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20 Dec 2010 : Column 1050W—continued

Royal Mail: Privatisation

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent estimate his Department has made of the cost to the public purse of the mechanisms necessary to facilitate the privatisation of Royal Mail. [32059]

Mr Davey: A decision on the form of process for a future disposal of Royal Mail shares has yet to be made so there is no overall estimate for the costs involved.

The Government believe that it is entirely appropriate to take expert commercial advice on a major transaction to ensure that the taxpayer receives value for money. We fully expect the overall costs to be consistent with or lower than the usual for a similar transaction.

Science: Research

Esther McVey: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department is taking to assist science and technology research institutions in contributing to economic growth. [31490]

Mr Willetts: HEFCE and the Research Councils will work together so that rewards and incentives to bring universities and business closer together are delivered coherently:

Full details of funding for these initiatives for 2011-15 can be found in the document "The Allocation of Science and Research Funding" published on the BIS website today.

Esther McVey: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Education on the future of science research and expertise in England. [31491]


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Mr Willetts: Both my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and I have regular discussions with my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education and the Minister of State for Schools. The importance of science education in schools and universities has been discussed by us in the context of the National Curriculum Review and the Schools White Paper.

Sheffield Forgemasters: Finance

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 14 December 2010, Official Report, columns 689-90W, on nuclear power stations: construction, what assessment he has made of the effects on (a) the supply chain and (b) the economy of the decision not to proceed with a loan to Sheffield Forgemasters; and if he will re-open discussions with Sheffield Forgemasters with the aim of enabling them to finance the purchase of a 15,000 tonne press for use in the supply chain for new nuclear facilities. [32247]

Mr Prisk: No direct assessment was made on the effects of the supply chain but we are aware of the interest from parts of the industry regarding the withdrawal of this conditional loan.

As my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Business stated in his written ministerial statement to the House on the 27 July this year, Official Report, column 79WS:

He also made clear in his evidence to the Committee, that Sheffield Forgemasters would be welcome to put in an application for support under the Regional Growth Fund.

Students: Fees and Charges

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether he has carried out an equality impact assessment of the likely effects of changes to the level of tuition fees on students from a low socio-economic background. [31685]

Mr Willetts: The Department has published an interim equality impact assessment which considered the likely effects of the proposed HE funding and student finance reform package on students from a low socio-economic background.

The interim equality impact assessment is available at:

Students: Loans

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many loan applications the Student Loans Company has not yet processed; how many such applications were received prior to 31 July 2010; and if he will make a statement. [30466]


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Mr Willetts: By 14 October 2010, the latest date for which official figures are available, the Student Loans Company (SLC) had received a total of 715,000 applications for financial support from new and continuing students in England for the academic year 2010/11. Of these, 26,000 applications had been cancelled or deemed ineligible and 606,000 had been prepared for payment. In 72,000 cases the SLC was awaiting further evidence or a signed loan acceptance form from the applicant in order to progress the application. 11,000 applications had not yet been processed and were with the SLC for assessment.

Of the 83,000 live applications not yet prepared for payment at 14 October, 41,000 were received before 31 July 2010. Data are not immediately available to show how many of those applications were awaiting further information from the applicant and how many were with the SLC for assessment. The SLC publicised the deadlines for applications for student financial support, the last of which was at the end of June 2010, through radio and press campaigns, as well as through the NUS, UCAS and online. By the start of term, SLC had paid 99.3% of all eligible applications received before the relevant deadlines with the right documentation.

Universities: Applications

Jack Dromey: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many people resident in Birmingham, Erdington constituency (a) applied to attend university in the academic year 2010-11 and (b) were successful in their applications; and what proportion of each were from disadvantaged backgrounds. [31626]

Mr Willetts: The information is in the following table and is provided by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) and therefore mostly covers full-time undergraduate study.

Applicants who were not accepted for entry can include: individuals who did not receive 'any' offer; individuals who received an offer (conditional or unconditional) but decided not to go to university; individuals who received a 'conditional' offer and failed to meet the specific conditions (e.g. they did not achieve certain grades); and individuals who decided to withdraw from the UCAS system.

Applicants and accepted applicants from Birmingham, Erdington constituency to full-time undergraduate courses in UK institutions via UCAS by area background, 2010/11
Area background Applicants Percentage of total Accepted applicants Percentage of total

Disadvantaged(1)

614

71

402

71

Other

249

29

167

29

Grand total

863

100

569

100

(1) For the purposes of their funding allocations, the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) treat entrants from the most disadvantaged 40% of neighbourhoods as 'disadvantaged', available at:
http://www.hefce.ac.uk/widen/fund/
HEFCE uses two different groupings of areas to define disadvantage which are based on the historic levels of participation or qualification in higher education by the local population: one based on the participation rates of young (19 and under) people in HE (which is used by HEFCE when looking at young full-time entrants); and one based on the proportion of adults in the area who hold HE qualifications (which is used by HEFCE when looking at part-time and mature full-time entrants). Because this table includes applicants and accepted applicants of all ages, disadvantage is defined by the HE qualified adults measure.
Source:
UCAS provisional end of year data (represents applicants and accepted applicants at 13 October 2010; end of year data will be available from 20 January 2011).

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Welsh Language

Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills when his Department last published a Welsh language scheme in accordance with the provisions of the Welsh Language Act 1993; and at which web addresses such schemes can be accessed in (a) Welsh and (b) English. [31158]

Mr Davey: The BIS Welsh Language Scheme was last published in May 2009. The web address for both the Welsh and English versions is:

Working Time Directive

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what provisions are in place to ensure observance by employers of the requirements of the Working Time Directive. [31613]

Mr Davey: Enforcement of entitlements under the Working Time Regulations is split between different authorities. For example, the working time limits and health assessment requirements (for night workers) are enforced by the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) in industrial premises, schools and hospitals. The entitlements to rest and leave are enforced through employment tribunals.

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what requirements there are on employers to maintain a register of employees who opt out of the provisions of the Working Time Directive. [31614]

Mr Davey: Regulation 4(2) of the Working Time Regulations requires an employer to keep up-to-date records of all workers who have signed an opt-out agreement to work beyond the 48 hour average weekly limit.

Culture, Media and Sport

BBC: Trade Unions

Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the voting patterns of BBC employees; and if he will make a statement. [31930]

Mr Vaizey: The Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport has undertaken no assessment.

Churches: Repairs and Maintenance

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport in respect of how many eligible places of worship grants have been made under the listed places of worship grant scheme in the latest period for which figures are available; and what the average amount of each grant was in the latest period for which figures are available. [32102]


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John Penrose: The listed places of worship grant scheme makes payments equivalent to the VAT incurred in making repairs to listed buildings primarily in use for public worship. In the 2009-10 financial year, 3,745 claims were paid UK-wide, with a total value of £14,963,412.67, giving an average grant of £3,996.

Cultural Institutions: Finance

Mr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what mechanism the Government plans to put in place to enable cultural institutions to generate more funding from private sources. [31526]

Mr Vaizey: We have announced a 10 point action plan to boost philanthropy in the cultural sector. The action plan comprises:

Departmental Pay

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many staff employed by his Department were not paid at a rate equivalent to or above the London living wage in the latest period for which figures are available. [31230]

John Penrose: No staff employed by the Department have been paid at a rate which is equivalent or below the London living wage in the last financial year.

Departmental Public Expenditure

Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what recent estimate he has made of the effect of the increase in the standard rate of value added tax on his Department's annual expenditure. [31173]

John Penrose: The departmental spending review settlements are set on a tax-inclusive basis, including the increase to the standard rate of VAT. Budget managers within the Department are aware of the upcoming change and this has been factored into their budget planning.


