Manchester Declaration

Stephen McPartland: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what recent contribution his Department and its non-departmental bodies and agencies have made to implementation of the 2005 Manchester Declaration. [116100]

Tim Loughton: The Department has worked with agencies and local authority partners to develop services that support the principles set out on the Manchester declaration. In particular the Free School Meals Eligibility Checking Service and systems for applying online for School Admissions have been built around meeting the needs of parents, including the most vulnerable, while improving the efficiency and effectiveness of online Government services. The Department has also developed systems that enable secure and trusted online access to education services and contributed to leadership of this approach across Government.

Parliamentary Private Secretaries: Visits Abroad

Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for Education on which occasions his parliamentary private secretary has travelled overseas with him or on his behalf since May 2010. [115341]

Tim Loughton: The Secretary of State for Education, my right hon. Friend the Member for Surrey Heath (Michael Gove), has not travelled overseas on Government business with his parliamentary private secretary, and nor has his parliamentary private secretary travelled overseas on his behalf since May 2010.

Departmental Pay

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what the lowest hourly rate is paid to staff by his Department; how many members of staff based outside London are paid less than £7.20 per hour; and how many members of staff based in London are paid less than £8.30 per hour. [116376]

Tim Loughton: The lowest salary bands in the Department for Education are equivalent to an hourly rate of £8.06 outside London and £11.29 in London. No staff currently earn less than £7.20 per hour outside London, or less than £8.30 per hour in London.

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many staff of his Department were in the Civil Service redeployment pool on the latest date for which figures are available; and how many of these had been in the redeployment pool for more than six months at that date. [116779]

Tim Loughton: On 30 June 2012, the Department for Education had 55 staff in the redeployment pool, out of a total headcount of 3,993. Of the 55, eight had been in the redeployment pool for over six months.

Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education

Stephen Gilbert: To ask the Secretary of State for Education when his Department plans to publish the outcomes and proposals from its review of personal, social, health and economic education, including sex and relationship education. [115436]

12 July 2012 : Column 359W

Mr Gibb: We expect to publish the outcomes and proposals from our review of personal social health and economic (PSHE) education later this year.

Primary Education: Assessments

Damian Hinds: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) how many and what proportion of pupils (a) receiving and (b) not receiving free school meals achieved the expected level in reading, writing and arithmetic at the end of key stage (i) 1 and (ii) 2 in each year since 1997; [116026]

(2) how many and what proportion of (a) pupils receiving free-school meals, (b) pupils not receiving free school meals and (c) all pupils at the end of key

12 July 2012 : Column 360W

stage 2 left primary school without meeting the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics in each year since 1997. [116024]

Mr Gibb: The information requested for the years 2005/06 to 2010/11 by free school meal eligibility (eligible for and claiming free school meals) is provided in the following tables. Information on whether or not a pupil is receiving free schools meals is not available.

Figures for the years 2001/02 to 2004/05 can be provided only at a disproportionate cost. Figures for the years prior to 2001/02 are not available because pupil-level data have only been collected in the School Census since the 2001/02 academic year.

Key stage 1

Number and percentage of pupils achieving the expected level (level 2 or above) in reading, writing and mathematics at the end of key stage 1, by free school meal eligibility. Years: 2005/06 to 2010/11 (final data). Coverage: England, maintained schools (including academies and CTCs)
 Pupils eligible for free school mealsAll other pupils(1)All pupils
 NumberPercentageNumberPercentageNumberPercentage

2005/06

58,437

61

381,896

82

440,333

79

2006/07

56,297

60

367,478

81

423,775

78

2007/08

54,388

60

360,645

81

415,033

77

2008/09

57,129

62

358,940

82

416,069

78

2009/10

65,091

63

367,678

82

432,769

78

2010/11

70,474

64

379,024

83

449,498

79

(1 )Includes pupils not eligible for free school meals and for whom free school meal eligibility is unclassified or could not be determined. Source: National Pupil Database (final data)

Key stage 2

Number and percentage of pupils achieving the expected level (level 4 or above) in reading, writing and mathematics at the end of key stage 2, by free school meal eligibility. Years: 2005/06-2010/11 (final data). Coverage: England, maintained schools (including academies and CTCs)
 Pupils eligible for free school mealsAll other pupils(1)All pupils
 NumberPercentageNumberPercentageNumberPercentage

2005/06

35,836

38

304,839

63

340,675

59

2006/07

36,019

39

304,962

64

340,981

60

2007/08

39,033

42

319,515

66

358,548

62

2008/09

38,473

42

309,572

65

348,045

61

2009/10(2)

