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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 12 June 2014

Culture, Media and Sport

Broadband

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of the average broadband speed in (a) Glasgow North West constituency, (b) Glasgow, (c) Scotland and (d) the UK. [199154]

Mr Vaizey: The independent regulator and competition authority for the UK communications industries (Ofcom) publishes broadband coverage data for the UK; its 2013 UK fixed-line broadband performance report indicates the following average modem synchronisation speed for Glasgow City, Scotland and the UK. Data by constituency area are not available.

Average modem sync speed 2013
 Mbit/s

Glasgow City

17.2

Scotland

15.8

UK

17.6

Sports: Children

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps his Department is taking to encourage primary school children to become active and involved in local sports organisations. [199221]

Mrs Grant: Over 17,500 schools are voluntarily taking part in the Sainsbury’s School Games—over 70% of all schools in England—including approximately 13,000 primary schools. Participating schools can choose from sports formats developed by 31 national governing bodies for sport. Schools are supported by 450 School Games organisers across the country, who are connecting School Games to community sports clubs to help ensure activity is sustained beyond school.

In addition, through the primary PE and sport premium, we are investing over £450 million across Government (up to and including the academic year 2015-16) to improve physical education and sport in primary schools. Heads are free to choose how they use the funding to secure the greatest impact, which may include working with local sports organisations and/or increasing pupils’ participation in the School Games.

Prime Minister

Life Peers

Mark Hendrick: To ask the Prime Minister how many life peerages have been created since 2010; and how many such peerages have been as a result of having been nominated by political parties. [199733]

The Prime Minister: Details are available on the House of Lords Appointments Commission website.

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Cabinet Office

Childbirth

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many births, broken down by the week of pregnancy in which the birth occurred, there were in England in the last year for which figures are available. [199856]

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

Letter from Glen Watson, dated June 2014:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking the Secretary of State for Health how many births, broken down by the week of pregnancy in which the birth occurred, there were in England in the last year for which figures are available. (199856)

Information on gestational age (length of pregnancy) is not routinely recorded at the registration of live births. However, ONS links birth registrations to NHS birth notifications data to publish figures by gestational age. These figures are less timely than statistics based on birth registrations only.

Table 1 below provides the numbers of live births by each completed week's gestation for 2011 (the most recent period for which figures are available).

Published statistics on births and infant deaths by gestational age for England and Wales are available on the Office for National Statistics website:

www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/child-health/gestation-specific-infant-mortality-in-england-and-wales/index.html

Table 1: Live births by gestational age, England, 20111, 2
 Live births

<22

170

23

282

24

446

25

510

26

646

27

771

28

981

29

1,115

30

1,419

31

1,886

32

2,791

33

3,771

34

6,475

35

9,196

36

18,182

37

39,122

38

89,033

39

153,508

40

185,411

41

135,819

42

27,525

Total

679,059

1 Excludes those with low gestational age inconsistent with birth weight, or with gestational age not stated. 2 Excludes births to non-residents. Source: Office for National Statistics.

Civil Servants: Equal Pay

Gloria De Piero: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office which Departments regularly publish details of their gender pay gap at each civil service grade. [199687]

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Mr Maude: The Office for National Statistics publishes median earnings by responsibility level, Government Department and gender annually as part of Civil Service Statistics and these data can be found at:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/pse/civil-service-statistics/2013/stb-civil-service-statistics--2013.html

Government Departments

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what sources of income from organisations funded from the public purse each member of each Government Department's board has. [199616]

Mr Maude: Departments are required to disclose the details of company directorships and other significant interests held by board members which may conflict with their management responsibilities twice yearly.

Copies of the Register of Board Members’ Interests are laid in the House of Commons Library, alongside the annual report and accounts, and are available on request.

Health

Chris Ruane: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what use his Department has made of the National Wellbeing Index introduced by the Office for National Statistics in formulating policy since the introduction of that index in 2011; and what policies his Department has introduced to improve national well-being as defined in that index since 2010. [198863]

Mr Hurd: This Government are starting to advance the use of well-being indicators in policy formulation.

Evidence provided to the Environmental Audit Committee for its Inquiry into Well-being can be found at:

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environmental-audit-committee/inquiries/parliament-2010/well-being/

Social Justice Committee

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many times the Social Justice Cabinet Committee has met since 5 May 2010; what issues were on the agenda for each such meeting; and which Ministers attended each such meeting. [199874]

Mr Letwin: It is established practice that information relating to the proceedings of Cabinet Committees, including when and how often they meet, which Ministers have attended and the content of agendas, is not disclosed.

Northern Ireland

Disciplinary Proceedings

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what proportion of staff within her Department who have been subject to formal disciplinary proceedings in each of the last five financial years classed themselves as white British. [199891]

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Mrs Villiers: Because of the devolution of policing and justice functions on 12 April 2010, and subsequent reconfiguration of the Northern Ireland Office, my Department does not hold figures for the periods prior to 2010. Attempting to obtain this information would incur disproportionate cost.

Since April 2010, seven members of staff have been subject to formal disciplinary proceedings. Given the small numbers involved, it would not be appropriate to provide any further breakdown as to do so would risk the identification of the individuals concerned.

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what proportion of staff within her Department who have been dismissed following formal disciplinary proceedings in each of the last five financial years classed themselves as white British. [199913]

Mrs Villiers: Because of the devolution of policing and justice functions on 12 April 2010, and subsequent reconfiguration of the Northern Ireland Office, my Department does not hold figures for the periods prior to 2010. Attempting to obtain this information would incur disproportionate cost.

Since April 2010, two members of staff have been dismissed following formal disciplinary proceedings. Given the small numbers involved, it would not be appropriate to provide any further breakdown as to do so would risk the identification of the individuals concerned.

Equal Opportunities

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what targets her Department has for increasing diversity; and what progress has been made on meeting those targets in the last year. [199934]

Mrs Villiers: My Department has not set specific targets, but is fully committed to fulfilling its statutory responsibilities, including the duties set out under fair employment legislation and the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

Giro d'Italia

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment she has made of the Giro d'Italia in Northern Ireland; and what plans she has to ensure a positive legacy from the event. [199222]

Mrs Villiers: The Northern Ireland Tourist Board (NITB) estimates that the Giro d'Italia “Grande Partenza” was viewed by 775 million people in 165 countries across the world giving this huge audience the opportunity to enjoy the wonderful scenery of Northern Ireland. NITB has estimated that the event should generate 140,000 tourist visits to Northern Ireland.

Building on the legacy of the Giro d'Italia is, of course, for the Northern Ireland Executive to take forward and I understand that the Assembly has discussed the issue.

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Women and Equalities

Equal Opportunities

Mr Raab: To ask the Ministers for Women and Equalities how often Section 159 of the Equality Act 2010 has been used by employers in relation to recruitment or promotion of an individual with protected characteristics in each year since 2011. [199763]

Mrs Grant: The information requested is not collected or held centrally.

Energy and Climate Change

Climate Change: Conferences

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change which Ministers in his Department attended the most recent Bonn climate change conference. [199553]

Gregory Barker: The UK is represented at senior official levels at the current Bonn climate change intersessional conference. It is a mid-year meeting paving the way for the Lima conference of the parties (COP) in December and Ministers do not usually attend the Bonn meetings. I am fully behind reaching a global deal in Paris, am talking to many parties both formally and informally and will attend further international engagements later this year.

