NHS: Finance

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the report by the King's Fund of May 2014, entitled The NHS Productivity Challenge and its estimate of a £30 billion finding gap for the NHS; and if he will make a statement. [205509]

Dr Poulter: The Government has increased national health service funding in real terms in each year of this Parliament investing an additional £12.7 billion over the course of the Parliament. Budgets have not been set beyond 2015-16 but we recognise the challenge posed by the pressures of an aging population and the cost of

17 July 2014 : Column 767W

new investment. The Government is investing in technology, transferring out of hospital care while never compromising on the quality of care. The NHS is on track to make up to £20 billion in efficiency savings to be reinvested in frontline care, over the period 2011-12 to 2014-15.

Nurses: Wakefield

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many nurses were employed in Wakefield in (a) 2010 and (b) the latest date for which data is available. [205140]

Dr Poulter: The information requested is shown in the following table.

National health service hospital and community health services (HCHS) provisional monthly statistics: GP practice nurses and HCHS nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff as at 30 September 20101 and 31 March 20142
Full-time equivalent
 20101March 20142

All specified organisations1,2

2,383

2,153

GP practice nurses

100

128

HCHS Qualified nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff

2,283

2,024

12010 figures are from the annual workforce census, and are an aggregate of GP practice nurses from Wakefield District primary care trust and HCHS qualified nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff from Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust. 2March 2014 is the latest available data from the provisional monthly statistics, and is an aggregate figure of GP practice nurses (data from September 2013 GP Census) from NHS Wakefield and HCHS qualified nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff from Mid Yorkshire Hospitals NHS Trust. Data Quality: The Health and Social Care Information Centre seeks to minimise inaccuracies and the effect of missing and invalid data but responsibility for data accuracy lies with the organisations providing the data. Methods are continually being updated to improve data quality where changes impact on figures already published. This is assessed but unless it is significant at national level figures are not changed. Impact at detailed or local level is footnoted in relevant analyses. Monthly data: As from 21 July 2010 the Health and Social Care Information Centre has published provisional monthly NHS workforce data. As expected with provisional statistics, some figures may be revised from month to month as issues are uncovered and resolved. The monthly workforce data is not directly comparable with the annual workforce census; it only includes those staff on the Electronic Staff Record (i.e. it does not include primary care staff or bank staff). There are also new methods of presenting data (headcount methodology is different and there is now a role count). This information is available from September 2009 onwards at the following website: www.hscic.gov.uk Source: Health and Social Care Information Centre Non-Medical Workforce Census. Health and Social Care Information Centre General and Personal Medical Services Statistics. Health and Social Care Information Centre Provisional Monthly Workforce Statistics.

Obesity

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent steps he has taken to reduce obesity; and if he will make a statement. [205097]

Jane Ellison: We have a well-developed and wide-ranging programme of actions to reduce levels of obesity. These include working with a wide range of partners including Public Health England, NHS England, Government Departments, including the Department for Education and Department for Transport, and industry through the Public Health Responsibility Deal. Key initiatives include Change4Life, the National Child Measurement Programme, NHS Health Checks, Change4Life Sports Clubs, School Sports Funding and the School Food Plan.

17 July 2014 : Column 768W

Our national ambition for a downward trend in excess weight in adults and children by 2020 requires collective action by Government, businesses, health and care professionals, and individuals.

Obesity: Children

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what progress has been made in achieving a sustained downward trend in excess weight in children by 2020. [205534]

Jane Ellison: Data on the prevalence of overweight and obesity are published annually by the Health and Social Care Information Centre. The latest data available are from the Health Survey for England for 2012 and from the National Child Measurement Programme for the school year 2012-13, showing that obesity rates in children are levelling off.

The Government continues to take action through key initiatives such as Change4Life, Change4Life Sports Clubs, the National Child Measurement Programme, School Sports Funding and the School Food Plan.

Procurement

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how much and what proportion of his Department'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 Department's budget he expects to be contracted out in 2014-15. [205217]

Dr Poulter: The Department contracts for a wide variety of services to support delivery of its objectives and is committed to providing services in the most efficient way possible to provide the best value for taxpayers.

The Department’s central procurement system does not have a separate category nor any central means of consistently identifying spend on activities where they are contracted out for each year. To provide comprehensive spend would mean going back to each business area and Directorate in the Department and consulting on which of the contracts they commissioned are activities considered to be contracted out. This would incur disproportionate costs.

The Department publishes information on newly awarded contracts on Contracts Finder, the government on-line facility for the publication of tendering opportunities and contract information. Contracts Finder may be found at:

http://contractsfinder.businesslink.gov.uk/

Prostate Cancer

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people in Hemsworth constituency are currently being treated for prostate cancer, what the average waiting time for treatment of such people is; and what steps his Department is taking to raise awareness of prostate cancer. [205102]

17 July 2014 : Column 769W

Jane Ellison: The information is not available in the format requested. The following table shows the number of finished admission episodes (FAEs) with a primary diagnosis of prostate cancer, and the average time these patients waited in Hemsworth constituency in 2012-13.

 FAEs1Average time waited (days)2FAEs with valid waiting time3

2012-13

64

32.6

39

1 An FAE is the first period of admitted patient care under one consultant within one health care provider. FAEs are counted against the year or month in which the admission episode finishes. Admissions do not represent the number of patients, as a person may have more than one admission within the period. 2 Time waited (days) statistics from Hospital Episode Statistics (HES) are not the same as published Referral to Treatment (RTT) time waited statistics. HES provides counts and time waited for all patients between decision to admit and admission to hospital within a given period. Published RTT waiting statistics measure the time waited between referral and start of treatment. 3 The total number of eligible admissions from which the mean and median time waited are derived. This includes waiting list and booked admissions, but not planned admissions. A waiting list admission is one in which a patient has been admitted electively into hospital from a waiting list, having been given no date of admission at the time a decision to admit was made. Booked admissions are those in which the patient was admitted electively having been given a date at the time it was decided to admit. Planned admissions are excluded as they are usually part of a planned sequence of clinical care determined mainly on clinical criteria, which, for example, could require a series of events, perhaps taking place every three months, six months or annually. It is the case that some providers do not supply the data required to calculate a time waited on eligible episodes. Note: The parliamentary constituency uses the patient’s normal home address. This does not necessarily reflect where the patient was treated as they may have travelled to another parliamentary constituency for treatment. Source: Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), Health and Social Care Information Centre.

“Improving Outcomes: A Strategy for Cancer”, published in January 2011, committed over £450 million over the four years up to 2014-15 to achieve earlier diagnosis of cancer. This included funding for centrally-led Be Clear on Cancer campaigns, which aim to raise awareness of the symptoms of cancer, get symptomatic patients to present earlier, and work to help support general practitioners (GPs).