30,420

45

233,291

68

263,711

65

2010/11

49,097

49

317,027

71

366,124

67

(1) Includes pupils not eligible for free school meals and for whom free school meal eligibility is unclassified or could not be determined. (2) Comparisons with 2009/10 are likely to be affected by the single level test pilot and by industrial action. Source: National Pupil Database (final data)
Number and percentage of pupils not achieving the expected level (level 4 or above) in reading, writing and mathematics at the end of key stage 2, by free school meal eligibility. Years: 2005/06-2010/11 (final data). Coverage: England, maintained schools (including academies and CTCs)
 Pupils eligible for free school mealsAll other pupils(1)All pupils
 NumberPercentageNumberPercentageNumberPercentage

2005/06

59,269

62

176,442

37

235,711

41

2006/07

56,877

61

172,392

36

229,269

40

2007/08

54,760

58

167,365

34

222,125

38

2008/09

54,184

58

164,830

35

219,014

39

2009/10(2)

36,772

55

108,184

32

144,956

35

2010/11

51,010

51

129,721

29

180,731

33

(1) Includes pupils not eligible for free school meals and for whom free school meal eligibility is unclassified or could not be determined. (2) Comparisons with 2009/10 are likely to be affected by the single level test pilot and by industrial action. Source: National Pupil Database (final data)

Schools: Catering

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many dinner ladies were employed in schools in each of the last five years. [114547]

Mr Gibb: The information is not available in the format requested.

The following table provides the headcount number of support staff employed by publicly funded schools in the role of cook or catering assistant in November 2010 and 2011 broken down by gender. No information on

12 July 2012 : Column 361W

the number of catering staff in schools was collected by the Department prior to November 2010.

Headcount number of cooks and catering assistants in service in publicly funded schools. November 2010 and 2011. England
 MaleFemaleTotal

2010

1,150

44,200

45,370

2011

1,180

38,840

40,040

Notes: 1. Excludes staff employed in the school through a third party or agency or on a contract of less than 28 days duration. 2. Total includes staff whose gender was unknown or unspecified. 3. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. Source: School Workforce Census

Special Educational Needs

Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many and what proportion of children (a) statemented for special educational needs, (b) in the School Action category and (c) in the School Action Plus category were given a (i) fixed period

12 July 2012 : Column 362W

exclusion and (ii) permanent exclusion in each year since 1997. [116007]

Mr Gibb: The available information, on the number and percentage of pupils with special educational needs receiving a permanent or fixed period exclusion, is shown in the table. This includes data on permanent exclusions from 1997/98 to 2009/10 and on fixed period exclusions from 2007/08 to 2009/10. To provide further data would incur disproportionate cost.

The latest data on exclusions were published in the “Permanent and Fixed Period Exclusions from Schools in England 2009/10” Statistical First Release on 28 July 2011 at:

http://www.education.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s001016/index.shtml

Data for 2010/11 will be published in the “Permanent and Fixed Period Exclusions from Schools in England 2010/11” Statistical First Release on 25 July 2012 at:

http://www.education.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s001080/index.shtml

Maintained primary, state-funded secondary and special schools(1,2,3); number of permanent exclusions and number of pupil enrolments receiving one or more fixed period exclusions, by special educational needs (SEN)(4), England, 1997/98 to 2009/10
  Permanent exclusions(5)Fixed period exclusions(6)
  No. of exclusions% of school population(7)No. of pupil enrolments% of school population(8)

1997/98

Pupils with SEN with statements

2,250

0.96

n/a

n/a

 

Pupils without statements of SEN

10,050

0.01

n/a

n/a

 

All pupils

12,300

0.16

n/a

n/a

      

1998/99

Pupils with SEN with statements

1,920

0.78

n/a

n/a

 

Pupils without statements of SEN

8,510

0.11

n/a

n/a

 

All pupils

10,440

0.14

n/a

n/a

      

1999/2000

Pupils with SEN with statements

1,490

0.61

n/a

n/a

 

Pupils without statements of SEN

6,830

0.09

n/a

n/a

 

All pupils

8,320

0.11

n/a

n/a

      

2000/01

Pupils with SEN with statements

810

0.33

n/a

n/a

 

Pupils without statements of SEN(9)

8,350

0.11

n/a

n/a

 

All pupils

9,160

0.12

n/a

n/a

      

2001/02

Pupils with SEN with statements

1,140

0.49

n/a

n/a

 

Pupils with SEN without statements(9)

4,710

0.35

n/a

n/a

 

Pupils with no SEN(9)

3,740

0.06

n/a

n/a

 

All pupils

9,590

0.12

n/a

n/a

      

2002/03

Pupils with SEN with statements

1,030

0.43

n/a

n/a

 

