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Written Answers to Questions
Monday 12 December 2011
Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what risk registers are held by the non-departmental public bodies for which his Department is responsible; and if he will make a statement. 
David Mundell: The Scotland Office is responsible for the Boundary Commission for Scotland which has a risk register in place. In addition, regular discussions take place between my officials and Commission staff regarding the work of the Commission and other relevant matters.
Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland what steps his Department is taking to ensure social value is included when services are commissioned by his Department; and if he will make a statement. 
David Mundell: Other than minor or bespoke 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.
Unemployment: Young People
David Mundell: The Secretary of State for Scotland, the right hon. Member for Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk (Michael Moore), has written to Angela Constance MSP to congratulate her upon her appointment as the new Scottish Government Minister for Youth Employment. He intends to meet Ms Constance at the earliest opportunity available to discuss how the UK and Scottish Governments will continue to work together to support Scotland's young people into employment.
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House of Commons Commission
Chris Ruane: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, pursuant to the answer of 13 October 2010, Official Report, column 290W, on computers, how many of the laptops and desktop computers returned to PICT in the 2010 refresh programme were sold to (a) hon. Members, (b) agencies, companies or other individuals and (c) as scrap; and how much revenue was raised in each of these categories. 
John Thurso: Disposal of obsolete ICT equipment arising from the 2010 refresh programme for hon. Members was undertaken by two third-party suppliers, one covering constituency offices and another covering the estate. In both cases, after destruction of data to specified and certified standards, the choice between resale or destruction was a commercial one taken by the suppliers.
No equipment was sold to hon. Members. Nearly 2,760 laptops and desktops were sold to third parties or destroyed by the suppliers during the relevant period. Revenue amounting to £70,122 was received as a result. This figure includes revenue from the disposal of some printers from the estate which cannot be separately identified. Comparable figures are not available separately for sales to third parties and destruction.
Mr David Jones: The Wales Office has an annual internal audit programme, which is agreed by the Audit Committee and internal audit. The areas tested each year change according to the Audit Committee's priorities for the year.
Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what steps her Department is taking to ensure social value is included when services are commissioned by her Department; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what risk registers are held by the non-departmental public bodies for which her Department is responsible; and if she will make a statement. 
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Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps his Department is taking to ensure social value is included when services are commissioned by (a) his Department and (b) its public bodies; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Paterson: The Northern Ireland Office uses approved public procurement policies to achieve the most advantageous combination of cost, quality and sustainability to meet the Department's requirements.
Mr David Hamilton: To ask the Prime Minister pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 24 October 2011, Official Report, column 1WS, on the Cabinet Manual, (1) whether he expects chapter two of the Cabinet Manual on Elections and Government Formation to have any legal status in the event of a future hung parliament; 
(2) whether he plans to re-issue the Cabinet Manual (a) when relevant legislative changes are made, (b) when relevant changes to the machinery of Government are made, (c) when a significant EU treaty is signed and (d) on a regular calendar based timescale. 
Dan Jarvis: To ask the Prime Minister how many (a) leaflets, (b) posters and (c) reports his Office has published since May 2010; how much each cost; and which company (i) published and (ii) designed each. 
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Parliamentary Written Questions
Chris Ruane: To ask the Prime Minister how many and what proportion of questions for ordinary written answer received a substantive response within (a) 10, (b) 20, (c) 30 and (d) more than 30 sitting days in the 2010-12 session to date. 
Mr Thomas: To ask the Attorney-General what criteria (a) the Law Officers' Departments and (b) its public bodies use when deciding whether and when to hold an internal audit; and if he will make a statement. 
The Solicitor-General: The Treasury Solicitor's Department (TSol) is responsible for handling internal audits for itself, the Attorney-General's Office and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate (HMCPSI).
The TSol Internal Audit Service complies fully with Government Internal Audit Standards. Each year an annual internal audit plan, identifying individual internal audits and their proposed timing, is prepared and approved by the Audit Committee. This annual plan is designed to meet the assurance needs of the Accounting Officer, Board and Audit Committee. During the year the internal audit plan may be updated, with the approval of the Accounting Officer and Audit Committee, to reflect changes to TSol’s operations, risk profile or assurance needs.
The Director of the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) and the chair of the Audit Committee agree an annual plan of reviews with the SFO's internal auditors to provide independent assurance that the SFO's risk management and internal control processes are operating effectively. When deciding on the topics and timing of internal audits within that plan the SFO considers planned business initiatives for the coming year, financial reporting requirements and previous NAO/Internal Audit report findings.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is the largest of the Law Officers' Departments. The CPS Head of Internal Audit (HIA) is responsible for determining which internal audits are undertaken based on CPS' management's assessment of the risks to the achievement of organisational objectives. The criteria used by the HIA when deciding whether and when to hold an internal audit are:
The significance of the activity/system to the achievement of organisational goals, and the maintenance of the CPS's reputation.
The degree to which an activity mitigates risks identified on the Corporate Risk Register.
The findings of recent audit or HMCPSI activity.
Cumulative audit knowledge of the robustness of controls and compliance in place in a system.
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The level of change in a system—to people, process, technology, inputs, and its operating environment.
The difficulty of the objective, the complexity of the system and the level of IT/automation.
The novelty of the activity and risk assessment.
The financial materiality of the system.
The stated needs for assurance of the accounting officers.
The known plans of the HMCPSI and National Audit Office in relation to the activity/system in question.
Mr Thomas: To ask the Attorney-General what steps his Department is taking to ensure social value is included when services are commissioned by (a) the Law Officers' Departments and (b) its public bodies; and if he will make a statement. 
