Developing Countries: Private Sector
Mr O'Brien: The Department for International Development (DFID) supports the development of private sector skills in both its private sector department (PSD) and throughout the organisation. This is achieved through access to a range of courses and opportunities which help build the understanding, knowledge and the skills necessary to develop effective partnerships with business to drive wealth creation, multiply the reach of our aid, and to improve the delivery of basic services in developing countries.
An example of this is the Institute of Directors' (IoD) Certificate in Company Direction programme, which provides formal training to establish best practice in corporate governance; corporate strategy; financial management; and effective leadership.
PSD staff have also received training which includes presentations from a wide range of companies on how the private sector is pioneering new approaches to business in sub-Saharan Africa and other low income developing countries, creating economic opportunities for poor people as employees, suppliers, distributors and consumers.
Rushanara Ali: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many new staff his Department has employed to work on the private sector programmes which it funds, by Civil Service pay grade. 
Mr O'Brien: Between January 2011 and January 2012 the number of private sector development advisers in the Department for International Development increased from 30 to 50. The distribution by grade was as follows:
|Grade||January 2011||January 2012|
|DFID grade||Equivalent civil service grade||Staff in post 31 January 2011||Staff in post 31 January 2012|
Nine staff within the Department are also included in the list of private sector development advisers of which five were in post in January 2011. Staff working on private sector programmes, therefore, increased by 28 people between January 2011 and January 2012. This increase is essential to the delivery of the coalition Government's new strategy for private sector development as set out in ‘The Engine of Development: the private sector and prosperity for poor people’, published in 2011. It has also taken place in the context of overall administrative savings of 33%.
Developing Countries: Tuberculosis
Grahame M. Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps his Department is taking to support the development of a new TB vaccine; and what funds his Department has allocated to support work on late stage clinical trials. 
Mr O'Brien: The UK Government are supporting the development of a new vaccine for tuberculosis (TB) through Aeras, a non-profit product development organisation. The Department for International Development (DFID) allocates funding for portfolios of potential vaccine candidates because candidates can fail at any stage of the development process. Aeras currently have six TB vaccine candidates in different stages of clinical development. DFID has allocated £10.5 million to Aeras for the period 2009-14 to support work on a mix of early and late stage clinical trials.
Grahame M. Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what assessment he has made of progress towards the achievement of the Millennium Development Goal on TB; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr O'Brien: Across the World Health Organization's six regions, the world is on track to achieve the Millennium Development Goal target of halting and reversing the incidence of tuberculosis (TB) by 2015. However, significant challenges remain, including drug resistant TB and TB-HIV co-infection.
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Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how many regulations his Department introduced between 1 June 2011 and 31 January 2012; and at what cost to the public purse any such regulation was made. 
Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much funding he has committed to combating food insecurity in the Sahel; what proportion of such funding is being spent in (a) Niger, (b) Mauritania, (c) Mali, (d) Chad and (e) Senegal; and how much such funding is being delivered through the government of each country. 
Mr O'Brien: So far this year, the Department for International Development (DFID) has committed £10 million to help mitigate the food security crisis in the Sahel, in addition to the UK's share of assistance through the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund. The first £5 million, committed in January, is treating 83,000 severely malnourished children in Niger, Chad and Mali, and providing emergency livelihood support to some 34,000 families to enable them to buy food for the coming months. The aid is being delivered through UNICEF, Action Against Hunger (ACF) and Oxfam. No funds will be channelled through the countries' governments. Allocations to specific countries within the three projects have not yet been finalised, but indicative allocations are as follows:
Earlier this week, DFID committed a further £5 million to provide additional support for the crisis. This will provide support through Save the Children, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and the World Food Programme (WFP), for 82,000 people across Mali and Niger with food, seeds, tools and livestock—including those who have fled their homes in conflict-affected areas; essential nutrition supplies, such as PlumpyNut, for 33,000 children and adults; and hygiene kits to help stop the spread of disease. Allocations to specific countries have not yet been finalised. As with the previous commitment, no funds will be channelled through the countries' governments.
