroad

Mr Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what his Department's budget was for overseas travel for officials and Ministers in 2012-13. [151356]

Gregory Barker: The Department of Energy and Climate Change's expenditure on overseas travel in 2012-13 is £490,000.

18 Apr 2013 : Column 549W

Northern Ireland

Bill of Rights

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent assessment she has made of progress on a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland. [151725]

Mike Penning: It remains clear that there is currently no consensus among the political parties in Northern Ireland around a Bill of Rights, despite substantial efforts to resolve the issue.

I remain happy to discuss the issue with the political parties if they wish to do so.

Devolution

Mr Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) if the Government will give consideration to negotiating a stronger devolution settlement with the Northern Ireland Executive; and which (a) fiscal and (b) other economic powers the Government would consider devolving as part of such a settlement; [151666]

(2) what assessment she has made of (a) the criteria by which the future financial settlement and constitutional arrangements for Northern Ireland should be determined and (b) the desirability or otherwise of replacing the funding arrangements determined by the Barnett formula by a needs-based allocation of Government finances. [151668]

Mike Penning: The Government are committed to devolving powers to the most appropriate level within a strong United Kingdom.

The Northern Ireland Act 1998 makes provision for reserved matters to be transferred, providing that there is cross-community support in the Assembly for doing so. The Government have also conducted a recent public consultation on adjustments to institutions in Northern Ireland and will bring forward a number of measures in this area when legislative time allows.

In the context of wider discussions on rebalancing the economy and building a shared society in Northern Ireland, we will examine the potential for the further devolution of fiscal and economic powers in consultation with the Northern Ireland Executive. We have also committed to taking a decision on the potential devolution of corporation tax powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly no later than the autumn statement 2014.

The Northern Ireland Office has made no assessment of the desirability of replacing the funding arrangements determined by the Barnett formula.

Recruitment

Andrew Bridgen: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much her Department spent on advertising job vacancies in (a) 2005, (b) 2006, (c) 2007, (d) 2008 and (e) 2009. [151086]

Mike Penning: Following the devolution of policing and justice functions on 12 April 2010, and the reconfiguration of the Northern Ireland Office, my Department does not hold complete figures for these periods. Attempting to obtain them would incur

18 Apr 2013 : Column 550W

disproportionate cost. In addition, figures from before 12 April 2010 would not be comparable with any subsequent to that date.

Security

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many booby-trap bombs were discovered under cars in Northern Ireland in (a) 2012-13 and (b) 2011-12. [150643]

Mrs Villiers: The information requested by the hon. Member is held by the Police Service of Northern Ireland. The hon. Member may wish to write to the Chief Constable about his query.

Staff

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many days of work were carried out by officials in (a) her Department and (b) each of its non-departmental public bodies on average in each of the last five years; and what the total salary cost was of officials in each year. [151112]

Mike Penning: The NIO does not hold information on the number of days of work carried out by officials in the Department or its non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs).

The salary costs for my Department were disclosed in the annual report and accounts for each of the last five years, copies of which are available in the Library of the House. The 2012-13 accounts are not yet complete, but will be published in due course. The annual report and accounts also contains summary information on staff numbers.

As an advisory NDPB, the costs related to the Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland are included in those of my Department. Since devolution of policing and justice in April 2010, the number of executive NDPBs has been reduced to two—the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Parades Commission for Northern Ireland. As such bodies are independent of Government, my hon. Friend may wish to write to the commissions direct on these matters—contact details are set out in the following table:

ALBStatusContact details

Parades Commission for Northern Ireland

Executive NDPB

[email protected]

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission

Executive NDPB

[email protected]

Visits Abroad

Naomi Long: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what details of (a) itineraries, (b) costs and (c) other aspects of overseas visits in support of trade and investment by Ministers in her Department are published (i) routinely and (ii) on request. [150612]

Mrs Villiers: Details of overseas visits by Ministers in the Northern Ireland Office are published on a quarterly basis. This includes the date, destination, purpose and cost of each overseas visit. These details can be found at:

www.gov.uk/government/publications

18 Apr 2013 : Column 551W

Communities and Local Government

Fire Services

Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his plans are for the future of fire and rescue services in England; and if he will make a statement. [151692]

Brandon Lewis [holding answer 17 April 2013]: As I announced on 14 December 2012, Sir Ken Knight is undertaking a review into the operational efficiency of the services delivered by fire and rescue authorities in England. The review will seek to identify ways fire and rescue authorities can pinpoint sensible savings and improvements without reducing the quality life-saving services that the country's firefighters are known for. I look forward to Sir Ken Knight's forthcoming report; after considering his findings, and hearing views from the sector, the Government will publish a formal response.

Fire Services: Private Sector

Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his policy is on the future involvement of for-profit private sector companies in service delivery of fire services. [151932]

Brandon Lewis: It remains the responsibility of individual fire and rescue authorities to deliver in the way that best meets the needs of their communities.

I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 5 March 2013, Official Report, column 931W, on the outsourcing provisions introduced by the last Administration.

