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Written Answers to Questions

Tuesday 22 October 2013

Culture, Media and Sport

Mobile Phones

Mr Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many smartphone apps her Department has launched. [171589]

Mrs Grant: The Department has not launched any smartphone apps.

Health

Life Expectancy: Merseyside

17. Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to address lower life expectancy rates on Merseyside. [900599]

Jane Ellison: Local councils, working with clinical commissioning group partners and health and well-being boards, are responsible for improving the health of their local communities. They have the expertise, resources, and responsibilities to improve life expectancy in their area.

We are aware of the innovative work under way in Liverpool and the recent award to the Heart of Mersey Charity for their work in developing healthy environments.

It is for national Government to support this innovation, and to help deliver these improvements we have given local authorities £5.46 billion of ring-fenced funding over the next two years. The public health grant for Liverpool was £40.3 million (£87 per head) in 2013-14, rising to. £41.4 million (£89) per head in 2014-15. This compares to a United Kingdom average grant of £49 per head for 2013-14.

National initiatives such as calorie labelling in restaurants, action on point of sale tobacco advertising and alcohol unit labelling are also supporting local efforts to improve public health.

Health and Social Care Provision: Integration

18. Mr Buckland: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to improve integration in health and social care provision. [900600]

Norman Lamb: Our integration pioneers programme will provide dedicated support to the most innovative areas in the country to help them break down barriers and deliver integrated care at scale and at pace. The learning from these pioneering sites will be shared with all areas to support the delivery of the £3.8 billion Integration Transformation Fund—a pooled fund between local government and health to promote better integration between health and care services. The fund will provide the biggest ever financial incentive to all local areas to integrate services in a way that improves outcomes and experiences for individuals.

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Microprocessor Knees: Access

19. Eric Ollerenshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take steps to ensure that lower limb amputees are able to access microprocessor knees through the NHS at the same level as recommended should be made available in 'A Better Deal for Military Amputees'. [900601]

Norman Lamb: Microprocessor knees are not currently routinely funded on the national health service for civilian patients.

NHS England's Clinical Reference Group for Complex Disability Equipment is developing an upper and lower limb prosthetics policy. This will consider the clinical and cost effectiveness of all type of prosthetics including microprocessor limbs for routine commissioning.

Accident and Emergency Departments: Closure

20. John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many accident and emergency departments are planned for closure during the current spending round. [900602]

Dr Poulter: The reconfiguration of local health services—including Accident and Emergency—is, and will remain, a fundamentally local process. What matters is that decisions about service changes are clinically driven and that patients and the public are involved in those changes to ensure they get the highest quality care.

Health Tourism

21. Simon Danczuk: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent steps he has taken to reduce health tourism. [900603]

Mr Jeremy Hunt: We have recently consulted widely on possible changes to the way overseas visitors and migrants are charged for access to the national health service and will be publishing the Government's response shortly. In parallel we have appointed Sir Keith Pearson, a senior, respected figure within the NHS, as the independent adviser to our NHS Cost Recovery Programme.

Redundancy Costs

22. Meg Hillier: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to reduce costs of redundancy in the NHS. [900604]

Dr Poulter: National health service organisations always seek to keep redundancies to a minimum, working with trade unions to ensure staff are redeployed elsewhere in the NHS wherever possible.

Making a redundancy payment is always a last resort

NHS England: Funding

23. Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent discussions he has had with the chair of NHS England on priorities for future funding; and if he will make a statement. [900605]

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Mr Jeremy Hunt: The recent accountability meeting between myself and the chair of NHS England considered the refresh of the mandate to NHS England for 2014-15, the associated funding and clinical commissioning group funding allocations, among other issues.

The forthcoming refreshed mandate to NHS England will set out the Government's objectives for the national health service and the agreed funding for 2014-15.

Cancer Drugs Fund

24. Steve Brine: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effect of the Cancer Drugs Fund (a) to date and (b) over the next two years. [900606]

Mr Jeremy Hunt: More than 34,000 patients have benefited from the Cancer Drugs Fund since October 2010. The extra £400 million funding we recently announced will benefit many thousands more over the next two years.

Cancer Survival Rates: Data

25. Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will bring forward legislative proposals to introduce standardised packaging of tobacco products. [900607]

Jane Ellison: The Government have decided to wait before making a decision on standardised packaging. This policy remains under active consideration.

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Care Homes

Liz Kendall: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether and at what level a centrally determined interest rate on deferred payment agreements for residential care costs will be introduced in the Care Bill. [171877]

Norman Lamb: To cover the costs of lending and the risk of non-payment, local authorities will be able to charge interest during the lifetime of a deferred payment. The Care Bill has a regulatory making power to set a national interest rate.

As set out in our consultation on funding reform, the intention is to set a rate which would mean that deferred payments are an affordable option for people and the scheme is cost-neutral to authorities. We plan to help authorities recover their costs but they should not seek to make a profit. Our consultation welcomes evidence on all our proposals on deferred payments, including charging of interest.

Childbirth

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many births per full-time equivalent NHS midwife there have been in (a) England and (b) each region in each year since 2001. [171840]

Dr Poulter: This information is not available for the time frame requested due to the reconfiguration of regions.

Information on the number of births per full-time equivalent (FTE) NHS midwife is supplied by the Office of National Statistics, 2006 to 2012.

Number
Births/FTE's census2006200720082009201020112012

North East

29.4

29.2

29.4

28.9

29.5

28.9

28.1

North West

27.5

28.2

29.8

29.3

30.3

30.5

30.7

Yorkshire and Humber

33.3

33.4

34.7

32.6

32.2

31.7

31.9

East Midlands

39.5

40.2

40.4

39.4

38.5

36.9

35.5

West Midlands

32.9

33.1

33.4

32.4

32.6

33.1

31.4

East of England

39.5

40.1

41.7

40.8

39.9

36.4

35.8

London

37.6

38.4

37.6

37.5

35.1

33.8

33.5

South East Coast

37.7

34.8

34.5

33.6

33.1

South Central

41.0

40.0

40.0

39.6

40.0

South East

40.3

38.8

39.3

37.2

37.1

34.4

36.2

South West

31.4

32.7

33.7

30.7

31.4

32.7

33.0

England

31.4

35.0

35.6

34.4

34.1

33.5

33.2

Notes: 1. The numbers of Midwives FTEs Census data is often lower than the annual average. 2. There were no data available for South east coast and South centre before 2008 which was coded as one region—South East. 3. Figures are calculated on a full-time equivalent number of registered midwives. Midwife data is at 30 September each year. 4. Figures are calculated on the number of live births in England. 5. Figures are rounded to one decimal place.

Clinical Commissioning Groups

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what changes in per capita funding to the (a) NHS Sunderland Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG), (b) NHS South Tyneside CCG, (c) NHS South Tees CCG, (d) NHS South Eastern Hampshire CCG, (e) NHS Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford CCG and (f) NHS Fareham and Gosport CCG are being proposed in the 2013-14 working paper on CCG allocations and indicative target allocations. [172006]

Dr Poulter: The allocation per head received by the named clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) for 2013-14 is shown in the table alongside the indicative target allocation per head it would have received had NHS England chosen to adopt the funding formula proposed by the Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation.

In the end the formula was not used; CCGs received a uniform uplift in funding and a fundamental review of allocations is being undertaken, led by NHS England. No proposals or decisions regarding allocations for 2014-15 have yet been made.

