Apprentices

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many apprentices were employed by his Department between (a) April 2010 and March 2011 and (b) April and December 2011; and how many apprenticeships he plans that his Department will sponsor between (i) January and March 2012 and (ii) April and March 2013. [89216]

Gregory Barker: Between April 2010 to March 2011 DECC had 14 staff undertaking an apprenticeship programme.

Between April and December 2011 DECC had one new apprenticeship start (with the above continuing).

11 Jan 2012 : Column 322W

All future apprenticeships will be based on suitable vacancies arising within the Department.

Energy Efficiency Deployment Office: Public Appointments

Dr Whitehead: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when he plans to appoint a (a) chair and (b) director to administer the Energy Efficiency Deployment Office. [88522]

Gregory Barker: As soon as possible.

Energy: Prices

David Mowat: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the effect on energy bills of (a) the Green Deal, (b) feed-in tariffs, (c) Contract for Difference and (d) other subsidies offered by his Department. [88877]

Charles Hendry: On 23 November 2011, alongside the annual energy statement, DECC published an assessment of the impact of climate change and energy polices on energy prices and bills for an average household, medium-sized business user and large energy intensive user in 2011, 2020 and 2030, available online at:

http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/meeting_energy/aes/impacts/impacts.aspx

The headline results are presented in table 1. A breakdown of the separate gas and electricity bill impacts by individual policies is presented in the set of tables in annex F (from page 67) of the aforementioned document.

Table 1: Estimated impact of energy and climate change policies on average energy (gas plus electricity) bills compared with bills in the absence of policies
Real 2010 prices 2011 2020 2030

Household

     

Bill without policies

£1,229

£1,379

£1,474

Bill with policies

£1,249

£1,285

£1,427

Impact of policies

£19 (2%)

-£94 (-7%)

-£46 (-3%)

Of which:

     

Green Deal and ECO(1, 2)

n/a

£42

-£20

Small-scale feed-in tariffs

£1

£6

£6

EMR (CfDs and capacity payments)

n/a

£41

£50

Other policies

£18

-£183

-£82

       

Medium-sized business user

     

Bill without policies

£1,550,000

£1,738,000

£1,829,000

Bill with policies

£1,821,000

£2,073,000

£2,337,000

Impact of policies

£271,000 (18%)

£335,000 (19%)

£508,000 (28%)

Of which:

     

Green Deal(2)

n/a

-£16,000

-£16,000

Small-scale feed-in tariffs

£3,000

£15,000

£14,000

EMR (CfDs and capacity payments)

n/a

£96,000

£117,000

Other policies

£268,000

£240,000

£394,000

       

Large energy intensive industrial user

     

Bill without policies

£8.2 to £15.6 million

£9.3 to £17.4 million

£9.7 to £18.0 million

Bill with policies

£8.4 to £17.5 million

£9.4 to £20.9 million

£10.8 to £24.1 million

Impact of policies

£0.3 to £1.9 million (3% to 12%)

£0.2 to £3.5 million (2% to 20%)

£1.1 to £6.1 million (11% to 34%)

Of which:

     

Green Deal(2)

n/a

n/a

n/a

Small-scale feed-in tariffs

£0 to £30,000

£0 to £138,000

£0 to £124,000

11 Jan 2012 : Column 323W

11 Jan 2012 : Column 324W

EMR (CfDs and capacity payments)

n/a

£0 to £870,000

£0 to £1.1 million

Other policies

£0.3 to £1.9 million

£0.2 to £2.5 million

£1.1 to £4.9 million

(1) Due to the overlap between the Green Deal and Energy Company Obligation (ECO) in the household sector, the impact of each of the two policies individually cannot be isolated. (2) Estimates of the Green Deal impact are net of the average annual loan repayment. Note: Figures may not add due to rounding. Source: DECC 2012.

Horizon Nuclear Power

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the implications for (a) security of supply and (b) competition in the energy marketplace of the sale of equity shares by the Horizon Nuclear Power joint venture. [88181]

Charles Hendry: Horizon Nuclear Power remains a 50:50 joint venture between E.ON UK and RWE npower.

Horizon and its shareholders have been clear that they remain committed to the UK, and are continuing to develop their plans for around 6 GW of new nuclear capacity, starting with around 3 GW on their lead-site at Wylfa, Anglesey.

It is the Government’s policy to make the UK energy sector more attractive to new investors and any issues of market competition would be dealt with by the competition authorities.

Power Failures

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many households have power supply voltage optimisation devices. [88891]

Gregory Barker: We do not have records for how many households have voltage optimisation devices. These devices are eligible measures for suppliers to promote in meeting their household Carbon Emissions Reduction Target to December 2012, though no schemes have been delivered as yet.

Solar Power

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to the answer of 6 December 2011, Official Report, column 216W, on solar power, whether his Department has any plans to (a) undertake or (b) commission research on the effects of installing solar PV on household energy use. [89063]

Gregory Barker: DECC is currently considering what further evidence may be needed in relation to the effects of installing microgeneration technologies on household energy use.

Solar Power: Feed-in Tariffs

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change if he will estimate the average number of feed-in tariff solar PV installations that were completed between (a) April 2010 and October 2011 and (b) 31 October and 12 December 2011. [89064]

Gregory Barker: The latest monthly published statistics show that between April 2010 and October 2011, the number of solar PV installations (of sub 50 kW capacity) on the Microgeneration Certificate Scheme database (MCS) was 127,474. Of these, 70% (89,297) have been confirmed on Ofgem's Central FiT Register (CFR).

In addition, there were 3,534 solar PV confirmed installations on the CFR but not registered on the MCS database at the end of December 2011. Of these, 316 installations were confirmed after 31 October 2011. These installations are not registered on the MCS database because the installation capacity is greater than 50 kW, so are additional to the MCS numbers.

The number of solar PV installations registered on the MCS database between 31 October 2011 and 12 December 2011 was 102,183.

Warm Front Scheme

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to the answer of 15 November 2011, Official Report, column 798W, on Warm Front Scheme: St Helens, for how many parliamentary constituencies his Department holds data on the number of households that have received assistance under the Warm Front Scheme in each of the last five years. [89204]

Gregory Barker: Carillion Energy Services hold, on DECC's behalf, data on the number of households that have received Warm Front assistance in each parliamentary constituency.

Wind Power

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when he plans to visit the proposed site of the Brechfa Forest West wind farm. [89093]

Charles Hendry: I have no current plans to visit the proposed site for this wind farm. This application is currently under examination by the Infrastructure Planning Commission (IPC). I will be making a decision on this application once the IPC has made its recommendation and therefore it would not be appropriate for me to comment further on this application.

Business, Innovation and Skills

Arms Trade

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what (a) bi-lateral and (b) multi-lateral meetings (i) he and (ii) his officials have had with their international counterparts to discuss the agreement of a robust arms trade treaty in preparation for the final Preparatory Committee in February 2012. [88047]

11 Jan 2012 : Column 325W

Mr Prisk: Officials from this Department have regularly formed part of cross-Whitehall teams in support of Foreign and Commonwealth Office outreach with a range of international counterparts on the arms trade treaty (ATT). These discussions have covered a broad range of issues and have been used to gain support for HMG policy objectives on the ATT and to gain an understanding of the concerns of other countries.

