Renewable Energy: Feed-in Tariffs
Chris Heaton-Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what proportion of feed-in tariff payments for (a) solar and (b) wind installations have been paid on the measured input of electricity to the grid to date. 
Gregory Barker: Ofgem holds data on payments made by FITs suppliers up to 31 December 2011. For the period from the beginning of the feed-in tariffs scheme (1 April 2010) until that date, the total payments made by FITs suppliers for electricity exported from FITs installations was £2,679,226.81. A significant proportion of this was for “deemed” exports for domestic installations without export meters. £613,291.37 was for exports to the grid from larger, metered installations.
The building of new wind energy storage is a commercial decision for business. However, given the potential role for storage to support the balancing of the supply and demand of electricity, DECC has identified storage as one of the specific technology areas which should be supported with energy
13 Jun 2012 : Column 497W
innovation funding—from the over £200 million allocated for the Department to support low-carbon technologies over the four financial years from April 2011.
Culture, Media and Sport
Mr Vaizey: The Devon and Somerset project has commenced its procurement process and held a market warming event with suppliers on 24 April 2012. In addition, following further analysis of Devon's needs, we have allocated Connecting Devon and Somerset an additional £171 million to address the issue of exchange only lines in Devon, taking the total allocation for Devon, Somerset, Plymouth, Torbay, North Somerset, and Bath and North East Somerset to £33.72 million. The funding is subject to funding from local sources being made available to match it.
Disclosure of Information
Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much his Department spent on the updating of published data in line with the Government's transparency agenda in each month since September 2011. 
Mr Kenneth Clarke: Central records on the staff time spent on collecting, collating, redacting and updating transparency data, across Ministry of Justice business groups, each month since September 2011 are not routinely kept. To provide a reasonable cost estimate would involve disproportionate cost. However, as part of the NAO's Implementing Transparency report the department estimated the cost of providing corporate data as set out in the Prime Minister's open letter of May 2010 on Open Data and Transparency to be £83,806 for 2011-12.
Driving Offences: Insurance
Karl McCartney: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the cost was of court proceedings arising from the trial of people accused of being uninsured drivers in the years (a) 1997, (b) 2002 and (c) 2011; and if he will estimate the time taken by such proceedings in each year. 
The Ministry of Justice has no records relating to the costs of operating magistrates courts prior to the creation of Her Majesty's Courts Service on 1 April 2005. The timings associated with the court records maintained by Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) do not provide a reliable basis for the estimation of the time taken by particular types of proceedings. As a result it is not possible to provide estimates of court costs or time for 1997 or 2002.
13 Jun 2012 : Column 498W
HMCTS has derived average court timings from survey data as an element of its activity based costing. Based on these data the estimated direct court and bench costs, excluding non-cash expenditure such as depreciation, of court proceedings relating to people accused of being uninsured drivers in 2011 was £6.9 million. The estimated time taken by such proceedings was 21,600 hours.
Freedom of Information
Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether he plans to bring forward proposals to extend the Freedom of Information Act 2000 to companies working for government departments. 
Mr Kenneth Clarke: Already under the Government’s transparency agenda a wide range of contracts between public bodies and private contractors are made public. For example, central Government contracts over £10,000 and local government contracts over £500 are now proactively published.
The Government will consider the recommendations of the Committee along with the evidence of the Open Data consultation, before bringing forward any proposals for future policy on freedom of information.
Human Trafficking: Victim Support
Elizabeth Truss: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the (a) nationality and (b) gender was of each suspected victim of trafficking referred to the Trafficking Victim Support scheme operated by the Salvation Army in April 2012; in which region each of the suspected victims was found; and which agency referred each case to the scheme. 
Mr Blunt: In April 2012 there were 41 referrals to the Government-funded support service for adult victims of human trafficking in England and Wales administered by the Salvation Army. Details are provided in the following table.
13 Jun 2012 : Column 499W
Tim Loughton: The Government accepted Professor Eileen Munro's recommendation, made in her final report into the review of Child Protection ‘A child-centred system’, that a major, revision of the statutory guidance ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ is needed.
13 Jun 2012 : Column 500W
Professor Munro argues that ‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’ has become too long to be practically useful and that it hinders the use of professional judgment. She believes the current guidance has led to a culture of compliance and dependency which has stifled individual professional judgment and local innovation.
