Schools: Sports

Mr Nigel Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what recent discussions his Department has had with schools to encourage them to allow community organisations and clubs to use their sporting facilities when they are not otherwise in use. [177637]

Mr Timpson: The Department encourages all schools to offer the use of their facilities to community organisations and clubs, should that be appropriate in local circumstances.

The Department for Education is working with the Department of Health and Department of Culture, Media and Sport specifically to build links between schools and community clubs, and increase the participation levels of children, young people and parents, in sport and healthy activity.

Through the 'Satellite Club' programme, run by Sport England, every secondary school and college in England will be offered a community sport club ('satellite club') by 2017 on its site. Each club will have a direct link to one or more national governing bodies for sport, depending on the local area.

Secondment

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many of his Department's civil servants have been seconded to (a) the private sector and (b) trades unions in each year since 2010. [177712]

Elizabeth Truss: According to centrally held records, the Department for Education has had one member of staff working for the private sector since 2010. The arrangement was a staff development initiative with a reciprocating placement made available. As this was a reciprocal arrangement, no payment was involved.

No civil servants have been seconded to any trade unions.

28 Nov 2013 : Column 402W

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many secondees from (a) trades unions and (b) the voluntary sector have worked in his Department since 2010. [177735]

Elizabeth Truss: According to centrally held records, the Department for Education has had one secondee from the voluntary sector since 2010.

No civil servants have been seconded from any trade unions.

Transport

Aviation

Alun Cairns: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make an assessment of the effect on businesses in airports of recent changes by airlines to their policies which prevent passengers from bringing items they have purchased at the airport in addition to their carry-on baggage allowance. [177120]

Mr Goodwill: We have no plans to make such an assessment. The size and amount of baggage, be it cabin or hold, that a passenger is permitted to take on board a commercial aircraft is a matter for airlines to decide as private commercial companies.

Car Sharing

Stephen Gilbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much funding his Department has provided for car share schemes in each of the next five years. [177674]

Stephen Hammond: While no funding is being directly awarded to car sharing schemes over the next five years, car sharing schemes do feature in a number of the transport projects funded via the £600 million local sustainable transport fund which will run until 2015. Currently just under 50% of the 96 projects approved for funding feature elements of car sharing and car club schemes.

The local sustainable transport fund has now been extended into 2015-16 and £100 million capital funding is to be administered via the local growth fund on a competitive basis. A separate revenue funding stream of £78.5 million will be managed by the Department for Transport and will be allocated via competition.

Cycling: Safety

George Galloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) if he will bring forward legislative proposals to make (a) sensors for the blindspot and (b) other cycling safety equipment a legal requirement on all new (i) heavy goods vehicles and (ii) passenger service vehicles; [177231]

(2) if he will bring forward legislative proposals to make (a) sensors for the blindspot and (b) other cycling safety equipment a legal requirement on all existing (i) heavy goods vehicles and (ii) passenger service vehicles. [177232]

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Mr Goodwill: The Department for Transport has led moves at the UN-ECE to improve the mirrors fitted to new heavy goods vehicles. Once implemented at EU level these new mirrors will help cycle safety by increasing the driver's view of the passenger side.

The International Standards Organisation (ISO) is developing a standard for camera monitoring systems fitted to road vehicles. The Government anticipates the standard will be included within the UN-ECE regulation as a means to improve further the driver vision for new large vehicles. It is possible that these new mirrors and camera systems could be fitted to existing large vehicles.

There are no plans currently to introduce requirements for sensing systems to detect cyclists alongside heavy vehicles. A full assessment of these systems will be needed before reaching a decision to impose additional costs on operators of these vehicles.

George Galloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will launch a public education campaign to encourage all cyclists to engage in safe cycling practice. [177233]

Mr Goodwill: Cycling safety is one of the THINK! road safety campaign priorities for 2013-14. This autumn I launched the first paid-for media campaign targeting drivers and cyclists with cycle safety messages.

Working in partnership with Transport for London (TfL), THINK! adopted TfL's ‘tips' campaign and extended it to run in five cities across England where cyclist KSIs are highest (outside of London). These cities included Leeds, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Cambridge.

The campaign consisted of “outdoor” advertising running in roadside locations. Outdoor media was chosen as it enables us to reach and remind drivers and cyclists at the point of action and when behaviour is more likely to be positively influenced (i.e. when they are driving or cycling). The campaign consisted of a series of tips, developed to be even-handed and balanced in their approach and to educate and remind both drivers and cyclists about the correct way to drive and ride, and reduce the number of collisions on the road.

The campaign launched on 21 October and ran for four weeks; coinciding with the end of British summertime and the clocks going back. A review of the campaigns performance will be carried out shortly and the results will inform our cycling approach going forward.

High Speed 2 Railway Line

Dan Byles: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will provide a figure for the total cost to HS2 Ltd of running all phase one community forum meetings and all phase one bilateral meetings, taking account of associated costs including those of staff time, travel expenses, materials and preparation time and all other relevant costs. [177322]

Mr Goodwill: Information is not available in the form requested and can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

The HS2 Phase One community forums have been an important part of the engagement process and have provided an opportunity for members of the community to put their issues, ideas and priorities to the engineers

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and environment teams developing the design. The forum process has been valuable in the development of the scheme and its mitigation.

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether anyone working for or on behalf of HS2 Ltd or his Department met Lord Heseltine or any person on his behalf or provided information, drafted or prepared any part of the speech delivered by Lord Heseltine to the Royal Town Planning Institute on High Speed 2. [177324]

Mr Goodwill: Special advisers and Department for Transport officials met Lord Heseltine on 31 October to brief him on the recently published Strategic Case for High Speed 2. This was part of a wider strategy of stakeholder engagement.

Subsequently, officials provided Lord Heseltine with further information in order for him to draft aspects of his pre-arranged speech on Local Growth, which he delivered at the Royal Town Planning Institute on 12 November.

Pedestrian Crossings

Sir Peter Bottomley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) when the pelican crossing was given type approval; when highway authorities were advised not to install new pelican crossings; and what process of decision-taking and action would be required to stop the introduction of any new pelican crossings; [177220]

(2) what information his Department holds on the relative risks to pedestrians on or near the different types of signal-controlled pedestrian crossings; [177221]

(3) what the outcome was of his recent meeting with the Safer Roads Foundation and Michael Woodford to discuss safer light-controlled pedestrian crossings. [177222]

Mr Goodwill: Pelican crossings were first prescribed in law in 1969. In the 1990s, in response to concerns raised by pedestrians about intimidation on the crossing during the flashing green man/flashing amber phase, the Department developed the puffin crossing, which was first prescribed in 1997. Puffin crossings provide greater benefits for road users by using detectors to automatically extend the crossing time for those who need it, and to cancel unwanted demands to reduce delays to drivers.

The decision on what type of crossing to provide is for local authorities. The Department's guidance in the Puffin Good Practice Guide (published in 2006 and available at

http://assets.dft.gov.uk/publications/puffin-good-practice/puffin-good-practice-guide.pdf

clearly explains the benefits of puffin crossings and encourages local authorities to use them. Many local authorities have already made it their policy to only install puffin crossings.

Research commissioned by the Department showed that pelican crossings converted to puffin crossings showed an average reduction in, accidents of 17%. The report is available to download from:

www.trl.co.uk/online_store/reports_publications/trl_reports/cat_traffic_engineering/report_puffin_pedestrian_crossing _accident_study.htm

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The meeting with the Safer Roads Foundation and PACTS discussed the installation and use of both pelican and puffin crossings. As part of revising the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions (TSRGD), the Department will be updating its guidance on designing and installing appropriate crossings.

Rescue Services: Belfast

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre, Belfast, was staffed at below risk-assessed levels in October 2013. [177556]

Stephen Hammond: Belfast Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) was staffed at below risk assessed levels in October 2013 on five occasions out of 62 shifts.

These situations are mitigated by “MRCC pairing” where each MRCC is connected to at least one other MRCC which is available to provide mutual support. In respect of Belfast MRCC, mutual support is available through a fixed link from Stornoway MRCC and dial-up links from the MRCCs at Shetland, Aberdeen, Liverpool or Holyhead.

