David Mowat: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what assessment he has made of the potential (a) costs and (b) benefits to pension savers associated with high portfolio turnover; and if he will make a statement; 
Steve Webb: No data exist with which to answer the questions although the DWP has commissioned an independent research organisation to carry out a survey of charges in pension schemes. Part of this research will aim to measure the portfolio turnover rate in private sector occupational pension schemes and workplace personal pension schemes. Results will be published in summer 2012.
More generally, pension savers are free to invest in whatever fund they choose. Typically, tracker funds may be expected to have a lower portfolio turnover rate, but in some areas active management and higher portfolio turnover may offer opportunities to outperform the market and individuals can choose these more expensive, more frequently transacting funds if they believe there is a benefit to doing so.
The Government recognise the importance of charge levels to pension savers' returns and welcomes the NAPF initiative to bring the pensions industry together to improve the transparency of charges to customers and employers. We look forward to hearing conclusions from that work.
The Pensions Act 2011 extended the Government's powers to set a cap on charges in qualifying schemes for auto-enrolment. If we find that we do need to use a cap to ensure that individuals' pension savings are protected from excessive charges, then this is something we will consider. However, the current evidence suggests that the vast majority of schemes do have appropriately low fund charges. The median charge is 1% for trust schemes (1.23% mean), with the larger schemes having lower charges still. Recent qualitative research found that
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occupational default funds had an average annual management charge of between 0.4% and 0.6% of funds under management, with none higher than 0.9%.
Steve Webb: In April 2011 the Government published a consultation paper on state pension reform that set out two alternative options to a simpler, fairer state pension system that better supports saving for retirement Over three quarters of organisations who responded to the consultation supported the single tier pension in principle.
Following the consultation the Government are continuing to develop their proposals. Should we decide to proceed with reform we will publish a White Paper and impact assessment as part of the usual process.
Social Security Benefits
Yasmin Qureshi: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of claimants who will be affected by the proposed benefits cap in (a) Greater Manchester, (b) Bolton and (c) Bolton South East constituency. 
Chris Grayling: On 23 January 2012 the Department published an updated impact assessment for the household benefit cap, which estimated that in Great Britain 67,000 households would be affected by the cap, in the first year of its implementation (the financial year 2013-14).
On the basis of this impact assessment, the number of households affected in Greater Manchester is approximately 1,800 and the number of households affected in the Metropolitan borough of Bolton is approximately 200. The information is not available by parliamentary constituency. Following the concessions won in the House of Commons on 1 February, these figures are of course subject to change ahead of the Welfare Reform Bill gaining Royal Assent.
The impact assessment assumes that the situation of these households will go unchanged, and they will not take any steps to either work enough hours to qualify for working tax credit, renegotiate their rent in situ, or find alternative accommodation. In all cases the Department is working to support households through this transition, using existing provision through Jobcentre Plus and the Work programme to move as many into work as possible.
Social Security Benefits: Fraud
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2010. These are based on 2010-11 financial year expenditure and estimate that benefit fraud cost the taxpayer £1.2 billion.
Social Security Benefits: National Insurance Contributions
Mr Holloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Gravesham constituency who have never made national insurance contributions are in receipt of each type of benefit. 
Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what estimate he has made of the number of school-age children living in households in receipt of universal credit in each of the next five academic years. 
The estimate has been made using the Department's policy simulation model, which is based on the Family Resources Survey (FRS), and is consistent with the updated impact assessment for universal credit which was published in October 2011, where caseload information was provided on the basis of entitlement.
Universal Credit: Lancashire
Mark Hendrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many staff employed by his Department in Lancashire will be made redundant as a result of the introduction of universal credit. 
Work Programme: High Peak
Andrew Bingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what assessment he has made of the effect of the Work programme in High Peak constituency in increasing levels of employment. 
Chris Grayling: We expect to see substantial indications of the success of the Work programme from spring 2013. A full independent evaluation has been commissioned for that year as the first participants complete their two years and I look forward to sharing the results with the House in due course. We will closely monitor the effectiveness of the programme in the interim.
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Afghanistan: Services Entertainers
Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 23 January 2012, Official Report, column 4W, on entertainers: Afghanistan, what the name was of each of the show business personalities and sporting professionals who visited Afghanistan in the last year at public expense; whether they were paid a fee from the public purse; what the amount paid was in each such case; and whether any audio or video recordings took place during such trips for broadcast or commercial use. 
Mr Philip Hammond [holding answer 30 January 2012]: A small number of high-profile show business and sporting personalities have visited Afghanistan. In 2011, celebrity visitors included Cheryl Cole, Colin Montgomery, Tim Westwood (who visited twice) and England rugby players Neil Back and Steve Thompson. None of these received a fee from the public purse. Tim Westwood broadcast a number of radio programmes from Afghanistan and Cheryl Cole was filmed for the Pride of Britain awards television programme.
In addition, the Department has a contract with Combined Services Entertainment to provide performances by bands, comedians and dancers. The total cost of fees for performances in Afghanistan by entertainment personnel under the Combined Services Entertainment contract for 2011 was £205,782. The amount paid to these performers is commercial in confidence. No audio or video recordings for broadcast or commercial use took place during such trips.
Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations
Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with his Afghan counterpart on the number of Afghan personnel needed to assist each branch of the UK armed forces located in Afghanistan; and how many such Afghan personnel there were providing such assistance in the latest period for which figures are available. 