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what contribution his Department is making to developing policy on the inclusion of import, export, re-export, transit, transhipment, brokering activities and the gifting, loan or lease of arms within the terms of the arms trade treaty. [88055]

Mr Prisk: Officials from this Department have been, and continue to be, actively engaged in supporting the Foreign and Commonwealth Office on all aspects of arms trade treaty policy development and strategy that are within the responsibilities of this Department.

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many of his Department's officials at each grade are working on the arms trade treaty negotiations; whether there has been any change in the personnel leading on this matter; and whether he expects any further changes to be made before July 2012. [88059]

Mr Prisk: A number of the senior staff of the Export Control Organisation in this Department (SCS Band 1, Grade 7) spend a proportion of their time contributing to the UK team negotiating the arms trade treaty. I expect that the total level of resource dedicated to this activity will increase between now and July 2012.

Business Support

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the steps the banks that signed up to the Merlin Agreement have taken to encourage increased demand for finance from small and medium-sized enterprises. [87819]

Mr Prisk: It is absolutely vital that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have the confidence to seek the finance they need to thrive and grow. Through the British Bankers' Association, the Merlin banks have set up the Better Business Finance Taskforce, which in October 2010 made a number of commitments to repair their relationships with small business customers and encourage demand, including a regional outreach programme.

The Merlin banks have taken a range of steps to increase take-up of finance by small and medium-sized businesses, for example:

Lloyds TSB made new commitments for 2012 in their SME Charter in November 2011;

Barclays organised free lending clinics for SMEs throughout October and November 2011;

RBS launched a fixed rate product with no fees for SME customers;

HSBC have launched products with discounted interest rates for businesses which export or employ; and

11 Jan 2012 : Column 326W

Santander have announced a “breakthrough” programme with a £200 million fund aimed at high growth potential firms.

The Government are also working with the banks and other stakeholders to increase SMEs confidence and capability in accessing finance through a Finance Fitness campaign, which will be putting more and better advice and resources in the hands of small businesses next year.

We have also announced the launch of a National Loan Guarantee Scheme which will aim to support £20 billion worth of lending to small businesses over the next two years.

Business: Loans

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent representations he has received on the steps taken by the banks that signed up to the Merlin Agreement to initiate pre re-financing dialogues with customers 12 months before term loans end. [87820]

Mr Prisk: The Merlin banks committed to initiating a pre-refinancing dialogue 12 months' ahead of any term loan coming to an end as part of the British Bankers' Association Taskforce in October 2010. These dialogues would include a timely review of business and refinancing needs and an assessment of what needs to be in place ahead of loan expiry to maximise the prospect of successful refinancing.

BIS Ministers are in regular discussion with the banks on this and the other commitments of the British Bankers' Association Taskforce. General banking issues are regularly discussed in the quarterly Small Business Economic Forum, which I chair, and features representatives from a wide range of business groups and the Merlin banks.

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent representations he has received on the steps taken by the banks that signed up to the Merlin Agreement to give more weight to the expectations, capacity and willingness to lend to small and medium-sized enterprises in the performance metrics of the chief executives and business area leaders. [87821]

Mr Prisk: The main representations received on the Merlin Agreement concern the need for banks to provide finance on appropriate terms to the viable businesses that need it. The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills has made clear his view that the remuneration of the Merlin banks' chief executives and relevant senior managers should reflect the bank's performance in lending to small and medium enterprises, and the Merlin banks have publicly committed to this.

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the progress of delivery using the 17 commitments made by the British Bankers' Association Business Finance Taskforce based on the results of the continuous monitoring his Department has committed to undertake; and if he will make a statement. [87945]

11 Jan 2012 : Column 327W

Mr Prisk: As the Chancellor of the Exchequer said in the 29 November 2011 Autumn Statement, Official Report, columns 799-810, the Government welcome the progress the banks have made in delivering their commitments, as well as their intention to continue to take these initiatives forward in future. In particular, the Government welcome the British Bankers' Association's intention to work with community development finance institutions (CDFIs) to put in place a system to refer unsuccessful loan applicants to CDFIs.

Business: Regulation

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills with reference to the press release issued by the Regulatory Policy Committee on 25 July 2011, whether the net cost figures published in the Second Statement of New Regulation were independently assessed. [87824]

Mr Prisk: I can confirm that the net cost figures in the Second Statement of New Regulation were independently assessed by the Regulatory Policy Committee. Any exceptions are highlighted in the statement published by the relevant Department.

Sammy Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of progress by his Department in implementing the objective in the coalition agreement to reduce the burden of administration by introducing a ‘One-in, One-out’ rule for regulation. [87881]

Mr Prisk: The second Statement of New Regulation, published in September 2011, reports on the first year of application of the ‘One-in, One-out’ rule to new domestic regulation:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/policies/bre/better-regulation-framework/one-in-one-out/statement

11 Jan 2012 : Column 328W

Copies of the statement have been deposited in both Libraries of the House,

The statement shows that the Government's ‘One-in, One-out’ rule has resulted in an overall reduction in the net cost to business and civil society organisations. Information on costs is provided both by Department and as a total for Government.

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills with reference to the Second Statement of New Regulation which departments did not (a) pass any deregulatory measures and (b) achieve a net fall in the cost to businesses in 2011. [87825]

Mr Prisk: The second Statement of New Regulation:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/policies/bre/better-regulation-framework/one-in-one-out/statement

published in September 2011, provides a forecast of deregulatory measures (or 'OUTs') for 2011. The statement shows the volume (i.e. number of measures) and net annual regulatory cost to business for each department.

Copies of the statement have been deposited in both Libraries of the House.

An update on the final position will be provided in the new statement.

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on which date a final impact assessment was (a) received and (b) validated by the Regulatory Policy Committee for each regulatory change announced in the Second Statement of New Regulation. [87826]

Mr Prisk: The following table shows the regulatory changes announced in the Second Statement of New Regulation and, for each measure, the dates the final impact assessment was received and the Regulatory Policy Committee's Opinion was issued.

IA No. Title Date final IA received Date opinion issued

BIS0172

The Insolvency (Amendment) Regulations 2011

25 March 2011

9 May 2011

BIS0083

Weights and Measures (Specified Quantities) (Unwrapped Bread and Intoxicating Liquor) Order 2011

5 January 2011

1 February 2011

BIS0283

Public Policy Exclusion Order (Complex Weapons) (Revocation) 2011

27 June 2011

5 July 2011

BIS0027

Special Administration Regime of the Postal Services Act 2011

5 August 2011

19 August 2011

BIS0135

The Patents County Court (Financial Limits) (No.2) Order 2011

10 January 2011

1 February 2011

BIS0303

The Overseas Companies (Execution of Documents and Registration of Charges) Regulations 2011

18 May 2011

8 June 2011

BIS0146, BIS0093, BIS0288

The Scheme for Construction Contracts (England and Wales) Regulations 1998 (Amendment)(England) Regulations 2011, The Construction Contracts (England) Exclusion Order 2011, The Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 (Commencement No.2)(England) Order 2011

16 May 2011

10 June 2011

BIS0073

Amendment to the Patents Act to provide for Online Patent File Inspection Order 2011

