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Written Answers to Questions
Friday 10 June 2011
Deputy Prime Minister
House of Lords: Reform
Priti Patel: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister with reference to the House of Lords Reform Draft Bill, if he will estimate (1) the additional resources required by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority to administer the proposals to bring members of the House of Lords within the salary and expenses system operated by that Authority; 
Priti Patel: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister with reference to the House of Lords Reform Draft Bill, what his policy is on proposals that would enable parties not in Government to appoint or recommend peers for appointment to fulfil opposition frontbench functions in the proposed reformed House of Lords. 
Mr Harper: The Government published proposals for a wholly or mainly elected House of Lords on 17 May. In a mainly elected House, a statutory appointments commission would recommend individuals to serve as appointed members. They would be expected to bring a non-party political perspective to their work. The Prime Minister will be able to appoint a limited number directly to the reformed House of Lords to serve as Ministers, for the duration of their ministerial office. The Government does not see any need to extend this to include Opposition spokesmen, as there is no requirement for Opposition spokesmen to be accountable to Parliament in the way Members of the Government are.
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Priti Patel: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister with reference to the House of Lords Reform Draft Bill, if he will estimate the number of peers in the proposed reformed House of Lords that would hold frontbench positions on behalf of their political party. 
Mr Harper: The Government published proposals for a wholly or mainly elected House of Lords on 17 May. Political parties would be able to appoint members of the reformed House of Lords, in numbers which they would decide, to serve in frontbench positions on behalf of their party.
Mr Harper: The Government published a White Paper and draft Bill on 17 May setting out proposals for a wholly or mainly elected reformed second chamber. Oral statements were made in both Houses. The White Paper and draft Bill are to be subject to pre-legislative scrutiny by a joint committee of both Houses. A Government Bill will then be introduced in the next session. The Government hope that the transition will start in 2015 with the first elections to the reformed House of Lords.
Mr Clappison: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 24 May 2011, Official Report, column 769, what plans he has to produce an estimate of the cost of a reformed House of Lords; and when he expects such an estimate to be available. 
Costs of providing and administering salaries, pensions and allowances for members of the reformed House of Lords will depend on a number of variables. However, the Government will provide further details of costs during pre-legislative scrutiny of the draft House of Lords Reform Bill.
Voting Rights: Prisoners
Priti Patel: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether he has proposed to the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers that it make a referral under Article 46(3) of the European Convention on Human Rights in respect of the judgments made by the European Court of Human Rights in respect of the United Kingdom's laws on the voting rights of prisoners. 
No. Article 46(3) of the European Convention of Human Rights is intended to enable the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers—in circumstances where they believe the supervision of the execution of a final judgment is hindered by a problem of interpretation of the judgment—to refer to the European
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Court of Human Rights for a ruling on the interpretation of the judgment. Such a referral requires the support of a majority of two thirds of the Committee of Ministers—it is not open to the Governments of individual member states to use.
Culture, Media and Sport
British Sky Broadcasting: News Corporation
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport which (a) law firms and (b) barristers his Department engaged to advise on the proposed takeover of BSkyB by News Corporation and related undertakings; and what his most recent estimate is of the cost to the public purse of such advice. 
Departmental Legal Profession
Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many lawyers are employed within his Department; and how many such lawyers are qualified to practise in England and Wales as (a) solicitors and (b) barristers. 
There are currently 19 lawyers, and 1 trainee lawyer, assigned to the Department. All those lawyers (apart from the trainee) are qualified to practice in England and Wales as either solicitors or barristers.
Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland whether his Department has discussed with the Ministry of Defence proposals by the Scottish Government that a future independent Scotland could share defence capabilities and facilities with the UK. 
Michael Moore: No. All personnel, wherever they are from in the UK, serve as part of the United Kingdom armed forces. The UK Government believes that being part of the UK is good for Scotland, and Scotland being part of the UK is good for the rest of the UK.
Ann McKechin: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland when he last met the Secretary of State for Transport; and whether he discussed the future of Scottish coastguard stations at that meeting. 
I have regular discussions with the Secretary of State for Transport on a range of issues of mutual interest, including the future of Scottish coastguard stations. The consultation on the proposals to modernise Her Majesty's Coastguard closed on 5 May, and the
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Government will evaluate the responses to that and the conclusions of the Transport Select Committee's inquiry into the proposals before making any final decisions.
Scottish Grand Committee
David Mundell: I have regular discussions with my officials on a full range of matters relating to Scotland. I refer the hon. Lady to the answers given by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Scotland on 19 May 2011, Official Report, columns 293-294W.
National Security Council
Pat Glass: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many business start-ups in North West Durham constituency there (a) were in each month between June 2005 and May 2010 and (b) have been in each month since May 2010. 
As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking how many business start-ups in North West Durham constituency there (a) were in each month between June 2005 and May 2010 and (b) have been in each month since May 2010. 
Monthly statistics on business start ups are not available. Annual statistics on the number of enterprise births are available from 2002 onwards in the ONS release on Business Demography at:
The table below contains the latest statistics available, which give the number of enterprise births from 2005 to 2009 in the constituency of North West Durham. Information relating to 2010 will be available following release of the latest Business Demography publication in December 2011.
|Enterprises births in North West Durham from 2005–09|
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Carbon Monoxide: Poisoning
George Hollingbery: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many deaths in each age decile were due to accidental and unintended carbon monoxide poisoning from a domestic fuel source in each of the last 15 years. 