The Solicitor-General: The Law Officers’ Departments are required to follow EU procurement rules and Government procurement guidance to ensure best value for money. Government procurement best practice encourages small and medium sized enterprises to tender for procurement opportunities and recognises the importance of environmental, social and economic concerns.
In line with Government procurement policy the Law Officers' Departments normally use pre-tendered pan-government contracts wherever possible for the supply of services. Such contracts will have been awarded following an open competition process led by either the Government Procurement Service (formally the Office of Government Commerce-Buying Solutions) or another Government Department or public sector body.
The following table provides information relating to the number of completed prosecutions, by defendant, for “excise” offences where charges were laid under SI 70 of the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979. It is not possible to break this data down further without retrieving files at disproportionate expense.
|Financial years||Excise cases|
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Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she has made an estimate of the number of (a) hon. Members and (b) Members of the European Parliament who receive funding from the common agricultural policy. 
Mr Paice: No such estimate has been made. It would not be possible to do so without incurring disproportionate cost as it would require considerable cross-checking between, for example, lists of hon. Members interests and the database of beneficiaries of common agricultural policy funds. Simply searching the database for hon. Members' (or MEPs') names would not identify any businesses in which they had an interest.
Animal Welfare: Circuses
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 8 November 2011, Official Report, column 221W, on animal welfare: circuses, for what reasons it was considered that to ensure full participation assurances should be given to participants that the data collected would be confidential; and if she will make a statement. 
Mr Paice: The decision to agree to confidentiality for these specific papers rests with the previous Government. The participants have reiterated to this Government that confidentiality should be maintained and, having considered the circumstances, the Government's view is that confidentiality should be respected.
Mr Leech: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of legal advice submitted to her Department by Animal Defenders International on 7 June 2011 on the conformity of a ban on the use of wild animals in circuses with the (a) Human Rights Act 1998 and (b) European Services directive. 
Mr Paice: The Government’s assessment of the legal advice submitted by Animal Defenders International are protected by legal professional privilege which is not ordinarily waived. The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Meriden (Mrs Spelman), does not propose to waive privilege on this occasion.
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Fiona O'Donnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs which bodies are advising her Department on the proposals for a licensing scheme for wild animals in circuses. 
Mr Paice: DEFRA has had, or will shortly have, discussions on our proposals for a licensing scheme for wild animals in circuses with the RSPCA, Animal Defenders International, Born Free, CAPS and PAWSI.
Animal Welfare: Performing Arts
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessments she has made of the adequacy of the welfare standards applicable to animals used in the performing arts industry. 
Mr Paice: No such assessments have been made of animal welfare standards applicable to the performing arts as a whole. DEFRA is currently considering the adequacy of welfare standards in the context of performing wild animals in travelling circuses, and will consult on proposals for this in early 2012.
Mr Paice: The Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency provides DEFRA with data on the number of cases of camelids it has examined for TB each quarter and the number positive for M. bovis on culture. Cumulative figures are published in the statistics section of DEFRA's website.
||October-December 2010||January-March 2011||April-June 2011||July-September 2011|
The figures represent submissions of individual animals rather than premises (i.e. several submissions may be from the same premises) and are made up of a combination of voluntary submissions from a range of farms and also multiple submissions from a small number of TB-restricted herds undergoing repeat TB testing and
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compulsory slaughter of TB test reactor animals (i.e. which have given a test result consistent with being infected with bovine TB) and non-reactor (“direct contact”) animals.
Harriett Baldwin: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the (a) initial capital cost and (b) ongoing maintenance costs are of the SAM computer system for logging cases of bovine tuberculosis. 
SAM will enable savings in staff costs specifically related to bovine TB of over £2.3 million per annum. In addition, the investment will allow legacy systems, that are approaching the end of their economic lives and are rapidly becoming unsupportable, to be retired, with consequential savings in support costs. Specifically this system will automate the administrative process relating to bovine TB (which accounts for approximately 50% of Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency's core business), improving both speed and quality. The time required to enter test results and to remove infected animals will be minimised as a result of reducing manual data entry and preventing any possible errors in duplicate data entry.
Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what correspondence she has received on the effects on local authority budgets of dealing with dangerous dogs in England. 
Mr Paice: The Government are considering a range of measures to deal with dangerous dogs and irresponsible dog ownership. One of the proposals under consideration is the compulsory micro-chipping of dogs. We have made it a priority to look at the complex issue of dangerous dogs and will shortly announce measures to tackle them and make our streets safer.
Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what total volume by (a) value and (b) tonnage of fresh fruit and vegetables was imported from Israel in each of the last five years; and what proportion by (i) value and (ii) tonnage (A) had and (B) did not have a certificate of conformity with marketing standards issued by the Israeli authorities. 
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The requirement for a certificate of conformity is only relevant for imports of those particular products which are covered by EU marketing standards for fresh fruit and vegetables. Certain products such as potatoes
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are not covered by the standards—but for information import figures for this crop are also included in the following tables:
|Table 1: Total (a) value and (b) volume of fresh fruit and vegetables, as regulated by EU marketing standards, for 2006-10|
|Source: HM Revenue and Customs. Data prepared by DEFRA.|
|Table 2. Total tonnage and proportion of imports, as regulated by EU marketing standards, that (a) had (b) did not have a certificate of conformity issued by the Israeli authorities|
||With certificate||Without||Total||With certificate||Without|
|(1) Until 22 November 2011 Note: July 2009—changes to the marketing standards saw the number of specific marketing standards reduced from 36 to 10.|
|Table 3. Total (a) value and (b) volume of imports of potatoes|
|Source: HM Revenue and Customs. Data prepared by DEFRA.|
Livestock: Disease Control
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of the risk to human and animal health of the use of antibiotics on farm animals as a preventative measure. 
