Olympic Lottery Distribution Fund

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport how much he expects to remain in the Olympic Lottery Distribution Fund at the close of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games. [114900]

Hugh Robertson: The games have yet to take place and there is still work to do after the games, in fitting out the Olympic village for sale, and further income to come in after 2012. Therefore, it is too early to give an estimate of the closing balance in the Olympic Lottery Distribution Fund (OLDF). What is clear at this stage is that the OLDF will receive grant repayments from the sale of the village in 2014 of just over £69 million. The receipts together with any unused funds remaining in the OLDF will then be transferred to the National Lottery Distribution Fund for the benefit of good causes. In addition, in the longer term, the national lottery is entitled to receive £675 million from receipts from the sale of land in the Olympic park.

Rugby League

George Galloway: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport if he will meet representatives of Rugby League's Super League to discuss (a) plans for the future of the Bradford Bulls and (b) the financial status of the Super League. [115105]

Hugh Robertson: I have had regular conversations with the chief executives of the major sports governing bodies including the Rugby Football League. Therefore, I am aware of the recent financial difficulties the Bradford Bulls, and some other clubs in that sport, have experienced.

World War I: Centenry

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport (1) with which countries his Department has had discussions in respect of (a) joint events and (b) a UK presence at overseas events to commemorate the centenary of the first world war; on what dates any such discussions took place; and if he will make a statement; [114834]

(2) how many officials in his Department are engaged (a) full-time and (b) part-time in preparations to commemorate the centenary of the first world war; and if he will make a statement; [114844]

(3) if he will give consideration to applying a motif on all commemorative items and events associated with

3 July 2012 : Column 613W

the 100th anniversary of the first world war; and if he will make a statement; [114833]

(4) if he will consider providing funding to refurbish war graves and war memorials (a) in the UK and (b) overseas to commemorate the centenary of the first world war; and if he will make a statement; [114841]

(5) how much funding the Government has allocated for commemorations of the centenary of the first world war; and if he will make a statement. [114842]

Mr Vaizey: The Prime Minister has asked my hon. Friend the Member for South West Wiltshire (Dr Murrison) to act as his Special Representative and Co-ordinator for World War I Commemorations, with secretariat support from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. In addition to a series of meetings with international colleagues and attending an all nations meeting in Paris in March 2012, Dr Murrison holds monthly meetings with a core liaison group incorporating cross-Whitehall Departments, the Imperial War Museum, Heritage Lottery Fund, Commonwealth War Graves Commission and others to ensure that the UK plays a full and active role in commemorating the centenary of the first world war. A number of proposals are being discussed and the Government expects to announce more details later in the year.

Communities and Local Government

Bed and Breakfast Accommodation

Ms Buck: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to his answer of 23 May 2012, Official Report, column 680W, on bed and breakfast accommodation, which 20 local authorities he wrote to raising concerns about their extended use of bed and breakfast accommodation for homeless families with children beyond the six week limit; and if he will place a copy of his letter in the Library. [113440]

Grant Shapps [holding answer 25 June 2012]: I wrote privately to 20 local authorities who between them account for almost 80% of families in bed and breakfast for more than six weeks, reiterating the Government's position that this practice is unacceptable, urging them to prioritise elimination of the use of long term bed and breakfast accommodation for families for more than six weeks, and offering support from my Department to do so.

I have placed a template of the letter in the Library of the House.

Empty Property: Council Tax

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many homes in each local authority area are eligible for an empty properties discount for council tax purposes; and what estimate he has made of the total revenue forgone. [115077]

Robert Neill: The information requested has been placed in the Library of the House.

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These figures relate to the discount on long-term empty homes. They do not cover the separate council tax exemptions for vacant and unoccupied dwellings.

Energy

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which energy supplier supplies his Department with (a) gas and (b) electricity. [113475]

Robert Neill: The Department for Communities and Local Government procures its energy supplies through the Government Procurement Service's (formerly Buying Solutions) framework agreement. The suppliers on this framework are:

EDF Energy—Half hourly metered electricity

British Gas Business—Non-half hourly metered electricity

Corona Energy—Gas

The Department uses all three suppliers across its estate.

The Department has made significant year-on-year reductions in energy consumption. In 2011-12, electricity and gas consumption were reduced by 9% and 45% respectively, compared to the previous year.

Under the last Administration, the Department's main building (Eland House, Victoria) was one of the least energy-efficient buildings in Whitehall, despite it being the lead Department on energy efficiency standards in buildings. In June 2011, the building was awarded a ‘D’ grade display energy certificate, having improved from the equivalent ‘G’ grade in 2006-07.

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much his Department spent on (a) gas and (b) electricity bills in each of the last 10 years. [113504]

Robert Neill: The Department for Communities and Local Government was formed in May 2006. Spend on gas and electricity for the financial years 2006-07 to 2011-12 is detailed as follows.

£
 DCLG Buildings
 ElectricityGas

2006-07

1,091,111

229,436

2007-08

656,069

144,707

2008-09

505,425

135,889

2009-10

424,286

71,027

2010-11

422,803

39,138

2011-12

536,449

36,474

The Department has made significant year-on-year reductions in energy consumption. In 2011-12, electricity and gas consumption were reduced by 9% and 45% respectively, compared to the previous year.

Under the last Administration, the Department's main building (Eland House, Victoria) was one of the least energy-efficient buildings in Whitehall, despite it being the lead Department on energy efficiency standards in buildings. In June 2011, the building was awarded a ‘D’ grade display energy certificate, having improved from the equivalent ‘G’ grade in 2006-07.

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EU Grants and Loans

Damian Collins: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the potential effects of the interruption of payments made by organisations in the UK from the Interreg IV B North Sea Region programme; whether he has made representations to the European Commission on this issue; and if he will make a statement. [115045]

Robert Neill: The North Sea Programme has an independent Managing Authority and a Joint Technical Secretariat; none are based in the UK. The programme is managed by authorities based in Viborg, Denmark.

My officials have been working closely with the North Sea Programme Managing Authority in Denmark to provide the necessary evidence to persuade the European Commission to lift the payment interruption it imposed on UK partners. The Government submitted the evidence requested in December 2011. The Commission requested further information in March 2012. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Baroness Hanham, met Commissioner Hahn in April and raised in the strongest possible terms our concerns about the delays in getting responses from Commission officials and the resultant effect the interruption was having on the cash flow of the small and voluntary organisations participating in North sea projects. My officials submitted further evidence in May. I understand that on 6 July the European Commission's Interruption Committee will be discussing this further evidence with a view to deciding whether to lift the interruption.

Families: Disadvantaged

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the evidential basis was for his recent statement that 120,000 families defined as troubled families are more likely to be involved in antisocial behaviour and more likely to include children who truant more than average. [112563]

Robert Neill: There is wide-ranging evidence that involvement in crime/antisocial behaviour and truancy is more likely among families experiencing multiple problems, including from analysis of the Family and Children's Survey. Studies have also shown that predictors of the onset of offending include neglectful parenting.

The Troubles Families Financial Framework, a copy of which is in the Library of the House, outlines how local authorities will identify actual troubled families to try and turn their lives around, including identifying those involved in antisocial behaviour and households with truant children.

Government Procurement Card

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many procurement card holders in his Department were (a) paid off-payroll, (b) employed on a part-time basis and (c) employed as a non-permanent employee in (i) 2009-10, (ii) 2010-11 and (iii) 2011-12. [113339]

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Robert Neill: Our records on the Government Procurement Card do not routinely separately identify cardholders on the basis of their employment.

The Department currently has 27 active cards and all current cardholders are paid on payroll.