As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking how many deaths in each age deciles, were due to accidental and unintended carbon monoxide poisoning from a domestic fuel source in each of the last 15 years. (58365)
The following table provides the number of deaths caused by accidental exposure to the toxic effect of carbon monoxide, by 10-year age group, in England and Wales, from 1995 to 2009 (the latest year available).
The information collected at death registration provides statistics on deaths which were caused by specific conditions or injuries. It is not possible to ascertain from these statistics whether the carbon monoxide was associated with a domestic fuel source.
|Table 1. Number of deaths caused by accidental exposure to the toxic effect of carbon monoxide, by age group, England and Wales, 1995 to 2009 (1, 2, 3, 4)|
|(1) Cause of death for accidents was defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) codes E800-E928 (excluding E870-E879) for the years 1995 to 2000, and Tenth Revision (ICD-10) codes V01-X59 for the years 2001 to 2009, where these codes appeared as the underlying cause. (2) Cause of death for carbon monoxide poisoning was defined using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision (ICD-9) code 986 for the years 1995 to 2000, and Tenth Revision (ICD-10) code T58 for the years 2001 to 2009, where these codes appeared as the secondary cause. (3) Figures for England and Wales include deaths of non-residents. (4) Figures are for deaths registered in each calendar year.|
Matthew Hancock: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the likely number of additional apprenticeship places he expects to be created in each (a) region, (b) local authority and (c) parliamentary constituency in each of the next four years, following his decision to fund up to 50,000 additional apprenticeship places; and how many apprenticeship places in total he expects there to be in each case in each such year. 
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We are increasing funding for apprenticeships to £1.4 billion, sufficient to train over 360,000 apprentices in 2011-12. In the Budget we announced an additional £180 million package for 50,000 additional adult apprenticeship places over the spending review period. This is on top of the plans for growth in the apprenticeships programme that we published in Investing in Skills for Sustainable Growth in November 2010 (for adults aged 19 and over) and the YPLA 16-19 “Funding Statement” (December 2010).
In support of the coalition Government's principle of greater freedom, Skills for Sustainable Growth and Investing in Skills for Sustainable Growth set out the abolition of central targets and increased freedom and flexibility for further education colleges and training organisations to respond effectively to the needs of employers, learners and their communities. It is for individual colleges and training organisations, working directly with their local partners, to determine the offer that best meets the needs of their communities.
Accordingly, take-up of apprenticeships by region follows employer demand and we are not able to provide estimates of the geographical distribution of funding or Apprenticeship places, as these would be either too broad to be of use or would be potentially misleading.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 23 May 2011, Official Report, column 353W, on business: finance, if he will estimate the proportion of the letters received by his Department since July 2007 concerning (a) Royal Bank of Scotland, (b) Northern Rock, (c) Bradford and Bingley and (d) Lloyds Banking Group that related to (i) removal of overdraft facilities and (ii) removal of loan facilities. 
Businesses: Government Assistance
Alun Cairns: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many businesses have been assisted by the HM Revenue and Customs Business Support Service in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Between the launch of HMRC's Business Payment Support Service (BPSS) in November 2008 and 31 March 2011 428,800 arrangements were granted to businesses in the UK, to spread tax payments of £7.37 billion over an agreed period. However, some businesses will have made repeat arrangements and therefore this is not the specific number of businesses that have been assisted.
Ian Murray: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what proportion of corporation tax received in Scotland was paid by banks and other financial institutions with headquarters in Scotland in the latest period for which figures are available. 
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Mr Gauke [holding answer 8 June 2011]: The information requested is not available. HMRC publish statistics on United Kingdom corporation tax receipts for the financial sector, which includes banks. This information is regularly updated and published in Table 11.1 on the HMRC National Statistics website. The latest update is available here:
Ian Murray: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the amount foregone by the Exchequer in a financial year from a reduction in corporation tax payable in Scotland of (a) one, (b) two and (c) three per cent. 
Financial Services Compensation Scheme
Mr Hoban: Treasury Ministers and officials meet with and receive representations from a wide range of stakeholders including consumer groups as part of the usual policymaking process. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such representations.
HM Revenue and Customs: Manpower
Gregg McClymont: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what assessment he has made of the effect of the HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) change plan for 2011 on the overall level of employment at HMRC; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Gauke: At the beginning of the current financial year HMRC's staffing levels were at 66,000 full-time equivalent posts. HMRC's change plan anticipates that by the end of the financial year this will have reduced to 63,400 full-time equivalent posts, a reduction that HMRC is confident can be achieved through natural wastage as people leave the department to retire or to take up new posts in other organisations. HMRC will do everything it can to avoid compulsory redundancies and these will only be used as a very last resort.
The reduced staffing level will not be detrimental to customer service. HMRC's new customer-centric strategy focuses on the needs of its particular customer groups and enables it to provide an improved service and an improved customer experience at a lower cost.
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Insurance: EU Law
Graham Evans: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when the Financial Secretary to the Treasury plans to respond to the letters from the hon. Member for Weaver Vale of 16 December 2010 and 8 March 2011 on behalf of his constituent, Mr Roger Wickins. 
Mr Hoban: I wrote to all hon. Members on 21 February 2011 to set out the Government's overall position on Retail Distribution Review. This letter was in response to any outstanding correspondence that hon. Members may have raised.