Pupils with SEN without statements(9)

5,180

0.46

n/a

n/a

 

Pupils with no SEN(9)

3,140

0.05

n/a

n/a

 

All pupils

9,340

0.12

n/a

n/a

      

2003/04

Pupils with SEN with statements

1,050

0.44

n/a

n/a

 

Pupils with SEN without statements(9)

5,300

0.46

n/a

n/a

 

Pupils with no SEN(9)

3,650

0.06

n/a

n/a

 

All pupils

9,990

0.13

n/a

n/a

      

2004/05

Pupils with SEN with statements

860

0.37

n/a

n/a

12 July 2012 : Column 363W

12 July 2012 : Column 364W

 

Pupils with SEN without statements(9)

4,680

0.40

n/a

n/a

 

Pupils with no SEN(9)

4,030

0.06

n/a

n/a

 

All pupils(10)

9,570

0.13

n/a

n/a

      

2005/06

Pupils with SEN with statements

900

0.39

n/a

n/a

 

Pupils with SEN without statements(9)

5,360

0.44

n/a

n/a

 

Pupils with no SEN(9)

3,070

0.05

n/a

n/a

 

All pupils(10)

9,330

0.12

n/a

n/a

      

2006/07

Pupils with SEN with statements

780

0.36

n/a

n/a

 

Pupils at School Action Plus

3,570

0.86

n/a

n/a

 

Pupils at School Action

1,750

0.20

n/a

n/a

 

Pupils with SEN without statements(9)

5,320

0.42

n/a

n/a

 

Pupils with no SEN(9)

2,560

0.04

n/a

n/a

 

All pupils

8,680

0.12

n/a

n/a

      

2007/08

Pupils with SEN with statements

700

0.33

17,970

8.42

 

Pupils at School Action Plus

3,460

0.78

50,450

11.41

 

Pupils at School Action

1,620

0.18

45,840

5.18

 

Pupils with SEN without statements(9)

5,080

0.38

96,290

7.26

 

Pupils with no SEN(9)

2,350

0.04

90,630

1.53

 

All pupils

8,130

0.11

204,890

2.74

      

2008/09

Pupils with SEN with statements

510

0.24

17,070

8.10

 

Pupils at School Action Plus

2,870

0.62

51,210

10.96

 

Pupils at School Action

1,300

0.14

44,060

4.89

 

Pupils with SEN without statements(9)

4,170

0.30

95,270

6.96

 

Pupils with no SEN(9)

1,860

0.03

82,360

1.41

 

All pupils(10)

6,550

0.09

194,700

2.62

      

2009/10

Pupils with SEN with statements

420

0.20

15,910

7.60

 

Pupils at School Action Plus

2,660

0.55

48,990

10.06

 

Pupils at School Action

1,180

0.13

40,580

4.45

 

Pupils with SEN without statements(9)

3,840

0.27

89,570

6.40

 

Pupils with no SEN(9)

1,470

0.03

74,280

1.27

 

All pupils(10)

5,740

0.08

179,760

2.42

n/a = Not available. (1) Includes middle schools as deemed. (2) Includes city technology colleges and academies (including all-through academies). (3) Includes maintained and non-maintained special schools. Excludes general hospital schools. (4) SEN is recorded at the time of exclusion. (5) Figures relating to permanent exclusions are estimates based on incomplete pupil-level data. (6) Pupils may be counted more than once, if they moved schools during the year, or are registered at more than one school. (7) The number of permanent exclusions expressed as a percentage of the number (headcount) of all pupils (excluding dually registered pupils) with the same SEN stage in January each year. (8) The number of pupil enrolments receiving one or more fixed period exclusions expressed as a percentage of the number (headcount) of all pupils (excluding dually registered pupils) with the same SEN stage in January each year. (9) The introduction of the new SEN Code of Practice means that the number of children with SEN without statements reported for the 2000/01 school year and later are not directly comparable with earlier years. Includes pupils with no SEN and pupils with SEN without statements. (10) Totals include a small number of pupils for whom stage of SEN was not known. Note: Totals may not appear to equal the sum of component parts because numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10. Source: School Census

12 July 2012 : Column 365W

Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many and what proportion of children (a) statemented for special educational needs, (b) in the School Action category and (c) in the School Action Plus category were recorded with unauthorised absence from school in each year since 1997. [116008]

Mr Gibb: The level of detail needed for such analysis has been collected from secondary schools since 2005/06, and from primary and special schools since 2006/07.

12 July 2012 : Column 366W

The number and percentage of pupil enrolments with a special educational needs statement, in the School Action category and in the School Action Plus category with at least one half day session of unauthorised absence for academic years 2006/07 to 2010/11 are shown in the following table.