Mr Paice: All veterinary medicinal products must satisfy extensive safety criteria, which include safety to the animal being treated, safety to humans and safety to the environment before being granted a marketing authorisation. Efficacy and quality criteria must also be satisfied. There is also a specific requirement for manufacturers to supply data to address the area of the development of resistance new antibiotic products prior to authorisation.
Veterinary medicinal products containing antibiotics are available only on veterinary prescription. Where products have been authorised for use in food producing animals, the greater majority are authorised for the treatment of disease. This authorisation includes the treatment of groups of animals when not all individual animals have developed the symptoms of the disease. A minority of veterinary medicinal product containing antibiotics are authorised for the prevention of disease in farmed animals and these include those used to prevent mastitis in dairy cattle at drying-off.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the number of animals subjected to mulesing in England in the latest period for which figures are available; and what assessment she has made of the effect of this practice on the welfare of the animal. 
Mr Paice: Mulesing is not a permitted procedure in the UK. There have been no reported illegal mutilations of animals in this way in the UK, therefore no assessment of this practice has been made on the welfare of the UK-reared animal.
Veterinary Laboratory Service: Redundancy
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what impact assessment her Department has conducted on (a) the loss of 81 members of staff in the rationalisation of the Veterinary Laboratory Service and (b) what impact the loss of 81 staff members will have on the level of service provided by the Veterinary Laboratory Agency; and if she will place (i) the impact assessment and (ii) the academic model on which the proposed rationalisation is based in the Library. 
In April 2011 the AHVLA executive team initiated a review of the delivery of laboratory services across England and Wales. This work followed the earlier AHVLA sustainable surveillance project which recommended that the post mortem examination of
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carcases, which makes up the most critical aspect of surveillance work, be de-coupled from the provision of laboratory service functions, removing the requirement for co-location of the two work areas.
No formal impact assessment is required for changes such as these. Under the current Better Regulation Guidance it states that if there is no impact on regulation and there is no increased cost to the end user then no impact assessment is required. The decision on which laboratories would retain laboratory services was based on a number of factors including future needs for specialist skills, staff capacity to deliver the volumes of work, facilities required, and retaining resilience of service delivery.
The basis for the new delivery model is not an academic study; it is our experience of the model used successfully at the University Veterinary Schools surveillance centres at both Liverpool and London. At these sites the university staff accept carcase material and then forward samples onto the relevant AHVLA regional laboratory as no testing is carried out at the veterinary schools.
The ability to respond to disease outbreak with a surge in capacity is maintained as confirmatory tests for notifiable diseases are carried out by Weybridge which is not part of the regional laboratory network. AHVLA is confident that service levels will not be reduced with the proposed changes.
Written Questions: Government Responses
Natascha Engel: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she expects to answer question 70107, on electronic training aids for cats, tabled by the hon. Member for North East Derbyshire on 2 September 2011 for answer on 6 September 2011. 
Armed Forces: Cadets
Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 30 November 2011, Official Report, column 974W, on armed forces: cadets, if he will consider extending the central provision of insurance for sea cadet forces to cover buildings insurance. 
Mr Robathan: Sea cadet units are independent charities in their own right, affiliated to the Marine Society and sea. cadets subject to certain conditions being in place. Each unit therefore is responsible for funding its own running costs, including buildings insurance, which they do in the main with considerable success. The Marine Society and sea cadets provide a competitive package through their insurers with a free direct debit service for units to spread this through the year. There are no current plans to increase the central provision to include buildings insurance.
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Armed Forces: Education
Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps he is taking to ensure that education and training for armed forces recruits aged between 16 and 18 years meet the minimum standards recommended by the Wolf Review of vocational education; and what the cost of meeting these standards is. 
Nick Harvey [holding answer 8 December 2011]: The Government's acceptance of the recommendations of the Wolf Review of Vocational Education, means that functional skills and GCSEs will be the only recognised pathways to achieve the compulsory English and maths elements of an apprenticeship. The armed forces are committed to the introduction of functional skills and some areas already exceed the minimum requirements laid down in the Wolf Report. All areas will meet these requirements within the timescales laid down, under transition arrangements for the introduction of functional skills.
Armed Forces: Food
Armed Forces: Housing
Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what estimate he has made of the number of (a) Army, (b) Royal Navy and (c) RAF personnel in Afghanistan who will return to a different accommodation when they have completed their deployment in the next year; 
Personnel in single living accommodation are not generally moved to alternative accommodation while away on operational deployment. Information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
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Armed Forces: Leisure Services
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what estimate he has made of the number of local authorities in (a) England, (b) Wales, (c) Scotland and (d) Northern Ireland which offer discounts for local authority-owned leisure services for (i) serving members and (ii) veterans of the armed forces; 
(2) what discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues in the Department for Communities and Local Government on local authorities offering discounted leisure services to (a) serving servicemen and women and (b) veterans of the armed forces. 
Mr Robathan [holding answer 8 December 2011]: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) welcomes all initiatives to offer discounts to serving personnel or veterans. While no estimate or formal discussions have taken place, the MOD held an armed forces community covenant conference with the Local Government Association for local authorities in England on 1 November 2011. In the discussions and workshops that took place, the issue of offering discounts to members of the armed forces community was discussed, with some local authorities providing examples of what discounts they offered. Ultimately decisions on these matters must be for the local authorities themselves.