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CCG2013-14 Actual per head allocation (£)2013-14 Indicative target per head allocation (£)

Sunderland

1,434

1,288

South Tyneside

1,438

1,314

South Tees

1,319

1,259

South Eastern Hampshire

1,006

1,170

Eastbourne, Hailsham and Seaford

1,211

1,347

Fareham and Gosport

982

1,116

Food Banks

Gavin Shuker: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what proportion of GP surgeries make referrals to food banks. [171671]

Dr Poulter: The requested information is not collected centrally.

General Practitioners

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Health whether GP practices receive a referral payment when patients are referred to the London NHS Diagnostic Service provided by InHealth. [171658]

Dr Poulter: This information is not held centrally.

The hon. Member may wish to contact NHS England's London Area Team for this information.

Heart Diseases: Children

Mr Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what consideration he has given to allocating funding for the screening of all children under the age of 11 years for possible heart defects. [172073]

Dr Poulter: The UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) which advises Ministers and the national health service in all four countries about all aspects of screening policy recommends screening infants for heart defects as part of the NHS Newborn and Infant Physical Examination Screening Programme (NHS NIPE). The national screening programme offers parents the opportunity to have their child examined shortly after birth and includes an examination of the baby's heart as well as a general physical examination and an examination of the baby's eyes and hips and testes in boys. As some conditions can develop later, the examination is repeated at six to eight weeks of age, usually by a general practitioner.

In addition, as part of the NHS Foetal Anomaly Screening Programme (NHS FASP) all pregnant women in England are offered a minimum of two ultrasound scans. The first is an early scan, undertaken after eight weeks gestation; the second ultrasound scan is undertaken between 18 weeks + 0 days to 20 weeks + six days of pregnancy. The main purpose of the second scan is to look for abnormalities in the unborn baby, including serious cardiac abnormalities. This is also a UK NSC recommended programme.

The NHS NIPE and NHS FASP are now directly commissioned by NHS England as part of the Section 7A agreement of the National Health Service Act (2006),

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as amended by the Health and Social Care Act (2012). It sets out the arrangements under which the Secretary of State for Health delegates to NHS England the responsibility for certain elements of Public Health functions.

Midwives

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what information his Department holds on what happens to those who qualify as midwives at higher education institutions in England; and how many go on to practise as midwives in the NHS. [171833]

Dr Poulter: The Department does not currently collect this information. Health Education England is exploring how such data might be captured at national level in the future.

There are record numbers of midwives in training and there were 1,311 more qualified midwives (full-time equivalent) in July 2013 than in May 2010.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many places for midwifery training were commissioned in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and what the total population of student midwives in England has been in each year since 2009-10. [171834]

Dr Poulter: There are record numbers of midwives in training and there were 1,311 more qualified midwives (full-time equivalent) in July 2013 than in May 2010.

The following tables detail the midwifery training commissions for the period 2009-10 to 2013-14 and the annual population of student midwives from 2009-10 to 2012-13. The 2013-14 midwifery student population is not yet available. Both tables include students enrolled on the degree and 18 month diploma courses.

 Total midwife commissions

2009-10

2,482

2010-11

2,488

2011-12

2,484

2012-13

2,578

2013-14

2,563

Source: Multi professional education and training budget monitoring returns
 Midwife population

2009-10

5,567

2010-11

5,644

2011-12

5,955

2012-13

6,315

Source: Multi professional education and training budget monitoring returns

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average cost was of training a midwife in the latest period for which figures are available. [171837]

Dr Poulter: There are record numbers of midwives in training and there were 1,311 more qualified midwives (full-time equivalent) in July 2013 than in May 2010.

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We are not able to provide information on the total cost of training student midwives, as the Department does not monitor training spend to this level of granularity. The Department does however collect information on the average bursaries, benchmark price paid for tuition and levels of commissions for midwifery training places.

The number of midwifery students who held a bursary, the average bursary paid to those students and the total cost of all bursaries paid to student midwives in 2012-13 can be found in the following table:

 Number of bursary holders1Average amount paid per bursary holder2 (£)Total amount paid (£)

2012-13

5,448

6,121

33,344,511

1 Includes nil award holders (European Union fees only students and students whose living allowance element of the bursary has been reduced to nil after income assessment). 2 Includes the basic award and all supplementary allowances and one-off payments. Source: NHS Business Services Authority

The tuition costs for midwifery degree and diploma students are paid based on the national benchmark price. The benchmark price for both midwifery degree and diploma courses in 2012-13 are shown in the following table:

2012-13
 £

Standard

9,374

Outer London

9,842

Inner London

10,123

In addition to the above costs, most midwifery degree students will also be eligible for a student loan. This loan is provided by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

As part of their training student midwives undertake placements with health care providers. In 2012-13 some funding would have been paid to support these placements, but these data are not held centrally. The Government introduced tariffs for these placements from 1 April 2013. Once fully implemented the tariff will be £3,175.

There are several other ways midwives can be trained and where an existing national health service employee is seconded on to a midwifery programme, the student would be entitled to a salary, rather than student support. These salary costs are not collected centrally.

Andrew George: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many student midwives were in receipt of a bursary in each of the last three academic years for which figures are available; what the average bursary paid to a student midwife was in each of those years; and what the total cost was to his Department in each year of bursaries paid to student midwives. [171838]

Dr Poulter: There are record numbers of midwives in training and there were 1,311 more qualified midwives (full-time equivalent) in July 2013 than in May 2010.

The number of midwifery students who were in receipt of a bursary, the average bursary paid to those students and the total cost of all bursaries paid to student midwives in each of the last three academic years can be found in the following table:

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  £
 Number of bursary holders1Average amount paid per bursary holder2Total amount paid2

2010-11

5,218

5,722

29,854,947

2011-12

5,345

5,867

31,358,058

2012-13

5,448

6,121

33,344,511

1 Includes nil award holders (European Union fees only students and students whose living allowance element of the bursary has been reduced to nil after income assessment). 2 Includes the basic award and all supplementary allowances and one off payments. Note: All figures are rounded to the nearest pound. Source: NHS Business Services Authority.

Muscular Dystrophy: East Midlands

Andrew Bridgen: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take steps to ensure long-term security of the neuromuscular care adviser post in the East Midlands; and if he will make a statement. [171618]

Sir Edward Garnier: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take steps to ensure long-term security of the neuromuscular care advisor post in the East Midlands; and if he will make a statement. [171755]

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will take steps to ensure the long-term security of the neuromuscular care adviser post in the East Midlands; and if he will make a statement. [171629]

Norman Lamb: NHS England is responsible for commissioning specialised services, including neuromuscular services.

NHS England published the service specification ‘Neurosciences: Specialised Neurology (Adult)’ in July 2013. The service specification for neurosciences describes the service commissioned by NHS England for patients, of any age, with a neuromuscular disorder and details that the care is provided:

“via a managed clinical pathway that supports multidisciplinary and cross organisational working.”

This multi-disciplinary team includes neuromuscular care co-ordinators and it is NHS England's expectation that this service will be provided in full.

The service specification has been implemented from 1 October 2013 and NHS England is working with providers to ensure they are compliant with the service description and standards contained within them.

Organs: Donors

Glyn Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the potential value of educating school age children about organ donation and transplantation. [171869]

Jane Ellison: The NHS Blood and Transplant's Organ Donation strategy, ‘Taking Organ Transplantation to 2020’, highlights the important potential to educate school age children about organ donation and transplantation.