The UK currently employs 966 locally engaged civilians in Afghanistan. These work directly and indirectly in support of operations, but none are employed in a combat role. Locally engaged civilians play an important and valued role in Afghanistan, undertaking roles that are more economically or more appropriately undertaken by contracted personnel. The Government keeps under review the roles they play and the scale of contracted effort in the light of the evolving operation.
Mark Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effect of the biannual change of brigade and its leadership on the effectiveness of operations in Afghanistan. 
Mr Philip Hammond:
There are a number of measures in place to minimise the effect of the biannual changeover of brigade on operational effectiveness in Afghanistan. These include extensive pre-deployment training, which
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incorporates regular interaction between the current and future brigades, and a staggered handover process over a few weeks. There are, in addition, a number of key posts that deploy for longer periods of time and/or are phased in their deployment to aid continuity. The biannual change of brigade is kept under review in line with wider planning for our operations in Afghanistan.
Air Force: Rescue Services
Armed Forces: Cadets
Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the effects will be on (a) the size of the Cadet Force and (b) the funding available to them for equipment if budget reductions are made in his Department in (i) 2011-12, (ii) 2012-13 and (iii) 2013-14. 
Mr Robathan: The cadet forces sponsored by the Ministry of Defence make a unique contribution to national life. It was announced as part of the strategic defence and security review that the cadet forces are to be sustained. The youth engagement review was tasked with determining the Defence requirement to engage with young people and how it can most cost effectively be delivered. The review is due to provide its final recommendations shortly.
Armed Forces: Vehicles
Armoured Fighting Vehicles
Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many pieces of heavy duty cutting equipment capable of assisting with the rescue of injured armed forces personnel from armoured vehicles are available in each country; and if he will make a statement. 
The Ministry of Defence has no requirement for specialist cutting equipment to assist in the rescue of personnel trapped in armoured vehicles. Modifications and enhancements to protected mobility vehicles enable personnel to be released more quickly in the event of an
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incident, which include the introduction of first responder tools. Future modifications will include external hinges on identified vehicle access points, to provide first responders with an ability to gain access quickly.
Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how much his Department spent on (a) warehousing, (b) staff, (c) IT and (d) transport costs for managing its defence inventory in the latest period for which figures are available; 
(2) which carrier companies his Department uses in respect of its defence inventory; and how much it spent with each carrier for each defence class of inventory item in the latest period for which figures are available; 
(3) what estimate he has made of the (a) gross value and (b) impaired value of (i) capital spares, (ii) consumable spares, (iii) explosive capital items and (iv) consumable explosive items in the defence inventory; 
Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what plans his Department has to (a) close and (b) reduce in size locations in Germany used for the warehousing of defence inventory items; and what estimate his Department has made of the associated cost of disposal or shipment of items stored in those locations; 
Defence Equipment: Sales
David Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) when he plans to start the procurement process for the defence logistics supply chain (storage and distribution) business; and what the timetable is for completing the process; 
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Peter Luff [holding answer 2 February 2012]:The Ministry of Defence's Logistic Commodities and Services group, which includes the storage and distribution function, is currently developing a Transformation Programme which will consider a number of options.
Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much (a) his Department, (b) the Chief of the Defence Staff, (c) the Chief of the General Staff, (d) the Chief of the Air Staff, (e) the First Sea Lord, (f) the Adjutant General, (g) the Commander in Chief Land General, (h) the General Officer Commanding Northern Ireland and (i) the General Officer Commanding London District spent on (i) staff, (ii) rent, (iii) utilities and (iv) maintenance in the latest period for which figures are available. 
Mr Philip Hammond [holding answer 10 January 2012]:Under previous arrangements, Official Service Residences (OSRs) were provided for senior officers in certain posts which required them to undertake official hospitality for Defence purposes. As announced by the Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans, my right hon. Friend the Member for South Leicestershire (Mr Robathan), on 12 December 2011, Official Report, column 63WS, as part of our plans to tackle the deficit this Government inherited, these arrangements have now been discontinued and a new Domestic Assistance policy will realise savings of at least £3 million per year from April 2012.
Figures for expenditure on Official Service Residences in the financial year 2010-11 are currently being finalised. For the financial year 2009-10 the costs associated with the properties occupied by these senior officers are set out in the following table. The Adjutant-General has not been included as he did not occupy an Official Service Residence during the period. It should be emphasised that responsibility for decisions on expenditure relating to these properties lies with the Ministry of Defence, and not with the officers who occupied them at the time, or the current occupants.
|Post||Household staff||Rent||Utilitiesl (1)||Planned maintenance|
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|(1) Expenditure relating to utilities for this financial year is not held centrally for the majority of properties. (2 )This property is part of the Crown Estate and a grant in aid is payable.|
Expenditure relating to Official Service Residences was kept under close scrutiny and when it was practical to do so, staff were utilised from other residences in support of a function to maximise the use of resources. Civilian staff were retained unless the use of Service personnel was more appropriate for security reasons.
Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many away days his Department has held since May 2010; what the location was of each such away day; how many staff attended; and what the cost was of each such event. 
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is committed to developing its staff and there are benefits from holding away days and team building events. In the light of the current economic climate, however, we have instructed staff that such events should not be authorised unless they can be held at no extra cost on MOD premises.
Departmental Travel Costs
Peter Luff: The Ministry of Defence (MOD), under Project Phoenix, signed a contract in August 2011 with Babcock International Group PLC, as part of a pan-Government Framework agreement, which covers the management of fleet and self drive vehicles for MOD personnel in the UK. This contract is gradually replacing the existing arrangements and includes a provision, which is still to be introduced, for vehicles with a driver (i.e. private hire vehicles); however this comprises only a very small element of the overall contract.