21 June 2011

5 July 2011

BIS0181

Companies Act 2006 (Annual Returns) Regulations 2011

12 March2011

12 April 2011

BIS0292

The Companies (Disclosure of Auditor Remuneration and Liability Limitation Agreements) (Amendment) Regulations 2011

26 July 2011

1 August 2011

DCLG0032

The Town and Country Planning (Environmental Impact Assessment) Regulations 2011

4 May 2011

16 May 2011

DCLG5004

The Town and Country Planning (General Permitted Development) (Amendment) (England) Order 2011

3 March 2011

13 April 2011

DCLG5001

The Town and Country Planning (Control of Advertisements) (Amendment) (England) Order 2011

10 March 2011

12 April 2011

11 Jan 2012 : Column 329W

11 Jan 2012 : Column 330W

DCLG0024

The Infrastructure Planning (Changes to, and Revocation of, Development, Consent Orders) Regulations 2011

29 July 2011

8 August 2011

DCLG0036

Building (Amendment) Regulations 2011

15 April 2011

5 May 2011

CO1006,7,8

The Charities Act 2006 (Changes in Exempt Charities) Order 2011

26 July 2011

4 August 2011

DCMS10

The Media Ownership (Radio and Cross media) order 2010

22 October 2010

9 November 2010

DCMS007

Gambling Act 2005: Category B3 Gaming Machine

9 May 2011

17 May 2011

DECC0030

EU Third package - licence modification appeals

22 June 2011

13 July 2011

DECC0056

Extending Compulsory Purchase Powers to change of use of pipelines to C02 transport

4 March2011

22 March2011

DECC0019

Third Party access to upstream petroleum infrastructure

5 July 2011

5 August 2011

DECC0011

Repeal of 18 Exemption Orders for low risk use of radioactive substances

1 April 2011

19 April 2011

DECC0048

Raising the threshold for energy supplier participation in social and environmental programmes

28 March 2011

18 April 2011

DECC0020

Introduction of a Special Administration Regime

24 June 2011

2 August 2011

DEFRA1145

Flood and Water Management Act (2010) Implementation of sections 38 and 39 Incidental Flooding.

28 July 2011

10 August 2011

DEFRA1261

Flood and Water Management Act (2010) Implementation of Section 7 (6) on cooperation and sharing information.

24 February 2011

21 March 2011

DEFRA1147

The Water Industry (Schemes for Adoption of Private Sewers) Regulations 2011.

7 March 2011

21 March 2011

DEFRA1082

Amendments to Schedules 5 and 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981

8 August 2011

17 August 2011

DEFRA1199

Flood and Water Management Act (2010) Implementation of Section 27(2) guidance on sustainable development duty.

11 May 2011

3 June 2011

DEFRA1133

Simplification of the contaminated land regime.

13 September 2011

20 September 2011

DEFRA1055

Amendment of Pigs (Records, Identification and Movement) Order 2007

14 July 2011

3 August 2011

DEFRA1071

The Water Supply (Amendment to the Threshold Requirement) Regulations 2011

17 June 2011

28 June 2011

DEFRA1306

The Welfare of Animals (Slaughter or Killing) (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2011.

n/a

(1)

DEFRA0185

The Environmental Protection (Controls on Ozone-Depleting Substances) Regulations 2011

10 May 2011

20 May 2011

DEFRA0168

Cattle Identification (Amendment) Regulation.

n/a

(1)

DfT00084

The Equality Act 2010 - Application of Part 5 to Seafarers

15 March 2011

28 March 2011

DfT00004

M25 Motorway Junctions 2 to 3 (Variable Speed Limits) Regulations 2011

13 July 2011

12 August 2011

DfT00046

The Vehicle Drivers (Certificates of Professional Competence) (Amendment) Regulations 2011

13 July 2011

2 August 2011

DfT00107

Revocations of the explosive provision in Classification and Labelling of Explosive Regulations 1983

8 June 2011

21 June 2011

DH0662

Prohibition on the sale of tobacco from vending machines

10 August 2011

20 September 2011

DH3007

To include the medical exposure of self-referred asymptomatic individuals within the Ionising Radiation (Medical Exposure) Regulations 2000 (IRMER)

7 March 2011

30 March 2011

DH5059

Recognition of pharmacist qualifications awarded in the European Economic Area and Switzerland: removing the “Three-year rule” from new pharmacies

9 May 2011

27 May 2011

DWP0011

Occupational Pensions Schemes (Employer Debt and Miscellaneous Amendment) Regulations 2011

5 September 2011

15 September 2011

FOOD0092

Earned Recognition in the Dairy Sector (England and Wales)

10 August 2011

23 August 2011

HMT1102C

The Financial Services and Markets Act (FSMA) 2000 (Carrying on Regulated Activities by Way of Business)(Amendment) Order-regulation of sale and rent back agreements

11 July 2011

20 July 2011

HMT0021

Introducing a protected cell regime for UK open ended investment companies

2 August 2011

25 August 2011

HMT1137

Early implementation measures of Amending Directive 2003/71/EC on the prospectus to be published when securities are offered to the public or admitted to trading

17 June 2011

5 July 2011

HMT1106

Legislative Reform Order on mutuals

10 February 2011

4 March 2011

HMT1102D

The Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 (Exemption)(Amendment) Order- Northern Ireland housing associations

11 July 2011

20 July 2011

N/A

Civil Partnerships on Religious Premises

9 August 2011

15 August 2011

N/A

Specification for Firearms

n/a

(2)

MoJ 0008

Implementation of the Legal Services Act 2007

23 July 2011

3 August 2011

(1) These measures were included in SNR2 but were departmental estimates based on consultation stage impact assessment. Final figure subject to approval by Regulatory Policy Committee in due course, on basis of final stage impact assessments. (2) Due to the negligible cost of this measure, an impact assessment was not been deemed necessary. The measure was included in Home Office SNR2 for consistency with the previous Statement of New Regulation.

11 Jan 2012 : Column 331W

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether the moratorium on new domestic regulation for micro-businesses and start-ups was applied to all (a) regulatory measures and (b) deregulatory measures announced in the Second Statement of New Regulation. [87827]

Mr Prisk: The guidance on the micro-business moratorium,

http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/better-regulation/docs/g/11-1198-guidance-moratorium-on-new-domestic-regulation.pdf

was applied to each measure in the Statement of New Regulation

http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/better-regulation/docs/o/11-p96b-one-in-one-out-second-statement-new-regulation.pdf

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether his Department plans to conduct a review of the moratorium on new domestic regulation for micro-businesses and start-ups in order to ensure that the moratorium is being applied correctly in accordance with the relevant guidance; and if so when he plans to publish such a review. [87828]

Mr Prisk: The Government have no plans to conduct a review of the moratorium on new domestic regulation for micro-businesses and start-ups at the present time.

Cluster Munitions

Mr Kennedy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills when he last met representatives of (a) banks and (b) other financial institutions to discuss direct or indirect investment in the manufacture of cluster bombs; and if he will make a statement. [87938]

Mr Prisk: The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills has had no discussions with representative of banks or other financial institutions about direct or indirect investment in the manufacture of cluster bombs.