In addition, the MOD provides, through an agreement with a contractor, a Defence discount scheme which is open to all those who are serving, have served, their families, MOD civil servants, cadets, reservists and NATO personnel serving in the UK. The scheme has partnered with over 1,200 businesses offering thousands of discounts across the UK. The scheme has an active membership of over 190,000 members; is free to join; and is easily accessed through the website:
Departmental Public Expenditure
Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what efficiency savings his Department made in 2010-11; what savings he expects to make in (a) 2011-12 and (b) 2012-13; what targets he has set for each of these years; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Philip Hammond: The efficiency programme set out in the 2010 spending review began at the start of the current financial year. The previous financial year was covered by the value for money programme that saved £2.8 billion over the years covered by the 2007 comprehensive spending review.
The Ministry of Defence is committed to realise £3.2 billion in efficiencies over the spending review period. Detailed analysis of our performance against these measures will be reported annually, after the departmental accounts have been audited.
Tony Baldry: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions his Department has had with the Department for Transport on the potential for greater use of his Department's rail infrastructure in and around Bicester following the re-opening of the east-west rail link between Oxford and Milton Keynes. 
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Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many veterans of the armed forces have found long-term work through the Employment Support Programme in each year since its creation; 
Mr Robathan [holding answer 29 November 2011]:This information is not collected by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) as it would require former service personnel to notify the MOD when they have obtained or changed employment. However, the Career Transition Partnership (CTP) undertakes a survey at six months after discharge and the following table lists the total number of service leavers who have gained employment within six months of being discharged since 2005. We do not maintain records for individual programmes ran by CTP.
|Financial year||Number of career transition clients employed within six months of discharge|
Iran: Nuclear Weapons
“indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.”
It also suggests that some activities relevant to the development of such a device may still be ongoing. We share these concerns and continue to call for full implementation by Iran of United Nations Security Council and IAEA Board of Governors Resolutions.
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Mr Robathan: Postcodes are used in the Ministry of Defence for purposes other than the postage of mail but it is not possible to provide a definitive and detailed list of these uses, because this information is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. The following examples are no more than indicative.
Defence Analytical Services and Advice (DASA) use postcodes as the basis for aggregating statistics on stationed location, as published in TSP 10—UK Regular Forces Stationed Location and available online at:
http://www.dasa.mod.uk/applications/newWeb/www/index.php ?page=48&thiscontent=100&pubType=0&date=2011-11-17&dis Text=01%20Oct%202011&from=historic&topDate=2011-11-17 &PublishTime=09:30:00
Postcodes have also been used to group the responses to administration surveys into rough areas by using the first part of the postcode eg SW1A 2HB would be collated with other responses in the SW1A area, cross referenced to the post town.
Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) pursuant to the answer of 9 November 2011, Official Report, column 368W, on RAF Lossiemouth, European Fighter Aircraft, for what period of time RAF Lossiemouth undertook the Quick Reaction Alert North role when resurfacing work was undertaken at RAF Leuchars; and on how many occasions aircraft from RAF Lossiemouth were (a) scrambled and (b) launched in that role during that period; 
Nick Harvey: The choice of the Quick Reaction Alert (QRA) base or bases used for each incident is at the discretion of the tactical commander and forms part of the deterrent value of our QRA posture. Therefore, it is departmental policy only to release limited statistics relating to QRA launches.
QRA statistics are no longer held for incidents prior to September 2006. All launches of the QRA force from September 2006 were either for Russian military aviation (Bear or Blackjack aircraft) which approached the NATO Air Policing Area (for which the UK has responsibility) or aircraft within UK civil airspace that were causing concern to air traffic controllers. The aircraft that were causing concern to civil controllers were a range of aircraft types registered in a range of countries, including the UK.
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|Number of days QRA launched||Number|
Strategic Defence and Security Review
Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what steps his Department is taking to identify and contact the current owners of HMS Aboukir, HMS Hogue and HMS Cressy to seek their assistance in preventing further disturbance to these three war graves; 
(3) what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the salvors fulfil their legal obligations to land and report any recovery of personal possessions of the crews of HMS Aboukir, HMS Hogue and HMS Cressy. 
Mr Robathan: Departmental records indicate that these three wrecks were sold, apparently for scrap, in 1954. We are aware that salvage subsequently took place in the 1950s and 1960s. Records do not identify the purchaser.
It is the responsibility of the salvors to comply with the appropriate national legislation wherever wreck material is landed, whether this comprises of the ship's fixtures and fittings or the personal possessions of individuals. Notwithstanding the particular circumstances of these three wrecks, the Ministry of Defence is continuing to liaise and work with the Dutch authorities with respect to the activities of salvors based in the Netherlands and on issues related to naval wreck protection in general.
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Mr Robathan: The Government view wrecked military vessels, wherever they may lie, as being the last resting places of those who lost their lives in the ship's sinking. As a general principle we believe that such sites should remain undisturbed to the maximum extent possible.
With regard to the protection of such wrecks in international waters, depending on the circumstances of the individual case we would look to make use of our rights in international law together with domestic legislation where appropriate.
Culture, Media and Sport
Mr Vaizey: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has been responsible for broadband delivery since April 2011. The Department has £530 million to support broadband infrastructure over the period to 2015, and indicative funding allocations for each local authority area and the devolved Administrations were announced in the summer. Each area needs to undertake a procurement to select a broadband supplier and funding will be paid in accordance with the achievement of delivery targets by the supplier. No projects have yet reached this stage and consequently no payments have been made so far. Currently eight local broadband projects are in procurement and a further four local areas have agreed Local Broadband Plans. Together, these represent nearly half of the allocated funding. The other areas of the country are currently developing their plans.
Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what criteria (a) his Department and (b) its public bodies use when deciding whether and when to hold an internal audit; and if he will make a statement. 
