Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to encourage more women and girls to take up apprenticeships in science, technology, engineering and mathematics sectors. 
Mr Hayes: The National Apprenticeship Service is working with the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES) and other key stakeholders to develop a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) strategy encouraging the development and take-up of STEM apprenticeships.
The Department also funds a number of programmes which encourage people from a diverse range of backgrounds, including women and girls, to understand the excitement and importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects in their lives, including STEMNET and its 27,000 strong cohort of STEM ambassadors.
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Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether he has considered advertising his Department's business growth initiatives on documentation issued by HM Revenue and Customs. 
Much of Government, including HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), increasingly provides information and services online, and less through more costly paper-based communication. Communication of Government's activity to support growth is being undertaken through a range of approaches, including: engaging directly with businesses and indirectly, using business representative bodies; through websites including www.bis.Gov.uk/growth; through Government's delivery partners such as HMRC; and through press releases, for example of open consultations on proposed legislation.
Mr Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether his Department has a policy on requirements for the provision of (a) apprenticeships and (b) other training by (i) his Department's prime contractors and (ii) suppliers in the supply chain of such contractors. 
Mr Hayes: The policy of the Department is to consider, on a case-by-case basis, the inclusion of apprenticeships or other training requirements where it is appropriate and relevant to the contract and consistent with value for money. The Department is also establishing a Ministerial Apprenticeships Champions Group to promote the apprenticeships agenda across Government, including opportunities to work with prime contractors and suppliers in the supply chain to support training and apprenticeships.
Mr Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many apprenticeships have been created directly by contracts with his Department in each of the last three years. 
Mr Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 13 July 2011, Official Report, column 404W, on departmental offices, what the location is of each of his Department's local offices; and what the location is of each team in areas spanning more than one administrative region. 
London and East—Cambridge and London
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South Central and West—Guildford, Plymouth and Bristol
Yorkshire Humber and North East—Leeds (YH) and Gateshead (NE)
The teams are all based in BIS or BIS Agency premises. London and East, South Central and West and Yorkshire Humber and North East all have more than one location, in order to provide effective coverage.
Further Education: Pay
Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether his Department has provided guidance to further education colleges on pay restraint for (a) employees and (b) executives. 
Mr Hayes [holding answer 13 July 2011]: The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills and I wrote to vice chancellors and principals on 26 May last year concerning the Government's plans to rebuild the economy and build sustainable growth. In this letter we said:
“We are expecting BIS and all its Non Departmental Public Body (NDPB) and Agency partner organisations to apply restraint to all aspects of pay and bonuses with a lead being given by senior staff”.
However, the Government are not the employer of FE staff and cannot intervene in decisions made by colleges with respect to them. Colleges are self-governing, independent institutions and, as such, they are responsible for their own terms and conditions, including pay and workforce modelling. It is therefore a matter for each FE college principal and governing body to decide how best to maintain the delivery of high-quality provision to their learners at a time of budgetary pressure.
High Street Review
Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) on what dates meetings with (a) micro businesses, (b) small businesses and (c) medium-sized businesses (i) have taken and (ii) are due to take place as part of the independent review of the future of the high street; 
(2) what the name is of each (a) firm, (b) local authority representative, (c) third sector organisation and (d) other stakeholder consulted as part of the independent review of the future of the high street; 
(3) how many visits, meetings, engagements and other events as part of the independent review of the future of the high street have (a) taken place and (b) been arranged; what the (i) date and (ii) venue of each such event was or is; who was or has been invited to each such event; and how many such events Mary Portas (A) has attended and (B) plans to attend. 
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Mr Davey: This is an independent review. It is for Mary Portas to determine the extent and nature of her engagement with stakeholders. Last month Mary Portas visited the town centres of Rugby and Sparkbrook as part of a programme of stakeholder engagement she will undertake across England as part of her review.
Motor Vehicles: Manufacturing Industries
Mr Prisk [holding answer 19 July 2011]: We have no plans to make a formal assessment of the viability of the UK automotive industry. We work closely with the automotive industry, for example the Automotive Council, to ensure we are aware of the key issues for the industry.
Overseas Trade: Sudan
Regional Development Agencies: Finance
Mr Marsden: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will list for each regional development agency (RDA), all previously approved projects that have since been halted or cancelled as a result of the Government's decision to end RDA contributions to match funding for bids to the European Regional Development Fund. 
Mr Prisk [holding answer 11 July 2011]: The Department only holds information on Regional Development Agency projects over £10 million for which central Government approval was required. None of these projects have been halted or cancelled.