Every effort is being made to recruit staff. Recently the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) successfully recruited more coastguards filling 28 vacancies, with a further 31 recruits in the final stages of appointment. A further recruitment campaign was launched on 6 November. With this, and now that negotiations with the trade union have concluded with 79% of PCS members voting to accept the new terms and conditions, the MCA believes that this will help stabilise the current staffing issues.

Rescue Services: Liverpool

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre, Liverpool, was staffed at below risk-assessed levels in October 2013. [177554]

Stephen Hammond: Liverpool Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) was staffed at below risk assessed levels in October 2013 on 20 occasions out of 62 shifts.

These situations are mitigated by 'MRCC pairing' where each MRCC is connected to at least one other MRCC which is available to provide mutual support. In respect of Liverpool MRCC mutual support is available through a fixed link from Holyhead MRCC and dial up links from the MRCCs at Milford Haven, Swansea, Belfast or Aberdeen.

Every effort is being made to recruit staff. Recently the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) successfully recruited more coastguards filling 28 vacancies with a further 31 recruits in the final stages of appointment. A further recruitment campaign was launched on 6 November. With this and now that negotiations with the trade union have concluded with 79% of PCS members voting to accept the new terms and conditions, the MCA believes that this will help stabilise the current staffing issues.

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Rescue Services: Stornoway

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport on how many occasions the Maritime Rescue Co-ordination Centre, Stornoway, was staffed at below risk-assessed levels in October 2013. [177555]

Stephen Hammond: Stornoway Maritime Rescue Coordination Centre (MRCC) was staffed at below risk assessed levels in October 2013 on eight occasions out of 62 shifts.

These situations are mitigated by “MRCC pairing” where each MRCC is connected to at least one other MRCC which is available to provide mutual support. In respect of Stornoway MRCC, mutual support is available through a fixed link from Belfast MRCC and dial-up links from the MRCCs at Shetland or Humber.

Every effort is being made to recruit staff. Recently the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) successfully recruited more coastguards filling 28 vacancies, with a further 31 recruits in the final stages of appointment. A further recruitment campaign was launched on 6 November. With this, and now that negotiations with the trade union have concluded with 79% of PCS members voting to accept the new terms and conditions, the MCA believes that this will help stabilise the current staffing issues.

Roads: Safety

Mr Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what his policy is on the appointment of a UN Special Envoy for Road Safety. [177186]

Mr Goodwill: The Government supports the UN's Decade for Action on Road Safety. We welcome any measures which reduce global road deaths.

Vehicle Number Plates

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport by what date he expects the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency to share information from automatic information licence plates with police forces in respect of foreign registered vehicles which have been in the UK for more than six months. [177581]

Mr Goodwill: No date has been agreed at present.

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency is continuing to work with the UK Border Force and the police to explore how data can be used by the police to identify foreign registered vehicles that have been in the UK for longer than six months. Once this explanatory work has been completed a plan of action will be developed for implementing the proposed solution.

Energy and Climate Change

Energy: Billing

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he is taking to help households with their energy bills. [901309]

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Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he is taking to help households with their energy bills. [901312]

Stephen Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he is taking to help households with their energy bills. [901313]

Ian Mearns: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he is taking to help households with their energy bills. [901316]

Mr Davey: The Government is providing help to consumers with energy bills in three basic ways: through direct financial support, with energy efficiency initiatives and by boosting competition. With the winter fuel payment, with the warm home discount, and with cold weather payments, in 2012-13 the Government spent over £2.5 billion on direct subsidies to reduce bills. With the Energy Company Obligation and the Green Deal we are helping consumers to reduce bills permanently. Along with Ofgem, our policies in both the retail and wholesale markets are intensifying competition to help consumers reduce their bills this winter and every winter.

Energy: Consumption

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he is taking to reduce energy usage. [901319]

Gregory Barker: Energy efficiency has a key role to playing in helping consumers reduce their energy bills.

As of September more than 270,000 homes had had measures installed through the Green Deal, Cash Back and ECO schemes.

Earlier this year we concluded the procurement competitions for the provision of Smart Meter data and communication services.

The world first Green Investment Bank will drive energy efficiency innovation.

And the recently announced Electricity Demand Reduction pilot will explore opportunities to permanently reduce demand, through financial incentives for businesses.

Energy: Meters

David T. C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the predicted costs are for rolling out smart meters to households across the UK. [177377]

Michael Fallon: The latest Impact Assessment for the smart metering rollout published by the Department can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/78666/IA-Feb.pdf

The Impact Assessment covers Great Britain. It estimates the costs of the domestic rollout to be £11.5 billion and the benefits to be £15.9 billion over the period 2013 to 2030. We expect to publish an updated Impact Assessment early next year.

Energy: Prices

Julie Elliott: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what progress he has made on his policy to exempt some energy intensive industries from the costs of contracts for difference. [177664]

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Michael Fallon: The Government concluded its consultation on the exemption eligibility for contract for difference costs on 30 August 2013. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is analysing the responses received.

The Government is also currently consulting on the detailed design of the supplier obligation, the mechanism by which suppliers will be charged the cost of contracts for difference. The Government continues to discuss its proposals for an energy intensive industry exemption with industry, and expects to publish its response to the consultation, along with draft regulations for the exemption early in 2014.

Link:

Electricity Market Reform: consultation - eligibility for an exemption from the costs of ‘Contracts for Difference’:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/210724/bis-13-974-electricity-market-reform-consultation-eligibility-for-an-exemption-from-the-costs-of-contracts-for-difference.pdf

Julie Elliott: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change which energy intensive industries will qualify for exemption from the costs of contracts for difference. [177665]

Michael Fallon: The Government intends to implement an exemption for the most electricity intensive industries from some of the costs of contracts for difference, where they pose a significant risk to UK competitiveness, subject to state aid approval.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills concluded its consultation on the exemption eligibility for contracts for difference costs at the end of August. This outlined that the Government's preferred approach is to base exemption on the same criteria as for the compensation scheme for the indirect costs of the carbon price floor. The Government is analysing the responses received and expects to release its response to the consultation early in 2014.

Link:

Electricity Market Reform: consultation - eligibility for an exemption from the costs of

‘Contracts for Difference’:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/210724/bis-13-974-electricity-market-reform-consultation-eligibility-for-an-exemption-from-the-costs-of-contracts-for-difference.pdf

Julie Elliott: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how the exemption from the costs of contracts for difference for energy intensive industries will be calculated. [177666]

Michael Fallon: The cost of contracts for difference—i.e. the difference between contracts for difference strike prices and the wholesale electricity price—will be borne by licensed electricity suppliers. Costs will be collected through the 'supplier obligation', which is the licence requirement for suppliers to pay the costs of contracts for difference.

The detail of that supplier obligation is currently being consulted on. Under those proposals, the supplier obligation will be levied on all suppliers on a pound per megawatt hour basis, i.e. on the basis of electricity supplied.

28 Nov 2013 : Column 409W

The exemption will work by excluding a proportion of the electricity supplied to energy intensive industries (EIIs) from the pound per megawatt levy. This would mean that the contracts for difference costs faced by licensed electricity suppliers would be adjusted to take into account the scale of the EII customer base. We would therefore not expect suppliers to incorporate the costs of contracts for difference in the charges made for the supply of electricity to EIIs as contracts for difference costs are not a cost caused by the supply of electricity to such customers. Market competition should ensure that savings made by licensed electricity suppliers are passed on to EIIs.

Julie Elliott: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the effects on consumer bills of the exemption from the costs of contracts for difference for some energy intensive industries. [177667]

Michael Fallon: The Government published updated cost estimates during the consultation on the exemption eligibility for contracts for difference costs—this consultation closed at the end of August. Dependent on its final design, the average impact of the exemption on domestic household electricity bills is estimated at an average of £0.90 to £2.30 per year for the period 2016 to 2020 in 2012 prices. The actual cost will be dependent on a number of factors, including realised contracts for difference support costs, electricity demand and the final design and scope of the exemption.