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Freeview Service

Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what proportion of the UK's (a) territory and (b) population do not receive the full range of public service channels available via Freeview digital terrestrial services; and if he will make a statement. [31093]

Mr Vaizey: After switchover 98.5% of households will be able to receive around 15 Freeview channels including all the public service broadcasting channels. In addition about 90% of households who get their signal from a main transmitter will receive services from all six multiplexes.

Horniman Museum

Jim Dowd: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport which alternative bodies are being considered as potential sponsors for the Horniman Museum and Gardens for the period after 2014-15; when he expects the process of identifying sponsors to be concluded; and what arrangements will be put in place should no such sponsor be identified. [31854]

Mr Vaizey: The Department has considered a number of potential sponsors and will make a statement once a new sponsor has been confirmed. The Department hopes to conclude this process by April 2011. In the unlikely event that no new sponsorship arrangements can be found for the Horniman Museum, the Department will consider the needs of the museum along with its other sponsored bodies in the next spending review period.

Museums, Libraries and Archives Council

Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what plans he has for the future of the Museum Accreditation Scheme following the abolition of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. [31551]

Mr Vaizey: On 9 December Arts Council England announced that it was to take over a number of the functions relating to museums and libraries, including the museum accreditation scheme, following the abolition of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council.

Museums: Closures

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many public sector museums in (a) the West Midlands and (b) England closed in each year since 2003. [31811]

Mr Vaizey: Since the start of the Museums, Libraries and Council Renaissance programme in 2002, none of the regional hub museum services have closed. Information on closures of independent, local authority or charitably funded museums is not held centrally.


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Museums: Finance

Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what resources his Department made available to Arts Council England for museums development work in the last 12 months; what the scope of that work was; and whether its was additional to grants awarded under the Renaissance programme. [31552]

Mr Vaizey: This Department made no resources available to Arts Council England for museums development work in the last 12 months.

Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what funding his Department expects to make available under the Renaissance programme to hub museums in 2011-12; by what mechanism such funding will be distributed; and when he expects to announce his decision on the selection of hub museums from 2012-13. [31554]

Mr Vaizey: The Renaissance programme has been allocated £45.6 million in 2011-12 and responsibility for the programme will transfer to Arts Council England (ACE) during 2011-12. We have asked ACE and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council to work together on detailed plans for the future of the Renaissance programme and we expect an announcement in due course.

Olympic Games 2012: Football

Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport pursuant to the oral answer from the Prime Minister to the right hon. Member for Tottenham of 15 December 2010, Official Report, column 905, what his policy is on the principle of a professional football club using the Olympic Stadium in London after 2012. [31848]

Hugh Robertson: Our main priority is to ensure a long-term, sustainable legacy for the Olympic Stadium. The Olympic Park Legacy Company is leading on determining the legacy use of the stadium and is currently negotiating with the two short-listed consortiums bidding to use the Stadium after the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Olympic Games 2012: Human Trafficking

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what organisations he has consulted to assist him to assess the risks of people trafficking associated with the London 2012 Olympics; and whether he plans to take specific steps to reduce that risk. [30812] [Official Report, 11 January 2011, Vol. 521, c. 3-4MC.]

Hugh Robertson: Regular threat briefings take place between the Secretary of State, the Minister for Sport and the Olympics and the Olympic Intelligence Centre, a dedicated body within the Metropolitan Police that gathers information from the security services and regional police forces about potential threats to the games. As part of this the Department have been informed that we are not currently seeing any evidence of an increase in human trafficking related to the London 2012 games.


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However, we remain vigilant and will be continuously reviewing the threat of human trafficking. The Government are determined to deter traffickers from exploiting London 2012 and we are building on the considerable expertise the UK has in tackling this issue. Should the intelligence indicate an increase in trafficking we shall ensure that the appropriate measures are in place.

Public Libraries: Finance

Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what plans he has for the future of the Future Libraries Programme and its current partnerships with (a) his Department and (b) the Local Government Association to support the development of local government cultural services following the abolition of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. [31553]

Mr Vaizey: On 9 December 2010 Arts Council England announced that it was to take over a number of the functions relating to museums and libraries following the abolition of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council. This will include aspects of the Future Libraries programme and other support for local government cultural services.

Taekwondo

Rosie Cooper: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what role (a) Sport England and (b) the British Taekwondo Control Board have in regulating Taekwondo; what recent discussions he has had with the British Taekwondo Control Board on its remit; what recent representations he has received from (i) practitioners of the sport and (ii) others on the British Taekwondo Control Board; and what response he has made to such representations. [31945]

Hugh Robertson: Governing bodies of sports are self-regulating membership organisations; therefore Sport England does not act as a regulator of Taekwondo. Between them, though, Sport England and UK Sport do work with Sport Taekwondo UK Ltd (which is the body in receipt of their awards) to ensure that the public money going into the sport is being spent appropriately.

The British Taekwondo Control Board (BTCB) is the governing body recognised by the World Taekwondo Federation (WTF) for WTF Taekwondo (including the Olympic discipline) in the United Kingdom.

I have had no recent discussions with the BTCB and the Department has received no direct representations from either practitioners of the sport or others on the BTCB.

Cabinet Office

Deaths: Winter

Valerie Vaz: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office pursuant to the answer of 1 December 2010, Official Report, column 881W, on deaths: winter, what assessment he has made of the likely effectiveness of (a) winter resilience measures and (b) steps to prevent excess winter deaths since his most recent discussions with his Ministerial colleagues. [30936]


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Mr Maude: Going into the winter, the UK was better prepared than at the same time last year following implementation of the key recommendations of David Quarmby's review of winter resilience. Since then, we have seen the coldest November across the UK since 1993, with the most significant snowfalls in parts of the country since 1965. As of 9 December, over £196 million is estimated to have been paid out in cold weather payments to the poorest households, and 12.9 million pensioners have received Winter Fuel Payments to help them heat their homes. The Department of Health has also launched its annual Keep Warm Keep Well Campaign for 2010-11.

Ministers have met to review preparedness for further severe weather and the Secretary of State for Transport asked David Quarmby on 1 December to conduct an urgent audit of transport operators' performance following the heavy snow in November, their progress in implementing the recommendations from his review published in October and to recommend any further steps that need to be taken to further enhance our resilience. The Government will respond promptly to his recommendations which are expected before Christmas.

Departmental Press: Subscriptions

Robert Halfon: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how much his Department spent on press cuttings services in each year since 1997. [28138]

Mr Maude: The information requested is available only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Public Expenditure

Hywel Williams: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what recent estimate he has made of the effect of the increase in the standard rate of value added tax on his Department's annual expenditure. [31190]

Mr Maude: The estimated annual increase in expenditure as a direct result of the increase in the standard rate is £700,000, which is expected to be fully offset by cost reductions arising from improvements in efficiency and effectiveness.

Government Departments: Telephone Services

Mary Macleod: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office whether he has plans to bring forward proposals to prevent the use of 0870 and 0845 telephone numbers by central government departments. [29985]

Mr Maude: Decisions regarding the most appropriate choice of number for public sector organisations lie with these organisations. In May 2009 the Cabinet Office Contact Council published a guide to number ranges for public sector organisations and updated this guide in February 2010. This guide includes a recommendation that Government Departments should consider the cost of accessing the service to make sure that citizens on low income can afford to make contact.


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Internet: Data Protection

Ian Lucas: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will take steps to increase the level of (a) public awareness of the information collected by internet search engines and (b) the laws which apply to the use of such information. [30341]

Mr Vaizey: I have been asked to reply.