Prostate cancer is challenging from the perspective of driving early diagnosis through a social marketing campaign, as the symptoms of prostate cancer are the same as for other benign prostate disease. However, due to their increased risk, we are actively considering prostate cancer within African-Caribbean men as the subject for a local pilot activity. In addition, awareness is raised through the Prostate Cancer Risk Management Programme, which is in place to ensure that men over 50 without symptoms of prostate cancer can have a prostate specific antigen test free on the national health service after careful consideration of the advantages and disadvantages of the test and after a discussion with a GP.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Rural Cost of Living

11. Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to reduce the cost of living in rural communities. [904930]

16. Albert Owen: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what plans she has to reduce the cost of living in rural communities. [904935]

17 July 2014 : Column 770W

Dan Rogerson: Labour presided over the longest and deepest recession since the war.

We have taken action to elevate the impact on households.

For example, rural households spend a large proportion of their income on travel.

We have reduced fuel duty meaning pump prices are 13p per litre lower than they would have been under Labour’s plans.

This means it is £7 cheaper for motorists every time they fill their tank.

EU Discard Ban

12. Sheryll Murray: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress she has made in implementing the EU discard ban. [904931]

George Eustice: The landing obligation will come into force in January 2015 for pelagic fisheries, and for other fisheries beginning in 2016. Much progress has been made on implementation.

The UK has now agreed discard plans for pelagic fisheries with other member states in both the North sea and North West waters, and these were recently submitted to the European Commission. Work is also under way with the fishing industry and others on the demersal landing obligation, with a consultation to be launched early in 2015.

Food Prices

13. Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the effect of changes in food prices on household budgets. [904932]

George Eustice: The Family Food Survey shows that the proportion of income spent on food by the poorest 20% of households has remained relatively static over the last ten years, 16.8% in 2008 to 16.6% in 2012. The average price of food remains lower than some other European countries including France, Germany and Ireland. The annual rate of food price inflation was 0.0% in the year to June 2014, compared to an overall rate of 1.9%.

Air Pollution

14. Mike Kane: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to reduce levels of air pollution. [904933]

Dan Rogerson: The Government has invested heavily in measures that will help reduce air pollution from transport, energy and industrial sources. We are providing over £2 billion to promote the use of ultra-low emission vehicles and sustainable transport, and are funding clean bus technology and modal shift programmes to encourage cycling and walking.

Nationally we support local authorities in England to deliver local measures and work with devolved Administrations to improve air quality across the UK.

17 July 2014 : Column 771W

Japanese Whaling

15. Mr McKenzie: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs What steps she is taking following the International Court of Justice's ruling that Japan's Antarctic whaling activity was not conducted for the purpose of scientific research. [904934]

George Eustice: We will continue to make it clear at every appropriate opportunity that we see no justification for lethal scientific research on whales. We are now working within the EU and with other key parties to try to ensure that the findings of the International Court of Justice are reflected in the working practices of the International Whaling Commission, as the competent body for the conservation of whales.

Beavers: Devon

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 26 June 2014, Official Report, column 330W, whether she considers the population of wild beavers in Devon to be a non-native species. [205378]

George Eustice: European beavers were once present in the British Isles and are considered a previously native species. However, the species has not been ordinarily resident for several hundred years, since it was hunted to extinction in the 16th century.

Bovine Tuberculosis

Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to his answer of 3 July 2014, Official Report, column 727W, on Bovine Tuberculosis, whether planned further research into the use of carbon monoxide as a potential sett-based means of humane culling will be conducted on live badgers; [205453]

George Eustice: There are currently no plans to use live badgers in research on the use of carbon monoxide as a potential sett-based means of humane culling.

Buildings

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much has been spent on refurbishing (a) gymnasium and leisure facilities, (b) cafeteria and (c) interior decoration in (i) her Department and (ii) buildings owned by her Department in (A) 2013 and (B) 2014 to date. [205356]

Dan Rogerson: The core Department has spent the following amounts on its occupied buildings. The expenditure in 2013-14 relates to a major restructuring and reduction in use of office space in central London to realise estates costs savings of £8.7 million per annum,

£
 2013-142014-15

Gymnasium and leisure

2,446

0

Cafeteria

28,482

0

Interior Decorations

466,889

3,009

17 July 2014 : Column 772W

The core Department has spent the following on buildings it owns but which are occupied by Executive agencies, non-departmental public bodies and other Government Departments

£
 2013-142014-15

Gymnasium and leisure

0

0

Cafeteria

0

0

Interior Decorations

25,508

0

Food Supply Networks Review

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 8 July 2014, Official Report, column 178W, on food supply networks review, and with reference to the statement in the terms of reference for the Elliot review published on 4 June 2013 that the final report of that review would be published in spring 2014, for what reasons that final review has not been published. [205615]

George Eustice: Professor Elliott’s final report of the review into the integrity and assurance of food supply networks is being finalised and will be published soon.

Forests

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her policy is on the future of the public forest estate and on ways of putting this on a sustainable footing for the future; and whether she plans to bring forward legislative proposals to achieve those policy objectives. [205008]

Dan Rogerson: The Government’s policy on the future of the Public Forest Estate is set out in its Forestry and Woodlands Policy Statement of January 2013. The Government is committed to maintaining the Public Forest Estate in public ownership and to establishing a new operationally independent public body to manage the estate for the long-term benefit of people, nature and the economy.

There were many proposals competing for the limited space within the Fourth Session programme and the proposed forestry measures could not be accommodated. However, the Government stands by its commitment to establish the new public body as soon as parliamentary time allows.

Fracking

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the number of water treatment facilities in the UK capable of processing waste water from shale gas extraction; and what the (a) name, (b) location and (c) capacity is of each such site. [205582]

Dan Rogerson: There are a large number of waste treatment facilities across the UK that could potentially treat flow-back fluid, including water produced from shale exploration and hydraulic fracturing, subject to holding the relevant permits.

17 July 2014 : Column 773W

Currently, in England there are three facilities with permits that would allow for the treatment of such waste water:

Castle Environmental in Stoke-on-Trent;

FCC Environment at Knostrop in Leeds; and

Bran Sands in Middlesbrough (owned by Northumbrian Water).

Core DEFRA does not hold information on the treatment capacity of these facilities.

Ground Water: Methane

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the concentration of methane in groundwater in mg/l in (a) the UK, (b) Scotland, (c) England, (d) Wales and (e) Northern Ireland. [205586]

Dan Rogerson: The British Geological Survey (BGS) is surveying the current distribution of methane concentrations in UK groundwater, focusing on areas where aquifers are underlain by shale units that may be exploited for shale gas. The BGS website provides a summary of the methane baseline results up to April 2014 and links to regional summaries:

www.bgs.ac.uk/research/groundwater/shaleGas/methaneBaseline/results.html

Depending on the geology of a particular site and the pre-existing data available, the environmental regulator (the Environment Agency in England) could also require such monitoring by the operator before a site became operational.

Mass Media: Subscriptions

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what subscriptions to (a) magazines and (b) television channels her Department funds. [205341]

Dan Rogerson: The information requested is as follows:

(a) Core DEFRA subscribes to the following magazines. Please note that these subscriptions are for the Private Office, Press Office and the Core DEFRA Library only.