Link:

Electricity Market Reform: consultation—eligibility for an exemption from the costs of 'Contracts for Difference'—updated cost estimates:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/232224/bis-13-1137-electricity-market-reform-eligibility-for-exemption-from-the-costs-of-contracts-for-difference-updated-cost-estimates.pdf

EU Emissions Trading Scheme

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will make an assessment of the current status of carbon trading in London and the EU Emissions Trading Scheme. [177696]

Gregory Barker: The UK supports urgent reform of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) to address the surplus of allowances in the system, to align the cap with long term targets to reduce emissions 80% by 2050 and to strengthen the carbon price to provide a strong signal to stimulate low-carbon investment. These reforms will also ensure that London remains a global hub for carbon trading, as it is currently with around 90% the EU market based in London.

Green Deal Scheme

Paul Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps his Department is taking to tackle non-accredited Green Deal companies who exploit consumers. [177538]

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Gregory Barker: Any rogue trader not accredited under the Green Deal and misrepresenting it will be dealt with under consumer protection law with appropriate action taken by Trading Standards.

The Department will also shortly be publishing a quick guide to help consumers identify genuine Green Deal authorised traders, and the guide has already been distributed among the consumer organisations.

We continue to engage with Trading Standards, Citizens Advice, Office of Fair Trading, Consumer Futures and Which? and share information about the Green Deal, via a Consumer Protection Forum and other meetings.

Nuclear Power

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to his oral statement of 21 October 2013, Official Report, columns 23-25, on the UK nuclear energy programme, whether his comment in that statement that new nuclear will receive no support, unless similar support is also made available more widely to other types of generation, reflects a change from the policy set out in the Coalition Agreement that new nuclear power stations may be allowed, provided that they receive no public subsidy; and if he will make a statement. [177408]

Michael Fallon: The Government policy is as set out in the 7 February 2013 and 18 October 2010 statements to Parliament, made by the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, the right hon. Member for Kingston and Surbiton (Mr Davey), and his predecessor.

The text of the statements can be found at:

www.gov.uk/government/speeches/edward-davey-speech-to-the-commons-on-new-nuclear-power

www.gov.uk/government/news/written-ministerial-statement-on-energy-policy-the-rt-hon-chris-huhne-mp-18-october-2010

Solar Power

Glyn Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he is taking to ensure that solar PV is appropriately sited. [901308]

Gregory Barker: The Solar PV Roadmap, published in October 2013, sets out our policy on solar PV which should be appropriately sited, give proper weight to environmental considerations such as landscape and visual impact, heritage and local amenity, and provide opportunities for local communities to influence decisions that affect them. I have written to all local planning authorities emphasising the importance DECC attaches to ensuring solar PV is appropriately sited.

Separately, DECC is also working with industry and the National Solar Centre through the Sustainability and Land Use Task Force, combined with a series of regional roadshows, to generate best practice for developers and ensure that this is widely disseminated.

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Justice

Courts: Security Guards

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many court security officers for (a) Mitie, (b) G4S and (c) Securitas have been officially designated by the Lord Chancellor under the Court Security Officer (Designated) Regulations 2005 since the regulations came into force. [171352]

Mr Vara: Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) do not hold the requested information for the period between 2005 and 2009.

Between 2009 and 2012, MITIE were the primary supplier of Court Security Officers (CSOs) for the courts within my Department. During that period, a total of 755 CSOs were designated. No G4S or Securitas Officers were designated.

From February 2012 to date, MITIE and G4S are the main suppliers of designated CSOs for HMCTS. During this period, 418 CSOs have been designated for MITIE, 460 CSOs designated for G4S. No CSOs have been designated for Securitas.

Defamation

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the Government's policy is on whether families of deceased persons should be able to sue under the law of defamation following recent jurisprudence on the issue in the European Court of Human Rights. [177668]

Mr Vara: It is a long standing legal principle that a deceased person cannot be defamed as reputation is personal. The Government has no plans to change the law in this area. This principle is not affected by the recent European Court of Human Rights judgment in Putistin v. Ukraine, which concerned an applicant who sought redress for damage to his and his family's reputation affecting him, rather than damage to the reputation of the deceased person.

Family Proceedings: Legal Aid Scheme

Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps he is taking to ensure that adequate legal aid is available for family cases; and what plans he has to adapt the qualifying rules for assistance under the new regulations. [177413]

Mr Vara: At around £2 billion a year we have one of the most expensive legal aid systems in the world and in the current challenging economic climate we cannot continue to sustain this type of spending. It is essential that resources are focused on cases where legal aid is most needed—that is where people's life or liberty is at stake, where they are at risk of serious physical harm or immediate loss of their home, or where their children may be taken into care. Even after all of our changes we will still have one of the most generous systems—at around £1.5 billion a year.

As part of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 we made sure that where domestic abuse or child protection issues exist in a private family

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case, legal aid would remain available. Recognising concerns about potential difficulties in accessing legal aid, we significantly widened the list of evidence that could be used to prove domestic abuse during the passage of the Bill. Although, too early to have a definitive picture, latest figures from the Legal Aid Agency show that legal aid is granted to the majority of people who apply for legal aid on the basis of the domestic violence evidence requirements.

During debate on the regulations on 27 March 2013, Official Report, House of Lords, column 1114, we committed to monitor and review the operation of the requirement for evidence.

We expect this review to be completed early in the new year, following engagement with stakeholders.

Human Trafficking: Convictions

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many victims of (a) human trafficking and (b) forced labour have been wrongly convicted in each of the last three years. [176040]

The Solicitor-General: I have been asked to reply.

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) maintains no records of the number of prosecutions or convictions against victims of (a) human trafficking and (b) forced labour. This information is unlikely to be available even on a manual check of all case files, which would incur disproportionate cost.

However, the CPS has issued comprehensive legal guidance to advise prosecutors of the steps they should take in cases where the police have arrested potential victims of trafficking and forced labour who have committed criminal offences and referred them for charge. If information suggests that they have been trafficked, prosecutors are advised to make full inquiries and consider whether the case against them should be discontinued. However, a prosecutor can only take these steps if they have information from the police or other sources that a suspect might be a victim of trafficking.

Immigration: Appeals

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how large the current backlog of cases awaiting immigration tribunal is. [177606]

Mr Vara: The First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) and Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) hear and decide appeals against decisions made by the Home Office on asylum, immigration and nationality matters.

The First-tier Tribunal (Asylum and Immigration Chamber) and Upper Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) are administered by HM Courts and Tribunal Service, an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice (MOJ). Information on appeals before the tribunal is published by MoJ in the Tribunal Statistics quarterly. The most recent report is for the period April to June 2013, which includes the number of outstanding cases before the tribunal. This can be viewed at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/tribunal-statistics-quarterly-april-to-june-2013

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Mesothelioma

Grahame M. Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many claims have been brought against Government departments by people with mesothelioma since May 2010. [176141]

The Solicitor-General: I have been asked to reply.

The information cannot be provided as it is not readily available or held centrally. It could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost. Mesothelioma claims are handled by various Government Departments, and agencies, including The Treasury Solicitor. The Treasury Solicitor does not act for all Government Departments and agencies and some of these claims are handled by external solicitors.

Health

Clinical Commissioning Groups

Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what guidance his Department provides on a clinical commissioning group's right to withhold from publication a register of the interests of its board members. [177673]

Dr Poulter: The National Health Service Act 2006, as amended by the Health and Social Care Act 2012, requires clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to publish, or make arrangements to ensure that members of the public have access to registers of interest on request. CCGs must describe in their constitution the arrangements for making the register of interests publicly available, including for those people that do not have access to the internet.

NHS England has issued guidance "Managing Conflicts of Interest: Guidance for Clinical Commissioning Groups", which states that CCGs should:

make the Register of Interest available upon request for inspection at CCGs headquarters or local health premises;

ensure the document is available upon application (either by post or e-mail); and

make arrangements with local health authorities for copies to be made available via local libraries.

A copy of the guidance has been placed in the Library.

Depressive Illnesses

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the average age of the onset of depression was in (a) 1983, (b) 1993, (c) 2003 and (d) 2012. [179102]

Norman Lamb: Data on the age of the onset of depression is not held centrally.

General Practitioners

Lorely Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will review the training given to GPs on dealing with patients who have learning disabilities. [177188]

Dr Poulter: The content and standard of medical training is the responsibility of the General Medical Council (GMC). The GMC is an independent professional body. It has the general function of promoting high standards of medical education and co-ordinating all

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stages of medical education to ensure that students and newly qualified doctors are equipped with the knowledge, skills and attitudes essential for professional practice.

