24 Apr 2013 : Column 901W

Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 24 April 2013

Transport

Fuel Cells: Hydrogen

Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much the Government (a) have invested and (b) plan to invest in the development of hydrogen fuel cell technologies. [152784]

Norman Baker: Since 2009 the Technology Strategy Board and co-funding partner the Department for Energy and Climate Change have invested in excess of £41m into fuel cell and hydrogen technologies. The Department for Energy and Climate Change's contribution has been nearly £10m. This represents projects with a total value, with the industrial contribution, of over £85m. In this financial year 2013-14 the Technology Strategy Board has plans to invest a further £4.5m into ongoing activity supporting fuel cell manufacturing and the supply chain and £5m into technologies specifically enabling the market for hydrogen. Fuel cells and hydrogen technologies are a part of the Technology Strategy Board's energy strategy and further investments into this area are anticipated during the current spending review period, to continue to support UK companies developing products for this growing global market.

Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what support and investment the Government have provided to the UK's first open access hydrogen refuelling station in Swindon. [152785]

Norman Baker: The UK's first open access hydrogen refuelling station in Swindon is a central part of a project awarded funding in July 2012 from the Technology Strategy Board and the Department for Energy and Climate Change. The project aims to supply green hydrogen to the refuelling station for multiple vehicle use and a significant part of the benefit of the project is the fact that it builds on the previous investment in this unique facility. The total cost of the project is £3.5m and it has been awarded a grant of £1.75m. It is one of five projects funded in a programme with a total value - including business contributions, of over £19m - with grant funding of £7.5m from the Technology Strategy Board and £1.5m from the Department for Energy and Climate Change.

West Coast Railway Line

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether he intends to seek to secure the provision of free wi-fi for passengers in all classes of travel when negotiating the extended West Coast Main Line franchise. [153089]

Mr Simon Burns: The decision relating to the provision of free wi-fi for passengers is a commercial matter for the train operator to consider and is not something that will be specified by the Department for Transport.

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Defence

Armed Forces: Vehicles

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the maximum capacity is of each of the current sites available to his Department for the receipt, inspection, repair and storage of military vehicles; what the current capacity is of each such site; and if he will make a statement. [152697]

Mr Robathan: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Cyprus

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much of the cost of Operation Tosca is being claimed against the UK's Official Development Assistance Target. [152743]

Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence did not claim any costs for Operation Tosca against Official Development Assistance (ODA). Under the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) Development Assistance Committee ODA guidelines, this activity is not ODA eligible.

Costs for Operation Tosca, which in financial year 2012-13 amounted to £17.706 million, are met from the Conflict Pool.

Defence Support Group

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Defence Support Group has been given the opportunity to submit an in-house bid for the purchase of the business it currently carries out for his Department; and if he will make a statement. [152607]

Mr Robathan: The purpose of the sale of Defence Support Group (DSG) is to raise a capital receipt through a privatisation enabling the business to diversify, grow and get access to investment.

A privatised DSG will remove its dependence on the Ministry of Defence as its sole major customer, and at the same time give the front line the best opportunity to retain access to a DSG with the capacity and transformed capability needed to support the Armed Forces of the future. The opportunity is there for anyone to make a bid for DSG if they can satisfy the requirements for sale.

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence to which Defence Support Group sites the military equipment project teams have been advised to cease sending equipment; and if he will make a statement. [152695]

Mr Robathan: No project teams have been advised to cease sending equipment to Defence Support Group sites.

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when any formal decision to close any Defence Support Group site was made; and if he will make a statement. [152696]

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Mr Robathan: I refer the hon. Member to the written ministerial statement made by the then Secretary of State for Defence the right hon. Member for Coventry North East (Mr Ainsworth), on 29 March 2010, Official Report, column 79WS.

This followed the conclusion of a formal consultation exercise with the trade unions on the proposal which began on 30 November 2009. No other DSG business transformation activity has resulted in site closures.

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what dividend has been paid by the Defence Support Group to his Department in each year since 2008; what savings have accrued in reduced costs and efficiencies in each such year; and if he will make a statement. [152698]

Mr Robathan: The dividends returned from the Defence Support Group (DSG) from an almost entirely Ministry of Defence (MOD) revenue stream have been:

Financial year£ million

2008-09

5.2

2009-10

4.5

2010-11

2.3

2011-12

4.5

2012-13

7

It should be noted that, while a good indication of the DSG Trading Fund managing its business well, it is only at the moment MOD money circulating through one of its own business divisions.

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library the business case developed by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation for the redevelopment of each of the Defence Support Group sites; and if he will make a statement. [152701]

Mr Robathan: No business cases for the redevelopment of the Defence Support Group (DSG) sites have been produced. All of the sites are considered to be suitable for their current and future use. DSG disposal is part of asset receipts required of the Department.

Defence: Procurement

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what account his Department has taken of international traffic and arms regulations in reaching any decision to place contracts for the receipt, inspection, repair and storage of military vehicles and equipment within the private sector; and if he will make a statement. [152606]

Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) invites all bidders to specify in their bid responses any non-UK export licence, authorisation or exemption that may be required in order to perform any resultant contract, or any other related transfer control.

The MOD then considers what risks such controls, including the US International Traffic in arms regulations, may place upon the performance of the particular contract and what actions the bidder intends to take to mitigate such risks, before awarding any contract.

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HMS Ambush

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what defect caused HMS Ambush to be towed back to HMNB Clyde during its recent sea trial; [153041]

(2) what maintenance occurred on HMS Ambush prior to its being towed back to HMNB Clyde during its recent sea trial. [153042]

Mr Robathan: HMS Ambush recently completed a planned maintenance period at Her Majesty's Naval Base (HMNB) Clyde. This was the submarine's first maintenance period since leaving Barrow, and provided the first opportunity to address various issues raised during the initial set of Platform Sea Trials.

On sailing from HMNB Clyde on 10 April 2013, a problem with the lubricating oil system was identified. HMS Ambush returned alongside under her own power and remedial action was taken; she was not towed but accompanied by tugs, which is standard operating practice for any submarine entering or exiting HMNB Clyde.

RAF Cranwell

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of trends in the average running cost of RAF Cranwell since 2000; and whether any savings have been made over that period. [152969]

Mr Robathan: Trends in the average running cost of RAF Cranwell are assessed annually as part of the Ministry of Defence budget setting process and in managing expenditure in year. These costs are influenced by a number of factors such as changes to the Royal Air Force recruiting and training requirement, inflation, equipment support costs and the renewal of multi activity contracts.

Savings are made wherever possible, such as when contracts for the provision of services are renewed but these may be offset to some extent by the effects of inflation.

Royal Naval College

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many members of the (a) Royal Navy and (b) Royal Air Force currently undergo training at Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth; [152792]

(2) what assessment he has made of trends in the average running costs of Britannia Royal Naval College, Dartmouth since 2000; and whether any savings have been made over that period. [152968]

Mr Robathan: There are currently 280 Royal Navy personnel undergoing training at Britannia Royal Naval College. There are no Royal Air Force personnel.

The running costs and efficiencies associated with Britannia Royal Naval College are reviewed annually as part of the financial planning and approvals process.

Storage

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which sites are currently available to his Department for the receipt, inspection, repair and storage of military vehicles; what the maintenance and improvement spend on each such site was in each year

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since 2003; whether a controlled humidity environment is available at each such site; whether there is access to a railway line at each such site; how many staff are employed at each such site; and if he will make a statement. [152699]

Mr Robathan: This information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Submarines

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what modifications will be needed at HMNB Clyde and RNAD Coulport to accept the successor submarine programme; [152716]

(2) what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of adapting the ship lift facility at HMNB Clyde to accommodate the successor to the Vanguard class submarines. [152721]

Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is currently conducting a series of studies examining the infrastructure that will be required to support the successor submarines.