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the outcome of the most recent Bonn climate change conference; and if he will make a statement. [199554]

Gregory Barker: The Bonn climate change intersessional conference is not expected to finish until 15 June, so we will not have a concrete assessment of the session until then. The meeting is a mid-year one to pave the way for the Lima conference of the parties (COP) in December. This meeting in Bonn will focus on negotiations on the new global climate change deal that will be agreed in 2015, on work to enhance emissions reductions efforts in the years to 2020, when the new deal will come into effect, and to continue to progress the UN climate regime’s subsidiary agenda, covering rules, mechanisms, reporting and other areas implementing past decisions.

Even though there will not be an outcome, we want the meeting in Bonn to focus on technical and practical discussions to pave the way for countries to bring forward, in early 2015, their contributions to the new agreement and to make progress towards agreeing in Lima draft elements of a negotiating text—these are important milestones for the 2015 agreement.

As we are not expecting any outcomes, I do not anticipate the need to make a statement.

Climate Change: Northern Ireland

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what future discussions he has planned with his counterpart in the Northern Ireland Executive on climate change. [199785]

Gregory Barker: The UK has an open dialogue with the devolved Administrations to discuss matters relating to climate change. This includes consulting the devolved

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Administrations, including the Northern Ireland Executive, on the UK position on the international negotiations ahead of the annual UNFCCC Conference of the Parties.

Energy: Carers

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) what assessment he has made of the adequacy of provision of information for carers on affordable energy; [199155]

(2) what recent discussions he has had with energy companies on the affordability of energy tariffs for carers. [199156]

Michael Fallon: DECC Ministers and officials meet energy company representatives on a regular basis to discuss market issues.

It is important that all consumers, including carers, have access to information to help them make informed decisions about their energy use. That is why Ofgem introduced a new simpler tariff framework consisting of a tariff information label and tariff comparison rate to make it easier for consumers to compare tariffs across the market. In April Ofgem launched the “Be An Energy Shopper” campaign to empower consumers to shop around for a better deal for their energy.

Fracking

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what representations he has received on fracking in 2014. [199784]

Michael Fallon: The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, the right hon. Member for Kingston and Surbiton (Mr Davey), has received a number of representations on various aspects of hydraulic fracturing.

Fracking: Lancashire

Mark Hendrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many (a) officials and (b) Ministers in his Department have visited Lancashire for purposes related to fracking since 2010. [199734]

Michael Fallon: I and a number of my officials have made a number of visits to Lancashire in relation to shale gas operations and are regularly in touch with a number of stakeholders in the region.

On 24 April I took part in a conference organised by the North West Energy Taskforce and the two Lancashire chambers of commerce in order to highlight to Lancashire business the potential opportunities from successful shale gas development.

Fuel Poverty

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change with reference to the answer of 6 February 2014, Official Report, column 383W, on energy companies obligation, what progress he has made on publishing proposals on the form, level and date for a new fuel poverty target in England; and when he expects to publish those proposals. [199295]

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Gregory Barker: The Government are preparing proposals on a new fuel poverty objective for England in line with the provisions of the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000.

Health

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what use his Department has made of the National Wellbeing Index introduced by the Office for National Statistics in formulating policy since the introduction of that index in 2011; and what policies his Department has introduced to improve national well-being as defined in that index since 2010. [198867]

Gregory Barker: The National Wellbeing Index contains two measures directly related to DECC's priorities: “Energy consumed within the UK from renewable sources” and “Total greenhouse gas emissions”, where latest data show the positive impact being made by DECC. For example in 2013, provisional data show 15% of electricity being produced from renewable sources—a new high. To provide further support for renewable and other forms of low carbon generation DECC is implementing electricity market reform, in particular provisions for feed-in tariffs with contracts for difference. Since 2010 DECC has also launched the renewable heat incentive scheme to provide support for renewable heat in both the domestic and non-domestic sectors.

More broadly, a number of DECC's policies, such as the energy company obligation (ECO) which funds efficient boilers and insulation measures to low income and vulnerable households and is now guaranteed until at least 2017, contribute toward other aspects of the National Wellbeing Index, for example “Getting by financially”.

Nuclear Safeguards

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many withdrawals of nuclear materials from safeguards applied under the tripartite UK-Euratom-IAEA Voluntary Safeguards Agreement there have been since May 2010; and how many such withdrawals were permanent. [199177]

Michael Fallon: Information on nuclear material withdrawn from safeguards is available on the Office for Nuclear Regulation website at:

www.onr.org.uk/safeguards/withdrawals.htm

in the same format as provided to Parliament on 28 July 2000, Official Report, column 1094W, and in the written answer to Parliament on 1 March 2001, Official Report, columns 732-33W. The website provides annual reports on withdrawals from 2001 to 2013. As indicated in footnote 3 to each table, the advance notifications of withdrawal of depleted uranium shielded containers were temporary. All other withdrawals were permanent.

In 2014, the notifications received to date are as follows:

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Summary of notifications of withdrawals from safeguards, 2014, year to date
Number of withdrawal notifications (by type of nuclear material involved)1Reason for withdrawal

One notification involving plutonium (Pu), microgramme quantities

One notification for use in analysis/analytical purposes (e.g. samples, standards/tracers and/or in instrument calibration) from organisations that provide standards/tracers and/or nuclear material for instrument calibration2 One notification also involved mg quantities of natural uranium2

Two notifications involving high enriched uranium (HEU), total~ 0.4 g

Two notifications for material contained in radiation detectors2 (from a company that manufactures radiation detectors)

Nine notifications involving depleted uranium (DU), total ~348 kg

Nine notifications for depleted uranium as shielding containers3

1 Tabulated information covers advance notifications of withdrawal approved by ONR - Safeguards. 2 There are no facilities outside safeguards that have material in such quantities and forms, and defence establishment requirements for these specialist materials have therefore been met by supply from civil organisations. 3 The advance notifications of withdrawal for depleted uranium shielded containers were for temporary withdrawals, the containers being used during the replacement of spent radioactive sources at UK defence establishments.

Oil: Libya

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many barrels of oil were exported from Libya to the UK in each of the last five years. [199476]

Michael Fallon: The following table shows imports of crude oil to the United Kingdom from Libya for each of the last five years. The data are rounded to the nearest 1,000 barrels and the 2013 number is provisional

Imports of crude oil to the UK from Libya (barrels at 7.37 per tonne)
 Barrels

2013

14,828,000

2012

21,557,000

2011

5,638,000

2010

20,032,000

2009

13,598,000

Renewable Energy

Julie Elliott: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change with reference to the answer of 14 May 2014, Official Report, column 597W, on renewable energy, what assessment his Department has made of what the market conditions that will enable independent generators to use short-term power purchase agreements (PPAs) and a wider variety of PPA counterparties will have developed in time for independent generators to secure necessary finance terms ahead of the first CfD auctions which are scheduled for October 2014. [199181]

Michael Fallon: In general, short-term power purchase agreements are widely available in the current market, but providers of project finance tend to require long-term

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PPAs. The offtaker of last resort (OLR) mechanism will provide additional certainty for projects with a contract for difference which should enable them to consider a wider range of routes to market and a wider range of offtakers, including short-term PPAs.