The Government has mandated Health Education England (HEE) to provide national leadership on education, training and work force development in the national health service. This mandate includes a commitment that HEE will ensure that general practitioner (GP) training produces GPs with the required competencies to practise in the new national health service. Consequently, HEE will work with stakeholders to influence training curricula as appropriate.

Health Education England

Liz Kendall: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much Health Education England has spent on consultancy services in (a) 2012-13 and (b) 2013-14 to date. [177612]

Dr Poulter: Health Education England (HEE)—including the 13 local education and training boards (LETBs), which HEE took responsibility for on 1 April 2013—has recorded spending on consultancy services as:

£269,000 in 2012-13; and

£318,000 for the financial year 2013-14 (up to the end of October 2013).

The increase in 2013-14 expenditure is due to the change in status of HEE from transitional form to fully operational in April 2013, when they assumed responsibility for the 13 LETBs.

Health Services

Liz Kendall: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much was spent by specialist commissioning hubs on consultancy services in (a) 2012-13 and (b) 2013-14 to date. [177614]

Dr Poulter: NHS England is responsible for directly commissioning specialised services, and has developed service specifications on a national basis, to ensure that patients can access the same high quality services regardless of where they live in England.

There are 10 area teams in England, established on 1 April 2013, that hold contracts with providers for specialised services and ensure that specifications are met. These are staffed by teams who are expert in contracting for specialised services.

NHS England has confirmed that in 2012-13 and so far in 2013-14, no money has been spent by the 10 area teams on consultancy services in respect of their specialised commissioning activities.

Healthwatch England

Liz Kendall: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much Healthwatch England spent on consultancy services in (a) 2012-13 and (b) 2013-14 to date. [177613]

Norman Lamb: In 2012-13, Healthwatch England spent £24,822 on consultancy services.

In 2013-14, Healthwatch England's spend to date is £9,462.50 on consultancy services.

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Home Care Services

Jim Dobbin: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to improve social care provision in domiciliary settings. [177620]

Norman Lamb: I refer the hon. Member to the reply I gave to him on 25 November 2013, Official Report, columns 148-49W.

Muscular Dystrophy: West Midlands

Valerie Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to increase the number of neuromuscular care advisers and the paediatric neuromuscular consultant provision in the West Midlands. [177569]

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

NHS England published Neurosciences: Specialised Neurology (Adult) in July 2013. This service specification describes the service commissioned by NHS England for patients with a neuromuscular disorder. Care is provided via a managed clinical pathway that supports multidisciplinary and cross organisational working. The multi-disciplinary team includes neuromuscular care co-ordinators.

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

NHS England

Liz Kendall: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what the (a) total budget, (b) total number of staff and (c) budget for staff salaries is for those employed by NHS England but not for NHS England local area teams. [177610][Official Report, 10 December 2013, Vol. 572, c. 1-2MC.]

Dr Poulter: NHS England's total revenue budget for 2013-14 is £95.873 million, of which £2.016 million is to be spent on administration. How all spending is allocated is a matter for NHS England. NHS England has informed us that the administration budget for NHS England, excluding area teams and commissioning support units (its National Support Centre), is £332.2 million.

As at the end of October 2013, NHS England had 886.15 whole time equivalent staff in post within its National Support Centre.

The total pay budget for the total agreed staff numbers within the National Support Centre (1,106.48 whole time equivalent) is £75.2 million. There are currently vacancies within this staff structure.

Liz Kendall: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much NHS England spent on consultancy services in (a) 2012-13 and (b) 2013-14 to date. [177611]

Dr Poulter: NHS England has informed us that expenditure on consultancy was £578,000 in 2012-13 and £1.78 million in 2013-14.

28 Nov 2013 : Column 416W

NHS Property Services

Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many (a) communications, (b) press and (c) public relations officers are employed by NHS Property Services; and what the salary is of each officer. [177672]

Dr Poulter: The number of staff with communications responsibilities in their roles in NHS Property Services Ltd (NHS PS) at each Agenda for Change (AfC) pay band are shown in the following table. NHS PS does not employ any specific press or public relations officers; this work is undertaken by the communications staff.

AfC bandSalaryNumber of staff

VSM1

£130,000-£135,000

1

8c

£54,998-£67,805

1

8a

£39,239-£47,088

6

7

£30,764-£40,558

1

1 Very senior manager

These staff transferred into the company from primary care trusts and strategic health authorities on their existing terms and conditions.

As with all national health service funded organisations, we are looking to further rationalise and reduce back-office costs.

NHS: Finance

Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what discussions his Department has had with NHS England as part of the health funding review of allocations. [177432]

Dr Poulter: NHS England and the Department have been discussing health funding, including progress on the fundamental review of allocations, at regular accountability meetings.

Responsibility for resource allocation is a matter for NHS England as set out in the mandate. NHS England is overseeing the fundamental review of allocation policy and will draw on the expert advice of the independent Advisory Committee on Resource Allocation (ACRA) and involve a range of external partners. NHS England will consider the recommendations and findings of ACRA as part of this.

NHS: Redundancy

Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many NHS employees have taken redundancy since May 2013; and how many such people have since been re-employed in (a) publicly-funded healthcare and (b) other forms of healthcare contracted to the NHS. [177460]

Dr Poulter: This information is not available from the date requested.

Out-patients: Attendance

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Health if he will introduce a system to gather information on the cost to the NHS of missed appointments. [177633]

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Dr Poulter: The financial cost of missed appointments is very complex to calculate, for example resources wasted or time lost due to missed appointments can be offset by national health service staff using the time productively in other ways, such as seeing other patients. The cost of introducing a system to gather information would therefore be disproportionate. Locally, NHS organisations should be seeking to understand and address how best to achieve reductions in missed appointments in their areas.

International Development

Adam Smith International

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the value of contracts awarded by her Department to Adam Smith International was in each of the last 10 years. [177647]

Justine Greening: The value of contracts awarded in each year to Adam Smith International is shown in the following table.

 Amount (£)

2008-09

42,266,339

2009-10

13,785,832

2010-11

33,273,602

2011-12

66,409,259

2012-13

16,356,209

Information from previous years is not held centrally in our systems on a comparable basis.

Africa

Fiona O'Donnell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps her Department is taking to reduce maternal mortality in (a) Liberia, (b) Sierra Leone, (c) Kenya and (d) Nigeria. [177583]

Lynne Featherstone: DFID is supporting health programmes that focus on maternal health in each of these four countries. These programmes deliver a range of health interventions from pre-pregnancy to early childhood, for example increasing access to modern family planning methods, improving coverage and quality of skilled delivery care at birth, and working with communities to increase demand for and use of quality health services. Programmes in these four countries are contributing towards the UK Government's commitment to save the lives of at least 50,000 women during pregnancy and childbirth and 250,000 newborn babies by 2015.

Burma

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what discussions her Department has had with communities in areas of Burma negatively affected by foreign investment before the decision was made to fund the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business. [177242]

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Mr Duncan: Prior to the creation of the Myanmar Centre for Responsible Business, discussions about its potential work were held both within and outside Burma with civil society, as well as with business, government, trade unions and experts. Particular attention was paid to regions of the country made especially vulnerable due to conflict, ethnic and religious strife, and corruption.

Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what funding her Department provides for building civil society capacity in Burma. [177321]

Mr Duncan: DFID has allocated £11 million for building civil society capacity in Burma from July 2011 to March 2016.

Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much her Department will spend on promoting good governance in Burma in 2013-14; and what proportion of such funding will be channelled through (a) the Burmese Government and (b) civil society. [177327]

Mr Duncan: DFID has allocated £12.8 million for good governance in Burma in 2013-14. This includes funding through the UN, NGOs and civil society. No UK aid is given through budget support to the Government of Burma.

Developing Countries: Climate Change

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the adequacy of future funding arrangements of the Green Climate Fund; and what recent discussions she has had with her international counterparts on their contributions. [177697]

Lynne Featherstone: The UK Government is working closely with our international partners to ensure the Green Climate Fund is set up to offer good value for money. Discussions are on-going during the design phase.