A free teaching resource pack called ‘Give and Let Live’ has been developed and is available to teachers. The pack includes a teachers' booklet, case studies and

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background information about the need for donors, and sits alongside other programmes including ‘Register and Be a Lifesaver’.

Perinatal Mortality

Tracey Crouch: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if he will consider standardising information regarding warning signs of foetal distress and issue national guidance on preventing infant mortality; [171620]

(2) whether he plans to review current practices on the monitoring of foetal growth and development in the third trimester of pregnancy; [171621]

(3) what steps he is taking to reduce infant mortality. [171622]

Dr Poulter: We have made reducing infant mortality an area of improvement for the national health service in the NHS Outcomes Framework. Reducing infant mortality is also highlighted as an outcome indicator in the Public Health Outcomes Framework.

The Department is working with Sands, the Royal College of Midwives and other key partners to agree standardised information to raise awareness of the risk factors and warning signs for stillbirth.

MBRRACE-UK, Mothers and Babies—Reducing Risk through Audits and Confidential Enquiries across the United Kingdom, has been appointed to continue the national programme of work investigating maternal deaths, stillbirths and infant deaths. It aims to identify what went wrong and why and will make national recommendation on how care can be improved for all mothers and babies.

There are no current plans to review current practises on the monitoring of foetal growth and development in the third trimester of pregnancy.

The UK National Screening Committee (UK NSC) advises Ministers and the NHS in all four countries about all aspects of screening policy and supports implementation. Using research evidence, pilot programmes and economic evaluation, it assesses the evidence for programmes against a set of internationally recognised criteria.

Where stakeholder organisations or individuals feel that there is enough evidence published in peer reviewed journals to consider screening for a condition in the third trimester of pregnancy they can submit a policy proposal to the UK NSC. Information for the public on the process is available on the UK NSC's website at:

www.screening.nhs.uk/policyreview

We want to improve all children's chances in life by giving families the help they need to keep their children healthy and safe. The Healthy Child Programme, led and delivered by health visitors and their teams, is the key universal NHS programme for the health and well-being of children, and sets out reviews, screening, and support which aim to reduce cot death, prevent ill health and to identify and treat problems early.

Radiotherapy

Tessa Munt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what steps NHS England plans to take to ensure that cancer centres delivering stereotactic ablative

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radiotherapy do not fall below the critical mass treatment levels needed to ensure optimum outcomes and patient safety; [171517]

(2) what plans NHS England has to reconfigure radiotherapy services to improve clinical outcomes; and which regions it considers a priority for such reconfiguration; [171518]

(3) what assessment NHS England has made of over provision of radiotherapy services in England; and in which regions NHS England is considering placing restrictions on radiotherapy services; [171519]

(4) what steps NHS England plans to take to ensure that there is a reasonable geographical distribution of radiosurgery provision across England; [171520]

(5) whether NHS England is mandated to ensure that patients needing radiotherapy and radiosurgery do not have to travel for more than 45 minutes to receive their treatment. [171571]

Jane Ellison: NHS England commissions stereotactic ablative radiotherapy (SABR) for certain presentations of non-small cell lung cancer only where the clinical community have agreed there is sufficient evidence of its benefit. From April 2013, commissioned centres providing this service are required by NHS England to demonstrate they serve a sufficiently large catchment area which allows them to carry out a minimum of 25 patients each year to maintain expertise. NHS England will monitor centres against this requirement.

NHS England is committed to equitable access for all patients requiring radiotherapy in England and will not be placing restrictions on any specific populations. A review of stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for intracranial conditions is currently under way and is expected to be complete by the end of the year and a review of other radiotherapy techniques is planned to follow. These service driven projects will include all regions of England and will be used to inform future NHS England radiotherapy planning and ensure a reasonable geographical distribution of SRS services across England.

NHS England has no national plans to reconfigure radiotherapy services, although for intensity modulated radiotherapy there is commissioner driven expansion taking place to improve access. The application of the SABR policy and the outcomes of the reviews of SRS and other radiotherapy techniques will be used to inform future planning.

NHS England is not mandated to make sure that all patients needing radiotherapy and radiosurgery do not have to travel more than 45 minutes for their treatment but are mindful of the recommendation of the National Radiotherapy Advisory Group that the majority of patients should have travel times lower than this. NHS England will work with radiotherapy centres to make sure existing equipment is being used effectively, clinical expertise is available and travel times are kept to a minimum.

South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Health for which quarters since May 2010 has the South Tees NHS Foundation Trust failed to meet its referral treatment target. [172000]

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Dr Poulter: Data are collected by NHS England on a monthly basis.

Since May 2010, the South Tees Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has failed to meet the operational standard that 90% of admitted patients should start treatment within a maximum of 18 weeks of referral on seven occasions: in July 2012 and between March 2013 and August 2013.

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what conversations he and his Ministerial colleagues have had with (a) Monitor and (b) the South Tees NHS Foundation Trust about (i) the Trust's failure to meet its target of treating 90 per cent of patients within 18 weeks of them being referred, (ii) the increase in reported never events at the Trust and (iii) the incidence of clostridium dificile infection at the Trust. [172010]

Jane Ellison: No such discussions have taken place with Ministers.

Telephone Services

Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what geographic telephone number his Department advertises for use by the general public. [171893]

Dr Poulter: The geographic telephone number for the Department is 020 7210 4850. This is published on the Department's section of the Gov.uk website and is available at the following link:

www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-of-health

Tobacco: Packaging

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Health when he will make a decision on whether to introduce standardised packaging on tobacco products. [171988]

Jane Ellison: The Government have decided to wait before making a decision on standardised packaging. This policy remains under active consideration.

Torrington Hospital

Mr Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what recent guidance his Department has issued to NHS trusts on the closure of community hospitals; [171326]

(2) what recourse is available to challenge the decision of Northern Devon Health Care NHS Trust to eliminate in-patient beds from Great Torrington Community Hospital; [171327]

(3) if he will review the Northern Devon Health Care NHS Trust's decision to eliminate all in-patient beds from Great Torrington Community Hospital. [171328]

Jane Ellison: The reconfiguration of local services is a matter for the local national health service. All service changes should be led by clinicians and be in the best interests of patients, not driven from the top down.

We expect there to be a rigorous local assessment of any proposals to close or downgrade hospital services

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against the four criteria announced in May 2010 by the Secretary of State. These four tests set out that local plans must demonstrate:

support from general practice commissioners;

strengthened public and patient engagement;

clarity on the clinical evidence base; and

support for patient choice.

NHS organisations are legally required to consult local authority Overview and Scrutiny Committees (OSCs) on proposed changes to health services which are considered, by an OSC, to constitute a substantial variation or substantial development to a health service. If an OSC is not satisfied with the consultation process or believes that the proposed changes are not in the interests of local health services, it may refer the scheme to the Secretary of State.

Communities and Local Government

Anti-slavery Day

Mark Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what each Minister in his Department will be doing to acknowledge Anti-Slavery Day on 18 October 2013; and if he will make a statement. [171035]

Brandon Lewis: On 18 October, the Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group on Human Trafficking published its second annual report. This builds on the first report and provides an assessment of human trafficking in the UK and the steps being taken by Government to strengthen their response to this terrible crime. The report can be accessed at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/human-trafficking-inter-departmental-ministerial-group-report-2013

Bellwin Scheme

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many local authorities have successfully applied for monies through the Bellwin scheme in each of the last five years; and if he will list the local authorities and the total sum of their individual grants. [172002]

Brandon Lewis: Bellwin provides emergency financial assistance to local authorities to help them meet uninsurable costs they incur when responding to a major emergency in their area. The level of funding over time is causally linked to the scale of flooding or other emergency. It operates by local authorities retrospectively claiming spending back.