Amateur Gardening

Angling Times

Country Life

Country Living

Economist

Farmers Guardian

Farmers Weekly

Field

Fishing News

Grocer

Harvard Business Review

Horticulture Week

House Magazine

ITI Bulletin

Material Recycling World

Meat Trades Journal

Poultry World

Ranger

Research Fortnight

Science

17 July 2014 : Column 774W

The Spectator

Veterinary Record

Veterinary Times

Waste Management and Research

(b) Core DEFRA does not hold any subscriptions to television channels except for the Houses of Parliament TV channel; non-terrestrial television is received via Freeview.

Procurement

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many contracts (a) her Department and (b) its agencies and non-departmental public bodies (i) have let and (ii) plan to let that are worth (A) between £1 million and £3 million and (B) over £3 million since 2010; how much her Department has spent on monitoring each such contract; and how many officials in her Department monitor each contract. [205368]

Dan Rogerson: The numbers of contracts let since the start of financial year 2010-11 are set out as follows

RefQuestionNumber of contracts with start date after 31 March 2010

(a) (A)

Core DEFRA: between £1 million and £3 million

61

(a) (B)

Core DEFRA: over £3 million since 2010

28

(b) (A)

DEFRA agencies and NDPBs: between £1 million and £3 million

107

(b) (B)

DEFRA agencies and NDPBs: over £3 million since 2010

73

We cannot predict all future contracts and could provide estimates of contract management costs only at disproportionate cost.

Rodents

Annette Brooke: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent representations she has received on increased numbers of infestations of rats in a domestic setting; and if she will make a statement. [205590]

George Eustice: I have not received any recent representations on the number of rat infestations in a domestic setting. Rats have no special legal protection and people are free to control them by legal means.

Training

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how much has been spent on what (a) media training and (b) social media training for (i) her and (ii) Ministers in her Department since May 2010. [205309]

Dan Rogerson: No additional costs have been incurred on media and social media training for Ministers since May 2010.

17 July 2014 : Column 775W

Home Department

Cannabis

David Simpson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps her Department is taking to reduce the number of cannabis factories across the UK. [204714]

Norman Baker: The Government works closely with the police to support the policing of illegal cannabis cultivation. The police response to tackle commercial cannabis cultivation includes proactive operations to identify and close down these farms and disrupt the organised crime groups behind them. The police also work to improve their knowledge and understanding of the trade through activity-led intelligence gathering.

Cannabis farms are often established by organised crime groups in residential properties, bringing criminality into communities. The Government is therefore also working with other partners with an interest in this area, such as energy companies and the property sector, to promote co-operation and the sharing of best practice in tackling cannabis farms.

We have also worked in partnership with Crimestoppers on a ‘scratch and sniff’ cannabis card campaign, which I launched on 26 June and which will run for three months. This involves distributing ‘scratch and sniff’ cards to the public to inform them about the signs to spot and the specific smell of cannabis when it is growing. Hot spot areas, as informed by police intelligence, have been targeted by police forces throughout the UK. A similar campaign last year led to information passed to Crimestoppers on cannabis cultivation increasing 28% in the month following the launch, which led to the dismantlement of cannabis farms and a number of arrests across the country.

Civil Servants: Codes of Practice

Lindsay Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many (a) internal and (b) external complaints have been received by her Department about alleged breaches of the Civil Service Code of Conduct since 2010; and what actions her Department has taken in response to each such complaint. [203956]

Karen Bradley: This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Complaints are normally dealt with by the line management chain within Departments in the first instance, with the most serious cases escalated to senior managers, HR or the Permanent Secretary.

Where a Civil Servant is not satisfied with how the matter has been handled by a Department, he or she can raise the matter with the Civil Service Commission. The Commission publishes details of the number of complaints received annually.

Crime

Mr David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many serious crimes were solved by communications data since 2010; what the classification of those crimes was; and how many serious crimes there were in that period. [205171]

17 July 2014 : Column 776W

James Brokenshire: As the Secretary of State for the Home Department, my right hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May) made clear in the statement made to the House on 10 July 2014, Official Report, columns 456-59, communications data is an absolutely fundamental tool in the investigation of serious crime. The Crown Prosecution Service Organised Crime Division has indicated that communications data plays a role in 95% of the serious and organised crime cases that they handle. An Association of Chief Police Officers’ survey from 2012 demonstrated the wide range of serious crime types that communications data is used to investigate, including terrorism, drugs trafficking and child abuse. Total crime figures, recorded by the police, and including breakdowns by crime type, can be found on the Office for National Statistics website.

Law enforcement agencies do not routinely make a record of all of the investigatory techniques that they use when investigating individual crimes, as there is no operational reason to do so. However, Keith Bristow, Director General of the National Crime Agency, made clear in his speech to the Police Foundation on 24 June that communications data is most commonly used in the investigation of the most serious offences, such as murder, rape and kidnap, and that communications data is overwhelmingly the most powerful tool available to those investigating child sexual exploitation.

HM Passport Office

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps she is taking to increase the consistency of information issued by HM Passport Office staff. [205104]

James Brokenshire: On 12 June 2014, the Home Secretary announced to the House that an operational review would be undertaken to ensure that Her Majesty's Passport Office works as efficiently as possible, with better processes, better customer services and better outcomes.

HM Passport Office: Belfast

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what additional support she is providing to the passport office in Belfast. [202621]

James Brokenshire: The Belfast Office Full Time Equivalent (FTE) workforce in June 2014 was 216.29 compared with 147.76 FTE in June 2012. The increase in staff has been to deal with the introduction of processing of work from overseas in 2013-14 and the introduction of an evening shift in January 2014 to assist in dealing with UK applications. Currently there are 20 additional staff redeployed to Belfast to assist in the examination function.

Immigrants: English Language

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people were arrested following the recently uncovered English language test fraud; and how many of these people have been (a) held as an immigration detainee and (b) released. [204657]

17 July 2014 : Column 777W

James Brokenshire: A criminal investigation and immigration enforcement action are ongoing and arrests have been made. As I stated to the House on 24 June 2014, Official Report, column 206, the Home Office will provide regular updates to the House.

These updates will be provided as part of the regular publication of data on the Department’s work on borders and immigration. The next update will be published in August.

Invalid Vehicles

Mr Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the efficacy of scooter safety schemes run by police forces for mobile scooter users. [205502]

Mike Penning: No assessment has been made of the effectiveness of mobile scooter safety schemes run by police forces. This is an operational matter for chief officers of police. Relevant guidance is also set out in the Highway Code.

Members: Correspondence

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she intends to reply to the letter to the Immigration and Security Minister dated 4 June 2014 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regard to Ms M Dawson. [205550]

James Brokenshire: I wrote to the right hon. Member on 14 July 2014.