Developing Countries: Females

Martin Horwood: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what timetable she has set for delivering pledges made by the UK at the recent High-Level Meeting on violence against women and girls in humanitarian contexts; and what steps the Government plans to take to hold other governments accountable for their pledges. [177578]

Justine Greening: I refer the hon. Member to my written ministerial statement laid on 18 November 2013, Official Report, column 40WS. I will update the House in due course.

Developing Countries: Midwives

Fiona O'Donnell: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps her Department is taking to address the shortage of midwives in developing countries. [177586]

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Lynne Featherstone: The UK Government is supporting action to reduce the number of babies born without a skilled attendant, such as a midwife present, and to reduce maternal mortality and increase child survival. We are helping countries where we work to develop their own health care systems and efforts to build and maintain health worker capacity. This includes support to train health workers such as midwives and nurses.

In addition, DFID funds the Health Partnership Scheme that supports partnerships between UK and developing country health institutions aimed at strengthening health worker knowledge and skills. DFID also supports the Global Health Workforce Alliance, which advocates for improved human resources for health and supports countries' health workforce co-ordination and planning.

Developing Countries: Sanitation

Tracey Crouch: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps she plans to take to promote the importance of the water and sanitation sector at the Sanitation and Water for All high level meeting in April 2014. [177461]

Lynne Featherstone: The UK will be represented at the 2014 Sanitation and Water for All (SWA) high level meeting. DFID officials are working to ensure that it builds momentum around the ongoing importance of WASH in supporting poverty reduction and sustainable development. The UK was instrumental in establishing the Sanitation and Water for All initiative. We remain active members on the Steering Committee and we are leading work to improve global monitoring.

Kenya

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the threat presented by al-Shabaab to the humanitarian effort in northern Kenya. [177255]

Mr Duncan: Al-Shabaab represent a significant threat to humanitarian efforts in parts of North East Kenya. This threat includes kidnap, explosive devices and theft. Humanitarian agencies adapt their operations on the basis of a regular assessment of risk to ensure that aid reaches those in need.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent reports she has received on the humanitarian situation in northern Kenya; and what steps the Government has taken at the UN in response to funding shortages in the Dadaab and Kakuma refugee camps. [177256]

Lynne Featherstone: We are in touch with agencies on the ground and have recently made a visit. The rains started late and the current estimates are that the number in need of food assistance may rise from the existing 850,000 across Kenya. UKAid is already supporting programmes in Northern Kenya to address this vulnerability by providing regular cash payments and livelihood support to some of the poorest families so that they can better cope with droughts and supporting health facilities so they have capacity to treat and prevent acute malnutrition in children. There are plans in place to scale up these

28 Nov 2013 : Column 420W

programmes if the situation worsens. The region also hosts some 525,000 refugees and UKAid is providing £39.2 million over three years to support their assistance needs (including £3.2 million in July 2013 to help avert a shortfall in special nutritional products for malnourished children and mothers). DFID is pressing other donors to do more for refugees and considering a further allocation this year given ongoing gaps.

Overseas Aid

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development which country programmes have an increase in project spending in excess of five per cent for the current financial year; and what these increases are in actual and percentage terms. [177648]

Mr Duncan: This information can be found in the DFID Annual Report 2012-13, available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dfid-annual-report-and-accounts-2012-13

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what the cost to the public purse was of developing and launching her Department’s Development Tracker platform. [177694]

Mr Duncan: The cost of developing and launching the alpha, beta and live versions of the Development Tracker platform was £338,039 excluding VAT and internal salary costs.

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many unique visits were made to her Department's Development Tracker since its launch from (a) the UK and (b) overseas; and how many such visits there were to each of the domain's sub-pages. [177695]

Mr Duncan: The Development Tracker was launched on 31 October 2013. Since then, there have been 13,718 unique visits, (a) 8,466 from the UK and (b) 5,252 from overseas.

There are 13,114 sub-pages within the Development Tracker. It is not possible to provide a list of the number of visits to each of those pages.

Somalia

Rushanara Ali: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the recent UK aid delivery to Puntland. [177430]

Justine Greening: The effectiveness of UK aid programmes in Somalia (including in Puntland) is assessed regularly as part of our programme management cycle. Programmes are countrywide, rather than region-specific, with a geographical focus where development needs are greatest.

28 Nov 2013 : Column 421W

Women and Equalities

Civil Partnerships

Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what progress has been made on the review to consider legalising heterosexual civil partnerships. [177678]

Mrs Grant: Preparatory work for the consultation required as part of the review of the operation and future of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 under the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013, has been undertaken. We hope to publish this consultation document shortly.

Secondment

Chris Ruane: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities how many of the Government Equalities Office's civil servants have been seconded to (a) the private sector and (b) trades unions in each year since 2010. [177716]

Mrs Grant: No civil servants from the Government Equalities Office have been seconded to the private sector or trade unions.

Chris Ruane: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities how many secondees from (a) trade unions and (b) the voluntary sector have worked in the Government Equalities Office since 2010. [177739]

Mrs Grant: No secondees have worked in the Government Equalities Office since 2010.

Culture, Media and Sport

Betting

Mr Sutcliffe: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent discussions she has had with the Gambling Commission on in-running laying on a betting exchange by those benefiting from the time delay between live and transmitted events; and if she will make a statement. [177608]

Mrs Grant: I regularly discuss a range of issues with the Gambling Commission. Betting in-running is legal under the 2005 Gambling Act and the Gambling Commission's current position, after much consideration and public consultation, is that the risk to the licensing objectives is adequately mitigated by ensuring that consumers are warned about the potential disadvantage to which they may expose themselves if they choose to bet in this way. However, the Gambling Commission continues to monitor evidence in this area and to observe developments which might have a bearing on that position.

Digital Broadcasting: Radio

Tracey Crouch: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will take steps to ensure that all UK local radio stations are guaranteed a platform on DAB should digital radio switchover go ahead; and if she will make a statement. [177326]

28 Nov 2013 : Column 422W

Mr Vaizey: Government recognises the importance of local commercial radio stations to the communities they serve and is committed to reserving part of the FM spectrum as a platform for local and community radio stations, for as long as it is needed. My officials are also working with Ofcom to consider the potential options for smaller local stations to migrate to digital in the lead up to and after a future switchover. We are very encouraged by the recent research Ofcom has carried out on software enabling small scale DAB transmissions, which has been successfully trialled in Brighton.

Tracey Crouch: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment her Department has made of (a) the extent of public access to DAB radio, (b) the number of listeners that will lose access to local radio stations and (c) whether audio quality will improve for listeners in the event of a UK digital radio switchover. [177328]

Mr Vaizey: Following the launch of the Digital Radio Action plan in 2010, local DAB coverage has increased from 66% to 72%. In October, the BBC announced plans to extend coverage for its national DAB services from 94% to 97.3% of households, and Arqiva has developed plans for the extension of national commercial DAB services from 84.9% to 91% of households to match Classic FM coverage.

We have always said that FM will continue to be an appropriate platform for smaller commercial stations and community radio. The vast majority of digital radio sets have FM included and this is mandated in the minimum technical specifications drawn up by industry as part of the Digital Radio Action Plan. This means that listeners who switch to digital radio will still be able to get local services on FM. We recognise the desire from small local and community radio stations to have a pathway onto the DAB platform and are working with Ofcom on examining the potential of new small scale DAB solutions following a successful trial earlier this year in Brighton.

Independent research carried out in Bath by IPSOS/Mori found that households were very positive about digital radio with 80% of participants rating it as better than analogue radio.

Tracey Crouch: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate she has made of the cost of a digital radio switchover; and if she will make an estimate of (a) the incremental annual cost of improving local DAB coverage so that coverage reaches 90 per cent of households and all major roads at the earliest opportunity and (b) how much funding her Department would seek from the Exchequer for a possible digital radio switchover. [177329]

Mr Vaizey: DCMS' assessment of the costs and benefits of a digital radio switchover will be set out in a cost benefit analysis (CBA). We intend to provide an update on our plans for digital radio at the end of the year.