The Government are currently implementing the various requirements of the revised European Framework on Telecommunications, which are expected to be completed by June 2011. Enhanced user privacy is a key element of the new measures and will enable users to exercise more control over their personal data. Additionally, rules concerning privacy and data protection will be strengthened ensuring that internet users are better informed about applications such as "cookies" and similar devices, as well as what happens to and the use made of, their personal data. The general principle of the law not differentiating between an illegal act committed online and an illegal act committed offline, applies in all cases. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) oversees the requirements and protections in relation to data through the Data Protection Act 1998.

Public Bodies: Telephone Services

Alun Cairns: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will take steps to prevent public bodies using 0870 and 0845 numbers; and if he will make a statement. [25697]

Mr Maude: Decisions regarding the most appropriate choice of number for public sector organisations lie with these organisations. In May 2009 the Cabinet Office Contact Council published a guide to number ranges for public sector organisations and updated this guide in February 2010. This guide includes a recommendation that Government Departments should consider the cost of accessing the service to make sure that citizens on low income can afford to make contact.

Voluntary Work: Young People

Dr Creasy: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many places he expects to be available on the National Citizenship Pilot schemes in 2011 to young people aged 16 years in each constituency. [30809]

Mr Hurd: While it is not possible to say with certainty how many National Citizen Service pilot places will be available in each constituency, owing to the geographical coverage of each pilot and the likelihood that local schemes may recruit young people from more than one constituency, I am placing in the Libraries of both Houses a list of the numbers planned in each geographical location. I have also written to the hon. Member with this information.

Voting Rights: Prisoners

Mr Buckland: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office pursuant to the oral answer of 23 November 2010, Official Report, column 153, on prisoners (voting rights), if he will assess the merits of bringing forward
20 Dec 2010 : Column 1060W
proposals to restrict voting rights for prisoners to those limited to serving custodial sentences for summary offences determined by magistrates courts. [30857]

Mr Harper: The Government announced today by written ministerial statement how it intends to implement the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in relation to prisoner voting rights.

Welsh Language

Hywel Williams: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office when his Department last published a Welsh language scheme in accordance with the provisions of the Welsh Language Act 1993; and at which web addresses such schemes can be accessed in (a) Welsh and (b) English. [31159]

Mr Maude: The Cabinet Office Welsh Language Scheme is being developed and is due for publication in the new year.

Education

International League Tables

20. Jeremy Lefroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what recent assessment he has made of the performance of school in England against international comparators. [31441]

Mr Gibb: The OECD PISA report underlines the urgent need to reform our schools system. We need to learn from the best-performing countries which have succeeded in raising attainment for all pupils and making opportunity more equal-countries which recruit the best teachers, give greater autonomy to the front line, and make schools more accountable to their communities. It is only through such whole-system reform that we can make our nation one of the world's top performers.

Commercialisation of Childhood

21. Fiona Bruce: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what plans he has to address the commercialisation and premature sexualisation of childhood. [31442]

Sarah Teather: Parents express real concern about children being pressured into growing up too quickly, to become consumers or sexualised adults earlier than is appropriate. The Government have therefore made a commitment to take action to protect children from excessive commercialisation and premature sexualisation. I have asked Mr Reg Bailey, chief executive of the Mothers' Union, to conduct an independent review of the issue and to make a full report with recommendations in May 2011.

School Sports Funding

Mr Hepburn: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what recent representations he has received on school sports funding; and if he will make a statement. [31430]


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Michael Gove: I have received a range of representations about funding for school sport. These include: representations from Members through parliamentary questions and correspondence; letters from members of the public and interested parties; and a petition from young ambassadors of sport. There have also been representations through debates in the House on the subject.

Sheila Gilmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what discussions he had with Baroness Campbell and the Youth Sports Trust during his review of school sports policy. [31444]

Michael Gove: Baroness Campbell and the Youth Sport Trust have been involved closely in developing our proposals to create an Olympic and Paralympic style school sport competition. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport is leading this work and has held regular meetings with a range of interested bodies, including the Youth Sport Trust. Ministers and officials from this Department attend those meetings. The Secretary of State and I have both met Baroness Campbell in the course of developing our proposals.

Pupil Premium

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what proportion of funding for the pupil premium will come from his Department's planned budgetary provision for schools for 2011-12. [31443]

Sarah Teather: We are protecting school funding in the system at flat cash per pupil, before adding the pupil premium. School funding will rise by £3.6 billion by 2014-15; £2.5 billion of this is for the pupil premium; £1.1 billion is to cover rises in pupil numbers. The pupil premium is completely additional to the underlying settlement of flat cash per pupil.

Academies

Kevin Brennan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many academies which opened before 11 October have made arrangements under the procedure set out in the Academies Act 2010 to support an under-performing school in their area. [20046]

Mr Gibb [holding answer 28 October 2010]: All outstanding schools that have converted to become an academy were required to commit to support a weaker school, as part of the application process. For some schools this has involved establishing a new relationship with another school and for others maintaining and improving existing links with schools they have been working with for some time.

Bromley College

Joseph Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will assess the value for money of the proposed merger between Bromley College and Orpington College. [31461]

Mr Hayes [holding answer 16 December 2010]: I have been asked to reply.


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In the event that the Secretary of State receives a formal proposal to merge from Bromley college and Orpington college it will be assessed against the published criteria for such proposals which include the criterion that the proposal is likely to provide better value for money.

Care Homes: Standards

Ann Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education pursuant to the answer of 26 July 2010, Official Report, column 810W, on care homes: standards, for what reasons publication of the national minimum standards for children's homes did not occur in November 2010; and what the reasons are for the time taken in publication. [29862]

Tim Loughton [holding answer 9 December 2010]: A post consultation version of the National Minimum Standards for children's homes was published on the Department's website on 1 November 2010. It is available at:

This version is the near final one. It was not possible to publish an absolutely final version as some minor changes may be necessary in consequence of the revision of the children's homes regulations and statutory guidance. Consultation on the regulations and guidance closed on 19 November 2010. The responses are now being analysed with a view to publishing new revised regulations and guidance, along with the final version of the NMS, early in 2011.

Children Act 1989

Dr Thérèse Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether he is reviewing the adequacy of the (a) provisions of the Children Act 1989 in respect of the forced removal of children and (b) other provisions of that Act. [27032]

Tim Loughton: Legislation relating to children and young people is reviewed as appropriate in the context of relevant policy development. We do not however believe there is a need to review the specific provisions in the Children Act 1989 with regard to the taking of children into care against their parents' wishes. The law is clear that children should live with their parents wherever possible. However, action must be taken if a child is suffering, or is likely to suffer, significant harm. Where a child is taken into care on a care order the court is required to treat the welfare of the child as its paramount consideration.

Departmental Manpower

Mr Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many members of staff are employed in the ministerial correspondence unit of his Department. [27205]

Tim Loughton: The Department employs 14.7 full-time equivalent staff who are responsible for ministerial correspondence.


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Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many officials have (a) joined and (b) left the private office of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families since May 2010; on what dates; for what reasons; and if he will make a statement. [28863]

Tim Loughton [holding answer 6 December 2010]: There have been no changes to my private office staff since May 2010.

Departmental Press: Subscriptions

Matthew Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Education to which local newspapers his Department had a subscription between June 2007 and May 2010; on what date each such subscription started; and what the cost to the public purse was of such subscriptions. [24428]

Tim Loughton: The Department and its predecessor had no subscriptions with local newspapers during the period in question.

