Schools: Renewable Energy

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change with reference to his Department’s solar strategy and initiative with the Department for Education to encourage the deployment of PV on schools, how many schools in England and Wales have installed solar panels to date; when he expects all schools in England and Wales to generate their own power from solar PV or other renewable sources; and if he will make a statement. [203947]

Gregory Barker: The Government do not maintain statistics on the number of schools deploying renewable energy. However, we would hope that schools will increasingly take up the opportunity to install solar PV and other renewables.

One of the priorities set out in the UK Solar PV Strategy which I published earlier this year is to promote the deployment of solar PV on the roofs of Britain’s schools. This would reduce the energy costs of schools while providing opportunities to educate the next generation about the role of renewable energy in tackling dangerous climate change.

Northern Ireland

Air Travel

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland on what occasions each Minister within her Department has taken domestic flights on official business since May 2010. [204300]

Sheila Gilmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to the answer of 19 June 2014, Official Report, columns 724-5W, on official visits, what domestic visits each of the Ministers of her Department has made since January 2013; and what the purpose of each such visit was. [204373]

Mrs Villiers: This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Details of all ministerial overseas travel is published on a quarterly basis.

I should add that on coming to office in May 2010, my predecessor ended the chartering of a private jet for routine travel between London and Belfast which had been the practice of previous Secretaries of State, including those in the last Labour Government. This has saved the taxpayer considerable sums of money.

14 July 2014 : Column 463W

Freedom of Information

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much her Department spent on legal fees in cases relating to the release of information requested under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in each of the last five years. [204282]

Mrs Villiers: The Northern Ireland Office pays fees to the Treasury Solicitor’s Department for legal advice on a range of issues. The Department is unable to provide those fees which relate to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 as to do so would incur disproportionate costs.

Senior Civil Servants

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many senior civil servants appointed to positions in her Department since 2010 were previously (a) political appointees within that Department and (b) employed by a political party. [204330]

Mrs Villiers: None.

Training

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what professional development courses are made available to staff of her Department; and what the cost to the public purse is of each such course. [204349]

Mrs Villiers: Professional development courses are made available to staff when the business role requires this, for example, accountancy exams for finance staff. Any course attended by a member of staff must be business related and must be supported by a business case. Costs are agreed on a case by case basis.

Work Experience

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland pursuant to her answer of 3 July 2014, Official Report, column 713W, on work experience, whether her Department follows Cabinet Office guidance on work experience placements. [204174]

Mrs Villiers: My Department follows the Ministry of Justice guidance on work experience placements, which is based on Cabinet Office guidance.

Culture, Media and Sport

Arts: Ashfield

Gloria De Piero: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much the Arts Council has spent per head of population in Ashfield constituency in each of the last five years. [200247]

Mr Vaizey: Arts Council England (ACE) makes its funding decisions independently of Government and as such we do not hold the information requested. However, the following information has been provided by ACE:

14 July 2014 : Column 464W

Value of ACE awards to applicants resident in Ashfield constituency 2009-14
£
Decision yearValue of awardsPer capita1

2009-10

9,706

0.10

2010-11

9,712

0.10

2011-12

13,500

0.13

2012-13

2013-14

1 Based on mid-2011 population estimate (ONS) 101,914.

In addition, ACE made two other awards totalling £3.8 million from which Ashfield can benefit.

Arts: North Yorkshire

Andrew Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much arts funding (a) in total and (b) per head of population was allocated in (i) North Yorkshire and (ii) Harrogate and Knaresborough constituency in each of the last five years. [201900]

Mr Vaizey: Decisions on arts funding are made independently of Government by Arts Council England (ACE) and local authorities and as such we do not hold the information requested. However, the following information has been provided by ACE.

North Yorkshire—Five year investment figures (population based on mid-2012 estimate)

North Yorkshire (total population: 602,628)
£
 2009-102010-112011-122012-132013-14

Grant in aid

1,503,276

1,515,037

1,393,744

1,700,587

2,129,340

Lottery

1,254,106

916,871

649,212

1,211,114

919,252

Total

2,757,382

2,431,908

2,042,956

2,911,701

3,048,592

      

Per capita

4.58

4.04

3.39

4.83

5.06

Local authorities constituting North Yorkshire: Craven, Hambleton, Harrogate, Richmondshire, Ryedale, Scarborough, Selby.

Please note that as a unitary authority, the City of York does not feature in the North Yorkshire figures.

Harrogate & Knaresborough (population: 101,832)
£
 2009-102010-112011-122012-132013-14

Grant in aid

180,145.00

178,974

174,080

139,961

290,340

Lottery

9,665.00

58,582

116,800

144,100

Total

189,810

237,556

290,880

139,961

434,440

      

Per capita

1.86

2.33

2.86

1.37

4.27

Broadband: Brighton

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will estimate the number and proportion of businesses which have access to high-speed broadband in Brighton, Kemptown constituency. [203866]

Mr Vaizey: According to the data published by Ofcom in 2013

http://maps.ofcom.org.uk/broadband/

14 July 2014 : Column 465W

superfast broadband availability in Brighton and Hove stood at 95% of premises. A breakdown is not provided of the coverage split between residential and business premises.

Freedom of Information

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much his Department spent on legal fees in cases relating to the release of information requested under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in each of the last five years. [204272]

Mrs Grant: This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

ICT

Mr Bradshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many mobile telephones, BlackBerrys and laptops were lost by his Department in (a) 2013 and (b) 2014 to date. [204467]

Mrs Grant: The following items were either lost or stolen in the years in question:

2013: four laptops and three BlackBerrys

2014: three laptops.

Ministers: Official Cars

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many journeys Ministers of his Department have made using the Government Car Service; and how many such journeys were for the transportation of a red box. [204934]

Mrs Grant: The Department has a contract with the Government Car Service for one ministerial car. Information on total number of journeys could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Information on travel where only a red box is carried is not held by the Department.

Mobile Phones: Northern Ireland

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether mobile data services will be expanded in Northern Ireland as part of the Mobile Infrastructure Project. [204228]

Mr Vaizey: Yes.

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate he has made of how many households in Northern Ireland will benefit from each phase of the Mobile Infrastructure Project; and what the current expected date of completion is for each phase of that project in Northern Ireland. [204229]

Mr Vaizey: DCMS officials and our delivery partner Arqiva are continually reviewing potential locations for masts with the intention of providing coverage to as many premises as possible. Various challenges will have an impact on the number of premises we can reach and completion dates for individual masts, such as finding a suitable and sensitive location for a mast, obtaining planning permission, and ensuring masts can connect back into the existing network.

14 July 2014 : Column 466W

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what level of funding has been allocated by his Department to projects in Northern Ireland under the Mobile Infrastructure Project. [204239]

Mr Vaizey: We are investing up to £150 million to provide coverage across the UK through the Mobile Infrastructure Project. Funding is not allocated by country or area. Funding is provided for potential sites on a case by case basis, with sites selected according to the number of homes and businesses for which signal could be provided balanced against the cost to build and run each individual site.