UK officials will continue to monitor the situation closely, and will liaise with other governments to ensure other countries take their fair share of the response. Helping drought-prone countries to become more resilient to future shocks is critical, and the UK is also playing a key role internationally in leading work to help prevent such disasters recurring.
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These include a high-level mission which concluded that significant progress had been made in achieving the reforms to encourage private sector investment and tourism required for approval of the airport. Following the signing of the airport contract, DFID officials visited St Helena to review progress on initial phases of the contract and to engage with the St Helena Government in public meetings around the island, highlighting opportunities in the construction phase and encouraging greater involvement in future development. Visits have also been made to review UK aid provided to St Helena, ensuring that it meets its objectives and achieves value for money; and to evaluate infrastructure, education and health provision.
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
Mr Crausby: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on what occasions he has taken flights to overseas countries on official business since August 2010; what class of travel was used on each such flight; and by whom he was accompanied. 
The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) travels in business class on scheduled flights. The Foreign Secretary's delegation usually comprises a Private Secretary, Press Officer, Special Adviser, Office Manager, relevant policy official, and security personnel as appropriate.
Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what non-governmental organisations in Bahrain his Department provided funds to in (a) 2010 and (b) 2011; and for what purposes such payments were made. 
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‘Me and the Other’ is a pilot project that adapts a comprehensive approach to promoting the values of tolerance, forgiveness and reconciliation among school children. The project's activities include delivering a series of workshops and producing interactive educational materials for children aged nine to 11 and teenagers aged 14 to 16, as well as for teachers and parents.
Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many regulations his Department repealed between 1 June 2011 and 31 January 2012; and what estimate he has made of the likely savings in each case. 
Mr Lidington [holding answer 13 March 2012]: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has not been responsible for repealing any regulations between 1 June 2011 and 31 January 2012. It revoked the following Order in Council during this period:
The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (Restrictive Measures) (Overseas Territories) Order 2004.
The estimated potential annual saving resulting from the revocation is negligible. (The order applied EU restrictive measures to the Overseas Territories in respect of a single individual, Goran Hadžic).
Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proportion of food procured by his Department (a) meets the Government Buying Standards for Food and Catering and (b) is from British sources. 
Mr Lidington: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is fully committed to the Government Buying Standards (GBS) for Food and Catering Services and we are working with our catering contractor to meet these standards.
100% of the food meets UK or equivalent standards of production
100% of the eggs are sourced from enriched cages
Current menus are designed to reflect in season products
No fish is sourced that appears on the Marine Stewardship Council ‘fish to avoid’ list
88% of the tea and coffee is Fairly Traded.
100% of fresh beef is British
100% of fresh pork joints are British
100% of fresh milk is British
100% of shell eggs are UK sourced and Lion marked from enriched cages
All fresh potatoes and root vegetables are sourced from UK when in season.
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This answer relates to the UK catering contract only. Other purchases are made by devolved budget holders and no central records are kept—details could be provided only at disproportionate cost. A response for the global network could also be provided only at disproportionate cost.
Michael Ellis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the covert shipment of arms and missiles by Iran to militant factions within Lebanon, Syria and Gaza. 
Alistair Burt: I refer my hon. Friend to my answer of 12 December 2011, Official Report, column 604W. We remain deeply concerned by Iranian support for militant groups in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, as well as for the Syrian regime, and the negative impact this has on regional stability.
Jack Lopresti: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of Iran covertly supplying materials and advice to the regime of President Assad. 
Alistair Burt: Iran's complicity in the Assad regime's brutal suppression of the Syrian people is well-documented. It includes provision of riot control equipment and technical advice from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on how to quash dissent, as well as support for the Syrian regime's intelligence gathering capabilities and help to monitor protestors' use of the internet and mobile phones. We have made it clear that such support is unacceptable and must stop. It is in stark contrast to the will of the Syrian people and a reminder of Iran's blatant hypocrisy in claiming to support freedom in the Arab world.
Jack Lopresti: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on the number of (a) Qassam rockets, (b) Grad rockets and (c) mortar bombs launched into Israeli territory from Gaza in 2011; and what reports he has received of the number of persons (i) killed, (ii) seriously injured and (iii) slightly injured. 