Retail Trade: Children
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what progress he has made in developing a retail code of practice on retailing to children; what recent discussions he has had with the British Retail Consortium on this issue; what the outcome of these discussions was; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Prisk: The report to Government from Reg Bailey, ‘Letting Children be Children’, on the sexualisation and commercialisation of childhood published on 6 June 2011, recommended that retailers, alongside their trade associations, should develop and comply with a voluntary code of good practice for all aspects of retailing to children and that the British Retail Consortium (BRC) should continue its work in this area as a matter of urgency and encourage non-BRC members to sign up to its code.
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The Government welcome the report, which is consistent with their principles of better regulation that encourage voluntary action by business as an alternative to Government intervention. The BRC has already published a new set of guidelines on the responsible retailing of children's clothes. We consider this to be an excellent example of how industry can respond positively to public feeling.
BIS Ministers have had no recent discussion with the BRC on this issue. The Government will, however, be proactive in monitoring progress by businesses and industry to implement the Bailey report recommendations, commencing with a roundtable on 27 June 2011, chaired by the Minister of State, Department for Education, my hon. Friend the Member for Brent Central (Sarah Teather), who has responsibility for children and families.
Skills Funding Agency
The Skills Funding Agency's programme budget is planned to reduce from £3,894 million in 2010-11 to £3,026 million by the end of the spending review period (2014-15) resulting in an expected annual saving by the end of the spending review period of £868 million (22.3% of baseline budget), and total planned programme savings over the four-year spending review period of £1,860 million.
The Skills Funding Agency's administration budget is planned to reduce from £126 million in 2010-11 to £85 million by the end of the spending review period (2014-15) resulting in an expected annual saving by the end of the spending review period of £41 million (33% of baseline budget), and total planned administration budget saving over the four-year spending review period is £120 million.
Thameslink Railway Line: Rolling Stock
Michael Dugher: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what meetings took place between Ministers in his Department and Ministers in the Department for Transport to discuss the bids for the Thameslink Rolling Stock Project between May 2010 and June 2011. 
Mr Davey: Ministers are not allowed to discuss the details of individual bids for contracts before they are awarded. The Invitation to Tender produced in 2008 specified the evaluation criteria by which bids for the Thameslink contract would be judged.
The Secretaries of State for Transport and for Business, Innovation and Skills have jointly written to the Prime Minister outlining our plan for the Growth Review to fully explore the opportunity to take a more strategic approach to major public procurement.
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Vocational Training: Injuries
Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many (a) serious injuries and (b) fatalities of learners placed on courses or apprenticeships were reported by the Skills Funding Agency in each year since 2000. 
|April to March||Fatalities||Reportable injuries|
|(1 )Complete data is not available. (2 )The information is not available within the timeframe we have been given|
Nick Harvey [holding answer 18 July 2011]:The information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Attachments of war artists to units deploying to Afghanistan are approved alongside media and similar personnel and it is not possible to differentiate them in our records.
Armed Forces: Casualties
Steve Baker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations he has received on arrangements for the repatriation of deceased servicemen and women via Brize Norton; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence has received in the region of 200 pieces of correspondence from members of the public and Parliament about the arrangements for the repatriation of fallen service personnel.
The Secretary of State for Defence announced on 16 March 2011, Official Report, column 11WS, that repatriation ceremonies would move to RAF Brize Norton and in anticipation of this, the RAF has taken great care in planning and building the facilities at the base. A new £3 million repatriation facility has been deliberately sited on the south side of the airfield, to give families the best possible view of the aircraft on approach and landing while bringing their loved ones home. I have visited RAF Brize Norton to assure myself that the plans are appropriate and fitting for the families, who
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remain our priority. A gate near to the Repatriation Centre is also being refurbished and renamed as 'Britannia Gate' and is to be dedicated for the use of repatriating fallen service personnel.
Oxfordshire county council, in determining the route to be taken from the base with Thames Valley police, has also carefully considered the needs of the families and members of the public and is constructing a memorial garden along Norton Way, as well as providing parking facilities. These new arrangements will give members of the public the opportunity to pay their own personal tribute as they have done in the past.
Cyprus: Military Bases
Nick Harvey [holding answer 19 July 2011]: A United States Air Force detachment is based at RAF Akrotiri. They are charged for the use of buildings and the utilities they consume. Other US forces who use the sovereign base areas for one-off purposes are charged on a case by case basis.
Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he has made an assessment of the impact of the Strategic Defence and Security Review on the number of people employed in the defence industry. 
Peter Luff: The Ministry of Defence has not made any overall assessment of the effects that the Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) will have on the number of people employed in the defence industry in the United Kingdom. The overall impact of the SDSR on the defence industry is not yet clear, as many changes, such as re-negotiation of several major contracts, is still under way.