The following table sets out the local authorities who have successfully applied for monies through the Bellwin scheme in each of the last five years and the total sum of their individual grants.

Bellwin Payments 2009-10 to 2013-14
Year of paymentLocal authorityGrant paid (£)

2009-10

Castle Morpeth Borough Council

24,452

22 Oct 2013 : Column 85W

22 Oct 2013 : Column 86W

 

Eden District Council

2,281

 

Herefordshire Council

607,872

 

Shropshire County Council

710,061

Total for year

 

1,344,666

   

2010-11

Allerdale Borough Council South

302,847

 

Cumbria County Council

408,297

 

Cumbria Police Authority

148,049

 

Lakeland District Council

30,348

Total for year

 

889,541

   

2011-12

 

0

Total for year

 

0

   

2012-13

Calderdale Metropolitan Borough Council

76,668

 

City of Lincoln

24,870

 

Gateshead Council

393,939

 

Herefordshire Council

218,499

 

Royal Berkshire Fire Authority

404,640

Total for year

 

1,118,616

   

2013-14 (to date)

Devon County Council

3,023,598

 

Herefordshire Council

2,048,963

 

Richmondshire District Council

915

 

Newark and Sherwood District Council

3,407

 

Teignbridge District Council

38,234

 

Uttlesford District Council

16,643

Total for year

 

5,131,760

   

Total over last five years

 

8,484,583

Note: Payments may not necessarily be in the same financial year as the incidents occurred. The amount claimed is net of threshold and grant rate.

Community Assets Programme

Mr Nigel Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many community nominations under the Localism Act 2013 to include local authority land as areas of community value have been (a) made and (b) successful in (i) Ribble Valley constituency, (ii) Lancashire and (iii) the UK since that Act's implementation. [170965]

Stephen Williams: The Department does not formally collate information nationally on the number of nominations or on the number of assets successfully or unsuccessfully listed. Local authorities are responsible for keeping and managing a list which contains information on their assets of community value. However, I am aware that since this scheme came into force in England on 21 September 2012 at least 556 assets of community value have been accepted for listing by local authorities. However, this is not a comprehensive figure.

Housing Associations: Complaints

Richard Fuller: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what plans he has to allow the public to take complaints about Housing Associations and their tenants to the Housing Ombudsman. [171942]

Kris Hopkins: Only tenants and leaseholders of housing associations, local authorities and other member landlords can pursue a complaint with the Housing Ombudsman, but in the overwhelming majority of cases it is they who are affected by the actions of a social landlord. There are no plans to extend the Housing Ombudsman's remit to include investigating complaints from members of the wider public.

Complaints from the general public against housing associations are likely to focus on antisocial behaviour. The Anti-Social Behaviour Bill includes provisions for a 'community trigger' which will give victims and communities the right to demand that agencies who have ignored repeated complaints about antisocial behaviour take action.

Prefabricated Housing

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will investigate modern prefabricated building methods such as the Insulshell system as a way of providing high quality, well-designed houses quickly and cheaply. [171114]

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Kris Hopkins: The Government are keen to encourage innovation to improve the speed and quality of house building.

Government commissioned an industry-led off-site housing review report which was published in February and is available on the Construction Industry Council's website:

http://www.cic.org.uk/news/article.php?s=2013-02-28-cic-presents-housing-minister-with-offsite-housing-review-report

In July the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills published its Construction 2025 Strategy which also encourages innovation in the construction industry more generally:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/construction-2025-strategy

Government will continue to work with industry to unlock potential in this area

Private Rented Housing

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he has recently met representatives of private landlords; and if he will make a statement. [171131]

Kris Hopkins: Details of Ministers' meetings with external organisations are published on a quarterly basis and are available at:

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

Officials meet regularly with the National Landlords' Association, the Residential Landlords' Association, and the British Property Federation. We will continue to work with landlord bodies as we take forward the measures announced in the written ministerial statement on the private rented sector made by the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, on 16 October 2013, Official Report, columns 57-59WS.

Sleeping Rough: Veterans

Lindsay Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the proportion of those individuals sleeping rough who are former members of the armed forces. [171883]

Kris Hopkins: Data collected by homeless charity Broadway (CHAIN) reports that 3% (145) of rough sleepers in London have experience of serving in the UK armed forces.

This Government are committed to preventing and tackling homelessness and protecting the most vulnerable including former members of our armed forces. We have invested £470 million over the spending review period for homelessness prevention.

We are determined to ensure that current and former members of the armed forces gain the housing they deserve, recognising the sacrifices they have made for the country. We have, therefore, introduced measures to place members of the armed forces at the top of the priority list for home ownership schemes, including the Help to Buy: Equity Loan.

We have changed the law by regulation so that former personnel with urgent housing needs are always given 'additional preference' (high priority) for social housing; and councils are prevented from applying local connection

22 Oct 2013 : Column 88W

requirements to disqualify members of the armed forces and those within five years of leaving the services from their waiting list. The qualification regulations came into force on 24 August 2012; the additional preference regulations on 30 November 2012.

Our statutory social allocations guidance sets out how councils' allocation schemes can give priority to all service families, including through the use of local preference criteria and local lettings policies.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Air Pollution: Gloucestershire

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to reduce pollution levels at the Air Balloon Pub and surrounding cottages. [171897]

Dan Rogerson: Following its duties under the Environment Act 1995, Cotswold district council, with the Highways Agency as a major partner, is implementing an Air Quality Action Plan. This includes measures to improve air quality at the Air Balloon Roundabout junction, where the Air Balloon Pub and surrounding cottages are situated. The Highways Agency has installed CCTV along the route and operates regular incident response patrols to help keep the traffic flowing in the congested parts of the area. Improvements in rail capacity on the Swindon-Gloucester rail link are also expected to increase the capacity of the rail and encourage the use of alternative forms of transport to reduce traffic flows at the Air Balloon Roundabout. This work is scheduled to be completed in spring 2014. The Highways Agency and the local authority continue to investigate other actions to reduce congestion and improve air quality at this location.

Nationally, the Government are committed to improving air quality and has invested nearly £100 million in Green Bus measures and £1 billion in measures to promote ultra-low emission vehicles. These measures will help to reduce pollution from traffic across the UK. The Government will continue to work with local authorities and others to identify measures to improve air quality.

Animal Welfare: Circuses

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the cost to the circus industry of complying with the licensing scheme under the Welfare of Wild Animals in Travelling Circuses Regulations 2012. [171647]

George Eustice: The final impact assessment that accompanied the regulations sets out the likely costs to the circus industry and can be viewed at:

(Table 1)

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukia/2012/318/pdfs/ukia_20120318_en.pdf

The assessment at that time was that there would be total one-off costs of £27,592 and annual costs of £15,568.

22 Oct 2013 : Column 89W

Biofuels

David T. C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what information his Department holds on how much the EU has spent on (a) the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification Scheme, (b) the Roundtable on Sustainable Biofuels and (c) other sustainability schemes to encourage sustainable business practices. [171528]

Dan Rogerson: DEFRA does not hold the information requested.

David T. C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the cost of the International Sustainability and Carbon Certification Sustainability Scheme to businesses in rural areas. [171533]

Dan Rogerson: DEFRA has not made any such estimate.