Housing: Armed Forces

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many housing experts from his Department have visited military bases in the last 12 months for which figures are available; and which bases they have visited. [114152]

Grant Shapps [holding answer 28 June 2012]: In June 2011, I announced that members of our armed forces would have top priority for FirstBuy and all Government funded affordable home ownership schemes.

I also announced that I would be sending special housing agents into military bases to help members of the armed forces get a foot on the housing ladder.

We do not hold a central record of visits. However, I can confirm that since my announcement HomeBuy Agents have visited armed forces bases in the UK and abroad. This includes bases in Catterick, Telford, Colchester, Portsmouth, Dartmouth, Cornwall, Germany and Cyprus.

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) service personnel and (b) former service personnel have been allocated housing through the FirstBuy scheme in each year since 2005. [114153]

Grant Shapps [holding answer 28 June 2012]: The FirstBuy scheme, introduced by this Government, will help around 10,500 first-time buyers by March 2013. In June 2011, I announced that members of our armed forces would have top priority for FirstBuy and all Government funded affordable home ownership schemes.

And I am pleased to say that one of the first FirstBuy sales was to a member of our armed forces who were helped into a family home in Telford.

Official statistics published on 12 June for the first seven months of the scheme to March 2012 show 127 members of the armed forces had been helped to buy a home.

However, this does not show the full extent of our support for members of our armed forces, as a further 3,400 service personnel have been approved for Government support to buy their own home under Government supported affordable housing schemes.

Mental Health

John Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps he is taking to promote good mental health and well-being in his Department. [114677]

Robert Neill: The Department for Communities and Local Government is committed to helping improve the general health and well-being of its staff and actively seeks to maximise physical and mental health.

3 July 2012 : Column 617W

Staff have access to various resources providing health care and health advice, and are supported by counselling and support services and the Charity for Civil Servants. Policy and guidance on mental health and well-being are available to all staff. In addition there are self-help resources and reading material available online which includes help on how to manage mental health and stress at work.

The Department is signing up to the Civil Service Physical Activity Challenge which invites Departments to increase staff participation in health and well-being activities. This includes encouraging staff to take part in the Charity for Civil Servants virtual walking challenge which runs from 10 September to 29 October 2012.

The Department also has a sports and recreational association, shared with the Department for Transport and its Executive agencies. This association operates in the interest of the sporting and recreational needs of staff. Staff pay to become members. It helps to promote a healthier lifestyle by allowing staff access to affiliated sports and social clubs.

Regional Pay

Stephen Gilbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps his Department has taken to introduce regional pay since 20 March 2012; and if he will make a statement. [111548]

Robert Neill: I refer my hon. Friend to the opposition debate on regional pay on 20 June 2012, Official Report, column 937-86.

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the (a) highest, (b) median, (c) median full-time equivalent and (d) lowest full-time equivalent salary was paid by (i) his Department and (ii) its public bodies in (A) 2010-11, (B) 2011-12 and (C) 2012-13. [112479]

Robert Neill: I refer the hon. Member to the pay multiples section of my Department's Annual Report and Accounts 2011-12, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House.

The lowest full-time equivalent salary was £20,000 to £24,999 in 2010-11 and £15,000 to £19,999 in 2011-12. The reason for the change is that some staff transferred in from the former regional development agencies (as part of the new arrangements for strengthened administration and oversight of the European Regional Development Fund) on salaries lower than the previous minimum in the Department.

Figures are not available for 2012-13 as we are only two pay months into the financial year. Data are not held centrally for the Department's Executive agencies or non-departmental public bodies.

Private Rented Housing: Landlords

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he plans to make any changes to guidance on the responsibilities of private landlords to their tenants. [114814]

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Andrew Stunell: In August 2011, a package of guidance for both landlords and tenants was placed on my Department's website:

http://www.communities.gov.uk/housing/privaterentedhousing/

The guidance covered the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords in the private rented sector, and has recently been updated to take account of the amendments to the tenancy deposit protection legislation which came into effect on 6 April this year. We do not have any plans to make further changes to this guidance at the present time.

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance his Department has issued on protecting tenants from private landlords who do not respond to complaints; and whether his Department records the number of complaints against individual private landlords. [114816]

Andrew Stunell: The current legislative framework provides strong protections for tenants in the private rented sector, and local authorities have extensive powers to take action against landlords letting poor quality or badly managed properties through the Housing Act 2004. The package of guidance for both landlords and tenants on my Department's website explains what tenants should do if a landlord refuses to repair or properly maintain a property.

Complaints about individual landlords should be directed to the relevant local authority, and my Department does not collect figures on the number of such complaints.

Renewable Energy: Planning Policy

Mark Lancaster: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of whether the guidance contained in the document, Planning for Renewable Energy: A Companion Guide to Planning Policy Statement 22, published by the Office of the Deputy Prime Minister, remains valid. [113789]

Robert Neill: This guidance has not been cancelled but with the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework it is now out of date in part. The Government is considering what underpinning guidance is needed to support implementation of policies in the framework. Until such time as the guidance review is complete, existing guidance, where relevant, can still be used.

Social Rented Housing

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the evidential basis is for his Department's finding that 34,000 households with incomes of over £60,000 are living in social housing; and if he will make a statement. [114145]

Grant Shapps [holding answer 28 June 2012]: The estimated number of social tenants with incomes over £60,000 is based on two surveys, the English Housing Survey (data for 2008-09 and 2009-10) and the

3 July 2012 : Column 619W

Department for Work and Pensions' Family Resources Survey 2008-09. Almost 10,000 households living in the social rented sector were sampled in total. Incomes over £60,000 are relatively uncommon in the social sector so comparatively few respondents met these criteria. The range of households with incomes above this level, between 12,000 and 34,000, is therefore our best estimate of the actual number of high income tenants.

Datasets from both surveys are deposited at the UK Data Archive and are available to external users.

Social Rented Housing: Armed Forces

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to his Department's press release of 11 November 2011, entitled House hunting heroes in Government's sights, how many service personnel have subsequently been moved position on housing waiting lists by councils. [114254]

Grant Shapps [holding answer 28 June 2012]: The Department does not collect this information.

We have finished consulting on plans to change the law, by regulation, so that former service personnel with urgent housing needs are always given 'additional preference' (i.e. high priority) for social housing, and that service personnel who move from base- to-base do not lose their qualification rights.

Following consultation, we intend to extend these provisions to bereaved spouses and civil partners of service personnel and to members of the Reserve Forces who have been seriously injured. We will bring the new regulations into force as soon as possible.

On 29 June we issued new statutory social housing allocations guidance for councils—setting out how their allocation schemes can give priority to armed forces families, including through the use of local preference criteria and local lettings policies.

The new guidance and regulations are an important part of the Government's commitment to make the social housing system more flexible and responsive, to get the best out of our 4 million social homes, and to make the system fairer for all.

Defence

Armed Forces Covenant

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions Ministers in his Department have had with Ministers in the (a) Home Office and (b) Department for Work and Pensions on protection for service people as defined in section 343A of the Armed Forces Act 2011. [114853]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 2 July 2012]: Ministers from both Departments are members of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on the Armed Forces Covenant, which meets regularly to consider how to ensure that service personnel are not disadvantaged compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services.

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Armed Forces Pay Review Body

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost was to his Department of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body in the latest period for which figures are available. [114475]

Mr Robathan: The cost to the Ministry of Defence of the Armed Forces Pay Review Body (AFPRB) for financial year 2011-12 was £83,550. This represents the daily rates paid to members of the review body. Their travel and subsistence costs are borne by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, through the Office of Manpower Economics.