Members: Income Tax
Mr Gauke [holding answer 8 June 2011]:The exemption in point is contained in the disguised remuneration legislation in Finance (No. 3) Bill which is being introduced to counter attempts to use third party arrangements to avoid tax on employment income. The specific provision excludes payments made to MPs by the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA). IPSA, who are otherwise a third party for the purposes of the legislation, makes certain payments to MPs to enable them to carry out their parliamentary duties. This is not tax avoidance and has therefore been excluded from the new rules. Other third party arrangements involving MPs would not be excluded from the new rules.
High Speed Two Railway Line
Mr Philip Hammond: The cost for the Brackley High Speed 2 Roadshow venue was £1,540. The exhibition material is owned by HS2 Ltd. This does not reflect staff time attending the events which would be difficult to break down per venue.
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Mr Philip Hammond: The cost for the Upper Boddington High Speed Two Roadshow venue was £330. The mobile exhibition vehicle is owned by HS2 Ltd. This cost does not reflect staff time attending the events which would be difficult to break down per venue.
Mr Philip Hammond: The cost of the Chipping Warden High Speed Two Roadshow venue was £148.50. The mobile exhibition vehicle is owned by HS2 Ltd. This cost does not reflect staff time attending the events which would be difficult to break down per venue.
Mr Philip Hammond: HS2 Ltd spent £24.1 million (excluding VAT) between January 2009, when it was established, and the end of the 2010-11 financial year. In addition, the Department spent £9.6 million on property purchases under the Exceptional Hardship Scheme up to the end of the 2010-11 financial year.
Motor Vehicles: Exhaust Emissions
Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when he expects the consolidation of support mechanisms for low and ultra-low emission vehicle research and development to be complete. 
Norman Baker: A decision on the consolidation of existing support mechanisms for ultra-low emission vehicle research and development has been delayed to ensure that it can be taken in the context of the electric vehicle infrastructure strategy, which is due to be published by the end of June.
Motor Vehicles: Lighting
Harriett Baldwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what research his Department has (a) commissioned and (b) evaluated on the safety of high-intensity discharge lighting on vehicles. 
The first report, completed in 1994, was used to inform the UK negotiating position on the draft European Regulation on HID lighting. The second report, completed in 2001, investigated headlamp glare and driver vision and reviewed existing headlamp requirements including HID lamps.
TRL report number: PR/SRC/11/94, Gas Discharge Headlights by J Cobb and Wendy Gibbons.
Vehicle Lighting: Headlamp glare and driver vision by Andrew Shearlaw and Dean Southall (placed in House Library in 2004)
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Mrs Villiers: The Department for Transport is currently working with Stagecoach South West Trains and Network Rail to assess future demand for London to Portsmouth passenger rail services with a view to securing additional passenger capacity.
Work and Pensions
Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of employees of his Department that will be made redundant in each of the next three years; how many such employees he estimates are engaged in front-line duties; and if he will make a statement. 
The Department for Work and Pensions is currently developing plans for achieving the 26% reduction of its core budget—including a 40% reduction of its corporate overheads—by 2014-15, announced in last year's spending review. Not all of this reduction will necessarily be achieved through headcount reductions.
Disability Living Allowance
Margaret Curran: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many households receive the severe disability premium; and how many such households have a child who is caring for a disabled adult. 
Maria Miller [holding answer 8 June 2011]:The Department for Work and Pensions do not hold specific management information on young carers as they are the responsibility of the Department for Education. However, 2001 census data suggest there are approximately 139,000 young carers in England, of whom 22,000 are caring for 20-50 hours a week. (More recent informal sources suggest that the numbers may be higher and we await the 2011 census data to confirm this.) Information on the number of households receiving the severe disability premium is given in the following table.
The issue of young carers is a challenging one and supporting them is a priority for is Government. The Government's new Carers Strategy, “Recognised, valued and supported: Next Steps for the Carers Strategy” has a strong focus on supporting young carers. It emphasises the important of adult and children's services, alongside the voluntary sector, working together to identify and support young carers.
The Government will continue to work with local authorities and the voluntary sector to break down barriers to effective practice and support the spread of evidence-based practice. That is why the Department for Education is funding the Children's Society and the Princess Royal Trust for Carers up to £1.5 million until March 2013. They will encourage ‘whole family' approaches to supporting young carers and promote the new e-learning module that the Department for Education has developed for school staff on the needs of young carers.
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My Department are considering the position of young carers within universal credit. For individuals and households who currently receive the severe disability premium there will be transitional protection where their universal credit would be less than under the old system, provided their circumstances remain the same.
|Number of IS, PC and JSA claimants with a severe disability premium—November 2010|
|Benefit||Severe disability premium|
|Notes: 1. Income support (IS) and pension credit (PC) figures have been rounded to the nearest 10. Jobseeker's allowance (JSA) figures are to the nearest hundred. 2. IS figures exclude residual minimum income guarantee claimants. 3. Figures on employment and support allowance claimants with a severe disability premium are not centrally collated. Source: DWP Information Directorate 100% Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study (Income Support, Pension Credit) and 5% sample (Jobseeker's Allowance).|
Mrs Ellman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the cost to the public purse of reassessing each person of working age who is in receipt of disability living allowance. 
Maria Miller [holding answer 8 June 2011]:The cost of administering personal independence payment will depend on the detail of how the benefit is delivered and the design of the new assessment. Costs will be refined as further detail on the reform is developed. Approximate high level delivery costs (both one off investment and DEL) have been estimated to be £675 million (net present value) over the period 2011-12 to 2015-16. These include provision for making changes to the IT systems, training DWP staff, the administrative effort required to manage the transition of existing recipients to the new system and the cost of trained independent assessors undertaking the new assessment.