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) produce a detailed monthly breakdown of Israeli-Palestinian conflict related casualties. The most recent figures, including for 2011, can be found on page eleven of the January 2012 UN OCHA humanitarian monitor report:
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Jack Lopresti: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received of the number of (a) Qassam rockets, (b) Grad rockets and (c) mortar bombs launched into Israeli territory from Gaza since 1 January 2012; and what reports he has received of the number of persons (i) killed, (ii) seriously injured and (iii) slightly injured. 
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN OCHA) produce a detailed breakdown of Israeli-Palestinian conflict-related casualties every month for the UN OCHA humanitarian' monitor report, which can be found at:
The UN report that there were two Israelis injured in January 2012; figures for February 2012 are not yet available. Reports indicate that during 9-12 March 2012, 30 air-strikes were undertaken by the Israeli Defence Force on Gaza; and 212 rockets and mortars were launched from the Gaza Strip by Palestinian militant groups, with 95 landing in Israel. In the latest round of violence, at least 8 Israelis have been injured; 23 Palestinians have been killed, and several tens of Palestinians injured.
“I am deeply concerned by the recent escalation of violence in Gaza and southern Israel. I condemn any attacks targeting civilians. I urge all sides to exercise restraint, re-establish calm and avoid any further civilian casualties.”
The incidents on 9-12 March 2012 represent a worrying escalation of violence. Reports indicate that 30 air-strikes were undertaken by the Israeli Defence Force; and 212 rockets and mortars were launched from the Gaza Strip by Palestinian militant groups, with 95 landing in Israel.
Mr Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Israeli authorities on Palestinians under Israeli administrative detention, including those on hunger strike; and if he will make a statement. 
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Our officials in Tel Aviv have raised our concerns with the Israeli authorities about the treatment of Palestinian prisoners, including in the context of the case of Mr Khader Adnan, who was on hunger strike. We continue to encourage the Israeli authorities to comply with their obligations under international law, including in their own policies on detention and the treatment of Palestinian prisoners.
Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many regulations his Department introduced between 1 June 2011 and 31 January 2012; and at what cost to the public purse. 
Mr Lidington: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office introduced no regulations between 1 June 2011 and 31 January 2012 but it introduced 24 Orders in Council and two Commencement Orders during this period. The estimated cost to the public purse was negligible. These orders are related to implementing the international obligations of the United Kingdom or the governance of the Overseas Territories.
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 20 December 2011, Official Report, column 1196W, on Shaker Aamer, if the Prime Minister will raise the case of Shaker Aamer with President Obama during his visit this week. 
Mr Hague: I have personally raised Shaker Aamer's case with Secretary Clinton on a number of previous occasions, and raised this with her again on behalf of the British Government during my visit to Washington this week. As I have said previously, we will continue to engage with the US on this issue until a solution is reached.
Martin Caton: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to the recent statements of the Secretary General of the UN and the International Committee of the Red Cross on violence in Homs, Syria that the use of explosive weapons such as multiple launch rockets and artillery in densely populated areas causes severe harm to civilians, if he will put forward a proposal at the UN Security Council debates on the protection of civilians that the international community should address this important humanitarian issue. 
Alistair Burt: The UK has been clear on the need to end all violence including by the indiscriminate use of explosive weapons in Homs. The Syrian regime has demonstrated that it is manifestly unwilling to meet its responsibility to protect its civilian population. The UK will continue to be at the forefront of activity in the UN to bring about an end to the violence in Syria.
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the need for an end to violence by the Syrian Government. The UK will continue to raise their concerns about the violence in Syria during all relevant upcoming discussions and debates in the UN and other forums, including at the next debate on the ‘Situation in the Middle East: Challenges and Opportunities’, which the UK as Security Council President has scheduled for the 12 March, and at the next Protection of Civilians debate in June 2012.
Mr Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has received any further reports of intimidation carried out by staff of the Syrian embassy in London; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: The Syrian ambassador was last summoned to the Foreign and Commonwealth Office over reports that Syrian embassy staff were harassing and intimidating Syrians living in Britain on 13 October. The Metropolitan Police have received no further reports of intimidation carried out by staff of the Syrian embassy in London.
Mr Love: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the responsibilities of the Lebanese Government for the welfare and protection of Syrian refugees; and if he will make a statement. 