The latest available information on absence is published in SFR 04/2012 ‘Pupil Absence in Schools in England, Including Pupil Characteristics: 2010/11' at:

http://www.education.gov.uk/rsgateway/DB/SFR/s001060/index.shtml

State-funded primary, secondary and special schools(1, 2): Number and percentage of enrolments(3) with at least one half day session of unauthorised absence by special educational needs. 2006/07 to 2010/11. In England
 School ActionSchool Action Plus
 Number of enrolments with unauthorised absenceNumber of enrolmentsPercentage of enrolments with unauthorised absenceNumber of enrolments with unauthorised absenceNumber of enrolmentsPercentage of enrolments with unauthorised absence

2006/07

288,070

823,975

35.0

152,110

394,605

38.5

2007/08

302,955

846,665

35.8

166,440

421.985

39.4

2008/09

340,845

877,020

38.9

194,295

457,970

42.4

2009/10

351,130

884,260

39.7

204,755

475,510

43.1

2010/11

341,135

853,165

40.0

201,530

470,315

42.8

 Statements of SENAll pupils
 Number of enrolments with unauthorised absenceNumber of enrolmentsPercentage of enrolments with unauthorised absenceNumber of enrolments with unauthorised absenceNumber of enrolmentsPercentage of enrolments with unauthorised absence

2006/07

62,425

198,800

31.4

1,706,330

6,582,425

25.9

2007/08

60,490

192,745

31.4

1,713,685

6,478,155

26.5

2008/09

63,885

194,085

32.9

1,862,545

6,408,545

29.1

2009/10

63,505

192,180

33.0

1,896,630

6,387.685

29.7

2010/11

63,530

192,000

33.1

1,908,010

6,382,835

29.9

(1) Includes middle schools as deemed. (2) Includes city technology colleges and academies. (3) Number of pupil enrolments in schools. Includes pupils on the school roll for at least one session who are aged between 5 and 15, excluding boarders. Some pupils may be counted more than once (if they moved schools during the school year or are registered in more than one school). (4) Includes pupil enrolments for whom special educational needs information was unclassified or missing. Note: Numbers have been rounded to the nearest 5. Source: School Census

Stakeholder Advocacy Group

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education for what reasons his Department's stakeholder advocacy group was shut down; and on what date it ceased work. [106409]

Tim Loughton: The Department's stakeholder and advocacy team was shut down and ceased work on 11 January 2012.

The decision to discontinue this team was part of a wider programme of change within the Department, and to reduce the size of the communications group. As a result, the headcount of the communications group has reduced from 110 to 48.

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how much his Department spent on its stakeholder advocacy group; and how much it spent on re-organising its communications department at the inception and subsequent abolition of that group. [106410]

Tim Loughton: The Department incurred no direct costs in establishing the stakeholder and advocacy team, as it was created through internal moves within the communications group.

The team consisted of four members of staff. Their combined salary cost for the period 11 April-11 January was £163,380.

The Department incurred no direct costs on re-organising the communications group at the inception and subsequent abolition of that team.

Teachers: Allowances

Gavin Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many and what proportion of teachers received each of the allowances they were eligible to receive in addition to their basic salary in each of the last three years. [115900]

Mr Gibb: The information requested is not collected centrally.

Teachers: Disciplinary Proceedings

Dr Poulter: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many (a) teachers and (b) supply teachers were suspended from schools as a result of allegations by pupils in the latest period for which figures are available. [115676]

12 July 2012 : Column 367W

Mr Gibb: The Department does not collect comprehensive data on allegations against teachers. In 2011 the Department commissioned research into the scale and nature of allegations of abuse made against schoolteachers, non-teaching staff in schools and further education (FE) teachers.

The research identified 2,556 allegations of abuse against teachers (including supply teachers) of whom 459 (18%) were suspended while the allegation of abuse was being investigated.

Teachers: Training

Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how much funding his Department allocated to postgraduate professional development for teachers in 2011-12. [115592]

Mr Gibb: We do not prescribe how much of a school's budget should be used for teachers' professional development. Decisions relating to teachers' professional development rightly rest with schools, individual teachers and heads as they are in the best position to make judgments about relative spending priorities and requirements.

The “Annual Report and Financial Statements 2011-12” of the Training and Development Agency for Schools shows expenditure of £13,802,000 for candidates already undertaking courses as part of the postgraduate professional development programme and £6,285,000 similarly towards the Masters in Teaching and Learning programme.

Following the launch of the National Scholarship Fund for Teachers, £603,000 was spent in 2011-12 supporting successful applicants from the first round.