My officials have worked closely with developers, expert advisers and other stakeholders in working up the OLR proposals and to understand the likely impacts on the PPA market. The policy design is at an advanced stage, and the detail of the proposals has been recently consulted on. We are on track to deliver the final policy and introduce enabling regulations ahead of the first allocation of CfDs. CfD applicants will have a high degree of clarity about the arrangements for OLR, in advance of the first auctions.

Julie Elliott: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change with reference to the answer of 14 May 2014, Official Report, column 597W, on renewable energy, what the evidential basis was for the statement made in the Government's response on competitive allocation that power purchase agreements could be signed on a conditional basis before a strike price needs to be submitted, allowing independent generators to receive indicative financing terms from lenders; and what representations he has received from generators on that statement. [199182]

Michael Fallon: The Government’s response to the consultation on competitive allocation set out its expectation that the power purchase agreement (PPA) market will evolve such that PPAs could be signed on a conditional basis. We have discussed this with stakeholders and have identified no significant barriers that prevent conditional power purchase agreements being agreed prior to the allocation of contracts for difference. Furthermore, some PPA participants have since confirmed that they are prepared to consider approaches from generators on this basis.

UK Coal

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change with reference to his statement of 10 April 2014, Official Report, columns 24-25WS, on UK Coal Production Ltd, when the £10 million interest bearing loan to UK Coal will be complete. [199692]

Michael Fallon: I refer the hon. Member to the written statement I made today (“Update concerning UK Coal”) as Minister of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.

As stated, I will continue to keep the House updated.

Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent discussions (a) he, (b) Ministers in his Department and (c) officials in his Department have had with their counterparts in HM Treasury on the operation of the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000; and if he will make a statement. [199186]

Gregory Barker: The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, the right hon. Member for Kingston and Surbiton (Mr Davey), Ministers and officials have

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regular contact with counterparts from other Government Departments, including HM Treasury, on a range of issues, including fuel poverty.

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what recent assessment he has made of the operation of (a) section 1 and (b) section 2 of the Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000; what recent representations he has received on the operation of this Act; and what responses he gave to such representations. [199187]

Gregory Barker: The Warm Homes and Energy Conservation Act 2000 has been amended through the Energy Act 2013. In line with the provisions of the amended Act, the Government will lay draft regulations in Parliament setting out a new fuel poverty objective for England. Once the new objective has been made in regulations, we will publish a strategy for meeting that objective.

Both the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, the right hon. Member for Kingston and Surbiton (Mr Davey), and I receive representations and meet with stakeholders regularly to discuss a range of issues relating to fuel poverty. For example, we attend meetings of the Fuel Poverty Advisory Group when possible, most recently in April 2014.

Defence

Afghanistan

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of when the Afghanistan air force will be ready to function independently of US and UK support. [199016]

Mr Francois: The Afghan air force (AAF) is trained in accordance with the wider International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) Afghan National Security Force (ANSF) development strategy. ISAF envisages that the AAF will be at full operational capability with the required trained personnel, aircraft and equipment by the end of 2017.

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what proportion of the Afghanistan national army has deserted in each month since January 2010. [199017]

Mr Francois: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given to him by my predecessor, my right hon. Friend the Member for South Leicestershire (Mr Robathan), on 13 November 2012, Official Report, column 161W.

Africa

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer of 25 March 2014, Official Report, column 180W, on Africa, whether any service personnel are embedded with host forces or otherwise stationed in (a) Niger, (b) Nigeria and (c) the Seychelles. [199405]

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Mr Francois: There are no UK service personnel embedded with host forces or otherwise stationed in Niger.

The UK has a small number of personnel deployed to Nigeria in roles including diplomatic representation, defence engagement, liaison and training. As part of the package of support to Nigeria announced by the Prime Minister last month, an additional small team of experts has also deployed to help Nigeria establish an intelligence fusion cell with French and US partners to assist the Nigerian Government in locating the abducted schoolgirls.

In the Seychelles, a Royal Naval officer is currently serving as a liaison officer for the European Union Naval Force Somalia (EUNAVFOR).

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether any UK service personnel are embedded or otherwise stationed in (a) Ethiopia and (b) Chad. [199425]

Mr Francois: The UK has a small number of service personnel deployed to Ethiopia in roles including diplomatic representation, defence engagement, liaison and training.

No UK service personnel are currently embedded or otherwise stationed in Chad.

Armed Conflict: Children

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what support his Department is giving to the UN Special Representative for Children and Armed Conflict for the campaign to eradicate the recruitment of children by Government armed forces by 2016. [198849]

Anna Soubry: The Ministry of Defence provides no formal support to the UN Special Representative, but is taking steps to ensure that our recruitment activities are in accordance with Article 38 of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, as stated in the answer given on 13 May 2013, Official Report, column 98W, to the hon. Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun (Cathy Jamieson).

Armed Forces Covenant: Northern Ireland

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which charitable projects based in Northern Ireland have benefited from the armed forces covenant (LIBOR) fund. [199638]

Anna Soubry: The importance of the covenant to the Government was highlighted by the decision of the Chancellor to transfer £35 million from fines levied on the banks for attempting to manipulate LIBOR to the Ministry of Defence for use in supporting the armed forces community. The fund has now closed and money has been allocated to some 97 projects.

The Northern Irish armed forces community will benefit from a number of UK-wide projects which have been allocated over £16 million of LIBOR funding. In addition, we have provided £50,000 of funding to the UDR and Royal Irish Aftercare Service to set up a welfare support network and advisory service for veterans and their dependants in Northern Ireland.

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Armed Forces: British Nationality

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Foreign and Commonwealth personnel from each country of origin who were made redundant from the armed forces in each year since 2010 were subsequently unable to meet the five-year rule to apply for citizenship; and if he will make a statement. [198549]

Anna Soubry: Foreign and Commonwealth personnel with four years’ service in the armed forces service can apply, in the interim, for settlement. This process regularises their immigration status while they qualify and meet the mandated Home Office criteria to apply for citizenship.

The Ministry of Defence has completed an analysis of personnel records and I can confirm that no Foreign and Commonwealth personnel with less than four years’ service were made redundant since 2010. Therefore redundancy from the armed forces would not have prevented personnel from applying for settlement or citizenship.

Armed Forces: Discharges

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many requests for discharge were made by soldiers aged (a) 19 and (b) 20 years who had served at least three years in the regular Army in the last five years; and what the outcome was of each such request. [198845]

Anna Soubry: Soldiers must normally serve a minimum of three years before they can voluntarily discharge with a year’s notice. Consequently, the number of applications from 19-year-olds is lower than from those aged 20 years of age. “Requests for discharge” has been interpreted as voluntary outflow applications which are recorded on the joint personnel administration system.

The number of applications for voluntary discharge made by trained regular soldiers aged 19 and 20 between 1 March 2009 and 1 March 2014 are shown in the following table.

Age on ApplicationNo of Applications

19

50

20

330

Total

380

Source: Defence Statistics (Army)

These figures include some personnel who applied for voluntary release, but who were subsequently discharged for other reasons. The actual numbers discharged between 1 March 2009 and 31 March 2014, and the reasons for the discharge are shown as follows:

 Age on Application
 19 years20 years

Voluntary Outflow

20

240

Administrative discharge

10

30

Medical/Other

10

Total

30

270

Note: Figures have been rounded to 10; numbers ending in 5 have been rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent systematic bias. Source: Defence Statistics (Army).