Housing Benefit: Foster Care
Jenny Willott: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether a foster child is to be allocated a bedroom on the same basis as any other child in the calculation of the appropriate maximum housing benefit. 
Steve Webb: Current policy is to not treat foster children as members of the foster carer's household in the calculation of the appropriate maximum housing benefit. This is consistent with the current treatment of foster children in housing benefit assessments for those living in the private rented sector. However, the Government disregards the whole of the foster carer allowance that is given to the foster parents when assessing eligibility for all income related benefits; this balance leaves the majority of households who foster substantially better off.
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Housing Benefit: Liverpool
Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Liverpool will have their benefit reduced as a result of the extension of the shared accommodation rate of housing benefit to single people aged under 35 years; and what assessment he has made of the availability of shared accommodation in (a) Walton and (b) other areas of Liverpool. 
Steve Webb: Based on analysis of the local housing allowance caseload in March 2010, it is estimated that 1,450 claimants in Liverpool would have their rate of local housing allowance reduced to the shared accommodation rate.
No assessment has been made of the availability of shared accommodation in Walton or other areas of Liverpool. This will depend on the responses of claimants and landlords to the reduced local housing allowance entitlement.
Equality impact assessment of the increase to the shared accommodation rate age threshold, available on the DWP website at
Jobcentre Plus: Bexley
The Secretary of State has asked me to reply to your question asking how many complaints have been received by each Jobcentre Plus in the London Borough of Bexley in each of the last 12 months. This is something that falls within the responsibilities delegated to me as Chief Executive of Jobcentre Plus.
There is only one Jobcentre Plus office in the London Borough of Bexley, and that is Bexleyheath Jobcentre Plus.
The figures included in the table below represent all complaints made by, or relating to, a Bexleyheath Jobcentre customer. This includes complaints received at any point of the Jobcentre Plus complaints process, including at the Jobcentre, at District Office and those received by senior officials and Ministers.
|Complaints received by Bexleyheath Jobcentre over the last 12 months|
|Month complaints received||Number of complaints|
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Jobseeker's Allowance: Barnsley
Michael Dugher: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of claimants of jobseeker's allowance in Barnsley East constituency who (a) have been affected by his Department's changes to entitlement to mortgage interest payments and (b) will be affected in the 12 months following the change. 
Steve Webb: The standard interest rate which is used to calculate support for mortgage interest was changed to 3.63% from 1 October 2010. This change affects the entire support for mortgage interest caseload.
(a) Number of JSA claimants receiving mortgage interest at November 2010: The number of JSA claimants receiving Mortgage Interest is based on 5% sample data; figures less than 500 are subject to a high degree of sample variation and should be used only as a guide. In Barnsley East the number is “nil or negligible”—as sample data are rounded to the nearest 100 this means that the derived figure is “less than 50” and so subject to large sample variation.
Chris Grayling: As the matters raised were operational, a reply was sent to the hon. Member by the Customer Services Director of the Pension Disability and Carers Service on behalf of the Secretary of State on 8 June 2011.
The Work programme will be the single biggest payment by results employment programme the United Kingdom has ever seen, providing personalised support to an expected 2.4 million claimants over the next five years helping individuals find and sustain employment.
Work programme providers will not be required to deliver centrally specified support, which may be inappropriate for many claimants, but instead will be given the freedom to innovate and develop personalised support. In return for this freedom, they will be paid on the basis of the results they achieve.
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In addition to this, the support Jobcentre Plus advisers have available to offer is being bolstered with a series of Get Britain Working measures. Government are asking for the active engagement of employers, partners and claimants themselves in every community in Britain.
From April 2011 we have put in place a much more flexible and personalised approach to the way Jobcentre Plus delivers to claimants. Jobcentre Plus managers and advisers will have far more flexibility to judge which interventions will help their claimants, tailored to personal and local labour market needs.
To help support young people, in this year's Budget the Chancellor announced funding for up to 100,000 work experience placements over the next two years as part of our support for moving young people into the world of work and providing them with the experience that employers tell us is really important. We are also funding up to 40,000 additional apprenticeship places for young unemployed people over the life of this Parliament and plan to introduce an extension to work experience placements where employers want to offer a young person an apprenticeship which will help smooth the transition for both the employer and the young person.
The Prime Minister recently announced an enhanced £60 million package of support including a £30 million Innovation Fund, provision of early access Work programme places for vulnerable 18 year olds, and additional support for 16 and 17 year old jobseeker's allowance claimants.
16-19 Bursary Fund
Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for Education whether he expects local authorities to supply learning providers with data on incoming students who will qualify for assistance under the 16 to 19 Bursary Scheme. 
Mr Gibb [holding answer 7 June 2011]: The Department will not require local authorities to supply data to education and learning providers in respect of young people's eligibility for the new 16-19 Bursary Fund. We will provide guidance to schools, colleges and training providers regarding the kind of evidence they might wish to seek from young people claiming a guaranteed £1,200 bursary. Beyond that, schools, colleges and training providers will be able to exercise their discretion to award bursaries to young people—including those who were in receipt of free school meals in year 11—in ways that best fit their needs and circumstances.
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which closed on 20 May. The Young People's Learning Agency will issue allocations to schools, colleges and training providers in June.
Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what recent assessment he has made of the contribution of (a) art, (b) music, (c) drama and (d) design and technology in the school curriculum to the wider academic development of five to 16-year-olds. 