Only when the studies have been completed, and the results analysed, will the MOD be in a position to determine what changes will be necessary to the infrastructure at Her Majesty's Naval Base Clyde, including the Royal Naval Armament Depot, Coulport and to estimate the cost of any such changes.

Trident Submarines

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the first Vanguard class submarine will come out of service; and when the first successor submarine will come into service. [152717]

Mr Robathan: As outlined in the Strategic Defence and Security Review, the first successor submarine is planned to enter service in 2028. Current Vanguard class submarines will undergo comprehensive life extension activities to ensure they are able to hand over with the successor class as they enter service.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many ballistic missile submarines will need to be fully operational during the transition from Vanguard class to its successor during the transition period between classes. [152718]

Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence will ensure that there will be sufficient numbers of submarines during transition to maintain our current posture of continuous at sea deterrence.

Unmanned Air Vehicles

Rehman Chishti: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many times (a) British forces have flown US unmanned aerial vehicles and (b) US forces have flown British unmanned aerial vehicles in the latest period for which figures are available. [128974]

Mr Robathan: The information will take time to collate. I will write to the hon. Member as soon as it is available. UK Forces have only ever flown US unmanned aerial vehicles outside Afghanistan, during Operation Ellamy in Libya.

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Substantive answer from Andrew Robathan to Rehman Chishti:

I undertook to write to you in answer to your Parliamentary Question on 29 November 2012 (Official Report, column 461W) about Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS). I apologise that it has taken so long to reply.

I should point out that my answer contained an error in the final sentence that I would like to take this opportunity to correct. My answer stated that UK Forces had only ever flown US unmanned aerial vehicles outside Afghanistan during Operation Ellamy in Libya.

The answer should have said that UK personnel embedded with the US Air Force have only flown US RPAS in support of operations in Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq.

I have asked for the Official Record to be corrected.

Between October 2006 and 31 December 2012, UK aircrew had flown approximately 2,150 operational missions using US REAPER and PREDATOR RPAS in support of operations in Afghanistan and Libya.

UK and US personnel also operate both nation's RPAS as part of the launch and recovery phase in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, information on the number of occasions they have done so is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost. Information about operations in Iraq is also not held centrally.

Rehman Chishti: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 29 November 2012, Official Report, column 461W, on unmanned air vehicles, when he expects to write to the hon. Member for Gillingham and Rainham. [138546]

Mr Robathan: I answered my hon. Friend today.

USA

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what (a) representations and (b) communications he and his Department have made to the US Navy on delays in the Ohio-class ballistic missile submarine replacement programme and its effect on the successor programme. [152719]

Mr Robathan: We have regular discussions with the US on a range of issues, including on the successor programme. The planned in-service date for the successor submarine programme has not been affected.

Wales

Electricity

Kevin Brennan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will evaluate the potential benefits of amalgamating the electricity grids of North, Mid and South Wales to form a unified Welsh power grid. [152481]

Stephen Crabb: The design and operation of the electricity networks is a matter for the network companies and Ofgem, as the independent regulator.

Hotels

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many officials in his Department stayed in hotels in (a) the UK and (b) every other country during the last five years; at what total cost; and what the monetary value was of the 20 highest such hotel expenses in each such year. [152568]

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Stephen Crabb: Information on hotels booked is only available from February 2010, prior to this date individuals filed paper claim forms and the information could only be obtained at a disproportionate cost. The following tables detail the information:

(a) Hotels used in the UK
 Number of officials stayed in hotelsTotal cost (£)

2009-10

12

3,663.16

2010-11

28

18,958.92

2011-12

43

25,398.44

2012-13

42

18,855.71

(b) Hotels outside the UK
 Number of officials stayed in hotels outside UKTotal cost (£)

2009-10

3

328.50

2010-11

0

2011-12

0

2012-13

3

975.06

The following table sets out the Top 20 rates booked by officials:

£
 Top 20 rates claimed
 2009-10(1)2010-112011-12(2)2012-13

1

120.00

120.00

120.00

218.56

2

99.87

119.88

118.80

179.31

3

99.86

119.19

110.00

122.29

4

99.62

102.00

102.00

121.29

5

99.00

100.00

100.00

120.00

6

97.75

99.88

95.00

118.00

7

95.00

99.87

91.00

117.26

8

85.00

99.86

89.00

114.89

9

80.00

99.00

85.00

112.44

10

75.00

97.75

83.00

112.23

11

64.62

95.00

82.00

107.50

12

64.00

94.50

80.00

105.00

13

59.00

91.00

79.00

104.18

14

55.00

89.62

78.99

103.83

15

89.00

72.00

102.17

16

85.00

66.00

102.00

17

84.62

64.00

101.38

18

84.00

49.95

101.17

19

83.00

100.00

20

82.00

97.50

(1) Only 14 rates booked. (2 )Only 18 rates booked.

Liver Diseases

Jonathan Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with the Welsh Government on (a) improving provision for the treatment of advanced liver disease in Wales and (b) supporting patients who have to travel to England for such treatment. [152601]

Mr David Jones: As health is a devolved matter, it is for the Welsh Government to determine their own health policies to meet the needs of the people of Wales.

The Wales Office, the Department of Health and the Welsh Government have been working together to agree long term solutions to some of the cross-border issues which have emerged since devolution. The Protocol for

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Cross-Border Healthcare Services was published on 1 April 2013. This protocol has been developed between the NHS in England and Wales and will be regularly reviewed to secure cross-border health care provision in a way that supports improved patient outcomes and avoids the fragmentation of care.

National Assembly for Wales

Kevin Brennan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what consideration has been given to introducing a second scrutinising chamber in Wales. [152762]

Mr David Jones: I am content that the Government of Wales Act 2006 sets out appropriate mechanisms for the scrutiny of Assembly legislation without the need to introduce a second chamber. These include powers for the Secretary of State to intervene in certain cases and for the Attorney-General or the Counsel General to refer questions of whether a Bill or any provision of a Bill is within competence to the Supreme Court for a decision. The Act also sets out a clear framework for Assembly Standing Orders to include processes for scrutinising Assembly Bills.

Official Hospitality

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many officials in his Department claimed reimbursements for working lunches and official entertainment in each of the last five years; and what the total cost was in each such year. [152678]

Stephen Crabb: In the last five years the Wales Office has not reimbursed any officials for working lunches or official entertainment.

Procurement

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what was purchased by his Department in October 2012 with payment number 1001623. [152400]

Stephen Crabb: Payment number 1001623 in October 2012 relates to payment for the production, including Welsh translation, of the Wales Office 2011-12 Annual Report and Accounts.

Public Sector: Redundancy

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many public sector job losses there have been in (a) Wales and (b) each parliamentary constituency in Wales since May 2010. [152399]

Mr David Jones: Since the end of Q1 2010 public sector employment in Wales has fallen by 19,000, the smallest reduction of any region of the UK. This has been more than offset by the 35,000 increase in private sector employment in Wales over the same period.

The Office for National Statistics preferred source of statistics for public sector employment is the Quarterly Public Sector Employment Survey (QPSES). Figures from this source are not available at the parliamentary constituency level.

