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Written Answers to Questions
Monday 14 March 2011
Departmental Written Questions
Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what proportion of written questions tabled to her for answer on a named day between 27 May 2010 and 9 March 2011 did not receive a substantive answer on the day named for answer. 
Mr David Jones: The Secretary of State for Wales last met the Minister for Prisons and Probation, the hon. Member for Reigate (Mr Blunt), in November and discussed the provision of prison places in North Wales.
The consultation on the Ministry of Justice's Green Paper ‘Breaking the cycle: effective punishment, rehabilitation and sentencing of offenders’ ended on 4 March. Responses are currently being considered and long-term plans for prison capacity are being evaluated.
The Secretary of State and I will continue to work closely with the Minister for Prisons, as decisions on the prison estate are made, to ensure that the implications for North Wales are fully taken into account.
St David’s Day
Kevin Brennan: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales pursuant to the answer of 7 March 2011, Official Report, column 744W, on St David’s day, (1) what criteria she used to determine which hon. Members representing Welsh constituencies to include on her invitation list to attend her St David’s day event at Gwydyr house on 1 March 2011; 
Mrs Gillan: Right hon. and hon. Members representing the coalition parties, official Opposition spokespeople, media and various representatives of Welsh society were invited, totalling of approximately 50 attendees.
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Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority Committee
Bob Russell: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, what discussions the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) had in respect of (a) security and (b) data protection before permission was granted for the BBC to film the personal details of hon. Members at IPSA offices for broadcast on 3 February 2011. 
As Acting Chief Executive of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking what discussions the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) had in respect of (a) security and (b) data protection before permission was granted for the BBC to film the personal details of hon. Members at IPSA offices for broadcast on 3 February 2011.
IPSA took careful steps in the planning of the filming to ensure no personal data of MPs was disclosed. The BBC were asked to provide, and gave, strict assurances that no personal data of MPs would be shown in any of their camera shots.
Appropriate steps were taken in the planning of and execution of the filming to ensure no such details were shown and the BBC gave an undertaking that it would not show any such data were any to be filmed inadvertently.
Mr Spellar: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker’s Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, whether the board of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority authorised the comments made by Mr Ken Olisa in his interview with Total Politics magazine published on 5 January 2011. 
As Acting Chief Executive of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking whether the board of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority authorised the comments made by Mr Ken Olisa in his interview with Total Politics magazine published on 5 January 2011.
The Board does not seek to authorise comments made by members in the course of dealings with the media.
Bob Russell: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker’s Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, for what purposes the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority engaged the recruitment agency Saxton Bampfylde; and how much was paid to that agency in fees. 
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As Acting Chief Executive of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking for what purposes Saxton Bampfylde recruitment agency was engaged and the amount that was paid to that agency.
IPSA has not engaged the services of Saxton Bampfylde and no money has been paid to this agency.
Mr Spellar: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker’s Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, how many people have terminated their employment at the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority since its inception. 
As Acting Chief Executive of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking how many people have terminated their employment at IPSA since its inception.
Three members of staff have resigned since IPSA’s inception.
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Bob Russell: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, how many hours each member of the Board of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) has spent on their duties at (a) the offices of IPSA and (b) elsewhere in each month since their appointment. 
As Acting Chief Executive of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking how many hours each member of the Board of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) have spent on their duties at (a) the offices of IPSA and (b) elsewhere in each month since their appointment. (40436)
The table below details the number of days and hours between December 2009 and January 2011 for which the Chairman and Board members have received remuneration. IPSA does not collect information that distinguishes between the number of hours the Board have spent on their duties at the offices of IPSA or elsewhere. The hours charged under-represent the actual number of hours Board members have committed to IPSA.
|Days/hours claimed per month|
|Month||Prof. Sir Ian Kennedy||Prof. Isobel Sharp||Ken Olisa||Rt Hon Sir Scott Baker||Jacqueline Ballard|
Bob Russell: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, how much has been paid in salary to members of the Board of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority in each month since their appointment. 
As Acting Chief Executive of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking how much has been paid in salary to members of the board of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority in each month since their appointment.
The Chairman and the Board of IPSA are not salaried; instead, they are paid a per diem rate for their time, at the rate advertised at the time of their recruitment. The payments made from April 2010 to January 2011 are set out in the table below. Amounts paid prior to 1 April 2010 were published in IPSA's annual report for 2010-11, which is available on the IPSA website at:
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|Amount paid per month (1)|
||Prof. Sir Ian Kennedy||Prof. Isobel Sharp||Ken Olisa||Right hon. Sir Scott Baker||Jacqueline Ballard|
|(1) Please note that the timings for payments as set out in this table correlate to the time at which board members have submitted invoices and time sheets to IPSA. A single submission may cover multiple periods.|
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Sandra Osborne: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the prevalence of foot and mouth disease in countries from which beef may be imported to the UK. 