Portable Antiquities Scheme

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what his future funding plans are for the Portable Antiquities Scheme; and if he will make a statement. [204871]

Mr Vaizey: The Government recognise the important role that the Portable Antiquities Scheme plays in furthering our understanding of British history and archaeology. The resource allocations given to the British Museum up to 2015-16 include funding for its administration of the Portable Antiquities Scheme. Future funding arrangements will be considered as part of the next spending review.

Senior Civil Servants

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many senior civil servants appointed to positions in his Department since 2010 were previously (a) political appointees within that Department and (b) employed by a political party. [204320]

Mrs Grant: The Department does not ask this question or collect this information.

Tour de France

Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what estimate his Department has made of the financial benefit to (a) Essex and (b) the East of England arising from the launch of the Tour de France. [204361]

Mrs Grant: The Tour De France Grand Depart was a resounding success and was extremely well supported in communities along all three stages, including the East of England and Essex. UK Sport is supporting the production of an economic impact report covering the main locations on the route and this will be made available later this year.

Training

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what professional development courses are made available to staff of his Department; and what the cost to the public purse is of each such course. [204339]

14 July 2014 : Column 467W

Mrs Grant: DCMS has interpreted ‘Professional Development courses’ as formal training which relates directly to a professional specialism for which a qualification, specific training or membership is required.

Along with other Government Departments, DCMS has access to a range of professional development courses that are made available to staff through the Civil Service Learning portal, a centrally run service. These include courses relating to professions such as Finance, Procurement, Human Resources, Knowledge Management, policy and Project Delivery. Applications for professional development courses for DCMS staff are approved against the DCMS Learning and Development budget.

Treasure Act 1996

Sir Andrew Stunell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the current timetable is for the review of the Treasure Act 1996; and if he will make a statement. [204094]

Mr Vaizey: The review of the Treasure Act 1996 (the Act) and Treasure Code of Practice will take the form of a public consultation. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is working with the British Museum and other stakeholders in preparation of this. DCMS will confirm the timetable for the review at consultation. Any new code of practice must be laid before Parliament and changes to the definition of treasure in the Act remain subject to the affirmative resolution procedure.

Deputy Prime Minister

Local Government: Glasgow

Mr McKenzie: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether the £1.13 billion earmarked for the Glasgow area from the growth deal is dependent on the existence of shovel ready projects. [204598]

Greg Clark: Local leaders across Glasgow and the Clyde Valley have worked together to agree a series of infrastructure schemes that could be taken forward over the next 20 years as a result of the Glasgow Infrastructure Fund.

Mr McKenzie: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the statement of 7 July 2014, Official Report, columns 46-47, on local growth deals, when Glasgow will receive the first tranche of the £1.13 billion allocated to it. [204671]

Greg Clark: The first tranche of the UK Government’s £500 million funding would be received in 2015-16, subject to the agreement being signed by all parties during the weeks ahead.

Ann McKechin: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) what agreement has been reached with the Scottish Government on the devolution of funding for skills and training to the relevant local authorities as part of the City Deal for Glasgow; [204676]

14 July 2014 : Column 468W

(2) what notification his Department has received from the Scottish Government on the devolution from them of further decision-making powers to local authorities in the Clyde Valley area to allow them to attract further investment as part of the City Deal for Glasgow; [204675]

(3) what agreement has been reached with the Scottish Government on the devolution of powers to allow the relevant local authorities to better regulate or procure bus services as part of the City Deal for Glasgow; [204677]

(4) what agreement has been reached with the Scottish Government on (a) support and (b) funding for the infrastructure plan to build a rail link between Glasgow and the airport as part of the City Deal for Glasgow. [204679]

Greg Clark: The UK Government and Glasgow city council are currently discussing with the Scottish Government how they will contribute to the Glasgow and Clyde Valley City Deal.

Ann McKechin: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what meetings Ministers or officials of his Department have had with Ministers of the Scottish Government to discuss the City Deal for Glasgow in the last 12 months. [204678]

Greg Clark: Ministers and officials from the UK Government are in regular dialogue with Ministers and officials from the Scottish Government on a range of issues including the Glasgow and Clyde Valley City Deal.

Lord-Lieutenants

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many Lord Lieutenants in England and Wales are (a) from an ethnic minority community, (b) women and (c) from the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community; and what steps are being taken to increase the proportion of Lord Lieutenants who are representatives of such communities. [204621]

Greg Clark: There are 21 female Lord-Lieutenants in England and Wales, 38% of the total. The Cabinet Office, which is responsible for the appointment process of Lord-Lieutenants in England, does not keep records concerning Lord-Lieutenants' ethnicity or sexuality.

The consultation process for the appointment of new Lord-Lieutenants seeks to encourage candidates from the widest possible base, representing all groups within society.

Northern Futures Board

Helen Jones: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what level of representation Warrington will have on the Northern Futures Board. [204789]

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what level of representation Liverpool will have on the Northern Futures Board. [204498]

14 July 2014 : Column 469W

The Deputy Prime Minister: The aim of our Northern Futures initiative is to facilitate a new kind of conversation about how we rebalance our economy. There are no plans to create a “Northern Futures Board”, but Liverpool and Warrington are strongly encouraged to join the Northern Futures conversation by submitting ideas via

[email protected]

Written Questions: Government Responses

Simon Hart: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister when he expects to reply to the question tabled on 11 June 2014 by the hon. Member for Carmarthen West and South Pembrokeshire. [204481]

Greg Clark: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave him on 9 July 2014, Official Report, column 295W.

Leader of the House

ICT

Mr Bradshaw: To ask the Leader of the House how many mobile telephones, BlackBerrys and laptops were lost by his Office in (a) 2013 and (b) 2014 to date. [204800]

Mr Lansley: None.

Procurement

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Leader of the House how much and what proportion of his Office's budget was spent on activities which were contracted out in (a) 2009-10, (b) 2010-11, (c) 2011-12, (d) 2012-13 and (e) 2013-14; and how much and what proportion of his Office's budget he expects to be contracted out in 2014-15. [205222]

Mr Lansley: The Office of the Leader of the House of Commons is part of the Cabinet Office. Our answer will be included in the response by the Minister for the Cabinet Office, shortly.

Women and Equalities

ICT

Mr Bradshaw: To ask the Ministers for Women and Equalities how many mobile telephones, BlackBerrys and laptops were lost by the Government Equalities Office in (a) 2013 and (b) 2014 to date. [204799]

Mrs Grant: There has been one laptop loss in 2014.

Prime Minister

Cemeteries

Mr Amess: To ask the Prime Minister (1) what representations he has received about establishing a national cemetery; and if he will make a statement; [204225]

(2) if he will bring forward legislative proposals to establish a national cemetery; and if he will make a statement. [204238]

The Prime Minister: I have had no such representations. There are no plans to establish a national cemetery.

14 July 2014 : Column 470W

Disclosure of Information

Paul Flynn: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it policy that Ministers should (a) answer to Parliament on the contents of leaked Government documents and (b) not comment on documents leaked from organisations outside Government. [204380]

The Prime Minister: The Ministerial Code sets out Ministers’ lines of accountability to Parliament.