Mr Gibb: We expect schools to provide a broad and balanced curriculum which meets the needs of their pupils and in particular, we said in our Schools White Paper that children should expect to be given a rich menu of cultural experiences. Darren Henley is currently undertaking an independent review of cultural education, which is expected to report at the end of this year.
A thorough review of the national curriculum is also under way, which aims to develop a national curriculum which is rigorous and results in high standards and coherence in what is taught in schools. As part of the review, consideration will be given to whether art and design, music and design and technology should remain compulsory subjects within the national curriculum and, if so, at which key stages. Drama is not currently a statutory national curriculum subject, though pupils are expected to be able to use dramatic techniques to make progress in English.
Mr Gibb [holding answer 8 June 2011]:We are taking a phased approach to the review of the national curriculum. We have announced that the statutory core subjects—English, mathematics and science—will remain compulsory at all four key stages in future, along with physical education. In the first phase of the review we are designing new programmes of study for those subjects, with a view to first teaching in schools from September 2013.
For all other subjects, including design and technology, we believe it is right that there should be a debate about whether they should remain part of the national curriculum, with statutory programmes of study, or whether it should be for schools to decide the content of their courses in those subjects as well as the way they should be taught. We have recently concluded a call for evidence on this and other issues and are currently analysing the results, along with a range of other evidence. We will announce our proposals early next year, and there will then be a further period of consultation before final decisions are taken.
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Mr Gibb: It is for local authorities to assess the effectiveness of the Common Assessment Framework (CAF) process in their area, and to adapt the CAF process to meet local needs to support better outcomes for children, young people and their families.
The Department for Transport's Strategic Framework for Road Safety is under development and is planned to be published in the near future. The Department for Transport (DFT) has issued THINK! Education, a comprehensive set of free online road safety teaching resources that cover ages 4-16, available to all schools, to ensure that they have good quality materials that they will want to teach. It includes materials for teachers, pupils and parents and can also be used by out of school groups. It covers all aspects of road safety, from car seats for young children to pre-driver attitudes for secondary schools. It is available at
and an online toolkit called E-valu-it to help practitioners to evaluate road safety education, training and publicity interventions; to help ensure that limited resources are used to the best effect; and to share lessons about what education interventions work best, why and how. Directgov also carries road safety advice at
Esther McVey: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what assessment he has made of the adequacy of system to provide routes back into education for those who leave formal education at 16. 
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Mr Gibb: The Government are providing sufficient funding to pay for a place in education for any 16 to 18-year-old who wants one and all local authorities are expected to have a process to offer 17-year-olds a suitable place in education or training by the end of September. This process, which has been known as the ?September Guarantee', aims to ensure that all those who left education at 16 have a further opportunity to engage. 93.7% of 16-year-olds and 85.2% of 17-year-olds participated in education or work based education and training at the end of 2009.
We recognise that the small group of young people who are not participating need additional support to do so. We are committed to raising the age at which all young people will participate in education or training to 17 in 2013 and 18 in 2015. Local authorities have a statutory duty to support young people to participate, including providing targeted support to vulnerable young people. We are providing funding for this through the Early Intervention Grant.
We know that pupils who do not achieve good GCSEs are more likely to leave education at 16. We set out, alongside our plans to accept all of Alison Wolf’s recommendations on vocational education, plans to review provision for these pupils, with the aim of increasing the proportion who are able to progress directly onto post-16 courses that will equip them with the skills that employers value. This review will build upon the findings of an independent evaluation of Foundation Learning, which already provides a route back into formal education for many young people.
Young people all have individual needs and we want to ensure that local areas have the freedom and flexibility to meet these. We have commissioned 35 local authorities to explore new approaches to achieving full participation in their areas. This is intended to be a locally-led programme where the areas can share their findings with each other, and with authorities in areas that are doing less well, so that they can develop and build on each others' work.
Mr Gibb [holding answer 18 May 2011]: The Government are clear that there should be no place for extremist activities in any school. That is why the Secretary of State for Education has established a dedicated unit within the Department for Education focusing specifically on preventing extremism.
The unit will focus on safeguards such as strengthening inspection arrangements. The Department for Education is working with Ofsted to ensure that inspectors have the necessary knowledge and expertise to determine whether extremist and intolerant beliefs are being promoted in a school. New arrangements for inspecting maintained schools, Academies and Free Schools are being developed and relevant training on aspects of pupils’ spiritual, moral, social, and cultural development will be provided to inspectors. Specialist inspectors that undertake work relating to independent schools are soon to receive more detailed training. We are sending a clear message that extremism will not be tolerated in schools.
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Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Burma: Human Rights
Jonathan Reynolds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on allegations of human rights abuses in Burma; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: The Government regularly receives reports of human rights abuses from groups inside Burma, as well as those in exile and lobby groups in the UK. Recent reports have in particular focused on alleged human rights violations against civilians as a result of an escalation of conflict in Shan State. We have made clear that we are deeply concerned by these reports, that we are monitoring the situation closely and that we have raised the issue with the Burmese Government and Burmese ambassador. More widely, the Government secured a strongly-worded human rights resolution at the March UN Human Rights Council which called on the Burmese Government to end continuing grave violations of international humanitarian law. Burma remains one of the Government's countries of concern for human rights abuses and we will continue to provide quarterly updates to Parliament on the human rights situation through the FCO Human Rights and Democracy Report:
Lindsay Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will take further steps to address the human rights situation in Burma and promote the establishment of a UN Commission of Inquiry into that matter; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: The Government have made clear our support for the UN Special Rapporteur's recommendation for the UN to consider establishing a Commission of Inquiry into human rights abuses in Burma. At the March Human Rights Council we helped secure text which expressed serious concern that previous calls to end impunity have not been heeded and called on the Burmese Government to undertake without delay an impartial and independent investigation into all human rights violations and with appropriate attention from the UN. In recent weeks we have discussed the issue of a Commission of Inquiry with United States of America and French officials and held discussions with EU counterparts on 9 March 2011. We continue to work closely with international partners to build support for a Commission of Inquiry.