Outside of this contract, military units may operate local arrangements with taxi companies or with private hire companies. These details are not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Guided Weapons: Scotland
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Peter Luff: Full capability for the new platform will be achieved incrementally to achieve the in service date of May 2014. The full service date for the RAF Voyager aircraft is September 2016 when the fleet will consist of 14 aircraft.
Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 31 January 2012, Official Report, columns 575-6W, on military aircraft, how many (a) Apache, (b) Gazelle, (c) Hawk T1/T1A/T1W, (d) Islander Mk1 and Mk2, (e) Lynx Mk7, (f) Lynx Mk9/9a, (g) Sea King Mk3/3a, (h) Tornado GR4 and (i) Typhoon aircraft are based at each site listed in the answer. 
Peter Luff [holding answer 6 February 2012]: The number of aircraft at a particular Ministry of Defence operating base will vary on a day-to-day basis according to normal fleet management activities, including requirements for mandated maintenance, upgrade programmes and operational deployments. The information contained in the following table is correct as of 31 January 2012. Some of the bases listed in my answer of 31 January 2012, Official Report, columns 575-6W, do not appear in this table as there were no aircraft of the relevant type located there on this date.
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Military Aircraft: Deployment
Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost to his Department is of deploying (a) Typhoon and (b) Tornado aircraft; how many people are needed to operate each such aircraft; and if he will make a statement. 
Military Aircraft: Repairs and Maintenance
Peter Luff [holding answer 16 January 2012]: The Royal Air Force has operated fleets of a number of different aircraft types over a long period of time. Maintenance arrangements have evolved as aircraft technology has become increasingly more complex and lessons are learned from previous contracts and processes. Current arrangements vary by fleet but range from in-house maintenance carried out by qualified service personnel to availability contracts, specifying airframe numbers and flying hours but inherently including maintenance.
Through this evolution, efficiencies have been made through the Department's close partnership with industry and rationalisation of infrastructure and processes. The Royal Air Force and industry are committed to a strategy of continuous improvement of both the efficiency and the effectiveness of aircraft maintenance.
Military Bases: Northern Ireland
|(1) Rounded to the nearest 10.|
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Peter Luff [holding answer 28 November 2011 and 26 January 2012]:Working with Eurocopter, the Ministry of Defence continues to make progress on the Puma Life Extension Programme. As part of the annual Planning Round process, the Ministry of Defence routinely considers a variety of options for how to deliver military capability in the light of the latest financial and strategic context.
Peter Luff: Details of all Ministry of Defence (MOD) land holdings with asset valuation over £1 million can be found in chapter seven of the National Asset Register, last published by HM Treasury in 2007.
The MOD does not routinely assess the current market value of all its estate because estimated receipts will depend on market conditions and other factors. Where valuations are obtained, these have to remain commercially confidential to avoid prejudicing the public interest in securing value for money.
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) fully supports the Compact with the voluntary sector. We have a long history of working closely and successfully with outside organisations to support both local communities and the armed forces community. The
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MOD continues to engage with local communities in a number of ways, including through initiatives such as the armed forces community covenant, our sponsored cadet forces and schemes such as the Education Outreach programme, where military and civilian staff mentor and support students in developing their career and employability skills. Voluntary sector stakeholders are given the opportunity to have their observations published alongside the annual report on the armed forces covenant.
Peter Luff: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 30 January 2012, Official Report, column 424W, to the hon. Member for Islington North (Jeremy Corbyn), the hon. Member for Plymouth, Moor View (Alison Seabeck) and my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport (Oliver Colvile).
Type 45 Destroyers
Peter Luff: The Sea Viper system has achieved full operational capability. We do not comment on the operational status of individual warships as to do so would, or would be likely to, prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the armed forces.
USA: Military Alliances
Thomas Docherty: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) Royal Air Force and (b) Royal Navy personnel he expects to begin training with US forces as part of the US/UK Carrier Co-operation project in each year until 2020. 
Peter Luff [holding answer 7 February 2012]: The Statement of Intent, jointly signed at Defence Secretary level on 5 January 2012, provides a high level framework for US/UK co-operation as the UK regenerates a carrier strike capability. Principal co-operative activities, including training, will be taken forward progressively through the working group structure established by the Statement of Intent and may, if necessary, be subject to separate and specific agreements. It is not possible at this early stage to provide estimates of the total number of personnel to be trained by US forces, which might arise from co-operative activities undertaken within the framework of the Statement of Intent.
To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many and what proportion of her Department's invoices from its private sector suppliers were paid (a) within 14 days, (b) between 15 and 30 days, (c) between
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31 and 60 days,
between 61 and 90 days and
more than 90 days after receipt in the last 12 months. 
80% of invoices should be paid within five working, days of receipt,
98% of invoices should be paid within 30 working days of receipt.
The most recent statistics available, for December 2011, set out that the Department for Transport and its agencies paid 92.7% of vendor invoices within five working days, and 99.7% within 30 working days. The full statistics for the last 12 months, and supporting graphs, are published on the Department for Transport's website at the following address:
Highways Agency (HA)
Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA)
Driving Standards Agency (DSA)
Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA)
Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA)
Vehicle Certification Agency (VCA)
Government Car and Despatch Agency (GCDA)
Ministerial Travel Costs
Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 16 January 2012, Official Report, column 31WS, on cost of ministerial cars, whether her Department has any other arrangements for ministerial travel; and how much her Department has spent on (a) private hire vehicles and (b) taxis for each Minister since May 2010. 
Highways Agency: Planning Permission
Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many planning applications for development for economic development and regeneration have been (a) stopped and (b) delayed as a result of objections from the Highways Agency in the last 18 months. 