Government Procurement Card

Robert Neill: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 25 February 2013, Official Report, column 75W, on Government Procurement Card, which authorised Government Procurement Card transactions from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister in 2004-05 were made by an authorised cardholder who was then based in the private office of the Deputy Prime Minister. [150839]

Brandon Lewis: A copy of all Government Procurement Card transactions made by the Ministerial Group as a whole from the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister for the period in 2004-05 has been deposited in the Library of the House.

Housing: Construction

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) whether his definition of new build includes converted barns and offices; [R] [149839]

(2) whether his definition of new build includes properties built in the last five years and never occupied. [R] [149840]

Mr Prisk: In relation to my Department's schemes to support home ownership, I can confirm that developers who have registered with the Homes and Communities Agency will be eligible to use the Help to Buy scheme

18 Apr 2013 : Column 552W

for those new build homes which have been completed in the last five years and have not been occupied. This would include barns and offices which have been converted for first residential use.

In relation to the New Homes Bonus, a hereditament that was converted from business use into a residential dwelling would count as a new property for the purposes of the bonus. The New Homes Bonus also recognises long-term empty dwellings being brought back into residential use and occupation.

On the basis of his previous questions, the hon. Member may be asking about Community Infrastructure Levy. On 15 April, my Department published a consultation paper which outlines plans to exempt self-build from the levy. It also proposes removing the current vacancy test meaning the levy will not generally be payable on buildings that have been vacant for a certain amount of time but are being refurbished or redeveloped to bring them back into productive use; the levy would still be payable on abandoned buildings or vacant buildings being redeveloped with an increase in floorspace. A copy of the document is in the Library of the House.

Local Government

Mr Liddell-Grainger: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will give consideration to promoting a new localism settlement to give councils and local authorities greater financial powers and responsibility. [151720]

Mr Foster: The Government continue to devolve powers and responsibilities to local authorities. They must also exploit the considerable opportunities available to them. The Localism Act 2011 allows local communities to decide how best to meet their needs while the General Power of Competence gives local authorities power to do anything an individual might. The Local Government Finance Act 2012 provides a direct financial incentive for local authorities to drive economic growth in their area. I look to local authorities to exercise these powers, act independently and be bold to support their areas.

Right to Buy Scheme

Heidi Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much his Department has spent on marketing and advertising right-to-buy discounts in each region of England in each year since 2010-11. [150543]

Mr Prisk [holding answer 15 April 2013]: I refer the hon. Member to my answers of 30 January 2013, Official Report, columns 854-5W, on the local and national spending. The advertising has not been based around the defunct Government office regions.

Social Rented Housing: Empty Property

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many public-sector homes in (a) England and (b) each Government office region in England were empty in each month in 2012-13. [151426]

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Mr Prisk: As outlined in the written ministerial statement of 18 September 2012, Official Report, columns 32-33WS, my Department no longer publishes statistics by Government office region.

Statistics on vacant dwellings in England and in each local authority district are published in the Department's live table 615 which is available at the following link. This table shows the annual number of empty homes in the local authority, housing association and other public sector tenures:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-dwelling-stock-including-vacants

This table brings together figures on vacant dwellings in England drawn from several separately published sources. Monthly figures are not collected centrally.

I refer the hon. Member to the answer of 11 December 2012, Official Report, House of Lords, column 218-19WA, on our comprehensive package of policies to get empty homes back into use.

Social Rented Housing: EU Nationals

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government for what reasons an EEA national exercising their right to freedom of movement as a self-sufficient person may (a) need and (b) be entitled to social housing. [151293]

Mr Prisk [holding answer 17 April 2013]: There is no entitlement to social housing.

European economic area nationals who have a right to reside in the UK on the basis that they are self-sufficient are eligible for social housing if they are habitually resident in the common travel area (the UK, Channel Islands, Isle of Man and Republic of Ireland). To be considered self-sufficient, a person must have (i) sufficient resources not to become a burden on the social assistance system of the UK and (ii) comprehensive sickness insurance cover in the UK.

To be allocated social housing an eligible applicant must also meet the local authority's own qualification criteria and have sufficient priority under the local authority's allocation scheme.

An allocation scheme must be framed to ensure that certain categories of people are given “reasonable preference” for social housing, because they have an identified housing need, including people who are homeless, overcrowded households, and people who need to move on medical or welfare grounds.

The Government want to tackle the widespread perception that the way social housing is allocated is unfair and favours foreign migrants over local people and the armed forces.

Social Rented Housing: Overcrowding

Mark Hendrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many people are living in housing association or local authority housing classified as overcrowded in the most recent period for which figures are available. [151068]

Mr Prisk: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 12 February 2013, Official Report, columns 612-3W.

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Work and Pensions

Apprentices

Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether he has made a recent assessment of the value for money of the apprenticeship clauses in his Department's standard contract introduced in 2011; and if he will make a statement. [151715]

Mr Hoban: In order to improve the number of apprenticeships and wider skills opportunities created through procurement, the Department for Work and Pensions introduced a contract schedule to its terms and conditions from April 2010 for all new contracts.

Although now firmly embedded into the model for all new contracts, no formal assessment has taken place to evaluate the impact of this requirement. Consideration is currently being given to the use and potential cost of a pan-government single supplier registration and data gathering tool, which would support the monitoring and evaluation of this schedule.