Jamaica

Ms Abbott: To ask the Prime Minister when he last met the Prime Minister of Jamaica; and when he next plans to meet her. [204495]

The Prime Minister: I last met Prime Minister Simpson Miller of Jamaica in July 2012 during HM the Queen’s reception to mark the opening of the Olympic games. I do not currently have plans for a future meeting. I met Caribbean Foreign Ministers at the UK-Caribbean Ministerial Forum hosted by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), on 16-17 June.

Wales

Air Travel

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales on what occasions each Minister within his Department has taken domestic flights on official business since May 2010. [204304]

Stephen Crabb: This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Details of all ministerial overseas travel is published on a quarterly basis.

Education Maintenance Allowance

Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assessment he has made on the potential effect of universal credit on the education maintenance allowance in Wales. [204812]

Stephen Crabb: While the Department for Work and Pensions has discussed the treatment of education maintenance allowance (EMA) in assessing entitlement to universal credit with the Welsh Government, setting criteria for EMA eligibility is a matter for the Welsh Government.

ICT

Mr Bradshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how many mobile telephones, BlackBerrys and laptops were lost by his Department in (a) 2013 and (b) 2014 to date. [204805]

Stephen Crabb: The Wales Office had no reported losses of mobile telephones, BlackBerrys or laptops in 2013 or 2014.

14 July 2014 : Column 471W

Training

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what professional development courses are made available to staff of his Department; and what the cost to the public purse is of each such course. [204353]

Stephen Crabb: The Wales Office is committed to providing its staff with at least five days a year of learning and development, as set out in the Civil Service Capabilities Plan. Most professional development courses are supplied by Civil Service Learning (CSL). The cost of each course is dependent on a number of factors, including the type of training provided and the duration of the course.

The Department spent £10,709 on training in 2013-14.

Scotland

Air Travel

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland on what occasions each Minister within his Department has taken domestic flights on official business since May 2010. [204301]

David Mundell: This information could be provided only at a disproportionate cost. Details of all ministerial overseas travel is published on a quarterly basis.

Freedom of Information

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how much his Department spent on legal fees in cases relating to the release of information requested under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in each of the last five years. [204283]

David Mundell: The Scotland Office spend on legal fees in cases relating to the release of information requested under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in each of the last five years was as follows:

 £

2009-10

9,068.94

2010-11

431.20

2011-12

91.00

2012-13

0

2013-14

0

Senior Civil Servants

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many senior civil servants appointed to positions in his Department since 2010 were previously (a) political appointees within that Department and (b) employed by a political party. [204331]

David Mundell: The Scotland Office does not employ staff directly; all staff that join do so on an assignment, loan or secondment from other public sector bodies. Since 2010, no senior civil servants have been appointed to the Scotland Office who were previously employed either as a political appointee or by a political party.

14 July 2014 : Column 472W

Training

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what professional development courses are made available to staff of his Department; and what the cost to the public purse is of each such course. [204350]

David Mundell: The Scotland Office does not employ staff directly; all staff that join do so on an assignment, loan or secondment from other public sector bodies.

All staff have access to a wide range of professional development courses through their parent employers learning and development teams, and through Civil Service Learning. The Scotland Office does not hold any information about the cost to the public purse of these courses. Further to this, other professional development opportunities may be available on the external marketplace. The cost to the public purse of such external training varies, dependant on provider, location and course content.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Africa

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of links between Boko Haram and other Islamic extremist groups in Africa. [204389]

Mark Simmonds: We believe there have been links between Boko Haram and AQIM (Al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb). Boko Haram's off-shoot Ansaru is also believed to have had connections. However, we assess that Boko Haram's main motivation remains the end of democratic government and creation of an Islamic State in Nigeria.

Apprentices

Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many apprentices have been employed by contractors and sub-contractors to his Department in each year since 2010-11; and what proportion of the total work force of such contractors is made up by apprentices. [204064]

Mr Lidington: Data on the number of apprentices employed by contractors and sub-contractors to the FCO are not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Bhutan

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what consular assistance his Department offers to British nationals travelling in Bhutan. [204378]

Mr Swire: Consular assistance for British nationals in Bhutan is provided from British deputy high commission based in Kolkata. We encourage all travellers to Bhutan to check our travel advice before travelling.

14 July 2014 : Column 473W

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department has taken to strengthen trading relations between the UK and Bosnia and Herzegovina. [204397]

Mr Lidington: Our embassy in Sarajevo assists UK companies wishing to do business in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) by supporting them through the full range of UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) services. The UKTI offer includes identifying and publicising business opportunities, offering expert local market advice, and facilitating access to information, contacts and partners which would not otherwise be accessible.

UK companies in BiH focus predominantly on roads and related infrastructure, energy, mining and aid-funded business. The UKTI office in the embassy helps UK companies to exploit particular opportunities in these areas, and has established a strong network of contacts which assist UK business.

Burma

Mr Buckland: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the prevalence of sexual violence in conflict in Burma. [204084]

Mr Swire: The nature of sexual violence in conflict in Burma means there are no accurate country-wide figures available. However, a report by the Women's League of Burma in January 2014 documented over 100 cases of sexual violence in conflict since 2010. While there are signs that incidents of sexual violence have decreased since the Burmese Government signed ceasefire agreements with a number of non-state armed groups, it remains a serious problem.

Mr Buckland: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he had regarding Burma at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. [204087]

Mr Swire: I met Deputy Foreign Minister U Thant Kyaw during the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict on 13 June 2014. We discussed a series of bilateral issues and I raised a range of human rights concerns. I welcomed the Burmese Government’s attendance at the summit and urged them to follow-up quickly with a credible action plan that involved the military. I also raised our deep concern about the situation in Rakhine and the plight of the Rohingya. I highlighted our concern over political prisoners in Burma and encouraged the Burmese Government to reform the constitution.

Mr Buckland: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to urge the Government of Burma to sign the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; and what assessment he has made of the policy of the Government of Burma on this matter. [204089]

14 July 2014 : Column 474W

Mr Swire: We have had a number of discussions with the Burmese Government on the importance of Burma ratifying the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).

At the request of the Burmese Government the British embassy in Rangoon recently funded an experts' visit to Burma for the purpose of identifying steps that would need to be taken and issues that would need to be considered in reaching the decision to ratify the ICCPR. We hope this will lay the foundations for further action in the coming months.

Rushanara Ali: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to his Burmese counterpart on ensuring the safety of foreign aid workers delivering essential assistance to displaced Rohingya Muslims in that country. [204169]

Mr Swire: We have made clear to the Burmese Government that intimidation and threats towards humanitarian staff are unacceptable, and that it is the Government’s responsibility to ensure there is a secure environment for them to operate. The Burmese Government must support humanitarian actors in their access and delivery of aid, freely and quickly, wherever it is needed most.

I personally summoned the Burmese ambassador on 7 April and called on the Burmese Government (urgently) to restore humanitarian access to all communities in need and to ensure the security of humanitarian aid workers and all communities in Rakhine state. I last raised this issue with Deputy Foreign Minister U Thant Kyaw on 13 June.