Departmental Written Questions

Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many and what proportion of questions tabled to the Secretary of State and his predecessor for written answer on a named day were answered substantively before or on the day named for answer (a) in Session 2009-10 and (b) since May 2010; how many such questions tabled between May 2010 and 12 November 2010 had not received a substantive answer by 18 November 2010; and what estimate he has made of the average cost to his Department of answering a named day question on the day named for answer in the latest period for which figures are available. [25957]

Tim Loughton: The Government have committed to providing the Procedure Committee with sessional statistics in a standard format on the time taken to respond to written parliamentary questions for the 2009-10 Session. During the parliamentary Session 2009-10 the Department received 368 named day PQs. This information will be submitted to the Procedure Committee shortly.

Since May 2010 the Department has received 430 named day parliamentary questions, out of which 70 (16%) were answered on the specified named day.

The Department received 373 named day parliamentary questions between May 2010 and 12 November 2010, out of which 346 (93%) were answered by 18 November 2010.

The estimated cost to the Department in answering a written parliamentary questions is £154 per written question.

Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many and what proportion of questions tabled to the Secretary of State and his predecessor for ordinary written answer (a) in Session 2009-10 and (b) since May 2010 were answered within (i) seven days and (ii) 14 days of tabling; how many such questions tabled between May 2010 and 12 November 2010 remained unanswered by 18 November 2010; and what estimate he has made of the
20 Dec 2010 : Column 1064W
average cost to his Department of answering a question for ordinary written answer within seven days of tabling in the latest period for which figures are available. [25958]

Tim Loughton: The Government have committed to providing the Procedure Committee with sessional statistics in a standard format on the time taken to respond to written parliamentary questions for the 2009-10 session. This information will be submitted to the Procedure Committee shortly.

The Department received 1,298 ordinary written parliamentary questions between May 2010 and 12 November 2010, out of which 362 (28%) were answered within 10 days (the Department only collects management information on parliamentary questions answered within five and 10 days). A total of 42 (less then 1%) remained unanswered by 18 November 2010.

The estimated cost to the Department in answering a written parliamentary question is £154 per written question.

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many written questions tabled for answer on a named day received a (a) holding reply and (b) substantive response on the day they were due for answer from each Minister in his Department since 11 May 2010. [29707]

Tim Loughton [holding answer 9 December 2010]: The information requested is in the following table:

Minister Substantive responses issued on the due day Holding replies issued on the due day Total

Nick Gibb

25

298

323

Sarah Teather

8

49

57

Tim Loughton

14

49

63

Total

47

396

443


Education Maintenance Allowance

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Education on what date his Department's contract with Capita to deliver the education maintenance allowance will expire; and how much his Department will pay to Capita for the remainder of the contract. [28179]

Mr Gibb [holding answer 7 December 2010]: This is a matter for the Young People's Learning Agency (YPLA) who operate the education maintenance allowance for the Department for Education. Peter Lauener the YPLA's chief executive, will write to the hon. Member for Scunthorpe with the information requested and a copy of his reply will be placed in the House Libraries.

Mr Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many young people have received education maintenance allowance payments in (a) Blackpool and (b) England since the creation of the scheme. [29868]


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Mr Gibb [holding answer 9 December 2010]: This is a matter for the Young People's Learning Agency (YPLA) who operate the education maintenance allowance for the Department for Education. Peter Lauener, the YPLA's chief executive, has written to the hon. Member for Blackpool South with the information requested and a copy of his reply has been placed in the House Libraries.

Letter from Peter Lauener, dated 9 December 2010:

Academic year Take-up in Blackpool Take-up in England

2004/05

704

297,568

2005/06

1,318

430,327

2006/07

1,827

526,808

2007/08

2,022

547,235

2008/09

2,022

576,144

2009/10

2,374

644,497

2010/11

2,167

(1)586,221

(1 )As of 30 November 2010.

Education Maintenance Allowance: Brighton

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many students normally resident in Brighton Pavilion constituency receive education maintenance allowance; and what estimate he has made of the number who will receive an allowance following the implementation of proposals in the Comprehensive Spending Review. [28758]

Mr Gibb: This is a matter for the Young People's Learning Agency (YPLA) who operate the education maintenance allowance for the Department for Education. Peter Lauener, the YPLA's chief executive, has written to the hon. Member for Brighton Pavilion with the information requested and a copy of his reply has been placed in the House Libraries.

Letter from Peter Lauener, dated 8 December 2010:


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Education Maintenance Allowance: Bristol

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many young people were in receipt of education maintenance allowance in (a) Bristol East constituency and (b) Bristol in each of the last five years. [28230]

Mr Gibb: This is a matter for the Young People's Learning Agency (YPLA) who operate the education maintenance allowance for the Department for Education. Peter Lauener the YPLA's chief executive, has written to the hon. Member for Bristol East with the information requested and a copy of his reply has been placed in the House Libraries.

Letter from Peter Lauener, dated 8 December 2010:

Academic year Take-up

2006/07

3,676

2007/08

3,961

2008/09

3,878

2009/10

4,714

2010/11(as at 31 October)

3,835


Free Schools: Social Services

Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will take steps to ensure that new schools established by parents under the free schools programme follow his Department's guidance on the referral of suspected child abuse cases to children's social services. [7940]

Mr Gibb: Free schools, like academies, will be required to follow the Department's guidance on the referral of suspected child abuse cases to children's social services.


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General Teaching Certificate

Mr Whittingdale: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what estimate his Department has made of the number of people who gained a General Teaching Certificate in 2009 and who are still seeking teaching jobs. [29423]


20 Dec 2010 : Column 1068W

Tim Loughton: The latest available number and percentage of newly qualified teachers (NQTs) by their employment status is given in the following tables. The scope of these figures is NQTs who have gained Qualified Teacher Status (QTS) via mainstream initial teacher training courses, and the tables report their employment status six months after gaining QTS.

Newly Qualified Teachers: Employment status six months after gaining QTS
Coverage: England
Number of NQTs
2008/09 Teachers gaining QTS-Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) In a teaching post Seeking a teaching post Not seeking a teaching post Unclassified Total

26,650

21,550

1,750

1,160

2,190

26,650


Coverage: England
Distribution of NQTs (percentage)
2008/09 Teachers gaining QTS-Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs) In a teaching post Seeking a teaching post Not seeking a teaching post Unclassified Total Proportion of NQTs in a teaching post who sought/are seeking a post

26,650

80.9

6.6

4.4

8.2

100.0

92.5

Notes:
1. Excludes teachers gaining QTS via employment based routes to ITT.
2. Numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10.
Source:
IDA Performance Profiles

Lone Parents

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if he will bring forward proposals to tackle parental alienation syndrome by strengthening the shared parenting aspect of the Children Act 2004. [26459]

Tim Loughton [holding answer 25 November 2010]: The coalition Government's programme for government makes clear our intention to encourage shared parenting. One of the principles governing the work of the Family Justice Review is that the positive involvement of both parents should be promoted post-separation. The Review Panel will be issuing an interim report in the spring on its proposals for reforming the Family Justice System, ahead of a national consultation. The panel will issue its final report in autumn 2011 and we shall consider at that point how best to respond to its conclusions, including the potential need for changes to legislation to promote shared parenting.

School: Sports

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education on which dates he had discussions with the Secretary of State for (a) Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport and (b) Health prior to his announcement that funding for school sport was to be reduced; and what the duration was of each such meeting. [29297]

Tim Loughton [holding answer 7 December 2 0 10]: The Secretary of State has overall responsibility for education and, since May, has negotiated a spending review settlement for schools, which sees real-terms growth in school funding at a time when cutting the budget deficit is an urgent national priority, and published the Government's new approach to education in the schools White Paper, "The Importance of Teaching". The Secretary of State has had a number of meetings with the Secretaries of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport and for Health, including at regular cabinet meetings, to discuss these education priorities, which necessarily impact on PE and sport, as on other areas of school life. The Secretary of State has also met the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport on a number of further occasions to discuss the coalition Government's commitment to encourage more competitive school sport through the creation of Olympic and Paralympic-style competitions.

The Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Children and Families also sits on a Department for Culture, Media and Sports committee on the school Olympic and Paralympic style competition with the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport which is scheduled to meet weekly.

Schools: Crimes of Violence

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education pursuant to the answer of 22 November 2010, Official Report, column 107W, on teachers: training, if he will identify and evaluate independent research on the incidence of violence against women and girls in schools undertaken in the last 12 months. [30254]

Tim Loughton [holding answer 13 December 2010]: The Department is aware of research into violence against women and girls in schools undertaken in the last 12 months from (a) Womankind Worldwide in England, and (b) the End Violence Against Women Poll conducted by YouGov.


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The Department for Education takes violence against women and girls in schools very seriously and will be tackling the issue in a number of ways, including:

working with teachers, parents, faith groups and campaign groups to ensure young people receive high quality sex and relationship education;

conducting an independent review into the commercialisation and sexualisation of childhood;

contributing to the Frank Field review of child poverty and the Graham Allen work on early intervention;

holding an internal review into personal, social, health and economic education (the most commonly used approach by schools for teaching about violence towards women and girls).

Science and Mathematics: Teachers

Mrs Grant: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what plans he has for the future of science and mathematics teaching in schools. [31446]

Nicky Morgan: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what plans he has to improve the standard of science and mathematics teaching in schools. [31445]

Mr Gibb: The Schools White Paper "The Importance of Teaching" recognises the importance the Government attach to science and mathematics education. We will support initiatives to increase the number of specialist science and mathematics teachers and to improve the skills of existing teachers. We will also review the national curriculum to ensure that children gain the knowledge they need in maths and science in order to progress and develop their understanding.

Social Services: Adoption

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether social services have targets in respect of the number of adoption cases processed in each year. [26120]

Tim Loughton: I have made it clear that I want to see an increase in the number of children appropriately placed for adoption and in the speed with which decisions are made. I am not in favour of setting targets to achieve this as each adoption case should be assessed on its own merits. However I expect to see improvements in practice and in the sharing of good practice. That is why, at national level, I have set up a ministerial advisory group to provide expert advice on a range of practical proposals to facilitate this.

Young People: Carers

Michael Fallon: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what recent estimate his Department has made of the number of young carers in (a) the South East and (b) Sevenoaks constituency. [29167]

Tim Loughton [holding answer 7 December 2010]: Precise local and national data on the number of young carers are not held centrally. However the 2001 census estimates that there are approximately 139,000 children in England aged 17 or under offering some care to a family member, neighbour or friend.


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Helping to care for a family member is something that many young people are happy and proud to do. These young people do play an absolutely vital role both for their families and society as a whole and they deserve our recognition and support. The Department for Education with the Department of Health is absolutely committed to supporting local services including many voluntary organisations which have been set up to support these young people.

However in some cases these young people need protection from excessive or inappropriate caring that puts their education and/or health at risk. I attended the Young Carers Festival last summer as I have done for a number of years and have heard directly about their concerns. They told me that services supporting their parents or other family members all too often do not consider their views or identify and respond to their support needs. Even though these might be critical to the care they are providing.

The Government recently published 'Recognised, valued and supported: next steps for the Carers Strategy'. They recognise that there are a number of 'hidden' young carers and encourage front-line services including schools, GPs, mental health and substance misuse to put in place systems to identify and respond to young carers needs. They also encourage local authorities to consider adopting the 'Working together to support young carers' published jointly by the Association of Directors of Adult and Children's Services which is unambiguous in stating that no care package should rely on a young person taking on inappropriate caring roles.

Youth Services: Disability

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many youth centres that are operated by local authorities provide activities for disabled children and their families in (a) the West Midlands and (b) England. [29333]

Tim Loughton: The Department for Education does not hold this information centrally. However, local authorities are responsible, under the general equality duty contained in the Disability Discrimination Act, to promote equality of opportunity for disabled people, encourage participation by disabled people and take steps to account of disabled people's disabilities in respect of the services that they provide-so in providing such services as youth centres local authorities should be considering the needs of the disabled children that use them.

Youth Sport Trust

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Department have had recent meetings with Baroness Campbell of Loughborough to discuss the work of the Youth Sports Trust. [27138]

Tim Loughton [holding answer 29 November 2010]: Baroness Campbell and the Youth Sport Trust have been involved closely, since May 2010, in developing the Government's proposals to encourage more competitive school sport through the creation of Olympic and Paralympic style school sport competitions. This is the focus of the Government's work, as set out in the
20 Dec 2010 : Column 1071W
"Coalition Programme for Government". The Department for Culture, Media, and Sport is leading this work for Government and, since May, has held regular meetings with a range of interested bodies, including the Youth Sport Trust. Ministers and officials from the Department for Education attend those meetings, and so have been able to hear and consider fully the advice of Baroness Campbell and the trust's staff. The Secretary of State and I have both met Baroness Campbell in the course of developing the Government's proposals. Sport England has recently consulted on an interim role for the Youth Sport Trust, working for Sport England to deliver elements of the Government's proposals, funded by the lottery.

Work and Pensions

Cold Weather Payments

Paul Goggins: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what (a) financial and (b) other support is available to help people meet their winter heating costs; and whether any additional support is available specifically to incapacity benefit claimants. [31545]

Steve Webb: Individuals who have reached women's state pension age, will receive a winter fuel payment to help meet the cost of their winter fuel needs. Households with someone aged up to 79 will receive £250 while those households with someone aged 80 or over receive £400.

Cold weather payments of £25 a week are paid in periods of very cold weather to those in receipt of pension credit or income related employment and support allowance who receive the support component or the work-related activity component. Recipients of income support, income related employment and support allowance or income-based jobseekers allowance may also be entitled to a cold weather payment if they have a pensioner or disability premium included in their benefit, or they have a child who is either disabled or under the age of five in the family.

Disabled people can face extra heating costs but, by and large, these needs arise all year round. Benefits such as incapacity benefit and employment and support allowance provide additional weekly payments and are related to the individual's circumstances.

The Department for Work and Pensions also works closely with other Government Departments on the 'Keep Warm Keep Well' campaign, which is aimed at vulnerable households in England and gives information on the health benefits of keeping warm in winter and details of the grants and benefits available.

Departmental Conferences

Robert Halfon: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his Department's annual budget for conferences was on (a) 7 May 2010 and (b) 7 December 2010. [30021]

Chris Grayling: The Department does not allocate a budget for the provision of conferences.

The Department revised its internal policies and guidance in July 2010 with the clear intention of reducing costs. The use of an external venue for any business meeting,
20 Dec 2010 : Column 1072W
including conferences, should now be exceptional and requires the advance approval of a member of the senior civil service.

Departmental Pay

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many staff employed by his Department were not paid at a rate equivalent to or above the London living wage in the latest period for which figures are available. [31224]

Chris Grayling: No staff employed by the Department for Work and Pensions in London are paid less than a rate equivalent to the London living wage. Department employs 3,529 staff outside London, who earn less than a rate equivalent to the London living wage.

Departmental Public Expenditure

Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent estimate he has made of the effect of the increase in the standard rate of value added tax on his Department's annual expenditure. [31174]

Chris Grayling: Departmental Spending Review settlements are set on a tax-inclusive basis, including the increase to the standard rate of VAT.