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31 December 2011, out of 4,549 responses to planning consultations. There were 529 “holding” responses asking for more information before approval could be given.
M1: Repairs and Maintenance
Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when she expects the roadworks on the M1 motorway in the vicinity of junction 19 to be completed with all lanes reopened and the temporary lower speed limit removed. 
However, in future, in order to keep the network in serviceable condition, it may be necessary for the Highways Agency to undertake maintenance works in the vicinity of the junction, and traffic management may be required as a result.
Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when she expects the roadworks south of junction 13 of the M1 motorway to be completed with all lanes reopened and the temporary lower speed limit removed. 
M1: Road Traffic Offences
Mr Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what offences other than speeding have been detected by the fixed gantry cameras on the M1 motorway in (a) Nottinghamshire and (b) Hertfordshire; and if she will make a statement. 
Network Rail: Compensation
Stella Creasy: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) what the costs were of compensation claims (a) received, (b) investigated and (c) settled by Network Rail for damage to property caused by train vibration between 2002 and 2012; 
(2) how many investigations were (a) requested and (b) undertaken by independent structural engineers on behalf of Network Rail into damage to property caused by train vibration between 2002 and 2012; 
Mike Penning: The investigation and settlement of compensation claims for damage to property caused by train vibration are operational matters for Network Rail as the owner and operator of the national network.
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Dr Whiteford: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what her Department spent on (a) all transport, (b) light rail and tram schemes and (c) bus subsidies in each local authority area in England and Wales per capita in the most recent period for which figures are available. 
Most public expenditure on buses, light rail and trams is managed by local authorities. The Department for Communities and Local Government publishes data on local authority expenditure by service which includes categories on "Concessionary fares", "Support to operators —bus services", "Support to operators —rail services", "Support to operators—other public transport services", and "Public transport co-ordination". The data for 2010-11 is available at:
Bill of Rights
Dr Francis: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent discussions he has had with external bodies on a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Swire: Ministers and officials have continued to discuss this issue with political parties and human rights groups. In November the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, my right hon. Friend the Member for North Shropshire (Mr Paterson), and I met the UN Deputy High Commissioner for Human Rights to discuss a range of human rights issues relating to Northern Ireland, including a Bill of Rights.
Mr Paterson: My Department and the public bodies for which I am responsible, aim to promote Northern Ireland produce. All meat, fish and vegetables purchased by my Department in the past five years have been locally sourced where possible, depending on seasonal availability.
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Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many away days his Department has held since May 2010; what the location was of each such away day; how many staff attended; and what the cost was of each such event. 
Mr Paterson: Since May 2010, there has been one away day held by staff in my Department. This took place in central London. It was attended by 20 members of staff and the total cost was less than £100.
Welfare State: Reform
Dr Francis: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what recent discussions he has had with (a) the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions and (b) other on the implications of the provisions of the Welfare Reform Bill for (i) payment of housing benefit and (ii) other matters in Northern Ireland; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Paterson: I have regular discussions with DWP Ministers and Northern Ireland Ministers on the implications of the Government's reforms to the welfare system. These reforms will tackle the twin problems of poverty and welfare dependency and also end the something for nothing culture encouraged by the policies of the previous administration.
The Government's reforms will ensure that work pays and will always be seen to pay. Under our plans, for every hour a person works they will he better off. Universal credit will lift 900,000 individuals including more than 350,000 children and 550,000 working-age adults across the UK, including Northern Ireland, out of poverty.
It is not fair that households on out-of-work benefits should receive a greater income from benefits than the average earnings of working households. To deal with this unfairness our reforms will also cap the amount of benefits in line with average weekly earnings. Our housing benefit reforms will also encourage people to make realistic choices about how they will meet the rent on a property that is larger than they need.
We will also simplify the welfare system which under the previous Administration had become hugely complex and bureaucratic. Our reforms will tackle the unsustainable rise in spending on benefits and tax credits as part of the Government's continuing efforts to reduce the record deficit that we inherited from the previous Administration.
Culture, Media and Sport
Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how much his Department has spent on (a) recruitment services and (b) executive search agencies in each month since May 2010; and if he will make a statement. 
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John Penrose: The Department has spent £23,200 on recruitment services since May 2010 (March 2011 £13,200 and November 2011 £10,000) and £17,000 on executive search agencies (December 2010 £10,000 and November 2011 £7,000).
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport (1) how many (a) overseas and (b) UK tourists visited (i) Cumbria and (ii) Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency in each of the last five years; 
Mr Vaizey: The International Passenger Survey, conducted by the Office for National Statistics provides details of the number of overseas visits to Cumbria in the last five years. The data can be found here:
Details of visits are not collated at the Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency level. However, VisitBritain has published a study by Deloitte in 2010 which provides information about the top 50 districts with the highest share of employees in the visitor economy:
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Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority Committee
James Morris: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, for what reason the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA) has requested a supplementary estimate for 2011-12; and what decision the Speaker's Committee for the IPSA has reached in relation to that request. 
Mr Charles Walker: IPSA has requested a supplementary estimate to enable it: (a) to transfer existing provision in support of Members' salaries, staff costs and expenses from unallocated (non-cash) provision to active funds; (b) to make technical adjustments in line with the Government's Clear Line of Sight project and (c) to make consequential changes to its net cash requirement. It has taken this step on a precautionary basis, as the Government's revised estimates procedures provide only one opportunity each year to apply for a supplementary estimate.