Armed Forces: Bullying

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many cases of bullying and harassment have been sent to the Service Complaints Commissioner by disabled members of the armed forces in the last 12 months. [114562]

Mr Robathan: This information is not held in the format requested. The Service Complaints Commissioner's Report for 2011 has been placed in the Library of the House and states that 100 potential service complaints for bullying and harassment were submitted during that year. However, the figures do not distinguish between able bodied and disabled complainants.

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many cases of bullying and harassment have been lodged via the redress of complaint system by disabled members of the armed forces in the last 12 months. [114563]

Mr Robathan: The information is not held in the format requested. None of the services holds a central record of complaints specifically submitted by disabled service personnel, nor are complainants required to disclose any disability when submitting a service complaint.

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence in how many cases an assisting officer has been withheld from a soldier wishing to make a complaint of bullying and harassment in the latest period for which figures are available. [114477]

Mr Robathan: During calendar year 2011, there were a total of 493 Service complaints submitted to the Army, of which 228 related to allegations of bullying or harassment. Of the overall total, 94 complainants did not receive an assisting officer, of which 88 formally confirmed that they did not require one.

Information is being sought on whether any of the six cases without an assisting officer were complaints of bullying and harassment and, if so, to establish whether an assisting officer was refused. I will write to the hon. Member when this is received.

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) under what circumstances an assisting officer would not be offered to a soldier wishing to make a complaint of bullying and harassment; [114479]

3 July 2012 : Column 621W

(2) what his policy is on when an assisting officer should be offered to a soldier wishing to make a complaint of bullying and harassment. [114480]

Mr Robathan: Any officer or soldier wishing to make a complaint about bullying or harassment is entitled, if they wish, to an assisting officer who will help them to prepare their service complaint. They should be offered this support prior to submitting a service complaint, or as soon as the chain of command becomes aware of their wish to submit a service complaint.

A request by an officer or soldier for the support of an assisting officer should not be refused. However, while an individual should always be advised to have an assisting officer, they do not have to have one and the fact that they declined assistance should be recorded.

If the individual making the complaint requests a specific assisting officer, every effort should be made to assign that individual. However, where this is not possible, for instance where a specific assisting officer is deemed unsuitable owing to their proximity to the case, relationship or other valid factors, an alternative assisting officer should be appointed.

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what sanctions are available to a commanding officer when it is found during a redress investigation that a senior NCO, warrant officer or commissioned officer has bullied or harassed a junior soldier; [114854]

(2) what sanctions are available to a commanding officer when it is found during a redress investigation that a senior NCO, warrant officer or commissioned officer has attempted pressurising a witness during an investigation. [114855]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 2 July 2012]: It is a fundamental responsibility of a Commanding Officer to protect personnel from harassment and intimidation. A Commanding Officer has a range of disciplinary and administrative actions available to him/her should it be found that a senior NCO, warrant officer or commissioned officer has bullied or harassed a junior soldier or attempted to pressurise a witness during an investigation. Any action taken against an individual would reflect the nature, seriousness and frequency of the offence and could range from warnings through to discharge.

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many cases of bullying and harassment have been lodged via the redress of complaint system by disabled members of the armed forces posted to the Parachute Training Support Unit at RAF Brize Norton in the last 12 months; [114560]

(2) how many cases of bullying and harassment have been lodged via the redress of complaint system by disabled members of the armed forces attached to 2nd Infantry Training Battalion, Catterick in the last 12 months. [114561]

Mr Robathan: This information is not held in the format requested. While we might be aware of individual cases where members of the armed forces who are disabled have submitted complaints, none of the services hold a central record of complaints specifically submitted

3 July 2012 : Column 622W

by disabled service personnel. Nor are complainants required to disclose any disability when submitting a service complaint.

Armed Forces: Disability Living Allowance

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions to ensure that no service person loses payment for injury as a result of changes to the disability living allowance. [114481]

Mr Robathan: Ministers of the Department of Work and Pensions and I have agreed to work together to ensure that the particular needs of those seriously injured as a result of service are considered and met. Ministry of Defence officials continue to work closely with colleagues in the Department for Work and Pensions to ensure this commitment is delivered.

Armed Forces: Malaria

Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment his Department has made of the suitability of mefloquine hydrochloride as anti-malaria medication for service personnel, with particular reference to side-effects; what information his Department holds on US policy on this matter; and if he will make a statement. [113671]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 28 June 2012]: The Ministry of Defence malaria prevention policy is closely aligned to United Kingdom national advice. It is kept under continual review and includes consideration of the varied drugs used for chemoprophylaxis. While there has not been a specific recent assessment of the suitability of mefloquine hydrochloride as anti-malaria medication for service personnel, including side-effects, there has not been a specific assessment of the suitability of any other drug either.

Mefloquine is a licensed and extremely effective drug at preventing malaria; it is used by the military in many (but not all) parts of the world where British troops deploy. There is currently no evidence that United Kingdom service personnel are at a particular increased risk from adverse drug events related to mefloquine use for chemoprophylaxis. If compelling evidence is produced from the body of global scientific evidence regarding the use of mefloquine then it is likely that the UK licence would be reviewed and advice from the Advisory Committee on Malaria Prevention (ACMP) would change.

The UK ACMP, whose membership comprises national experts on the subject (including the MOD's Defence Consultant Adviser in Communicable Diseases), advises on the key elements with respect to choice of drugs for anti-malaria chemoprophylaxis. The ACMP, which was established by the Health Protection Agency, is the authoritative source of guidance in the United Kingdom.

The UK Defence Medical Services have a close working relationship with colleagues in the US armed forces, and we are aware of current US practice in theatre regarding this matter.

3 July 2012 : Column 623W

Armed Forces: Offenders

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many former prisoners who have received a custodial sentence have been recruited into the armed forces in each of the last three years. [114791]

Mr Robathan: Custodial sentences over 30 months (considered unspent) are a permanent bar to recruitment into the armed forces.

The number of former prisoners who have received a custodial sentence of less than 30 months that have been recruited into the armed forces in each of the last three years is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Armed Forces: Postal Services

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many complaints Ministers in his Department have received about goods damaged by the postal service system used to deliver from the UK to Afghanistan; [114465]

(2) how many parcels sent from the UK to armed forces personnel in Afghanistan have been found damaged on arrival in the latest period for which figures are available. [114466]

Nick Harvey: Since May 2010, two complaints have been received by Defence Ministers about parcels being damaged in transit for delivery to armed forces personnel on operations in Afghanistan.

There is no business requirement to hold information about the number of parcels that may have been damaged during transit from the UK to armed forces personnel on deployment in Afghanistan.

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what steps are taken to check packages sent from the UK to forces personnel in Afghanistan before they are sent; [114469]

(2) what proportion of packages sent from the UK to forces personnel in Afghanistan were checked in advance of their arrival in the latest period for which figures are available; [114470]

(3) what his policy is on checking or screening packages sent from the UK to forces personnel in Afghanistan; [114471]

(4) whether the postal services system being used from the UK to forces personnel serving in Afghanistan differs from that used from the UK to forces personnel serving in Iraq. [114472]

Nick Harvey: All mail sent to Afghanistan through the British Forces Post Office is X-rayed as a guard against the carriage of dangerous and/or prohibited items. This security procedure is carried out both in the UK and in Afghanistan.

In addition, mail bags are electronically monitored to ensure they are delivered and test letters are regularly sent to assess the time taken for mail to arrive in theatre.