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Redundancy Pay

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many officials in his Department received payments under a voluntary exit scheme in each of the last five years; and at what total cost in each such year. [152659]

Stephen Crabb: One member of staff in the Wales Office received a payment in 2009-10 upon taking early retirement. 10 staff received voluntary exit scheme payments in 2011-12 and two in 2012-13 as part of the Wales Office's programme to deliver efficiencies savings and better align skills across the Department to ministerial priorities. The Wales Office is not an employer in its own right. Our permanent staff are employees of the Ministry of Justice (MOJ), with other staff members on loan from the Welsh Government and other Government Departments. Some of the schemes under which Wales Office staff received payments were offered by the MOJ and the Welsh Government, and the Wales Office funded only some of the costs arising. The total cost funded by the Wales Office amounted to £19,250 in 2010-11, and £238,156.13 in 2011-12. Information relating to 2012-13 will be published as part of the Annual Report and Accounts.

Treasury

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many meetings he has held with the Chancellor of the Exchequer in the last three months. [152401]

Mr David Jones: I have regular discussions with the Chancellor of the Exchequer, my right hon. Friend the Member for Tatton (Mr Osborne).

Owen Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales pursuant to the answer of 18 March 2013, Official Report, column 406W, on Budget March 2013, if he will publish his letter to the Chancellor of the Exchequer. [152463]

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

Culture, Media and Sport

Broadband

Alun Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 1 March 2013, Official Report, column 710W, on broadband, whether Ofcom has set a timetable for revising the annual fees for 900MHz and 1800MHz spectrum. [151860]

Mr Vaizey: Ofcom has stated it will publish a consultation later in the year seeking views on the proposed methodology that will be used in setting the revised annual licence fees for the 900 MHz and 1800 MHz spectrum.

Alun Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 1 March 2013, Official Report, column 710W, on

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broadband, what steps she is taking to monitor compliance with the Direction made to Ofcom in December 2010. [151861]

Mr Vaizey: We are working closely with Ofcom to ensure all six elements(1)as cited in the 2010 Direction, are completed in a timely, open and transparent manner.

(1) Variation of 900 MHz and 1800 MHz licences to allow use for GSM and UMTS systems; Other variations to existing wireless telegraphy licences; Licence fees; Spectrum trading; Competition assessment and Auction of licences.

Broadband: Enterprise Zones

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what benchmarks, deadlines and targets she has set for (a) broadband roll out and (b) superfast broadband roll-out to enterprise zones. [152989]

Mr Vaizey: The Government have committed to ensuring that enterprise zones will have access to superfast broadband by May 2015. The Government are working with each enterprise zone to develop plans for broadband roll-out and exploring opportunities to bring forward delivery where possible.

Broadband: Rural Areas

Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps her Department is taking to ensure the fastest possible roll-out of fibre-optic broadband networks to rural areas in the UK. [152922]

Mr Vaizey: We are making good progress on the local broadband projects with 19 contracts signed to date and we expect them all to be agreed by the end of the summer. The Government have also committed to removing a swathe of red tape to avoid potential delays to the roll-out of infrastructure and we remain on track to deliver these reforms by the summer of 2013. Northern Ireland was allocated £4.4 million to support broadband roll-out and the Northern Ireland Assembly has local responsibility for delivery of a broadband project using that funding.

Museums and Galleries

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many people visited museums in (a) Barnsley, (b) South Yorkshire and (c) England in 2012. [150538]

Mr Vaizey [holding answer 15 April 2013]: The total number of visits to national museums and galleries in England for 2012 is 44,519,777. However we are unable to provide data for Barnsley and South Yorkshire as the data are not held centrally.

Total visits to all England museums can be found in the following table.

 Number

2008

41,107,722

2009

41,154,524

2010

43,316,838

2011

43,734,704

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Olympic Games 2012

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many officials in (a) her Department and (b) the non-departmental public bodies for which she is responsible were employed before the London 2012 Olympics to carry out functions relating to the Games; and how many officials remained employed to carry out functions related to the London 2012 Olympics in the most recent period for which figures are available. [152694]

Hugh Robertson: During 2012-13 the number of full-time equivalents (FTEs) employed by DCMS to carry out functions relating to the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games was 140. It excludes a number of staff from the Department who were engaged on this work temporarily during the period of the Games themselves.

Two full time equivalents are currently employed full-time on the London 2012 Games work, including oversight of the 2013-14 programme to transform the Olympic Village for residential use and the wind up of the Olympic delivery bodies, while a number of staff in the sport, culture, tourism and other teams have aspects of London 2012 legacy work as part of their functions.

Information about our arm’s length bodies is not held centrally.

Pay

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what criteria are used in (a) her Department and (b) each public body for which she is responsible to determine which officials receive bonus payments. [151128]

Hugh Robertson: Bonus payments are made to officials in DCMS for two purposes: in year payments to reward outstanding contributions, in particularly demanding tasks or situations with small one-off payments, and performance related payments, to reward highly successful performance over a whole appraisal year. Awards are made in line with Departmental policy, Cabinet Office principles and Civil Service Pay guidelines on performance-related pay.

The criteria used are as follows:

In Year Reward Scheme:

Dealing with demanding situations, e.g. matters of political sensitivity or organisational change

Taking a creative or innovative approach to one or more work situations

Delivering key ministerial objectives

Short term commitment to getting the job done, meeting difficult deadlines to an excellent standard

Performance Related Pay Scheme:

Have exceeded all agreed objectives, making a very strong contribution to the work of the Department.

Have demonstrated and championed DCMS values consistently throughout the year.

Are a role model across the Department and/or externally

Since 2010-11 DCMS has restricted performance related payments for senior civil servants to the top 25% of performers (from 65% in previous years) and to 40% for staff in delegated grades (from 60% in previous years) since 2011-12.

We do not hold central records for our public bodies.

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Royal Charters: Regulation

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent discussions she has had with media representatives about Royal Charter regulations on the basis of the Leveson proposals; and if she will make a statement. [152737]

Mr Vaizey: The Department regularly publishes details of ministerial meetings with media representatives including newspaper and other media proprietors, editors and senior executives, full details of which can be found at the following link:

http://www.transparency.culture.gov.uk/category/other/meetings/

World War I: Anniversaries

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent progress she has made on her proposals to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. [152040]

Mr Vaizey: The Government have announced a four year centenary programme, supported by £50 million of government funding. Throughout the centenary, remembrance, cultural and education initiatives will feature prominently in national events. The Government are actively developing plans with Commonwealth countries and other Governments alongside encouraging and supporting community activity across the UK.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agricultural Wages Board

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effect of the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board on agricultural workers' wages in (a) Middlesbrough South and East Cleveland constituency, (b) North Yorkshire and (c) the North East of England. [153136]

Mr Heath: There has not been any assessment of the regional impact of the abolition of the Agricultural Wages Board on agricultural workers' wages.

We have been quite clear that there is considerable uncertainty about the impact on workers’ wages. The reality will depend on demand, which evidence shows is increasing, and how farmers use the increased flexibility.

Many workers are already paid above the agricultural minimum wage for their grade, so it is probable that their wages will not be affected by the removal of the Agricultural Wages Board. Moreover, the underlying market conditions suggest that farmers will need to offer competitive packages to attract and retain skilled and qualified staff.

Workers with existing contracts at the time of abolition will retain entitlement to the terms of that employment until the contract either comes to an end or is varied by agreement between the worker and the employer.

All workers will be protected by the national minimum wage.