Bovine Tuberculosis

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will place in the Library evidence from his Department's vaccination programme in Woodchester Park of changes in the population over the last 12 months. [171241]

George Eustice [holding answer 17 October 2013]: There is no vaccination programme at Woodchester Park, which is the site of a long-term study of wild badgers. The Badger Vaccine Deployment Project (BVDP), which is managed by staff from Woodchester Park, takes place over a different area near Stroud. The aim of the BVDP is to learn more about the practicalities of deploying an injectable badger vaccine against bovine TB. Badgers in the BVDP are trapped and vaccinated then released without being permanently marked, and no attempt is made to estimate the population size.

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if he will adopt new success criteria for future badger culls based on a lower percentage of badgers culled and a longer timeframe than six weeks for the period of culling. [171357]

George Eustice: We will not pre-empt the report of the Independent Expert Panel, who will analyse the information collected on the effectiveness, humaneness and safety of controlled shooting during the pilots. This and other experience gained in the pilots will inform the decision on wider roll-out of the policy.

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he has taken to ensure badger culls are compliant with the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats. [171360]

George Eustice: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the hon. Member for Somerton and Frome (Mr Heath) on 12 June 2013, Official Report, column 348W.

The Bern Convention secretariat is content that the culls will not endanger the national badger population.

22 Oct 2013 : Column 90W

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether any extension of the time period for badger culls to occur will (a) alter the recommendations of the Independent Scientific Review Group, (b) affect the scientific validity of the cull and (c) be a decision to be taken by (i) Natural England and (ii) the Independent Expert Panel and (iii) another body. [172026]

George Eustice: Any extension to the culls will not affect the panel's ability to advise on the safety, humaneness and effectiveness of controlled shooting during the pilots nor the validity of their advice.

In relation to the decision to extend, I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 21 October 2013, Official Report, column 53W.

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to ensure that any future badger cull (a) will be compliant with the Bern Convention and (b) will ensure the correct number of badgers are culled to reduce TB. [172028]

George Eustice: I refer the hon. Member to the answer by the hon. Member for Somerton and Frome (Mr Heath) on 12 June 2013, Official Report, column 348W.

The Bern Convention secretariat is content that the badger control policy will not endanger the national badger population.

All wildlife population estimates have some degree of uncertainty around them. A number of steps were taken to audit the process including data checks and a number of internal and independent audits. Further analysis, including the findings of the Independent Expert Panel, will allow us to learn lessons about the methodology.

When looking at lessons learnt in the pilots, we will look at how the efficacy of culling could be best assessed in the future. Assessments will be made each year to ensure a sufficient reduction in the population.

Bovine Tuberculosis: South West

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when he received the latest official estimates of the badger population in (a) Somerset and (b) Gloucester. [172022]

George Eustice: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 18 October 2013, Official Report, column 889W, which included advice from DEFRA's chief scientific adviser on the number of badgers in the pilot cull areas of Somerset and Gloucestershire. This advice is dated 3 October 2013.

Climate Change: Agriculture

David T. C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment his Department has made of whether the 0.8 degree Celsius rise in the earth's temperature since 1900 has adversely affected agriculture in the UK. [171529]

Dan Rogerson: The UK Climate Change Risk Assessment (CCRA) published by DEFRA in January 2012 identified several risks to the agriculture sector, including increased risk of flooding of agricultural land and increased risk of nutrient runoff from agricultural

22 Oct 2013 : Column 91W

land, which may affect local water quality. It also identified several opportunities such as higher yields of certain crops grown in the UK such as wheat and sugar beet.

To address these risks DEFRA published the UK's first National Adaptation Programme (NAP) report in July this year, which sets out a range of actions to increase the resilience of the agriculture sector and harness the opportunities.

Home Department

Animal Experiments: Scotland

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many regulated procedures conducted in Scotland under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 involved (a) mice, (b) rats, (c) guinea pigs, (d) hamsters, (e) rabbits, (f) horses and other equids, (g) sheep, (h) pigs, (i) birds, (j) amphibians, (k) reptiles, (l) fish, (m) cats, (n) dogs, (o) New World primates and (p) Old World primates in 2012; and how many such procedures involved (i) genetically modified animals and (ii) animals with a harmful genetic defect; [170598]

(2) what proportion of procedures regulated under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 and carried out in Scotland in 2012 were conducted without anaesthesia; [170599]

(3) what proportion of regulated procedures conducted in Scotland in 2012 under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 were carried out for (a) fundamental and applied studies other than toxicity and (b) toxicity tests or other safety and efficacy evaluation; [170600]

(4) how many animals were used in regulated procedures under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 in Scotland in 2012; [170601]

(5) how many (a) mice, (b) rats, (c) guinea pigs, (d) hamsters, (e) rabbits, (f) horses and other equids, (g) sheep, (h) pigs, (i) birds, (j) amphibians, (k) reptiles, (l) fish, (m) cats, (n) dogs, (o) New World primates and (p) Old World primates were used in regulated procedures conducted in Scotland under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 in 2012; [170602]

(6) how many regulated procedures were carried out in Scotland under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 in 2012; [170621]

(7) how many (a) genetically-modified animals and (b) animals with a harmful genetic defect were used in regulated procedures conducted in Scotland in 2012 under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. [170623]

James Brokenshire: During 2012, in Scotland, there were 361,279 procedures using mice, 35,199 using rats, 1,317 using guinea pigs, 752 using hamsters, 3,759 using rabbits, 1,712 using horses and other equids, 7,125 using sheep, 524 using pigs, 14,478 using birds, 1,572 using amphibians, none using reptiles, 201,337 using fish, two using cats, 579 using dogs, none using new world primates and 578 using old world primates used in regulated procedures started under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. During 2012, in Scotland, a total of 632,999 regulated procedures were started under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, of which 285,460 involved genetically modified animals and 12,804 involved animals with a harmful genetic mutation.

22 Oct 2013 : Column 92W

There were a total of 632,999 regulated procedures started under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 in Scotland in 2012 of which 391,819 (62%) used no form of anaesthesia.

During 2012, in Scotland, the number of regulated procedures started for non-toxicological purposes under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 was 570,921 (90%), and 62,078 (10%) were started for toxicological purposes.

During 2012, in Scotland, a total of 623,194 animals were used in regulated procedures started under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.

During 2012, in Scotland, 360,382 mice, 35,173 rats, 1,317 guinea pigs, 752 hamsters, 1,889 rabbits, 12 horses and other equids, 4,146 sheep, 524 pigs, 14,312 birds, 235 amphibians, no reptiles, 201,247 fish, two cats, 507 dogs, no new world primates and 477 old world primates were used in regulated procedures started under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.

The number of regulated procedures started under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986 in Scotland in 2012 was 632,999.

During 2012, in Scotland, a total of 623,194 animals were used in regulated procedures started under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, of which 284,592 were genetically modified and 12,804 were animals with a harmful genetic mutation.

Firearms: Crime

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many offences involving illegal firearms were committed in (a) Liverpool, (b) Merseyside and (c) England in each of the last 10 years. [172071]

James Brokenshire: The information requested is not available from the police recorded crime data collected by the Home Office. While the Home Office does hold data on the number of offences involving firearms, from these data it is not possible to tell whether the firearm was legally or illegally held.