Armed Forces: Uniforms

Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) which units in the Army are permitted to

3 July 2012 : Column 624W

wear sabretaches in full dress; who manufactures the sabretaches; and what the unit cost is of the manufacture of the sabretaches; [114784]

(2) when the wearing of sabretaches was sanctioned by the Army Dress Committee. [114792]

Mr Robathan: Sabretaches are no longer an official item of dress and they are not provided at public expense.

The wearing of sabretaches by the British light cavalry started in the late 18th century, but it is clear from the 1911 British Army Dress Regulations that sabretaches were no longer provided at public expense by that time. Neither the War Office Dress Committee, which first met in 1946, nor the Army Dress Committee that succeeded it, have authorised any regiment or corps to wear sabretaches since 1945. However, we are aware that some regiments have, on occasion, worn sabretaches for commemorative parades; this is acceptable providing they are of the correct regimental pattern and historically accurate.

Armed Forces: Young People

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to Defence Reform, what assessment he has made of the value for money of taking recruits into the armed forces at 16 rather than 18 years old; and what evidential basis his Department used to conclude recruiting at 16 rather than 18 years old represented good value for money. [114824]

Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence takes pride in the fact that our armed forces provide challenging and constructive education, training and employment opportunities for young people equipping them with valuable and transferable skills. The minimum age at which individuals may join the armed forces remains at 16 years. There are no plans to change this.

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will assess whether 16 and 17-year-old recruits in the Army receive the same level of education and transferable skills that they would receive had they stayed on in mainstream education. [114825]

Mr Robathan: All 16 and 17-year-old recruits in the Army attending either the Army Foundation College Harrogate or the Army Technical Foundation College Winchester receive a coherent education package that focuses largely on improving their level of functional skills, including literacy and numeracy to at least Level 1.

At the Army Foundation College Harrogate, all soldiers are enrolled on a Level 2 Apprenticeship for Information Technology. At the Army Technical Foundation College Winchester, the focus is to set in place the academic foundation that the recruits will need in order to succeed at their chosen apprenticeship, such as engineering or mechanics. All of these skills are transferable.

In addition to this, the Common Military Syllabus includes a range of subjects such as first aid, map reading and values and standards. Recruits also receive training and education that is designed to build the foundations of leadership and emphasises skills such as communication, team work and problem-solving, all of which are transferable skills.

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We aim for all Army personnel to have reached at least Level 1 in literacy and numeracy within three years of enlistment and all Army personnel continue to follow a programme of personal improvement throughout their career.

Army: Redundancy

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many soldiers in each (a) regiment, (b) Battalion and (c) other unit based at Merville Barracks, Colchester have been made (i) compulsorily and (ii) voluntarily redundant in the current round of job losses in HM Armed Forces. [113647]

Nick Harvey: The Army operates a compulsory redundancy programme, however individuals may apply to be considered for redundancy in accordance with the scheme.

The following table shows the numbers of personnel selected for redundancy in Tranche 2 of the Army redundancy programme announced on 12 June 2012 and covers both applicants and non-applicants.

UnitNumber

13 Air Assault Support Regiment Royal Logistic Corps

30

156 Provost Company, Royal Military Police

*

16 Medical Regiment

5

2(nd) Battalion the Parachute Regiment

*

216 Signals Squadron

5

3(rd) Battalion the Parachute Regiment

15

7(th) Parachute Regiment Royal Horse Artillery

*

Note: It is not possible to split these numbers between applicants and non-applicants for data protection reasons. In accordance with usual practice, numbers have been withheld where they are below five which is denoted by ‘*’.

It is very important to understand that the selection of an individual for redundancy does not imply that the post they occupy on the notification date is no longer required. In many instances, posts will be refilled as redundees leave. This is because individuals were selected using specific selection criteria; their posts were not selected.

In addition, service personnel move between posts and locations regularly, and the location at which they will be serving on their exit date may be different from that at which they were notified. Even where units are disestablished, sites may be reused for other purposes (such as the relocation of Army units from Germany) under Defence Transformation. For these reasons, neither the geographical distribution of notices nor the units within which individuals were serving when notified for redundancy provide a valid basis for assumptions about the location of future military posts, or the impact on local economies.

Australia

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the (a) Army, (b) Royal Navy and (c) Royal Air Force have left to join the Australian armed forces in each of the last five years. [114830]

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Mr Robathan: The information is not held. Once a member of the armed forces leaves the services no record is maintained of their subsequent employers.

Consultants

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the annual expenditure of his Department was on external consultants from (a) UK and (b) overseas (i) academic and (ii) private research institutions in each of the last five years. [114242]

Mr Robathan: The information is not held in the format requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Ministry of Defence expenditure on external consultants has previously been published annually in the Library of the House and from 2011, as part of the UK Defence Statistics at:

http://www.dasa.mod.uk/modintranet/UKDS/UKDS2011/c1/trans_sup.php

Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the (a) ferry range, (b) combat radius and (c) combat range is of the (i) Joint Strike Fighter B and (ii) Joint Strike Fighter C. [111571]

Peter Luff: The combat radius of the F35B is 450 nautical miles and the F35C, 600 nautical miles.

The ferry range for the F35B is 1,000 nautical miles and for the F35C it is 1,500 nautical miles.

The combat range for the two variants will be between the aircraft's combat radius and ferry range and is dependent on the configuration of the aircraft for the combat mission flown.

NATO

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what agreements were reached with other NATO countries during the recent Chicago Summit in respect of the pooling of capacities and the joint replacement of assets. [114420]

Mr Gerald Howarth: As set out in the Chicago Summit Declaration on Defence Capabilities

http://www.nato.int/cps/en/SID-2233ABBD-2F923365/natolive/official_texts_87594.htm

NATO endorsed a number of multinational capability projects under the Smart Defence banner, declared an interim Ballistic Missile Defence capability, launched an initiative to improve Joint Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance, and extended NATO's Air Policing mission in the Baltic. The summit also gave a renewed emphasis to the importance of collective training and exercising through the Connected Forces Initiative.

Nuclear Submarines: Fires

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what fires have taken place on UK (a) nuclear-powered and (b) nuclear-powered and nuclear-armed submarines since 1 January 1987. [113754]

3 July 2012 : Column 627W

Peter Luff: Due to the nature of submarine operations, meticulous records are kept of all fire safety incidents, irrespective of how minor. Incidents recorded in the 25 years since 1 January 1987 are as follows:

243 small scale fires that were categorised as a localised fire, such as a minor electrical fault creating smoke, dealt with quickly and effectively using minimal onboard resources. 67 of these were on ballistic missile submarines.

20 medium scale fires that were generally categorised as a localised fire, such as a failure of mechanical equipment creating smoke and flame, requiring use of significant onboard resources. Six of these were on ballistic missile submarines.

In addition, three fires occurred while the submarines involved were in naval bases, requiring both ship and external resources. One of these was on a ballistic missile submarine.

Information on whether ballistic missile submarines were armed with nuclear weapons when the fires occurred is not held in the format requested.

Regional Pay

Stephen Gilbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps his Department has taken to introduce regional pay since 20 March 2012; and if he will make a statement. [111535]

Mr Robathan: I refer the hon. Member to the opposition debate on regional pay on 20 June 2012, Official Report, column 937-86. No decision has yet been taken by the Ministry of Defence.

Publications

Jonathan Ashworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many publications have been issued by his Department since May 2010; and what the title was of each such publication. [114168]

Mr Robathan: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) has a central contract with Corporate Document Services (CDS) for the provision of printing services. The contract covers a range of printed material in both paper and other materials using all forms of printing methods and technology. The contract is the primary route for Royal Navy, Army, Royal Air Force and other departmental printing requirements. The contract covers production of technical publications, periodicals, magazines, forms, business cards, CD/DVD duplication, signage, scanning and microfiche services and internet services. Each year around 70,000 printing orders including publications are placed through the CDS contract. Identifying the title of each publication would require line by line examination of records and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

The former Central Office of Information (COI) also managed some printing activity in the past on the Department's behalf. These publications included Army and RAF recruitment activity involving the production of leaflets and posters.