Metropolitan Police

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many Metropolitan police officers were deployed on the streets in each year since 2010; and if she will make a statement. [204525]

Mike Penning: The data held by the Home Office cannot separately identify officers deployed on the streets.

The deployment of officers in the Metropolitan police is an operational matter for the commissioner, who is held to account by the Mayor of London.

Morecambe

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will estimate how much money her Department has spent in Morecambe and Lunesdale constituency since May 2010. [204778]

Karen Bradley: The Home Office’s financial system does not record how much is spent by constituency and therefore we are unable to answer the question.

Offences Against Children

Yasmin Qureshi: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many sexual abuse cases involving children there have been in (a) Bolton, (b) Lancashire, (c) England, (d) Scotland and (e) Wales in each of the last five years. [201142]

17 July 2014 : Column 778W

Norman Baker: Home Office Statistics does not collect information on sexual abuse cases involving children.

While the Home Office does hold data for offences covered by the Sexual Offences Act 2003 (which may cover some sexual abuse offences), we do not hold data on how many cases there are.

The Department for Education collects and publishes information on the numbers of children referred to and assessed by children's social services in England. This includes statistics at local authority level on the number of children who are subject of a child protection plan by category of abuse, including sexual abuse.

Passports

Mr Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many applications for (a) passport renewal and (b) new passports were received by the Passport Office in each month between (i) 1 January and 31 May 2013 and (ii) 1 January and 31 May 2014; [198907]

(2) how many passport applications processed by the Passport Office between 1 January and 31 May 2014 which missed the three week target for processing; [198906]

(3) how many telephone calls were received by the Government's passport helpline (a) in each month of 2013 and (b) between 1 January and 31 May 2014; [198903]

(4) what total income was received by the Passport Office in fees for (a) fast track and (b) premium service (i) in 2013 and (b) between 1 January and 31 May 2014; [198904]

(5) how many (a) permanent and (b) agency staff were employed by the Passport Office in (i) 2012, (ii) 2013 and (iii) 2014. [198905]

James Brokenshire: Table A sets out the requested information in respect of how many telephone calls were received during the requested periods.

Table B shows income received in fees for premium and fast track services.

Table C provides information on the number of full time equivalent staff employed by HM passport Office on 31 December for each of the years from 2010-13.

Table D sets out the number of first time passport applications and the number of passport renewals received during each month between January 2013 and May 2014.

In the period between 1 January and 31 May 2014, 31,188 straightforward passport applications processed by Her Majesty's Passport Office were not processed within the 3-week target.

Table A: Number of telephone calls received by the Government's passport helpline (a) in each month of 2013 and (b) between 1 January and 31 May 2014
 Number

2013

 

January

216,286

February

201,647

March

242,097

April

288,482

May

322,489

June

317,534

17 July 2014 : Column 779W

July

366,514

August

265,396

September

197,342

October

178,466

November

155,426

December

148,244

  

2014

 

January

275,514

February

307,932

March

415,352

April

464,875

May

728,639

Table B: Income received in fees for premium and fast-track services
Month/yearFast TrackPremium

2013 Income Total

28,050,512

42,242,816

January 2014

1,883,971

2,825,088

February 2014

1,797,000

2,269,440

March 2014

2,412,529

2,687,872

April 2014

2,702,626

2,896,000

May 2014

3,566,181

3,145,088

The number of full-time equivalent staff employed by HM Passport Office as of 31 December in each year was as follows.

Table C: Number of full time equivalent staff employed by HM Passport Office as at 31 December
 Number

31 December 2010

3,700

31 December 2011

3,286

31 December 2012

3,164

31 December 2013

3,333

These figures are for permanent civil servants employed by HMPO, including part year appointments and permanent members of staff employed on contracts for nine months of the year. This excludes staff on secondment or loan, and agency and temporary staff-with these staff included, the March 2014 figure is 3,444.

Table D: Number of applications for (a) passport renewal and (b) new passports were received by the Passport Office in each month between 1 January 2013 and 31 May 2014
MonthFirst Time ApplicantsRenewals

January 2013

98,685

365,980

February 2013

127,014

433,754

March 2013

137,265

413,887

April 2013

157,570

474,055

May 2013

159,301

488,679

June 2013

145,931

449,916

July 2013

148,513

408,667

August 2013

109,425

275,759

September 2013

88,663

245,211

October 2013

84,482

241,364

November 2013

74,995

210,083

December 2013

81,658

227,003

January2014

106,198

427,652

February 2014

130,255

472,436

March 2014

157,224

525,820

April 2014

154,924

504,769

May 2014

164,715

540,071

17 July 2014 : Column 780W

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the causes of delays in issuing passports; and if she will make a statement. [199498]

James Brokenshire: Her Majesty’s Passport Office (HMPO) is dealing with the highest level of demand for passports over the first six months of 2014 than in any comparable period over the last 12 years. To date, HMPO has received over 4.4 million applications and has issued over 3.8 million passports. HMPO has progressively introduced contingency measures since January 2014 to ensure passport production matches the high level of applications. The Secretary of State announced on 12 June to the House a range of additional measures to ensure that people who need to travel get their passports in good time.

Mr Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to her contribution of 12 June 2014, Official Report, column 693, which countries have agreed to accept the one year extension passports to be issued to UK citizens living abroad. [202319]

James Brokenshire: The list of countries that will accept British passports extended by 12 months is set out on the gov.uk website and can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/list-of-countries-that-will-accept-passports-extended-by-12-months

The following table sets out the current list of countries which have already agreed to accept the extended British passports. The list is updated on a daily basis.

Countries and Territories that have confirmed they will accept passports that have been extended by 12 months: 11 July 2014:

All passport extensions are valid to enter the UK. A number of other countries and territories, set out in the table, have already officially confirmed through diplomatic channels that they will accept passports that have been extended by 12 months. This list will continue to be updated as further official confirmation is received. We advise you to check with the consulate before you book travel.

In addition, it is your responsibility to check the visa requirements of any countries or territories you will be visiting. You can find more information in our travel advice.

Country or territoryAdditional information (if applicable)

Albania

Algeria

Antigua and Barbuda

Argentina

Armenia

Australia

Austria

Bahrain

Bangladesh

Barbados

Belarus

Belgium

Belize

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Botswana

Brazil

British Virgin Islands

17 July 2014 : Column 781W

Bulgaria

Burundi

Cambodia

Cameroon

Canada

Cayman Islands

Central African Republic

Chad

Chile

China

Colombia

Costa Rica

Croatia

Cyprus

Czech Republic

Dominican Republic

Ecuador

Egypt

El Salvador

Estonia

Finland

France

French Polynesia

Gabon

Georgia

Germany

Ghana

Greece

Guatemala

Guinea

Guyana

Honduras

Hong Kong (SAR)

Hungary

Iceland

Ireland

Israel

Italy

Jamaica

Japan

Jordan

Kosovo

Kyrgyzstan

Liberia

Libya

Liechtenstein

Luxembourg

Macao (SAR)

Malawi

Malta

Mauritius

Mexico

Moldova

Montenegro

Morocco

Mozambique

Nauru

New Zealand

Nicaragua

Nigeria

Oman

Pakistan

Panama

Papua New Guinea

17 July 2014 : Column 782W

Peru

Philippines

Portugal

Qatar

Romania

St Kitts and Nevis

St Vincent and the Grenadines

San Marino

Saudi Arabia

Serbia

Singapore

Slovenia

Solomon Islands

South Korea

Spain

Sri Lanka

Sudan

Sweden

Switzerland

Taiwan

Tanzania

Thailand

Tunisia

Turkey

Uganda

Ukraine

United Arab Emirates

If you wish to apply for a first time residence permit you should contact the local authorities for advice.