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Animal Welfare: Crime

Tracey Crouch: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what recent discussion he has had with the Secretary of State for Justice regarding sentencing for and protection against animal cruelty offences; and if he will make a statement; [153018]

(2) if he has considered introducing a lifetime ban for animal ownership for persistent or serious offenders of animal cruelty; [153021]

(3) what assessment he has made of the potential benefits of increasing the maximum sentence available for animal cruelty offences for the purposes of ensuring sufficient protection and deterrent measures; and if he will make a statement. [153023]

Mr Heath [holding answer 23 April 2013]: Under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, it is an offence to cause any unnecessary suffering to an animal or to fail to provide for an animal's welfare needs. On conviction, the maximum penalties available for an offence of unnecessary suffering are a fine of £20,000 or six months’ imprisonment, or both. The maximum penalties for failing to provide for the welfare of an animal are a fine of £5,000 or six months’ imprisonment, or both. The court may, in addition to any other punishment on conviction, disqualify the person convicted from having custody of any animal for such a period as it thinks fit. This could mean a lifetime ban from keeping animals.

Sections 85-87 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 provide powers to remove the maximum limits of penalties imposed on offenders by magistrates courts. However, these sections have not yet been commenced.

Animals: Sales

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what progress his Department has made on meeting representatives of classified websites to discuss the issue of online advertisement and sale of pets and animals; [152311]

(2) what progress his Department has made on assessing and addressing the issues surrounding the online advertisement and sale of pets and animals. [152313]

Mr Heath: DEFRA is in regular contact with the Pet Advertising Advisory Group (PAAG), which is a group of concerned animal welfare, animal keeping and veterinary organisations, who are working with a number of classified websites to address the issues raised by the proliferation of internet pet advertising. Through the PAAG, DEFRA officials met with representatives from classified websites. Further meetings are planned, as well as the provision of guidance to the sector and potential buyers.

Bees: Pesticides

Andrew Bridgen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he plans to take in response to the findings in relation to bee health of the recent peer reviews of risk assessments of neonicotinoid pesticides undertaken by the European Food Safety Authority; and if he will make a statement. [146772]

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Mr Heath: The Government have been examining the evidence on this important issue with care. We have always made it clear that we will be guided by the evidence and will act if there is a need. If action were needed, we would want to make sure that this was effective in reducing risks to bees while minimising unintended consequences for the environment or human health.

The independent Advisory Committee on Pesticides has considered the evidence on neonicotinoids on several occasions. The Committee advised, following its meeting on 29 January, that there were grounds for a review of neonicotinoid product authorisations under pesticides legislation. Ministers have accepted this advice and officials in the Health and Safety Executive's Chemicals Regulation Directorate launched this work on 5 April.

While laboratory studies show that bees may be significantly affected by neonicotinoids, field data on honey bees indicate that the level of exposure in non-laboratory conditions does not lead to these harmful effects. There has been an absence of field data on other bee species and DEFRA therefore commissioned field trials on bumble bees. This work was published on the DEFRA website with our assessment of the key evidence and is now available online at:

www.gov.uk

This work concludes that it is not possible to rule out rare effects of neonicotinoids on bees in the field. However, the evidence indicates that effects on bees do not occur under normal circumstances. Consequently, it supports the view that the risk to bee populations from neonicotinoids, as they are currently used, is low.

The European Commission has proposed restrictions on the use of three neonicotinoids, following the peer review by the European Food Safety Authority. We have urged the Commission to complete the scientific assessment, taking account of our new research, and to assess the impacts of action so that the measures taken are proportionate to the risks identified.

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the impact on bees of the use of neonicotinoid pesticides. [152425]

Mr Heath: While laboratory studies show that bees may be significantly affected by neonicotinoids, field data on honey bees indicate that the level of exposure in non-laboratory conditions does not lead to these harmful effects. There has been an absence of field data on other bee species and DEFRA, therefore, commissioned field trials on bumble bees. The report of these field trials was published on the DEFRA website with our assessment of the key evidence and is now available online at:

www.gov.uk

Our assessment of the overall evidence concludes that it is not possible to rule out rare effects of neonicotinoids on bees in the field. However, the evidence indicates that effects on bees do not occur under normal circumstances. Consequently, it supports the view that the risk to bee populations from neonicotinoids, as they are currently used, is low. It is clear that more research is needed in this area, and we are both commissioning additional work and encouraging other EU states and the Commission to do so.

24 Apr 2013 : Column 915W

Dogs

Tracey Crouch: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of animal welfare standards in UK puppy farms; and if he will make a statement. [153022]

Mr Heath [holding answer 23 April 2013]: Under the Breeding of Dogs Act 1973 and the Breeding and Sale of Dogs (Welfare) Act 1999, local authorities have powers to enter and inspect licensed dog breeding establishments. Under the Breeding of Dogs Act 1991, local authorities have powers to enter and inspect dog breeding establishments that they suspect should have a valid licence and are unlicensed. In addition, under the Animal Welfare Act 2006, local authorities have powers to investigate allegations of poor welfare or cruelty in unlicensed dog breeding establishments.

It is therefore for local authorities to assess the welfare standards of dog breeding establishments and decide what action, if any, to take.

Livestock Industry

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what steps he plans to take to assist livestock owners whose herd numbers have been reduced as a result of unseasonable weather; [152387]

(2) what assistance his Department is offering to farmers in Shropshire who have lost livestock as a result of the recent unseasonable cold weather. [152388]

Mr Heath: The latest steps that the Government have taken to assist those farmers who have been severely affected by the cold weather were set out in my written ministerial statement on 18 April 2013, Official Report, column 34WS.

Livestock: Exports

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions he has had with his ministerial colleagues in the Department for Transport on bringing forward legislative proposals to amend the Harbours, Docks and Piers Clauses Act 1847 to permit port authorities to refuse to allow the export of live animals through their ports. [153098]

Mr Heath: I have not had any discussions with ministerial colleagues in the Department for Transport. The Harbours, Docks and Piers Clauses Act 1847 aims to ensure that ports are available to all without discrimination. It would not be an appropriate legal instrument to introduce an effective barrier to trade for the use by port authorities as they see fit. In any case, banning the export of live animals would be illegal and undermine the principle of free movement of goods enshrined in the treaty on the functioning of the European Union.

24 Apr 2013 : Column 916W

Women and Equalities

Business: Females

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what recent representations she has received on equality of opportunity for women in company boardrooms. [152738]

Jo Swinson: The Minister for Women and Equalities, the right hon. Member for Basingstoke (Maria Miller), attended the launch of Cranfield’s Female FTSE 100 report and Lord Davies’ ‘two-year on’ Women on Boards report on 10 April alongside the President of the CBI, Sir Roger Carr, and the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, my right hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable). Both reports highlight progress is being made for female directors on the boards of FTSE 100 companies and the FTSE 250.

The Minister for Women and Equalities discussed with a wide range of stakeholders, including FTSE chairs and members of the 30% Club, the progress being made and what more can be done to accelerate the progress we are already making.

Castes

Mr Bain: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what the policy of her Department is on placing discrimination on the grounds of caste on an equal footing as other discrimination on the grounds of race under section 9(5) of the Equality Act 2010; and if she will bring forward legislative proposals to that end. [151220]

Mrs Grant: The UK Government think that no-one should suffer prejudice or discrimination. Such behaviour is wrong and should not be condoned whether or not it is prohibited by legislation. This is a deeply complex issue but we have not seen any evidence so far that suggests that legislation is the most appropriate way of dealing with caste discrimination, to the extent that this exists in Britain.

The current Government are the first Government to address the issue of caste discrimination. A written ministerial statement of 1 March 2013, Official Report, columns 39-40WS, announced an educational initiative with the Hindu and Sikh communities on the complex and sensitive issue of caste prejudice.

Mr Bain: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what assessment she has made of the compatibility of the current law on racial discrimination in the UK with the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination in respect of (a) discrimination on grounds of caste and (b) other matters. [151510]

Mrs Grant: The International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination refers to racial discrimination as being based on

“race, colour, descent or national or ethnic origin”.