Alistair Burt: The Lebanese Government are providing refugees from Syria with access to basic services including food and health care, including medical treatment where necessary, through its High Relief Committee, working in conjunction with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
We are urging the Lebanese Government to continue their work with international agencies to provide shelter and protection for Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Most recently the British ambassador to Beirut discussed this issue with Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Miqati on 12 March.
The UK is supporting the international effort, including through the provision of funding to UNHCR and the deployment of a humanitarian adviser from the Department for International Development to the region.
Mr Bellingham: The British Government support the recent efforts made by the African Union (AU) to coordinate regional military efforts against the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA), and the appointment of an AU Special Envoy on the LRA. The EU, with British contributions and support, made a package available to the AU to help establish the Special Envoy's office.
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to urge the UN missions in the region to coordinate better the international response to the LRA. This includes the production of a regional UN LRA strategy and the closer coordination of UN and AU efforts. This has promoted dialogue among Central African states and their international partners on the best way to tackle the LRA, protect populations affected by their actions and bring Kony to justice.
We have made significant contributions to UN programmes to disarm and demobilise LRA combatants and reintegrate them into their home communities. These programmes have helped to remove a steady stream of LRA combatants from the conflict.
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Senior Civil Servants: Ethnic Minorities
Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many and what proportion of senior civil servants in her Department were from an ethnic minority in March (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012; and if she will make a statement. 
|(1) Figures for March 2012 are unavailable.|
Soil Protection Review tool :
Nitrate Vulnerable Zone tool :
Nitrate Vulnerable Zone Derogation application :
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Animal Feed Registration tool :
Catchment Sensitive Farming tool :
Access to specialist scientific databases :
Bookings for school visits :
Marine Licensing System :
Wavenet (real-time wave data) :
Shellfish harvesting classifications :
Special Imports system for Research Import Certificates :
Carbon Reduction Commitment Interactive portal :
Integrated Regulation: Registrations, exemptions and permitting applications tool :
Hazardous Waste: Registrations, exemptions and permitting applications tool :
Generic Operators Returns: submission service :
Emissions Trading Scheme portal :
National Packaging Waste Database :
What's in your Backyard? (access to EA data via an interactive map service) :
E-public registers :
Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department is taking to improve (a) private sector and business and (b) third sector and non-governmental organisation expertise among officials in her Department. 
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In 2011 some of our senior officials and a Special Adviser took part in the ‘Day in Business' initiative to give them a direct insight into what running a small business involves. In addition, we are running a series of events open to all staff in which external speakers share insights on how DEFRA might work with business to stimulate the green economy, and we also participate in the Whitehall in Industry Group (WIG).
In 2012-13, DEFRA will be participating, for the third year running, in the National Council for Voluntary Organisation's work shadowing scheme. This scheme provides work-shadowing opportunities for matched pairs of civil servants and staff from civil society organisations. Last year 85 DEFRA employees took part—the most from any Government Department.
Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her Department's policy is on (a) inward and (b) outward secondments to the (i) private sector and (ii) third sector and non-governmental organisations. 
(a) Inward secondments can be arranged when there is a business need and when the approver confirms the proposed arrangements meet the following objectives:
To meet specific business requirements
To enable development of specific skills and knowledge that will be of clear benefit to DEFRA.
To build relationships with key stakeholders.
(b) Outward secondments can be arranged when there is a business need and when the approver confirms the proposed arrangements meet the same objectives as inward secondments, with the following addition:
The development of specific personal skills and competencies that would be of clear benefit to the official's individual capability on return.
Environment Protection: EU Law
Dr Thérèse Coffey: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 5 March 2012, Official Report, column 508W, on environment protection: EU law, what the names of the (a) independent counsel and (b) representatives from each organisation are. 
Richard Benyon: The members of the High Level Advisory Group for DEFRA’s habitats directive implementation review are not appointed, have no decision making powers and receive no remuneration. Representatives have attended meetings on a voluntary basis and provided input on the review on behalf of their organisations. I am therefore informing them of my hon. Friend’s request before putting their details in the public domain.
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Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether her Department has made an assessment of the number of farmers earning less than the minimum wage. 