Firearms: Licensing

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been refused firearms licenses by each police force as a result of substantiated evidence of a history of (a) domestic violence, (b) violent conduct and (c) drug or alcohol abuse in each of the last 10 years. [171388]

James Brokenshire [holding answer 18 October 2013]: Information recorded by the police on the National Firearms Licensing Management System on the reasons why an application is refused is not mandatory and is determined by individual forces' processes. Therefore the data captured are incomplete and will differ between forces.

Hillsborough Independent Panel

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to the letter from the Minister of State for Policing and Criminal Justice to the hon. Member for Liverpool, Walton, dated 4 October 2013, which Minister in her Department takes direct ministerial responsibility for investigations into the Hillsborough disaster. [171387]

22 Oct 2013 : Column 93W

Mrs May: As the Secretary of State for the Home Department, I take ministerial responsibility for investigations into the Hillsborough disaster.

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on what dates she has visited the Independent Police Complaints Commission's Hillsborough investigations headquarters. [171788]

Mrs May [holding answer 21 October 2013]:I have not yet visited, but intend to visit soon, Renaissance House in Warrington, headquarters of the two independent investigations into the Hillsborough disaster. I am regularly updated on progress.

Police: Widowed People

Mr Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many widows and widowers applied for a discretionary payment under the Police Survivor Support scheme; [171715]

(2) if she will provide a breakdown of successful applicants to the Police Survivor Support scheme from each region of the UK; [171716]


(3) for what reasons the Police Survivor Support scheme was time-limited; [171717]

(4) how many applications were received by the Police Survivor Support scheme after the closing date; and how many such applicants received a discretionary payment; [171718]

(5) how many applicants received the maximum amount payable under the Police Survivor Support scheme. [171719]

James Brokenshire [holding answer 21 October 2013]: The Police Survivor Support Scheme was launched under the previous Government in February 2010, with funding limited to 31 March 2011. Under the scheme awards were decided and administered by an independent charity, the Police Dependants' Trust (PDT). Funding for the scheme was provided by the Home Office in respect of beneficiaries in England and Wales, with the devolved Administrations funding parallel arrangements in respect of Scotland and Northern Ireland.

The Home Office does not hold a record of the total number of applications made to the PDT under the scheme. In respect of England and Wales, there were 31 successful applicants, 28 of whom were awarded the maximum award of £20,000.

The Home Office does not hold a record of the total number of awards made in respect of beneficiaries from Northern Ireland and Scotland. Neither does the Home Office have any record of how many applications were received by the PDT after the scheme ended.

Stop and Search

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what plans she has to increase the use of police stop and search powers. [170927]

James Brokenshire: The use of police stop and search powers is an operational matter for the chief constable of each police force. The Government are clear that these powers must be used fairly and lawfully.

22 Oct 2013 : Column 94W

This is why we launched a public consultation on the powers of stop and search, focused on the themes of effectiveness, fairness, reducing bureaucracy and the protection of individual freedoms.

An analysis of the consultation and Government response will be published by the end of the year.

Stun Guns: Young People

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many times tasers were used on under 18s in (a) England and (b) each London borough in each of the last five years. [171791]

James Brokenshire [holding answer 21 October 2013]: The latest available figures for the number of taser uses (drawn, aimed, red dotted, arced, fired, drive stun and angle drive stun) on under-18s in England are:

 Number

2007

29

2008

71

2009

135

2010

339

2011

323

The information provided is that which is held on the Home Office database as this can be broken down by age. This data comes from taser forms submitted by police forces to the Home Office. The information for 2010 to 2011 is not directly comparable to the recent Home Office taser statistics for the same time period, published on 10 September. These Home Office taser statistics were drawn from a separate collection of aggregate figures which were obtained directly from police forces. This separate collection was instigated as the information on the database was deemed not of a quality suitable for publication this particular year.

The Home Office does not hold data on the number of times a Taser was used on under-18s in each London borough.

Telephone Services

Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what geographic telephone number her Department advertises for use by the general public. [171894]

James Brokenshire: The telephone number advertised to the public for the Home Office is 0207 035 4848.

Treasury

Air Passenger Duty

Mr Dodds: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has received about waiving airport tax for charities. [171645]

Nicky Morgan: Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings and discussions with a wide variety of organisations as part of the process of policy development and delivery.

22 Oct 2013 : Column 95W

The Treasury publishes a list of ministerial meetings with external organisations, available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-treasury/series/hmt-ministers-meetings-hospitality-gifts-and-overseas-travel

Armed Forces: Housing

Derek Twigg: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make it his policy to make necessary home adaptations for wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans exempt from VAT. [172025]

Mr Gauke: There are a number of existing zero rates of VAT for chronically sick or disabled persons, which benefit wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans. These VAT reliefs include adaptations to private residences to facilitate entry, moving around, and necessary bathing, washing and lavatory needs. The application of VAT throughout the EU is governed by agreements between the UK and its EU partners. Under these agreements, we are allowed to keep our existing VAT reliefs but may not extend their scope or introduce new ones.

Infrastructure

Ann McKechin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what value of projects have been guaranteed by the UK Guarantees scheme to date; and in which (a) sector and (b) geographic area each funded project is based. [171785]

Danny Alexander [holding answer 21 October 2013]: I refer the hon. Member to the written ministerial statement I have issued today.

Minimum Wage

Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many prosecutions relating to enforcement of the minimum wage were pursued in each of the last four years; and in which parliamentary constituencies the complaints leading to those cases arose. [171542]

Mr Gauke: The Government take the enforcement of NMW very seriously and HMRC reviews every complaint that is referred to it, investigating the complaint and, in addition, carrying out targeted enforcement where we identify a high risk of non-payment of NMW.

There have been two successful criminal prosecutions pursued in the last four years, both under this Government.

HMRC does not keep statistics at constituency level, but the location of the employers is included in the following table.

 Number of prosecutionsEmployer location

2009-10

0

2010-11

1

Liverpool

2011-12

0

2012-13

1

London

The value of penalties charged for the four years is as follows:

22 Oct 2013 : Column 96W

 Penalties charged
Financial yearNumberValue (£)

2009-10

381

111,183

2010-11

934

520,568

2011-12

906

766,807

2012-13

647

709,136

The value of penalties charged has increased by 41% between 2012-13 and 2009-10.

Mobile Phones

Mr Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many smartphone apps his Department has launched. [171600]

Nicky Morgan: HM Treasury has not launched any smartphone apps.

Mobile Phones: Radio Frequencies

Charlie Elphicke: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what proportion of the £22.5 billion raised in the 3G auction in 2000 have mobile networks claimed back in tax relief; [169665]

(2) what the net receipt to the public purse was of the £22.5 billion raised in the 3G auction in 2000 from the mobile networks, taking into account the aggregate tax relief claimed in 2000 or subsequent years. [169666]

Mr Gauke: The amount of tax relief claimed in respect of 3G licenses will depend on the circumstances of each company. Quantifying the amount of tax relief claimed (and as a result the net Exchequer receipts) in respect of 3G licences would require HMRC to analyse the tax returns of each of the affected businesses and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

National Insurance Contributions

Mr Hoban: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer by how much the upper earnings limit would need to be increased to enable only those earning less than (a) £10,000 and (b) £12,500 to be exempted from paying employees' national insurance contributions for that change to be revenue-neutral. [171514]

Mr Gauke: The costs of increasing the primary threshold for employees' national insurance contributions to £10,000 and £12,500 from its £7,755 annual value in 2013-14 may be approximated from HMRC's Table 1.6 “Direct effects of illustrative changes”:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/statistics/expenditures/table1-6.pdf

Table 1.6 shows that a £2 per week/£104 per year increase in the primary threshold would cost £240 million, suggesting the costs of raising the primary threshold to £10,000 and £12,500 may be around £5 billion and around £11 billion respectively.