The convention places no obligation on states to incorporate it into domestic law and the UK has not done so. The Government understand their obligation under the convention to take all necessary measures to ensure that

24 Apr 2013 : Column 917W

the law and practice of the UK fully respect and implement all the provisions of the convention. The Government are confident that they have done so and continue to do so.

Multiple Births: Maternity Pay

Mrs Moon: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities if she will link the expiry date of maternity pay in the case of a multiple birth to the expected date of delivery rather than the actual date of delivery; and if she will make a statement. [152172]

Steve Webb: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Work and Pensions.

Statutory maternity pay provides a measure of earnings replacement to allow a woman to take time away from work to prepare for and recover from childbirth. Generally, a mother can choose to start her statutory maternity pay at any point 11 weeks before the expected week of confinement (i.e. expected week of birth of a child) until the day after confinement. As the expiry date of statutory maternity pay is linked to its start date, this in turn means that the expiry date is already linked to the expected date of confinement rather than the actual date of delivery for many women.

However, where payment of SMP has not already started, it will start on the day after the child is born (or in the case of a multiple pregnancy, the day after the last child is born). In all cases, statutory maternity pay is payable for a consecutive 39 week period. We have no plans to change this policy.

Northern Ireland

Banks

Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discussions she has had with the

24 Apr 2013 : Column 918W

Irish Department of Finance on ensuring that Northern Ireland will not be disproportionately affected in terms of job loss during the restructuring through the Irish banking sector and Irish banks. [152846]

Mrs Villiers: I will be engaging with Irish Ministers on the impact of changes to the structure of the Irish banking system on Northern Ireland. I am also in contact with the Northern Ireland Finance Minister on this issue.

Redundancy Pay

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many officials in (a) her Department and (b) each of the non-departmental public bodies for which she is responsible received payments under a voluntary exit scheme in each of the last five years; and at what total cost in each such year. [152655]

Mrs Villiers: Following the devolution of policing and justice functions on 12 April 2010, my Department does not hold figures for the periods prior to 2010; attempting to obtain this information would incur disproportionate cost.

Since devolution, my Department has not held any voluntary exit schemes.

My Department has two non-departmental public bodies—the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Parades Commission for Northern Ireland; and one advisory non-departmental public body—the Boundary 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 Northern Ireland

Executive NDPB

[email protected]

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission

Executive NDPB

[email protected]

Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland

Advisory NDPB

[email protected]

Leader of the House

Scotland

Pete Wishart: To ask the Leader of the House (1) what (a) external organisations and (b) individuals his Office engaged with as part of the Scotland Analysis programme; and what was discussed at such consultations; [153380]

(2) how many members of his Office staff have been allocated to work on the Scotland Analysis programme; and if he will estimate the cost to the public purse of this work; [153381]

(3) what meetings (a) he and (b) officials in his Office have had with the right hon. Member for Edinburgh South West as part of the Scotland Analysis programme; and what was discussed at each such meeting; [153382]

(4) what work his Office has commissioned by external consultants in relation to work on the Scotland Analysis programme; which consultants were used; and how much any such consultancy has cost. [153383]

Mr Lansley: None of my officials have been appointed to such work; I have conducted no such meetings and commissioned no such work relating to the Scotland Analysis programme.

Scotland

Jobseekers

11. Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what estimate he has made of the number of jobseekers in Scotland likely to be affected by the Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Bill. [150809]

David Mundell: Nobody actively seeking a job in Scotland will be affected by the Jobseekers (Back to Work Schemes) Act 2013.

Budget 2013

12. Jim McGovern: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what assessment he has made of the effect of Budget 2013 on Scotland. [150810]

24 Apr 2013 : Column 919W

Michael Moore: I refer the hon. Gentleman to the answer I gave earlier to the hon. Members for Glasgow North (Ann McKechin) and for Kilmarnock and Loudoun (Cathy Jamieson).

Work and Pensions

Disability: Equality

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of statutory equality needs in the context of planned changes to the structure of provisions to enable disabled people to live independently. [151884]

Esther McVey: The Government consider the equality implications of all policy changes and publish these, where appropriate, as required by the 2010 Equality Act and the 2006 Act which preceded it. At every stage of policy development the Department gives due regard to equality needs and continues to carry out analysis of the likely impacts of its policies on protected groups, including disabled people. Impact assessments of policy changes are provided routinely, in accordance with the Equality Act.

The Department published an impact assessment and equality impact assessment on the reform of DLA in May 2012.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/174995/dla-reform-wr2011-ia.pdf.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/174970/eia-dla-reform-wr2011.pdf.pdf

The Department also published updated equality impact analysis in our response to the consultation on the Personal Independence Payment assessment criteria and regulations.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/181181/pip-assessment-thresholds-and-consultation-response.pdf

A full equality impact assessment was also published alongside the Government's response to the consultation on the future of the Independent Living Fund in December 2012.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/184151/closure-of-independent-living-fund-eia.pdf

Homelessness

Andy Sawford: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the toolkit for identification of homelessness by Jobcentre Plus advisers; and when he last met representatives of homelessness charities to discuss this matter. [153008]

Mr Hoban: There is no specific toolkit for the identification of homelessness. However, Jobcentre Plus advisers are equipped with the necessary guidance and training to identify and provide an appropriate level of tailored support for the homeless, as well as other disadvantaged groups. As a priority group, the homeless are able to access additional support through Jobcentre Plus advisers to enter employment, including early access to the Work programme. The guidance which supports

24 Apr 2013 : Column 920W

Jobcentre Plus advisers is subject to regular review to ensure its effectiveness for helping to tackle homelessness and the barriers it creates to employment.

The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions meets representatives of the homeless charities on a regular basis to discuss a whole range of topics and these meetings are not limited to this particular matter.

Andy Sawford: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he plans to take to improve job outcomes for homeless people in the work programme. [153009]

Mr Hoban: The Department does not specify to work programme providers how they should support participants into work. Providers are expected to use their knowledge and expertise to achieve positive outcomes for all their participants, including the homeless.

Human Papillomavirus

Harriett Baldwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many payments have been made by the NHS to compensate girls who have had an adverse reaction to the drug Cerverix in each of the last three years. [151224]

Esther McVey: As Minister responsible for this policy, I will be answering on behalf of the Secretary of State for Health.

To clarify, vaccine damage payments are paid by the Department for Work and Pensions to ease the present and future burdens of those suffering from vaccine damage and their families; the payment is not compensation.

The Department does not hold information on which specific vaccines are linked to a successful vaccine damage payment claim.

Claimants are asked to specify on the claim form all the vaccinations the disabled person received. However, as many vaccinations can be given in close proximity to each other it is not always possible to state categorically which vaccine caused the adverse reaction. Where a payment is made disability is not attributed to any specific vaccination.

Universal Credit

Sarah Champion: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the potential additional cost of increasing the maximum childcare subsidy available under universal credit from 70 per cent to 85 per cent of childcare costs for families that do not have a member earning more than the income tax personal allowance in 2015-16. [152389]

Mr Hoban: The Government want to encourage people to work and where possible to increase their hours and recognise that those working the longest hours are likely to face the greatest child care costs. The Government will spend an additional £200 million on child care support through universal credit, which is equivalent to providing support for 85% of child care costs for families qualifying for the universal credit child care element where the lone parent or both earners in a couple pay income tax. This will be introduced from April 2016.

24 Apr 2013 : Column 921W

The details of how to provide this support will be determined as part of a wider consultation on the Tax-free Childcare scheme for those families outside universal credit, to ensure the two schemes operate effectively together. This will be published in due course.