Mr Paice: Data from the Farm Business Survey indicate that approximately 23,000 farmers in England (of a total of 75,000 covered by the survey) made returns from the operation of their farm business equivalent to less than the adult national minimum wage in 2010-11.
Dr Whitehead: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will place in the Library a copy of the preparatory work on food waste collection undertaken by her Department for the review of waste policy in 2011. 
Richard Benyon: DEFRA, together with other Government Departments and the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), carried out extensive preparatory work for the June 2011 waste review. These various analyses are neither contained in a single document nor suitable for placement in the Library. There are, however, various publications funded by DEFRA in the public domain on food waste collection. These pieces of research were taken into account in preparing the 2011 waste review. Much of this research is available via DEFRA and WRAP's websites.
Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent changes to replanting programmes she has made in response to existing and potential forest pests and diseases. 
The Forestry Commission suspended planting Corsican pine on the public forest estate in 2007 due to dothistroma (red band) needle blight and has, since then, also suspended the planting of lodgepole pine. The planting of larch has been suspended in areas vulnerable to infection by Phytophthora ramorum.
Neil Parish: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) if she will take steps to renegotiate the conditions of the Tripartite Agreement covering the movement of equines between France, the Republic of Ireland and the UK to ensure that the (a) exemptions in the agreement primarily apply to the movement of thoroughbred animals and those actively involved in international competition and (b) movement of low-value animals into the UK from mainland Europe is subject to the provision of animal health certification; 
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(2) what assessment she has made of the risk of animal diseases spreading through the movement of low-value animals that are moved without animal health certification and do not appear on the TRACES database under the terms of the Tripartite Agreement covering the movement of equines between France, the Republic of Ireland and the UK. 
Mr Paice: We are currently undertaking a review of the Tripartite Agreement and this will specifically address the need for an increased level of protection from diseases like Equine Infectious Anaemia. I expect to receive recommendations from officials shortly about the possible need to re-negotiate the Tripartite Agreement.
DEFRA has produced a qualitative risk assessment which considers the likelihood of disease affecting equidae entering the UK through the Tripartite Agreement. This identified the risk of importing disease as ‘low'. However, we are currently updating the risk assessment as part of the review.
Natural Capital Committee
Richard Benyon: DEFRA is in the process of establishing the Natural Capital Committee which will advise the government on the state of English Natural Capital. The Chair will be announced shortly and committee members are in the process of being appointed. To support the work of the Natural Capital Committee, a scoping study on the development of a natural capital asset check has been commissioned. We anticipate the committee will also draw heavily on the work of the National Ecosystem Assessment and follow-on work which is in the process of being commissioned.
Richard Benyon: DEFRA held a competition for a research contract to produce a scoping study for the natural capital asset check. This check will allow a rapid assessment of the potential impact on the stock of specific environmental assets of proposed new policies and projects. The contract has now been awarded to Eftec and work started in February. The final report will be available early in the autumn. The National Ecosystem Assessment follow-on work, due to begin in June 2012, will also focus in part on the development of a natural capital asset check.
Recycling: South Lakeland
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effect of proposals to close household waste recycling centres in the South Lakeland District on illegal fly- tipping. 
Richard Benyon: No discussions have been held with Cumbria county council about this issue. Local authorities are best placed to decide on the waste management strategies for their areas, taking into account local needs, economic efficiencies and the need to protect the environment.
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Richard Benyon: As part of our commitment in the waste policy review 2011, we will consult on restricting wood waste from landfill before the end of 2012. Our aim is to divert the still substantial tonnages that end up in landfill to better uses up the waste hierarchy.
Water Supply: Prices
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what information her Department holds on the average (a) metered and (b) unmetered water bill in each water company area in each of the last 10 years. 