‘Working Together to Safeguard Children’: statutory guidance on what is expected of organisations, individually and jointly, to safeguard and promote the welfare of children;
‘Managing individual cases: the Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families’: statutory guidance on undertaking assessments of children in need; and
‘Statutory Guidance on Learning and Improvement’: statutory guidance on arrangements for Serious Case Reviews, reviews of child deaths and other learning processes led by Local Safeguarding Children Boards:
The Government are determined to take a new approach to statutory guidance that changes behaviour and helps create a culture in which professional judgment and local innovation are allowed to flourish.
In order to develop the guidance on which we are now consulting a multi-disciplinary Professional Advisory Group was convened and has informed the Department's work on revisions to the statutory guidance.
The three new documents provide essential clarity on requirements while allowing scope for professional judgment and innovation. I believe they will drive the behaviours that will help protect more children. The closing date for the consultation is 4 September.
Mr Gibb: Ofqual is responsible for ensuring that qualifications and assessments are of a high quality and an appropriate standard. It must also safeguard and maintain examination standards over time. Glenys Stacey, Ofqual's Chief Regulator, has written to the hon. Member and a copy of her reply has been placed in the House Libraries.
I am writing in response to your parliamentary question about what assessment the Secretary of State has made of recent trends in the standard of examinations in schools. We have been asked to respond on his behalf.
As part of our work to maintain standards, we carry out regular reviews to look at the standards of qualifications in different years. We aim to judge whether standards have been maintained over time and to compare standards between awarding organisations.
We use the findings from these reviews to inform our wider work, particularly when we are developing regulations for future qualifications.
Standards reviews look at different specifications within a qualification, the question papers and any other assessments, as well as student work, and we collate and analyse the views of a number of subject specialists. We focus on the relative demand of the qualifications. We judge demand in terms of the following:
specification factors, including assessment objectives, content and structure;
assessment factors, including what content is assessed and how, the weighting of each component and how the assessments are marked; and
13 Jun 2012 : Column 501W
student performance factors, including how students at particular grades responded to the assessments.
We collect materials on a regular basis from the five awarding organisations (AQA, CCEA, Edexcel, OCR and WJEC) where they offer the qualifications being reviewed. Not all awarding organisations offer all subjects. Where an awarding organisation offers more than one specification in a subject, we collect materials for the largest entry specification. The materials we look at include the specification, question papers and mark schemes, reports of examiners, student work and statistical evidence. We use subject experts to carry out the reviews. These subject experts are independent but we also include representatives from the awarding organisations and subject associations/learned societies.
We have recently completed work on seven standards reviews. We compared the standards of qualifications across years in the following subjects. In some cases the two qualifications were based on the same specification; in other cases there was a specification change in the meantime.
1. GCSE biology 2003 and 2008
2. GCSE chemistry 2003 and 2008
3. GCSE mathematics 2004 and 2008
4. A level biology 2003 and 2008
5. A level chemistry 2003 and 2008
6. A level critical thinking 2010
7. A level geography 2001 and 2010
In the GCSEs we reviewed (biology, chemistry and mathematics) we found that changes to the structure of the assessments, rather than changes to the content, reduced the demand of some qualifications. These qualifications have since been replaced with revised specifications. In the case of the sciences, where the new specifications have been used since September 2011, these new qualifications were designed to be more demanding.
In the A level subjects we reviewed, in general we found that changes to the way the content was assessed had an impact on demand, in many cases reducing it. In two of the reviews (biology and chemistry) the specifications were the same for both years. We found that the demand in 2008 was lower than in 2003, usually because the structure of the assessments had changed. Often there were more short answer, structured questions. As a result, students did not have as many opportunities to show their higher order skills in 2008. These specifications have since been replaced.
In geography there were changes to the specifications between 2001 and 2010. Changes to the content meant that some specifications had less scientific content in 2010. We found that the removal of coursework in 2010 reduced the overall demand of the qualification and may have meant students were less well prepared for higher education.
We also reviewed critical thinking qualifications for a single year (2010). The qualifications are offered by only two awarding organisations. We found some variation in the content of the two specifications but overall we found that the qualifications were comparable.
GCSEs will be revised following the National Curriculum Review in England and A levels will also be revised in the near future. We will use the findings from these reviews to inform the development of regulations for those new qualifications.