Fiona O'Donnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) whether experts from the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative have been sent to Burma to investigate the attempted rape of an ethnic Chin woman by a soldier from the Burmese Army; [204480]

(2) what work has been done by experts from the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative on the reported use of sexual violence by the military in Burma. [204537]

Mr Swire: We have not deployed a team of experts (ToE) to Burma to date, but are currently considering ways in which a ToE or other international or local actors might best assist in the delivery of PSVI objectives in Burma. We continue to lobby the Burmese Government on the prevention of sexual violence in conflict, and to support projects in Burma to that end. Most recently in June, I discussed this issue with Deputy Foreign Minister U Thant Kyaw at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict.

China

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will discuss with his Chinese counterpart the case of Zhang Shaojie, a Christian leader in Henan Province, who has been jailed for 12 years. [204848]

Mr Swire: We remain concerned about restrictions on freedom of religion and belief in China. We are aware of the case of Pastor Zhang Shaojie, and raised

14 July 2014 : Column 475W

it directly with Chinese officials during the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue on 19 to 20 May. We continue to raise our concerns with Chinese counterparts, and we also highlight them publicly through the Annual Report on Human Rights and Democracy.

Colombia

Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to his Colombian counterpart drawing his attention to public support for human rights activists in Colombia. [204546]

Mr Swire: Human rights continue to be an integral part of our dialogue and relationship with Colombia. The embassy continues to publicly support human rights work. I raised human rights with the Colombian Government during my visit to Colombia last month. This followed visits by both the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), and the Deputy Prime Minister, who each raised the issue of human rights with President Santos in February.

Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to his Colombian counterpart about ensuring that British businesses and investors do not buy illegally obtained Colombian land before it is restored to its rightful owners. [204547]

Mr Swire: The UK continues to work closely with the Colombian Government on the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, in line with our commitment to working for widespread international uptake.

British embassy officials in Bogota have met with the Government, civil society and business in Colombia on various occasions to discuss the UK Action plan on business and human rights. Last year, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office funded a project to assist Colombia in drafting its own national policy on Human Rights. This contributed to the Colombian public policy on Business and Human Rights which has been formed as a result of consultation across 33 regions and involving over 19,000 people.

Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to his Colombian counterpart about guarantees for the safety of Colombian land restitution claimants. [204550]

Mr Swire: During my recent visit to Colombia from 25 to 27 June, I met two Deputy Ministers for Foreign Affairs and heads of the Colombian Government’s major human rights agencies. This included the National Protection Unit. I raised the safety of Colombian land restitution claimants. Prior to, and during my visit, I was briefed on this issue by leading international and Colombian non-governmental organisations (NGOs).

While security for claimants and those returning to their land remains a key concern, our 2013 Human Rights Report (released on 10 April 2014) notes that progress has been made on the issue of land restitution. Between 1 January 2012 and 31 December 2013, over

14 July 2014 : Column 476W

200,000 victims received reparations under the Victims and Land Restitution law. By the end of 2013, there were 54,063 registered land restitution claims.

Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the prevalence of Colombian paramilitary involvement with the police and the armed forces of that country. [204552]

Mr Swire: The British embassy in Bogota receives regular reporting on the security and human rights situation in Colombia from a range of sources. This includes allegations of links between paramilitaries and the public forces but not information on the prevalence of the problem.

President Santos' government is making a genuine effort to improve respect for human rights in Colombia. Since 2008 the Colombian armed forces have introduced a widespread programme to promote respect for human rights. The UN has helped the Colombian Ministry of Defence to introduce reforms in the army for the last five years and all soldiers receive mandatory training on human rights.

Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Colombian Government on the harassment of the Patriotic March leader David Florez in Colombia on 7 July 2014. [204785]

Mr Swire: We are concerned about reports of threats and violence against members of opposition political movements. Our embassy in Bogota has raised several cases with the Colombian Government and continues to monitor the situation closely.

The British embassy in Bogota continues to publicly support the work of human rights defenders. I met David Florez on 10 July. I raised the issue of their security with the Deputy Defence Ministers during my visit to Colombia in June.

Domestic Visits

Sheila Gilmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 18 June 2014, Official Report, column 639W, on official visits, what domestic visits each of the Ministers of his Department has made since January 2013; and what the purpose of each such visit was. [204374]

Mr Lidington: Since January 2013 FCO Ministers have made official domestic visits to the locations set out in the following table.

MinisterLocationPurpose

Foreign Secretary

Edinburgh

Scottish Referendum: To deliver speech on “The United Kingdom: Better Together”

Foreign Secretary

Glasgow

Scottish Referendum: Launch of the “Scotland Analysis: EU and International Issues” Paper

Mr Lidington

Edinburgh

Scottish Parliament Foreign Affairs Select Committee Evidence Session

Mr Lidington

Edinburgh

Scottish Parliament European and External Affairs Committee Evidence Session

14 July 2014 : Column 477W

Mr Lidington

Wilton Park

Wilton Park Conference

Mr Lidington

Cardiff

Welsh Constitutional and Legislative Affairs Committee Session

Mr Lidington

Northwood

HQ of EUNAVFOR Operation Atalanta and NATO Maritime Command

Mr Lidington

Cambridge

Koenigswinter Conference

Mr Lidington

Belfast

NI Assembly evidence session and meetings

Mr Swire

Birmingham

Opportunity Korea event

Mr Swire

Reading

visiting Procter & Gamble

Mr Swire

Chertsey

visiting Samsung

Mr Swire

Wilton Park

Wilton Park Conference

Mr Swire

Wilton Park

Wilton Park Conference

Mr Swire

Wilton Park

Wilton Park Conference

Mr Swire

Ditchley Park

UK-China Leadership Forum

Mr Swire

Wolverhampton

UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) Global Trade Fair

Mr Swire

Glasgow

Commonwealth Games preparatory meetings

Mr Simmonds

Aberdeen

Accompany President of Mozambique on visit

Mr Simmonds

Cambridge

Visit to the British Antarctic Survey and meetings with new technology companies

Mr Burt

Oxford

Visit to Oxford University Islamic Studies Centre

Mr Burt

Wilton Park

Wilton Park Conference

Mr Burt

Northwood

HQ of EUNAVFOR Operation Atalanta and NATO Maritime Command ahead of official visit to Seychelles to open the Regional Anti-Piracy Prosecutions Intelligence Coordination Centre (RAPPICC).

Falkland Islands

Jake Berry: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to deal with Argentine threats to the commercial sustainability of the Falkland Islands. [204128]

Mr Swire: The United Kingdom fully supports the Falkland Islands in the development of their economy. Attempts by Argentina to disrupt legitimate commercial activities in the Falklands have no basis in law. Threatening Argentine rhetoric and actions are formally challenged at high levels with the Argentine Government in Buenos Aires and in international fora wherever and whenever it is necessary.

Despite Argentine efforts, the Falkland Islands economy is sustainable, continues to grow and has a positive future. The prospective hydrocarbons industry in the Falklands continues to attract interest from new international partners and will see further exploratory drilling next year.

Freedom of Information

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department spent on legal fees in cases relating to the release of information requested under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in each of the last five years. [204277]

14 July 2014 : Column 478W

Mr Lidington: We are unable to provide a reply as to do so would incur disproportionate costs.