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These figures exclude requests for medical, administrative and disciplinary discharges. Some applications may have been withdrawn at a later date and some individual soldiers may have applied for voluntary discharge more than once.

Armed Forces: Young People

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what training programmes or qualifications are available to recruits who enlist as minors which are not available to those who enlist aged 18 years or over. [198846]

Anna Soubry: Young people joining the Army attend Phase 1 training at the Army Foundation College (Harrogate) and complete different programmes depending on the part of the Army they wish to join. Full details of the training offered at Harrogate is available at this link:

http://www.army.mod.uk/training_education/24420.aspx

For the Royal Navy and RAF, age at enlistment has no bearing on the training programmes or qualifications available during initial training.

Irrespective of the age that an individual joins the armed forces, approximately 90% of all recruits complete an apprenticeship within three years of joining.

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many recruits under the age of 18 years at (a) enlistment and (b) the point of submitting their application to join the armed forces who stated in section 3 of AFCO Form 4 that they were unemployed, completed training and moved into trained strength in the most recent year for which figures are available. [199635]

Anna Soubry: This information is not held in the format requested.

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many recruits enlisting in the armed forces under the age of 18 years had previously (a) been convicted of a criminal offence, (b) received a caution from the police, (c) received an antisocial behaviour order and (d) been permanently excluded from school in the most recent year for which figures are available. [199636]

Anna Soubry: This information is not held in the format requested.

Armoured Fighting Vehicles

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects the MRV-P programme concept phase to be completed; whether funding for a demonstration has been approved; and what funds have been allocated for this purpose. [199355]

Mr Dunne: The multi role vehicle (protected) (MRV-P) Concept Phase will be completed by early spring 2015, at which point we expect the results to be submitted for initial gate business case consideration. Funds have been allocated for the delivery of the project.

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Army

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many soldiers who enlisted in the Army aged (a) under 18 and (b) 18 years and above dropped out before completing phase two training in the last 10 financial years. [198851]

Mr Francois: ‘Enlistment’ has been interpreted as those who joined the untrained strength, for example those that begin phase 1 training. Totals for the period between 1 April 2004 and 31 March 2014 are shown as follows:

 Untrained Strength
Age on EntryIntakeOutflow

Under 18

35,190

12,300

18 and over

64,950

17,250

Unknown

430

430

Total

100,570

29,980

Source: Defence Statistics (Army)

Personnel may leave the army for a number of reasons, including medical and fitness factors, disciplinary reasons, or voluntary withdrawal. Those who join up under 18 years of age have a statutory right to discharge from the armed forces within six months if they feel they are unsuited to service life.

The figures in the table exclude Gurkhas, Full Time Reserve Service, Mobilised Reserves, Army Reserve and all other reserves.

Where an individual’s entry date is blank on the records, the age on entry has not been able to be calculated and is shown as ‘unknown’.

Figures have been rounded to 10; numbers ending in 5 have been rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent systematic bias. Totals and sub-totals have been rounded separately and so may not be the sum of their parts.

AWE Aldermaston

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department has spent on Atomic Weapons Establishment facilities at Aldermaston in each of the last five years. [199128]

Mr Dunne: Expenditure specifically on AWE facilities at Aldermaston is not held in the format requested. Contract payments for AWE are made against an agreed programme of work that covers all AWE sites— Aldermaston, Burghfield and Blacknest. These costs are not recorded according to site.

Boskalis

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many contracts have been awarded by his Department to Boskalis over the last five years; and on how many occasions during the contract period such contractors have been found responsible for breaching environmental guidance, thereby committing an offence. [199409]

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Mr Dunne: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has awarded no new direct contracts to Boskalis Westminster NV or any of its subsidiaries in the last five years. There is one existing contract in place with SMIT, a towage and salvage company which is a subsidiary of Boskalis, and this was awarded in 2002, under the last Administration, for marine base support services. In addition, Boskalis performs some dredging duties at Portsmouth, Marchwood and Plymouth under subcontract to Debut.

Boskalis has been issued with a formal warning on one occasion for breaching a licence issued by the Marine Management Organisation (MMO) to allow dredging at Devonport by disposing on an incoming tide. Boskalis immediately informed the MMO of its error and the formal warning was issued. No further action is being taken.

Defence: Procurement

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer of 18 December 2013, Official Report, column 636W, on defence: procurement, what the final costs are of establishing a Golo and running the tendering process. [199274]

Mr Dunne: The final cost of supporting our work on the Government Owned Contractor Operated (GoCo) competition is £7.4 million. This investment has provided valuable insight into the challenges involved in establishing a successful GoCo. The outputs from this work will be retained to inform any future GoCo competition should a decision be taken to re-examine this model as part of the continuing transformation of Defence Equipment and Support.

Djibouti

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer of 4 February 2014, Official Report, column 169W, on Djibouti, from which squadron armed forces have been deployed at Camp Lemonnier; and what role is undertaken by each UK officer embedded with US forces at that location. [199424]

Mr Francois: The three UK armed forces personnel embedded in Combined Joint Task Force—Horn of Africa (CJFT-HOA) at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti are currently from the Royal Regiment of Artillery, the Corps of Royal Engineers, and the Intelligence Corps. Their roles involve planning and supporting US military operations in east Africa.

Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what modifications to the original design of the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carriers were necessary to accommodate repeated vertical landings by the joint strike fighter; what estimate he has made of the heat produced by vertical landing by the joint strike fighter which has the heaviest safe configuration to allow the procedure; and whether vertical landings can take place on any flat area of the carrier deck. [199115]

Mr Dunne: The ability of the ship to support F-35B vertical landings has been incorporated into the design of Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) aircraft carrier from the outset. Environmental considerations including heat generation and dissipation have been thoroughly evaluated,

12 Jun 2014 : Column 238W

including assessments from trials on the USS Wasp. UK assessments have covered all necessary aircraft configurations.

The QEC flight deck has been designed with specific operating spots for vertical landing to deliver maximum sortie generation rate. These are the spots where the F-35B will plan to land vertically on a routine basis. If required, in the event of an emergency the whole flight deck can support vertical landing.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence at which RAF bases the joint strike fighter can regularly land vertically. [199116]

Mr Dunne: RAF Marham is planned to be the only RAF base in the UK at which the joint strike fighter can conduct vertical landings regularly. The joint strike fighter will of course be able to land conventionally and conduct slow landings at other RAF bases.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the joint strike fighter 35-B will be equipped with a collision warning system. [199787]

Mr Dunne: The F-35 has a limited collision warning system in its early capability block which is supplemented by advanced sensors and software to provide pilots with a much higher level of situational awareness than on our existing platforms. The full ground and air collision warning system is under development and planned and funded for integration into the aircraft in line with its introduction into UK service.

Military Aircraft

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what plans he has to mitigate the risks to defence aviation safety systems and culture referred to in the Defence Air Safety Annual Report July 2012 to August 2013; and if he will make a statement. [199375]

Mr Francois: The risks highlighted in the annual report represented an aggregate of air safety risks across the regulated community. These are held by suitably qualified and experienced personnel and are actively managed and mitigated.