The Committee has approved the draft supplementary estimate without modification, in line with the advice provided to it under statute by HM Treasury. The draft supplementary estimate will now be laid before the House. The Committee's letter to Sir Ian Kennedy responding to IPSA's request is published on the Committee's webpage at:
Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his Department plans to publish an analysis of the effectiveness of Project Merlin after the expiry of the agreement with the banks. 
Banks: Tax Yields
Mr Hoban: On 31 August 2011 HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) published Official Statistics relating to Pay As You Earn (PAYE) and corporation tax (CT) receipts from the banking sector for the financial years 2005-06 to 2010-11. Data for CT and PAYE are not available for earlier years. A link to the Official Statistics publication is provided here:
Banks also pay a number of other taxes, including irrecoverable value added tax (VAT). HMRC does not currently produce data on receipts received from the banking sector in respect of these taxes. In addition, banks have been liable for the bank levy since its introduction in January 2011.
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Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what safeguards his Department plans to put in place to ensure that lower funding costs for banks as a result of credit easing are passed on to small businesses. 
Canal and River Trust: Finance
Danny Alexander: The grant to the Canal and River Trust is being funded from within DEFRA's existing budget. Therefore there will be no Barnett consequentials. The devolved Administrations received Barnett consequentials for DEFRA's budget at the 2010 spending review in the usual way.
Climate Change Levy: Metals
Miss Chloe Smith: As announced on 6 December 2011, the UK secured state aid approval for an 80% relief from the climate change levy for businesses that undertake aluminium and steel recycling processes. These businesses will be required to pay a new 20% lower rate of the climate change levy from 1 April 2012.
Corporation Tax: Devolution
I also chair the Ministerial Working Group on Rebalancing the Northern Ireland Economy. This group has discussed a range of issues including the possible devolution of responsibility for varying the rate of corporation tax to the Northern Ireland Assembly.
Corporation Tax Yields
Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the effect on the yield in corporation tax from (a) Scotland, (b) Northern Ireland, (c) England and Wales and (d) the UK if the taxable rate were reduced to (i) 12.5 per cent., (ii) 16 per cent. and (iii) 20 per cent. in each of the next four financial years. 
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Mr Gauke: HM Revenue and Customs have produced an estimate of the exchequer impact of a decrease in the main rate of corporation tax (CT) to 12.5% in Scotland. This estimate was published by HM Treasury on 13 July 2011. A link to this publication is provided here:
HM Revenue and Customs have also produced an estimate of the exchequer impact of a decrease in the main rate of CT to 12.5% in Northern Ireland. This estimate was published in the Government's consultation on rebalancing the Northern Ireland economy. A link to which is provided here:
Mr Bain: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the yield in corporation tax was from (a) Scotland, (b) Northern Ireland, (c) England and Wales and (d) the UK in each of the last four financial years. 
Mr Gauke: Figures for corporation tax (CT) net receipts for the UK as a whole from 1998-99 to 2010-11 are available in Table 11.1A of HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC's) CT Statistics publication. The CT receipts figures for 2011-12 will be available when this publication is updated in the summer. The current publication is available on the internet at:
With regard to Northern Ireland, I refer the hon. Member to paragraph 4.34 (page 26) of the consultation document “Rebalancing the Northern Ireland economy”, published by HM Treasury on 24 March 2011, in which estimates of the amount of CT for Northern Ireland based companies have been published. The analysis of Northern Ireland postcodes implies that Northern Ireland corporation tax receipts excluding North sea oil and gas, and also excluding branches, varied between 1.3% and 1.6% of UK corporation tax receipts between 2002-03 and 2007-08, broadly averaging 1.5%.
With regard to Scotland, I refer the hon. Member to paragraphs 8, 9, 12 and 13 (pages 3 and 4) of the HMRC explanatory note on estimating the cost of a reduction in the CT rate in Scotland, published by HM Treasury on 13 July 2011, in which estimates of the proportion of onshore CT for Scotland based companies have been published. The proportion of onshore UK CT receipts which relate to Scotland is estimated to be 7%. The methodology used in deriving this proportion is consistent with the estimates of the cost of a CT rate change in Northern Ireland published in the HM Treasury Consultation document, “Rebalancing the Northern Ireland economy”. Companies whose registered address has a Scottish postcode, excluding UK oil and gas companies, have been identified, and the total CT accrual from these companies has been calculated. Estimates have been produced in this way for 2004-05 to 2008-09.
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Across these years, Scottish registered companies make up around 7% of total UK onshore CT accruals.
Miss Chloe Smith: The Government are committed to tackling the illicit trade in non-UK duty paid alcohol and cigarettes, including counterfeit products. Last year they published a comprehensive new tobacco strategy which is available at:
HMRC works collaboratively with other enforcement agencies, such as Trading Standards and the police to clamp down on the sales of illicit alcohol and tobacco sold in shops. Working together across agencies allows a much wider range of powers and sanctions to be applied including criminal prosecution, seizure of goods, vehicles and equipment, assessment for evaded excise duty and the issue of civil financial penalties. Additionally shops found to be selling illicit products can have their licence to sell alcohol revoked or suspended.
Chris Ruane: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many and what proportion of his Department's invoices from its private sector suppliers were paid (a) within 14 days, (b) between 15 and 30 days, (c) between 31 and 60 days, (d) between 61 and 90 days and (e) more than 90 days after receipt in the last 12 months. 
Miss Chloe Smith: HM Treasury's aim is to pay all valid goods and services invoices within five working days and this applies to all suppliers of goods and services. The Department only monitors its performance against its five day target and information for other periods could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Loans: Republic of Ireland
Mr Chope: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the written statement of 31 January 2012, Official Report, column 38WS, on bilateral loan: Ireland, what the rate of interest payable is on the second instalment of the loan; and what the 7.5 year sterling swap rate applicable on 30 January 2012 was. 