Mr Paice: Before a non-European Union (EU) country is approved to export to the EU, the exporting country must have acceptable disease status, the recognised standard for relevant control authorities and guarantees from the country of origin with regard to compliance with EU import rules and results of EU missions to these countries. A list of those countries approved for export of beef can be found in Commission Regulation (EU) No. 206/2010. For countries which are regionalised for beef exports (certain countries in Southern Africa and South America) all exported meat is required to be deboned and matured in approved premises as a risk mitigation measure.
All meat imported from non-EU countries must be accompanied by veterinary certification. This must confirm that the meat is derived from animals that have been subjected to a veterinary inspection during the 24 hours prior to slaughter and showed no signs of disease. Imports of products of animal origin (POAO) are checked at approved facilities at Border Inspection Posts (BIPS). All consignments of imported meat have a documentary check on the veterinary certification, and an identity check, to match the goods to the certification. A minimum of 20% of consignments of meat imported from non-EU countries undergoes a physical check by an official veterinary surgeon, and this rises to 50% for poultry and game.
DEFRA monitors outbreaks of high impact diseases around the world. Foot and mouth disease (FMD) is among those diseases of major concern. When DEFRA becomes aware of a new disease outbreak in an export region or country, it carries out an initial rapid risk assessment of the risk of introduction of that disease into the UK in live animals or POAO and may produce a preliminary outbreak assessment. If this preliminary assessment concludes that a full qualitative risk assessment is not justified, then we will publish the preliminary outbreak assessment here:
Mr Bain: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what account her Department’s food procurement policy takes of compliance with the UN sustainability standard that all wild-caught fish should meet the terms of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation’s Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. 
Mr Paice: The Government’s policy is to promote the consumption of fish from sustainable sources. We want to be the greenest Government ever and to help meet this commitment we are developing Government Buying Standards (GBS) for the public procurement of food and catering services. These standards will be mandatory for central Government Departments and promoted to the wider public sector.
An external review asking for evidence and comments regarding our proposed GBS ended on 24 January and we are now considering all the comments received, including those about sustainably sourced seafood, before making a decision on what the final GBS for food and catering services should be. I cannot predict the outcome of this process, as it requires cross-Government agreement.
Naomi Long: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the composition of her proposed panel to consider the future of forestry in England will be; and what consideration she has given to appointing to this panel members of environmental and charitable organisations with expertise in the issue. 
Mr Paice: The panel’s membership is still being considered. It will include representatives of key environmental and access organisations, alongside representatives of the forestry industry. It will need to draw on a broad range of expertise to inform its work.
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Mr Paice: The consultation on the future of the public forest estate has been halted and all forestry clauses in the Public Bodies Bill will be removed. All new sales have been suspended as announced by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, the right hon. Member for Meriden (Mrs Spelman), on 11 February 2011, Official Report, column 21WS. An independent panel of experts will now examine forestry policy in England and report back to Ministers in the autumn.
|Wood||Ownership type (1)||Area (ha)|
|(1) The public forest estate is owned by the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, and placed at the disposal of the Forestry Commissioners under section (3)1 of the Forestry Act 1967.|
Mr Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 7 March 2011, Official Report, column 768W, on Forestry Commission: lands, what the (a) name and (b) location is of the leasehold public forest estate in Kettering constituency. 
Sky Lanterns: Regulation
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Mr Paice: We recognise the concerns of livestock and horse keepers about the risks Chinese (or sky) lanterns can present to their animals’ welfare. We are working with other Government Departments to see what action could be taken to reduce these risks and have had several meetings with the farming unions and the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) to discuss what could be done. We are working with them to build an evidence base of the problems caused and to help raise awareness among consumers and venues. BIS is also working with local authority trading standards to encourage importers, distributors and retailers to improve the safety of these products and to make them fully biodegradable.
The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) has not issued specific guidance on the safe use of telescopic materials handlers (telehandlers) in agriculture. It has published general guidance on the selection, use and maintenance of work equipment in the industry, which advises on compliance with relevant legislation. HSE has also published an Approved Code of Practice (ACOP) and guidance on training for operators of lift trucks, which applies to telehandlers.
Industry specific guidance on the safe use of telehandlers in construction was launched by the Strategic Forum for Construction in February 2011. The guidance provides clarity on the safe use of telehandlers; including planning, role of personnel, training and familiarization of personnel, safe use, maintenance, inspection and thorough examination. These basic principles are applicable to the use of telehandlers in any work environment or industry.
Women and Equalities
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Culture, Media and Sport
Alok Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what proportion of the funding allocated to broadband programmes in the comprehensive spending review period he expects to be spent on programmes based in Reading West constituency. 
Mr Vaizey: No specific allocations for projects in Reading West or any other constituency have been made. My officials continue to work closely with county councils on plans to support broadband roll out.
Digital Technology: Industry
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what recent assessment he has made of (a) lending to and (b) financing of digital technology industries; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Vaizey: My Department together with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has recently commissioned research into financing and lending for the Creative Industries in order to provide evidence for the Digital and Creative Industries Growth Review which reports to a Budget 2011 timetable.
Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport pursuant to the answer of 28 February 2011, Official Report, column 26W, on sports: health, what matters were discussed in relation to the issue of whether Team GB should be changed to Team UK; and what decisions were reached. 