Table 1.6 also shows that a £520 increase in the annual employee upper earnings limit yields around £170 million. Very large increases in the upper earnings limit would therefore be required to generate equivalent savings. However, reliable estimates of the changes required, taking account of the likely significant behavioural responses, are not available.

22 Oct 2013 : Column 97W

Increasing the primary threshold to an annual value of £10,000 or £12,500 would not take all employees with annual earnings below these levels out of employee NICs. This is because employee contributions arise separately in each pay period, for example weekly, whenever earnings exceed the equivalent pay period employee threshold.

Revenue and Customs

Jessica Morden: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the average response time was to answer the Taxes Helpline on 0845 3000627 in the last six months for which figures are available; what the length was of the longest response time; and how many complaints about telephone response times for the helpline have been made in that period. [171237]

Mr Gauke [holding answer 17 October 2013]: It is not possible to disaggregate information relating to the Taxes Helpline on 0845 3000627 from other HMRC helpline telephone numbers.

Statutory Sick Pay

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 11 June 2013, Official Report, columns 227-8W, on statutory sick pay, when he plans to consult on implementation of targeted tax relief on amounts of up to £500 paid by employers on health-related intervention recommended by the Health and Work Advisory Service. [171477]

Mr Gauke: An informal consultation on the income tax exemption for health-related interventions recommended by the Health and Work Service (HWS) ran from 21 June to 16 August 2013. The consultation document was published on the GOV.UK website.1 Government officials also met with external stakeholders on 30 August. The Government are currently considering the consultation responses and will set out further details at autumn statement.

1 “Implementation of a tax exemption for employer expenditure on health-related interventions recommended by the new health and work assessment and advisory service”

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/implementation-of-a-tax-exemption-for-employer-expenditure-on-health-related-interventions-recommended-by-the-new-health-and-work-assessment-and-advis

Tax Allowances: Social Enterprises

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 18 June 2013, Official Report, column 940W, on tax allowances: social enterprises, when he plans to set out the outcome of the consultation on the social investment tax relief. [171480]

Mr Gauke: I refer the hon. Member to the written ministerial statement I issued on 17 October 2013, Official Report, column 63WS.

Tax Evasion

Mr Meacher: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer for what reason HM Revenue and Customs did not take action in response to the 400-gigabyte cache of data regarding offshore tax evasion which was leaked by a whistle blower in 2009 at the time of its leaking. [171504]

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Mr Gauke: HMRC has been continually working on this data since it was received in 2009 and investigations have been undertaken and will continue to be undertaken as a result. HMRC is also working with international partners using the data to drive forward its strategy to tackle Offshore Tax Evasion where offshore corporate and trust structures have been used to hide wealth. The approach by HMRC supports the global agenda for increasing tax transparency.

VAT

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effect on the competitiveness of small companies and start-ups of the simplified import VAT accounting scheme approval criteria. [169648]

Mr Gauke [holding answer 8 October 2013]: HMRC consider that the scheme criteria provide a level playing field for all traders.

Helen Goodman: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the VAT revenue accruing to the Exchequer from online advertising in (a) 2010-11, (b) 2011-12 and (c) 2012-13. [172014]

Mr Gauke: No estimate has been made of the VAT revenue from online advertising.

Defence

Afghanistan

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) pursuant to the answer of 14 October 2013, Official Report, column 479W, on Afghanistan, whether his Department has any plans to publish or disclose the review currently being conducted by the Chief of the Defence Staff into the findings of the US report of security at Camp Bastion; [172062]

(2) when the Chief of Defence Staff will finish reviewing the findings of the US report on the review of security at Camp Bastion. [172063]

Mr Francois: I will write to the hon. Member with the information he has requested.

Armed Forces: Housing

Derek Twigg: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what guidance his Department provides to wounded, injured and sick service personnel and veterans about VAT exemptions for necessary home adaptations. [172024]

Anna Soubry: The Department prides itself in the care that it takes of those who are serving in the armed forces and, through injury or illness, consequently require home adaptation. In these instances the necessary work is fully funded by the MOD. This facility is also available to mobilised and full time reserve service personnel. In the event that a medical discharge date is offered, the relevant NHS body will be responsible for funding any remaining adaptation costs from the individual's last day of service. There is accordingly no requirement for an individual to be concerned about VAT.

22 Oct 2013 : Column 99W

If a veteran is having a house adapted, having become disabled since leaving service due to injuries attributable to that service, they have access to the SPVA Veterans Welfare Service. SPVA personnel are able to direct veterans to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, where necessary guidance on VAT exemption is available.

Armed Forces: Young People

Mr Russell Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what proportion of Army personnel currently serving (a) as officers and (b) in other ranks were aged under 18 at enlistment; [171887]

(2) what proportion of Army personnel at each rank of officer and above were aged under 18 when they enlisted. [171888]

Mr Francois: As at 1 September 2013, 1.1% of Direct Entry Officers and 35.1% of soldiers were aged under 18 on enlistment.

As at 1 September 2013, the proportion of Direct Entry Officers at each rank who were aged under 18 on enlistment is as follows:

 Percentage

Subaltern

2.4

Captain

2.4

Major

1

Lieutenant Colonel

1

Colonel

1

Brigadier

0.0

Major General

0.0

Lieutenant General and above

1

1 Denotes where fewer than five Direct Entry Officers of that rank were under 18 years of age on enlistment.

Mr Russell Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of Army personnel promoted to each rank of officer and above in the last 10 years enlisted as junior entrant soldiers. [171889]

Mr Francois: This information is not held.

Devonport Dockyard and Clyde Naval Base

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions code A and code B nuclear incidents have occurred at (a) HM Naval Base Devonport and (b) HM Naval Base Clyde; and what happened in each case in each of the last five years. [170724]

Mr Dunne [holding answer 14 October 2013]: Her Majesty's Naval Base (HMNB) Devonport uses a system that classifies nuclear events according to event consequence, with code A being the most severe and D the least severe. The definition of a code A event is a:

“major impact on safety, environment, or operation and there is no dispute that a detailed investigation will be required.”

The definition of a code B event is:

“significant impact or potential for significant impact on safety or regulatory compliance. Investigation would be required to maintain compliance. Includes Health and Safety Executive reportable events.”

There have been no code A and five code B nuclear events at HMNB Devonport in the last five years.

22 Oct 2013 : Column 100W

The following table summarises the code B events:

 Event

2008

The primary plant discharge hose between the submarine and the effluent tank spilt, discharging water used as the primary coolant into the environment. Sampling did not detect any radioactive contamination in the area.

2010

Two submarines operated for a period without Steam Generator over pressurisation protection, after hull test blanks that were fitted for testing were inadvertently left on.

2011

The Active Waste Facility Active Drain Tank overflowed into the bunded area when a tap was left open, draining the tank and the level alarm failed to operate. The water had been sampled prior to this event and the discharge was below the authorisation limits set by the regulator, the Environment Agency.

2012

A loss of the external power supply to the submarine berths for a period of approximately 90 minutes. The submarine continued to operate safely under its own power supply.

I am withholding details of one further event in 2011 as disclosure would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces. HMNB Clyde uses a similar classification system, but the definition of A and B are different. A category A nuclear event is defined as:

“actual or high potential for radioactive release to the environment or over exposure to radiation.”