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Mr Hoban [holding answer 6 February 2012]:The rate of interest applicable to each tranche of the bilateral loan to Ireland is set out in the Loan Agreement that I deposited in the Library of the House on 10 January 2011.
In accordance with the Loan Agreement and as I set out in my reply to my hon. Friend on 1 November 2011, Official Report, columns 572-73W, the rate of interest on each tranche of the loan is equal to the 7.5 year sterling swap rate at the time of disbursement plus a fixed margin of 229 basis points.
However, as I set out in my reply to my hon. Friend on 9 November 2011, Official Report, column 339W, the Chancellor of the Exchequer has taken the decision in principle to lower the interest rate on the bilateral loan to Ireland. The new interest rate is yet to be agreed, but it will apply retrospectively to those tranches of the loan that have already been disbursed, including those on 14 October 2011 and 30 January 2012.
Non-Domestic Rates: Tourism
Simon Hart: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his Department has given any consideration to the possibility of allowing seasonal variations of business rates in high tourism areas to encourage businesses to remain open during the off-peak season. 
Mr Gauke: Annual business rates bills already account for different income potentials across different seasons. The annual bill is then spread equally across payments. However, it would be at the discretion of the local billing authority to agree any bespoke payment schedule.
Rachel Reeves: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what discussions he has had with pension funds on the allocation of funding for infrastructure under his memorandum of understanding with pension funds; how many pension funds have agreed to provide funding; and what such money has been allocated in each year of this Parliament. 
Danny Alexander [holding answer 7 February 2012]: The Treasury is currently in discussions with the National Association of Pension Funds (NAPF) and the Pension Protection Fund (PPF) to develop a pension infrastructure platform which will be wholly owned by UK Pension Funds.
Welfare Tax Credits
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Mr Gauke [holding answer 6 February 2012]:I refer the right hon. Member to the answer given to the hon. Member for Kilmarnock and Loudoun (Cathy Jamieson) on 10 January 2012, Official Report, column 72W.
India: European Fighter Aircraft
London Olympics 2012
The Prime Minister: Details of hospitality received by Ministers and special advisers and the most senior officials are published on a quarterly basis and will be available for July-September 2012 in due course.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Afghanistan: Peacekeeping Operations
Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the potential consequences of the Taliban establishing a political office based in Qatar. 
Mr Hague: The UK is committed to supporting Afghan-led efforts to achieve an inclusive and sustainable political settlement. The Taliban's statement at the start of this year expressing a willingness to participate in a political office in Qatar is a welcome step. President Karzai has also said he would support the establishment of a political office. The Taliban's statement suggests that they may have recognised the need to engage in a political process. However, this statement comes at an early stage in a reconciliation process and further steps are necessary for the Taliban to demonstrate their credibility.
Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether (a) any official contact has taken place and (b) there are any future plans for contact between representatives of the UK Government and the newly established political office of the Taliban in Qatar. 
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Mr Hague: While the Taliban has released a statement expressing its willingness to participate in a political office in Qatar, the office has not yet been established. As such there has been no contact with the office. Looking ahead we are working with the Afghan Government to support their reconciliation efforts and will respond to their requests for assistance.
Bahrain: Politics and Government
Mr Hague: I called the Bahraini Foreign Minister on 31 January to express our concern at the increased levels of violence on the street, ahead of the one-year anniversary of the ‘Day of Rage' on 14 February. We urge all parties to show restraint and call on other leaders to do the same.
I also encouraged the authorities to continue implementing fully the Independent Commission of Inquiry's recommendations, as promised by His Majesty the King in November. This is crucial for the long-term stability of the kingdom.
Mr Hague: We are concerned by the increased levels of violence on the street, ahead of the one-year anniversary of the 'Day of Rage' on 14 February. We urge all parties to show restraint and call on other leaders to do the same.
The Bahraini Government have made steady and welcome progress on implementing the Independent Commission of Inquiry's recommendations to date. We continue to offer UK expertise and assistance where appropriate to help Bahrain on this path and urge swift delivery on promises made to reform.
Departmental Data Protection
Mr Lidington: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has a formal procedure for reporting, investigating and monitoring any incidents involving the loss or compromise of personal data for which it is responsible. According to our records, in the calendar year ending December 2011 there were six incidents involving the loss of data and four involving a breach of confidentiality. Two incidents were considered significant enough to report to the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).
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Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department has spent on (a) recruitment services and (b) executive search agencies in each month since May 2010; and if he will make a statement. 
The FCO uses recruitment agencies to attract a wide range of applicants to ensure its work force is as diverse and highly skilled as possible. For specialist recruitment campaigns, agencies are better placed to target applicants with the most relevant skills within that sector. A competitive tendering process is run to select an agency for external recruitment campaigns. This has proven to be more cost-effective than in-house recruitment.
The figures cover recruitment for UK-based members of staff only—figures for recruitment undertaken by overseas Posts advertising for local staff positions are not held centrally. All of the positions were approved for external recruitment as either business-critical or a front-line service, in accordance with the terms of the Government-wide recruitment freeze.
|Month||Recruitment services (£)||Executive search (£)|
Iran: Politics and Government
Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the (a) Iranian economy and (b) effect of the international sanctions regime on that economy. 
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The aim of sanctions is to encourage Iran to negotiate seriously and meaningfully on the nuclear issue. The sanctions are intended to bring pressure to bear on the regime as well as to target the nuclear programme. We judge that their impact is increasing. The Iranian Government can act to bring sanctions to an end.