India

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he had on the prospects of India joining the nuclear non-proliferation treaty during his visit to that country in July 2014. [204112]

Mr Swire: During his visit to India in July 2014, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), met with the Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj to discuss a wide range of issues, including civil nuclear co-operation. India welcomed the UK's strong support for their membership of the major export regimes, including the Nuclear Suppliers Group. There were no discussions on India joining the nuclear non-proliferation treaty.

Iraq

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the rise of Islamic terrorism in Northern Iraq. [204386]

Hugh Robertson: Our objective is to see a prosperous and stable Iraq as part of a stable region. The advance by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) in Iraq in June threatens this. Reported atrocities of summary executions, sexual violence and attacks against religious buildings by ISIL all go to show the importance of taking a strong stand against the extremists. In the immediate term the UK has provided £5 million of humanitarian aid to alleviate the suffering of those affected by recent violence. During his recent visit to Iraq, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) emphasised the importance of unity and political inclusion to make an effective security response possible.

Middle East

Mr McKenzie: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs when he last met his Israeli counterpart to discuss the political situation in Israel and Palestine; and if he will make a statement. [204601]

Hugh Robertson: On 3 July, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), discussed the political situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories with the Israeli Foreign Minister.

Mr Khalid Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he plans to visit the Middle East to assist in de-escalating the conflict between Israel and Palestine. [205249]

Hugh Robertson: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) has no

14 July 2014 : Column 479W

immediate plans to visit the Middle East. However, he will continue to build contacts/meet international partners/Ministers to discuss the resolution of the conflict.

Nigeria

Jake Berry: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to assist the Nigerian Government in combating Al-Shabab and prevent the kidnap of young people. [204125]

Mark Simmonds: We have no evidence that Al-Shabab operates in Nigeria, however we are committed to working with the Nigerian authorities to tackle terrorism in Nigeria, including the abduction of young people by Boko Haram.

Following the abduction of the Chibok schoolgirls by Boko Haram in April, the Prime Minister offered a package of assistance to the Nigerian Government. This included a pledge of £1 million to the UN's Safe Schools Initiative, which aims to protect children at school. DFID will also be working with US AID on a new education initiative to bring an additional 1 million children into education in northern Nigeria by 2020. DFID will also undertake further work through its existing education programmes to ensure that schools are safer in eight other northern states in Nigeria.

Following the Prime Minister's offer to Nigeria in May and the 12 June Nigeria ministerial meeting in London, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) announced new counter terrorism support for Nigeria in tackling Boko Haram. This includes tactical advice and training for the Nigerian military and support to regional intelligence sharing arrangements. Our support is being closely coordinated with that of international partners.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the rise in Islamic terrorism in Nigeria. [204387]

Mark Simmonds: Terrorist attacks in Nigeria have caused great suffering in communities of different faiths and ethnicities. Boko Haram cannot be seen simply as a result of Christian-Muslim tensions and their attacks are often indiscriminate.

The British Government are committed to working with the Nigerian authorities to tackle security problems in Nigeria. We recognise the underlying issues of poverty and inequality, which lead to inter-communal tensions and conflict in Nigeria and we urge political, traditional and religious leaders to work together in order to resolve these issues. DFID is delivering a range of programmes in six of the northern Nigerian states designed to address the drivers of violent extremism and conflict.

Nigeria and Cameroon

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will discuss with his counterpart in Cameroon the need for constructive dialogue between that country and Nigeria in tackling Boko Haram; and if he will make a statement. [204390]

14 July 2014 : Column 480W

Mark Simmonds: We welcome all efforts by Cameroon and Nigeria to strengthen their security cooperation to defeat Boko Haram.

I discussed Cameroon's efforts to tackle Boko Haram with the Cameroonian Prime Minister and Foreign Minister when I visited Yaounde in May. Both signalled their willingness to work with partners to combat Boko Haram. On 12 June in London, the Cameroonian Foreign Minister attended a ministerial meeting on security in Nigeria, hosted by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague). A key outcome was regional agreement to increase levels of coordinated border patrols by Nigeria and its neighbours, including Cameroon.

North Africa

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his US counterpart on tackling the threat from Islamic extremism in northern Africa. [204392]

Hugh Robertson: The stability of the North African region is important to the UK. Extremist groups threaten regional security and the interests of our nation and our allies. The British Government have an ongoing dialogue with the United States on counter-terrorism issues, including on northern Africa.

Pakistan

Mr Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent steps he has taken to encourage the repeal of blasphemy laws in Pakistan. [204618]

Hugh Robertson: We regularly raise the blasphemy laws and their misuse against those of all faiths at the highest levels in Pakistan. During the visit of Pakistan Prime Minister Sharif in April, the Prime Minister raised our concerns as well as the need for reforms. We will continue to press the Pakistani Government to make progress in this area.

Palestinian Authority

Mr Bone: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the Palestinian Authority's policy of payment of salaries to the families of convicted terrorists; what information his Department holds on the basis and scale of such payments; and if he will make a statement. [204894]

Hugh Robertson: We receive no such reports. The Ministry of Finance publishes expenditure on its website on a monthly basis, including a breakdown by Ministry. The Palestinian Authority Prime Minister and other Ministers have been clear in both public and to us that their payments to families of prisoners are intended to sustain families whose primary breadwinner has been imprisoned. However, no UK money is used for payments to Palestinian prisoners or their families.

14 July 2014 : Column 481W

Religious Freedom

Mr Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to emphasise adherence to fundamental freedoms of religion and association as part of the UK’s foreign policy. [204616]

Mr Lidington: Promoting and protecting the freedom of religion or belief is a priority for UK foreign policy. We pursue it in our bilateral work and lobbying of other Governments, and through our human rights programme funding. We have also stepped up training in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) on the influence of faith, in many parts of the world, on Governments, communities and individuals.

Our work is based on the full definition of freedom of religion or belief as set out in article 18 the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This includes the right to manifest your faith, either alone or in community with others and in public or private, through teaching, practice, worship and observance.

The FCO Minister responsible for freedom of religion or belief, the Senior Minister of State, my noble Friend the right hon. Baroness Warsi, has convened meetings of international leaders to generate support for practical steps to promote freedom of religion or belief and to fight religious intolerance. At the global summit to end sexual violence in conflict, Baroness Warsi chaired a dialogue between political and faith leaders, and supported a separate non-governmental organisation (NGO)-led event, to explore the role faith groups play, and to enlist their support for the objectives of the summit.

Freedoms of association and peaceful assembly, enshrined in both the Universal Declaration and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, are fundamental for democratic societies, where people must be able to gather (formally or informally), to express themselves, and to have a meaningful say in issues that affect them. Though these rights are not among the FCO’s six thematic human rights priorities, they feature prominently in our dialogue with individual countries and in international fora about governance, the rule of law and human rights in general.

Senior Civil Servants

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many senior civil servants appointed to positions in his Department since 2010 were previously (a) political appointees within that Department and (b) employed by a political party. [204325]

Hugh Robertson: There have been no senior civil servants appointed to the FCO since 2010, who were previously political appointees within the FCO or employed by a political party.