Richard Benyon: Ofwat is the independent economic regulator of water companies in England and Wales. Ofwat holds information on average metered and unmetered water bills for each company for the last 10 years. The figures provided in the following tables are water-only average bills and are in 2011-12 prices. Over the last 10 years £21 billion has been invested to improve water services across England and Wales.
|Average metered and unmetered water only bills , 2001-02 to 2010- 11|
|Water and sewerage companies||Unmetered water||Metered water||Unmetered water||Metered water||Unmetered water||Metered water||Unmetered water||Metered water|
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|Water and sewerage companies||Unmetered water||Metered water||Unmetered water||Metered water||Unmetered water||Metered water||Unmetered water||Metered water|
|Water and sewerage companies||Unmetered water||Metered water||Unmetered water||Metered water|
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|(1) York City Water Works merged with Yorkshire Water in 2003-04 (2) Mid Kent Water Merged with South East Water in 2008-09 (3) North Surrey Water Merged with Three Valleys Water in 2003-04|
Business, Innovation and Skills
Mr Prisk: Under the One In, One Out system, some 52 deregulatory measures have been undertaken, which represent savings to business of some £3.3 billion per annum. This is in addition to reductions in existing regulations, as a result of the Red Tape Challenge.
Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the level of applications to English universities for courses commencing in September 2012. 
Mr Willetts: The latest UCAS figures show that 30.6% of UK school leavers applied for university, down from 31.4% the year before but still the second highest on record. This will still be a competitive year, like any other, as people continue to understand that university remains a good long term investment in their future.
Senior Civil Servants: Ethnic Minorities
Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many and what proportion of senior civil servants in his Department were from an ethnic minority in March (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012; and if he will make a statement. 
Norman Lamb: The Department does not know the ethnic origin of all its senior civil servants. Ethnic origin data of staff are provided voluntarily by staff. Figures provided reflect members of the senior civil servants who are known to have a BME background.
|Date||Total no. of SCS||No. of SCS BME declarations||Percentage of BME declarations|
|(1) Denotes staff of fewer than 10 people. This is done to protect the identity of individuals and keep the information anonymous|
Employment: Economic Growth
Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what statistical data his Department holds on the effect of employment regulation on economic growth; and if he will place a copy of any such data in the Library. 
Norman Lamb: Employment regulation in most countries applies to the whole country. Therefore, it is not possible usually to isolate the effect of employment regulation on economic growth within an individual country as there is no ‘policy off' position with which the current situation can be compared.
Therefore, most analytical comparisons of the effect of employment regulation tend to be based on international comparison. However, international comparisons themselves have difficulties in isolating the effect of employment regulation on economic growth.
Firstly, the immediate effect of employment regulation is likely to be on the amount of legal employment opportunities that are available and it is not always clear how these translate into economic growth.
Secondly, the employment regulation system in any country is just one part of the overall social protection system. For example, social protection in the UK tends to be delivered through the tax and benefit system rather than through employment regulation. It is, therefore, difficult to isolate the effect of employment regulation from some other part of the overall system or to distinguish separate from joint effects.
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‘there is no single combination of policies and institutions to achieve and maintain good labour market performance.'
Despite these difficulties the OECD have developed an employment protection index which is now well established and their survey of analysis—including work from the UK—on the effects of employment regulation on employment has informed the conclusions on best practice in labour market policies that are set out in their reassessment of the jobs study review in 2006.
My assessment of this evidence is that the UK has one of the highest employment rates in the world and that its light employment regulation system is a contributory factor in this. Businesses and workers have the freedom to devise the form of work that suits them and so it enables work to be combined with other responsibilities and the rest of their lives. And it is one of the reasons why, for example, female employment rates are amongst the highest in the world in the UK. The light employment regulation system provides a more diverse range of types and patterns of work which enables women to combine work with, amongst other things, their family responsibilities.
Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what proportion of food procured by his Department (a) meets the Government Buying Standards for Food and Catering and (b) is from British sources. 
Post Offices: Photography
Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent assessment he has made of the likely effect on private photographers of allowing the Post Office to provide digital ID pictures for driving licences and passports; and if he will make a statement. 
Norman Lamb: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has made no such assessment. In respect of driving licences, this service has been placed with Post Office Ltd by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency. No such service is currently provided by Post Office Ltd in respect of passports.
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Regional Growth Fund
Lilian Greenwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills when he expects bidders from the first round of the Regional Growth Fund to receive the funds allocated to them. 