Tracey Crouch: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if her Department will commission an independent cost-benefit analysis on digital radio switchover viability prior to taking any

28 Nov 2013 : Column 423W

decision on that matter; and if she will publish the results of her Department's previous cost-benefit analysis on this matter. [177330]

Mr Vaizey: The Government will use a cost benefit analysis (CBA) to inform any decision about switchover. DCMS has been developing that analysis, and consulted on the CBA's methodology in summer 2012. In the light of feedback from the sector, DCMS has continued to develop its approach in order to inform policy discussions and decisions, drawing on advice from Whitehall and external analysts. We intend to provide an update on our plans for digital radio at the end of the year.

Direct Selling

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will make an assessment of the efficacy of the legal framework in the Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 in relation to the regulatory system for reporting and preventing nuisance telesales or automated calls; and what representations has she received on this matter. [177309]

Mr Vaizey: The Privacy and Electronic Communications (EC Directive) Regulations 2003 enable the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) to issue a monetary penalty of up to £500,000 to any organisation that wilfully or negligently makes calls to Telephone Preference Service calls to a particular number. Complaints can be quickly and easily reported to the ICO online at:

http://www.ico.org.uk/complaints/marketing/2

Since January 2012, the ICO has issued five substantial monetary penalties totalling £660,000 and action against other organisations is also under consideration. Also, in spring 2014 the Office of Communications (Ofcom) will be conducting a review of the effectiveness of the TPS and further details are available at:

http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/consultations/silent-calls/joint-action-plan

We will review Ofcom's findings carefully to see what further action can be taken to tackle nuisance calls. The Department has received representations from consumer group representatives, regulators, industry and Members of Parliament, requesting for action to be taken in this area. In response, we are working closely with them to find effective solutions, and our further thinking will be set out in our action plan, which will be published shortly.

Londonderry

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what plans she has to visit Londonderry before the end of that city's year as UK City of Culture. [177584]

Mr Vaizey: In my role as Minister for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries, I was on an official visit to Londonderry last week.

Ministers' Private Offices

Mr Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether she (a) has appointed or (b) intends to appoint an enlarged ministerial office. [177510]

28 Nov 2013 : Column 424W

Mrs Grant: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by the Minister for the Cabinet Office today.

Secondment

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many of her Department's civil servants have been seconded to (a) the private sector and (b) trades unions in each year since 2010. [177709]

Mrs Grant: The number of civil servants that have been seconded to (a) The private sector and (b) trade unions in each year since 2010 is shown in the following table:

Financial year(a) The private sector(b) Trade unions

2010-11

0

0

2011-12

2

0

2013 (to date)

0

0

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many secondees from (a) trades unions and (b) the voluntary sector have worked in her Department since 2010. [177732]

Mrs Grant: The number of secondees from (a) trade unions and (b) the voluntary sector that have worked in the Department since 2010 is shown in the following table:

 Number of secondees

(a) Trade unions

0

(b) Voluntary sector

0

Sports: Schools

Tracey Crouch: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Education on changing the regulations that those applying to build new schools must meet in regard to changing rooms; and if she will make a statement. [177378]

Mrs Grant: I have regular discussions with ministerial colleagues at the Department for Education on a range of issues.

Telecommunications

Nadine Dorries: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) if her Department will bring forward legislation to prevent and penalise unintentional telephone slamming whereby customers are penalised because of a telecoms company mistake; [177245]

(2) what assessment her Department has made of the potential benefits of fining telecommunications companies that have slammed telephone lines for reasons other than mis-selling of services; [177284]

(3) if she will make an assessment of the adequacy of current legislation for preventing phone slamming; if she will bring forward legislative proposals on phone

28 Nov 2013 : Column 425W

slamming which apply in circumstances where phone lines are accidently slammed; and if she will make a statement. [177303]

Mr Vaizey: Slamming, when a fixed-line telephone service is transferred by a gaining provider without express knowledge and consent is prohibited under General Condition 24 of Ofcom's General Conditions of Entitlement (GCE). GCE is the regulatory framework under which telecommunications network and service providers are required to operate in the UK. Section 45 of the Communications Act 2003 provides Ofcom with the power to set such binding conditions and Section 96 of the Communications Act 2003 provides for Ofcom to issue penalties for breach of General Conditions. Ofcom can, and do, fine companies for slamming and most recently fined Supatel (trading as TimeTalk) £60,000 in June of this year for breach of General Condition 24.

Ofcom rules explicitly prohibit all telephone companies from engaging in inappropriate sales and marketing activity, and include requirements around obtaining consent and the type of information that needs to be made available to consumers when selling services. Where Ofcom identifies clear breaches of the rules, it can take enforcement action, and has powers to fine companies and require them to remedy the consequences of any breach.

There are also a number of safeguards built into the switching process which are specifically designed to protect consumers from both slamming and erroneous transfers, including that consumers should receive a letter informing them of the imminent takeover of their service, with a 10-day switchover period during which the order can be stopped.

Ofcom is also carrying out a review of switching processes to ensure that switching is easy, hassle-free and works well for consumers. Better protection for consumers from the risks of slamming and erroneous transfers is a key focus of the review and Ofcom has put forward proposals for mandating two key requirements on telephone companies which are designed to address erroneous transfers associated with home moves. Ofcom has also committed to look at this issue further in the next phase of its work on switching.

Attorney-General

Crimes of Violence: Females

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General pursuant to the answer of 29 October 2013, Official Report, columns 399-400W, on prosecutions, when the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will report the findings from its further investigation into the proportion of cases of violence against women and girls that are charged; whether the findings of that investigation will be published; how many CPS staff are working on that investigation; and what resources have been allocated to that investigation. [177333]

The Solicitor-General: Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is a key priority for the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) and, in 2012-13, the conviction rates for cases flagged as domestic violence and rape were at record highs for the second year running.

28 Nov 2013 : Column 426W

The CPS has had detailed discussions with a number of interested parties to better understand the fall in referrals of domestic violence and rape cases and, working with the National Policing Lead, it will convene a joint national scrutiny panel on rape early next year and the findings will be published shortly thereafter. Work on VAWG issues is progressed by a number of staff, who have responsibilities for a range of issues including VAWG. No additional resource has been allocated for this investigation.

The work on domestic violence is being taken forward by Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HM1C) in their investigation of the effectiveness of the police response to domestic violence and abuse across England and Wales. The findings from the inspection are due to report by April 2014.

Crown Prosecution Service

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General how many complaints about the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) have been referred to the independent assessor of CPS complaints so far this year. [177311]

The Solicitor-General: The role of the Independent Assessor of Complaints (IAC) was launched on 5 June 2013. A total of 22 complaints about the Crown Prosecution Service have been referred to the IAC so far this year.

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General how many victims of crime have requested reviews of a Crown Prosecution Service decision in 2013 to date; and of these how many concerned (a) decisions to take no further action and (b) discontinuance post-charge. [177312]

The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service has received 592 requests for review in the period between the launch of the Victims' Right to Review scheme on 5 June 2013 and 31 October 2013.

(a) 396 of the requests concerned a decision not to bring proceedings (66.9%).

(b) 196 of the requests concerned a decision to terminate proceedings after charge (33.1%). This figure comprises cases in which proceedings were terminated by discontinuance and cases in which no evidence was offered.

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General what proportion of complaints about the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) made to the independent assessor of CPS complaints have been (a) fully and (b) partially upheld. [177313]

The Solicitor-General: The role of the Independent Assessor of Complaints (IAC) was launched on 5 June 2013. A total of 22 complaints about the Crown Prosecution Service have been referred to the IAC of which 10 have been concluded. The proportion of complaints that have been fully upheld is 40%. The proportion that have been partially upheld is 30%.

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General what proportion of reviews of Crown Prosecution Service decisions made under the Victims' Right to Review have been (a) fully and (b) partially upheld. [177314]

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The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service has received 592 requests for review in the period between the launch of the Victims' Right to Review scheme on 5 June 2013 and 31 October 2013. The decision of the prosecutor was upheld in 84.3% of cases. The purpose of the scheme is to review the original decision not to proceed with a prosecution or to terminate proceedings. The review will result in the decision being upheld or not upheld there are no “partially upheld” outcomes.

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General on how many occasions the Crown Prosecution Service has applied to a court for a local authority to disclose information required to support a criminal prosecution in each of the last five years. [177315]

The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service do not maintain any centrally held data that would identify the number of times a court application for a local authority to disclose information has taken place. Such information could be obtained only through a manual search of records which would incur disproportionate cost.