Hugh Robertson: The Sports Cabinet discussed a paper tabled by Northern Ireland Minister for Culture, Arts and Leisure, Nelson McCausland, regarding the name and branding of Team GB. The meeting agreed that the Welsh Minister for Heritage, in his capacity as Chair of the meeting, would write on behalf of the Sports Cabinet to ask the British Olympic Association to consider changing the name and branding of Team GB to better reflect the whole of the UK.
Technology: Greater London
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what organisations he has met to discuss the East London Tech City development; and if he will place in the Library a copy of the minutes of each such meeting. 
Mr Vaizey [holding answer 7 March 2011]: The Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, my right hon. Friend the Member for South West Surrey (Mr Hunt), met the following organisations during his visit to San Francisco in October 2010 where the East London Tech City development was discussed:
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Silicon Valley Bank
Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions he has had with representatives of (a) Citizens Advice Scotland, (b) Consumer Focus Scotland and (c) the Scottish Executive on the future of consumer protection and advocacy arrangements in Scotland. 
Michael Moore: I met the chief executive of Citizens Advice Scotland on 28 February 2011. I intend to meet Consumer Focus Scotland to discuss the future of consumer protection and advocacy arrangements in Scotland after the launch of the forthcoming consultation by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills. Discussions have taken place at official level with the Scottish Government on implications of changes to current arrangements in Scotland.
David Mundell: The Scotland Office estate comprises two leased buildings: one in London and one in Edinburgh. The Scotland Office takes every opportunity to maximise the use of the estate and to reduce running costs.
Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland how many procurement projects with a monetary value greater than (a) £10 million, (b) £50 million and (c) £100 million his Department was engaged in in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland which procurement projects engaged in by his Department had a designated senior responsible owner in the latest period for which figures are available; and on what date they were appointed in each such case. 
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David Mundell: Other than minor purchases, the Scotland Office does not undertake direct procurement or tendering projects. It utilises existing service contracts between suppliers and the Scottish Government or the Ministry of Justice.
Departmental Visits Abroad
Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland pursuant to the answer of 4 March 2011, Official Report, columns 610-11W, on visits, what criteria he proposes to use to determine the (a) justification of costs and (b) value to taxpayers of overseas visits. 
David Mundell: Any proposed expenditure for ministerial and official travel will continue to be examined rigorously to ensure value for money and effectiveness, in accordance with the Ministerial Code and HM Treasury guidance on the use of public funds.
Departmental Written Questions
Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what proportion of written questions tabled to him for answer on a named day between 27 May 2010 and 9 March 2011 did not receive a substantive answer on the day named for answer. 
David Mundell: 123 written questions were tabled to the Secretary of State for answer on a named day between 27 May 2010 and 9 March 2011. Of these, seven received a substantive answer after the named day.
Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what recent discussions his Department has had with Scottish representatives of the six largest energy companies on levels of domestic energy bills. 
David Mundell: The Scotland Office has regular discussions with Scottish representatives of the energy sector on a range of issues including domestic energy bills. In December, the Secretary of State spoke to senior executives of E.ON, EDF, RWE npower, Scottish Gas, Scottish Power and SSE in response to concerns about increases in domestic energy bills over the winter period. The Scotland Office has also been working closely with the Department for Energy and Climate Change on the introduction of the Warm Home Discount scheme, which forms part of the Government’s proposals for helping vulnerable customers.
Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many procurement projects with a monetary value greater than (a) £10 million, (b) £50 million and (c) £100 million (i) his Department and (ii) the non-departmental public body for which he is responsible was engaged upon in the latest period for which figures are available. 
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Mr Swire: My Department and the non-departmental public body for which I am responsible did not have any procurement projects with a monetary value greater than (a) £10 million, (b) £50 million and (c) £100 million in 2009-10.
Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which procurement projects engaged upon by (a) his Department and (b) the non-departmental public body for which he is responsible had a designated senior responsible owner in the latest period for which figures are available; and on what date each officer was appointed in each such case. 
Departmental Written Questions
Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what proportion of written questions tabled to him for answer on a named day between 27 May 2010 and 9 March 2011 did not receive a substantive answer on the day named for answer. 
Mr Swire: Between 27 May 2010 and 9 March 2011, 11 written questions for named day answer were tabled to the Northern Ireland Office, of which three (27%) did not receive a substantive answer on the date specified.
Mr Robathan: Officials in the Ministry of Defence hold regular discussions with the Confederation of British Service and ex-Service organisations, representing a wide range of charities, and with the Royal British Legion and the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Families Association Forces Help. All of these are members of the External Reference Group which delivers an independent judgment on the Government’s efforts in supporting the armed forces community. The Covenant has featured in these discussions. I last discussed the Covenant with the Royal British Legion on 7 March.
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Peter Luff: Priority continues to be given to the delivery of capability to our armed forces to support operations in Afghanistan. Our equipment requirements are kept under constant review, taking military advice, including advice from our Commanders in Afghanistan; as the Prime Minister and the Secretary of State for Defence have made clear on many occasions, this Government are determined to make sure that our brave service personnel have all the equipment and protection they need for the absolutely vital work they are undertaking in Afghanistan.