Mr Hague: I remain in regular contact with my Turkish counterpart on a range of Middle Eastern and North African issues, including Iran. Most recently, in a conversation with the Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu on 31 January, I urged Turkey not to increase its oil imports from Iran, on the grounds that this would undermine the impact of EU sanctions agreed on the 23 January. I also restated our position that we are willing to support a resumption of talks between the E3+3—the UK, US, France, Germany, Russia and China—and Iran over the nuclear issue, providing Iran drops its unreasonable preconditions for negotiations.
Departmental Manpower: Languages
Mr David: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many members of his Department's staff speak (a) French, (b) Arabic, (c) Mandarin, (d) Hindi, (e) Urdu and (f) Spanish. 
I refer the hon. Member to the reply given by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond Yorks) (Mr Hague), to the shadow Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, the right hon. Member for Paisley and Renfrewshire South) (Mr Alexander), on 11 July 2011, Official Report, column 126W.
These figures are higher than those given in that reply, reflecting recent investment in training and better central management information following a campaign in summer 2011 to ensure that UK based staff registered details of their skills on our central HR database. Nevertheless, these figures still may not comprehensively reflect the large number of staff who have not taken FCO examinations, or not registered their language skills on the database.
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We are creating extra speaker slots in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office network in line with foreign policy priorities, including in the middle east, China and Latin America. We will invest in additional full-time language training for officers appointed to these positions where necessary.
Middle East: Oil
Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what analysis his Department has carried out on the potential effect on world trade of a closure of the Strait of Hormuz. 
Mr Hague: Given that 35% of the world's seaborne oil shipments pass through the Strait of Hormuz, its closure would undoubtedly have a major impact on global oil prices, with far-reaching consequences for international trade and global growth.
We share with others our unwavering commitment to maintaining rights of passage under international law. As we have consistently made clear, any attempt by Iran to close the strait would be illegal and unsuccessful.
Mr Hague: The succession from Kim Jong-il to Kim Jong Un appears to be progressing smoothly. The situation in North Korea, and in the region more generally, is calm. Long-term stability on the Korean peninsula will only be achieved through the complete and verifiable denuclearisation of North Korea. We believe that the Six Party Talks offer the best prospect for achieving this. Last month, the US, Japan and South Korea publicly indicated their willingness to return to negotiations with North Korea. The UK calls on North Korea to take all necessary steps for talks to resume.
North Korea: Politics and Government
Mr Hague: I have had no contact with the government of North Korea following the death of Kim Jong-il. However, I made a public statement on 19 December urging the North Korean Government to engage with the international community and resume the Six Party Talks on denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.
Nuclear Weapons: Proliferation
Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the potential consequences of recent changes to the regime in North Korea on efforts to stem nuclear proliferation in the region. 
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Mr Hague: There is no evidence to suggest that North Korea's nuclear proliferation activities have ceased as a result of changes to the regime in North Korea. We will continue to work with our international partners, including in the UN and the EU, to counter the risk posed by nuclear proliferation in the region. The UK will also continue to urge North Korea to return to the 6 Party Talks on the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.
Pakistan: Foreign Relations
Mr Hague: Over the past three months, I have not had official contact with President of Pakistan. However, I have spoken several times to my opposite number, Foreign Minister Rabbani Khar and HMG Ministers and officials have regular contact with all major political leaders in Pakistan, including the president. For instance, during her visit to Pakistan in January 2012, the right hon. Baroness Warsi held official discussions with President Zardari, Prime Minister Gilani and Foreign Minister Rabbani Khar from the Pakistan People's Party (PPP).
Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what official contact he has had with leaders of opposition political parties in Pakistan in the last three months. 
Mr Hague: Over the past three months, I have not had official contact with the leaders of opposition political parties in Pakistan. However, HMG Ministers and officials have regular contact with all major political leaders in Pakistan. For instance, during her visit to Pakistan in January 2012 the right hon. Baroness Warsi and Lord Green held discussions with senior opposition leaders from the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) (PML-N), the Muttahida Quami Movement (MQM) and the Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI).
Pakistan: Politics and Government
Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the potential consequences of upcoming assembly elections in Pakistan; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Hague: The approaching elections are unprecedented in Pakistan's history. I hope that Pakistan will see a civilian government run its full term and transfer power to another democratically elected government. The elections are a crucial step in Pakistan's democratic history. We want Pakistan to enjoy credible elections that respect the constitution and help ensure stability. We believe that a strong, stable, constitutional democracy is in Pakistan's interests.
Schools: Fees and Charges
Mr David: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department has spent on school fees at each school for children of its staff in each of the last two years. 
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|UK schooling||Overseas schooling|
It is a condition of their employment that members of the diplomatic service must be prepared to serve anywhere in the world at any time during their career, sometimes at very short notice. Those with children have a legal obligation as parents to ensure that their children receive a full-time education from the age of five years. Most parents prefer to take their children with them abroad, but in some countries we do not permit staff to take their children either for health or security reasons. In others, local schools of an acceptable standard are not available. It is longstanding practice that the FCO helps staff meet their potentially conflicting obligations by providing financial support for their children's education in the UK where staff choose this, or are obliged to do so given local conditions in the country to which they are posted. Continuity of education is also an important factor, particularly at secondary level.