Departments can recover VAT that they incur on certain contracted out services.

The increase in the Departments annual expenditure due to the change in the standard rate of value added tax on non-recoverable VAT has been estimated at £16 million per annum.

Departmental Regulation

Mr Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what regulations he plans to (a) repeal and (b) amend in the next five years. [23084]

Chris Grayling: It is not possible to accurately project which regulations will be removed/amended over the course of the next five years.

Departmental Sponsorship

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what expenditure (a) his Department and (b) the non-departmental public bodies incurred on sponsorship in each year since 1997 for which figures are available. [27526]

Chris Grayling: The information is as follows:

(a) Department for Work and Pensions

The Department's expenditure on sponsorship is captured within the data for overall spend on marketing and publicity. It is not possible to separate out specific payments for sponsorship without incurring disproportionate cost. Since 2007, the policy for the corporate centre of the Department has been that we do not actively seek or undertake sponsorship opportunities. Sponsorship falls within the current restrictions on marketing and advertising expenditure.


20 Dec 2010 : Column 1073W

(b) Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission

The Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission agreed a one-year partnership (January 2009 to January 2010) with Wikivorce, at a cost of £10,000, for them to carry a branded Child Maintenance Options microsite on their website. This was the first and, to date, only commercial partnership trial and was designed to target parents at an early stage of separation. Wikivorce is one of the largest online communities supporting people through relationship breakdown where the majority of visitors are parents with an even male and female split in the audience.

Health and Safety Executive

The Health and Safety Executive's expenditure on sponsorship is captured within the data for overall spend on marketing and publicity. It is not possible to separate out specific payments for sponsorship from this data.

Remploy Ltd

Remploy's expenditure on sponsorship is captured within the data for overall spend on marketing and publicity. It is not possible to separate out specific payments for sponsorship from this data.

Other non-departmental public bodies

The following non-departmental public bodies have confirmed that they have not incurred any expenditure on sponsorship:

Disability Living Allowance

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Glasgow East of 6 December 2010, Official Report, column 74W, on disability living allowance, what estimate he has made of the number of residential care residents who will cease to be entitled to the higher rate mobility component of the disability living allowance from October 2012. [31045]

Maria Miller: We estimate that approximately 40,000 people who claim the mobility component of disability living allowance at the higher rate and live in residential care will be affected by the measure to cease paying the mobility component in Great Britain from October 2012.

Disability Living Allowance: Medical Examinations

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what his estimate is of the cost of implementing the proposed objective medical assessment for disability living allowance claim in 2013-14; and if he will make a statement. [29771]


20 Dec 2010 : Column 1074W

Maria Miller: It is proposed that disability living allowance will be replaced by personal independence payment from April 2013, with an objective assessment that takes account of the social model of disability as an integral part of that benefit. The cost of implementing the personal independence payment is dependent on the design of the new objective assessment and how it is delivered. The current consultation exercise will help inform these decisions. The Government will set out further detail at the earliest opportunity.

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent progress he has made on the public consultation in respect of the proposed objective medical assessment for disability living allowance claims; and if he will make a statement. [29772]

Maria Miller: The Government launched a public consultation on the reform of disability living allowance with a new benefit, personal independence payment, on 6 December. The consultation sets out our proposed approach to the objective assessment for the new benefit and invites comment on these proposals. A copy of the consultation document "Disability Living Allowance reform" (Cm 7984), has been placed in the Library and is also available from our website at:

The public consultation on the reform of disability living allowance will run from 6 December to 14 February 2011, after which we will publish a response.

Housing Benefit

Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment his Department has made of the change in the number of private sector properties capable of being rented at the level of local housing allowance payments or below consequent on his Department's proposed changes to housing benefit. [29733]

Steve Webb: The Department published a document on 'Impacts of Housing Benefit proposals: Changes to the Local Housing Allowance to be introduced in 2011-12' on 23 July, which includes an indication of post-reform availability of private sector accommodation in tables 9,10 and 11. A copy of the document has been placed in the Library.

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many recipients of housing benefit received (a) flat-rate and (b) non flat-rate deductions for (i) heating, (ii) hot water, (iii) lighting and (iv) cooking in the latest period for which figures are available. [30669]

Steve Webb: Information is not available on housing benefit recipients who have deductions from their rent in respect of costs for heating, hot water and lighting.

The Department does collect some information on deductions from rent, in relation to private tenant boarders for cooking, from the Housing Benefit data Source (SHBE) but to assess the completeness of recording and quality assure the figures to answer this PQ would incur disproportionate cost.


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Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number and proportion of claimants of local housing allowance that made an additional payment to cover the difference between benefits received and rent paid; and what estimate he has made of the average amount of such weekly additional payments in each local authority by bedroom size in the latest period for which figures are available. [31355]

Steve Webb: A review of the first two years' operation of the local housing allowance arrangements is being undertaken to monitor the impact of the local housing allowance at a national level. The review aims to cover a range of issues including levels of excesses and shortfalls. The two year review will be published shortly.

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the monthly (a) on-flows to and (b) off-flows from local housing allowance in each local authority were in each month since April 2008. [31807]

Steve Webb: Information on local housing allowance on-flows and off-flows is not available.

Experimental statistics of monthly housing benefit on-flows and off-flows are published on the Department's website at:

but this information relates to all housing benefit recipients.

Housing Benefit: Ashfield

Gloria De Piero: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many recipients of housing benefit who have been in receipt of jobseeker's allowance for more than 12 months are resident in Ashfield constituency; [31133]

(2) how much on average was paid in housing benefit to recipients in Ashfield constituency in the latest period for which figures are available. [31134]

Steve Webb: The information is not available.

Neither the total number of jobseeker's allowance claimants receiving housing benefit nor the duration of such claims is available. This analysis has not been quality assured to national statistics standard, and to do so would incur disproportionate cost.

Housing Benefit: Birmingham

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of people in Birmingham, Ladywood constituency who will be affected by his proposed changes to housing benefit. [31123]

Steve Webb: This information is not available.

At present geographic breakdowns are available at the local authority or regional level, as data are provided by local authorities.

However, an exercise is being undertaken to add other geographical areas to the data: this will include parliamentary constituencies. This exercise will consist of validating postcodes and partial postcodes, using them to allocate cases to the appropriate geographical
20 Dec 2010 : Column 1076W
area using the revised ONS coding system, and resolving cases with missing or invalid postcodes. Analysts will then assess how best to incorporate this method into the regular processing of the HB/CTB returns from LAs. It is hoped this exercise will be completed by early 2011.

Housing Benefit: Edinburgh

Sheila Gilmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how much (a) local housing allowance and (b) housing benefit on average was paid to recipients in each type of housing tenure in Edinburgh East constituency in the latest period for which figures are available; [29533]

(2) how many people in Edinburgh East constituency receive local housing allowance; [29535]

(3) what proportion of (a) housing benefit and (b) local housing allowance recipients in (i) local authority, (ii) housing association and (iii) private sector housing in Edinburgh East constituency were also in receipt of (A) jobseeker's allowance and (B) employment and support allowance in the latest period for which figures are available; [29534]

(4) how many recipients of local housing allowance who have been in receipt of jobseeker's allowance for more than 12 months live in Edinburgh East constituency. [29538]

Steve Webb: The information is not available.

At present geographic breakdowns are only available for local authorities and regions. However, an exercise is being undertaken to add other geographical areas to the data: this will include parliamentary constituencies.

Housing Benefit: Expenditure

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the likely effect on his Department's expenditure on housing benefit of his proposals for affordable rent for social housing. [26024]

Steve Webb: Work between DWP and the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) is ongoing on the impact on housing benefit of the proposals for affordable rent for social housing. Further details will be made available shortly, but initial indications in the spending review period were that the impact on housing benefit expenditure will be relatively small.