If you would like further information on this part of our work, please do get in touch with our Director of Standards, Dennis Opposs on 02476 716647 or at:
Mr Thomas: To ask the Attorney-General what target he has set to reduce headcount across the Law Officers' Departments and executive agency in (a) 2010-11, (b) 2011-12 and (c) 2012-13; and if he will make a statement. 
13 Jun 2012 : Column 502W
The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) planned to reduce headcount by 540 in 2011-12; and has plans to reduce headcount by a further 250 in the current financial year. The CPS did not set a target for 2010-11.
Jeremy Lefroy: To ask the Attorney-General if he will publish a statement of the Law Officers' Departments expenditure in each of the last 36 months; and what steps his Department takes to avoid an annual underspend. 
The Treasury Solicitor's Department (TSol) reviews its progress on delivering objectives, changes to priorities, and expenditure against budget on a monthly basis. In addition each quarter TSol forecasts and reviews its annual resource outturn. These reviews inform decisions on the reallocation and reprioritisation of resources throughout the year. The spending review settlements for the Attorney-General's Office and HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate are both managed and reported on by TSol.
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) aims to spend no less and no more than is needed to fulfil its statutory functions. To achieve this, the CPS maintains an effective system of financial control and closely monitors expenditure against its internal budgets and its overall Vote. The primary purpose of this system is not to avoid an under spend but to ensure that resources are used to the best effect and that public funds are spent wisely and in accordance with Managing Public Money.
The Serious Fraud Office continues to innovate so that it can deliver more for less and improve its service for the victims of economic crime. There is considerable challenge in forecasting and managing income and expenditure linked to processing major cases through the criminal justice system. Cases and finances are regularly monitored and reviewed in order to optimise value for money within existing funding levels.
Nick Harvey: The information requested is not held centrally for the whole of Afghanistan. Data are more readily available for the Task Force Helmand area of operations in Helmand province, which includes the majority of UK forces deployed to Afghanistan.
The figures for improvised explosive device (IED) ‘finds’ in the following table refers to devices which have been found by, or reported to, International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) units in the Task Force Helmand
13 Jun 2012 : Column 503W
area of operations. Similarly, the figures for ‘explosions’ refer to explosions that have subsequently been reported by ISAF units operating within the Task Force Helmand area of operations. These includes both ‘laid’ IEDs and suicide (both vehicle and person-borne) devices.
|Month||IED finds||IED explosions|
These data are based on information derived from a number of sources and can only be an estimate. Not least this is because of the difficulties in ensuring a consistent interpretation of the basis for collating statistics in what is a complex, fast-moving, multinational operational environment.
Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what contracts his Department has agreed relating exclusively to the conversion of the aircraft carrier to a Catapult Assisted Take Off Barrier Arrested Recovery configuration since May 2010; and what the value was of each contract; 
Peter Luff [holding answers 22 and 24 May 2012 (4) and (5)]:As part of our conversion investigations we had entered into a Foreign Military Sales (FMS) agreement with the US for the supply of technical information, design and engineering data for Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment. We had also tasked the Aircraft Carrier Alliance (ACA), under the auspices of the existing carrier build contract, to develop a revised ship design, updated build strategy and consider options for conversion.
13 Jun 2012 : Column 504W
Against this work, we have committed up to £39 million to the end of April 2012 with both the US Department of Defense (DoD) and UK Aircraft Carrier Alliance, and £1 million on an air-to-air refuelling study. There will be some additional costs as we close down this activity but I cannot release our estimate of these costs now as this would prejudice our negotiations.
We did not order any equipment as part of these investigations into the conversion of the operational aircraft carrier. The decision to revert to purchase of the STOVL F-35B variant of Joint Strike Fighter was made before it was necessary to commit to long lead items for the catapults and arrestor gear.
Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many incidents of the loss of confidential data held by his Department have been reported in each of the last (a) two years and (b) 12 months. 
Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) takes any attacks on, or misuse of, its information, networks and associated media storage devices very seriously and has robust procedures in place to militate against and investigate such occurrences. Furthermore, new processes, instructions and technological aids are continually being implemented to mitigate human errors and raise the awareness of every individual in the MOD with regards to cyber security. The following tables list, by year, the number of reported losses of confidential and personal data centrally reported within the MOD from 1 January 2010 to 29 May 2012. Figures will continue to be adjusted to incorporate subsequent recoveries of items, the reporting of additional losses and subsequent clarification of historic incidents. The following figures reflect the latest data held by the Joint Security Co-ordination Centre (JSyCC) as of 29 May 2012.