Flexible Working

Mr Gibb: To ask the Attorney-General how many officials in the Law Officers' Departments make use of compressed hours arrangements as part of the Civil Service's flexible working hours scheme (a) above and (b) below director level. [177388]

The Solicitor-General: The number of officials in the Law Officers' Departments who are currently making use of compressed hours arrangements is detailed in the following table:

Number
 Director levelBelow director level

TSol*

1

77

CPS

0

261

SFO

0

31

* TSol data also covers the Attorney-General's Office and Her Majesty's Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate.

Human Trafficking: Young People

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Attorney-General whether the Crown Prosecution Services flags cases where the victim is under 18 years when prosecuting cases of human trafficking as it does in domestic violence and child abuse cases. [177627]

The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) uses a “double flag” when prosecuting cases of human trafficking involving victims under 18. The double flag involves using both the Human Trafficking Monitoring Flag to identify the number of defendants prosecuted for these offences, and the Child Abuse Flag to distinguish cases where the victim was under 18 at the time of the commission of the offence.

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Offenders: Deportation

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General what guidance has been issued by the Director of Public Prosecutions to prosecutors on how and when to recommend the issuance of conditional cautions to foreign offenders to facilitate their removal from the UK. [177317]

The Solicitor-General: The Director's Guidance on Charging, fifth edition, published on 6 May 2013 and the Director's Guidance on Adult Conditional Cautioning, seventh edition, published in April 2013, assist authorised police officers and prosecutors in applying the Conditional Cautioning Code of Practice in deciding how an offender should be dealt with and when it is appropriate to consider a conditional caution.

The code of practice makes specific provision for offences committed by foreign national offenders where a conditional caution is proposed to facilitate the removal of the offender from the jurisdiction. The code advises that, in appropriate cases, the public interest is in removal of the offender from the United Kingdom and the code permits consideration in any case where the sentence likely to be imposed by the court for the offence concerned will not exceed two years imprisonment.

Prosecutions

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General what recent discussions he has had with the Director of the Serious Fraud Office on the use of deferred prosecution agreements under the Crime and Courts Act 2013. [177310]

The Solicitor-General: The Attorney-General and I meet regularly with the Director to discuss a range of issues. Recent discussions about deferred prosecution agreements have been at official level and my office is part of the wider Government working group on Deferred Prosecution Agreements. The consultations on the draft code of practice closed in September 2013 and SFO and CPS are reviewing the responses. I look forward to seeing the outcome of that review.

Serious Fraud Office

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General what recent requests the Director of the Serious Fraud Office has made to HM Treasury for additional funds for specific investigations. [177334]

The Solicitor-General: The SFO's budget for this financial year was set during the spending review in 2010. Any additional funding sought is applied for as part of the supplementary estimates process which is only just beginning for this financial year.

I have said before that the Serious Fraud Office must not be in a position that lack of resources prevents it from conducting an investigation where the public interest, which is determined by the Director of the Serious Fraud Office, demands one. However, it will not always be possible to give a running commentary on which investigations this affects without the risk of prejudice to those investigations.

28 Nov 2013 : Column 429W

Treasury

Bank of England

Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what representations he has received supporting changes to arrangements relating to another sovereign state possessing a shareholding in the Bank of England. [177225]

Sajid Javid: The Treasury has not received any representations regarding another sovereign state owning a shareholding in the Bank of England.

Child Benefit

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) how much his Department has spent administering the high-income child benefit tax charge to date; [177683]

(2) how many people are employed by HM Revenue and Customs to administer the high-income child benefit tax charge. [177685]

Mr Gauke: The position remains as set out in answers given to PQ128154 on 3 December 2012, Official Report, column 593W, and PQ136528 on 15 January 2013, Official Report, column 662W. HM Revenue and Customs will be able to provide further details on the cost and the numbers of staff administering the high income child benefit charge after the first full year of operating the charge.

Credit: Interest Rates

Jim Shannon: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps the Government is taking to assist people who take out pay-day loans and are having difficulty paying the monies back. [176970]

Sajid Javid: The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is taking over responsibility for consumer credit regulation in April 2014. The FCA proposes to put a number of requirements on lenders to treat borrowers fairly, including by treating them with forbearance and due consideration if they experience difficulties.

It is important that consumers are protected from unfair costs, especially as these costs can spiral for people struggling to repay. The Government has announced that it will bring forward an amendment to the Banking Reform Bill to require the FCA to introduce a cap on the cost of payday loans.

The FCA has also already proposed requirements to ensure consumers are not able to borrow more than they can afford: lenders will need to undertake thorough affordability assessments; the number of times a loan can be rolled over is limited to two, and at the point of rollover the lender must signpost borrowers to debt advice via the Money Advice Service (MAS).

Flexible Working

Mr Gibb: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many officials in his Department make use of compressed hours arrangements as part of the Civil Service's flexible working hours scheme (a) above and (b) below director level. [177405]

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Nicky Morgan: There are currently no staff members who are making use of compressed hours arrangements as part of the Civil Service flexible working hours scheme, that are above director level.

There are currently 14 staff members who are making use of compressed hours arrangements as part of the Civil Service flexible working hours scheme, that are below director level.

Money Laundering

Mr Brady: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will revise his Department's advice to financial institutions regarding high risk jurisdictions in relation to the Money Laundering Regulations 2007 [177602]

Sajid Javid: The Treasury revises and issues a new Advisory Notice after every plenary meeting of the Financial Action Task Force. The Notice identifies countries with strategic deficiencies in their Anti-Money Laundering and Counter-Terrorist Financing regimes.

The Money Laundering Regulations 2007 require regulated businesses to apply enhanced due diligence and enhanced ongoing monitoring on a risk-sensitive basis in situations which present a higher risk of money laundering or terrorist financing.

The Treasury's Advisory Notice is intended to support firms in their application of a risk-based approach to money laundering and terrorist financing controls.

Money Laundering: EU Law

Mr Sutcliffe: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent meetings his Department has held on EU anti-money laundering directives; and if he will make a statement. [177607]

Sajid Javid: HM Treasury is leading negotiations for the UK on the fourth money laundering directive, proposals for which were published on 5 February 2013. Treasury officials have participated in EU Council Working Group meetings at expert level since then. Discussions in the EU Council Working Group have moved to attaché level, with the last meeting taking place on Wednesday 27 November.

I attended the 15 November ECOFIN meeting, where there was a brief update on the state of play of negotiations on the directive.

A statement from the Chancellor is not appropriate at this time. We anticipate issuing a statement following Council agreement of a general approach to proposals for the directive.

Offshore Funds: Mauritius

Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will investigate whether advice to investors on the use of off-shore jurisdictions is offered by UK-registered financial institutions, with particular reference to Mauritius. [177259]

Mr Gauke: There are currently no plans to investigate whether advice to investors on the use of off-shore jurisdictions is offered by UK-registered financial institutions.

28 Nov 2013 : Column 431W

Revenue and Customs: Newry

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what consultation his Department carried out in the local area before the decision to close the HM Revenue and Customs office in Newry. [177641]

Mr Gauke: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has not taken the decision to close the office in Newry. Newry is one of 21 locations across the UK where some or all staff have been invited to apply for a voluntary exit scheme because the locations do not fit the medium to long-term plans of one, some or all of the lines of business based there. This is a further step HMRC is taking as it becomes a smaller, more highly-professional organisation working out of fewer locations.

Royal Bank of Scotland

Dr Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) with reference to the reports by Lawrence Tomlinson and Sir Andrew Large on RBS published on 25 November 2013, what assessment he has made of the practices of the Global Restructuring Group at RBS in Northern Ireland; [177593]

(2) what assessment he has made of the findings of the reports by Lawrence Tomlinson and Sir Andrew Large on the practices of the Global Restructuring Group at RBS published on 25 November 2013; [177594]

(3) how many businesses in Northern Ireland were customers of the Global Restructuring Group at RBS in the last five years; and what representations he has received from these businesses following the reports by Lawrence Tomlinson and Sir Andrew Large on RBS published on 25 November 2013. [177595]

Sajid Javid: Sir Andrew Large's report, commissioned by RBS, is an independent assessment of RBS's performance in providing credit to small and medium enterprises. RBS has committed to implement the Large review recommendations in full.