This Department's internal audit function is provided by the Department for Communities and Local Government's Internal Audit Services (IAS), which operates to Government Internal Audit Standards. IAS produces an annual audit plan that is agreed with the Department on the basis of need, priority and expected value added, and is approved by its Audit and Risk Committee (ARC). The plan includes a core package of audits on controls and compliance, necessary to provide assurance to the accounting officer at the year end and which will support the annual Governance Statement (which replaces the Statement on Internal Control this financial year). In addition, there is a programme of risk-based work, which reflects the Department's priorities and high-level risk registers and is developed during the year in the light of changes in the risk environment. The plan also contains a flexible allowance—for ad hoc advisory work and to enable timely response to changes in risk profile or other developments during the year. Prior experience, assessment of urgency and regular
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contact with senior management, the ARC and the National Audit Office all inform the precise timing of individual internal audits.
Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how many secondees are working in his Department and its associated public bodies; from which organisations; for how long each secondment is due to last; and if he will make a statement. 
|Home organisation||Expected leaving date||Work area|
We do not collate this information for our non-departmental public bodies. Accordingly, I have asked each of their chief executives to write directly to the hon. Member for Harrow West. Copies of the replies will be placed in both House Libraries.
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||Budget (£ million)|
Ofcom has not set its budget beyond 2011-12. However, the funding cap agreed by HM Treasury as part of the recent spending review, and from within which Ofcom will set future budgets for the years 2012-13 to 2014-15 inclusive, are shown in the following table:
||Budget (£ million)|
Olympic Games 2012: Contracts
|Financial year||CompeteFor (website and helpdesk) (£)|
|(1) December to March|
|Financial year||Buyer engagement service (£)|
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Mr Vaizey: We have made no estimates of the monetary value of receipts from auctions. Similar auctions for 4G spectrum across Europe have raised significantly different amounts. The recent German auction raised a total of €4.4 billion for spectrum in three bands and France's recent auction of Spectrum at 2.6 GHz raised €936 million in total. This has to be compared with spectrum auctions in other countries which raised much lower amounts, Sweden raised approximately €233 million for the 800 MHz band in its recent auction and Finland raised approximately €3.8 million in its auction of 2.6 GHz spectrum. It should be noted that the forthcoming auction in the UK may be under different terms to those and the UK market is different to markets in those countries.
Mr Vaizey: We have made no estimates on the likely revenues that could be generated by the release of the 500 MHz of publically held spectrum. The purpose of the release is to generate innovation and commercial opportunities for industry rather than to generate revenue. In addition the exact bands to be released have not been decided yet and this would be a significant factor in determining the value of the spectrum to industry.
International Sporting Events
Andrew Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport if he will estimate the financial benefit to the economy of international sporting events staged in the UK for each of the last three financial years. 
Hugh Robertson: The evidence we have of financial benefits to the economy from international sporting events staged in the UK relates to events supported through UK Sport's Major Events Programme. While these are supported to deliver a wide range of impacts, research shows that for every £1 of investment into those events, a net economic impact of £4.87 has been felt in the host economy, generating a projected overall impact of £48 million from an investment of £9.86 million.
The £6 billion investment in the building of the Olympic Park and Village has already had 98% of contracts awarded to British businesses and over 40,000 people having worked to build the Olympic Park and Village by the time all work is complete. The whole of the UK stands to gain from the wide range of opportunities created by the 2012 Games, through businesses winning Games-related work, increased tourism and cultural celebrations.
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Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what discussions he has had with the Chancellor of the Exchequer on the decision by HM Revenue and Customs that the provision of sports league services is subject to VAT at the standard rate. 
Hugh Robertson: I recently wrote to the Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury, my hon. Friend the Member for South West Hertfordshire (Mr Gauke), about the VAT treatment of sports leagues. The Exchequer Secretary to the Treasury clarified that the standard rate of VAT has always been in place for sports leagues. They issued the Revenue and Customs Brief 04/11 in February to make clear this position.
Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the potential effects on levels of participation in sport of the decision by HM Revenue and Customs that the provision of sports league services is subject to VAT at the standard rate. 
Hugh Robertson: Neither the Department nor Sport England have made a specific assessment of the potential effects on levels of participation in sport by the VAT treatment of sports leagues. However, we do record participation levels in sport via the Taking Part Survey and Active People Survey which can be found at the following links:
Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport if he will offer assistance to providers of league sport services whose businesses are affected by the HM Revenue and Customs decision that the provision of such services is subject to VAT at the standard rate. 
advises businesses who feel they have been affected by incorrect advice to contact the HMRC Complaints Team. The Department does not have an intention to provide an additional service for such businesses.
Hywel Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what information his Department holds on the number of television licences issued in (a) England, (b) Wales, (c) Scotland and (d) Northern Ireland in each of the last three years for which figures are available; and how much income was generated. 
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Deputy Prime Minister
Parliamentary Written Questions
Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many and what proportion of questions for ordinary written answer received a substantive response within (a) 10, (b) 20, (c) 30 and (d) more than 30 sitting days in the 2010-12 session to date. 
Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister how many visits he has undertaken in an official capacity to (a) Scotland, (b) Wales and (c) Northern Ireland since his appointment; and whether he plans to visit Northern Ireland in 2012. 
Travellers: Caravan Sites
Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what consideration has been given by the Collaborative Spatial Planning Group of the British-Irish Council to the availability of sites for Irish Travellers across British and Irish jurisdictions; and if he will place the most recent work programme of that group in the Library. 