Mr Prisk: 80% of Round 1 beneficiaries (90% of Round 1 funding by value) have agreed terms and conditions. Half of round 1 projects have started, and to date 48 final offer letters have been signed at a value of £190 million. Beneficiaries who have been identified as not progressing their projects by summer 2012 will have their allocation recycled into Round 3 of the fund.
Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many regulations his Department introduced between 1 June 2011 and 31 January 2012; and at what cost to the public purse. 
Mr Prisk: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has introduced 36 regulations between 1 June 2011 and 31 January 2012. The Statements of New Regulations 2 and 3, published on BIS website in April 2011 and September 2011, give details of all measures that are within the scope of the ‘One In, One Out’ methodology. Impact assessments for all the regulations are also published on the impact assessment library:
Royal Mail: Pensions
Norman Lamb: The Government continue to work closely with the European Commission to achieve a decision by 31 March 2012 which will allow Government to implement its policy of relieving Royal Mail's historic pension deficit.
Telephone Services: Fees and Charges
Ian Murray: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the financial effects on low-income consumers of the cost of calling customer helplines which use 08 telephone numbers. 
Norman Lamb: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has made no such assessment. Responsibility for regulating the telecommunications industry lies with the Office of Communications (Ofcom).
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Trade Agreements: South Korea
Ian Murray: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the potential effect on the European car industry of the implementation of the Free Trade Agreement with South Korea. 
Norman Lamb: European Union (EU) vehicle exports to South Korea rose significantly in 2011, and now constitute 5% of imports to the South Korean market. The reduction of the customs duty and the elimination of several non-tariff barriers boosted EU exports in this category by 19%.
It is too early to fully assess the impact of the EU-Korea FTA as it only came provisionally into force in July 2011. However, car exports from the UK to South Korea showed robust growth of 18% last year. We are looking to consolidate this growth sector by resolving outstanding FTA issues on vehicle safety checks and standards.
Vehicle imports from South Korea to the EU in the 12 months to September 2011 are up 26%, but this follows a big fall in the preceding years. Total imports of vehicles from South Korea are only just over half what they were in mid-2007.
Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent estimate he has made of the total spent by (a) local authorities and (b) the Government on trading standards services; and if he will make a statement. 
Norman Lamb: Trading Standards are funded by local authorities and as reported on the revenue outturn (RO) forms collected by the Department for Communities and Local Government the total net current expenditure for 2010-11 by local authorities in England on Trading Standards is £171,843,000.
Department Relocation: Wellingborough
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The group has noted in its report that there are benefits for all adoption agencies where local authorities and voluntary adoption agencies work together in consortia. As part of our work for a further publication in the summer, we intend to review the effectiveness of local authority commissioning arrangements for adoption and to consider whether further action should be taken to increase the role of voluntary adoption agencies in the system.
Child Protection Review
Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education pursuant to the answer of 13 December 2011 to the hon. Member for South Northamptonshire (Andrea Leadsom) Official Report, column 639W, on the Child Protection Review, what options his Department has explored with statutory partners to deliver Professor Munro's plan for a transparent and co-ordinated offer of early help for children and families. 
Tim Loughton: In December I confirmed that there is sufficient legislation to realise Professor Munro's recommendation on early help and that we would work with partners to clarify existing legislation and emphasise the importance of early help. In the meantime, we encouraged local areas to continue to work to provide early help for the compelling arguments that Professor Munro articulated.
I know that a number of local authorities are already demonstrating innovative approaches to early help and are starting to make Professor Munro's vision a reality. Through the revised statutory guidance, ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’, we will clarify how existing legislation on early help applies to sector partners and, in response to feedback from the sector, we will consult on a definition of early help.
I recognise that there are strongly held and wide-ranging views on the revision of ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’. I believe it is important to take time to get this right. We will therefore launch a full formal consultation from May with final publication in the autumn.
As part of our wider response to Professor Munro's review, we have taken forward a number of reforms that will encourage and support local areas to focus effectively on early help. On 31 January Ofsted published its new framework for the inspection of local authority arrangements for the protection of children. The new framework and arrangements place greater emphasis on the child's journey from needing to receiving help and on professional practice and judgment.