RAF Brize Norton: Disability

Mr Jim Murphy: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department spent on providing disabled access at RAF Brize Norton for the (a) Sergeants' Mess and (b) offices of the Parachute Training Support Unit in the latest period for which figures are available. [114476]

3 July 2012 : Column 628W

Mr Robathan: The costs for providing disabled access for the Sergeants' Mess and the associated single living accommodation block have been in the region of £35,000. The cost for providing disabled access to offices and access roads of the Parachute Training Support Unit have been in the region of £18,000.

In addition, disabled access has been provided to a number of other areas on the station to which based or transiting disabled Service personnel would require regular use. These include Gateway House which was fitted with two fully equipped disabled rooms, the Main Gate visitors' room and the gym.

Overall cost to provide disabled access to all of the above areas of RAF Brize Norton has been estimated to be around £198,000.

Justice

Scottish Justice Cabinet Secretary

20. John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he last had discussions with the Cabinet Secretary for Justice in the Scottish Government. [114736]

Mr Kenneth Clarke: I have regular exchanges with Kenny MacAskill on a variety of topics. We will meet as necessary in the course of departmental business, but I have met him several times when he has attended meetings of the European Council of Justice Ministers.

Civil Proceedings

21. Yasmin Qureshi: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what evidential basis he used to support his decision to introduce closed material procedures in civil proceedings. [114738]

Mr Kenneth Clarke: The justice and security Green Paper gave a figure of 27 cases which were posing difficulties on account of relevant sensitive information. There are now estimated to be 29 live cases which fall into this category. The Government believe that CMPs are proportionate, and targeted at dealing with this specific problem. The settlement of the civil damages claims brought by former Guantanamo Bay detainees is an example of the inadequacies of the Public Interest Immunity system in dealing with cases involving large volumes of sensitive material.

Whiplash Claims

22. David Mowat: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what comparative assessment he has made of the number of whiplash claims in the courts in (a) England and Wales, (b) France and (c) Germany. [114739]

Mr Djanogly: We have not conducted any such assessments. However, we are aware of studies that indicate the rate in England and Wales is significantly higher than elsewhere. Increases in whiplash claims when there are fewer reported road traffic accidents are totally unacceptable. The Government will consult this summer on measures to tackle the cost of whiplash claims to individuals, families and businesses.

Prisoners: Training and Education

Claire Perry: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills on improving

3 July 2012 : Column 629W

training and skills of adult prisoners to improve their employment chances after the end of their sentence and reduce the risk of reoffending. [114733]

Mr Blunt: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to my hon. Friends, the Member for Rugby (Mark Pawsey) and Member for Blackpool North and Cleveleys (Paul Maynard), earlier today.

I worked closely with the Minister for skills for the Department of Business Innovation and Skills during the preparation of the new offender learning strategy published last year, and officials from both Departments have worked closely on implementation. I fully recognise the importance of learning and training in making prisoners more employable and my officials and I are also working with the DWP to provide enhanced employment support via the Work programme.

Community Orders

Caroline Dinenage: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent assessment he has made of the operation of community payback; and if he will make a statement. [114772]

Mr Blunt: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Rugby (Mark Pawsey) earlier today.

The Green Paper “Breaking the Cycle” contained proposals relating to community payback, which have been confirmed by the Government. Plans are in place to implement these changes and the results of the first competition, to administer community payback in London, will be announced very shortly. My assessment is that this competition, and the preparation for competition in all other trusts, has substantially improved all elements of operational delivery.

Mr Rob Wilson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many community payback schemes have taken place in (a) England, (b) the south-east region and (c) Reading East constituency in each of the last five years. [114827]

Mr Blunt: The community payback scheme is currently delivered by probation trusts in England and Wales. The number of community payback work projects completed each year is not recorded by the National Offender Management Service. Thames Valley Probation Trust has informed officials that 15 community payback work projects have been completed in the Reading East constituency since July 2010. Records prior to this date are not available.

Dangerous Driving

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what representations he has received from (a) individuals and (b) organisations on the extent to which the system of justice in cases of death and injury by careless or dangerous driving reflects the effect of such offences on victims. [114756]

Mr Blunt: Since June 2011 the Ministry of Justice has received a number of letters from individuals directly and via their Members of Parliament on the subject of sentencing for causing death by careless or inconsiderate driving.

3 July 2012 : Column 630W

The Ministry of Justice has also received a letter from British Cycling of 1 June 2012 relating to a review of the criminal justice system to better protect road users.

EU Justice and Home Affairs

Lorely Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice which EU measures formerly under the third pillar have not yet been implemented by his Department; when such measures are expected to be implemented; and if he will make a statement. [114080]

Mr Kenneth Clarke: Of the measures for which my Department has responsibility and were adopted under the former third pillar, five have not yet been implemented or not yet implemented fully. These are:

Council Framework Decision 2009/948/JHA of 30 November 2009 on prevention and settlement of conflicts of exercise of jurisdiction in criminal proceedings.

Council Framework Decision 2008/947/JHA on the application of the principle of mutual recognition to judgments and probation decisions with a view to the supervision of probation measures and alternative sanctions.

Council Framework Decision 2009/829/JHA of 23 October 2009 on the application, between member states of the European Union, of the principle of mutual recognition of decisions on supervision measures as an alternative to provisional detention.

Council Framework Decision 2009/299/JHA of 26 February 2009 amending Framework Decisions 2002/584/JHA, 2005/514/JHA, 2006/783/JHA, 2008/909/JHA and 2008/947/JHA, thereby enhancing the procedural rights of persons and fostering the application of the principle of mutual recognition to decisions rendered in the absence of the person concerned at the trial.

Agreement on Cooperation in proceedings for Road Traffic Offences and the Enforcement of Financial Penalties Imposed in Respect Thereof: SCH/III (96)25revl8.

The UK must decide, no later than 31 May 2014, whether to accept full European Court of Justice jurisdiction over those EU police and criminal justice measures adopted before 1 December 2009 which have not been amended or replaced. All measures, which fall within that scope, including the five measures above, are currently being reviewed and further implementation is being considered on a case by case basis based on the merits of each individual instrument.

The Government have committed to a vote in both houses on this decision and to conduct consultations on this vote with the European Scrutiny Committees, and the Commons and Lords Home Affairs and Justice Select Committees. We will make an announcement in due course.

Litter: Havering

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) prosecutions were brought and (b) fixed penalty notices were issued in Havering for (i) dog fouling and (ii) dropping litter in each of the last three years. [114649]

Mr Blunt: There have been no reports of proceedings for offences under the Clean Neighbourhoods and Environment Act 2005 in Havering magistrates court for the years 2009 to 2011.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs advise that the number of fixed penalty notices issued by local authorities in the last three years for dog fouling and littering are not held centrally.

3 July 2012 : Column 631W

Mesothelioma: Compensation

Bill Esterson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he expects to announce the terms of reference of the review into support for victims of mesothelioma in respect of claims against former employers and their insurers; and whether he plans to bring forward legislative proposals to ensure adequate protection of this group of claimants. [115042]

Mr Djanogly: As the Under-Secretary of State for Justice, my hon. Friend the Member for Reigate (Mr Blunt), made clear in an adjournment debate on this issue on 26 June 2012, Official Report, column 44WH, the review will not be held for some time. The Government do not consider that it would be right, at this early stage, to set out in more detail the nature of the review itself, until we have more clarity about the likely timetable and the issues for consideration, and indeed the experience of the reformed conditional fee agreement regime from April next year. That said, we will consider the factors raised in that debate when we come to set out the review's terms of reference.