A category B nuclear event is defined as:

“actual or high potential for a contained release within building or submarine or unplanned exposure to radiation.”

There have been no category A and six category B nuclear events during the last five years. The following table summarises the category B events:

 Event

2008

Valves on board a submarine, which were supplying steam to the electrical generation equipment, were shut in error, causing a loss of non-essential electrical power.

2009

A crane can make 32,000 lifts during its 50-year life. The facility safety case assumes 250 lifts are made per year and if further lifts are required an application should be made in advance. This process was followed correctly, but it was considered that the Defence Nuclear Safety Regulator (DNSR) should have been consulted due to this being a change to operating rules. DNSR clarified the position and confirmed that the number of crane lifts did not require specific DNSR agreement.

2009

Due to the operational programme in 2009 an application was made and approved to conduct 475 lifts. A crane exceeded the agreed total lifts by five without gaining prior permission. Overall usage of this crane remained below the through-life limits. The average over the last six years has been 185 lifts.

2010

Ice plugs, which are formed using liquid nitrogen, are commonly used during repairs or maintenance to some reactor systems. An interruption to the supply of nitrogen caused an ice plug to melt which resulted in a small amount of reactor coolant leaking within the bilge area of the reactor compartment. The leak was isolated by closing a valve. The coolant was recovered using normal processes, ensuring there was no contamination external to the reactor. The repair was subsequently completed without incident.

2010

A bag containing potentially contaminated clothing fell overboard. It was recovered and later proved to be non-contaminated.

2012

While conducting maintenance, workers entered an area adjacent to the reactor compartment without the proper radiological controls in place and hence received an unplanned exposure to a radiological dose. It was subsequently demonstrated that dose was well within allowable limits.

The International Nuclear Event Scale (INES) is an internationally recognised scale for classifying nuclear events, with Level 7 being the most severe and Level 1 the least severe. A Level 1 event is defined as being one of the following:

“Overexposure of a member of the public to excess of the statutory annual limits. Minor problems with safety components

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with significant defence-in-depth remaining. Low activity loss or stolen radioactive sources, device or transport package.”

All of the nuclear events listed for HMNB Devonport were assessed as “below scale” on INES with the exception of the nuclear event in 2010. This was assessed as Level 1, indicating that there were other levels of safety inbuilt into the process. All of the nuclear events for HMNB Clyde were assessed as “below scale” on INES. In retrospect, both of the crane events in 2009 were over-categorised and should have been Category C events.

Guided Weapons

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many Thales Starstreak high velocity missiles have been purchased by his Department on 11 October 2013; and what the cost to the public purse of this purchase was; [171853]

(2) how many Thales Starstreak high velocity missiles are currently in the inventory of the armed forces. [171854]

Mr Dunne [holding answer 18 October 2013]:The contract placed with Thales on 11 October 2013 will supply 200 Starstreak High Velocity Missiles to the Ministry of Defence. I am withholding details of the cost as disclosure would be likely to prejudice commercial interests. Details of the total UK stockpile are being withheld as disclosure would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.

Military Decorations: World War II

Gareth Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many of those who are eligible have applied for the Bomber Command clasp to date; how many of those applications have been (a) rejected and (b) accepted; and what estimate he has made of the number of members of Bomber Command who are ineligible for the clasp. [161077]

Mr Francois: We are collating the statistics which my hon. Friend has requested and I shall reply to him shortly.

Substantive answer from Anna Soubry to Gareth Johnson:

My predecessor (The Rt Hon Mark Francois MP) undertook to write to you in answer to your Parliamentary Question concerning Bomber Command Clasp (BCC) applications on 25 June. I am now in a position to provide you with a full response.

The total number of Bomber Command Clasp applications as at 1 October was 9,651 of which 3,392 were from veterans, 1,428 from widows and 4,831 from the next of kin.

The number of veterans applications (a) rejected and (b) approved was 1045 and 2174 respectively. Of the rejected applications, 397 were veterans from the Commonwealth, who have had their applications referred to their respective medal issuing Authorities, and 548 did not serve in Bomber Command or did not meet the criteria. In addition 129 cases are pending and 44 cases were duplicate applications.

The estimated size of the cohort of those who served in Bomber Command during the Second World War was 125,000. Until all applications are assessed, the true number of those who will be eligible for the Clasp will not be known.

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Mobile Phones

Mr Hoban: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many smartphone apps his Department has launched. [171590]

Mr Dunne: Since 2007, available records show that the armed forces have launched 31 smartphone applications.

Advertising: The Guardian

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department spent on advertising with (a)The Guardian newspaper, (b)The Guardian website and (c)The Guardian Media Group in (i) 2009-10, (ii) 2010-11, (iii) 2011-12 and (iv) 2012-13. [171546]

Mr Francois [holding answer 18 October 2013]:The estimated Ministry of Defence spend on advertising with The Guardian newspaper, website and Media Group, is set out in the following table. This does not include expenditure by the Army which is not recorded in the format requested.

£
Financial yearThe Guardian newspaperThe Guardian websiteThe Guardian Media Group

2009-10

15,300

5,600

2010-11

8,700

3,200

2011-12

600

35,800

2012-13

0

48,300

Unmanned Air Vehicles

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the Watchkeeper unmanned aerial vehicle will receive a full release to service; and if he will estimate how much has been spent on the programme to date. [171727]

Mr Dunne: Watchkeeper will be the first large unmanned air system to fly in UK airspace and it is essential that the release to service process, including airworthiness certification, is thorough. The programme is making significant progress towards release to service having recently received a Statement of Type Design Assurance from the Military Aviation Authority; this is a key component of the certification process which allows the Ministry of Defence to continue towards the initial release to service.

To the end of the financial year 2012-13 the total spend on the Watchkeeper programme was £831 million. The current financial approval for the Watchkeeper programme is £1.035 billion for equipment acquisition and initial in-service support.

Northern Ireland

Electoral Register

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what discussions he has had with the (a) Electoral Office headquarters in Northern Ireland and (b) Electoral Commission regarding the ongoing work to update the Electoral Register in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. [171374]

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Mrs Villiers: The former Minister of State for Northern Ireland, my hon. Friend the Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mike Penning), discussed work to update the Northern Ireland electoral register with the Chief Electoral Officer and the Electoral Commissioner responsible for Northern Ireland on several occasions.

It is important that all parties work with the Electoral Office to ensure that as many as possible of those eligible are registered to vote in advance of the 2014 elections.

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment he has made of progress with the updating of the Electoral Register in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. [171375]

Mrs Villiers: The electoral canvass is still under way. As of 12 October, 916,830 electors had been registered, about 64% of the estimated electorate in Northern Ireland.

A new electoral register will be published at the beginning of December.

Northern Ireland Government

Mr Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many meetings she has had with Richard Haass or members of his staff since his appointment as Chair of round table talks in Northern Ireland. [171722]

Mrs Villiers: I have met Dr Haass twice and have also spoken to him by telephone. Additionally my officials have met Dr Haass and his team on a number of occasions. The Prime Minister and the Deputy Prime Minister met Dr Haass on 17 October 2013, and I am scheduled to see him again later this month.

Police Service of Northern Ireland

Mr Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many meetings Ministers in her Department have had with the Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland since September 2012. [171731]

Mrs Villiers: I hold regular meetings with the Chief Constable of the Police Service of Northern Ireland. These occur in a variety of formats such as arranged meetings, at events, functions or visits. In addition we speak frequently by telephone. We discuss a range of subjects including security matters.