Council for Science and Technology

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much funding the Council for Science and Technology (CST) (a) received in 2010-11 and (b) will receive in 2011-12; what estimate he has made of the number of full-time equivalent staff working for the CST in each year; and if he will make a statement. [88023]

Mr Willetts: £47,000 was spent on the activities of the Council for Science and Technology (CST) in 2010-11. The budget for 2011-12 is £50,000. No staff work directly for the CST which is an advisory non-departmental public body. The staff in the CST Secretariat are employed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills. Three full-time equivalent staff worked in the CST Secretariat in both 2010-11 and 2011-12.

11 Jan 2012 : Column 332W

Equality

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what equality impact assessments his Department has carried out since May 2010; and for what purpose in each case. [88572]

Mr Davey: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills considers equality issues in exercising its functions, to comply with equality legislation and to ensure it understands how its activities will affect different people. It provides information about this consideration in various ways. In the specified period, this information was sometimes published in the form of an equality impact assessment, although there has never been a legal requirement to produce such a document.

We have published seven such documents during the period. These are available on the Department's website.

Departmental Manpower

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many people were working in his Department on (a) 11 May 2010 and (b) 8 December 2011. [87344]

Mr Davey: The following table shows number of staff employed by BIS on 11 May 2010 and 8 December 2011. To note these figures are based on staff on payroll.

Date Headcount total Including UKTI Headcount total excluding UKTI

11 May 2010

3,607

3,054

8 December 2011

2,996

2,448

Recruitment

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much his Department spent on recruitment agencies in each month since September 2011. [88014]

Mr Davey: In each month since September 2011, the Department has paid (on a cash basis rather than a resource accounting basis) the following amounts to recruitment agencies:

2011 £

September

253,555

October

242,178

November

420,292

Redundancy Pay

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much redundancy pay was paid to civil servants in his Department in each month between September and November 2011. [88012]

Mr Davey: The Department paid in total £4,413,545.51 in respect of redundancy costs between September and November 2011. The monthly costs are shown in the following table.

11 Jan 2012 : Column 333W

2011 £

September

1,630,077.45

October

867,911.45

November

1,915,556.61

Departmental Temporary Employment

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many temporary staff were recruited to his Department between September and November 2011. [88013]

Mr Davey: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills recruited seven temporary staff in the period between September and November 2011.

Foreign Investment in UK

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department has taken to (1) improve the UK's ranking in the World Bank's 2012 Doing Business Report; and what steps his Department has taken to address the findings of previous Doing Business reports; [88763]

(2) (a) strengthen courts, the insolvency regime and other legal institutions and (b) increase the legal protection of investors and property rights in order to make it easier to do business in the UK; and what steps his Department plans to take on such matters; [88764]

(3) facilitate access for businesses to fee schedules, documentation requirements, information relating to commercial cases and insolvency proceedings and other such regulatory information; [88765]

(4) (a) strengthen governance, (b) encourage business development and (c) improve operations to enhance the overall investment climate in the UK. [88767]

Mr Prisk: The Government are committed to creating the right conditions for businesses to succeed, removing barriers that are preventing them from performing to their full potential. It is welcome that the World Bank puts the UK in the top 10 places to do business in the world.

The Government's growth review is bringing an ambitious and relentless focus, across the lifetime of the Parliament, to the role Government can play to enable the right conditions for businesses to thrive and achieve strong, sustainable and balanced growth. The plan for growth and the autumn statement set out a wide-ranging package of more than 280 measures to build a stronger and more balanced economy. The growth review's packages of more than 280 measures include, among others, specific activity on corporate governance, regulation, access to finance, competition and trade and investment. These measures are currently being implemented—by the autumn statement significant milestones had been reached on more than 90% of the actions announced at the Budget.

More specifically:

In its report, the World Bank specifically highlights our wide-ranging work on deregulation as a good example to follow (particularly the One In, One Out programme controlling the flow of new regulations and the Red Tape Challenge thematically reviewing the stock of existing regulations sector by sector).

11 Jan 2012 : Column 334W

It is now possible to form a UK company online with no reduction in creditor or investor protection.

Over 95% of companies now file at least one document electronically and over 92% of companies file their accounts on time. The public register is updated with this information within 24 hours. This information is then available via the web in real time.

UK company law has been substantially overhauled. The Corporate Governance Code for listed companies and Stewardship Code for investors are developed and maintained by the Financial Reporting Council.

The UK has a robust independent court system. Key judgments are widely reported and available on the internet.

The insolvency regime is subject to ongoing monitoring and review. We have recently consulted on plans to increase transparency in 'pre-pack' administrations, the regulation of Insolvency Practitioners and the application process for bankruptcy and winding-up of companies. More generally the insolvency regime has been recently tested in the deepest recession for generations and most commentators have agreed that it did its job very effectively in extremely difficult circumstances.

We will shortly be bringing forward for parliamentary approval proposals to make it easier for companies to use their assets to raise finance.

We are ensuring that businesses can access the finance they need to grow their business through measures such as the Enterprise Finance Guarantee and the new National Loan Guarantee Scheme, which will provide up to £200 billion of guarantees for bank funding over the next two years allowing banks to offer lower cost lending to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs.) We have also transformed the way we enable people to receive the advice and information they need to grow their business; including a new Growth and Improvement Service on

www.businesslink.gov.uk

and a mentoring portal

www.mentorsme.co.uk

bringing together existing networks of mentors in the voluntary and private sectors. We will also shortly be launching a new Business Coaching for Growth service, providing high quality business coaching support for SMEs with high growth potential.

Foresight

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much funding from his Department Foresight (a) received in 2010-11 and (b) will receive in 2011-12; what estimate he has made of the number of full-time equivalent staff working for Foresight in each year; and if he will make a statement. [88025]

Mr Willetts: Foresight is part of the Government Office for Science, which is a semi-autonomous unit housed within BIS and funded from the BIS vote. The Foresight Programme helps Government make decisions today which are robust to future uncertainties. The estimated number of staff working for Foresight in 2010/11 was 31 and for 2011/12, it is 28. The total funding for staff and to fund the programme of activity in 2010/11 was £3.66 million, and is expected to be £3.74 million in 2011/12.

Green Investment Bank

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills when he expects the Green Investment Bank to receive state aid clearance. [87904]

11 Jan 2012 : Column 335W

Mr Prisk: It is difficult to be precise about the timetable for the European Commission to reach a decision on the UK state aid notification relating to the Green Investment Bank. If the Commission opens a full investigation, a decision could take up to 18 months. We are, however, optimistic about the prospects for a relatively early decision and for planning purposes are preparing on the basis that this could be obtained during 2012.

Hearing Impairment

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department is taking to improve access to its programmes and services for people with hearing impairment. [86933]

Mr Davey: The Department is not itself undertaking specific activity to improve access to its programmes and services for people with hearing impairment. However, we fund the further education and skills, and higher education sectors to support disabled students.

We provide funding to both Disability Rights UK and the Equality Challenge Unit, independent organisations which alongside providing advice and guidance to higher education institutions and further education providers also help raise awareness about a range of equality issues in the sector.