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he expects to put out to tender the contract to provide military air traffic management at British and overseas bases. [199408]

Mr Dunne: Following advertisement in the Official Journal of the European Union in March 2011, bidders submitted outline proposals to provide military air traffic management at British and overseas bases (Project MARSHALL). Two bidders submitted detailed proposals in January 2014. The second round of dialogue commenced in April 2014 and will conclude when the bidders are asked to submit their final tender proposals in late summer 2014.

Risk Assessment

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what records his Department keeps of the monthly 2-star assessments of its risk registers. [199148]

12 Jun 2014 : Column 239W

Mr Francois: The Ministry of Defence makes extensive use of risk management tools and techniques across the different areas of departmental business. Risk registers are generally created, updated, and assessed as part of day-to-day management action and the relevant records are kept at local level.

Somalia

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will take steps to recognise the service of members of the Royal Navy in patrolling operations to tackle piracy off the coast of Somalia. [198740]

Anna Soubry: The UK contribution to counter-piracy operations is held in the highest regard by our coalition partners and by this Government, and it is right to pay tribute to all those involved in maintaining maritime security vital to the European and global economy.

Unmanned Aerial Vehicles

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer of 10 February 2014, Official Report, column 473W, on unmanned air vehicles, when the Joint User Group for Reaper will become active; and if he will make a statement. [199415]

Mr Francois: Although a final decision on when the Joint User Group for Reaper should become active has yet to be taken, it is expected to start functioning during the autumn.

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if his Department will carry out an independent qualitative assessment of the psychological and workplace stresses on the operators of remotely piloted air systems. [198644]

Mr Francois: The Ministry of Defence currently has no plans to undertake an independent qualitative assessment of the psychological and workplace stresses on the operators of remotely piloted air systems.

The health and well-being of all of our armed forces personnel is of the utmost importance. We are mindful of the pressure and stresses that service personnel may be subjected to when supporting enduring intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance operations. These personnel are carefully monitored and where appropriate have access to the highest levels of military physical and mental health care. Looking after our people is one of the critical roles for our front-line commanders and they keenly focus on the well-being of their people.

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether Joint Services Publication 398 on UK rules of engagement has been amended to reflect use of remotely piloted aircraft systems. [199299]

Mr Francois: JSP 398 was updated on 21 October 2013, replacing the previous 2004 edition. Rules of engagement govern how force can be applied in any given operation. They are not tailored to weapon system types per se, but are written to be applied as appropriate to the full spectrum of weapons systems available to UK Forces. Remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) are governed by the same rules and regulations as any other weapons system; therefore the amendment of JSP

12 Jun 2014 : Column 240W

398 did not require any special provision to reflect the use of RPAS by UK Forces.

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer of 10 February 2014, Official Report, column 474, on unmanned air vehicles: guided weapons, if his Department will publish the method and results from the UK-US firing trials of Brimstone missiles from MQ-9 Reaper. [199420]

Mr Dunne: The firing trials successfully demonstrated rapid integration of Brimstone missiles on to the MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted air system—safe carriage, safe release and system targeting—with a high success rate against static and high-speed manoeuvring targets.

However, the final trials report has not yet been completed and it remains too early to say what information from the report, or the trial method, will be published.

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department maintains (a) mission reports, (b) guided missile firing reports, (c) weapon system videos and (d) any other munitions release records for the UK Reaper fleet following the change of operational command to US pilots. [199421]

Mr Francois: Each UK Reaper sortie has a mission report produced post flight. If a weapon is fired during a sortie, a weapon report is completed detailing the engagement, as well as a video produced of the engagement itself. There are no other munitions release records for the UK Reaper fleet. US pilots have not flown UK Reaper except during the launch and recovery phase.

Outside of the launch and recovery phase, UK remotely piloted air systems have always been operated by UK pilots.

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer of 15 January 2014, Official Report, column 578W, on unmanned air vehicles, whether his Department maintains munitions records from the UK Reaper fleet on a sortie-by-sortie basis or for each operation carried out. [199422]

Mr Francois: After each UK Reaper sortie a mission report is written detailing the aircraft used and events of the flight. This includes weapon releases on a sortie-by-sortie basis.

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether his Department has procured any contracts for life cycle maintenance of the Reaper fleet; and for what periods. [199429]

Mr Dunne: No contracts for life cycle maintenance have been procured. Through life maintenance and support of the UK Reaper fleet is provided through the Foreign Military Sales agreement at the time the Reaper system was procured under the previous administration.

USA

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the advice provided by Jemima Stratford QC to the all-party parliamentary

12 Jun 2014 : Column 241W

group on drones, if his Department will take steps to investigate activities carried out at US bases owned by his Department which may be unlawful under domestic law. [R] [198639]

Mr Francois: The Ministry of Defence remains content with the arrangements that are in place to govern the use of UK bases by the United States Visiting Forces (USVF). The Department therefore has no plans to investigate or review the activities undertaken by the USVF.

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions his Department has had with its US counterpart on identifying how the US will support the new Joint User Group for Reaper. [R] [198641]

Mr Francois: Officials representing all user nations, including the US, have had initial discussions exploring the scope, formation and management of a proposed Joint User Group for Reaper. Further discussions are planned to take place in the coming months.

Yemen

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer of 30 January 2014, Official Report, column 691W, on Yemen, whether his Department has undertaken any impact assessment of drone strikes in Yemen. [R] [198640]

Mr Francois: The Ministry of Defence has not conducted any impact assessment of kinetic strikes by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) in Yemen. As the Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office, my right hon. Friend the Member for Faversham and Mid Kent (Hugh Robertson), said on 30 January 2014, Official Report, column 691W, UAV strikes against terrorist targets in Yemen are a matter for the Yemeni and US Governments.

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer of 4 February 2014, Official Report, column 169W, on Djibouti, whether the UK personnel embedded with US forces under US command at Camp Lemonnier provide any support to the US drone programme in Yemen; and if he will make a statement. [199008]

Mr Francois: UK armed forces personnel embedded in Combined Joint Task Force—Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti, are responsible for the planning and support of US military operations in east Africa. They do not provide any support to US remotely piloted aircraft system (RPAS) operations in Yemen; CJTF-HOA does not oversee operations in the Middle East.

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many UK service personnel are stationed in Yemen; and what the (a) rank, (b) squadron and (c) function is of each officer stationed in that country. [199426]

Mr Francois: There are two permanently based UK service personnel in Yemen. Both of these personnel are employed within the Defence Section at the British embassy in Sana’a. There is one Army Colonel employed as the Defence Attaché and one Army Sergeant employed

12 Jun 2014 : Column 242W

as the Assistant Defence Attaché. The role of the Defence Attaché is to command the Defence Section, to represent the Chief of the Defence Staff in Yemen and Eritrea and to advise HM Ambassador on defence and security matters. The role of the Assistant Defence Attaché is to provide administrative support to the Defence Attaché.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Bovine TB

12. Glyn Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of progress in other countries on tackling bovine TB in cattle and wildlife. [904180]

George Eustice: The success of the bovine TB eradication policies pursued in countries such as Australia, New Zealand, the United States, the Republic of Ireland and France demonstrates the need to bear down on the disease effectively in both cattle and wildlife.