The FCO refunds standard term fees up to a ceiling which is reviewed annually. The maximum amount the FCO will pay is determined by an independent survey conducted by ECA International, which is used by public and private sector employers whose staff work across the world. Various factors, including availability of places (sometimes at short notice) and proximity of other family members, influence which schools staff choose for their children. The current ceiling amounts per term are £8,577 for a senior boarder and £7,539 for a junior boarding pupil. Where staff opt to send their children to more expensive schools staff meet the difference in cost.
We cannot provide details of payments made in connection with the schools, numbering several hundred, attended by staff children in the UK and overseas. It is our policy to avoid disclosures that could identify individual members of staff and their families.
Animal Welfare: Crime
Henry Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will give consideration to making so-called animal crush images illegal by bringing forward proposals to amend the Sexual Offences Act 2003. 
Mr Blunt: No. The appropriate prosecution to be brought in these circumstances is under animal welfare legislation, including the Animal Welfare Act 2006, which provides various offences in respect of causing suffering to an animal.
Dangerous Driving: Convictions
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individuals on the conviction of individuals found to be guilty of (i) causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving and (ii) causing death by dangerous driving in the cases of road traffic accidents in which a cyclist has been killed. 
Mr Blunt: Since May 2010 the Ministry of Justice has received a number of letters from individuals directly and via their Members of Parliament, on the subject of sentencing for causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving and on causing death by dangerous driving, some of which relate to incidents involving cyclists.
Dangerous Driving: Sentencing
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Transport on the sentencing of car drivers found to be responsible for road traffic accidents involving the (a) injury and (b) death of cyclists. 
Mr Blunt: There is regular communication between Ministry of Justice and Department for Transport Ministers about policy of mutual interest, although not specifically on the subject of road traffic incidents involving cyclists. Careless driving can destroy lives and have a devastating effect on victims and their families, which is why making roads safer is our priority. Anyone who causes death by careless driving will face a prison sentence of up to five years, and will automatically lose their licence if they are found guilty.
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the (a) type and (b) length of sentences awarded for offences of causing death by careless driving; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Blunt: The offence of causing death by careless driving was introduced by the Road Safety Act 2006. This legislation will be formally reviewed in due course as part of the coalition Government's commitment to the post-legislative scrutiny process. The offence of causing death by careless driving carries a maximum penalty of five years' imprisonment together with a compulsory minimum of 12 months driving disqualification.
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what representations he has received from (a) organisations representing cyclists, (b) organisations promoting road safety and (c) individuals on the (i) type and (ii) length of sentence awarded for offences of causing death by careless driving. 
Mr Blunt: Since May 2010 the Ministry of Justice has received a number of letters from individuals directly and via their Members of Parliament on the subject of sentencing for causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving.
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the consideration given to previous driving offences in determining sentences for those convicted of (a) causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving, (b) causing death by careless driving when under the influence of drink or drugs and (c) causing death by dangerous driving. 
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Mr Blunt: Sentencing decisions in individual cases are a matter for the independent judiciary, having regard to the facts of each offence. Section 143(2) of the Criminal Justice Act 2003 requires courts to treat a previous conviction as an aggravating factor if it can reasonably do so, having regard to its relevance to the current offence and the time elapsed since conviction.
Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if (a) he and (b) Ministers in his Department will meet members of the all-party parliamentary cycling group to discuss sentencing guidelines for dangerous driving and other traffic offences. 
Mr Blunt: Sentencing guidelines are issued by the Sentencing Council for England and Wales. The council is independent from Government. As a result it would not be useful for me or for other Ministry of Justice Ministers to meet with the all-party parliamentary cycling group to discuss the detail of sentencing guidelines.
Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what his Department's definition of hardship is; and what recent discussions he has had with (a) ministerial colleagues and (b) local authorities to ensure that an agreed definition is in place in respect of enforcement under relevant statutes for (i) fines, (ii) sanctions, (iii) penalties, (iv) overpayments and (v) debts. 
Mr Djanogly: We have taken account of the views expressed in relation to the substantial harm test in responses to consultation on the draft Defamation Bill and in the report of the Joint Committee on the draft Bill. We will set out our conclusions on this and other issues in the Government response to the report of the Joint Committee, which we aim to publish shortly.
Mr Djanogly: The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) procures in accordance with EU legislation and is committed to the Government Buying Standards (GBS) for food. In line with the coalition agreement the Department ensures that food procured meets British standards of production wherever this can be achieved without increasing overall cost.
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|Notes: 1. The Ministry of Justice (MOJ) covers MOJ HQ and Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) for contracted out food service provision. Figures for 2010- 11 are currently not available due to the contract being awarded in late 2010. Consolidated figures for 2010-11 and 2011-12 are due to be completed at the end of this financial year. 2. National Offender Management Services figures relate to the actual percentage of spend (value) on direct food costs for prisoner meal requirements.|
Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many away days his Department has held since May 2010; what the location was of each such away day; how many staff attended; and what the cost was of each such event. 
Mr Djanogly: “Away days” are an integral part of business activity, often used as part of training, business planning and development and for communicating significant business changes to large numbers of staff in a timely and consistent fashion. Wherever possible, such events occur at departmental facilities, which incur no additional cost. However, due to the constraints on availability of suitable accommodation, on some occasions such meetings may take place off-site. Given the significant savings being delivered by the Department and the stringent financial controls in place, such discretionary expenditure is only permitted where there is a strong business case to support it, which has been approved at director level.
Because such events are managed locally by business areas, for the period from May 2010 to date, the Ministry has no central records on the total number of away days, their locations, the number of staff in attendance or the costs involved. To establish the number, location and costs of away day events would require a Ministry-wide survey of all its local business areas. A Ministry-wide survey would therefore amount to a significant exercise and incur a disproportionate cost.