Higher education institutions and further education colleges have duties under the Equality Act 2010 to support disabled students, including students with hearing impairment, when applying to higher and further education and when studying. The law establishes a framework of responsibility which higher education institutions and further education colleges must comply with and also promotes an anticipatory and proactive approach to supporting disabled students. Institutions are required to make reasonable adjustments for disabled students to ensure that they can fully participate in their education and enjoy the other benefits, facilities and services which are provided for students.

“Investing in Skills for Sustainable Growth” (published November 2010) recognises the importance of access to further education and skills training for people with learning difficulties and/or disabilities. We have introduced a single adult skills budget from the 2011/12 academic year. This provides further education colleges and other training organisations with the flexibility to offer a range and balance of programmes and support in the mode of delivery that will best meet the needs of disabled students and students with learning difficulties. Funding for additional learning support is also provided to colleges and other training organisations to help support the additional needs of disadvantaged learners to enable them to participate fully in learning. The funding is intended to be flexible and support learners who have a range of learning difficulties and/or disabilities.

The Government also provide support to disabled students in higher education. We provide funding to HE institutions, through the Higher Education Funding Council for England, to help them recruit and support disabled students; £13m will be provided in academic year 2011/12.

11 Jan 2012 : Column 336W

The Government also provide direct support to disabled students through Disabled Students' Allowances (DSAs). DSAs can help pay the extra costs a student may incur, because of a disability, when undertaking a course of higher education. DSAs are provided in addition to the standard student support package, are not income-assessed and do not have to be repaid.

High Street Review

Oliver Heald: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills with reference to the Portas review, if he will meet the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to discuss the parking strategies of local authorities. [87870]

Mr Davey: Ministers meet regularly to discuss a range of issues. In respect of the Mary Portas review the Prime Minister has asked the Minister for Housing and Local Government, the right hon. Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Grant Shapps), to lead on responding to the report and the town centres agenda.

Higher Education: Admissions

Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much his Department plans to allocate to the Widening Participation Premium in (a) 2012-13, (b) 2013-14 and (c) 2014-15. [88115]

Mr Willetts [holding answer 10 January 2012]: The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) is responsible for determining the level of funding made available through the Widening Participation Allocation. Ministers wrote to HEFCE in June 2011 outlining our initial priorities for teaching funding for 2012/13 which included the funding the Council provides to support widening participation and retention. HEFCE consulted, over the summer, on how this and our other funding priorities might best be delivered. We will confirm our priorities for teaching funding for 2012/13 in our grant letter to the Council, to be published shortly.

In June, we also asked HEFCE to consult on the operation of the teaching grant for 2013/14 and beyond. HEFCE will launch this consultation, early next year. We will confirm our priorities for teaching funding in future years, in the usual way, in the grant letter for the year in question.

Steve Brine: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether his Department plans to consult on any proposed changes to the widening participation premium. [88652]

Mr Willetts: The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) is responsible for determining the level of funding made available through the widening participation premium. In June, we asked HEFCE to consult on the operation of the teaching grant for 2013/14 and beyond. HEFCE will launch this consultation, early next year.

We will confirm our priorities for teaching funding for 2012/13 in our grant letter to HEFCE, to be published shortly.

11 Jan 2012 : Column 337W

Higher Education: Applications

Michael Dugher: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment his Department has made of the effects of recent trends in UCAS applications for 2012 admission on implementation of the Government's social mobility strategy. [85287]

Mr Willetts: UCAS have not yet published any information on the social background of applicants for 2012 entry. They have stated that year-on-year changes for all courses at this early stage in the application cycle are often different from the position later in the cycle, and that it is too early in the cycle to extrapolate volumes forward.

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Michael Dugher: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many people applied for courses through UCAS in (a) 2008-09, (b) 2009-10, (c) 2010-11 and (d) 2011 to date by (i) region and (ii) socio-economic group. [85297]

Mr Willetts: The latest information is in the following table and has been provided by the Universities and Colleges Admission Service (UCAS).

Figures for 2009, 2010 and 2011 are final end of cycle figures. Figures for 2012 are the latest published figures which show the position as at 19 December 2011. UCAS have not yet released any figures for 2012 showing applicants by social background.

UK domiciled applicants to UCAS by region of domicile and social background
  2009 2010 2011 2012

Region of domicile

       

East Midlands

35,088

38,123

37,925

18,730

Eastern

46,222

50,007

50,392

25,821

Greater London

88,721

96,693

99,668

44,066

North East

19,891

21,658

22,030

10,103

North West

64,644

68,965

68,767

34,976

Northern Ireland

17,864

19,682

20,242

10,480

Scotland

40,053

46,347

46,015

14,617

South East

71,964

78,255

77,684

41,700

South West

43,710

46,142

46,069

22,880

Wales

24,947

24,908

24,974

12,701

West Midlands

48,443

51,171

50,514

26,027

Yorkshire and the Humber

42,476

44,848

45,069

21,579

UK unspecified

262

22

1

0

Total

544,285

586,821

589,350

283,680

         

Social background

       

Disadvantaged(1)

169,183

185,933

187,427

n/a

Other

366,531

393,616

393,105

n/a

Not known

8,571

7,272

8,818

n/a

Total

544,285

586,821

589,350

n/a

n/a = not available (1) Derived from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE)'s POLAR2 measure: http://www.hefce.ac.uk/widen/fund/ HEFCE uses two different groupings of areas to define disadvantage: one based on the participation rates of young (19 and under) people in HE (which is used by HEFCE when looking at young full-time entrants); and one based on the proportion of adults who hold HE qualifications (which is used by HEFCE when looking at part-time and mature full-time entrants). Because this table includes applicants of all ages, the HE qualified adults measure has been used. For the purposes of their funding allocations HEFCE treat entrants from the most disadvantaged 40% of neighbourhoods as ‘disadvantaged’, using quintiles 1 and 2 of the POLAR2 measure.

Higher Education: Standards

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he plans to take to ensure and maintain the quality of institutions with degree-awarding powers under his proposals to increase flexibility in the higher education sector. [86547]

Mr Willetts: As part of the proposals set out in the Higher Education White Paper published in June and the subsequent technical consultation, all institutions with English degree awarding powers will be required, as now, to satisfy a quality threshold administered by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education. This assures and will continue to assure the quality of an English degree.

Insolvency

Toby Perkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many (a) businesses and (b) retailers (i) were liquidated and (ii) went into administration in each month in each of the last five years. [87935]

Mr Davey: Official statistics on corporate insolvencies by industry sector are not compiled monthly. The latest headline quarterly statistics, including an industry breakdown for liquidations and administrations may be found here:

http://www.insolvencydirect.bis.gov.uk/otherinformation/statistics/201111/index.htm#tables

11 Jan 2012 : Column 339W

While the total figures in these tables cover the last 10 years, the industry breakdowns only run from Q3 2007; the available industry breakdowns up to Q3 2006 (which were on a different basis) are available here:

http://www.insolvencydirect.bis.gov.uk/otherinformation/statistics/historicdata/HDmenu.htm

Japan Tobacco International

Mr Hain: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether any (a) Ministers and (b) special advisers in his Department have received hospitality from Japan Tobacco International since May 2010. [87609]

Mr Davey: Information about hospitality received by Ministers and special advisers is published quarterly by Departments. Information for the period 13 May 2010-30 June 2011 can be accessed on departmental websites. Information for 1 July onwards will be published in due course.