There is no single solution.

Equine Industry: Regulation

15. Mr Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the burden of regulation on the equine industry in the UK. [904186]

George Eustice: As part of the Red Tape Challenge Agriculture theme, we announced in January the Government’s intention to scrap 156 regulations and improve 134 others. There were 11 reform proposals related to equine regulation in DEFRA’s Agriculture theme. An implementation plan containing these proposals was contained in DEFRA’s “Better for Business–Strategic Reform Plan” published on 9 April 2014 which is available publicly, online.

Severn Estuary Flood Defences

16. Neil Carmichael: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to improve and maintain flood defences along the Severn estuary. [904187]

Dan Rogerson: During this financial year the Environment Agency will invest £380,000 in maintaining flood defences and structures on the Severn estuary in Gloucestershire. An additional £2 million will be invested to repair flood defences and structures damaged during the winter floods.

The Severn estuary flood risk management strategy identified a need for around £58 million of funding in Gloucestershire over the next 100 years to maintain or improve flood defences in the estuary.

Climate Change: Funding

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what level of funding his Department provides to tackle the effects of climate change; and if he will make a statement. [904184]

12 Jun 2014 : Column 243W

Dan Rogerson: DEFRA spent £8.3 million in 2013-14 under its core adapting to climate change programme. This included £4.1 million to the Met Office Hadley Centre for the provision of world-leading climate science, and £1.6 million to the Environment Agency’s Climate Ready support service to help organisations across England adapt to a changing climate. Adaptation is mainstreamed across Government. Other Departments and other DEFRA programmes also fund activities that build resilience to climate change.

Environment Protection: Crime

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which companies have been (a) given warnings because of breaches of environmental law and (b) prosecuted for such breaches in each of the last five years. [199354]

Dan Rogerson: The information is as follows:

(a) Warnings: The following table shows the total number of written warnings issued by the Environment Agency to companies in England for breaches of environmental law for the period since 2010.

Calendar yearNumber of written warnings issued by the Environment Agency in England

2009

16,140

2010

13,774

2011

12,009

2012

9,964

2013

10,093

Total for period

61,980

Due to the high volume, as recorded in the above table, it would incur disproportionate cost to collate the names of the individual companies who received such warnings.

Records of any warning or warnings issued to the operator of a permitted site are held on the Environment Agency’s public registers, which can be viewed at the relevant Environment Agency area office. Alternatively, any individual may request information from the Environment Agency national customer contact centre on a particular site or sites by telephoning 03708 506 506 or emailing: [email protected]

(b) Prosecutions: The Environment Agency has successfully prosecuted 760 companies in England over the last five full calendar years. A list of the companies, in each year, will be placed in the House Library.

Flood Control

Charlie Elphicke: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of water infrastructure investment plans in tackling the problem of flooding; and if he will make a statement. [904181]

Dan Rogerson: Ofwat is assessing water infrastructure investment plans for 2015-20 under the 2014 water price review. All water and sewerage companies have a duty derived from recent legislation to place greater emphasis on flood risk planning.

12 Jun 2014 : Column 244W

The Water Industry Act 1991 has also been amended to make clear that sewerage undertakers can construct and use sustainable drainage systems to fulfil their statutory duty to effectually drain an area where it is the most economical solution.

Food

Jesse Norman: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps he is taking to help rural food and drink producers. [904183]

George Eustice: Stimulating economic growth in rural areas is a key priority for DEFRA and I recognise the importance of the food and drink sector to the rural economy.

The Rural Development Programme supports and will continue to support food and drink producers in rural areas to deliver growth and create jobs.

In addition, we are helping local food businesses gain recognition for protected food names. Over 60 British foods are now recognised in this way, including Herefordshire cider and perry.

Hill Farming

Mel Stride: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Government is taking to support moorland farmers. [904182]

George Eustice: We will almost double the direct payment rate in the moorland from 2015. We will also equalise the payment rates in the severely disadvantaged area and the lowland. Taken together, these changes will distribute direct payments more equitably across English farms. They will also ensure that upland farmers on large areas of moorland are not put at a disadvantage in comparison with other upland farmers.

Sheep

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what information his Department holds on the number of dog attacks on sheep flocks in each of the last three years. [198743]

George Eustice: DEFRA and our delivery partner, the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency, do not record this information.

DEFRA has sourced information regarding defendants proceeded against at magistrates court, found guilty and sentenced at all courts for offences relating to dogs worrying livestock on agricultural land, England and Wales, 2011-13.1, 2, 3

OffenceOutcome201120122013
 

Proceeded against

64

71

50

 

Found guilty

53

57

37

 

Sentenced

53

57

37

 

Absolute discharge

1

1

 

Conditional discharge

10

16

5

 

Fine

34

34

26

     

12 Jun 2014 : Column 245W

Dogs worrying livestock on agricultural land4

Community sentence

1

 

Suspended sentences

 

Otherwise dealt with

9

5

5

 

Immediate custody

 

Average fine (£)

165.47

177.50

221.54

 

Average custodial sentence length (months)5

0.0

0.0

0.0

1 The figures given in the table relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe. 2 Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used. 3 The number of offenders sentenced can differ from those found guilty as it may be the case that a defendant found guilty in a particular year, and committed for sentence at the Crown court, may be sentenced in the following year. 4 Dogs (Protection of Livestock) Act 1953. 5 Excludes life and indeterminate sentences. Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services—Ministry of Justice.

Work and Pensions

Age: Discrimination

Mr Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated relating to age discrimination in (i) the workplace and (ii) Jobcentre Plus. [199242]

Steve Webb: The Department has not commissioned any research in the last two years specifically on age discrimination.

(i) Previous research relating to age discrimination in the workplace includes “Attitudes to age in Britain 2010/11”:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/214361/ihr7.pdf

and “Second Survey on employers’ policies, practices and preferences relating to age, 2010”:

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130128102031/http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/rports2009-2010/rrep682.pdf

This research was commissioned by the Department as part of wider research into the removal of the Default Retirement Age, including “Default Retirement Age–employer qualitative research”:

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130128102031/http:/research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/rports2009-2010/rrep672.pdf

The default retirement age was abolished in 2011, meaning most people can now retire when the time is right for them. Employers can now only set a fixed retirement age where it can be objectively justified in their particular circumstances, but this is open to challenge at tribunal.

On 13 June we will be publishing “Fuller Working Lives–A Framework for Action”. The document outlines

12 Jun 2014 : Column 246W

the business case for people to work longer at an individual, business, societal and economic level, and sets out a number of new actions the Department will be taking forward to promote fuller working lives.

(ii) Relevant departmental evaluations on this issue concerning Jobcentre Plus include “How ready is Jobcentre Plus to help people in their 60s to find work?”:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-ready-is-jobcentre-plus-to-help-people-in-their-60s-find-work-ihr11

Also, where possible, surveys of benefit claimants are broken down by age, for example “The Jobcentre Plus Offer: Final evaluation report”:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/261656/rrep852.pdf

Children: Maintenance

Teresa Pearce: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will make the Child Maintenance Options service 0800 telephone number free to all callers, including mobile telephone users. [199665]

Steve Webb: Calls to the Child Maintenance Options 0800 telephone number are free from BT land-lines but customers may have to pay if they use another telephone company or a mobile, or if they are calling from abroad. We are currently finalising arrangements with the six major mobile network providers to make the numbers free to call from their networks.