Mr Gerald Howarth: The strategic defence and security review commits the armed forces to work closely with other Government Departments to help identify and prevent potential conflicts. This includes co-ordinating non-operational activities such as security sector reform, training of security forces, joint exercises and strengthening our relationships with partner nations and international organisations such as NATO, the UN and the EU. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office, the Department for International Development and MOD are developing the new Building Stability Overseas Strategy which will integrate our diplomatic, development and defence resources to promote regional stability.
Armed Forces: Redundancies
Mr Robathan: The current armed forces redundancy programme is driven by force structure changes, as required by the strategic defence and security review, and therefore regional variations are not a consideration.
Armed Forces: Injuries
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Mr Robathan: The following table provides the number of claims awarded under the Armed Forces and Reserve Forces Compensation Scheme (AFCS) within the tariff of injury table for amputations for financial year 2009-10. The breakdown is by tariff level at which the amputation was awarded (for more than one condition the figure includes the condition awarded at the most serious tariff level only) and provides the lump sum amounts that are currently awarded at each tariff level. Claims are awarded under the AFCS based on 15 tariff levels, with a lump sum attached to each level. For the more severe injuries, tariffs one to 11, a further sum is paid in the form of a guaranteed income payment (GIP), which consists of regular payments to provide a continuous income stream.
|Tariff level||Lump sum amount (£)||Number of claims awarded in FY 2009-10|
|Note: All figures of five or more have been rounded to the nearest five and figures fewer than five have been suppressed and marked ‘—’.|
Costs associated with adaptations to the homes of serving amputees are met by the Ministry of Defence. Injured former service personnel in England, Scotland and Wales have been granted a higher status than other groups who require adapted housing and they also have priority access to affordable housing schemes in the United Kingdom. Compensation payments given to injured personnel are disregarded in England and Wales when assessing the affordability criteria, and for the Disabilities Facilities Grant in all areas of the UK. In Scotland they take account of the personal financial circumstances of the injured service person when assessing affordability.
Armed Forces: Northern Ireland
Mr Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service personnel (a) on operational development and (b) in total were garrisoned in Northern Ireland in the latest period for which figures are available. 
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Armed Forces: Redundancy
Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the number of members of the armed forces who will be made compulsorily redundant in each of the next three years; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Robathan: The strategic defence and security review set out the long term plans for our armed forces and made clear that the future force structure will require fewer people. The combined size of the Royal Navy, the Army and the Royal Air Force will fall by some 17,000, by 31 March 2015. Some of this reduction will be achieved by slowing down recruitment and through natural wastage, and the Department has estimated that up to around 11,000 personnel will need to be made redundant.
Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the oral statement of 15 February 2011, Official Report, columns 815-16, on armed forces (redundancies), when he expects his Department’s investigation into the notification of redundancy by email of 38 Army personnel to conclude; and whether he expects to publish its conclusions. 
Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence fully recognises the distress that this caused the individuals and their families, and I take this opportunity once again to apologise unreservedly for this error.
We do not intend to publish the conclusions of the investigation, which was completed on 23 February 2011. This investigation has confirmed that this was the result of a genuine and isolated error which meant that the normal staffing procedures were not followed. This meant that the 38 individuals affected had not been informed of this decision by the Chain of Command before they received the email from the Army Personnel Centre (APC), which would usually be the case. As a result of the investigation, every effort has been made to minimise the risk of this sort of thing happening again. These include clearance at APC Branch Colonel level of all communication that is about or may result in termination.
Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the oral statement of 15 February 2011, Official Report, columns 815-16, on armed forces (redundancies), what role (a) he and (b) other Ministers in his Department is taking in the investigation into the notification of redundancy by email of 38 Army personnel. 
Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the oral statement of 15 February 2011, Official Report, columns 815-16, on armed forces (redundancies), how many of his Department’s staff are taking part in the investigation into the circumstances relating to the notification of redundancy by email of 38 Army personnel. 
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Departmental Relocation: Brighton
Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence has no plans to move either staff or offices to Brighton. The relocation of Department staff outside of London continues to be considered amongst other options to deliver the savings set out at the spending review and increase the efficiency of the Government’s estate.
Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Department have had with their (i) EU, (ii) NATO and (iii) UN counterparts on the establishment of international frameworks to deal with cyber-attacks. 
Nick Harvey [holding answer 10 March 2011]: Action to enhance our cyber security is a national priority and we have allotted funding of £650 million over the next four years as part of the National Cyber Security Programme to address these concerns. Of course, the Government cannot and should not attempt to tackle this issue by itself and we are actively discussing options for collaboration with both international partners and with industry. As the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the right hon. Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), said to the Munich Security Conference,
“being global, cyber threats also call for a collective response”.