All figures refer to universal credit steady-state when migration has been completed and universal credit has been fully rolled out.

Work Programme

Andy Sawford: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will strengthen the minimum service standards for the Work Programme. [153010]

Mr Hoban: We are exploring how providers are able to strengthen their minimum service standards.

Home Department

Animal Experiments

Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what assessment she has made of recent allegations of poor practice in animal welfare issues made by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection; and if she will make a statement; [152411]

(2) if she will set up an independent investigation into the concerns raised by the British Union for the Abolition of Vivisection about wrongdoing during animal experiments at Imperial College London. [152412]

James Brokenshire: The use of living animals in scientific procedures which may cause pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm is strictly regulated under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. We are determined to ensure animal research is carried out humanely and only when necessary and any reports suggesting that individuals or establishments are falling short of the high standards required by the 1986 Act are taken extremely seriously.

Home Office inspectors are investigating the allegations of cruelty and bad practice at Imperial College and will make recommendations on any action to be taken as a matter of urgency.

Henry Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps she takes to ensure that non-technical summaries of applications for project licences under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 (a) are a fair summary of the applications before she publishes them and (b) highlight the anticipated harms to animals and benefits from the research. [152182]

James Brokenshire: All project licence applications must be accompanied by a project summary written in non-technical terms. The project summary must explain objectives of the programme of work specified in the application; describe the types of animal and estimate the number of each type that will be used; predict the harm to the animals that will be caused and benefits that will be gained by carrying out the programme of work; and demonstrate how the applicant will comply with the principles of replacement, reduction and refinement throughout the project.

24 Apr 2013 : Column 922W

Home Office staff will assess the non-technical summaries to ensure they are a fair summary of the applications before they are published and that they highlight the anticipated harms to animals and benefits from the research as part of the process of assessing the project licence application.

Assaults on Police

Mr Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will make it her policy that all police forces should maintain records of injuries to police officers injured in the line of duty, and that those records should include the (a) numbers of days lost and (b) cost to the police force. [152855]

Damian Green: England and Wales Police forces already collect accident data on injuries on duty, and will as a matter of good practice maintain records on the numbers of days lost. The calculation of the cost to the police force for days lost is not collected centrally. We do not currently intend to issue a policy to ask forces to provide anything beyond established regulations and existing requirements.

Asylum: Repatriation

Fiona Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the (a) nationality and (b) gender was of each person assisted to return home under the Assisted Voluntary Return Scheme operated by Refugee Action on (i) 1 January 2011 and 31 December 2011 and (ii) 1 January 2012 and 31 December 2012; and to which country each such person was returned. [151839]

Mr Harper [holding answer 18 April 2013]: Three male individuals from Albania, Bangladesh and India were returned to their home countries respectively under the Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) scheme on 31 December 2012 run by Refugee Action. There were no AVR's on 1 January 2011, 31 December 2011 or 1 January 2012.

The Home Office publishes quarterly and annual statistics on the number of persons removed or departed voluntarily from the UK within Immigration Statistics. The data on removals and voluntary departures are available in the latest release, Immigration Statistics: October to December 2012, tables rv.01 to rv.08, from the Library of the House and from the Home Office Science website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/immigration-statistics-october-to-december-2012/immigration-statistics-october-to-december-2012

Baroness Thatcher

Ian Lavery: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what the costs to her Department were for the deployment of police to oversee the funeral of the late Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven, by category of expenditure; [152887]

(2) what the costs to her Department were for the rehearsals and preparations for the funeral of the late Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven, by category of expenditure. [152888]

Damian Green: The cost will be published in due course.

24 Apr 2013 : Column 923W

Borders: Personal Records

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what she expects the highest achievable percentage coverage of all passenger movements to be for the e-Borders programme; and when she expects this figure to be achieved. [150423]

Mr Harper: Advance passenger information (API) is now collected for over 142 million passenger and crew movements each year on over 4,400 routes, equating to 66% of passenger movements to and from the UK.

This amounts to 80% of all aviation movements and includes 100% of non-EU commercial aviation passengers.

We continue to extend the collection of API data to the maritime and general aviation sectors and are engaging with rail operators in order to maximise data collection. New capability has been added to the system to enable the processing of API received from all types of transport.

We continually work to achieve the highest possible coverage, but there are a number of factors which potentially limit the volume of passenger data that can be captured. These include European Freedom of Movement legislation and operators’ business models, especially in the rail sector. Considering these factors, it is not possible to set absolute targets.

Daniel Morgan

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will set a deadline for informing the family of Daniel Morgan whether she will set up an independent inquiry into the circumstances of his death and the subsequent police investigation. [151195]

Damian Green [holding answer 17 April 2013]:Discussions are continuing with the family and we hope to make an announcement shortly.

Deportation: EU Nationals

Richard Graham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many EU nationals challenged deportation orders in each of the last five years; and how many such challenges were (a) successful and (b) unsuccessful. [151154]

Mr Harper: The requested data are shown in the following table:

Table 1: Appeals lodged by EEA nationals against deportation orders (2008-12)
Year appeal lodged20082009201020112012Total

Number of appeals lodged

112

150

260

272

373

1,167

Of which:

      

Successful (appeal allowed)

38

54

117

129

132

470

Unsuccessful (appeal dismissed)

39

60

83

75

109

366

(a) All figures quoted have been derived from management information and are therefore provisional and subject to change. This information has not been quality assured under National Statistics protocols.

(b) Data relate to appeals lodged between 1 January 2008 and 31 December 2012.

(c) Appeal outcomes may have been reached in years subsequent to the year the appeal was lodged or may remain outstanding. Appeals awaiting an outcome are not shown in the table above.

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Electronic Surveillance

Mr David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) in what circumstances deep packet inspections undertaken by the Home Office, GCHQ, the police and the intelligence and security agencies can take place without a judicial warrant or a warrant by, or on behalf of, the Secretary of State; [147506]

(2) how many deep packet inspections undertaken by the Home Office, GCHQ, the police and the intelligence and security agencies were not covered by a judicial warrant or a warrant from the Secretary of State in each of the last five years. [147507]

James Brokenshire [holding answer 12 March 2013]: The lawful interception of the content of a communication is governed by the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. Whatever technique is used to effect interception, the limited circumstances where access to content may be granted without a warrant, include:

If the sender and recipient of a communication have given their permission.

With the consent of one party, where the surveillance by means of the interception is authorised under Part 2 of RIPA (e.g. a kidnapping case, where the police may wish to record a call to trace the kidnapper).

In terms of the frequency of use of these techniques, as with the practice of previous Governments, we do not comment on security matters.

Emergency Services

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how often the Joint Emergency Service Interoperability Programme meets; and what its authority is. [152692]

James Brokenshire: The Joint Emergency Services Interoperability Programme is owned and run by the emergency services. The Home Office funds the programme and it receives cross-Government support. The programme governance oversees and directs the development and delivery of the work. The governance consists of:

A bi-annual Ministerial Oversight Board, chaired by the Secretary of State for the Home Department and attended by Government Ministers from the Home Office, the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Department of Health, and the Cabinet Office; senior representatives from the Association of Chief Police Officers, Chief Fire Officers Association, and the Association of Ambulance Chief Executives, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Constabulary and the Chief Fire and Rescue Adviser.

A quarterly Strategic Board chaired by a Chief Fire Officer with attendance from the emergency services and Government Departments.

A monthly Programme Board chaired by the Programme Senior Responsible Owner, a Deputy Chief Constable with attendance from the emergency services and Government Departments.