Child Maintenance

Stephen Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on how many occasions the Child Support Agency made use of its powers under Regulation 4(2)(i) of the Child Support Information Regulations 2008 to request information regarding a non-resident parent's address from his or her bank or building society in the last year. [151221]

Steve Webb: The Child Support Agency (the Agency) can approach banks and building societies to request any information needed to enable:

(a) a non-resident parent to be identified or traced (where that is necessary);

(b) the amount of child support maintenance payable by the non-resident parent to be calculated; or

(c) the amount to be recovered from the non-resident parent.

One area where these provisions are used is where the agency considers imposing a deduction order.

Deduction orders are where the agency instructs deposit holders to deduct maintenance directly from a non- resident parent's bank/building society account, following non-payment of maintenance. Disclosure requests are sent to banks and building societies to obtain financial information and contact details, including the most recent address.

The following table shows the number of disclosure requests made in the last three years.

Financial yearNumber of cases where disclosure requests sent

April 2009 to March 2010

1,795

April 2010 to March 2011

4,355

April 2011 to March 2012

3,980

There may be other scenarios where an address is requested from a bank or building society, for example, during criminal investigations. However, these numbers are not recorded for management purposes.

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Stephen Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions in how many live Child Support Agency (CSA) cases no action can currently be taken to (a) process an application and put a payment schedule into operation, (b) collect a maintenance liability and (c) take enforcement action because the CSA does not hold a confident address for the non-resident parent. [151320]

Steve Webb: The information requested is not available as we do not routinely record this information for management purposes. In order to source this information it would involve checking each individual case, which would exceed the appropriate cost limit to provide. However, the following information may provide some context:

(a) Where a valid application is made and the Child Support Agency (the agency) is able to trace details for a non-resident parent, a payment schedule would always be put in place. If a confident address could not be traced for the non-resident parent, we would continue to pursue information such as referrals to HM Revenue and Customs, credit reference agencies and contact with the parent with care.

(b) There are a number of scenarios where the agency is unable to collect a maintenance liability or arrears. These include cases where the parent is untraceable, the parent is abroad, or the debt has been suspended.

(c) Where a case is managed by our legal enforcement teams and they are unable to trace a non-resident parent's address the case is moved into “case surveillance”. This involves using credit reference agencies to monitor changes in a non-resident parent's address or financial circumstances. If any changes occur, a report is provided to support further negotiation or action.

As of December 2012 there were 52,000 cases subject to case surveillance.

Stephen Lloyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much the Child Support Agency has spent on tracing the whereabouts of non-resident parents in each of the last four years. [151322]

Steve Webb: Information on the costs of tracing non-resident parents and the internal costs of using external data sources is not available, as we do not record this level of detail. Additionally, “trace” is a task that is applicable to both the parent with care and non-resident parent.

The information provided in the following table shows the direct trace costs for using external data sources (notably HM Revenue and Customs) in each of the last four years.

 Direct trace costs (£ million)

2009-10

2.08

2010-11

1.86

2011-12

1.19

2012-13

1.02

Construction (Head Protection) Regulations 1989

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effect of the Construction (Head Protection) Regulations 1989 on the number of (a) fatalities and (b) injuries in workplaces. [151886]

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Mr Hoban: The Construction (Head Protection) Regulations 1989 (CHPR) are believed to have had a significant initial impact on serious and fatal head injuries on construction sites. Since that time, the wearing of head protection has become largely culturally embedded in the industry and other regulations continue to provide for an equivalent level of protection to be maintained.

Courts: Fines

Paul Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make an assessment of the relationship between court-imposed fines and (a) reliance on payday loans, (b) homelessness and (c) child poverty. [150080]

Mrs Grant: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Ministry of Justice.

Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) does not have any way of identifying offenders who fall into the groups mentioned.

HMCTS takes the issue of fine enforcement very seriously and as part of the future strategy, HMCTS will be considering numerous ways in which performance can be improved, which could include offender profiling.

The information HMCTS holds on offenders is provided by the prosecuting authorities, the offenders themselves and by using the tracing tools HMCTS has at its disposal such as the Experian credit reference agency and the Department for Work and Pensions customer information system. The means form, which defendants are asked to complete, requests details of income and outgoings, including loan amounts they are repaying and how many dependant children they have, but as many defendants do not provide financial means information to the court, HMCTS does not know what other financial commitments they have.

Housing Benefit: Social Rented Housing

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what consideration his Department took of the household adaptation requirements of disabled people in developing its plans for the under-occupancy penalty. [152138]

Steve Webb: We have recognised that there will be certain circumstances where it makes no sense to move someone from a property which has already been adapted into a different one and spend more on adaptations. This is why the Discretionary Housing Payment Scheme has been increased by £25 million from 2013-14, specifically aimed at supporting those living in significantly adapted properties.

We considered the arguments for exempting certain categories of claimants but do not believe that a blanket exemption appropriate. Such an exemption would not take account of the extent or costs of any adaptations and we believe DHPs offer a more flexible and cost-effective approach.