The Department for Work and Pensions is leading on discussions with stakeholders about how to help people who are unable to trace their employers' insurer. It is hoped that an announcement on the way forward will be made before the House rises for summer recess.

Prisoners: Repatriation

Mr Spencer: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for the Home Department on facilitating the removal of foreign national prisoners. [114737]

3 July 2012 : Column 632W

Mr Blunt: I have had a number of discussions with ministerial colleagues, including from the Home Office, about facilitating the removal of foreign national offenders.

We are working hard to reduce the foreign national offender population in the UK. For example, staff in the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) and the UK Border Agency are working together more closely to make sure foreign national offenders are removed at the earliest point in time. We are also working towards compulsory prisoner transfer agreements with a number of countries and we are improving NOMS' communication with foreign national offenders who are eligible for voluntary return to increase removals this way.

Protection of Badgers Act 1992

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many people were prosecuted under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992 in each of the last five years; and how many of these people received a custodial sentence; [114650]

(2) how many people were prosecuted for dog fighting in each of the last five years; and how many of these people received a custodial sentence; [114651]

(3) how many people were prosecuted for possessing a dangerous dog in each of the last five years; and how many of these people received a custodial sentence. [114652]

Mr Blunt: The number of persons proceeded against at magistrates courts and sentenced to immediate custody at all courts for offences under the Protection of Badgers Act 1992, offences of animal fighting and possessing a dangerous dog, in England and Wales from 2007 to 2011, can be viewed in the table.

From data held centrally on the Ministry of Justice Court Proceedings Database it is not possible to identify the type of animal involved in offences of animal fighting.

Number of persons proceeded against at magistrates court and sentenced to immediate custody at all courts for selected offences, England and Wales, 2007-11(1,2)
 20072008(3)200920102011
Statute and offenceProceeded againstImmediate custodyProceeded againstImmediate custodyProceeded againstImmediate custodyProceeded againstImmediate custodyProceeded againstImmediate custody

Protection of Badgers Act 1992

30

1

37

2

50

10

50

13

58

8

Animal Welfare Act 2006—Animal fighting

5

2

16

5

3

1

16

5

Dangerous Dogs Act 1991—Possessing a dangerous dog

16

2

21

1

28

1

47

38

(1) The figures given in the table relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe. (2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used. (3) Excludes data for Cardiff magistrates court for April, July and August 2008. Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services—Ministry of Justice

Publications

Jonathan Ashworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) publications, (b) consultation documents and (c) circulars have been issued by his Department since May 2010; and what the title was of each such publication, consultation document or circular. [114177]

3 July 2012 : Column 633W

Mr Kenneth Clarke: Since May 2010 my Department, including its agencies HMCTS, NOMS and OPG, has published:

(a) 149 publications, and a detailed list is available at:

www.justice.gov.uk/publications

(b) 37 consultation documents, available at:

https://consult.justice.gov.uk/; and

(c) 10 circulars, available at:

www.justice.gov.uk/legislation/bills-and-acts/circulars

Regulation

Gordon Banks: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what regulations his Department introduced between 1 February and 31 May 2012; and at what cost to the public purse. [114966]

Mr Djanogly: Between 1 February and 31 May 2012, the Ministry of Justice has laid no statutory instruments which have regulatory impact.

Social Security Benefits: Appeals

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps his Department is taking to increase capacity to deal with social security and child support appeals at hearing venues in Coventry. [115024]

Mr Djanogly: I refer the hon. Member to my answer of 2 July 2012, Official Report, column 461W.

The average waiting time from receipt to disposal for all SSCS benefits during the period April 2011 to March 2012 (the latest period for which statistics have been published) was 23.16 weeks nationally and 37.24 weeks in Coventry. After increasing in the first nine months of the year, the average time from receipt to disposal in Coventry has reduced from 45.43 weeks in January 2012 to 41.57 weeks in March 2012.

Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has implemented a number of measures to bring down the average waiting time for an appeal hearing in Coventry. Additional venue capacity was brought into use in December 2011 and HMCTS is working to identify further suitable venues. Work is also under way to reassess the area which is served by the Coventry venue, to examine whether certain appeals which would currently be heard at the Coventry venue can be heard in other nearby HMCTS estate.

This is in addition to the measures being implemented nationally to increase the capacity of the SSCS tribunal and reduce waiting times, which include recruiting more judges and medical panel members; increasing administrative resources; increasing the number of cases listed in each tribunal session; running double shifts in its largest processing centre; setting up a customer contact centre to deal with telephone inquiries and the review and continuous improvement of business processes.

These measures are having a positive effect. The total number of disposals has increased significantly from 279,000 in 2009-10 to 433,600 in 2011-12, with the capacity for half a million disposals in 2012-13. Disposals outstripped receipts for the 14 months between January 2011 and February 2012 and the number of cases waiting to be heard fell by 25% in 2011-12. Waiting times are stabilising nationally and HMCTS is working

3 July 2012 : Column 634W

as a matter of priority to reduce them further, in particular in areas where they remain longer than we would wish.

Squatting

Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) whether he has any plans to carry out a cost-benefit analysis of the squatting provisions of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 in respect of their effects on the cost of policing and number of instances of squatting; [113571]

(2) what representations he has received from police forces on the squatting provisions of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 since it received Royal Assent; [113572]

(3) what steps he plans to take to measure the effectiveness of the squatting provisions of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. [113573]

Mr Blunt: We will monitor the impact of the new offence and conduct formal post-legislative scrutiny within three to five years of Royal Assent. We have not received any direct representations from police forces since Royal Assent but my officials are working with the Home Office and ACPO to discuss what training and guidance might be required to facilitate enforcement.

Young Offenders: Sentencing

Nick de Bois: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many (a) young offenders and (b) juvenile offenders received sentences of (i) 10 years or more, (ii) 18 years or more and (iii) life in (A) 2009, (B) 2010 and (C) 2011. [114773]

Mr Blunt: The number of offenders sentenced to immediate custody, by age group and sentence length in England and Wales from 2009 to 2011 can be viewed in the following table:

Defendants sentenced to immediate custody(1) by age group and sentence length, England and Wales, 2009 to 2011(2, 3), England and Wales
Defendants
Age groupCustody length200920102011

Juveniles(4)

10 years and up to 18 years

4

4

2

 

18 years and over

1

0

0

 

Life

50

60

44

     

Young offenders(5)

10 years and up to 18 years

26

24

32

 

18 years and over

4

1

4

 

Life

180

151

105

(1 )Includes: sentences imposed under sections 90-92 of the Powers of Criminal Courts (Sentencing) Act 2000; indeterminate sentence for public protection; extended sentence for public protection; detention and training orders; young offenders institute; and unsuspended imprisonment. (2 )The figures given in the table on court proceedings relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe. (3 )Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used. (4 )Includes those between 10 and 17 years of age. (5 )Includes those between 18 and 20 years of age. Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services—Ministry of Justice.