Members: Correspondence

Graham Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills when the Minister for Business and Enterprise plans to respond to the letters from the hon. Member for Weaver Vale of 20 September and 15 November 2011, on behalf of Mr Stevan Cross. [88433]

Mr Davey: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has no record of the letter of 20 September 2011, however the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills responded to the letter of 15 November 2011 on 21 December 2011.

Met Office: Pay

Sammy Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much has been paid in bonuses to staff employed at the Met Office in each of the last five years. [87908]

Mr Davey: In line with civil service reward principles, Met Office staff are eligible to receive performance related pay based on achievements against specific targets agreed and monitored by the Met Office Board, which are linked to the success of the Met Office at either individual, team or organisational level. Payments are non-consolidated and represent part of Met Office staff remuneration which is at risk and needs to be re-earned each year.

The following table details the amount paid in performance related pay to staff employed at the Met Office in each of the last five years.

  Total paid in non-consolidated, performance related awards (£000)

2010-11

3,368

2009-10

2,593

2008-09

2,720

2007-08

2,734

11 Jan 2012 : Column 340W

2006-07

2,491

The average award paid to staff in 2010-11 was £1,809.

Nuclear Power Stations

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department is taking to (a) encourage increased competition in the nuclear industry supply chain and (b) ensure that British firms are well-placed to win work in the awarding of contracts to build new nuclear power stations; and if he will make a statement. [88656]

Mr Prisk: The Government believes that there is considerable potential for the UK civil nuclear industry from the domestic and global market and is working with companies to enable the right environment for these opportunities to be realised. At the heart of the Government's strategy is the development of a healthy and vibrant supply chain in the UK able to compete and win business in a highly competitive global environment.

The Government provides support through a number of routes, including:

The Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear-AMRC) which, with the National Nuclear Laboratory, helps manufacturers get to market, develop their capability and competitiveness and thereby enable a globally competitive advantage to be gained.

A new Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative, announced in December 2011 with flexible support to improve the global competitiveness of existing supply chains and encourage development of new suppliers in the UK. This will be a competitive fund and the nuclear industry can apply for support through this initiative.

Support for the Nuclear Industry Association's supply chain initiative, [email protected], in order to assist the provision of market information to firms to help them make investment decisions.

Establishment of the Nuclear Energy Skills Alliance which brings together the relevant skills academies, sector skills councils, industrial training boards and others to ensure the right delivery of skills provision overall.

Nuclear Power: Skilled Workers

Mr Arbuthnot: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department is taking to support small and medium-sized enterprises that wish to invest in the nuclear power supply chain to acquire the necessary skills and equipment; and if he will make a statement. [87866]

Mr Prisk: The Government believe that there is considerable potential for the UK civil nuclear industry from the domestic and global market and is working with them to enable the right environment for these opportunities to be realised.

At the heart of the Government's support is the Nuclear Advanced Manufacturing Research Centre (Nuclear-AMRC) which, with the National Nuclear Laboratory and the National Skills Academy for Nuclear, helps manufacturers get to market, develop their capability and competitiveness and thereby enable

11 Jan 2012 : Column 341W

British companies to gain a globally competitive advantage. In addition the new Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative announced in December 2011 will provide flexible support to improve the global competitiveness of existing supply chains and encourage the development of new suppliers, in the UK. This will be a competitive fund and the nuclear industry can apply for support through this initiative. This initiative is supported by additional funding routes that businesses can use to apply for specific investments such as the Regional Growth Fund.

The Government also support the Nuclear Industry Association's supply chain initiative, SC@ Nuclear, in order to assist the provision of market information to firms to help them make investment decisions, and UKTI in partnership with the Nuclear Industry Association is working with industry to help promotion of UK goods and services.

Near-market Research and Development projects are supported through the Technology Strategy Board and the Research Councils provide support for longer-term nuclear research.

Delivery of skills for the industry is coordinated through the Nuclear Energy Skills Alliance (NESA) and, for manufacturers, the National Skills Academy for Nuclear (NSA-Nuclear) has been expanded to incorporate the Sector Skills Council for Science, Engineering, and Manufacturing technologies (SEMTA) and the Nuclear-AMRC. NSA-Nuclear takes the overall lead in working with industry to help them acquire the skills they need to maintain and grow their operations.

Public Houses

Toby Perkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether he has visited any (a) pubs and (b) breweries in an official capacity as a guest of (i) the British Beer and Pub Association and (ii) any other group acting on behalf of the licensed trade, pub companies or brewing industry since May 2010. [88193]

Mr Davey: I have not visited any pubs or brewers in an official capacity as a guest of either the British Beer and Pub Association or any other group acting on behalf of the licensed trade, pub companies or brewing industry since May 2010.

Retail Trade

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department has taken to encourage large retailers to support and mentor local businesses and independent retailers. [88035]

Mr Prisk: Businesses tell us that they prefer to receive advice and support from other experienced business people. That is why we are working alongside the private sector to strengthen and expand the mentoring network and stimulate the demand for mentoring in all sectors.

In July, we joined forces with the British Bankers Association (BBA) to launch the new mentoring portal, mentorsme.co.uk, which makes it easier for businesses

11 Jan 2012 : Column 342W

to find the right mentoring organisation for their needs. Then in November, we launched “Get Mentoring”, which will see 15,000 new volunteer business mentors from the small, medium and micro business community, recruited and trained via the Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative (SFEDI) by September 2012.

Our evidence tells us that one of the top sources of information and advice for small business owners is their customers and suppliers. Skillsmart Retail (the sector skills council) have been developing a small and medium-sized enterprise mentoring scheme which is being rolled out across the National Skills Academy for retail's network of skills shops. Also, the Association of Conveience Stores have set up a mentoring scheme aimed at independent convenience retailers.

We are working with corporate business to explore how we can mobilise the enthusiasm and expertise of leaders and experienced senior staff in corporate organisations in order to support local business through corporate mentoring programmes.

I strongly believe that this process should be demand-led and led by business. Ultimately it is for the small firm to decide what sort of expertise will benefit them most.

Large retailers supporting and mentoring local businesses and independent retailers was one of Mary Portas' recommendations in her Government commissioned “Review of the High Street” which was published on 13 December 2011. Government Departments are working closely together to consider the recommendations made by Mary Portas and will respond in detail in the spring on how we can take forward measures to support our local high streets.

Royal Bank of Scotland

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent discussions he has had with representatives of the Financial Service Authority on whether RBS was in compliance with Section 386 of the Companies Act 2006 between 2001 and 2008; and if he will make a statement. [88446]

Mr Davey: BIS officials are considering the Financial Service Authority's report into the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and taking advice on what, if any, enforcement action or further investigation is appropriate.

Royal Mail: Pay

Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent discussions his Department has had with the Royal Mail on its chair's remuneration, bonuses, benefits and pension payments; and if he will make a statement. [88451]

Mr Davey: The remuneration of the Royal Mail chair was set at the time of his appointment in March 2009 and has remained unchanged. There have therefore, been no recent discussions with Royal Mail's Remuneration Committee about his remuneration.

The chair receives a base salary but does not receive benefits, bonuses or pension payments.