In the meantime, callers contacting the Child Maintenance Options service from a mobile telephone are informed by their network provider that they will be charged. Callers using mobile telephones can request the Options service to call them back, or alternatively use the online ‘live chat’ facility or e-mail service, available via the Child Maintenance Options website at:

www.cmoptions.org

Disadvantaged: EU Grants and Loans

Mr Mark Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reasons the UK Government voted against the establishment of a fund for European aid to the most deprived. [199259]

Esther McVey: The UK did not refuse any money, it simply voted against adopting the regulation establishing the Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived on the basis that we think member states, and not the European Union, should decide how the money is spent. This was in line with the reasoned opinions adopted by both the House of Commons and the House of Lords.

Employment and Support Allowance

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what estimate he has made of the time between applications for employment and support allowance and an assessment appointment for people who applied in (a) September 2013, (b) October 2013, (c) November 2013, (d) December 2013, (e) January 2014, (f) February 2014, (g) March 2014 and (h) April 2014 in (i) Glasgow North West constituency, (ii) Glasgow, (iii) Scotland and (iv) the UK; [199352]

12 Jun 2014 : Column 247W

(2) what estimate he has made of the number of employment and support allowance applicants who have been waiting to be given an assessment appointment for more than (a) three, (b) four, (c) five, (d) six and (e) seven months. [199153]

Mike Penning: The information requested is not available.

Health

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what use his Department has made of the National Wellbeing Index introduced by the Office for National Statistics in formulating policy since the introduction of that index in 2011; and what policies his Department has introduced to improve national well-being as defined in that index since 2010. [198874]

Mike Penning: The Office for National Statistics (ONS) is measuring national well-being, not as an index but through a framework of 41 indicators which capture social progress around important aspects of life for individuals, communities and the nation. The statistics are experimental and as such we should not expect to have examples of major policies that have been heavily influenced by the well-being data at this stage.

Evidence provided to the Environmental Audit Committee for its Inquiry into Well-being can be found at:

http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/environmental-audit-committee/inquiries/parliament-2010/well-being/

Housing Benefit: Wales

Guto Bebb: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many local authorities in Wales applied for additional financial assistance to cover discretionary housing payments in 2013-14; and what assistance such local authorities received. [200023]

Steve Webb: The three local authorities in Wales that applied for additional discretionary housing payments from the additional £20 million reserve fund provided by the Government are detailed on the following table:

Local authorityAmount awarded (£)

Caerphilly

63,000

Cardiff

150,000

Conwy

25,000

This information was published on 24 March 2014 in the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) subsidy circular S3/2014. Please find attached a link where the information can be found:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/295291/s3-2014.pdf

Jobcentre Plus

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether a jobcentre is permitted to require a jobseeker to attend a voluntary employment support project in receipt of no statutory funding without the consent of that project. [199395]

12 Jun 2014 : Column 248W

Esther McVey: The role of the Jobcentre Plus work coach is to provide support and advise claimants of the best opportunities available to help them secure employment.

Jobcentre Plus can issue a jobseeker's direction to require JSA claimants to undertake activity they judge will help them back to work. However, before doing so, the Jobcentre Plus work coach will take into account the claimant's individual circumstances, as well as determining that the activity being required will help improve their employment prospects and they can reasonably be expected to undertake it.

Maternity Pay

Gloria De Piero: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many women received statutory maternity pay for how long in the latest period for which figures are available. [199688]

Steve Webb: The total number of women who started receiving Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) in 2011-12 was 355,000 and the average number receiving SMP at any point in time during the year was 273,000. These figures are estimated based on a 1% sample of national insurance records.

This figure is for Great Britain only. Northern Ireland figures are the responsibility of the Department for Social Development in Northern Ireland.

The duration of SMP claims cannot be estimated from national insurance records, as these only contain information on the amount of SMP paid across the year and not when SMP claims begin and end. However the Department publishes the Maternity and Paternity Rights and Women Returners Survey, which provides an indication of SMP claim durations, with the latest publication being in 2009-10. In 2008, about half of women eligible for SMP took maternity pay for the statutory number of weeks (39 weeks). Findings can be accessed at the link below (Section 3.3 and Table 3.5 contain information on SMP durations):

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/maternity-and-paternity-rights-and-women-returners-survey-200910-rr777

Notes:

1. The number of SMP receipts is shown in DWP’s expenditure tables found on the gov.uk website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/benefit-expenditure-tables

2. Estimates of the number of women receiving SMP are based on the Lifetime Labour Market Database (L2) which is a 1% sample of national insurance records.

3. Estimates are subject to change due to further information becoming available through the national insurance recording system.

Gloria De Piero: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the cost to the Exchequer was of statutory maternity pay in the last year for which figures are available. [199689]

Steve Webb: The amount of statutory maternity pay in the last year for which figures are available was £2,303 million for 2012-13 (nominal terms). Figures are subject to change due to more information becoming available through employers’ returns to HM Revenue and Customs.

12 Jun 2014 : Column 249W

The figure is for Great Britain only. Northern Ireland figures are the responsibility of the Department for Social Development in Northern Ireland.

Source:

Original source is expenditure data from employer returns to Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and is the amount recovered by employers rather than the amount received by claimants. This information is shown in DWP’s expenditure tables found on the Gov.uk website at

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/benefit-expenditure-tables

Personal Independence Payment

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people he expects to (a) be assessed for and (b) receive decisions on applications for personal independence payments in each of the next five years. [199815]

Mike Penning: The information is in the table:

Thousand
 2014-152015-162016-172017-182018-19

PIP new claims

386

378

381

381

387

PIP reassessed claims

191

401

754

369

34

Total PIP claims

577

779

1135

750

421

      

PIP new claims decisions

600

373

379

387

380

PIP reassessed claims decisions

152

337

746

490

34

Total PIP decisions

752

710

1124

877

414

Notes: 1. Decisions in a year will be for claims in that year and the previous year. 2. Reassessed claims are claims from individuals currently on DLA who have been invited to apply for PIP, Source: Budget 14 forecasts

Personal Independence Payment: North East

Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many and what proportion of personal independence payments claims not made under the special rules for terminally ill people, by claimants resident in (a) Washington and Sunderland West constituency, (b) the Sunderland local authority area and (c) the North East region were successful in each month for which records are available; [199855]

(2) how many personal independence payments claims, not under the special rules for terminally ill people, have been made by residents of (a) Washington and Sunderland West constituency, (b) the Sunderland local authority area and (c) the North East region in each month for which records are available. [199857]

Mike Penning: Information on personal independence payment claims is available only at national level. Provisional data were published on 5 June 2014 and are available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/personal-independence-payment-official-statistics-june-2014

Information on the numbers of successful new claimants is available across a range of geographical breakdowns, including parliamentary constituency. The information is published and can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk

12 Jun 2014 : Column 250W

Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found at:

https://sw.stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Stat-Xplore_User_Guide.htm

Separated People: Finance

Sheila Gilmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions when each of the new projects chosen in the second round of competition for funding from the Help and Support for Separated Families Innovation Fund will commence. [199625]

Steve Webb: All projects successful during the second round of the Innovation Fund procurement exercise became operational during or before April 2014.