USA

You will need to hold a valid visa or residency permit. Extended passports are not valid for entry into the United States under the Visa Waiver Programme.

Uruguay

 

Venezuela

 

Vietnam

 

Mr Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many passports have been issued under the Government's new passport fast-tracked free policy since that policy came into effect. [202389]

James Brokenshire: As of 13 July 2014, 12,325 passports have been fast-tracked as a result of the measures announced by the Home Secretary to the House of Commons on 12 June 2014.

Mr Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications by overseas-based British citizens for the extension of an existing passport for one year have been received by the Passport Office since her recent announcement on changes in passport policy. [202390]

James Brokenshire: As of 13 July 2014, 1,721 applications by overseas-based British citizens for the extension of an existing passport for one year have been received by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

Mr Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many applications for emergency travel documents for children have been received by the Passport Office since 16 June 2014. [202391]

17 July 2014 : Column 783W

James Brokenshire: As at 6 July 2014, 151 emergency travel documents (ETDs) have been issued to children free of charge as a result of the measures announced by the Home Secretary on 12 June 2014.

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment she has made of the accuracy of the forecast of an increase of 350,000 additional applications in 2014 in the Identity and Passport Service Annual Report and Accounts 2012-13. [203484]

James Brokenshire: The 2012-13 IPS Annual Report and Accounts refers to the predicted demand for overseas passport applications following the transfer of services from overseas to the UK. The Annual Report indicates a demand for overseas passport applications of approximately 350,000 additional customers annually. As the Chief Executive of Her Majesty's Passport Office told the Home Affairs Select Committee on 17 June, the overall intake of overseas applications for 2014 is expected to be in the order of 390,000 to 400,000.

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of customers using the passport check and send service had their passport application rejected due to (a) completing the application form incorrectly, (b) providing incorrect supporting documents and (c) providing the incorrect fee in the last period for which figures are available. [203606]

James Brokenshire: According to data obtained from Her Majesty’s Passport Office in respect of customers using the passport check and send service for the period April 2013 to March 2014:

(a) 0.36% had their applications rejected by Her Majesty’s Passport Office due to completing their application form incorrectly.

(b) 0.22% had their applications rejected due to providing incorrect supporting documents.

(c) No customer using check and send services had their applications rejected due to providing the incorrect fee.

Mr Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many passport applications were defined as work in progress on 7 July 2014. [204442]

James Brokenshire: Information obtained from management data from Her Majesty’s Passport Office (HMPO) indicates that passport applications which were work in progress at close of business on 7 July 2014 stood at 508,625. HMPO have been working to address this year’s significant increase in demand for passports. According to HMPO data, work in progress as at close of business on 16 July was 450,340.

Sheila Gilmore: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if she will make it her policy that appropriate information about parents is included on children's passports and collected to reduce difficulties at border control for children whose surnames differ from their parents' surnames; [204704]

(2) if her Department will amend the official observations section of children's passports to allow a note when a holder's parent has a different surname to that of the child. [204702]

17 July 2014 : Column 784W

James Brokenshire: There are no plans to use the passport to identify parental relationships as this would change the fundamental purpose of the document which is for travel. Guidance on children travelling to the UK, including children travelling with a parent who may have a different family name to the child, can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/children-travelling-to-the-uk

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether people who urgently need to travel within seven days are charged for upgrading their passport application. [205199]

James Brokenshire: The Home Secretary announced to the House on 12 June 2014, Official Report, columns 693-708, that people who need to travel within the next seven days and who have waited more than the three weeks standard processing time for straight-forward passport renewals through no fault of their own, will have their application fast-tracked at no extra cost.

Passports: Northern Ireland

Mr Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the effect on people in Northern Ireland of delays in handling passport applications. [204609]

James Brokenshire: Her Majesty's Passport Office monitors performance at national level as it distributes work across the UK estate. The Belfast Office Full Time Equivalent (FTE) workforce in June 2014 was 216.29 compared with 147.76 FTE in June 2012. The increase in staff has been to deal with the introduction of processing of work from overseas in 2013-14 and the introduction of an evening shift in January 2014 to assist in dealing with UK applications. Currently there are 20 additional staff redeployed to Belfast to assist in the examination function.

Passports: Warrington

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many passport renewals for people in (a) Warrington borough and (b) Warrington North constituency were completed within three weeks of receipt in each year since 2009 and in 2014 to date. [204790]

James Brokenshire: Her Majesty’s Passport Office does not collect performance data at this level. Performance is monitored at a national level as HMPO distributes work across the UK estate to manage variation in local levels of passport demand. The cost of identifying the information in the format requested would be disproportionate.

Surveillance

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will make an assessment of the extent to which requests made by local authorities under part I, chapter II of the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000 to date have been proportionate; and if she will make a statement. [201767]

17 July 2014 : Column 785W

James Brokenshire: Under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000, local authorities must follow a robust internal authorisations procedure in order to ensure that requests for communications data are both necessary and proportionate. The Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 also introduced judicial approval for local authorities’ requests; a magistrate will make an additional judgment in each case whether an application to access communications data is proportionate.

The Interception of Communications Commissioner’s office has oversight of the communications data access regime and, in the commissioner’s 2013 report, he noted that the National Anti-Fraud Network (which provides a data acquisition service to 85% of those authorities that used their powers that year) ‘showed very good compliance’ with the legislation.

Training

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department 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. [204346]

Karen Bradley: 26 recognised civil service professions exist across government to ensure civil servants are able to develop and deliver a professional service. Civil servants can find resources and information to support their professional development on the Civil Service Learning portal which is accessible to all civil servants.

All professions have a head of profession; appointed for their experience, knowledge and skills, who support the development of the profession and work with key partners to develop timely learning curricula, which are aligned to the Civil Service Competency Framework (CSCF), and civil service priorities. Each of the frameworks and curricula offer a wealth of learning opportunities including qualifications, workshops, and masterclasses.

Within the Home Office, opportunities for professional development are linked closely with business requirements. The Home Office has 18 established professions. They are: Communications, Corporate Finance, Government Economic Service, Government Finance, Government IT Profession, Government Legal Service, Government Property Profession, Government Social Research, Government Veterinary Profession, Human Resources, Internal Audit, Knowledge and Information Management, Operational Delivery, Policy Profession, Procurement, Project Delivery, Science and Engineering, Statistical Services. Given the differing range of learning opportunities available for individual professions, there is no single source which can identify exactly what development courses are available to staff and what the cost to the public purse of every professional development course is.