Over 10 and 11 March 2011, the Secretary of State for Defence discussed the NATO Cyber Defence Concept with his ministerial counterparts in Brussels. This will set the parameters for NATO's future cyber defence policy. We have already signed a Cyber Defence Memorandum of Understanding with NATO that allows us to share information and hope to sign further bilateral agreements with countries whose capabilities are complementary to our own. The FCO and Home Office will lead on engagements with the EU and UN, with the Cabinet Office co-ordinating our overall international engagement strategy.
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||Percentage of invoices paid within 10 days of receipt by the Defence Financial Management Shared Service Centre|
||Percentage of invoices paid within 5 days of receipt by the Defence Financial Management Shared Service Centre|
Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether an early release programme has been established for civilian personnel to be made redundant as a result of the outcome of the Strategic Defence and Security Review. 
Mr Robathan: An early release scheme was launched on 28 February with the aim of achieving around 4,000 voluntary staff exits by 31 March 2012. No decision has yet been taken on the requirement for and nature of any paid release programmes after the end of 2011-12.
Mr Donaldson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the potential effects of deploying electronic countermeasures in military bases on the health of armed forces personnel deployed in those bases. 
Mr Robathan: All electronic countermeasures equipment is tested to confirm that it is safe to be used by military personnel. Specifically the Ministry of Defence (MOD) work with the Health Protection Agency Radiological Protection Division to establish restrictions on and compliance with human exposure to static and time varying electromagnetic fields and radiation.
Electronic countermeasures are specifically designed to save the lives of military personnel and wider knowledge would compromise this capability. For the purposes of National security and continued protection of military personnel on operations in Afghanistan, the MOD does not release specific detail about the nature of electronic countermeasures.
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Germany: Military Bases
Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 31 January 2011, Official Report, column 582W, on returning troop costs (Germany), what assessment he has made of the effects of withdrawal of all forces from Germany by 2020 on (a) operational effectiveness and (b) welfare. 
Nick Harvey: The basing of British forces in Germany is largely a legacy of the cold war, when very different geo-strategic considerations prevailed. It now makes operational sense to consolidate British forces within the UK. This will enable us to generate capability and prepare for operations without the logistical and administrative difficulties presented by a field army split between two countries.
Regarding welfare issues, the Army will benefit from the rebasing policy in a number of ways: service personnel and their families will face less disruption from long-distance relocations; they will be able to utilise the full range of public services provided in the UK, rather than relying on substitute services in Germany; and the Army will be able to provide more consistent support and welfare.
Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) successful and (b) unsuccessful firings of the Meteor beyond visual range air-to-air missile there have been from each aircraft type since 2009. 
Peter Luff: Meteor is a six-nation collaborative programme involving the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Sweden. There have been a total of six firings involving Gripen and Tornado aircraft since the beginning of 2009. I am withholding more detailed information on the Meteor firing programme on the grounds that its disclosure would be likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the UK and partner nations' armed forces and would be likely to prejudice international relations with the other Meteor partner nations.
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Peter Luff: A contract was signed with Eurocopter UK in September 2009 for the demonstration and manufacture phases of the Puma Life Extension Programme (LEP). In addition a contract was placed with Turbomeca for the supply of new Makila engines. The total value of contracts placed in support of the Puma LEP is £347 million. This includes the one-off costs associated with developing the required modifications and undertaking the trials activity necessary to certify the aircraft; the provision of initial support and conversion training for aircrew and maintainers; and the cost of modifying each helicopter.
The contract renegotiation programme in support of the decision taken in the Strategic Defence and Security Review is under way. It is not appropriate to make a statement about individual contracts at this stage.
In 2009, prior to the award of the current contracts, a detailed review was undertaken of whether the acquisition of new medium helicopters could be advanced in lieu of the planned life-extension of Puma. This review concluded that, within available resources, it would not be feasible to acquire new helicopters without unacceptable risk to operational commitments.
The Strategic Defence and Security Review undertaken in 2010 reviewed the need for Puma and confirmed the ongoing requirement. As with all programmes this is subject to the ongoing planning round which is expected to conclude in spring 2011.
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Strategic Defence and Security Review
Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department has taken to meet its commitment in the strategic defence and security review to give energy a higher priority in UK foreign policy. 
In line with the strategic defence and security review (SDSR) and the Whitehall International Energy Strategy, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), and other Government Departments (including the Ministry of Defence (MOD)) have raised the level of engagement with those countries identified as priorities for UK energy security. For example, FCO, DECC, and MOD energy Ministers have all visited Norway since the SDSR; a State visit by the Emir of Qatar took place in October 2010; the Deputy Prime Minister visited Kazakhstan in December 2010. More regular ministerial contact has been established with UK-based International Oil Companies to support UK commercial energy interests. We are working through the EU, G20 and other international fora to increase price stability and mitigate risks to supply. A new International Energy Forum charter was agreed in February 2011 to enhance producer-consumer dialogue.
Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much funding he has allocated to implementing the commitment in the Strategic Defence and Security Review to significantly enhance special forces capability in each year of the comprehensive spending review period. 