The British-Irish Council provides a consultative, inter-executive forum that allows its members to consult, discuss and exchange views on a range of issues, on a confidential basis. Biannual updates of the Collaborative Spatial Planning group's work can be found in the British-Irish Council summit communiqués, available to the public through:
Communities and Local Government
Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) if he will estimate the average level of council tax per capita for (a) Suffolk Coastal, (b) Teignbridge, (c) Breckland, (d) Mid Sussex, (e) South Oxfordshire, (f) South Cambridgeshire, (g) East Lindsey, (h) Isle of Wight and (i) Wealden in each year between 2008-09 and 2011-12; 
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(2) if he will estimate the average level of council tax per capita for (a) Newcastle-under-Lyme, (b) Preston, (c) Middlesbrough, (d) Poole, (e) Arun and (f) Elmbridge in each year between 2008-09 and 2011-12; 
(3) if he will estimate the average level of council tax per capita for (a) Ipswich, (b) Halton, (c) Nuneaton and Bedworth, (d) Slough, (e) Norwich, (f) Thanet, (g) Reigate and Banstead, (h) Torbay, (i) Windsor and Maidenhead, (j) Oxford, (k) Canterbury and (l) Blackburn with Darwen in each year between 2008-09 and 2011-12. 
Council Tax Benefits
Robert Neill: The consultation on proposals for localising support for council tax in England closed on 14 October 2011, and the Government will publish a formal response in due course, alongside draft legislation. The Department is continuing to discuss its proposals, and plans for enabling local schemes to be implemented by April 2013, with Local Government.
Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what criteria (a) his Department and (b) its public bodies use when deciding whether and when to hold an internal audit; and if he will make a statement. 
Robert Neill: Internal audit services in the Department for Communities and Local Government provide the internal audit function to the Department, and six of the 18 executive agencies, non-departmental public bodies, public corporations and public body for which the Department is responsible. The others use their own criteria for deciding what should be audited and this information is not held centrally.
The delivery of internal audit services is governed by Government internal audit standards and these standards ensure a consistent and robust approach to the delivery of services, including the determination of the scope of Internal Audit plans.
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(and its bodies where the service provides the internal audit function) through: discussions with senior management; the National Audit Office; and reviews of high level risk registers. These are agreed with the Audit and Risk Committees and are reviewed throughout the year to reflect changes in the risk profile. The timing of internal audit reviews is determined as part of this process.
Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) press officers, (b) internal communications officers, (c) external communications officers, (d) communications strategy officers and (e) other positions with a communications remit were employed by (i) his Department, (ii) its agencies and (iii) each non-departmental public body sponsored by his Department on the most recent date for which figures are available. 
Robert Neill: All departmental staff employed in communications roles are members of the Department’s Communication Directorate, which comprises external communications division and corporate communications division, managed by the Director of Communication.
At the time the current Administration took office in May 2010, the Department employed 72 people with a communications remit. As at 30 November 2011, there are 52 staff working in communication roles in the Department. As part of the Department’s organisational restructuring, the Communication Directorate’s staffing levels will decrease further during 2012, with seven members of staff leaving by April.
Of the current staffing: external communications currently employs 25 communications officers working on a combination of press, marketing, speechwriting and news planning. This equates to 23.4 full-time equivalent posts, as some members of staff are employed part time. There are 15 people who work predominantly on press office duties.
Corporate communications currently employs 23 communications officers working on internal communication, web management, print/publishing and the Info4Local internet service. This equates to 22.6 full-time equivalent posts. Four other communications specialists within Communication Directorate work directly with policy directorates.
The Department does not hold a comprehensive, up-to-date record of the communications posts across all of its public bodies. However, the Department and its public bodies are increasingly working together to provide communication services more efficiently, reflecting the best practice that we are encouraging local government to follow. The number of communication specialists across the Department and its public bodies will be reduced by a further 17 full-time equivalent posts by October 2012.
Departmental Judicial Review
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what applications for judicial review have been made against his Department (a) in the last Parliament and (b) since May 2010; whether each such application (i) succeeded, (ii) failed and (iii) remains pending; what legal costs were incurred by his
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Department for each such application; in each failed application whether he applied for costs against the applicant and whether they were (A) awarded and (B) paid; whether his Department (1) paid for and (2) offered to pay for the legal costs incurred by each such applicant; and what the total cost to the public purse was of payment of the legal costs for each such applicant. 
Robert Neill: All litigation cases against the Department are managed by the Treasury Solicitors Department under a service level agreement. The litigation cases include judicial reviews, statutory planning appeals (some of which are also judicial reviews), compulsory purchase order challenges, personal injury, employment and contractual cases.
(a) In the last Parliament under the previous Administration from 5 May 2005 to 6 May 2010 there were on average 260 open cases at any one time and DCLG paid around £9,105,000 in total for that period;
(b) Since 7 May 2010 to 31 October 2011 there were on average 230 open cases at any one time, including legal challenges inherited from the previous Administration. DCLG paid around £2,084,000 in total for that period. The costs paid to the Treasury Solicitors included fees, disbursements and adverse costs.
To disaggregate this information further, for just judicial review cases and to identify applications that succeeded, failed, remains pending, costs awarded and paid could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.
Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether any senior staff in (a) his Department and (b) its Executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies are paid by means of payments to a limited company in lieu of a salary; and if he will publish his policy on such payments. 
Robert Neill: No senior staff in the Department for Communities and Local Government (either in the Department, its Executive agencies or non-departmental public bodies) are paid by means of payments to a limited company in lieu of a salary. The Department does not have a formal policy in relation to this issue.