UK Border Agency: Northern Ireland

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many UK Border Agency staff are based at (a) its Belfast public enquiry office, (b) Belfast City Airport, (c) Belfast International Airport, (d) City of Derry Airport and (e) ports and harbours in Northern Ireland; and if she will make a statement. [204924]

17 July 2014 : Column 786W

Karen Bradley: The work of the UK Border Agency is now undertaken by the UK Visas and Immigration, Border Force and Immigration Enforcement Directorates of the Home Department. For border security reasons, it is not possible to provide a breakdown of staff numbers by location. Furthermore, staff are deployed flexibly according to demand and therefore move between locations. As at 31 May 2014, however, there were 164 members of staff based in Northern Ireland across the UK Visas and Immigration, Border Force and Immigration Enforcement Directorates.

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many UK Border Agency staff employed in Northern Ireland (a) are recruited locally and (b) reside in Northern Ireland; and if she will make a statement. [204925]

Karen Bradley: The work of the UK Border Agency is now undertaken by the UK Visas and Immigration, Border Force and Immigration Enforcement Directorates of the Home Department

The Home Office does not centrally hold data on locations that staff are recruited from. To identify this information, we would therefore need to review each individual recruitment campaign, which would incur disproportionate cost.

Staff are deployed flexibly according to demand and move between locations and regions. In order to provide information therefore on staff in the UK Visas and Immigration, Border Force and Immigration Enforcement Directorates who reside in Northern Ireland, locally held deployment plans would need to be collected and analysed against individual employee’s home addresses. This would incur disproportionate cost.

Women and Equalities

Equal Pay

Gloria De Piero: To ask the Ministers for Women and Equalities what recent meetings she has had with ministerial colleagues on the gender pay gap. [205141]

Jo Swinson: The Government's Women and the Economy action plan sets out a clear programme of work to maximise women's contribution to economic growth and address the gender pay gap. I have oversight of this, as well as being the Minister responsible for key elements of it, such as extending flexible working, introducing shared parental leave, and increasing the number of women on company boards. I regularly meet with ministerial colleagues and others to discuss these issues, and the Ministers for Women gave a joint presentation to Cabinet in April on these issues.

Equality and Human Rights Commission

Gloria De Piero: To ask the Ministers for Women and Equalities what the average salary was of (a) male and (b) female employees of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission (i) of each ethnicity and (ii) at each grade for the latest period for which figures are available. [205157]

17 July 2014 : Column 787W

Jo Swinson: The Equality and Human Rights Commission is an independent body and is responsible for its own staff management, including staff salaries. I have therefore asked the chief executive of the Commission to write to the hon. Member with the information requested.

Gloria De Piero: To ask the Ministers for Women and Equalities how many non-permanent staff of the Equalities and Human Rights Commission are paid a daily sum of (a) £1,000 or more, (b) between £750 and £1,000, (c) between £500 and £750 and (d) between £250 and £500 inclusive of VAT for their work with that body. [205575]

Jo Swinson: The Equality and Human Rights Commission is an independent body and is responsible for its own staff management, including non-permanent staff salaries. I have therefore asked the chief executive of the commission to write to the hon. Member with the information requested.

Flexible Working

Gloria De Piero: To ask the Ministers for Women and Equalities (1) what steps she has taken to encourage flexible working in the Government Equalities Office; [205147]

(2) how many women have made a statutory application to request flexible working in the Government Equalities Office; and how many of those applications have been granted. [205155]

17 July 2014 : Column 788W

Jo Swinson: The Government Equalities Office (GEO) embraces flexible working. All posts are advertised on a flexible basis and GEO employees have always had the opportunity to request temporary or permanent changes to their working patterns at any time. This approach significantly reduces the need for GEO employees to make a statutory application for flexible working and we have no record of any such request having been made.

Transport

British Transport Police Authority

Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects to publish the Part 2 report of the Triennial Review of the British Transport Police Authority. [205580]

Claire Perry: We expect to publish the Part 2 Report in the autumn.

Procurement

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much and what proportion of his Department'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 Department's budget he expects to be contracted out in 2014-15. [205226]

Claire Perry: The amount and proportion of the Department’s budget spent on contracted out activities is given in the following table.

 2009-102010-112011-122012-132013-142014-15

Amount (£ million)

20

17

11

15

24

22

Proportion of total DEL budget (%)

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.1

0.2

0.2

Railways: Bus Services

Heidi Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how much Network Rail has paid to First Bus, its subsidiaries or companies where First Bus has an ownership stake for the provision of rail replacement bus services in each train operating company area during disruption caused during the recent winter storms; [205526]

(2) how much Network Rail has paid to First Bus, its subsidiaries or companies where First Bus has an ownership stake for the provision of rail replacement bus services in each train operating company area. [205527]

Claire Perry: Under Schedule 4 of the Track Access Agreements between Network Rail and the train operating companies, Network Rail compensates train operators on a formula basis for the estimated overall cost impact of network possessions. It is the train operator that is responsible for providing and meeting the cost of any rail replacement bus services, not Network Rail.

Railways: Cumbria

Mr Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what plans his Department has to introduce driver-only operation on trains on the Cumbrian Coast railway line in the new Northern franchise; [205699]

(2) what plans his Department has to (a) close and (b) reduce the opening hours of station ticket offices on the Cumbrian Coast railway line. [205698]

Claire Perry: The Department for Transport is currently conducting a joint public consultation with Rail North on a range of options for the future Northern and TransPennine Express franchises; no decisions have yet been taken. The consultation concludes 18 August 2014 and can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/future-of-northern-and-transpennine-express-rail-franchises

17 July 2014 : Column 789W

Railways: North of England

Mr Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the projected passenger numbers are for the Northern and TransPennine franchises for (a) 2014 and (b) each of the next five years. [205694]

Claire Perry: In response to (a) the projected passenger numbers for 2014 are as follows:

Northern franchise—circa 97 million passenger journeys

TransPennine franchise—circa 28 million passenger journeys.

In response to (b) I refer the hon. Member to the written answer given to the hon. Member for Stockton North (Alex Cunningham), on 3 July 2014, Official Report, columns 696-98W.

Mr Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans his Department has to introduce smart ticketing for rail services in the North of England. [205695]

Claire Perry: The Department remains committed to rolling out smart ticketing across the rail network. We want the whole experience of travelling by rail to be modern, seamless and easy, starting with buying a ticket to travel.

The Department’s plans for delivering smart ticketing on rail were set out in last year’s ‘Rail Fares and Ticketing: Next Steps’. This document set out our commitment to deliver on the current South East Flexible Ticketing (SEFT) programme and, subject to project success and future funding, to extend this approach, probably with a focus on cities outside London with a significant rail commuter base. This represents part of the long term aim for smart enablement of the entire rail network.