I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave on 24 November 2010, Official Report, column 317W. The Strategic Defence and Security Review highlighted the contribution of our special forces to a wide range of intervention operations and the vital support they provide to stabilisation operations and
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other commitments. We are investing in them more to increase their effectiveness even further. However, no further details will be provided as it is the long-standing policy of the Ministry of Defence not to comment on matters concerning United Kingdom special forces to protect operational capability.
Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much he expects his Department to save as a result of the commitment in the Strategic Defence and Security Review to reductions in the civilian workforce and non-front line service personnel in each year of the comprehensive spending review period. 
Mr Robathan: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Houghton and Sunderland South (Bridget Phillipson) on 2 March 2011, Official Report, column 453W. The Ministry of Defence announced significant reductions to both civilian and military personnel as part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review. Final savings figures on redundancies will depend on detailed implementation of these reductions, which will include early release and natural wastage, as well as redundancies. Estimates are subject to change and the MOD is therefore not prepared to release more detailed figures at this time.
Anti-Terrorism Control Orders: Prosecutions
Nick Herbert [holding answer 4 March 2011]: The Secretary of State reports to Parliament on the exercise of her powers under the Prevention of Terrorism Act 2005—and on criminal proceedings for breaches of control orders—on a quarterly basis, and additionally on an ad hoc basis if required. At 10 December 2010, the end of the period covered by the most recent such report (16 December 2010, Official Report , columns 124-25WS), 48 individuals had ever been subject to a control order. Of these, 10 have been charged with breaching their control order, two have been convicted; one was acquitted; one absconded before trial; one foreign national left the UK voluntarily and charges remain on file; three cases were discontinued as the Crown Prosecution Service concluded it was not in the public interest to prosecute; and two are currently awaiting trial.
All of the individuals currently subject to a control order, and most of those who have ever been subject to a control order, are also subject to a court-imposed anonymity order. This prevents the publication of information that would identify, or would tend to identify, an individual as being subject to a control order. Since clarifying any offences (other than breaching their control order) for which these individuals have been prosecuted—together with information already in the public domain about individuals who have been charged with offences, including in particular terrorism offences—would tend to breach the court imposed anonymity order, it is not possible to provide this information.
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Damian Green: The average percentage of asylum claims that have received an initial decision within 30 days is 61% for cohorts since May 2010, compared with 46% for cohorts in the 12 months before May 2010. The average percentage of asylum cases concluded (granted or removed) within six months was 53% for cohorts since May 2010, compared with 48% for cohorts in the 12 months prior to May 2010.
Both of these indicators form part of a new framework that measures our progress towards an asylum system with swifter case conclusions and no backlogs, delivered at significantly lower cost to the taxpayer. Through the Asylum Improvement Project we have been testing a number of new ideas to improve the speed of the system including increased use of specialist case owners, tools to improve the flow of decision making, and a more structured approach to interviews and decisions.
Ben Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment her Department has made of the likely effect of recent events in countries of North Africa and the Middle East on numbers of applications for asylum in the UK. 
Damian Green: The UK Border Agency is closely assessing the risks that recent events in north Africa and the middle east may present to asylum intake. So far there is no indication of a significant change in applications for asylum made by nationals of affected countries, or from the surrounding areas. Nonetheless the UK Border Agency will continue to monitor the situation to ensure that it is well placed to manage any emerging risks and respond effectively should the situation change.
Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what meetings (a) she and (b) Ministers in her Department have had with representatives of the (i) Black Police Association, (ii) National Association of Muslim Police, (iii) Jewish Police Association and (iv) British Association of Women Police since May 2010. 
Nick Herbert: I met the National Association of Muslim Police on 12 January 2011. I also provided a video address for the National Black Police Association conference held on 12 October 2010. The Secretary of State for the Home Department, my right hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May), and other Ministers in the Home Office have not met any of these bodies.
Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of police cars carry roadside breath test equipment; and what estimate has been made of the (a) cost and (b) time spent transporting testing equipment for use by officers who do not have such equipment available to them in the latest period for which figures are available. 
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British Overseas Citizenship
Laura Sandys: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will consider the merits of a selective regularisation scheme for British overseas citizens who have no access to (a) settlement and (b) citizenship under the immigration rules. 
Damian Green: British Overseas citizens have access to be able to apply for settlement. Those who meet the criteria or who can provide evidence of compelling and compassionate circumstances and/or human rights considerations are able to qualify for a grant of leave outside of the rules.
There are provisions under which British Overseas citizens can apply to become British citizens if certain criteria are met. Information about those provisions is published on the UK Border Agency website.
As such, we are not considering a selective regularisation scheme for British Overseas citizens who have not been granted settlement, or who cannot qualify for citizenship under the immigration rules.
Laura Sandys: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the number of British overseas citizens who have no avenue to full British citizenship or settlement under the immigration rules; and how many such British overseas citizens come from each country of origin. 
Damian Green: We are unable to estimate how many British overseas citizens (BOCs) fit into this category. To determine which BOCs do not have a route to settlement or citizenship would require looking at individual cases and would therefore be at disproportionate cost.
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mapped to an anonymous point on, or near, the street where they occurred, and not normally on streets with fewer than 12 postal addresses.