There are also regular meetings of subject matter experts from the emergency services who are supporting the development of the programme.

Entry Clearances: Iran

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she expects the UK Border Agency to be able to return passports to Iranian nationals making UK visa requests between submitting the application and receiving a decision. [152739]

24 Apr 2013 : Column 925W

Mr Harper: We do not routinely return passports to visa applicants in between submitting their application and the entry clearance officer making a decision. In certain circumstances we do return the passport—currently, if an Iranian national makes an application to come to the UK through the family migration route in Istanbul, we do give the applicant the option of having their passport returned whilst we process the application. We do not currently have any plans to extend this service to other Iranian applications.

Members: Correspondence

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she intends to reply to the letter to the Minister for Immigration dated 12 March 2013 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Mrs Shannaz Bibi. [152851]

Mr Harper: I wrote to the right hon. Member on 23 April 2013.

Metropolitan Police

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Metropolitan police officers are working abroad. [151266]

Damian Green: The decision as to how police officers are deployed, and the duties those officers undertake, is an operational matter for the relevant police chief, in association with their PCC (or in the case of the Metropolitan Police Service the Deputy Mayor for Policing).

Police: Libya

Mr Ellwood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many UK police officers are working in Libya; what the cost of such officers has been to date; and if she will make a statement. [152735]

Damian Green: The Home Office does not hold there data.

Deputy Prime Minister

Scotland

Pete Wishart: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what (a) external organisations and (b) individuals his Office engaged with as part of the Scotland Analysis programme; and what was discussed at such consultations; [153376]

(2) how many members of his Office staff have been allocated to work on the Scotland Analysis programme; and if he will estimate the cost to the public purse of this work; [153377]

(3) what meetings (a) he and (b) officials in his Office have had with the right hon. Member for Edinburgh South West as part of the Scotland Analysis programme; and what was discussed at each such meeting; [153378]

(4) what work his Office has commissioned by external consultants in relation to work on the Scotland Analysis programme; which consultants were used; and how much any such consultancy has cost. [153379]

24 Apr 2013 : Column 926W

The Deputy Prime Minister: Work on the Scotland analysis programme is being carried out across Government by policy experts in relevant areas. The cost of carrying out the work is being funded from existing departmental budgets in the normal way.

My officials and I engage with a wide variety of individuals and organisations as part of the process of policy development and delivery.

My office has not commissioned any external consultants in relation to work on the Scotland Analysis programme.

Attorney-General

Crown Prosecution Service: Training

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General how many Crown Prosecution Service in-house lawyers (a) participated in the agency's Crown advocacy training course and (b) passed it in each of the last five years. [153105]

The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service's (CPS) in-house Crown advocacy training consists of three separate courses, each of which must be passed before advocates, whether solicitors or barristers, are permitted to prosecute in the Crown court on behalf of the service. Successful completion of both of the Stage 1A and Stage 1B courses enabled the advocate to prosecute non-trial cases in the Crown court. Successful completion of the Stage 2 course permitted the advocate also to conduct jury trials in the Crown court.

The following table shows, in each of the last five years, the number of places taken up by CPS in-house lawyers on each course, and the number of delegates who passed. The number of places includes delegates who retook courses. Eliminating the data relating to retakes could be obtained only by consulting individual course and training records which would incur a disproportionate cost.

 Stage 1AStage 1BStage 2
 PlacesPassedPlacesPassedPlacesPassed

2008-09

241

136

132

89

117

57

2009-10

108

53

93

54

65

21

2010-11

34

16

32

10

179

45

2011-12

0

n/a

0

n/a

0

n/a

2012-13

0

n/a

0

n/a

0

n/a

Staff

Priti Patel: To ask the Attorney-General how many days of work were carried out by officials in (a) the Law Officers' Departments and (b) each of its agencies and 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. [151099]

The Attorney-General: The following table shows the number of days work carried out by permanent members of staff in the Attorney-General's Office, Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate and the Treasury Solicitor's Department on average in each of the last five years together with the total salary cost for those officials.

24 Apr 2013 : Column 927W

 Days of work(1)Total salary cost(2) (£)

2007-08

171,820

44,141,000

2008-09

186,560

47,890,000

2009-10

198,440

52,935,000

2010-11

206,360

53,471,000

2011-12

214,500

56,765,000

(1) Estimate calculated as 220 (average working days in year) times number of staff (full-time equivalent). (2) Salary cost includes wages and salaries, social security costs, and other pension costs.

The number of days of work carried out by officials in the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and the total salary cost of officials in each of the last five years is detailed in the following table.

 Days of work(1)Total salary cost (£)

2008-09

1,848,600

278,712,000

2009-10

1,887,750

297,419,000

2010-11

1,795,050

291,188,000

2011-12

1,663,650

294,864,000

2012-13

1,586,475

271,771,000

(1) The total number of days worked has been estimated by taking the average number of whole time equivalent permanent staff in CPS's accounts and multiplying by 225 days, which represents the average number of days worked in a year. (2) Salary cost represents the total salaries of permanently employed staff for the year. Figures in the accounts for 2008-09 and 2010-11 have been restated. Figures for 2012-13 have not been audited.

The SFO does not have a central record of the number of days worked by officials and compiling this information would incur disproportionate cost. However, during the course of this financial year the SFO will be introducing changes to its HR system which will allow employees to record annual leave centrally.

The following table shows the total pay costs and total headcount in each of the last five years.

 Total pay costs (£ million)Headcount

2008-09

23.6

308

2009-10

19.5

312

2010-11

19.9

301

2011-12

18.8

306

2012-13

18.5

301

Justice

Claims Management Services

Jackie Doyle-Price: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether his Department plans to publish the names of claims management companies which are responsible for large numbers of complaints to the Claims Management Regulator. [151675]

Mrs Grant: The Department publishes the names of claims management companies (CMCs) that have been subject to statutory enforcement action, which ranges from the imposition of restrictions to CMC licences, to suspensions and cancellations. The Legal Ombudsman will publish data on closed complaints against CMCs once it assumes responsibility for the handling of service complaints against CMCs.

24 Apr 2013 : Column 928W

Coroners

Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what the approximate geographical size is of each current coroner's district; [152761]

(2) with reference to his Department's consultation CP2/2013, on coroner reforms, what the estimated geographical size of each coroner area will be; [152838]

(3) with reference to his Department's consultation paper CP2/2013, on coroner reforms, what the estimated population is of each coroner area; [152841]

(4) what estimate he has made of the human population of each coroner district. [152769]

Mrs Grant: The information requested in the above PQs is not held by the MOJ.

Information held by MOJ in relation to coroners is published at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coroners-statistics-ns

The next publication will cover the year 2012 and will be available on the 16 May 2013.

However some information on size of coroner districts and their population can be obtained through the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountability:

http://www.cipfa.org/

Criminal Proceedings

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what the average mean number of days was from offence to completion, (a) by region and (b) in total for (i) magistrates and (ii) Crown courts in England and Wales in (A) 2011-12 and (B) 2012-13; and if he will make a statement; [153067]

(2) what proportion of trials at (a) magistrates and (b) Crown courts were ineffective (i) in total and (ii) by region in (A) 2011-12 and (B) 2012-13; and if he will make a statement. [153068]

Mrs Grant: Data relating to the period 2012-13 are due for publication on 20 June 2013, as such this information is currently unavailable.

Table 1 presents the average (mean) number of days taken from offence to completion, broken down by region and court type for financial year 2011-12. The time taken from offence to completion is affected by factors such as the complexity of the case and the time taken to report the crime following the incident.