Parliamentary Written Questions
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what proportion of written questions for answer on a named day received a substantive answer within five working days in each of the last six months. 
|2011||Number of named day questions||Answered on time or within five sitting days (1)|
|(1) Including non-sitting Fridays.|
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The Government have committed to providing the Procedure Committee with information relating to written parliamentary question performance on a sessional basis and will provide full information to the committee at the end of the Session. Statistics relating to Government Department’s performance for the 2009-10 parliamentary Session were previously provided to the committee and are available on the Parliament website.
Homes and Communities Agency: Equality
Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what criteria were used to select the members of the Homes and Communities Agency's Diversity and Equality Working Group; and if he will make a statement. 
Andrew Stunell: The Homes and Communities Agency established an Equality and Diversity Board Advisory Group in June 2009. The Advisory Group acts in an advisory capacity for the agency on diversity and equality issues in relation to its operations as well as organisational issues. It has no authority over the activities of the board, executive management team, staff or the agency's resources. Its terms of reference are available at:
Members serve a term of three years. The group has an independent Chair, Dorian Leatham, appointed by the Homes and Communities Agency's Board. Professor Peter Roberts represents the Agency Board. The Homes and Communities Agency directly appointed three members based on specific areas of expertise with the remaining eight members being selected and appointed in April 2009 following an open competition. All members of the group are expected to demonstrate an expertise and commitment to equality and diversity as well as an understanding of housing and regeneration. Group members are not paid (beyond reasonable travel and subsistence claims).
Housing: North-east England
Grahame M. Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to his policy on underoccupancy, what assessment he has made of (a) the availability of and (b) potential changes in demand for one-bedroom properties in (i) County Durham and (ii) the North East. 
Andrew Stunell: Information is not available on the total stock of one-bedroom properties in County Durham and the North East. Estimates of one-bedroom properties as a percentage of all new build properties are available in Table 254 at:
There are 4,507 one bedroom local authority properties in Durham Unitary Authority accounting for 24% of the local authority's stock. In the North East there are 25,804 one bedroom local authority properties accounting for 22% of the local authority stock in the region.
Estimates are not available for the future demand of one-bed properties. The Department does not forecast housing need. However, the Department publishes household projections that show the number of households
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by size that would form if previous demographic trends were to continue. These are available in Table 420 at:
Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the effect on UK housing stock of (a) migration from the EU and (b) non-EU immigration. 
Andrew Stunell: The Department does not estimate housing need. However, the Department publishes household projections, which are a trend-based view of the number of households that would form given a projected population and previous demographic trends (including migration). Local authorities should use the projections as a part of the evidence base for assessing future housing demand.
The number of households in England is projected to grow to 27.5 million in 2033, an increase of 5.8 million (27%) over 2008, or 232,000 households per year. International migration, based on past trends, contributes around 40% towards this projected increase in households. It is not possible to break this down into EU and non-EU migration.
Government have committed to reduce net migration from the current hundreds of thousands to tens of thousands per year. We have already introduced a series of measures in relation to migrant workers and students, including a limit on the number of skilled workers, and will introduce measures on settlement and family later this year.
Miss McIntosh: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will assess the effect on rural areas of (a) any changes to the arrangements for local retention of business rates and (b) proposals for metropolitan areas to retain a greater proportion of business rates. 
Robert Neill: The Government will shortly be introducing a Bill to give effect to their proposals for business rates retention. This Bill will be accompanied by an impact assessment setting out the Government's initial views on the impacts of the proposals.
Right to Buy Scheme
Mr Raynsford: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the number of homes that will be sold under the new right to buy scheme in each year between 2012-13 and 2015-16. [R] 
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Mr Raynsford: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the potential implications for housing benefit expenditure of the extension of the Right to Buy scheme under which homes sold will be replaced by hew homes let as affordable rents. [R] 
Grant Shapps: The Government have announced their intention to reinvigorate the Right to Buy—to support social housing tenants who aspire to own their own home, by raising the discount to make it attractive to tenants across England.
Mr Blunkett: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many homes his Department estimates will be created from the revenue from the sale of social housing properties to their tenants at a 50 per cent. discount. 
Grant Shapps: The receipts generated by right to buy sales will be used not only to pay down the debt associated with that property but also help to fund the delivery of new affordable homes on a one for one basis.
Social Rented Housing: Armed Forces
Mr David Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 30 November 2011, Official Report, column 991W, on social rented housing: armed forces, (1) what steps his Department plans to take to measure the effect of its proposed changes to the social housing additional preference given to members of the armed forces; 
(2) for what reasons his Department decided it was necessary to consult on a change to the law in order to require local housing authorities in England to provide for former service personnel with urgent housing needs to receive additional preference in their allocation scheme; 
(3) whether he plans to collect information on (a) the number of armed forces personnel and veterans on the waiting lists and (b) the councils which give additional preference to armed forces personnel and veterans in the future. 
Grant Shapps: The Government believe it is right that those who have put their life on the line for their country should receive the priority for social housing they need and deserve. We also believe that local authorities in England who are required to implement the regulations, as well as others who are affected by them, should have the opportunity to comment on these changes.
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number of social tenancies granted to service personnel. Local authorities are already obliged to make their allocation scheme available to the public.
Urban Areas: Finance
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 7 November 2011, Official Report, columns 25-6W, on urban areas: finance, which local authorities have applied for support from the High Street Support scheme; how much was distributed to each local authority; and which bids for funding were turned down. 
Robert Neill [holding answer 23 November 2011]: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 1 December 2011, Official Report, column 1027W. This outlines how practical support and financial funding has been given by local authorities to local residents and local firms through the Homelessness Support Scheme, the Recovery Fund and the High Street Support Scheme.
London borough of Croydon: £993,749. This includes funding for works to deal with dangerous structures, site clearance and emergency works to highways and footpaths, council tax discounts, street lighting and cleaning.