Peter Luff: The urgent operational requirement (UOR) process is specific to equipment procurement programmes and does not contribute toward, for example, expenditure on fuel or maintenance. The total approved funding through the UOR process in each of the last five financial years (FY) was £790 million for FY 2006-07, £1,550 million for FY 2007-08, £1,400 million for FY 2008-09, £840 million for FY 2009-10 and £1,130 million for FY 2010-11. Expenditure is not recorded separately by armed service and certain programmes may provide equipment for more than one.
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Peter Luff: Table 1.11 ‘Estimated Defence Expenditure Outturn in UK by Industry Group’ in ‘UK Defence Statistics’ estimates the amount of money the Ministry of Defence (MOD) spends directly with the UK industry broken down by industrial group.
|£million (ex. VAT)|
|(1 )Includes MOD payments to AWE Management Ltd, who manage the Atomic Weapons Establishment on behalf of the MOD under a Government-owned/contractor-operated arrangement. (2 )The quality of data available for the service industries is insufficient to identify these SICs separately.|
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Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence on how many occasions a request for a meeting by an hon. Member of each political party was refused by (a) a Minister in his Department directly and (b) his Department on behalf of a Minister in November 2010. 
|Expenditure i ncurred between 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011|
|Travel by:||Spend (£)|
Nick Harvey: [holding answer 18 July 2011]: The Harrier aircraft was withdrawn from service on 15 December 2010. Prior to its withdrawal, it had an operational emergency clearance to operate Baseline Brimstone. In order for the Harrier to use Dual Mode Seeker Brimstone, we would have had to extend the provision for the weapon and conduct a full trials programme on Harrier. Although capable of carrying Storm Shadow, Harrier was not cleared to do so when it was withdrawn from service.
Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft
Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what his latest estimate is of the cost to his Department of Joint Strike Fighter per aircraft; and when he expects the aircraft to be delivered. 
Peter Luff: The cost of the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) will be known at its main investment decision point. Publishing any details prior to this point would prejudice the commercial interests of MOD. The UK's first JSF is due to be delivered in 2012 to allow the UK to train pilots prior to operational test.
Libya: Armed Conflict
Jack Dromey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many service personnel have been operating in the (a) landmass, (b) airspace and (c) territorial waters of Libya on each day since 18 March 2011; 
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(2) how many service personnel of each rank in each armed service have been eligible to receive the operational allowance for taking part in operations within the (a) landmass, (b) airspace and (c) territorial waters of Libya since 18 March 2011. 
Mr Virendra Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service personnel at each rank in each service have been operating within the landmass, airspace and territorial waters of Libya consistent with eligibility for the operational allowance since 18 March 2011; and how many are operating within that space at present. 
Nick Harvey [holding answer 19 July 2011]: The breakdown of service personnel eligible for the Ellamy operational allowance since 18 March is not held in the format requested. The breakdown by individual service is being withheld as its release would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed services. The tri-service breakdown by rank as at 15 July 2011 is provided in the following table:
||Tri-service equivalent ranks||Total|
Mr Virendra Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost has been of extending eligibility for the operational allowance to service personnel operating within the landmass, airspace and territorial waters of Libya. 
Nick Harvey [holding answer 19 July 2011]: It will not be possible to answer this question definitively until after the operation is complete as the numbers of personnel involved in Operation Ellamy may vary considerably day to day. The extension of the operational allowance (OA) to personnel on Operation Ellamy, based on the OA rate of £29.02 per day, is estimated to cost in the region of £90,000 per month per hundred qualifying personnel.
Mr Virendra Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service personnel have participated in Operation Ellamy since 18 March 2011; and how many are presently participating in the operation. 
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Nick Harvey [holding answer 19 July 2011]: Information on the number of service personnel who have participated in Operation Ellamy since 18 March 2011 is not readily accessible from our systems. The number of service personnel deployed overseas in support of Operation Ellamy at 0600hrs on 18 July 2001 was 2,071.
Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what (a) meetings and (b) other engagements (i) Ministers and (ii) special advisers in his Department attended which were also attended by (A) representatives, (B) journalists and (C) other employees of (1) News International and its subsidiary organisations including newspapers, (2) News Corporation and its subsidiary organisations and (3) BSkyB since May 2010; 
(2) what (a) meetings and (b) other engagements (i) Ministers and (ii) special advisers in his Department attended which were also attended by Mr Andrew Coulson (A) between 12 May 2010 and 21 January 2011 and (B) since 21 January 2011. 
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with his French and Italian counterparts on the deployment of military personnel on commercial shipping transiting through the Horn of Africa; and whether he has any plans to deploy British military personnel on British commercial shipping. 
Nick Harvey: The Secretary of State for Defence holds regular discussions with his French and Italian counterparts on a number of Defence issues, including counter-piracy. No specific discussions have taken place on the topic of military vessel protection detachments. We do not intend routinely to deploy British military personnel on British commercial shipping.
Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for what reasons his Department project increases in aerial and liquid discharges of tritium from the defence sector in the UK Strategy for Radioactive Discharges. 
In my answer of 22 March (Official Report, column 947W), I undertook to write to you to respond to your Parliamentary Question asking for the reasons for projected increases in aerial and liquid discharges of tritium from the defence sector in the UK Strategy for Radioactive Discharges. I am very sorry for the
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delay in providing you with a substantive response; the effort to research the answer to your question proved to be very time consuming.
Aerial tritium discharges result almost entirely from the nuclear weapons programme. The predictions for 2006 onwards were based on empirical information provided by the Atomic Weapons Establishment to the Environment Agency (EA) in support of an application for a new authorisation for the disposal of radioactive waste. These predicted figures included an allowance for operational headroom over the maximum reported discharge in the previous five years of approximately 1-5 times, hence the apparent rise in future discharge figures. Even at these levels, the discharges will be significantly lower than EA limits and actual discharge levels are expected to be considerably lower.
Liquid tritium discharges arise from the nuclear weapons and nuclear propulsion programmes, as well as some historic contamination. In all cases, liquid discharge . projections are based on the minimum recordable level of tritium in analysed samples so the values given are the maximum that could reasonably be expected. Again, the actual discharge levels are likely to be significantly less.
I hope this response provides the explanation that you sought.
Dr Fox [holding answer 18 July 2011]: The Ministry of Defence and Foreign and Commonwealth Office closely cooperate on international policy development and engagement. Given our close interest in Sri Lanka, I and the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Alistair Burt) consulted well in advance of my departure.
Dr Fox: The United Kingdom wants to see lasting peace and security in Sri Lanka. It remains our view that for sustainable peace and economic growth Sri Lanka requires political reconciliation between all communities; accountability for human rights allegations; and the respect for democracy, human rights and the rule of law. I was able to build on recent engagements, including the visit in February of the Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Alistair Burt).
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Sri Lanka: War Crimes
John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he had discussions in an official capacity on (a) defence industry sales and (b) war crimes allegations concerning the Sri Lankan army during his visit to Sri Lanka in July 2011. 
Dr Fox [holding answer 18 July 2011]: The United Kingdom has consistently called for an independent and credible investigation to address allegations of war crimes committed by both sides during in the conflict. During my visit I emphasised that the Sri Lankan Government should engage constructively with the UN Panel report's recommendations, and through their own Lessons Learnt and Reconciliation Committee initiate credible action to address the concerns including those highlighted by the UN. Defence exports were not a topic of discussion during the visit.
United Kingdom Hydrographic Office
Mr Robathan: The Met Office and the Hydrographic Office pay their non-executive directors an annual remuneration and reimburse their non-executive directors all reasonable expenses properly and necessarily incurred in their appointment.
Mr Robathan: Expenditure incurred by United Kingdom Hydrographic Office employees on air travel by class in the last 12 months covering the period 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011 is shown in the following table:
|Air travel by class:||Spend (£)|
|(1) All spend include VAT as provided by the Ministry of Defence's Central Booking Service, Hogg Robinson Group.|
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Mr Robathan: The Met Office do not operate official cars; their staff share pooled self-drive service vehicles for business travel instead. Nine staff at the Hydrographic Office are eligible to use their single official car.
Eligibility for a staff car is currently dependent upon the nature of the duties of an appointment, and it is the responsibility of individual trading funds to identify and justify which appointments have such eligibility in accordance with central Ministry of Defence policy.
We are reviewing departmental policy on the provision of staff cars (including in our Trading Funds), taking account of the need to demonstrate value for money, provide maximum flexibility and meet our sustainable development commitments.
Staff cars are an extension of the office and give our most senior staff a more private space to work in than public transport, so they can make best use of the time they spend travelling, with appropriate security.
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Mr Robathan [holding answer 18 July 2011]: Expenditure incurred by United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) employees on travel in the last 12 months, covering the period 1 July 2010 to 30 June 2011, is as follows:
|Travel by:||Spend (£)|
|(1 )This covers the period from 1 July 2010 to 31 March 2011. (2) Air travel spend includes VAT as provided by the Ministry of Defence's central booking service, Hogg Robinson Group.|
While the UKHO encourages its international partners to visit Taunton, it is often necessary for employees to travel to ensure the appropriate level of international engagement. All such travel and accommodation costs are closely scrutinised internally to ensure that it is necessary and satisfies a clear business critical need. Travel is funded from within the UKHO's operating costs. All travel is at standard class except for long haul flights over four hours. We have recently invested in additional video conferencing facilities which will be used as an alternative to travel wherever possible.