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Business, Innovation and Skills

Assisted Areas: Northern Ireland

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills with reference to the written ministerial statement of 28 June 2011, on Government response to consultation on revisions to the Industrial Development Act 1982, how much businesses in Northern Ireland have received under the assisted area status scheme in the latest year for which figures are available; and what estimate he has made of the effect in monetary terms of his proposal to end automatic 100% assisted area status for Northern Ireland. [115080]

Mr Prisk: Economic development and regional aid spending is a devolved matter and as such the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has not made an estimate in monetary terms of the impact of removing Northern Ireland's 100% automatic assisted area status. Reduced coverage for Northern Ireland would mean that regional aid is more restricted geographically but would not in itself mean that Northern Ireland would be able to give less regional aid. Once the UK Government have consulted on the assisted areas map for the UK and it is agreed with the European Commission, it will be for the Northern Ireland Government to decide how much regional aid is given in line with the regional aid guidelines in force.

Business

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what progress has been made on his Department's initiative to recruit business mentors. [114659]

Mr Prisk: Get Mentoring is a Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative (SFEDI-led) project supported by grant funding (from both BIS and the Government Equalities Office,) to recruit and train 15,000 volunteer business mentors from the small and medium-sized enterprise (SME) community.

We are encouraged by the great response from the business community to the national mentoring recruitment drive. Over 12,000 volunteer business mentors have signed up to the Get Mentoring initiative since November 2011 and more than 7,000 of them have already completed training. This is a great achievement to help create a valuable business resource that has not been available before.

Business: Essex

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many businesses in (a) Witham constituency and (b) Essex have participated in the business mentor scheme. [114661]

Mr Prisk: Over 12,000 volunteers have now been recruited through the Get Mentoring scheme, which is led by Small Firms Enterprise Development Initiative (SFEDI). More than 7,000 of these volunteers have already completed training—around 8% of whom are based in the East of England/Essex. This estimate is only approximate and based on the location of the

3 July 2012 : Column 636W

workshop they attended so does not include those who have completed their training via online or distance learning. We do not currently have the data to ascertain how many were recruited from Witham constituency specifically.

Volunteer mentors recruited and trained through Get Mentoring are deployed via the mentoring organisations on mentorsme.co.uk, the national mentoring portal or mentor businesses within their own networks. It is too early yet to provide robust data on the number of businesses being mentored by Get Mentoring volunteers. We do not have data to say how many mentoring relationships have been developed and therefore how many businesses have benefitted as a result of mentorsme.

At the start of 2011 it is estimated that there were around 475,000 private sector enterprises in the East of England. Based on results from the Small Business Survey 2010 it is estimated that around 40,000 (8.5%) of these would have used a business mentor during the preceding 12 months.

EU Grants and Loans

Lorely Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much of the funding under heading 1A of the EU Budget, Competitiveness for growth and employment, was spent in the UK in each of the last 10 years; and if he will make a statement. [114224]

Norman Lamb: Programmes under heading 1A competitiveness for growth and employment are structured differently and not all funds come though the Government's accounts. BIS does not hold information on the draw down of funds from the EU that have been spent in the UK where we are not the managing authority or where the money is competitively bid for by individuals, academic institutions or business. (Information on public sector receipts by fund, and not by budget headings, are centrally held.) As a result we do not have information on how much of the EU Budget 2002-12 has been spent in the UK under heading 1A.

However, the majority of the heading is made up of the framework programme for research and innovation on which we do hold some indicative figures. For contracts signed in the four-year period of FP6 (2002-06) UK organisations would have received a maximum of €2.38 billion which is 14.2% of the total commission funding to FP6.

For grant agreements signed in FP7 (2007 to date) UK organisations are likely to receive a maximum of €3.73 billion, which is 14.7% of the total commission funding allocated to date for FP7.

Data source:

EC FP6 contracts and participants' database, released on 2 June 2008 and EC FP7 grant agreements and participants' database, released on 28 February 2012.

Higher Education

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills whether due diligence checks assess the international business activities of applicants for designated course status. [115004]

3 July 2012 : Column 637W

Mr Willetts: The due diligence checks that are now undertaken as part of the higher education course designation process take account of a range of factors and include consideration of public information on known international business activities of applicant organisations.

As set out in the Government Response to the White Paper consultation we will be reviewing the existing student support course designation system for alternative providers to include more robust and transparent requirements on quality assurance, financial sustainability and management and governance.

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills with reference to the answer from the Minister of State for Universities and Science on 23 April 2012, Official Report, column 735W, on the higher education, if he will assess the change in range and type of organisations applying for designated higher education course status in the last 12 months. [115055]

Mr Willetts: In the last 12 months the overall volume of applications has increased and an increasing proportion have been from applicants seeking designation for the first time.

We have introduced the due diligence checks to provide both the Department and potential students with additional assurance over the providers who as a result of designation could potentially be in indirect receipt of public funds.

Higher Education: Admissions

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many English applicants he expects will not secure a place at English universities for courses starting in September 2012. [115019]

Mr Willetts: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills does not forecast the number of applicants from England who will not get a place. The number of unsuccessful applicants 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 will be repeated this year.

Insolvency: Bexley

Mr Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many businesses registered in Bexleyheath and Crayford constituency failed in the last year for which figures are available. [114989]

Mr Hurd: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Cabinet Office.

The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, dated July 2012:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question concerning how many businesses registered in Bexleyheath and Crayford constituency failed in the last year for which figures are available. [114989]

3 July 2012 : Column 638W

Annual statistics on the number of enterprise deaths are available from 2002 onwards in the ONS release on Business Demography at:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/bus-register/business-demography/2010/index.html

The following table contains the latest statistics, which show the number of enterprise deaths in the constituency of Bexleyheath and Crayford for 2010.

Count of enterprises deaths in the constituency of Bexleyheath and Crayford for 2010
 Number

Bexleyheath and Crayford

380

Note: The above count has been rounded to the nearest 5.

Mental Health

John Pugh: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to promote good mental health and well-being in his Department. [114620]

Norman Lamb: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) takes the health and well-being of its employees very seriously and has a number of measures in place to promote good mental health and well-being. These include policies and guidance specifically targeted at promoting mental health and well-being within the Department, as well as a variety of wider measures that contribute to this agenda. These include the following:

Creating a culture of openness and support

BIS wants all of its employees to feel safe to discuss mental health problems without fear of stigma, harassment or isolation. We provide guidance for individuals and line managers on our intranet pages in order to raise their awareness of mental health and other well-being issues and to provide support and information when needed. This guidance covers a range of health and well-being issues, including health fact sheets on a variety of mental health conditions. This is supported by an annual 'wellbeing week' (usually in November), during which we run a series of workshops, events and seminars on various aspects of well-being.

BIS employees all have access to our Employee Assistance Programme, a dedicated information and counselling support service. In addition the Department has a Disability Advisory Group, which includes a sub-group specifically dedicated to mental health issues. BIS also has a medical adviser, who helps the Department to consider reasonable adjustments for employees when required and makes suggestions as to things which might make it easier for them to carry out their duties.

Promoting a good work/life balance

BIS offers a range of flexible working options to help its employees to have a healthy and fulfilled life both inside and outside of work. These include home working, part-time working, compressed hours, term time/annualised hours, flexi time and job sharing arrangements. In addition BIS provides paid and unpaid time off to support work-life balance such as career breaks of up to three years, generous maternity, paternity and adoption leave and paid special leave (five days) to cover emergencies such as a breakdown in caring arrangements.

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Job-related support for employees

All BIS staff have access to appropriate training, on-the-job support and are given the opportunity to participate in the department's mentoring scheme. The learning and development offer for all staff includes an e-learning module on equality and diversity, which all employees are strongly encouraged to undertake.

Encouraging good relationships

BIS's work on health and well-being is supported by our values and behaviours, which help to ensure that all staff are clear about what is expected of them and the types of behaviours that the Department considers unacceptable. Many of our policies, for example on discipline, harassment and bullying, also contribute to the mental health and well-being agenda and provide clear signposts and advice for employees who feel they are being harassed or bulled in the workplace.