Since the publication of this review we have made substantial progress with the SEFT programme. The approach has underlined the value and importance of working collectively with train operators, city transport authorities and the Department. In addition, the DFT, in partnership with nine Passenger Transport Executives and Cities predominantly in the North, and with input from operators, has established the Smart Cities Partnership programme. This programme comprises eleven work streams focused on accelerating the delivery of smart and interoperable ticketing in cities.

One of the work streams is focused on the interface between smart cities and rail, in particular what should be done in relation to the Northern and Trans Pennine Express (TPE) franchises. This work is at an early stage but it will inform the Northern and TPE franchise requirements.

Rescue Services: Sky Lanterns and Helium Balloons

Mr Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with representatives of the Maritime Coastguard Agency about the effect of sky lanterns on the Coastguard’s operations. [205661]

Mr Hayes: No discussion have been held between Ministers at the Department for Transport and representatives of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) about the effect of sky lanterns on the Coastguard’s operations.

17 July 2014 : Column 790W

Officials at the MCA were consulted and provided data for the report prepared for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Welsh Government in May 2013.

Mr Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the definition of ‘incidents’ on page 18 of the report Sky lanterns and helium balloons, published by his Department in May 2013, how many such incidents were caused by sky lanterns in 2013. [205662]

Mr Hayes: In 2013, the number of reported incidents likely to have been caused by sky lanterns was 129. This figure was collated using the same definition of an incident as used in the statistic of an incident in the report prepared for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and the Welsh Government in May 2013.

Mr Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the definition of ‘incidents’ on page 18 of the report Sky lanterns and helium balloons, published by his Department in May 2013, what estimate he has made of the cost to the Maritime Coastguard Agency of such incidents in 2013. [205658]

Mr Hayes: The Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s HM Coastguard (HMCG) does not, as a matter of routine, estimate the cost of individual incidents. However, statistics reveal that in 2013, HMCG received 129 reported alerts. There is a high probability that these reports were of sky lanterns. This represents a drop in number from previous years.

Mr Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what assessment he has made of the implications for the Coastguard service of the conclusions in the report Sky lanterns and helium balloons, published by his Department in May 2013; [205660]

(2) what discussions he has had with the Maritime Coastguard Agency on (a) initiatives to increase public awareness of the effects sky lanterns can have on coastguard services and (b) what action can be taken to discourage the use of red sky lanterns. [205659]

Mr Hayes: The report acknowledges the rise in incidents involving sky lanterns up to 2010 and the fall in incident numbers since that date. This trend continued into 2013, with 129 attributable incidents.

The MCA believes that this reduction is likely to have been assisted by the following mitigation:

Since 2009, the vast majority of manufacturers of sky lanterns appear to have complied with the request to place a warning on their packaging advising users not to release lanterns in the marine environment, and asking users to pre-warn the emergency authorities in the area if they intend to release lanterns. Some users have also complied with this request.

The MCA has distributed a short film via ‘YouTube’ giving advice on the use of sky lanterns near the coast.

The MCA has also improved the instructions given to HMCG watchkeepers to assist their questioning of callers and information gathering, so that they can quickly establish the nature and particular characteristics of what the caller has observed in the sky.

Volunteer and full-time Coastguards include advice on the use of sky lanterns in the safety information they provide to members and organisations in their local communities.

17 July 2014 : Column 791W

The report shows no evidence of any adverse impacts of helium balloons on coastal rescue services.

Currently there is no legislation to prevent the use of sky lanterns. However, the MCA will continue to assess how to minimise the implications of their use generally.

No discussions have been held between Ministers at the Department for Transport and representatives of the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) about the awareness and use of sky lanterns on the Coastguard's operations.

Roads

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what guidance his Department gives to local authorities on (a) the number of times grass verges should be cut and (b) the quality of the cut; and if he will make a statement. [205248]

Mr Goodwill: Local highway authorities have a duty under Section 41 of the Highways Act 1980 to maintain the highways network in their area. This includes the cutting of grass, verges, shrubs and trees. It is for each individual local highway authority to decide on the number of times that grass verges should be cut and the quality of the cut based upon their local knowledge and other circumstances including taking into account safety, environmental and conservation considerations.

The Department for Transport encourages good practice in highway maintenance through channels such as ‘Well-maintained Highways’, the Code of Practice for highway maintenance by the UK Roads Liaison Group. It is available at the following weblink:

www.ukroadsliaisongroup.org

The Code advises local authorities on a wide range of highways maintenance issues, including grass cutting and highway verge management. Central Government has no powers to override local decisions in these matters.

Shipping: Oil

Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which oil transfer licences applied for under the Merchant Shipping (Ship-to-Ship Transfers) Regulations 2010 have required determination under Schedule 1 of likely effects on European wildlife sites. [205408]

Mr Hayes: To date four applications for oil transfer licences have required determination under Schedule 1 of the Merchant Shipping (Ship-to-Ship Transfers) Regulations 2010.

A fifth oil transfer licence application went to consultation on the 10 July 2014. During its assessment it will require determination under Schedule 1 of the Merchant Shipping (Ship-to-Ship Transfers) Regulations 2010.

Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which oil transfer licences have been (a) applied for and (b) consented under the Merchant Shipping (Ship-to-Ship Transfers) Regulations 2010 as amended to date. [205409]

Mr Hayes: To date the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has received five applications for an oil transfer licence.

Of these three have been consented. These are:

17 July 2014 : Column 792W

Shetland Island Council—Sullom Voe;

Cromarty Firth Port Authority—Nigg Oil Terminal; and

Port of Grangemouth.

The fourth application for the Finnart Ocean Terminal (Loch Fyne) has completed consultation and has been assessed by the MCA. A final decision is pending, awaiting legal clarification.

The fifth application, for ship-to-ship transfers in Scapa Flow, has just been received and went out to public consultation on 10 July 2014.

Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what role is played by (a) Ministers in the Scottish Government, (b) Scottish Natural Heritage and (c) the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency in the consenting process for oil transfer licences made under the Merchant Shipping (Ship-to-Ship Transfers) Regulations 2010. [205410]

Mr Hayes: The local government authority, in whose area the proposed site is situated, is always consulted as part of the public consultation process that accompanies an application for an Oil Transfer Licence within the UK. Members of Parliament or the Scottish Parliament may get involved in the public consultation, as may Ministers in the Scottish Government, by replying to the consultation.

Both Scottish Natural Heritage and the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency are among the mandatory consultees for all applications for an Oil Transfer Licence, where the application is for a location in Scotland.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency, acting on behalf of the Secretary of State for Transport, is the Competent Authority for managing, assessing and issuing Oil Transfer Licences within the UK. This is a reserved matter for the UK Government.