In a number of these cases, the documents were historical and therefore the original protective marking would have been eligible to be considered for downgrading. This may reduce any risk of such compromises. A number of these incidents came to light as a consequence of thorough mustering of protectively marked information and revised MOD data management practices.
|Table 1: Loss of confidential data by year|
13 Jun 2012 : Column 505W
|Table 2: Loss of confidential data by month|
|Notes: 1. These are only the incidents that were reported and may not represent the true number of losses during this time. 2. Of the 81 incidents listed in Table 1, 25 remain under investigation. These totals may also include some losses relating to accounting anomalies during force rotation and/or disposal activities.|
Mr Robathan: The immigration status of individuals is a matter for the UK Border Agency. I am aware of one incident involving a trainee suspected of being an illegal immigrant who has since been apprehended by the civil authorities.
Members of the Territorial Army undergo training throughout their career depending on the Army's operational commitments. Once a member of the Territorial Army is mobilised for deployment they will receive the appropriate additional training for their deployed role.
Business, Innovation and Skills
13 Jun 2012 : Column 506W
Bank Cards: Fees and Charges
Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) with reference to the announcement by the Financial Secretary on 23 December 2011 on legislation to tackle excessive card surcharges, when he expects to publish the consultation on implementing Article 19 of the Consumer Rights Directive; 
(2) with reference to the announcement by the Financial Secretary on 23 December 2011 on legislation to tackle excessive card surcharges, whether he plans to bring forward proposals to ban excessive debit and credit card charges by 31 December 2012. 
Norman Lamb: The EU Consumer Rights Directive will require member states to prohibit traders from charging consumers fees that exceed the costs borne by the trader for the use of a given means of payment. This will ban excessive payment surcharges in areas within scope of the Directive. The Government supported the inclusion of this provision in the Directive. The deadline for the Directive to take effect in national law is 13 June 2014.
The Government shares consumers’ concerns about the high level of payment surcharges imposed by some businesses. On 23 December 2011 we announced our intention to consult on implementing the payment surcharges provision of the Consumer Rights Directive ahead of the June 2014 deadline. We intend to issue a full 12 week consultation in the summer to seek views on the timing of implementation and other details on how the provision should be applied. Responses to the consultation will inform our decision on timing and our guidance to businesses.
Business: West Midlands
Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assistance his Department provided to small and medium-sized enterprises located in (a) Birmingham and (b) the West Midlands during the last 18 months. 
Mr Prisk: We want to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business, and for the next decade to be the most entrepreneurial and dynamic in Britain's history. That is why, in January, the Prime Minister launched “Business in You”, a major year-long campaign, to inspire people to realise their business ambitions and to highlight the range of support available for start-ups and growing businesses.
13 Jun 2012 : Column 507W
website including: a new Growth and Improvement Service and “My New Business”, a comprehensive start-up service.
A Business Link Helpline which will support those who are unable to access the internet.
A mentoring portal
providing an easy route to find experienced business mentors.
A new three year GrowthAccelerator programme, providing high quality coaching support for up to 26,000 SMEs with high growth potential.
Launched the National Loan Guarantee Scheme: up to £20 billion of guarantees for bank funding will be available over two years allowing banks to offer lower cost lending to SMEs.
Increased the funds available to invest through the Business Finance Partnership (BFP) to £1.2 billion. Government has invited the first round of proposals to help businesses access non-bank finance through the BFP, and will allocate £100 million of the BFP to invest through non-traditional lending channels.
Announced the continuation of the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG) scheme until 2014/15, providing, subject to demand, over £2 billion in total over the next four years.
Announced continuation of the Government's Enterprise Capital Funds programme, increasing our commitment by £200 million over the next four years, providing for more than £300 million of venture capital investment to address the equity gap for early stage innovative SMEs.
Launched a new Start-Up Loan Scheme aimed at 18 to 24-year-olds setting up a new business.
Announced a new £50 million Business Angel Co-Investment Fund to encourage Business Angel investment.
Welcomed the report of the industry review of non-bank lending chaired by Tim Breedon and will take forward its recommendations over the course of this year, including: considering how to simplify access to Government support for smaller businesses; encouraging prompt payment by larger firms; and supporting industry work to remove barriers to alternative sources of finance.
Announced a £2.4 billion fund Regional Growth Fund operating across England from 2011 to 2015. It supports projects and programmes that lever private sector investment creating economic growth and sustainable employment.