Burma: Politics and Government
Lindsay Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Government of Burma for the introduction of a nationwide ceasefire in that country. 
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Mr Jeremy Browne: The Government are deeply concerned by the reported breakdown of ceasefire agreements with ethnic militia and by reports of an escalation in conflict especially in Shan State and associated reported serious human rights abuses against civilians. Our ambassador raised the issue of the ongoing conflict with ethnic groups with the Burmese Government on 10 May 2011 underlining the importance of a political solution. On 5 May 2011, Senior Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials also raised this issue with the Burmese ambassador. We will continue to monitor the situation and urge the Burmese Government to reinstate ceasefire agreements with a view to a lasting political settlement.
Lindsay Roy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what his policy is on encouraging tripartite dialogue between the Burmese government, the National League for Democracy and representatives of ethnic minorities in Burma. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: An inclusive dialogue between all Burma's opposition and ethnic groups that leads to a genuine process of national reconciliation remains one of the international community's long-standing demands. We are clear that only through such a process can Burma achieve peace and stability. The Government continue to support the UN Secretary-General's Good Offices Mission to this end, and have made clear the importance we attach to the appointment of a credible new envoy able to reinvigorate the political track.
Ms Harman: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether any of the £40 million in the Arab Partnership Fund announced for political reform is to be used to support women's organisations in Egypt. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: As part of our £1.2 million Arab Partnership Programme to support the immediate political transition in Egypt, we are considering developing a project with a local NGO to encourage women's participation in the political sphere. The project aims to provide women participants with the skills and practical support to organize successful campaigns and promote human and women's rights within their communities.
We are also sponsoring a visit to the UK for prominent revolutionary youth activists of both sexes, who are attempting to establish their own political parties and coalitions. The visit aims to expose the activists to British political life, providing them with a model for developing their nascent parties and skills to prepare for electoral campaigns.
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security concerns arising from the unauthorised actions of one of our neighbours, who disabled several security barriers and consequently left the embassy at risk of attack. We have had no choice but to close the embassy in order to protect our staff from the risks that working at an insufficiently secure embassy building in Jakarta would entail. We have registered our serious concern with the Indonesians authorities and have been working extremely hard with them to reach a solution whereby security is restored at the embassy. We cannot compromise the safety and security of our British and Indonesian staff. Our embassy will remain closed until we and our Indonesian counterparts reach and implement a viable solution.
The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, has discussed this issue with Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa on 20 May 2011, and I raised it again when I met him at the Asia Europe meeting in Budapest on 7 June 2011. Senior officials at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office have also raised the seriousness of this situation with the Indonesian ambassador, most recently on 6 June.
Our embassy is continuing to provide essential services to British nationals and businesses from secure fall-back locations but these do not offer a viable long-term alternative. However, the unfortunate and unexpectedly prolonged closure of the main building is having a damaging impact on the embassy's work, and the services we can offer UK business, British citizens and our Indonesian partners. Normal services will be resumed as soon as it is safe for staff to move back into the main embassy building.
Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what recent discussions he has had with his Israeli counterpart on the demolition of houses in Area C of the West Bank; 
(2) what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Palestinian Authority and (b) his Israeli counterpart on the effects of restrictions on planning, construction, movement and access in Area C of the West Bank on Palestinians living in that area; 
(3) what assessment he has made of the effects of Israeli restrictions on planning, construction, movement and access on Palestinians living in Area C of the West Bank; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Jeremy Browne: We are concerned by a sharp increase in the level of demolitions in East Jerusalem and Area C. The embassy in Tel Aviv raises the issue of demolitions regularly with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, most recently in the case of Al Walaja on 23 May.
The focus between the Israelis and the Palestinians should be on confidence-building steps with the aim of giving momentum to re-start negotiations. In this respect, house demolitions or the eviction of Palestinians from their homes are deeply unhelpful and cause unnecessary suffering to (ordinary) Palestinians.
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We continue to contribute towards the ongoing work of the International Peace and Cooperation Centre in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, which helps Palestinians better understand and effectively use the Israeli planning laws to prevent houses from being subject to (a) demolition orders in East Jerusalem and Area C and to help integrate planning in Area C with Areas A and B. The project also helps to facilitate the provision of better living and housing conditions in East Jerusalem neighbourhoods through planning and zoning.
Republic of Ireland: Roman Catholic Church
Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the Vatican on the time taken to publish the Roman Catholic church's full report into sex abuse in Ireland commissioned in March 2010. 
Mr Lidington: The Holy See and the Roman Catholic Church have made clear their condemnation of child abuse, and that they must learn vital lessons to prevent it happening again. An exercise was launched by the Holy See in March 2010 to support the spiritual renewal of the Catholic Church in Ireland and to examine the effectiveness of its present processes in responding to cases of abuse and assistance provided to victims of abuse. A Holy See communiqué of 6 June said that the first phase of the Apostolic Visitation had been concluded and that an account of the results of the Visitation will published by early 2012.