Sheila Gilmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what proportion of the parents who have so far participated in the first round of Help and Support for Separated Families Innovation Fund projects have been (a) parents with main care of a child or children and (b) non-resident parents; [199646]

(2) how many people have participated in each of the seven Help and Support for Separated Families Innovation Fund projects to date. [199627]

Steve Webb: Round 1 projects all aim to reach different numbers of parents depending on their need, the project’s location, resources available and the type of service being offered. One of these round 1 projects initially works with non-resident parents only, whereas the other projects engage a lead parent which could be either the parent with care or the non-resident parent. Most projects then aim to work with both parents during the intervention but this is not always possible.

As far as it is possible, the actual number of parents participating, and whether they are a parent with care or a non-resident parent, are data currently being collected by our round 1 projects. This forms part of the data that will be collated, analysed and assessed by our independent evaluator. It is our intention that this will be published alongside final evaluation results when completed.

Sheila Gilmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much has been awarded to each of the 10 projects that received funding from Help and Support for Separated Families Innovation Fund in the second round of bidding in December 2013. [199647]

Steve Webb: The following table provides the original agreed contract value for each of the contracts awarded in the second procurement round of the Innovation Fund. The contract value is the possible highest amount payable as this is partly dependent on performance.

 £

Children 1st

451,964

Family Lives

306,234

National Association of Child Contact Centres (NACCC)

382,081

Pinnacle People

242,240

Mediation Now

86,448

Sills & Betteridge

720,742

12 Jun 2014 : Column 251W

Tavistock Centre for Couple Relationships (TCCR)

398,762

Headland Future (now Changing Futures)

322,795

Family Matters Mediate

165,856

National Family

480,354

Social Security Benefits

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what estimate he has made of the proportion of claimants of (a) jobseeker's allowance and (b) employment and support allowance on Help to Work who will enter employment within (i) six months and (ii) 12 months; [199780]

(2) what assumptions about numbers returning to work underpin the benefit cost savings forecast for Help to Work in the autumn statement; and if he will make a statement. [199790]

Esther McVey: The information requested is not available.

Social Security Benefits: Fraud

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what additional costs and savings he expects from the introduction of the Single Fraud Investigation Service in each of the years from 2012 to 2018. [199788]

Esther McVey: The SFIS business case covers the period 2011-12 to 2021-22, and the current figures indicate that the cost of implementing SFIS is £73 million with a saving expected around £507 million. As the project progresses the business case will be reviewed and where necessary updated.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what progress he has made on Single Fraud Investigation Service; what plans he has for its roll out; and if he will make a statement. [199789]

Esther McVey: Progress has been made with regard to the implementation of the Single Fraud Investigation Service and this will commence from 1 July 2014.

Universal Credit

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps he is taking to ensure that his Department is able to cross-check data on housing costs within the universal credit programme in order to counter fraud. [199312]

Esther McVey: The universal credit system is already protected against fraud and error and security experts are involved at each stage of UC design. It is not in the public interest to disclose detailed plans or processes.

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many full-time equivalent staff are employed by his Department to work exclusively on universal credit in (a) total, (b) communications, (c) IT development and (d) project delivery. [199314]

12 Jun 2014 : Column 252W

Esther McVey: Current resourcing data show the full- time equivalent staff employed to work exclusively on universal credit. In total this is (a) 535.8 comprising (b) 21 in communications (c) 80.8 in IT Development and (d) 434 in project delivery.

These figures exclude contractors.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many staff will be employed in the specialist housing teams that will be established in universal credit centres. [199393]

Esther McVey: A team exists to support current live service. This will expand as the roll-out continues.

Home Department

Asylum: Syria

Mark Hendrick: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department to how many Syrian refugees the UK has offered asylum. [199732]

James Brokenshire: For the purposes of answering this question latest published figures have been provided since the start of the armed conflict in Syria in April 2011.

Between April 2011 and March 2014, 2,649 Syrians and their dependants were granted asylum in the UK at initial decision. In the same period 45 Syrians and their dependants were granted humanitarian protection.

The Home Office publishes statistics on grants of asylum and humanitarian protection at initial decision to main applicants and dependants in Tables as_02 and as_02_q (Asylum data tables Volume 1) within the Immigration Statistics release. A copy of the latest release, Immigration Statistics January—March 2014, is available from:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/home-office/series/immigration-statistics-quarterly-release

and will be placed in the Library of the House.

Not all asylum seekers are deemed to be refugees and not all refugees claim asylum. Refugee status is conferred following a grant of asylum.

Asylum: Uganda

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the UK Border Agency's handling of the case of Aidah Asaba. [198569]

James Brokenshire: The general policy of the Home Office is not to disclose personal information about another person. This is because we have obligations under the Data Protection Act and in law generally to protect this information.

The UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need our protection and we consider every claim for asylum on its individual merits.

We believe that those with no right to be in the UK should return to their home country and we will help those who wish to leave voluntarily. However, when they refuse to do so we will take steps to enforce their removal at the earliest opportunity.

12 Jun 2014 : Column 253W

Entry Clearances

Mr Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the change in waiting times for an initial decision for Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) visa applications in the last year; what the average waiting time is for an initial decision for a Tier 1 application; and what assessment she has made of the economic effect of the time taken for such decisions on economic growth. [199152]

James Brokenshire: The average waiting time for a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) customer in the financial year 2013-14 was 125 calendar days. The number of days taken to process applications dropped by 50 days over the course of the financial year and processing times continue to decrease.

A record number of applications were decided in the financial year 2013-14, and there is nothing to suggest that processing times are deterring entrepreneurs from applying.

Month despatchedAverage calendar days between application raised date and despatch date

April 2013

131

May 2013

148

June 2013

142

July 2013

129

August 2013

134

September 2013

126

October 2013

96

November 2013

108

December 2013

114

January 2014

141

February 2014

97

March 2014

81

Overall Average/Total Cases

125

Entry Clearances: Commonwealth

Mark Hendrick: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many work visas were issued to people from Commonwealth countries in (a) 2010, (b) 2011, (c) 2012 and (d) 2013. [199737]

James Brokenshire: The information requested is given in the following table.

Work-related UK entry clearance visas issued 2010 to 2013: current Commonwealth member state nationalities
 Number

2010

105,146

2011

95,625

2012

90,567

2013

96,593

Note: Includes dependants. Data are based on nationalities granted work-related visas corresponding to the current Commonwealth Members listed at: http://thecommonwealth.org/member-countries Source: Table be06_q_w (Before Entry tables volume 3), Immigration Statistics January to March 2014

The latest Home Office immigration statistics on entry clearance visas granted (by category and by individual nationality) are published in the quarterly Immigration

12 Jun 2014 : Column 254W

Statistics release, which is available from the Library of the House and on the Department’s website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/immigration-statistics-quarterly-release

Human Trafficking

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she plans to bring forward legislative proposals to prevent modern slavery. [199227]

Karen Bradley: The Government are determined to lead the global fight against modern slavery, and have introduced the Modern Slavery Bill to help us do so. The Bill aims to give law enforcement the tools to stamp out modern slavery and to enhance protection for victims. The Bill was published on 10 June 2014.