Introduced a 'one-in, one-out' rule whereby no new regulations which impose costs on businesses can be brought in without regulation of an equivalent value being removed.
Introduced a three-year moratorium on new domestic regulation affecting micro businesses and genuine start-ups.
The Red Tape Challenge is tackling the stock of regulation via a comprehensive thematic review which aims to identify regulations that could be removed, simplified or done in a different way. By the end of December 2011 we had scrapped or simplified over 600 regulations.
Reforming the way in which regulations are implemented, including a review of regulators to ensure enforcement arrangements are appropriate and proportionate. Government will also launch sector-based reviews of regulation to ensure it is enforced at the lowest possible cost to business.
To reduce barriers to businesses taking on new staff Government has announced significant deregulation of employment law.
Government will spend £35 million to double, from 25,000 to 50,000, the number of SMEs that UKTI supports a year by 2015. Many components of the UKTI product are aimed at SMEs:
13 Jun 2012 : Column 508W
Passport to Export is a trade development programme offering new and inexperienced exporters help and support to build the capability to start exporting proactively and make their first visit to an export market. Launched in 2001, it has helped around 14,000 SMEs as of January 2012.
Gateway to Global Growth offers experienced SME exporters the opportunity to increase their exporting skills and awareness of what is on offer from UKTI and private sector suppliers. The aim is to help them enter more difficult markets or expand in existing ones.
Market Visit Support provides assistance to new to export and/or new to market SMEs visiting overseas markets, individually or in groups as part of their trade development process.
Budget 2012 set out an ambition to more than double annual UK exports to £1 trillion by 2020 through additional measures including expanding the overseas role of UK Export Finance to enable it to develop finance packages that could help UK exporters secure opportunities identified through UK Trade & Investment's High Value Opportunities programme; helping secure temporary private sector office space overseas for new UK exporters in high growth countries where such services are difficult to obtain; and continuing to increase UK Export Finance's regional presence in the UK to support SMEs seeking trade finance.
The Birmingham Post Business Growth Fund, funded by the Regional Growth Fund, has been set up to provide support for SMEs in Birmingham, Solihull and Coventry. Funding of £10-£100,000 is available to firms which offer significant potential for long-term economic growth and the creation of additional private sector jobs.
The Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain Initiative (AMSCI) supports investment in improved skills and training support, research and development and capital equipment. Stream 2 funding is available to automotive and aerospace suppliers in three Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP) areas in the West Midlands (Black Country, Coventry and Warwickshire, Greater Birmingham and Solihull) as well as Liverpool city region. Stream 2 funding is managed by Birmingham city council.
The re-launched Manufacturing Advisory Service (MAS) provides a range of specialist assistance to manufacturing businesses across England, including linking SMEs with the Apprenticeship programme delivering a minimum of 1,250 engineering and manufacturing apprenticeships annually. As one of the UK's main manufacturing regions the West Midlands is expected to be a major beneficiary of the new MAS.
The Greater Birmingham and Solihull Local Enterprise Partnership (GBSLEP) is focusing on how it can support the growth of SMEs. It has established a Business Hub where the local authority and a number of business organisations are co-located, effectively a one-stop shop for small businesses. The LEP is also a pathfinder on engaging mid-sized businesses and is preparing a programme of activity to support these businesses.
The Marches (Herefordshire, Shropshire, Telford and Wrekin) LEP has received Regional Growth Fund support for a 'redundant buildings programme', which aims to renovate disused buildings for SME and start-up space.
Stoke and Staffordshire LEP has created a 'single point of contact' business helpline to channel business queries to the most appropriate organisation to deal with them, and promotes business to business mentoring through North Staffordshire Chamber of Commerce.
Conditions of Employment
Mr Hollobone: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps his Department is taking to make it easier for businesses to (a) recruit new employees and (b) dismiss employees who are not able to meet the requirements of the job. 
13 Jun 2012 : Column 509W
(a) As part of the Employment Law Review, we have introduced a number of reforms to give confidence to employers to take on staff. These include launching an online tool advising employers on ‘Taking on an Employee’:
extending the qualifying period for Unfair Dismissal from one to two years, and steps to streamline the Employment Tribunals system.
(b) We launched a Call for Evidence in March on dismissal processes including the option for Compensated No Fault Dismissal for micro-businesses and a review of the ACAS Code of Practice on Discipline and Grievance. This closed on 8 June.
Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills for what reasons his Department limited its consultation on compensated no-fault dismissal to employees at micro businesses; on what date the decision was taken; and by which Department. 
Norman Lamb: The reasons for calling for evidence on the concept of no fault dismissal only in relation to micro businesses are set out in the call for evidence document published on 15 March 2012. The document states that:
"The Government recognises that micro businesses are likely to find it more difficult to access expert human resource and legal advice. The effect of this is that they are likely to feel less confident in applying detailed disciplinary procedures and have a greater fear of employment tribunal claims."
The Government's decision to publish a call for evidence relating to micro businesses was taken in preparation for, and announced through, the outcome of the Employment-related law Red Tape Challenge and the autumn statement 2011.
Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many officials worked (a) in any capacity on and (b) in drafting the Beecroft Report; and which directorate they were from. 
Norman Lamb: Three BIS officials from Labour Market Directorate provided de minimis support as a secretariat. This involved setting up meetings with policy officials across Government and responding to factual questions from Mr Beecroft.
Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether he has any plans in respect of proposals listed in sections which were included in the draft of the Beecroft Report but were removed in the final version. 
13 Jun 2012 : Column 510W
Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills when the final draft of the Beecroft Report was composed; whether any amendments were made to the document after November 2011; and if he will specify what amendments were made on which date. 
Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills which stakeholders were consulted by Adrian Beecroft and officials in his Department in drawing up the Beecroft report. 
Norman Lamb: This is a question for Adrian Beecroft and not for Government. The report was produced independently by Mr Beecroft whom we expect to have spoken to a range of interested parties in preparing the report. The analysis and recommendations in the report are his own and do not represent the views of Government.
Norman Lamb: The Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, my right hon. Friend the Member for Kingston and Surbiton (Mr Davey), in his role as the then Minister for Employment Relations, Consumer and Postal Affairs, wrote to Mr Beecroft on 29 July 2011 to commission the report, on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the process was by which Adrian Beecroft was selected to carry out a review of employment law; and what criteria were used to determine his appointment. 
Norman Lamb: Mr Beecroft was asked to provide his thoughts to Government on a private basis, alongside a range of contributions from other interested parties to the Red Tape Challenge and Employment Law Review.
Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will place in the Library a copy of all correspondence between officials at Number 10 Downing street and his Department relating to the Beecroft report. 
13 Jun 2012 : Column 511W
Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether Adrian Beecroft approved alterations made to the final published version of his report on employment law labelled 24 October 2011. 
Electronic Cigarettes: Trading Standards
Tracey Crouch: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether he has issued guidance to local trading standards officers on the sale and use of electronic cigarettes. 
Financial Services: Disadvantaged
Norman Lamb: The Government are committed both to curbing unsustainable lending and to strengthening consumer protections, particularly for the most vulnerable in society. Our vision is to empower consumers to make better choices for themselves so that they are free to borrow if that is what they decide is in their best interest, as well as to have in place a safe and fair regulatory framework for credit. That is why Government interventions are focused at promoting responsible borrowing and responsible lending.
For example, on payday lending, we have been working with the four main trade associations to strengthen industry codes of practice to deliver real enhanced consumer protections and to provide greater transparency about how these loans work.
The Government have also commissioned research to gather robust evidence on the impact of introducing a cap on the total cost of credit that can be charged across a range of high cost credit products in the market. A report on this is expected this summer and will be important to informing future policy decisions.
Also key here is the Government's work to expand the credit union coverage to provide better access to alternative forms of borrowing for those who cannot obtain mainstream credit. As announced by my noble friend Lord Freud, Department for Work and Pensions have recently issued a significant report on the way forward for credit unions and detail of the next steps on this report will be made available in the near future.
13 Jun 2012 : Column 512W
Mr Willetts: The Government response to the consultation for the Higher Education White Paper, ‘Students at the Heart of the System’, and associated Technical Consultation, ‘A new fit-for-purpose Regulatory Framework for the Higher Education Sector’, was published on 11 June. A copy has been placed in the Libraries of the House and an electronic version is available on the Department's website at:
Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what information his Department holds on the subjects that have been most affected by course closures at higher education institutions in England in the last two years; 
Mr Willetts: We do not collect information on course closures. Universities are autonomous bodies and make their own decisions about the courses they will provide to meet the changing needs of their students.