Terrorism

Mr Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions his Department has had with the European Commission's Radicalisation Awareness Network and its Working Group on Voices of Victims of Terrorism in the last three years. [204620]

14 July 2014 : Column 482W

Hugh Robertson: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has not had discussions with the European Commission’s Radicalisation Awareness Network (RAN) and its working group on Voices of Victims of Terrorism in the last three years, but did send a representative to a RAN working group meeting in 2013 on a separate issue.

Thailand

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his Thai counterpart on allegations of the mistreatment of elephants in trekking camps in Thailand. [204394]

Mr Swire: I have not had any discussions with my Thai counterpart on the allegations of mistreatment of elephants in trekking camps in Thailand. However, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State at DEFRA, my noble Friend Lord de Mauley, visited Bangkok at the beginning of May 2014 and was able to pursue a number of animal welfare issues with the Thai Government. He discussed efforts to counter the illegal trade in wildlife in Thailand with his Thai counterpart, senior officials, non-government organisations (NGOs), the UN and like-minded embassies.

Additionally, our embassy in Bangkok has reinforced the messages stemming from the February 2014 London declaration to prevent illegal wildlife trade, and continues to engage with those organisations in Thailand which are working to deliver this agenda despite the coup.

Mr Ward: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps HM Embassy in Bangkok is taking to retrieve the passport of Andy Hall. [204441]

Mr Swire: If Mr Hall needs to use his passport to travel overseas it is possible for him/his lawyer to apply to the court for “international bail” which, if agreed, would enable Mr Hall’s lawyer to retrieve his passport for him to use, subject to any conditions that the court might set.

If Mr Hall does not wish to apply for international bail and wishes to apply for a replacement passport instead, we must first of all make a formal request to the court for the return of his original passport. If we do not receive Mr Hall’s passport, or a response from the authorities, within 10 days, we would discuss with Mr Hall his options for obtaining a replacement passport. However, an approach by the embassy to the court in this way might result in Mr Hall’s bail being revoked. If Mr Hall asked us to do this, we would request that he sign a pro-forma acknowledging that the consequences of applying for a new passport have been explained to him. We have also asked Mr Hall to bear in mind that the courts may have placed some sort of immigration stop/block against his name/passport number (or might do so upon receipt of a letter from the embassy asking for the return of his passport), and so even if Mr Hall did get his current passport back, or obtain a new passport, he may not be able to leave Thailand on it. Mr Hall has also been advised to consult his lawyer about these issues.

14 July 2014 : Column 483W

Training

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what professional development courses are made available to staff of his Department; and what the cost to the public purse is of each such course. [204344]

Hugh Robertson: Strengthening the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) as an institution is a priority under our “Diplomatic Excellence” programme. Our staff are able to access a range of courses to continue their professional development. In 2013-14 staff undertook activities and qualifications in various fields including audit, accountancy, human resources, procurement, economics, communications, foreign languages, project and programme management, law, estate asset management and information management. Departments in London and posts overseas have devolved funds for learning and development activities. To obtain titles for all courses available and the cost of each opportunity taken can only be done at disproportionate cost.

Ukraine

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what security guidance his Department provides to British nationals wishing to travel to Ukraine. [204396]

Mr Lidington: Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice provides objective information and advice to help British nationals make better-informed decisions about foreign travel. This includes information on security. Our travel advice is reviewed regularly, and is updated if we are aware of an incident that might significantly affect Britons travelling or living in the area. The current travel advice for Ukraine is on the gov.uk website at

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/ukraine

Justice

Care Proceedings

Mr Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) whether there have been significant delays in care proceedings involving children in family courts in England and Wales since the implementation of the legal aid reforms in 2013; and if he will publish statistics of the length of such proceedings; [204623]

(2) what assessment he has made of the effect on the length of care proceedings involving children in England and Wales of the reforms to legal aid since April 2013. [204624]

Simon Hughes: The average time for the disposal of a care or supervision application fell from 42.3 weeks (January to March 2013) to 32.0 weeks (January to March 2014) in the last quarter for which figures are available. Care proceedings timeliness is published and monitored in the Court Statistics Quarterly:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/court-statistics-quarterly-january-to-march-2014

Legal aid remains available in public family law matters such as care proceedings.

14 July 2014 : Column 484W

Mr Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many applicants did not receive legal aid to pursue residency and contact cases that they would have received before the reforms to legal aid since April 2013. [204625]

Mr Vara: The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) does not record whether an application for legal aid made following the implementation of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) in April 2013 would have been granted prior to the reforms introduced by LASPO.

LASPO changed the scope of legal aid, however in many cases there are multiple reasons for a case being refused, not just that the case is out of the scope of LASPO. Usually these reasons relate to eligibility which means the applicant may not have been able to get legal aid prior to LASPO regardless of whether their case is in scope or not.

LASPO also changed some eligibility requirements, therefore the LAA would not be able to identify whether the client was refused because they no longer met eligibility requirements (i.e. a non-scope reason) where they previously would have done, as the LAA does not record this information.

An Exceptional Case Funding (ECF) application for civil legal services can be made where a case falls outside the scope of legal aid but the client or conducting solicitor believes there is evidence to support there being a requirement to provide funding because failure to do so would be a breach of, or having regard to any risk that failure to do so would be such a breach of, their Convention rights (within the meaning of the Human Rights Act 1998), or any rights of the individual to the provision of legal services that are enforceable EU rights.

Civil Servants: Business Interests

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice on what occasions in the last four years the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments has been notified under the Business Appointment Rules of former officials of his Department taking up employment after leaving government; what advice the Committee published; what conditions the Committee laid down; whether any such conditions have been breached; and in each case what organisation the official went to work for. [204091]

Mr Vara: Details of all appointments the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACOBA) advised on for officials above pay band SCS2, can be found at the ACOBA website at:

http://acoba.independent.gov.uk/former_crown_servants/former_crown_servants_appointments_2012.aspx

Older appointments are published in their annual reports which are on the website:

http://acoba.independent.gov.uk/publications/reports.aspx

Appointments are not arranged by Department order, however a word search stating ‘Ministry of Justice’ on the website will show any which relate to the Ministry of Justice. The website outlines advice and conditions the Committee applied to the organisations where the individuals went to work.

14 July 2014 : Column 485W

I can also confirm that there have been 21 officials below SCS2 who were subject to the Business Appointment rules. These officials were employed by the organisations listed as follows.

Probation Association

Oxford University

Turner and Townsend

Commonwealth Secretariat

JAC

Capability Jane

SThree Plc

Compass Group Plc

Met Police Service

Nuffield

ATOS

Cap Gemini

Lockheed Martin UK

Catch 22

Ernst and Young

University of Cambridge

Project Associates UK Ltd

The conditions for staff under pay band SCS2 are set by the Department and not ACOBA. These conditions are as follows:

That, from the member of staffs last day of service, their role will not involve lobbying and you should not engage in communication with Government (including Ministers, special advisers and officials) with a view to influencing a Government decision or policy in relation to their own interests, or the interests of the organisation by which they are employed, or to whom they are contracted.

The member of staff should also not have any dealings with advising bidders on any MOJ contract.

These conditions remain in place for a period of X year from the member of staff last day of service (maximum of two years).

We are not seeking to prevent communications with Government which might be described as being in the normal course of business, for example where the Government hold regular stakeholder events with an industry or sector, or where the purpose of any dealings is to take forward an existing Government policy.