Crime: Young People
Nick de Bois: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will take steps to ensure that regional variations of youth victimisation are included in future statistical reports published by her Department on the victimisation of children aged 10 to 15 years. 
James Brokenshire: The presentation of data in National Statistics reports published by my Department is a matter for the Home Office chief statistician to decide. I will ask him to write to my hon. Friend and will arrange for a copy of his letter to be placed in the House Library.
Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which procurement projects engaged upon by (a) her Department and (b) each non-departmental public body and agency for which she is responsible had a designated senior responsible owner in the latest period for which figures are available; and on what date each officer was appointed in each such case. 
|(1) Regulations revoked||(2) References||(3) Extent of revocation||(4) Revoking instrument|
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Detention Centres: Children
Damian Green: The requested information is not available. Published figures show that 1,120 children entered detention solely under immigration Act powers in 2009 and 405 in 2010; however, some of these children may have entered detention more than once.
The Home Office publishes statistics on children entering detention, solely under immigration Act powers on a quarterly and annual basis, which are available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office's Research, Development and Statistics website at:
On 16 December 2010, the Government announced the immediate closure of the family unit to children at the Yarl's Wood immigration removal centre. A new non-detained family returns process was also announced to deliver the coalition commitment to end the detention of children for immigration purposes.
A fresh approach to managing family returns is being developed which places greater emphasis on engagement with families and aims to encourage families to leave without the need for enforcement action if they are found to have no legal right to be in the UK.
Most elements of this new process went live across the UK on 1 March, including the setting up of a new independent Family Returns Panel to advise the UK Border Agency on how to ensure the return of those families who do not take up the opportunities to leave under their own steam. A range of options has been developed to provide sufficient flexibility for a tailored approach to each family.
Dyfed-Powys Police: Helicopters
Nick Herbert: The Government recognise the challenges that are faced by Dyfed-Powys-police in covering a large geographical area with a single helicopter but also recognises the need to provide value for money for the taxpayer. The introduction of a National Police Air Service (NPAS) from 1 April 2012 will provide a mixed fleet of rotary and fixed-wing aircraft that will operate across borders. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) believes that the replacement of the Dyfed-Powys helicopter with a fixed-wing aircraft is a more effective solution giving eight hours more coverage and greater resilience across the whole of Wales.
James Brokenshire: A number of international organisations, including Eurostat, have attempted to collate international homicide statistics. It is important to note that there are issues surrounding the comparability of international homicide data. There are different definitions of homicide between countries, although definitions vary less than for some other types of crimes. Furthermore, there are differing points in criminal justice systems at which homicides are recorded, i.e. when the offence is discovered or following further investigation.
The most recent Eurostat figures compare homicide rates averaged over the years 2006 to 2008. These are published in ‘Crime and Criminal Justice’ by Cynthia Tavares and Geoffrey Thomas and are available via the following link:
The rates for the 15 countries that were members of the European Union prior to the accession of 10 candidate countries on 1 May 2004 are shown in Table A, per million population. The Eurostat published rate for England and Wales is 13.5, for Scotland is 21.4 and for Northern Ireland is 15.2. Eurostat calculated the England and Wales rate using the recorded crime returns rather than the Homicide Index. If the Homicide Index had been used, the figure would be slightly lower.
Among the countries that joined the EU on or after May 2004, rates for eastern European countries tend to be higher, rising to 87.6 in Lithuania and 66.0 in Estonia, though the rate for Poland is 12.9, which is lower than that for England and Wales.
The Federal Bureau of Investigation commented on homicide rates in the USA in their publication ‘Crime in the United States, 2008’. They stated that, although the rate of murder and non-negligent manslaughter in the USA has fallen substantially in recent years, to 56 per million population in 2008, it is still well above those experienced in western Europe.
Another key source for international homicide data is the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC). UNODC statistics currently cover over 198 countries or territories. The data are drawn from various different datasets. The UK are included in the table of homicide rates based on criminal justice sources and are ranked below the median for all countries which provided these
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data. However, for the reasons stated earlier, caution should be taken when making such comparisons. The UNODC data are available at the following link:
|Table A Homicide rate per million population for 15 European Union countries (ranked in order high to low)|
|(1) Eurostat calculated this figure using the recorded crime returns, not the Homicide Index. If the Homicide Index had been used, the figure would be slightly lower.|
Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she plans to reply to the letter sent by the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton on 14 January 2011 with regard to Mr Y Ashraf. 
Damian Green [holding answer 4 March 2011]:I refer the right hon. Member to the reply given by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), on 28 February 2011.
Northumbria Police: Manpower
Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will assess the potential effects of a reduction in the number of police officers employed by Northumbria police on the level of crime in the Northumbria police force area. 
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Home Affairs. The Home Office will continue to publish data on police officer numbers and crime levels in each police force.
Northumbria Police: Stun Guns
Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on how many occasions a stun gun was (a) deployed and (b) fired by officers of Northumbria police in each of the last three years. 