We have asked Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) in the 2012 Grant Letter to continue to prioritise strategically important and vulnerable subjects (SIVS) when allocating teaching grant. HEFCE is currently undertaking work to monitor early signals of student demand and Higher Education Institution (HEI) provision of SIVS. HEFCE has in the past asked institutions to inform them if they plan to close courses in those subjects designated as SIVS.
Mr Willetts: The Department does not forecast the number of mature students who will enter university. The number of mature entrants this September will depend on a range of factors, such as the grades achieved in this summer's exams. Entry to higher education has always been a competitive process and universities, as independent and autonomous bodies, are responsible for their own admissions decisions. For decades, there have been more applications than places and this is likely to be repeated this year.
Newspaper Press: Wales
Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent discussions he has held with (a) Welsh Ministers and (b) other groups, organisations or individuals on the business model for the printed news media in Wales. 
13 Jun 2012 : Column 513W
Norman Lamb: No Ministers in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills have held recent discussions with Welsh Ministers to discuss the business model for the printed news media in Wales. I refer the hon. Member to the reply to his question by the Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, the hon. Member for Wantage (Mr Vaizey), on 17 May 2012, Official Report, column 265W.
Departmental Administration Costs
HM Treasury published the February 2012 forecast outturn for all Government Departments in its 2012 Budget publication. For BIS this was a forecast spend of £16.3 billion, of which £40 million of funding for apprenticeships has since been transferred to 2012-13 as part of the Budget Exchange scheme.
Overseas Students: Entry Clearances
Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many places on higher education courses in (a) England and (b) Birmingham have been awarded to Tier 4 (General) student visa holders; and how many such students did not attend their courses. 
Mr Willetts: Statistics on the number of Tier 4 student visa holders who do not subsequently take up their places on higher education courses are not available, though this is monitored via the inspection of individual sponsors by the UK Border Agency (UKBA).
Figures from the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) show that there were 243,105 students domiciled in countries outside of the UK, European economic area (EEA) and Switzerland prior to their course enrolled at English higher education institutions in the academic year 2010/11, including 11,245 enrolments at institutions located in the local authority of Birmingham. Figures for 2011/12 will be published in January 2013. HESA does not routinely collect information on the visas held by overseas students.
Jeremy Lefroy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of the number of operational post office counters in the UK in (a) 20000, (b) 2005, (c) 2010 and (d) 2012. 
13 Jun 2012 : Column 514W
Post Offices: Internet
Damian Hinds: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will encourage Royal Mail to evaluate the potential for Post Office branches to act as pick-up points for customers' purchases from on-line businesses, as an alternative to home delivery. 
Norman Lamb: Royal Mail and the Post Office already work together, providing a service called ‘Local Collect’, which allows home shopping companies and consumers to use local branches as collection points for delivery or re-delivery when customers are not at home.
They will continue to work together on enhancing Local Collect and on other improvements to home delivery, for example by trialling delivery to a neighbour where this can offer a more convenient solution.
54 are available in hard copy
1,157 are electronic web publications
256 have gone out of print or new editions have been published
Jonathan Ashworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many (a) circulars and (b) consultation documents were issued by his Department in each of the last two years. 
John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills with reference to the written answer of 30 April 2012, Official Report, column 1283W, on shipping, when he expects to publish his response to the conclusions of the legal working group on application of the National Minimum Wage Act 1998 to seafarers working on non-UK registered vessels travelling between UK ports; and if he will take steps to ensure that the response is sent to all members of the legal working group. [R] 
As the Under-Secretary of State for Transport, my hon. Friend the Member for Hemel Hempstead (Mike Penning), indicated in his response of 30 April 2012, I intend to make a statement on this subject in the near future. I can confirm that members
13 Jun 2012 : Column 515W
of the legal working group on seafarers and the national minimum wage, which was set up to consider this area, will be made aware of this statement.
Students: Childbirth Courses
Steve Brine: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the effect of reforms to student funding on the National Childbirth Trust's ability to deliver the Government's Preparing for Birth and Beyond programme. 
Mr Willetts: The financial arrangements for higher education are changing from 2012/13 with less funding provided through block grants from the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and more provided through student tuition fees, supported by a more generous system of publicly-funded student support to eligible students. These arrangements apply equally to the courses that the National Childbirth Trust offers to students in partnership with the University of Worcester.