We await the conclusions of the Visitation, but we do not judge that it would be helpful or appropriate for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to press the Holy See on the timing of their publication given that a clear timeframe has been set out.
Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) if he will make representations to the government of Russia in relation to steps taken against people seeking to demonstrate for gay equality in Moscow on 28 May 2011. 
Mr Lidington: We have expressed serious concern to the Russian Government over its banning of Gay Pride rallies in Moscow, along with Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) and freedom of assembly issues more widely. We have repeatedly called, and will continue to call, on the Russian Government to respect the rights of individuals to peaceful assembly.
At our annual bilateral human rights consultations in January 2011, we called on Russia to respect the right to freedom of assembly of all individuals, including those protesting for the rights of LGBT people. We also work with EU partners to address the issue. In advance of the 28 May 2011 rally, EU officials discussed our concerns with a Russian delegation in Brussels. Representatives of EU embassies conducted monitoring of the rally.
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Zimbabwe: Foreign Relations
Mr Bellingham: Our aim is to support the aspirations of the Zimbabwean people for a peaceful, prosperous and democratic Zimbabwe. We will continue to work with reformers in Zimbabwe and the wider region to maximise the prospects of achieving the reforms needed for properly conducted elections.
Ms Winterton: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she plans to respond to the letter from the right hon. Member for Doncaster Central of 23 December 2010 on the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill. 
Violent and Sex Offender Register
Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress her Department has made on its review of the sex offender register; when the report of that review will be published; and if she will make a statement. 
James Brokenshire: The Secretary of State for the Home Department, set out plans for two key developments relating to the notification requirements for registered sex offenders (commonly referred to as the Sex Offenders' register) in her statement to the House on 16 February 2011, Official Report, column 959.
She indicated that we would shortly bring forward proposals to implement the ruling of the Supreme Court in F and Thompson, in order to ensure that strict rules are put in place for considering whether sex offenders who are placed on the register for life should ever be removed. She also outlined plans to consult on proposals to further strengthen the management of sex offenders.
We will shortly launch a targeted consultation seeking views on four key proposals to strengthen the notification requirements for registered sex offenders. The consultation will run for an eight week period.
Sir Paul Beresford: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what progress her Department has made in making it compulsory for persons on the sex offender register to report to the authorities their intention to travel abroad for periods of one day or more; and if she will make a statement. 
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indicated that we would be consulting on proposals to further strengthen the management of sex offenders.
We will shortly launch a targeted consultation seeking views on four key proposals to strengthen the notification requirements for registered sex offenders, including introducing a requirement for registered sex offenders to notify all foreign travel (currently only travel of three days or more is notified to the police). The consultation will run for an eight week period.
Courts: Fees and Charges
John Hemming: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the answer of 24 May 2011, Official Report, column 559W, on courts: fees and charges, if he will bring forward proposals to extend the deadline for the provision of evidence to support an application for fee remission. 
Mr Djanogly: Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service are not aware that providing evidence within five days creates a problem to either the applicant who has to provide the court with evidence in support of their remission application or to the Departments who are responsible for providing the applicant with copies of the appropriate benefit entitlement notices. As a result there are no plans to extend the deadline for the provision of evidence.
“anyone in receipt of a relevant benefit may ask Jobcentre Plus, for working-age benefits, or the Pension, Disability and Carers Service, for pension credit, for a proof of entitlement letter. Upon receiving such a request, the relevant agency will issue a written notice of entitlement on the same day”.
Departmental Legal Costs
Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what his policy is on retaining recoverability of (a) success fees and (b) after-the-event premiums for litigation related to (i) insolvency, (ii) professional negligence and (iii) large multi-track environmental or corporate negligence cases. 
Mr Djanogly: As set out in “Reforming Civil Litigation Funding and Costs in England and Wales—Implementation of Lord Justice Jackson's Recommendations: The Government Response”, the Government have decided to abolish recoverability of conditional fee agreement success fees and after the event insurance premiums.
Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what submissions his Department has received from HM Revenue and Customs on his planned reforms of civil litigation costs and funding; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Djanogly: HM Revenue and Customs provided a submission during the consultation period on the proposals to reform civil litigation funding and costs. My officials are in contact with officials at HMRC to discuss the impact of the reforms on insolvency proceedings.
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Mike Wood: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many magistrates have (a) retired and (b) resigned (i) nationally and (ii) in West Yorkshire since his recent announcement of decisions to close magistrates' courts. 
Mr Djanogly: The Government published their decisions on the provision of court services in North and West Yorkshire on 14 December 2010. The number of magistrates who have retired and resigned since that date is as follows:
359 magistrates have retired in England and Wales. This includes 14 magistrates in West Yorkshire.
487 magistrates have resigned in England and Wales. This includes 26 magistrates in West Yorkshire.
The number of resignations from the magistracy during the period 14 December 2010 to 8 June 2011 (487) is slightly higher than for the same period in 2009-10 (414). There is no evidence to suggest that this increase is related to court closures.
This information is for all open prisons. This includes open female prisons, open young offender institutions and the relevant open parts of multi-site establishments; it does not include data for semi-open prisons or small (under 50 place) open units at closed prisons.
Teresa Pearce: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many category D prisoners are in higher security prisons awaiting transfer to an open prison and how many such prisoners have been waiting (a) less than two weeks, (b) between two and four weeks, (c) between five and eight weeks, (d) between nine and 12 weeks, (e) between 13 and 24 weeks and (f) longer than 24 weeks for a transfer. 