The Department holds no record of these conditions being breached.

Courts

Mr Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many litigants in person have appeared before courts in England and Wales in each year since 2010. [204627]

Mr Vara: Details of self-representation in criminal and civil courts can be obtained only by manually checking every case file at disproportionate costs.

The numbers for family cases showing self-representing applicants and respondents are published quarterly. Self-representation is determined by the field ‘legal representation’ in the Ministry of Justice administrative database being left blank. Therefore, this is only a proxy measure and parties without a recorded representative are not necessarily self-representing litigants in person.

Information for parties’ representation is available for family courts at a national level from 2011. The data are in table 2.4 of Court Statistics Quarterly, available at this link:

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

14 July 2014 : Column 486W

Litigants in person are not a new phenomenon in our courts. Judges are used to helping persons with no legal representation, including explaining procedures and what is expected of them. We have taken steps to help people who either want or have to represent themselves in court, including publishing a revised guide for separating parents and increased training for judges. The link to the guide is:

http://hmctsformfinder.justice.gov.uk/HMCTS/GetLeaflet.do?court_leaflets_id=2756

Courts: Children

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will extend the role of registered intermediaries to include participation in all court proceedings involving children. [R] [204949]

Damian Green: Intermediaries were introduced in the Youth Justice and Criminal Evidence Act 1999 to help vulnerable witnesses, including children, communicate their evidence during criminal proceedings. Though there are no plans to extend the use of registered intermediaries to other court proceedings, we are working with our partners in the criminal justice system to increase the provision and uptake of registered intermediaries.

Courts: Video Conferencing

Mrs Lewell-Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what steps he is taking to increase the number and availability of remote sites for video conferencing with courtrooms; [203979]

(2) what body is responsible for holding data on the number and availability of remote sites for video conferencing with courtrooms. [203981]

Mr Vara: In 2013, ‘Transforming the CJS: a strategy and action plan to transform the Criminal Justice System’ was published. The plan included actions to increase video usage across the CJS and made specific commitments to increase the use of prison to court video links and make it easier for witnesses and police officers to give evidence via video link. The action plan included a commitment to review the range of actions that it covers, and a revised plan is due to be published this summer.

Over the next few years, under the Future IT Sourcing Programme, the Ministry of Justice will continue to increase the number of video rooms at court that are enabled for remote links.

I refer the hon. Member to the reply given to the hon. Member for Barnsley Central (Dan Jarvis) on 8 July 2014, Official Report, column 256W.

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmhansrd/cm140708/text/140708w0004.htm# 140708w0004.htm_wqn13

Criminal Proceedings: Veterans

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when his Department's review of veterans in the criminal justice system will be published. [R] [204963]

14 July 2014 : Column 487W

Mr Vara: The review is due to report back to the Secretary of State for Justice in autumn 2014 and we anticipate publishing it shortly thereafter.

Freedom of Information

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much his Department spent on legal fees in cases relating to the release of information requested under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in each of the last five years. [204281]

Mr Vara: The Ministry of Justice does not centrally record the legal fees incurred by the Department in obtaining legal advice in relation to requests for information under the Freedom of information Act 2000. To obtain this information from across the Ministry would incur a disproportionate cost.

Homicide

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 7 July 2014, Official Report, column 78W, on homicide, if he will require the Legal Aid Agency to record an offence type of homicide in future. [R] [204664]

Mr Vara: There are no plans to do so as there is no legal or business requirement to record this information and it would be disproportionate to require the agency to do so.

Homicide: Victim Support Schemes

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 26 June 2014, Official Report, column 305W, on homicide: victim support schemes, what the names are of the 13 peer support groups; and in which (a) town and (b) region each such group is based. [203153]

Damian Green: The information requested is set out in the table below:

Peer support groupTownRegion

Advocacy After Fatal Domestic Abuse (AAFDA)

Swindon

South West

Disaster Action

London

London

Families Fighting For Justice

Liverpool

North West

Justice After Acquittal (JAA)

Manchester

North West

JAGS Foundation

Croydon

London

The Jason Spencer Trust

Nottingham

East Midlands

The Jimmy Mizen Foundation

London

London

KnifeCrimes.Org

Colchester

East of England

Mothers Against Murder And Aggression (MAMAA) UK

Borehamwood

East of England

National Victims’ Association (NVA)

Jarrow

North East

Support After Murder And Manslaughter (SAMM) Merseyside

Liverpool

North West

Support After Murder And Manslaughter (SAMM) National

Birmingham

West Midlands

Through Unity

London

London

14 July 2014 : Column 488W

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many victims bereaved by homicide received support from Victim Support under the National Homicide Service in each region of England and in Wales in each year since 2011. [R] [204588]

Damian Green: On the basis of information supplied by Victim Support, organised by region, the number of individuals referred to the Victim Support Homicide Service by the police, and through the FCO (where the homicide occurred abroad), for support where consent for contact by the Service was given by the individual, is:

 2010-112011-122012-132013-14

North West

312

259

219

322

North East

262

263

227

316

London

272

242

202

287

South West

287

273

207

302

South East

310

255

225

315

     

Total

1,443

1,292

1,080

1,542

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 26 June 2014, Official Report, column 305W, on homicide: victim support schemes, what evaluation mechanisms are included in the Grant for Coordination and Delivery of Support to those Bereaved by Homicide. [R] [204663]

Damian Green: From 1 October 2014 the Ministry of Justice will require robust data from the grant recipient for the Homicide Service.

The grant recipient will be required to provide (subject to refinement during the grant period) data on outcomes achieved in relation to all those supported: including improvement to the quality of their lives and ability to cope with normal activities during and following support provision. In addition, data on user satisfaction will be required and monitoring of any complaints received.

The Ministry of Justice will also require an accurate record of all expenditure in connection with the grant as described in the Grant Agreement, and shall put in place arrangements to provide to the authority such information as may be required.

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 7 July 2014, Official Report, column 78W, on homicide: victim support schemes, which of the peer support groups within the original victim support bid cater specifically for those bereaved through homicide abroad. [R] [204665]

Damian Green: The Victim Support bid to provide the national Homicide Service from 1 October 2014 included the provision of caseworker support and support from Missing Abroad (The Lucie Blackman Trust) for families bereaved by homicide abroad. None of the peer support groups which formed part of Victim Support’s bid only support families where the homicide has occurred abroad. However, the bid included organisations which can provide peer support including (but not exclusively) if the bereavement by homicide occurred abroad. The grant award for the provision of the Homicide Service includes up to £100,000 from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to support those bereaved by homicide abroad.

14 July 2014 : Column 489W

Legal Aid Scheme

Mr Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many applications for legal aid for family matters have been refused since April 2013; and how many of these were subsequently granted under the Exceptional Funding Scheme. [204626]

Mr Vara: An Exceptional Case Funding (ECF) application for civil legal services is made where a case falls outside the scope of legal aid but the client or conducting solicitor believes there is evidence to support there being a requirement to provide funding because failure to do so would be a breach of, or having regard to any risk that failure to do so would be such a breach of, their Convention rights (within the meaning of the Human Rights Act 1998), or any rights of the individual to the provision of legal services that are enforceable EU rights.