Housing Benefit: Glasgow

Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the average amount of housing benefit paid by tenure in Glasgow North constituency was in the latest period for which figures are available; what the average amount of local housing allowance paid to occupants of properties in each type of tenure in Glasgow North constituency was in that period; and what proportion of (a) housing benefit and (b) local housing allowance recipients in (i) local authority, (ii) housing association and (iii) private sector housing in Glasgow North constituency were also in receipt of (A) jobseeker's allowance and (B) employment and support allowance in that period. [30517]


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Steve Webb: The information is not available.

At present geographic breakdowns are available only for local authorities and regions. However, an exercise is being undertaken to add other geographical areas to the data: this will include parliamentary constituencies.

Information is collected on the number of claimants in receipt of a passporting benefit, which includes income-based jobseeker's allowance and income-based employment support allowance. However neither the total number of jobseeker's allowance claimants nor the total number of employment support allowance claimants receiving housing benefit is available.

Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Glasgow North constituency receive local housing allowance. [30521]

Steve Webb: The information is not available.

At present geographic breakdowns are only available for local authorities and regions. However, an exercise is being undertaken to add other geographical areas to the data; this will include parliamentary constituencies.

Housing Benefit: Reform

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the (a) research commissioned and evaluated by his Department and (b) representations he has received since the announcement of his proposals for reforming housing benefit. [30350]

Steve Webb: We have considered relevant research published since the Budget announcement. We have also taken note of the views and concerns of stakeholders in relation to the implementation of the 2011 changes to Local Housing Allowance rates. As a consequence we are bringing forward the timing of the reduction of rates to the 30 percentile from October 2011 to April 2011. This avoids people being affected twice, first by the cap from April and then again after October. We are giving existing customers more time to adjust to any reduction in entitlement by giving them up to nine months transitional protection from the anniversary date of the claim. In addition we are providing a further £50 million over the spending review period towards the provision of housing advice and other practical support to help customers during the transition period.

Housing Benefit: Refuges

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the monetary value of the average weekly housing benefit payment made to those staying in women's aid refuges. [31029]

Steve Webb: Information on housing benefit payments made to those staying in women's aid refuges is not available.

Information is collected on the number of claimants and average weekly award in payment by tenure of claimant. Tenure types are: social rented sector (which can be further broken down into local authority tenants and registered social landlord tenants) and private rented
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sector (which can be further broken down into private regulated tenants and private deregulated tenants (local/non-local housing allowance tenants)).

Housing Benefit: Scotland

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much was paid on average in (a) housing benefit and (b) local housing allowance by tenure in North Ayrshire and Arran constituency in the most recent 12 months for which figures are available; what proportion of recipients of (i) housing benefit and (ii) local housing allowance in (A) local authority, (B) housing association and (C) private sector housing in North Ayrshire and Arran constituency were also in receipt of (1) jobseeker's allowance and (2) employment and support allowance in the most recent 12 months period for which figures are available. [30076]

Steve Webb: The information is not available at the constituency level.

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many recipients of local housing allowance who have been in receipt of jobseeker's allowance for more than 12 months are resident in North Ayrshire and Arran constituency. [30119]

Steve Webb: The information is not available.

At present geographic breakdowns are only available for local authorities and regions. However, an exercise is being undertaken to add other geographical areas to the data: this will include parliamentary constituencies.

Housing Benefit: Sunderland

Julie Elliott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many recipients of local housing allowance who have been in receipt of jobseeker's allowance for more than 12 months are resident in Sunderland Central constituency. [30365]

Steve Webb: The information is not available.

Neither the total number of jobseeker's allowance claimants receiving housing benefit nor the duration of such claims is available. This analysis has not been quality assured to national statistics standard, and to do so would incur disproportionate cost.

Housing Benefit: Temporary Accommodation

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the monetary value of the average weekly housing benefit payment made to households in (a) temporary accommodation and (b) bed and breakfast accommodation. [31030]

Steve Webb: Information on housing benefit payments made to households in temporary accommodation and bed and breakfast accommodation is not available.

Information is collected on the number of claimants and average weekly award in payment by tenure of claimant. Tenure types are: social rented sector (which can be further broken down into local authority tenants and registered social landlord tenants) and private rented
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sector (which can be further broken down into private regulated tenants and private deregulated tenants (local/non-local housing allowance tenants)).

Housing Benefit: Worcestershire

Sajid Javid: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in (a) Worcestershire and (b) Bromsgrove constituency were in receipt of housing benefit of more than £400 per week in the latest period for which figures are available. [29700]

Steve Webb: As at August 2010, our records show that there are fewer than five housing benefit recipients in both Bromsgrove and Worcestershire receiving more than £400 per week in housing benefit.

Income Support: Mortgages

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what estimate he has made of the effects of the change to the rate used to calculate support for mortgage interest payments from 1 October 2010 on the number of people entitled to passported benefits; [31033]

(2) what estimate he has made of the number of individuals entitled to support for mortgage interest payments who ceased to receive (a) pension credit, (b) income-related jobseeker's allowance and (c) income-related employment and support allowance payments following the change to the interest rate used to calculate support for mortgage interest payments from 1 October 2010. [31034]

Steve Webb: This information is not available.

Jobcentres: Greater London

Joan Ruddock: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how many square metres on average Jobshops located in London occupy; and what the (a) smallest and (b) largest size is of such premises; [31546]

(2) how many square metres on average Jobshops located in London which provide the full Jobcentre Plus service occupy; and what the (a) smallest and (b) largest site is of such premises. [32104]

Chris Grayling: The administration of Jobcentre Plus is a matter for the chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, Darra Singh. I have asked him to provide the hon. Member with the information requested.

Letter from Ruth Owen:


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Jobseeker's Allowance: Working Hours

Mary Macleod: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether there is a maximum number of unpaid hours than an individual may work per week while claiming jobseeker's allowance and actively seeking work. [29929]

Chris Grayling: We believe that volunteering can play an important part in the life of unemployed people-not only through providing valuable support to their communities but it can also improve the chances of securing paid work.

Claimants of jobseeker's allowance can therefore do unlimited voluntary work, providing they continue to meet all the usual entitlement conditions such as being available for and actively seeking work, although volunteers are allowed additional time to make themselves available for interviews and to take up employment. However, notional income may be taken into account if claimants undertake work voluntarily in circumstances where it is reasonable that they should be remunerated.

Mortgages: Government Assistance

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 30 November 2010, Official Report, column 795W, on mortgages: Government assistance, what (a) discussions he has had with and (b) guidance his Department has issued to mortgage providers on how to proceed with borrowers claiming support for mortgage interest mortgages with interest rates substantially higher than the standard interest rate used to calculate support payments; and if he will make a statement. [30464]

Steve Webb: We have discussions from time to time with the Council of Mortgage Lenders about support for mortgage interest. The Council of Mortgage Lenders has told the Department that it expects lenders to continue to exercise forbearance where it is fair to do so for the borrower, and the borrower has a chance of paying off any arrears in the future. The Council of Mortgage Lenders has told us that where arrears levels increase for some borrowers as a result of the change in the standard interest rate this does not necessarily translate into an immediate possession risk.

It would not be appropriate for my Department to issue specific or detailed guidance to mortgage providers about how they should manage accounts which have shortfalls. However, we have made clear our expectation that lenders should continue to offer support and forbearance to their customers who are struggling with their mortgage repayments.