Official Cars: Prime Minister
Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the cost to the public purse was of the (a) purchase, (b) adaptation, (c) delivery and (d) other associated costs of the Jaguar XJ Sentinel vehicle for the use of the Prime Minister. 
Nick Herbert [holding answer 7 March 2011]:It is our policy not to provide detailed information on the cost of security to protected individuals. To do so would compromise the integrity of the security arrangements of the individuals concerned.
Police: Charging Arrangements
Nick Herbert: We are returning charging decisions to the police for a range of offences, saving valuable police time. We are discussing with the Crown Prosecution Service and Association of Chief Police Officers the possibility of returning additional offences to the police through a second phase of charging transfers.
Bob Stewart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will take steps to reduce the level of paperwork required of police officers dealing with suspected domestic violence incidents. 
Nick Herbert: The Government are committed to reducing unnecessary bureaucracy in policing while ensuring that the right safeguards are in place for victims of domestic violence. This is an area that requires effective risk-management and therefore needs careful consideration of the potential impact any changes may have on vulnerable victims of domestic violence.
Mr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the likely effect on the administrative burden on police forces of changes to the Code of Practice A under the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984. 
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Nick Herbert: The recent changes made to the Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 Codes of Practice A, B and D are focused on reducing bureaucracy in police forces and allowing them to make decisions at a local level that directly affect their communities. The administrative savings made by the new procedures will significantly outweigh any transitional burden on forces.
Police: Yorkshire and the Humber
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duties in (i) South Yorkshire and (ii) Doncaster on (A) 1 May 1997, (B) 1 May 2009, (C) 1 May 2010 and (D) the most recent date for which figures are available. 
Nick Herbert: The available data are provided in the table, which shows the number of police officers and police community support officers in post in South Yorkshire and Doncaster as at 31 March 1997, 2009, 2010 and as at 30 September 2010. Figures are not collected as at 1 May, the closest figures are as at 31 March.
|Police officer and police community support officer strength for South Yorkshire and Doncaster (1,2)|
|Police officers||Police community support officers|
||South Yorkshire||Doncaster||South Yorkshire||Doncaster|
|(1) This table contains full-time equivalent figures that have been rounded to the nearest whole number. (2) Figures for 2008-09, 2009-10 and 30 September 2010 include staff on career breaks, maternity/paternity leave (not comparable with figures prior to 2003); however the figure for 1996-97 excludes staff on career breaks, maternity/paternity leave (is comparable with figures prior to 2003). (3) Figures for police officers broken down by Basic Command Unit were not collected before 2003. (4) Police community support officers did not exist prior to 2002. (5) Police service strength is not broken down by Basic Command Unit in 30 September 2010 as these data are only collected for 31 March.|
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether (a) she and (b) Ministers in her Department are participating in volunteering activities as part of her Department's involvement in the Big Society initiative. 
Damian Green: Home Office Ministers are actively involved with charities on a private basis as detailed in the list of Ministers’ interests recently published by the Cabinet Office, as well as our involvement in other local voluntary activities in our constituencies.
Lynne Featherstone: A total of 15,559 individuals have been barred through the Independent Safeguarding Authority's (ISA) autobar and discretionary powers between 20 January 2009 and 28 February 2011; of these 69.1% (10,753 people) have a criminal record for one or more sexual offences.
However, criminal records data are not readily available for all discretionary bars. In addition, this figure excludes any barring decisions made on those people who were included on the previous barred lists and whom the ISA has “determined” under the Safeguarding Vulnerable Groups Act 2006 (Transitory Provisions) Order 2009 should be placed on the ISA barred lists.
Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what impact assessment she has carried out to determine the effects on the (a) education sector and (b) economy of her proposals to cap non-EU Students in (i) England, (ii) Scotland, (iii) Wales and (iv) Northern Ireland. 
Damian Green: A consultation on the student immigration system closed on 31 January 2011. The consultation sought the views of all respondents on the effect of the proposals. The results of the consultation and an impact assessment will be published in due course.
Mr Watson: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 7 March 2011, Official Report, column 740W, on Chequers: official visits, how many days he has spent at (a) Downing street and (b) Chequers since his appointment. 
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The Prime Minister: This information is not a matter for the Government. Chequers is administered by independent trustees who receive an annual grant from the Cabinet Office towards its maintenance and to cover civilian staff employed at Chequers in accordance with the Chequers Acts.
The grant for the financial year 2010-11 was agreed under the previous Administration. Information will be included in the annual Cabinet Office Report and Accounts, which will be published before the summer recess.
Mr Watson: To ask the Prime Minister what the cost to the public purse has been of the purchase of (a) red wine, (b) white wine, (c) champagne and (d) fortified wine for use at Chequers since his appointment; on how many occasions each has been served; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Watson: To ask the Prime Minister what estimate he has made of the likely cost to the public purse of the annual grant from the Cabinet Office for the operation of Chequers for each category of cost in 2011-12. 
The Prime Minister: Chequers is administered by independent trustees who receive an annual grant from the Cabinet Office towards its maintenance and to cover civilian staff employed at Chequers in accordance with the Chequers Acts.