Measuring mental health and well-being

We have recently conducted a telephone campaign across the Department to increase the proportion of staff who declare their diversity information on our HR system. This will enable us to better assess the impact of our policies on different groups of staff, including those with mental health issues. In addition BIS will be participating in the civil service wide People Survey in October, which will include some new questions aimed at measuring overall well-being across Departments.

Mobile Phones: Fees and Charges

Lorely Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what information his Department holds on the average cost for making or receiving an (a) SMS text message and (b) telephone call whilst in another EU member state in each of the last 10 years to date; and if he will make a statement. [114588]

Mr Vaizey: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

The Department for Culture, Media and Sport holds no information on the average cost of making or receiving an (a) SMS text and (b) telephone calls while in another EU member state.

However Ofcom, the independent national regulator, holds the following data which shows the average cost (in GB pounds) of a call or text incurred across all mobile network operators whilst in another EU member state from 2008 onwards:

 SMSVoice call
 MadeReceivedMadeReceived

2008

0.299

(1)n/a

0.408

0.193

2009

0.146

(1)n/a

0.325

0.137

2010

0.070

(1)n/a

0.321

0.141

2011

0.088

(1)n/a

0.302

0.094

(1) There is no charge for receiving SMS text messages

Money Lenders

Gloria De Piero: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent estimate his Department has made of the level of unscrupulous money lending in (a) the UK, (b) the east midlands, (c) Nottinghamshire and (d) Ashfield. [114891]

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Norman Lamb [holding answer 2 July 2012]: In relation to illegal money lending, there were nearly 500 illegal lenders identified in 2011 in England. Of those identified, 29 were in the east midland region, seven in Nottingham and Nottinghamshire and one in Ashfield.

New Businesses

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 25 June 2012, Official Report, column 148W, on businesses: offices, if he will list each premises which have been identified under the start-up spaces scheme in the first batch by (a) region and (b) location. [115120]

Mr Prisk: The Government Property Unit initially identified a first batch of 20 spaces for the Government's initiative to use appropriate unused and underused Government space for start-up businesses. A further four spaces have since been identified, and these will be added to the current exercise to find providers to manage the spaces and deliver business support to future occupants.

New Businesses: Young People

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 25 June 2012, Official Report, column 150W, on new businesses: young people, which organisations responded to the expressions of interest exercise to identify partners for the start-up loans scheme. [115122]

Mr Prisk: The appraisal and due diligence of expressions of interest to deliver the start-up loans scheme is ongoing and it would not therefore be appropriate at this time to provide details of the organisations that submitted expressions of interest.

Postage Stamps: World War I

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will ask Royal Mail to produce special (a) postage stamps and (b) franking to commemorate the centenary of the first world war between 2014 to 2018; and if he will make a statement. [114837]

Norman Lamb: Operational matters, which include decisions about Royal Mail's commemorative stamps and postmarks, are the direct responsibility of the company's management.

Royal Mail does have a well-established process for choosing its stamp themes and subjects to capture the anniversaries of historical events of national importance. The company's researchers examine all major anniversaries over a five-year period and will consider all ideas proposed by members of the public and organisations.

Royal Mail is currently in the process of finalising the subjects for their 2014 programme and will be making an announcement of these in 2013. The company is very conscious of the significance and importance of the centenary of the first world war and this is being taken into full consideration as their plans for their 2014 programme are finalised.

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Science: Research

Mr Buckland: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate his Department has made of how many people are directly employed in scientific research. [114995]

Mr Willetts: We estimate that in 2010 there were almost 400,000 people employed in the UK in roles relating closely to scientific research (Annual Population Survey, 2010).

There is no single agreed definition of ‘direct employment in scientific research’ in any of the existing classification systems. Various possibilities present themselves for providing estimates of the numbers employed in scientific research, all with their own advantages and disadvantages.

In prioritising shortage occupations for the immigration points-based system (PBS) the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) has defined a list of occupations as “PhD level” jobs. These were defined at the 4-digit level within the Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) system, and cover the following eight SOC codes. Note that it includes all jobs in these codes regardless of whether the individuals themselves hold a PhD or not.

1137—Research and Development Managers

2111—Chemists

2112—Biological Scientists and Research Chemists

2113—Physicists, Geologists and Meteorologists

2311—Higher Education teaching Professionals

2321—Scientific Researchers

2322—Social Science Researchers

2329—Researchers not elsewhere classified.

We have taken the numbers employed in these eight occupations to arrive at the estimate in this answer, using the Annual Population Survey (APS) for 2010. It will include some employees who are probably not ‘directly employed in scientific research’, but equally it will also exclude some employees classified in other occupational groups who are working in scientific research (e.g. laboratory technicians). This will be true for any definition chosen.

Students: Finance

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much has been spent on maintenance grants for undergraduate students in each year since 2007-08; and how much is expected to be spent in each year up to 2014-15. [115036]

Mr Willetts: In each academic year since 2007-08, the expenditure on maintenance grants and special support grants has been as follows. This series excludes the expenditure on the HE grant introduced in 2004 and no longer available to entrants from 2006. These data are published each November by the Student Loans Company:

 Grants awarded (£ million)

2011/12(1)

1,213.3

2010/11

1,259.1

2009/10

1,207.8

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2008/09

998.6

2007/08

629.6

(1) Provisional

In each year up to 2014-15 the expected expenditure is:

 Grant forecasts (£ million)

2014/15

1,550

2013/14

1,450

2012/13

1,350

Trade Promotion

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will take steps to implement the recommendations in the report by the British Chambers of Commerce, “Exporting is Good for Britain but Breaking into New Markets Requires Planning” to promote training and mentoring for market research, export planning and product development; and if he will make a statement. [113633]

Mr Prisk: The Government agrees with the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) about the importance of training and mentoring for market research, export planning and product development. The export promotion services offered by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), including their Passport to Export programme and Export Marketing Research Scheme, provide support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), particularly new and inexperienced exporters, to build their skills and capability to plan, research and develop a strategy for market entry. Modest amounts of financial support are available from UKTI under those schemes, including for companies to undertake overseas market visits and to participate in overseas trade exhibitions.

Vocational Training

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent steps his Department has taken to re-skill and up-skill the workforce. [114657]

Mr Hayes: The Government are clear that in order for the UK to compete globally, we must have a world-class skills base across all sectors. The Government recognise that employers and professional representative bodies are best placed to devise and deliver the skills the British work force needs. This demand-led model was given life by the publication of “Skills for Sustainable Growth” in November 2010. “New Challenges New Chances” published in December 2011 reaffirmed our approach and set out Government's plans for skills to 2015.

Government fully accept there is still more to do. The Employer Ownership Pilot was launched on 15 May 2012 as a further step to achieving business ownership of the skills agenda. It is giving employers direct access to up to £250 million of public investment for training and apprenticeships over the next two years (up to £50 million in round 1 and up to £200 million in round 2).

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The first round of bids was received in April for a share of the £250 million fund which will route public investment directly to employers. 269 bids were received from businesses looking to design and develop their own vocational training programmes. Bids are seeking a total of around £400 million of public investment in this first round of the pilot.

We are continuing the important work to improve and expand apprenticeships, particularly at Levels 3

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and 4 to ensure that the British work force has the skills required at intermediate technician and associate professional level.

To help create apprenticeship opportunities, and to grow the programme among small and medium-sized enterprises, in April this year Government introduced incentive payments of £1,500 for small employers who take on their first new apprentice aged 16-24. The total number of incentive places available in 2012/13 is 40,000.