Lenders are required to consider what they can do to prevent borrowers losing their homes. Under the Pre-Action Protocol, lenders must prove they have considered all other options before trying to repossess a property. For example, they may agree to change or lengthen the term of the loan, accept reduced payments in the short-term, or add the debt to the amount borrowed.

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 17 November 2010, Official Report, columns 841-42W, on mortgages: Government assistance, for what
20 Dec 2010 : Column 1081W
reasons he reduced the rate of interest used to calculate support for mortgage interest prior to the completion of a model to estimate the effect of changes to support for mortgage interest on the number of repossessions; when he expects such a model to be completed; and if he will place a copy of his findings in the Library. [31349]

Steve Webb: It was necessary for the Government to put support for mortgage interest on a more sustainable footing, and to better reflect mortgage costs, which is why we set the standard interest rate at a level equal to the Bank of England's published monthly average mortgage rate from 1 October. The rate is currently 3.63%. The previous rate of 6.08% was too generous and resulted in the vast majority of people getting more than their eligible mortgage interest liability, which was unfair to taxpayers. The plans of the previous Government would have meant that the standard interest rate would have reverted to a formula-the Bank of England Base Rate plus 1.58%-which, at present, would produce a rate of 2.08% from January 2011.

The Department is in the process of developing a model to estimate the impact of changes to support for mortgage interest on the number of repossessions. However any estimates will always be limited since detailed case-by-case information, such as arrears at the start of a claim, is not collected by the Department. Furthermore, the relationship between arrears and continued home ownership is a complex one dependant on more than the level of support for mortgage interest payable. The Department will consider whether the results can be used publicly, and the findings placed in the Library, once this work is complete, which we would expect to be early in 2011.

Mortgages: Repossession Orders

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the percentage change in mortgage repossessions which will occur in each of the next four quarters as a result of changes to mortgage interest support. [30215]

Steve Webb: The Department does not capture information on reasons for ending a benefit claim, including support for mortgage interest, so does not capture the number of claimants who no longer receive support for mortgage interest payments because they have been repossessed.

The Department is in the process of developing a model to estimate the impact of changes to support for mortgage interest on the number of repossessions. However any estimates will always be limited since detailed case-by-case information, such as arrears at the start of a claim, is not collected by the Department. Furthermore, the relationship between arrears and continued home ownership is a complex one dependant on more than the level of support for mortgage interest payable. The Department will consider whether the results can be used publicly once this work is complete.

The Council of Mortgage Lenders has told the Department that it expects lenders to continue to exercise forbearance where it is fair to do so for the borrower, and the borrower has a chance of paying off any arrears in the future. The Council of Mortgage Lenders thinks
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that where arrears levels increase for some borrowers as a result of the change in the standard interest rate this does not translate into an immediate possession risk.

Personal Income: Glasgow

Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what the median household income of a family in (a) the social rented sector, (b) the private rented sector and (c) owner-occupied accommodation in Glasgow North constituency was (i) before and (ii) after housing costs in the latest period for which figures are available. [30515]

Steve Webb: We use households below average income data to provide estimates of median incomes. However, the sample size of this survey is not sufficient to provide estimates for low-level geographies such as those requested.

The following table shows the median equivalised disposable household income by tenure for Scotland, before and after housing costs.

Table 1: Median equivalised disposable household income, for families, by tenure for Scotland, three year average 2006-07 to 2008-09, before and after housing costs
£
Median equivalised disposable household income for families
Tenure type BHC AHC

Owners

467

424

Social renters

291

235

Private renters

346

253

Notes: 1. These statistics are based on households below average income (HBAI) data sourced from the Family Resources Survey (FRS). This uses disposable household income, adjusted using modified OECD equivalisation factors for household size and composition, as an income measure as a proxy for standard of living. 2. All estimates are based on survey data and are therefore subject to uncertainty. Small differences should be treated with caution as these will be affected by sampling error and variability in non-response. 3. The reference period for HBAI figures is single financial years. For countries and regions within the UK, three survey years have been combined, as single year estimates are subject to volatility. 4. Incomes are presented in 2008-09 prices and have been rounded to the nearest pound sterling. 5. Families are defined as a single adult or couple living as married and any dependent children, including same sex couples (civil partnerships and cohabitees) from January 2006. A household is made up of one of more families and is defined as a single person or group of people living at the same address as their only or main residence, who either share one meal a day together or share the living accommodation (i.e. a living room). In line with the wording of the question, analysis has been carried out at the family level. Source: Households Below Average Income (HBAI) 2006-07 to 2008-09.

Personal Records: Departmental Co-ordination

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of the Tell Us Once service; and if he will make a statement; [30319]

(2) what plans he has for the future of the Tell Us Once service. [30320]

Chris Grayling: The Government are committed to making the Tell Us Once Birth and Bereavement Service available nationally during 2011.


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The service is regularly reviewed as part of the Government's Gated Review process. In addition, in September 2010 a further review of the contractual arrangements required to deliver the service confirmed that Tell Us Once is a valuable service that will deliver improved customer service at lower cost for both the customer and the taxpayer.

The service is currently offered on a face to face basis at local authorities and over the phone via a national telephony service provided by my Department. It is also planned to make it available on line by the end of 2011.

Currently 85% of all local authorities have committed to offer the service. By devolving power to the local level authorities are able to tailor the service so that it supports the needs of the community.

As of today there are 42 local authorities in England, Scotland and Wales offering the Birth and Bereavement Service and in total almost 29,000 customers have chosen to use it since testing began. Customer feedback has been extremely positive and has been used to help design how the service will operate in future.

The priority for Tell Us Once will be to successfully roll out its Birth and Bereavement Service and then to increase the number of partner organisations and benefits and services in addition to the 24 it currently works with so that benefits for the customer, taxpayer and Government are maximised.

In addition, working with the private sector will be crucial so that we can provide additional services that our customers have told us they want, such as telling utilities and banks about a death. By taking this forward on a commercial basis it will enable the costs to the taxpayer to be minimised.

Tell Us Once also has the mandate to develop a Change of Address service in partnership with the private sector so that citizens no longer need to do this multiple times themselves and so that the taxpayer does not carry the cost.

Real-time Earnings Data

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether his Department plans to pass the real-time earnings data collected for calculation of Universal Credit to (a) local authorities and (b) other public bodies. [29617]

Chris Grayling: The administration of universal credit will be organised by the Department for Work and Pensions. We are working closely with local authorities, the devolved administrations and other public bodies on the implications for them of the introduction of universal credit, but we do not currently expect that local authorities and other public bodies will need to have access to real-time earnings data.

Remploy

Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in (a) Glasgow, (b) Scotland and (c) the UK Remploy has employed in each of the last five years. [30395]

Maria Miller: The number of people employed by Remploy in Glasgow, Scotland and the UK for the year 2005-06 to 2009-10 are provided in the following table. The figures for Remploy enterprise businesses in Glasgow include the factories in Clydebank and Springfield.


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Total Remploy staff employed in Glasgow, Scotland and the UK

Enterprise businesses( 1) Other employees Total

Glasgow

2005-06

168

-

168

2006-07

164

33

197

2007-08

163

39

202

2008-09

145

37

182

2009-10

134

55

189

Scotland

2005-06

627

77

704

2006-07

569

103

672

2007-08

506

115

621

2008-09

428

125

553

2009-10

428

144

572

UK

2005-06

5,758

1,655

7,413

2006-07

5,446

1,676

7,122

2007-08

3,947

1,646

5,593

2008-09

3,200

1,773

4,973

2009-10

3,192

1,986

5,178

(1) Including factories and Future Jobs Fund trainees (in 2009-10).

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