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Students: Fees and Charges

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what consideration he has given to changing the tuition fee threshold which allows institutions to bid for additional places under the core and margin model. [85772]

Mr Willetts: The higher education White Paper ‘Students at the Heart of the System’, published in June, outlined proposals to bring flexibility to the current system of student number controls in higher education institutions (HEIs) in England. The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) included these new proposals in their summer consultation on the operation of teaching funding and student number controls in 2012-13. The consultation outcomes informed a bidding process that was announced by HEFCE on 17 October 2011. This invited higher education and further education institutions whose average fees, net of fee waivers, is less than £7,500, to bid for student places from a contestable ‘margin’ of up to 20,000 places for 2012/13. HEFCE have received bids from 203 hundred institutions for places.

HEFCE will closely monitor the impact of these changes and offer formal advice to Ministers as soon as is practicable. HEFCE will also consult on how this approach might be extended, in their forthcoming consultation on teaching funding for 2013/14 and beyond.

Third Sector: Russia

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 1 December 2011, Official Report, column 1122W, on third sector, how much assistance to the Russian Federation cost in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12; for what purpose it was provided; and if he will make a statement. [85684]

Mr Willetts: The answer to the previous question from the hon. Member on funding for charities and third sector bodies should have read:

Knowledge and Innovation Group was formed at the end of 2010 after allocations for 2010-11 had been made. Most of the group's total budget reaches charities which are higher education institutions or students who attend them. We generally allocate funding to partner organisations which take independent decisions on funding for individual bodies. The following table sets out the available information requested for bodies which are directly funded by the group rather than those whose funding depends on the decisions of independent partner organisations.

Direct grant support over £100,000
2011/12 £000

Total national academies

87,465

Royal Society

47,830

British Academy

27,001

Royal Academy of Engineering

12,634

   

Other support for science

 

Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Network (STEMNET)

6,300

British Science Association

1,530

11 Jan 2012 : Column 344W

Engineering UK/Big Bang Education CIC (The Big Bang Fair)

350

UK Resource Centre for Women in SET (UKRC)

500

 

8,680

   

Other

 

Design Council

5,312

Natural England

365

UK Council for International Students

300

Tate Britain

291

The British Council

285

European University Institute

229

College of Europe

213

Royal Anniversary Trust

167

Raleigh International Trust

167

Association of Commonwealth Universities

117

National Foundation for Education

115

Royal Botanic Kew Gardens

111

 

7,555

The Russian Federation has not received nor is scheduled to receive any funding from Knowledge and Innovation Group other than indirectly through the ESA programme.

I am sorry for any confusion the previous answer may have caused.

UK Space Agency

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much funding the UK Space Agency (a) received in 2010-11 and (b) will receive in 2011-12; what estimate he has made of the number of full-time equivalent staff working for the UK Space Agency in each year; and if he will make a statement. [88024]

Mr Willetts: The UK Space Agency was established as an Executive agency on 1 April 2011. Before this, space spend was spread across a number of Government organisations, and hence no agency budget existed.

Funding for the year 2011-12 is £229 million, further details are shown in the published "Department of Business Innovation and Skills, Allocation of Science and Research Funding" brochure

http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/science/docs/a/10-1356-allocation-of-science-and-research-funding-2011-2015.pdf

which is available from the Libraries of the House. The current number of full-time equivalent staff for the agency is 37.

Internships

Hazel Blears: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the proportion of people undertaking (a) paid and (b) unpaid internships that (i) are and (ii) are not graduates. [84593]

Mr Willetts: I refer the right hon. Member for Salford and Eccles to the answer I gave on 5 December 2011, Official Report, column 174W.

11 Jan 2012 : Column 345W

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Adders: Conservation

Fiona O'Donnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of trends in the number of adders in the UK. [83331]

Richard Benyon: Natural England, Scottish Natural Heritage and the Countryside Council for Wales are supporting the work of Amphibian and Reptile Conservation and local amphibian and reptile groups to assess adder populations. Early results of a national reptile survey show that adders were recorded in only 7% of the sample plots studied. If the final report confirms a worrying decline in this species the three agencies will build on existing work with partner organisations and volunteers to enhance strategies to address it.

Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency: West Midlands

Chris White: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department is taking to improve (a) communication and (b) response times between the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency and farmers in the West Midlands. [88533]

Mr Paice: In late 2011, the West Midlands Animal Health Office experienced some problems with a new national computer system which affected the efficiency of their communications with farmers.

Many of these problems have now been resolved, more staff have been moved into the TB and communications teams and additional training and support has been provided. As a result of this, farmers should already be seeing an improvement in communications from the West Midlands office.

During February and March 2012, field, laboratory and administration staff from the East Midlands and West Midlands offices and the regional laboratories will be brought together under a single management team to make full use of all available resources across the Midlands region to focus on improving service to customers.

Regular meetings are being held with the Regional National Farmers Union and other industry bodies to explore how they and the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency can work better together to improve communications and working relationships even more.

If farmers have any concerns about the time taken to respond to them individually, they are encouraged to contact the Regional Operations Director through their local office.

Animal Welfare: Circuses

Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how she plans to implement the proposed licensing scheme to prevent circuses from using wild animals if they do not provide appropriate welfare standards. [85231]

11 Jan 2012 : Column 346W

Mr Paice: The licensing scheme will be implemented by regulations under the Animal Welfare Act 2006. We will consult publicly on our proposals early in 2012.

Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she plans to bring forward proposals under Section 12 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 to ban the use of wild animals in circuses. [85233]

Mr Paice: We will be bringing forward regulations to license the use of performing wild animals in travelling circuses. We will consult on our proposals early in 2012.

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent estimate she has made of the number of wild animals bred in UK circuses; and what her policy is on whether a licensing system will prevent circuses from (a) adding new animals to their collection and (b) breeding from existing animals. [85265]

Mr Paice: No new estimate has been made since the one published in the impact assessment in December 2009, but we believe the figure to be in the same region, i.e. below 40. The licensing system will focus on assuring the welfare of all wild animals in circuses. We think it unlikely that the introduction of the demanding new licensing regime we envisage will encourage any significant increase to the numbers of wild animals in circuses, either by being bought in or bred.

Fiona O'Donnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when (a) she and (b) officials from her Department have met with animal welfare organisations to discuss the planned consultation on the licensing of wild animals in circuses. [85312]

Mr Paice: DEFRA Ministers have not met with animal welfare organisations to discuss circuses since announcing on 13 May 2011 our intention to develop a new licensing system. However, since that date, officials have met with a number of animal welfare organisations, including RSPCA, Born Free, Animal Defenders International, Performing Animals Welfare Standards International, Captive Animals Protection Society, and the British and Irish Association of Zoos and Aquariums.

Angela Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she plans to take to ensure that the introduction of a licensing system does not increase the number of wild animals used in circuses. [87548]

Mr Paice: We think it unlikely that the introduction of a demanding licensing regime will encourage any significant increase to the numbers of wild animals in circuses.