The Legal Aid Agency does not record whether an ECF application (under Clause 10 of LASPO) has previously been refused as being outside the scope of Schedule 1 of LASPO.

From 1 April 2013 to 31 March 2014, 6,552 Licensed Work applications for legal aid for family matters were refused. On 852 of these refused applications, one of the reasons for refusal involved the application being outside the scope of Schedule 1 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO).

I can confirm that nine applications for legal aid for family matters were granted under the Exceptional Case Funding scheme between 1st April 2013 and 31st March 2014.

Magistrates

David T. C. Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people served as magistrates in each of the last five years for which figures are available. [203730]

Mr Vara: The total numbers of magistrates serving in England and Wales in each of the past five years is as follows:

 Number

2013-14

21,613

2012-13

23,244

2011-12

25,155

2010-11

26,966

2009-10

29,270

The reduction in the overall number of serving magistrates is a natural consequence of falling workloads in the magistrates courts, due to factors such as falling crime combined with the relatively steady levels of retirements and resignations.

Medicine: Research

Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the potential effect of the EU General Data Protection Regulation on medical research; and if he will make a statement. [204543]

14 July 2014 : Column 490W

Simon Hughes: The Government are aware of the concerns raised by representatives of the research community about amendments to the proposed EU General Data Protection Regulation which could prevent health research involving personal data from taking place. Many of these concerns centre on amendments to the proposed regulation that have been agreed by the Civil Liberties, Justice, and Home Affairs (LIBE) committee of the European Parliament.

The Government’s view is that the ability of researchers to process personal data in the way that they are legitimately able to do so at present must be preserved. The Government remain attentive to the concerns raised and will continue to engage with representatives of the research community about the processing of personal data for medical research purposes under the proposed regulation.

Members: Correspondence

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will estimate the total number of ministerial replies from his Department to hon. Members in a parliamentary Session; and what proportion of such replies are sent (a) by letter and (b) by email. [203309]

Jeremy Wright: I refer my hon. Friend to PQ 203298, responded to by the Minister for the Cabinet Office and Paymaster General, my right hon. Friend the Member for Horsham (Mr Maude), on 7 July 2014, Official Report, columns 5-6W.

Pornography: Internet

Andy Sawford: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps the Government are taking to address the problem of revenge pornography; and if he will meet representatives of the National Union of Students to discuss that matter. [204400]

Damian Green: The Government believe the posting of revenge porn is a despicable act and is one which can have devastating consequences for the victim.

The Government are looking seriously at this area of the law to ensure it is strong enough to deal with this behaviour.

I am happy to consider any representations that the National Union of Students wishes to submit.

Prison Accommodation

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether spaces in segregation units and in hospital or medical wings count towards a prison’s certified normal accommodation. [204695]

Jeremy Wright: Prison Service Instruction 17/2012 “Certified Prisoner Accommodation” which is published on the Ministry of Justice website at:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/offenders/psis/prison-service-instructions-2012

sets out that deputy directors of custody (DDCs) are responsible for determining which accommodation is not included in baseline certified normal accommodation, based on operational issues and other management considerations.

14 July 2014 : Column 491W

The certified normal accommodation (CNA) of a prison is its uncrowded capacity. General guidance within PSI 17/2012 sets out that baseline certified normal accommodation is the sum total of all certified accommodation in an establishment except, normally: cells in segregation units and health care cells or rooms in training prisons and young offender institutions that are not routinely used to accommodate long stay patients.

Prison Service

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what estimate he has made of the number of former prison staff who will be members of Her Majesty's Prison Service Reserve; [204693]

(2) to how many former prison staff his Department has written on the formation of Her Majesty's Prison Service Reserve; [204694]

(3) whether former prison staff recruited to Her Majesty's Prison Service Reserve will be liable to return all or part of any severance or redundancy packages they received. [204696]

Jeremy Wright: The National Offender Management Service has written to 2,066 selected former officers who left during the past two years, inviting them to volunteer for a fixed term contract of up to nine months.

There is no limit on, or estimate of, the number of former officers who may be accepted to join the HMPS Reserve.

The provisions for the repayment of voluntary exit payments upon re-appointment are defined by the Civil Service Compensation Scheme. Information on the Civil Service Compensation Scheme is available on the Civil Service website at:

http://www.civilservice.gov.uk/pensions

Prisoners' Release

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many life sentence prisoners were released on temporary licence in each month between 2010 and 2013. [200225]

Jeremy Wright: Table A gives the number of prisoners released on temporary licence in each month of 2011, 2012 and 2013, broken down by type of sentence. Data is unavailable for 2010. It should be noted that a single individual may be released multiple times in different months. These individuals will appear once in each month they are released. Therefore, the sum across all months in a year will not equate to the total number of individuals released in a year. That data are published in table A3.11 of the Offender Management Caseload Statistics at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/offender-management-statistics-quarterly-october-december-2013-and-annual

These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems which, as with any large scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.

Instances of ROTL have increased in recent years and Table A underlines the part played by the increase in the number of prisoners serving life and particularly indeterminate sentences for public protection (IPPs).

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One of the weaknesses our review identified in the approach to ROTL that has been in place since 2006 was that all prisoners were subject to the same risk assessment procedures regardless of sentence or risk. We have introduced a new approach whereby high risk and serious offenders, including all lifers and IPPs, will be subjected to an enhanced regime of restricted ROTL under which temporary release decisions may be made only by the governor or deputy, and the board recommending the decision must consider a psychologist’s review report.

Table A: Number of indeterminate prisoners granted ROTL in each month1 between 2011 and 2013, England and Wales
 DeterminateLifeIPPAll

2011

    

January

3,357

238

266

3,861

February

3,416

259

300

3,975

March

3,447

260

324

4,031

April

3,496

276

355

4,127

May

3,586

302

377

4,265

June

3,659

319

384

4,362

July

3,722

315

403

4,440

August

3,733

319

421

4,473

September

3,713

317

424

4,454

October

3,696

321

445

4,462

November

3,640

324

446

4,410

December

3,718

313

451

4,482

     

2012

    

January

3,636

324

437

4,397

February

3,638

305

429

4,372

March

3,752

319

429

4,500

April

3,729

327

428

4,484

May

3,691

326

438

4,455

June

3,745

324

435

4,504

July

3,800

334

454

4,588

August

3,886

331

474

4,691

September

3,836

346

499

4,681

October

3,846

337

505

4,688

November

3,815

340

493

4,648

December

3,834

332

483

4,649

     

2013

    

January

3,680

322

495

4,497

February

3,747

337

487

4,571

March

3,938

317

509

4,764

April

3,883

317

502

4,702

May

3,961

297

510

4,768

June

4,019

305

482

4,806

July

4,077

295

491

4,863

August

4,079

288

484

4,851

September

3,997

284

449

4,730

October

3,925

267

458

4,650

November

3,786

250

425

4,461

December

3,732

229

409

4,370

1 A single individual may be released multiple times in different months. These individuals will appear once in each month they are released. Therefore, the sum across all months in a year will not equate to the total number of distinct individuals released in a year. Note: Reliable data for 2010 is not available due to the introduction of a new data system.