Trade Union Officials
Norman Lamb: The Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992 sets the legislative framework for trade unions and their activities. It makes no special provision for trade union leaders in the public sector and I have no current plans to review the legislation.
Communities and Local Government
Business: Ethnic Groups
Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what progress his Department has made, in conjunction with the Ethnic Minority Advisory Group, in assessing and tackling the barriers people from black and minority ethnic communities face in accessing business finance; and if he will make a statement. 
Andrew Stunell: We are conducting a review into the barriers faced by some black and ethnic minority entrepreneurs in accessing business finance and have consulted with a wide range of external partners, including the British Bankers Association and various ethnic minority business organisations, and will report on the review shortly.
Employment Tribunals Service
Jack Dromey: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many employment tribunals relating to his Department have been held since May 2010; and what the cost to his Department was of such tribunals. 
13 Jun 2012 : Column 516W
29 May 2012. To place this in context, from 2008 to 2009, there was also one tribunal case.
Fire Service College
Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will make it his policy not to offer (a) grants, (b) non-revenue subsidy and (c) revenue subsidy to any successful bidder for the Fire Service College. 
Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many expressions of interest in the sale of the Fire Service College he has received to date; and how many such expressions of interest have subsequently been withdrawn. 
Robert Neill: We received 12 initial expressions of interest in the sale of the Fire Service College. It would not be appropriate for me to comment further on the bid process while it is still under way.
Gordon Henderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many staff working in his Department are entitled to private health care as part of their remuneration package. 
Mutual Societies: Staff
Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the number of full-time equivalent staff who will transfer from his Department, its non-departmental public bodies and executive agencies workforce to a mutual in (a) 2011-12 and (b) 2012-13; and if he will make a statement. 
Robert Neill: No staff transferred from the Department, its non-departmental public bodies or executive agencies in to a mutual organisation in 2011-12, and we do not expect any staff to transfer to such an organisation in 2012-13.
13 Jun 2012 : Column 517W
Jonathan Ashworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) circulars and (b) consultation documents were issued by his Department in each of the last two years. 
Robert Neill: The Department for Communities and Local Government distributes information in the form of circulars, official letters, statistical releases/reports and bulletins to various groups including Local Government, Planning Authorities and Fire and Rescue Authorities. The majority of these are available to view on the Department's website:
13 Jun 2012 : Column 518W
Jack Dromey: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many staff in his Department are on secondment from an external organisation; and if he will publish the (a) organisation, (b) time spent on secondment and (c) other relevant details in respect of each such member of staff. 
Robert Neill: There are currently 25 staff on secondment to the main Department for Communities and Local Government. The following table provides details of their organisation and length of secondment and related details including the grade of their post and the Directorate within DCLG to where they are assigned.
|Parent Organisation||Start of Secondment||End of Secondment||Directorate in DCLG||Grade|
13 Jun 2012 : Column 519W
Social Rented Housing
Jack Dromey: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much is spent annually by social housing landlords on repairs; and how much of that total is on statutory or other repairs that cannot be devolved to tenants. 
During 2010-11 local authority landlords spent a total of £3.3 billion on maintenance and repairs, according to Housing Revenue Account subsidy data returns. This amounts to approximately £1,900 per dwelling on average.
These figures cover all types of repairs and maintenance, not all of which would be suitable for inclusion in Tenant Cashback schemes. We expect landlords to discuss and agree with tenants how local schemes should work, taking account of local circumstances and the wishes and capabilities of tenants.
Social Rented Housing: Morecambe
13 Jun 2012 : Column 520W
additional funding for social housing regeneration in Morecambe. 
Grant Shapps: Now that self financing of council housing has come into effect, Lancaster, as with all authorities who have council housing stock, can keep its rents and take complete control of how it manages and maintains its social housing in consultation with its tenants.
The Department published “Regeneration to enable growth: A toolkit supporting community-led regeneration” in January 2012, which outlined the tools, powers and flexibilities available to local areas to drive community-led regeneration.
Lancaster city council will receive £1.9 million to tackle clusters of empty homes in their area, bringing 114 empty homes back into use and the Homes and Communities Agency's Affordable Homes Programme has agreed funding in the Mid Lancashire area of £19.5 million to deliver over 900 affordable homes for rent and affordable ownership properties for the period 2011-15. Morecambe, as part of the Lancaster city council area, is part of the Mid Lancashire area along with Chorley, Preston, South Ribble and West Lancashire.