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Brighton, Pavilion, of 8 November 2011, Official Report, column 221W, on animal welfare: circuses, what arrangements she plans to make for (a) parliamentarians and (b) members of the public to evaluate the potential of a licensing

11 Jan 2012 : Column 347W

system for wild animals in circuses in circumstances where the details of confidential circus inspections are not released. [88090]

Mr Paice: DEFRA will carry out a public consultation early in 2012 to allow any interested parties to evaluate our proposed licensing scheme for wild animals in travelling circuses. The regulations will also be subject to the usual parliamentary scrutiny procedure for statutory instruments.

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 12 December 2011, Official Report, column 464W, on animal welfare: circuses, if she will provide details of the circumstances which the Government considered in reaching its view that confidentiality should be respected. [88447]

Mr Paice: The Government considered: (i) the public interest in disclosing the information; (ii) the fact that the information was obtained by DEFRA from the circuses on the understanding that it would be treated confidentially and disclosure to the public would therefore constitute a breach of confidence; (iii) the fact that disclosure of the information could endanger the physical or mental health, or the safety, of any individual in the context of reports of threats received; (iv) DEFRA’s plans to consult early in 2012 on the detail of regulations that do not depend on informal inspections that went into an initial feasibility study, the findings of which are in any case in the public domain.

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 12 December 2011, Official Report, column 465W, on animal welfare: circuses, which animal welfare organisations have (a) agreed and (b) refused to advise her Department on the proposed licensing system; what reasons were given for such acceptances or refusals; and if she will make a statement. [88448]

Mr Paice: As part of a recent round of meetings with stakeholders, ADI, Born Free, BVA, CAPS, HSI and the RSPCA were invited to discuss our licensing proposals but all declined the invitation.

My noble Friend, Lord Taylor of Holbeach plans to discuss the welfare of wild animals in circuses with animal welfare groups at their request.

Animals: Imports

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs from which countries live (a) cats and (b) dogs are imported into the UK; and if she will make a statement. [87166]

Mr Paice: Live cats and dogs can be imported from any country as long as the movement conditions meet the required entry rules under the Pet Travel Scheme or Rabies Importation Order.

The vast majority of pets entering the UK under the Pet Travel Scheme belong to UK residents returning from trips abroad with their animals. Information on the locations these animals return to the UK from is not recorded.

11 Jan 2012 : Column 348W

The following list gives the main locations from which non-UK residents import cats and dogs into the UK:

France

Spain

Germany

Netherlands

Belgium

Poland

Italy

Cyprus

USA

Australia

South Africa

Turkey

Canada

United Arab Emirates.

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the number of live (a) cats and (b) dogs which have been illegally imported into the UK in each of the last five years; and if she will make a statement. [87167]

Mr Paice: All live dogs and cats are checked before entry into the UK to ensure they meet the requirements of the Pet Travel scheme. There is always the potential for illegal entry of pets through smuggling and other methods and strict action is taken in those cases, but these are considered to be minimal due to our robust checking procedures.

Information on prosecutions taken under the Rabies Order 1974 between 2007 and 2010 is listed in the following table. Information is not yet available for 2011.

  Prosecutions

2010

1

2009

14

2008

4

2007

6

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many live (a) cats and (b) dogs have been (i) imported into and (ii) exported from the UK in each of the last five years; and if she will make a statement. [87165]

Mr Paice: The following tables provide information on the number of live cats and dogs imported into and exported from the UK in the past five years.

Export figures are only available for cats and dogs travelling outside of the EU as they must do so under a third country certificate which is issued in the UK. Cats and dogs travelling to other EU countries may do so freely under a pet passport and these movements are not monitored within the UK.

Live cats imported into the UK
  Number

2007

11,550

2008

13,423

2009

8,251

11 Jan 2012 : Column 349W

2010

9,502

20111

8,544

(1) 1 January to 30 November 2011
Live dogs imported into the UK
  Number

2007

9,4444

2008

10,7042

2009

9,1862

2010

8,7008

2011(1)

8,1142

(1) 1 January to 30 November 2011
Live cats and dogs exported from the UK under third country certificate
  Number

2007

9,491

2008

8,102

2009

7,951

2010

7,918

2011

8,542

Biodiversity: Finance

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what percentage the change in the funding of the Species Recovery Programme is in 2011-12; if she will make it her policy to work with Natural England to restore its funding; and if she will make a statement. [88450]

Richard Benyon: It is for Natural England to decide how to deploy its available grant in aid to best support its objectives. Natural England reduced the funding of its Species Recovery Programme by 54% in 2011-12 but is working with its partner organisations to reprioritise, in order to maintain, and in some cases increase, funding for specific high priority species recovery projects.

Biofuels

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (a) how much was spent on subsidy to UK producers of crops used for biofuel production and (b) how many tonnes of UK-grown crops have been used for biofuel production in each of the last 10 years. [87038]

Mr Paice: The EU's aid for energy crops, which ran for the period 2004-09, made payments to farmers growing crops for energy purposes. The scheme was a Pillar 1 measure and paid a flat rate of €45/ha for both annual and perennial energy crops. A total of over €20 million was paid out under this scheme in the UK. Further information is available at:

http://www.defra.gov.uk/statistics/files/defra-stats-foodfarm-landuselivestock-nonfoodcrops-latestrelease.pdf

Currently, land under which UK crops are grown for biofuels may be eligible for Single Payment scheme and other CAP payment schemes, but these payments are not specific to whether the end use is fuel, food or other purposes. The only payments currently offered specifically for energy crops are those for miscanthus and short rotation coppice under the Energy Crops scheme. These

11 Jan 2012 : Column 350W

crops are used for generating heat and electricity and are not currently used to produce liquid biofuels on a commercial scale. The Energy Crops scheme is a scheme administered by Natural England that offers grants to farmers in England for establishing miscanthus and short rotation coppice for their own energy use or to supply power stations. The scheme is split between the Energy Crops scheme (ECS) 1 (2000-06) and ECS 2 (2007-13). Payments made under ECS 1 amounted to £7,672,454. Payments under ECS 2 amounted to £838,755 as of 8 April 2011, but this figure may be subject to change. These figures and further information can be found on the Natural England website at:

http://www.naturalengland.org.uk/ourwork/farming/funding/ecs/

We have limited data on the end-use of UK-grown crops. Figures reported under the renewable transport fuels obligation (RTFO) show that in 2008-09, 753 thousand tonnes of UK-grown oilseed rape, sugar beet and wheat were used to produce UK liquid biofuels. We do not hold data on the amount of UK-grown crops that were converted to other forms of energy (such as biogas), exported and used for biofuels production abroad. Data from the RTFO is available on the DFT website at:

http://www.dft.gov.uk/topics/sustainable/biofuels/rtfo/

DEFRA is aware that there are limited data available on biofuels and are considering ways of improving our biofuels statistics in the near future.

Butterfly Conservation: Finance

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether she has had any discussions with Natural England on the effect on species recovery work of funding reductions to the charity Butterfly Conservation; and if she will make a statement. [88449]

Richard Benyon: Ministers have had no specific discussions with Natural England on the effects on species recovery work of reducing grant support to Butterfly Conservation. It is for Natural England to decide how it deploys its available grant in aid to best support its objectives.

Natural England, however, continues to have discussions with Butterfly Conservation over the work needed to achieve the outcomes in the Government’s new Biodiversity 2020 Strategy and has increased funding to it in 2011-12 by £100,000 for high priority projects.