With regards to the proportion of ineffective trials, I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 29 January 2013, Official Report, column 777W.

In November last year, the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, my right hon. Friend the Member for Epsom and Ewell (Chris Grayling), announced as one of his priorities a real drive for a criminal justice and court system that works effectively and puts victims first. Work is underway to increase both the effectiveness and efficiency of the criminal justice system. It will look at the whole of the system to drive performance and tackle some of the perennial weaknesses so it is quicker, less erratic and more efficient. We will be publishing a strategy and action plan shortly which will set out in detail how we will achieve this.

24 Apr 2013 : Column 929W

Table 1 Average number of days from offence to completion for all criminal cases completed in the magistrates courts and the Crown court, by region, England and Wales, 2011-12(1, 2, 3)
 Average number of days from offence to completion
RegionMagistrates courts(4)Crown Court(5)All completed criminal cases

London

151

312

163

Midlands

149

316

160

North East

130

295

141

North West

138

305

149

South East

145

324

156

South West

141

338

153

Wales

150

276

158

England and Wales

143

311

154

(1) Excludes breaches and cases with an offence to completion time greater than 10 years. (2) Statistics are sourced from the CREST linked court data and include around 95% of completed cases. (3) Only one offence is counted for each defendant in the case. If two or more cases complete on the same day, the case with the longest duration is included. (4) Included cases completed in the magistrates courts during the specified time period, where no further action is required by the magistrates courts, excluding committals. (5) Included all criminal cases which have received a verdict and concluded in the specified time period, in the Crown court. Data source: Libra Management Information System Timeliness Analysis Report (TAR) and CREST linked court data, HM Courts and Tribunals Service Source: Criminal Courts Statistics, Justice Statistics Analytical Services, Ministry of Justice

Disclosure of Information

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the adequacy of the legal protection afforded to whistleblowers who disclose information relating to the use of public funds. [153092]

Jo Swinson: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The Government have made no specific consideration of the protection afforded to those who make disclosures about the use of public funds. The Government believe whistleblowing protections are working well overall and in keeping with a recent commitment, will shortly be issuing a call for evidence to establish if there is a case for making changes further to the ones already included in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill.

Gender Recognition

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what existing guidance is in place for the Crown Prosecution Service and Procurator Fiscal Service on the prosecution of transgender individuals who have not revealed their gender history; what assessment he has made of the recent implementation of such guidelines; and if he will (a) introduce further, amended guidance and (b) bring forward legislative proposals following recent cases of alleged deception being used as a reason to prosecute transgender individuals for sexual offences. [151043]

Mrs Grant: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has no specific guidance on the prosecution of transgender people who have not revealed their gender history. There are no current plans to introduce such guidance or related legislative proposals. Prosecutors in England and Wales consider each case on its own facts and

24 Apr 2013 : Column 930W

merits. Decisions to prosecute are taken by prosecutors who apply the Code for Crown Prosecutors issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions, the most recent edition of which was published in January 2013.

In relation to the Procurator Fiscal Service, this would be a matter for the Lord Advocate. Any legislative proposals in respect of the criminal law in Scotland would be a devolved matter for the Scottish Parliament.

Northern Ireland

Dr McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) when he last met the Justice Minister in the Northern Ireland Executive; and what issues were discussed; [150260]

(2) what recent discussions he has had with the Northern Ireland Executive about probation service provision. [150922]

Jeremy Wright: The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, my right hon. Friend the Member for Epsom and Ewell (Chris Grayling), had a meeting with David Ford, the Northern Ireland Justice Minister on 6 February 2013 in Belfast. This was an introductory meeting at which we discussed matters of mutual interest in relation to justice policy.

Personal Injury: Compensation

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when the Government plan to publish the response to their consultation entitled Reducing the Number and Costs of Whiplash Claims. [152328]

Mrs Grant: The ‘Reducing the number and costs of whiplash claims’ consultation closed on 8 March 2013. Submissions received from stakeholders are currently being analysed. The Government will publish their response in due course.

Staff

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many days of work were carried out by officials in (a) his Department and (b) each of its agencies and 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. [151111]

Mrs Grant: The MOJ staff paybill has reduced by £330 million since 2009.

The average total number of days that should be worked by each member of staff in the Ministry of Justice, its agencies and non-departmental public bodies is 225. For the purposes of departmental calculations, this takes into account weekends, bank holidays, privilege days, and assumes 25 annual leave days for everyone.

Tables showing details of the end of year figures for full time equivalent (FTE) staff, the average number of days worked and the pay bill throughout each of those years is set out as follows.

The tables exclude working days lost to sickness absence. For this, I refer my hon. Friend to the answer from my right hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Damian Green), on 21 March 2013, Official Report, column 820W.

24 Apr 2013 : Column 931W

Details for the financial year 2012-13 are not currently available as they are currently being produced and will be available on the Justice pages of the:

www.yougov.co.uk

website in the year. A link to the website is as follows:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/corporate-reports

Tables showing total MOJ Pay Bill and FTE at the end of each financial year for the period 31 March 2009 to 31 March 2012 are as follows:

Organisation namePayroll FTE as at 31 March 2012End of year total days worked (FTE)Payroll Paybill for 2010-12 (£)

MOJ

66,589.68

14,982,678.00

2,391,486,501

Agencies

598.51

134,664.75

22,755,499

ALB/NDPB

2,260.03

508,506.75

84,941,667

Total

69,448.22

15,625,849.50

2,499,183,668

Organisation namePayroll FTE as at 31 March 2011End of year total days worked (FTE)Payroll Paybill for 2010-11 (£)

MOJ HQ

72,760.20

16,371,045.00

2,621,180,445

Agencies

5,437.92

1,223,532.00

210,215,547

ALB/NDPB

2,246.53

505,469.25

88,642,124

Total

80,444.65

18,100,046.25

2,920,038,116

Organisation namePayroll FIE as at 31 March 2010End of year total days worked (FTE)Payroll Paybill for 2009-10 (£)

MOJ

74,207.21

16,696,622.25

2,517,067,639

Other Agencies

6,087.75

1,369,743.75

230,598,000

ALB/NDPB

2,213.55

498,048.75

83,502,000

Total

82,508.51

18,564,414.75

2,831,167,639

Organisation namePayroll FTE as at 31 March 2009End of year total days worked (FTE)Payroll Paybill for 2008-09 (£)

MOJ HQ

76,460.89

17,203,700.25

0

Agencies

0.00

0.00

0

ALB/NDPB

0.00

0.00

0

Total

76,460.89

17,203,700.25

0

Notes: 1. Single source paybill figures for 2009 are not available as the Ministry has only been collecting them since March 2010 as a Cabinet Office requirement. Probation Trusts paybill figures are also are unavailable as the Ministry does not hold the data centrally. 2. For 2011-12, "MOJ" includes Ministry of Justice (HQ), HM Courts and Tribunals Service, National Offender Management Service, the Office of the Public Guardian, and the UK Supreme Court. "Other agencies" include The National Archives. NDPBs for the period include the Criminal Cases Review Commission, Information Commissioner's Office, Judicial Appointments Commission, Legal Services Board, Legal Services Commission, Parole Board, Probation Trusts and the Youth Justice Board for England and Wales. 3. Payroll Bill details for the 35 England and Wales Probation Trusts are not available for the year 2011-12. 4. For 2010-11, those business areas within "MOJ" are the same as in 2011-12, but also include the Scotland and Wales Offices, and the then separated HM Court Service and HM Tribunals Service. 5. "Other agencies" were The National Archives and The Land Registry. 6. NDPBs for the period remain the same as 2011-12.