Dr Tomlinson's report—published in a private capacity—focuses on a number of individual cases. The Government is unable to comment on the veracity of the allegations. Nevertheless, they are serious allegations, and it is right that RBS are investigating them; it is important that the investigation is concluded thoroughly and promptly.

RBS is a commercial company in which the Government is a shareholder, and it is run on a commercial basis. The Government does not hold detailed information on the number of businesses that are customers of the Global Restructuring Group.

Taxation: British Overseas Territories

Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with the UK Overseas Territories on the publication of their tax ownership registries. [177257]

Mr Gauke: The Government is in regular dialogue with the Overseas Territories regarding tax and transparency, including most recently at the Joint Ministerial Council on 26 November. As outlined in the communiqué,

28 Nov 2013 : Column 432W

each of the Territories with a financial centre has published an action plan setting out the steps that they will take to ensure the collection and availability of complete company ownership information and are launching or have launched consultations on the question of establishing a central registry of beneficial ownership and whether this information should be publicly available. The UK continues to encourage all its international partners to join the UK in leading from the front on this issue, including through publicly accessible registries of company beneficial ownership.

The communiqué can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/261234/131126JMC_2013_ communiqueFINAL.pdf

Defence

Afghanistan

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what aircraft sustained damage during the hail storm at Kandahar on 23 April 2013; what the extent of such damage was; and if he will estimate the cost to the public purse of their repair. [177246]

Mr Dunne: The fixed wing and rotary aircraft damaged by the hailstorm at Kandahar airfield were: Hercules C130J; BAE 125; BAE 146; Chinook; Sea King and Lynx. Typically damage was experienced to aircraft skins, flight control surfaces, propellers and rotor blades.

It is too soon to give an estimate of the cost of repairs as some aircraft are still being assessed.

Armed Forces: Recruitment

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) regular and (b) reserve forces were recruited to the (i) Army, (ii) Royal Navy and (iii) RAF in the last year for which figures are available by region. [177307]

Mr Dunne: The information requested for financial year (FY) 2012-13 is set out in the following table1. This will give an indication of the geographical spread of recruitment but does not provide a comprehensive picture of where these individuals may reside as they may not always apply to join the Services through their nearest Careers Office, and may choose other means by which to apply.

RegionNaval ServiceArmyRoyal Air force

Scotland

190

840

90

North West

400

1,360

160

North East

350

1,560

200

Wales

160

650

90

West Midlands

200

880

120

East

420

1,490

250

South East

420

830

120

South West

480

690

250

London

130

530

60

Northern Ireland

50

270

10

Totals

2,800

9,100

1,350

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Regular Army officers are not recruited regionally, but centrally, and for the period in question there were some 680 recruited. The figures for the recruitment of the reserves for FY 2012-13 are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

1 Rounding. When rounding to the nearest 10, numbers ending in “5” have been rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent systematic bias.

Contracts

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what contracts his Department has with PA Consulting; and what the (a) monetary value and (b) length is of each such contract; [177304]

(2) what contracts his Department has with Bechtel Corporation; and what the (a) monetary value and (b) length is of each such contract; [177305]

(3) what contracts his Department has with PricewaterhouseCoopers; and what the (a) monetary value and (b) length is of each such contract. [177306]

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Mr Dunne: Any contracts that the Ministry of Defence (MOD) has with PA Consulting and PricewaterhouseCoopers, prior to 2011, are in the table. It includes contracts let by MOD Trading Funds, but does not include pan-Government enabling contracts, Government Procurement Card payments or miscellaneous transactions.

Since January 2011, as part of this Government's commitment to increase transparency, central Government Departments have been required to publish information on contracts, worth over £10,000, they award on Contracts Finder. This information is available online at:

www.contractsfinder.businesslink.gov.uk

In some instances the contract end date is in the past. This could either be because outstanding payments are still to be made under the terms of the existing contract, or the contract has been extended and records have not yet been updated to reflect this.

Contract titleContract value (£)Start dateEnd dateSupplier

PFI Partnering Contract

6,857,142

14 January 2007

1 March 2013

PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP

Project Starling–Early production work

3,608,927

19 March 2010

7 April 2011

PA Technology Solutions Ltd

The Ministry of Defence has no current contracts with the Bechtel Corporation.

Defence: Procurement

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the report entitled Viability of the Material Strategy Procurement, which was placed in the Library on 19 November 2013, (1) what assessment he has made of the conclusion of the report's authors that any failure of one or more parties within any consortia could fundamentally impact the competition; [177363]

(2) whether his Department undertook a formal stop/go decision after one of the consortia withdrew from the GoCo bidding process on 15 November 2013; and how that decision was taken; [177364]

(3) what governance processes his Department has established to ensure that the negotiated deal does not become unbalanced by the need to maintain a competitive process; and whether his Department has adopted any of those processes; [177365]

(4) whether his Department had contingency plans in place for a further reduction in the market before the withdrawal of one of the bidding consortia on 15 November 2013; [177366]

(5) what steps his Department has taken to dedicate senior commercial leadership and capacity to the deal process in the GoCo bidding process; [177367]

(6) what steps his Department has taken to engage in regular senior stakeholder discussions at International Board and PUS level on the GoCo bidding process; [177368]

(7) what steps his Department has taken to require bidders to maintain contingency plans aligned to their risk profile in the GoCo bidding process; [177369]

(8) what steps his Department has taken to ensure the risk profiles around each bidder are actively-managed in the GoCo bidding process. [177370]

Mr Dunne: We have already made significant progress on implementing the recommendations outlined in the Viability of the Materiel Strategy Procurement report that was placed in the Library of the House on 19 November 2013. We have strengthened senior governance of the programme, exercising control at the strategic and negotiation levels respectively to ensure balance. Commercial negotiations are being led at Director-level within the Ministry of Defence (MOD) supported by a Deputy Director and a sizeable commercial team, together with specialist support from our consultancy partners.

The Materiel Acquisition Partners Bid Team is being actively managed, including for contingency planning and risk—and we will ensure that these are reviewed regularly as we progress through the competition. We recognise that any changes to the bid teams could fundamentally impact the competition. As the Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), stated in his written ministerial statement on 19 November 2013, Official Report, column 44WS, we will take a formal stop/go decision now that one consortium has withdrawn, once the MOD, with the Cabinet Office and HM Treasury, have studied the detailed commercial proposal and the DE&S+ proposition. A further statement will be made once this process is complete.

Future Strategic Tanker Aircraft

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the Voyager aircraft can fit in any hangar at RAF Mount Pleasant. [177248]

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Mr Dunne: Voyager aircraft do not fit in hangars currently available at RAF Mount Pleasant. We have considered any associated operational risks and are satisfied that the aircraft will deliver the capability required without the need for a hangar. Our operational effectiveness is not affected by this.

Military Bases

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Tewkesbury of 15 April 2013, Official Report, column 285W, on MOD Ashchurch, if he will place in the Library the report of the review of the vehicle basing options and greater efficiencies from relocating facilities; and if he will make a statement. [174919]

Mr Dunne: The Ministry of Defence continues to review a number of future vehicle basing options. I will write to the hon. Member once the review is completed and a decision is made.

MOD Ashchurch

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what activities his Department carries out at Ashchurch; and which other Ministry of Defence sites have been identified as having (a) the capacity, (b) the area of land and (c) the skills mix to replicate each such activity; and if he will make a statement. [174874]

Mr Dunne: The main employer at the Ministry of Defence Ashchurch site is the Defence Support Group (DSG). DSG carry out a wide range of activities at Ashchurch associated with the management, maintenance, repair, inspection and storage of military equipment.

Work to identify alternative locations for these activities is still ongoing.

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Property Transfer

Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when his Department expects to transfer the land earmarked for Portsmouth in its City Deal. [177616]

Dr Murrison: The Ministry of Defence will shortly commence negotiations with Portsmouth city council to agree the terms on which land will be transferred as part of the Portsmouth City Deal. Horsea Island (East) is surplus to Defence requirements and the expectation is that this will be transferred in the spring of 2014. Tipner Ranges remain in regular Defence use so cannot be transferred until suitable facilities have been reprovided elsewhere.