On 23 January the Department launched a public consultation on our proposals for nationally collected children's safeguarding performance information. This has been informed by Professor Munro's final report and discussions with sector partners and builds on our publication in December of recommended locally collected performance information. Together these will help local areas monitor the impact of early help services. Officials
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from the Department and I have also held discussions with groups of Local Safeguarding Children Boards (LSCB) Chairs to consider how all LSCBs can be effective in monitoring and evaluating the effectiveness of help provided to children and families including early help.
Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what information his Department holds on how many children have been abused after being branded either as witches or possessed by evil spirits in each of the last (a) five and (b) 30 years. 
Tim Loughton [holding answer 13 March 2012]:The number of cases in this country of child abuse linked to belief, including belief in witchcraft or spirit possession, is believed to be small. Where such abuse occurs, however, it causes horrific distress and suffering to the child. It is likely that a proportion of this type of abuse remains unreported.
Research commissioned by the Department for Education in 2006 reviewed child abuse cases occurring between 2000 and 2005 to identify any cases where the abuse was linked to accusations of possession or witchcraft. Some 38 cases involving 47 children were found to be relevant and sufficiently well documented. The children came from a variety of backgrounds including African, South Asian and European. There has been no research conducted by the Department since the 2006 report and there are no official statistics on this type of abuse.
The Department for Education has this year commissioned a small-scale research study to draw together what is already known about the issue. It is hoped to publish the report of this research in the autumn.
Over the past year, the Government have been working with partners in the statutory, voluntary, faith and community sectors on proposals to tackle faith-based child abuse. During the next phase of this work, the proposals will be shared with a wider group of professionals, voluntary sector organisations, faith and community groups to build on what we have developed so far.
Children: Day Care
Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) what steps his Department is taking to ensure the funding allocated for provision of childcare for disadvantaged two year olds reaches those families in greatest need; 
(2) what discussions his Department has had with local authorities and their representative bodies regarding the level of funding required to provide childcare for all disadvantaged two year olds; 
(3) what criteria his Department considered, in addition to the criteria used to assess free school meal provision, to determine which two year olds should receive free of charge early education; 
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(4) what assessment he has made of the likely effect of a reduction in the number of Sure Start centres on the capacity of local authorities to deliver early education for disadvantaged two year olds; 
Sarah Teather: The Government have committed to extending free early education to two-year-olds in two phases: to 130,000 two-year-olds from September 2013, and 260,000 two-year-olds from September 2014. Funding for the entitlement will rise to £760 million in 2014-15. Decisions on funding beyond that will be considered at the next spending review.
Officials have regular contact with local authorities' representatives regarding the funding and delivery of the free early education entitlement. The national funding envelope for the new entitlement was fixed with reference to the pilot offer for two-year-olds delivered in every English local authority between 2008 and 2011.
The Government intend to create a legal entitlement to free early education for eligible two-year-olds, thereby ensuring that the funding is targeted at families that will benefit the most. We have consulted on the proposal that, in September 2013, free places would be offered to children whose families meet the criteria also used for free school meals, and to looked after children. The impact assessment published with the consultation explained that an alternative option considered was to give local authorities discretion to define eligibility locally.
The Government intend that, as for the free early education entitlement for three and four-year-olds, places for two-year-olds will be available in a range of settings in the private, voluntary, independent and maintained sectors. Sure Start Children's Centres will play a key role in the new entitlement; identifying and supporting families to access places, and in some cases directly delivering places. Local authorities have a statutory duty to ensure there are sufficient children's centres to meet local needs and to consult before making any significant changes, including closing a centre. Although there has been a net reduction in the recorded number of children's centres since April 2010, the vast majority of these have been part of sensible reorganisations and mergers. There have been less than 10 outright closures since April 2010.
Damian Hinds: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what information his Department holds on (a) referrals to children's services departments relating to child protection concerns and (b) child protection plans put in place in each local authority area, in the last three years; and what the child population was of each local authority area in each such year. 
Sarah Teather: Information on the number of referrals to children's social services and the number of children who became the subject of a child protection plan is collected annually. However, we do not collect reason for referral so cannot split the number of referrals in to those relating to child protection concerns and those requesting other services. The available information has been placed in the House Libraries.
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