Mr Blunt: This information could be obtained only at disproportionate cost as it would be necessary to contact every prison with closed accommodation who would then have to consult individual records.
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Mr Llwyd: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people released from prison in England and Wales following a determinate sentence during 2009 and 2010 were subsequently on licence. 
Mr Blunt: All offenders aged 18 and over serving a determinate custodial sentence of 12 months or more are released from prison on licence. Offenders aged 18 to 21 who are subject to a custodial sentence of less than 12 months are subject to a minimum period of three months supervision on licence following release from custody. Additionally, all offenders aged under 18 who are given a custodial sentence of any length are subject to supervision in the community on release from custody.
Prisoners: Foreign Nationals
This work includes the progression of plans outlined in the Ministry of Justice's Green Paper which will allow for conditional cautions to be available as an alternative to prosecution for some foreign national offenders with the condition being that the individual leaves the UK (we are already piloting this approach with simple cautions) and plans to remove indeterminate sentenced/lifer FNPs at the point of expiry of their tariff.
A considerable amount of work aimed at reducing the FNP population is already under way. For example, we continue to operate an Early Removal Scheme under which FNPs serving a determinate sentence can be considered for deportation up to 270 days before they would otherwise be eligible for release.
In addition we are building on existing Prisoner Transfer Agreements which enable some foreign national prisoners to serve their sentence in the country of origin. The EU framework decision on prisoner transfer is due to enter into force in December of this year and this should provide for a steady increase in the number of EU nationals transferred to their own country.
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Mr Blunt: As at 31 May 2011, there were six offenders residing in Approved Premises who had been convicted of offences under terrorism legislation or of terrorism-related offences. This information has been obtained from the specialist team within the National Offender Management Service which has responsibility for working with the statutory agencies which are supervising convicted terrorists and terrorist-related offenders in local areas.
Approved Premises provide for enhanced supervision, particularly of high risk of harm offenders on release from custody. It would be much more difficult to provide that level of supervision, were such offenders to be dispersed into less suitable accommodation in the community on release from custody.
Business, Innovation and Skills
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the ability of small and medium-sized enterprises to offer apprenticeships in the current economic climate. 
Many small businesses place great value on an apprenticeship and are prepared to invest in them. The National Employer Skills Survey (NESS) shows a national estimate of the proportion of apprentices employed by employer size.
These data are based on repeated surveys of up to 79,000 employers across all business sectors in England. Table 1 shows information from the published 2009 National Employer Skills Survey on the proportion of apprentices employed by the size of establishment, expressed as a percentage of all apprenticeships.
|Table 1: Percentage of apprentices employed by establishment size (NESS 2009)|
|Number of employees in establishment|
Establishing the National Apprenticeship Service with ‘end to end' responsibility for delivering apprenticeships in England including access to information, advice and guidance to employers through their website;
The introduction of apprenticeship vacancies to make it is easier for companies to advertise and recruit the right person;
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Expanding Group Training Association (GTAs) and apprenticeship Training Agency (ATAs) models to make it easier for small business take on apprentices; and
Additional £75 million announced in the Budget to fund training and other support targeted at small and medium sized employers, particularly in industries such as advanced manufacturing, so that they can grow the number of people starting advanced and higher apprenticeships.
We also worked with a group of employers, as well as the CBI and Federation of Small Businesses, to look at the ‘end to end' processes faced by employers training apprentices. We are now considering how we can make it easier for SMEs to employ apprentices and will report on this in the autumn.
Ben Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what his policy is on accepting the recommendations of the Office of Fair Trading's review into the high-cost credit market; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Davey: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and HM Treasury are carrying out a joint review of consumer credit and personal insolvency that is looking at all aspects of the consumer credit lifecycle from the decision to take out a loan through the lifetime of the loan. The review has been considering a number of coalition commitments and provides a framework for us to consider how best to take forward the recommendations from the Office of Fair Trading review of the high cost credit market.
A call for evidence connected with the consumer credit review concluded in December and Government are considering the substantial number of submissions received. We expect to make an announcement on next steps before the summer recess.
Mr Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what evidence his Department holds on the effects of employment protection legislation on (a) recruitment levels and (b) job creation. 
Mr Davey: There has been a substantial amount of academic consideration of the relationship between employment protection legislation and recruitment levels and job creation both nationally and internationally.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in its Job Study Review of 2006 provided a summary of this evidence in its policy pamphlet ‘Boosting Jobs and Income: Policy Lessons from Reassessing the OECD Jobs Strategy’. It concluded that:
‘The link between the stance of employment protection legislation and aggregate unemployment is uncertain in theory, and in practice is dependent on the specific national context. However, there is evidence that too-strict legislation will hamper labour mobility, reduce the dynamic efficiency of the economy and restrain job creation. This may worsen job prospects of certain groups, like young people, women and the long-term unemployed.’
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rates of recruitment; high employment rates of women, the young and older people; and low levels of long term unemployment. There is evidence that the employment regulation system in the UK has contributed to these favourable labour market outcomes.
Finally, there is evidence that the perceptions of the restrictiveness of employment legislation differ from the actual situation in the UK. Perceptions are that employment legislation is more restrictive than is actually the case.
In summary, there is evidence that the UK employment protection system compares favourably with many other countries in its effect on recruitment levels and job creation. However, OECD evidence also suggests that:
‘the precise balance between the different policy planks depends on country circumstances and institutions’
which suggests that it may be possible to improve upon this position. Consequently, the Government are carrying out the Employment Law Review in order to see whether further improvements in employment and growth can be achieved.