Shipping: Pollution

Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what role the Scottish Government plays in ensuring compliance with the International Convention for the Control of Ships' Ballast Water; [205436]

(2) what recent steps his Department has taken to ensure compliance with the International Convention for the Control of Ships' Ballast Water. [205411]

Mr Hayes: The International Convention for the Control of Ships’ Ballast Water is not yet in force internationally.

In order to achieve its widespread adoption member states of the International Maritime Organisation including the UK are finalising the enforcement regime associated with the convention. Shipping is a reserved matter. The UK Government sought input from the Scottish Government in the development of the convention and the Scottish Government is being consulted on the negotiating position taken by the UK.

Transport: Northern Ireland

Mr Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps his Department has taken to assist the Northern Ireland Executive to encourage investment through both regional and international routes to Northern Ireland. [205009]

17 July 2014 : Column 793W

Mr Goodwill: The right hon. Member will be aware that many areas of transport policy, such as ports, are devolved to the Executive.

The Chancellor announced in this year’s Budget that funding to maintain existing air connectivity to London—first announced in the 2013 Spending Round last June—will increase from £10 million to £20 million per year. It would also be expanded to include provision for start-up aid for new air routes from UK regional airports, including those in Northern Ireland, which handle fewer than 5 million passengers per year. The Department will publish guidance that will clarify how the Government will expect to interpret the European Union State aid guidelines on start-up aid for new air routes, and explain how the funding process will operate across the UK.

Previously, reflecting the wishes of the Northern Ireland Executive, the Government devolved to Northern Ireland the power to set Air Passenger Duty rates for long haul flights departing Northern Ireland. The zero rate for direct long haul flights departing from Northern Ireland took effect from 1 January 2013. This enables airports in Northern Ireland to compete effectively with airports in the Republic of Ireland.

Travel: Concessions

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how much was spent on concessionary travel in Warrington in each year since 2008-09. [205522]

Mr Hayes: The annual amount spent by Warrington council on concessionary travel, including the statutory concession and any relevant discretionary enhancements, is as follows:

 £ million

2008-09

3.464

2009-10

3.695

2010-11

3.902

2011-12

3.544

2012-13

3.77

These figures are adjusted for inflation to give expenditure at 2012-13 prices. Figures for 2013-14 are still being collated.

Further data (including non-inflation-adjusted figures) are detailed in transport statistics table BUS0812, which can be viewed at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/bus08-concessionary-travel

Treasury

Bank Services

Seema Malhotra: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the number of people without a bank account in (a) Hounslow, (b) London and (c) the UK in each of the last five years. [205275]

Andrea Leadsom: The Government has made no such estimate.

The Government is committed to improving access to financial services. To this end the major UK banks voluntarily offer basic bank accounts alongside their other retail current accounts.

17 July 2014 : Column 794W

As recommended by the Parliamentary Commission on Banking Standards, the Government is currently taking forward discussions with the banking sector to seek a voluntary agreement on renewed minimum standards for basic bank accounts.

Child Tax Credit

Mr Sanders: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will make it his policy to allow child tax credit awards to continue for children over the age of 19 where their school education has been delayed by ill health. [204997]

Priti Patel: Child tax credit is payable in respect of young people in full time non-advanced education providing that it started before their 19th birthday.

Income Tax: Westmorland

Tim Farron: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people in Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency have paid less in income tax since the changes to the income tax threshold since 2010. [205050]

Mr Gauke: By April this year this Government's increases in the personal allowance (for those born after 5 April 1948) are estimated to have taken over 3 million individuals out of the income tax system altogether. 343,000 of these individuals live in the North West and Merseyside region, which includes the parliamentary constituency of Westmorland and Lonsdale.

These estimates are based on the 2011-12 Survey of Personal Incomes, projected to 2014-15 using economic assumptions consistent with the Office for Budget Responsibility’s March 2014 economic and fiscal outlook.

HM Treasury does not publish this information at constituency level.

Mapeley

Charlie Elphicke: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when HM Revenue and Customs last issued revised non-binding estates strategies to Mapeley STEPS Contractor Limited under 10.14 of the private finance initiative contract between HM Revenue and Customs and Mapeley STEPS Contractor Limited. [205617]

Mr Gauke: The Department last advised Mapeley STEPS Contractor Limited of its non-binding estate strategy at the STEPS management meeting on 22 May 2014.

Charlie Elphicke: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when HM Revenue and Customs will next carry out period monitoring and spot checks of Mapeley STEPS Contractor Limited in respect of Mapeley STEPS Contractors Limited's compliance with its other obligations under 17.2 (c) of the private finance initiative contract between HM Revenue and Customs and Mapeley STEPS Contractor Limited. [205618]

Mr Gauke: Periodic monitoring and spot checks of Mapeley STEPS Contractor Limited are ongoing.

17 July 2014 : Column 795W

Organised Crime: Northern Ireland

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what change there has been in the level of fuel laundering and organised crime in border areas of Northern Ireland over the last five years.. [205622]

Priti Patel: HMRC does not measure the different forms of fuel fraud such as fuel laundering. HMRC does measure the tax gap for fuel, published in the document at the following link. In Northern Ireland (NI) this has in the past included cross border shopping but in October 2013 HMRC for the first time published an estimate of the illicit market share for fuel in Northern Ireland for the period 2011-12, at 12-13% for diesel and negligible for petrol.

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/measuring-tax-gaps-tables

HMRC contribute and support the multi-agency approach to organised crime in NI as detailed in the Organised Crime Strategy 2014 published by the Department of Justice NI and reproduced in the following link:

http://www.dojni.gov.uk/index/publications/publication-categories/pubs-policing-community-safety/community-safety/organised-crime/organised-crime-strategy-2014.htm

HMRC fights fraud on a wide range of fronts, from special units performing thousands of roadside checks to raiding laundering plants. The UK has recently announced, jointly with Ireland, an improved new marker for rebated fuel, which will make it much harder to launder marked fuel and sell it at a profit.

Remittances

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many UK non-domiciles were paying the remittance charge in each of the last five years. [205569]

Mr Gauke: The number of non-domiciles that paid the remittance basis charge in each of the last five tax years is as follows (rounded to the nearest 100):

 Number

2009-10

5,200

2010-11

5,500

2011-12

5,500

2012-13

5,100

The figure for the tax year 2013 to 2014 is not available as the filing deadline has not yet passed.

Tourism: VAT

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the effects of VAT at 20 per cent on visitor accommodation and attractions on the cost of an average family holiday in the UK; what assessment he has made of the contribution of tourism in coastal towns to the UK economy; and if he will make a statement. [205606]

Mr Gauke: No estimate has been made of the effects of VAT.

17 July 2014 : Column 796W

The Government recognises that tourism is vital for many coastal towns and an important part of the UK visitor economy. The 2013 Great Britain Tourism Survey estimated that day and overnight visits by British residents to the seaside brought £9.5 billion of spending to coastal areas in 2013. Coastal towns also benefit from inbound visits. 2013 was a record year with 33 million visits, resulting in £21 billion of spend in the UK.