London Fire and Emergency Planning Authority: £194,484. The majority of this claim is for staff overtime costs.
London borough of Lambeth: £64,989. This relates to additional staff costs for youth custody services and the clearing of debris.
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service: £33,143, in respect of overtime and incidental expenses.
Nottingham city council: £28,482, for costs relating to overtime, cleaning and emergency control centre operations, legal costs and youth activities.
Salford city council: £5,466. The expenditure relates to emergency repairs, street cleaning and staff overtime.
Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland Combined Fire Authority: £2,206, for overtime costs.
London borough of Lewisham: £2,083, relating to clearing debris.
Voluntary Organisations: Finance
Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps he has taken to ensure local authorities follow best value guidance when making decisions on the funding of voluntary sector organisations; and if he will make a statement. 
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Andrew Stunell: The Best Value guidance, published on 2 September, is statutory and local authorities are required to have regard to it. The Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, my right hon. Friend the Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr Pickles), wrote to all local authority leaders and chief executives at the time of consultation on the revised Best Value guidance. Following the consultation DCLG issued a press notice and wrote to all those who had been consulted informing them that the revised guidance had been published.
Wildlife: EU Action
Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether his Department is to be involved in the review of the implementation of the (a) Habitats and (b) Wild Birds Directive. 
Biofuels: Government Assistance
Norman Baker: The primary support for biofuels is through the Renewable Transport Fuels Obligation (RTFO), which obligates fossil road transport fuel suppliers to produce evidence that a specified percentage of their fuels for road transport in the UK comes from renewable sources. The RTFO includes a certificate trading mechanism to increase the efficiency of compliance. One certificate is awarded for each litre of biofuel (or kilogram in the case of biogas) supplied. From 15 December 2011, to increase the support for innovative biofuels, two certificates will be awarded for each litre of biofuel produced from non-food cellulose or lignocellulosic material. There will also be two certificates for each litre of biofuels from wastes and residues.
Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many (a) letters and (b) emails her Department has received on cycling in the last 12 months.  [Official Report, 23 February 2012, Vol. 540, c. 1MC.]
Dartford-Thurrock Crossing: Automatic Number Plate Recognition
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Mike Penning: The proposals for an automatic number plate recognition (ANPR) system are currently being considered as part of the preliminary design stage for a free-flow charging scheme at the Dartford Crossing.
Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what criteria (a) her Department and (b) its public bodies use when deciding whether and when to hold an internal audit; and if she will make a statement. 
Norman Baker: Internal audit functions for the Department for Transport, its executive agencies, trading funds and non-departmental public bodies operate to a common methodology, which is consistent with the requirements of the standards issued by the Institute of Internal Auditors, and with Government Internal Auditing Standards.
Audit planning is designed to identify organisational objectives, risks to the achievement of objectives and controls used to manage risks in order to provide integrated assurance to each Accounting Officer. This is achieved through a combination of top-down and bottom-up approaches to identify and prioritise audit assignments consistent with the following criteria:
alignment to key business/corporate plans, objectives and priorities;
assures the mitigation of board-level strategic risks, and key risks for constituent parts of each organisation;
reflects the maturity of existing internal control frameworks, risk management processes and assurance sources;
provides coverage of core internal/compliance functions;
revisits areas audited in previous years that require follow-up;
activity mandated by HM Treasury, Cabinet Office, etc;
where appropriate, responds to management requests for advice on improving the management of risks and internal controls/operations; or investigates impropriety and other irregularities (for example, arising from whistleblowing or allegations of fraud);
is delivered by the most appropriate assurance provider (for example, does not duplicate work of others such as the external auditors); and
is scheduled when the activity will provide most value, within the confines of the availability of audit resources and the need to provide an annual audit opinion.
Departmental Civil Proceedings
Mr Jenkin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport which organisations that have received funding from her Department have brought legal proceedings against her Department in the last five years; which such organisations were not successful in their actions; and whether her Department (a) applied and (b) was paid for costs in respect of such cases. 
During the last five years, there were two sets of legal proceedings in the superior courts (in both instances in the High Court) brought against the Secretary of State by organisations that also received funding from the central Department for Transport. To
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confirm the position as regards courts other than superior courts, or in relation to the Department's seven executive agencies would, I regret, incur a disproportionate cost.
(2) Certain Bus Operating Companies in the Stagecoach Group (1) Certain Bus Operating Companies in the Go-Ahead Group (2) v. Secretary of State for Transport and Anor  EWHC 223 (Admin) (16 February 2010).
I. The United Omnibus Company Limited
II. Stagecoach West Limited
III. Stagecoach (South) Limited
IV. Lincolnshire Road Car Limited
V. Midland Red (South) Limited
VI. Thames Transit Limited
VII. East Kent Car Company Limited
VIII. Stagecoach Devon Limited
IX. Cambus Holdings Limited
X. East Midland Motor Services Limited
XI. East Kent Road Car Limited
XII. Solent Blue Line Limited
XIII. Wiltshire and Dorset Bus Company Limited
XIV. Marchwood Motorways (Services) Limited.
The bus operating companies listed above were party to these five judicial review proceedings against the Secretary of State for Transport. Before the High Court was willing to deal with the individual judicial reviews, it chose to deal with “preliminary issues” on how the bus concessionary travel regime operates. (In the meantime it stayed the five individual claims.) It found in favour of the Secretary of State on the preliminary issues and awarded costs to the Secretary of State. Separately, in relation to one discrete element of the bus companies' claims, and which the Secretary of State had already conceded (called the “fixed sum” issue), the High Court ordered that the Secretary of State pay the claimants' costs, but only up to the point in time of her concession.