Teachers: Working Hours

Nic Dakin: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) whether full-time contracts at maintained schools and sixth form colleges still require teachers to work a minimum of 195 days and 1,265 hours a year; [115534]

(2) whether full-time contracts at academies, free schools and university technical colleges require teachers to work a minimum of 195 days and 1,265 hours a year. [115535]

Mr Gibb [holding answer 5 July 2012]: The School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document (STPCD) sets out the terms and conditions of teachers who work in maintained schools. The STPCD requires teachers employed on full-time contracts to be available for work for up to 195 days and for 1,265 hours per year (194 days and 1,258.5 hours in 2011/12 due to the Queen's Diamond Jubilee). In addition to those contractual hours, the STPCD requires that teachers must also work additional hours that are considered necessary to enable them to carry out their professional duties.

Free schools, academies, sixth form colleges and university technical colleges are not bound by the School Teachers' Pay and Conditions Document. The days and hours that teachers are required to work in these establishments are, therefore, subject to the terms and conditions of individual contracts of employment.

12 July 2012 : Column 368W

Young People: West Midlands

Sajid Javid: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps his Department is taking to reduce the number of young people not in education, employment or training in (a) Bromsgrove constituency and (b) the West Midlands. [115269]

Tim Loughton: We set out in “Building Engagement; Building Futures” our strategy to increase participation and reduce the number of young people not in education, employment or training. This document is available at:

http://media.education.gov.uk/assets/files/pdf/building% 20engagement%20building%20futures.pdf

We are committed to raising the age of compulsory participation in education and training to 17 in 2013 and 18 in 2015 and are spending a record £7.5 billion on education and training places for young people this year.

Vulnerable young people often require additional help to participate and we are spending £126 million over the next three years to provide a new programme of support for the hardest to help 16 and 17-year-olds as part of the Youth Contract. This will support 55,000 young people into education and training and provision will be in place in September. For the West Midlands region, we have set an indicative contract amount of £14,488,508 over the course of the programme. Figures are not available at constituency level.

Local authorities have a statutory duty to support young people's participation in education and training. Data on the proportion of young people not in education, employment or training by local authority at the end of 2011 are available at:

http://media.education.gov.uk/assets/files/xls/2/2011%20local %20authority%20neet%20figures.xls

We want to ensure that young people leave school or college with the qualifications and attributes that employers want. We have recently set out the principles that will underpin post-16 study programmes to give every 16 to 19-year-old the opportunity to undertake a high quality education that enables progress on to work or further study.

These will include a large size qualification, English and maths for those students without a grade C or better in GCSE and, where appropriate, valuable, relevant work experience. Further information is available at:

http://www.education.gov.uk/a00210755/16-19-study-programmes

Communities and Local Government

A Year of Service Project

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what the names are of the members of the steering group overseeing the project A Year of Service; and what criteria were used to appoint them; [116625]

(2) how many meetings the steering group for the project A Year of Service has held since it was established; [116626]

12 July 2012 : Column 369W

(3) if he will publish the minutes of the meetings held by the steering group for the project A Year of Service. [116628]

Andrew Stunell: A steering group, comprised of the organisations named below, was formed by DCLG to advise collectively on aspects of the development of A Year of Service.

Business in the Community

The Church of England

The Coexist Foundation

The Faith-based Regeneration Network

The Inter Faith Network for the UK

The Mitzvah Day Charitable Trust

The names of individual members of the steering group are not provided as disclosure of this information is likely to breach one or more principles in the Data Protection Act 1998. Organisations were invited to join the steering group because their involvement was seen as important to the project's success. As at 12 July 2012, the steering group had met seven times.

Formal minutes of steering group meetings are not produced; however summary notes are kept and arrangements will be made to place copies of these in the Library of the House.

In addition, a reference group allows the faith communities involved to share best practice and promote the programme within their respective communities.

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will publish the minutes of each meeting he has had to discuss the project A Year of Service. [116627]

Andrew Stunell: As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of internal ministerial meetings.

Building Regulations: Electrical Safety

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment his Department has made of the level of improvement in the standard of electrical work in homes since 2005; and how this assessment will be taken into account when taking any decision on whether to retain Part P of the building regulations. [116248]

Andrew Stunell: The Department recently consulted on proposals to amend Part P of the Building Regulations (Electrical safety in dwellings). We published a consultation stage impact assessment on 31 January which considered the costs and benefits of Part P since its introduction in 2005, including Part P's impact on the quality of electrical installation work. The consultation document asked consultees for their views on the matter, and we will use the feedback in developing the final impact assessment.

Business

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent steps he has taken to offer (a) financial and (b) other practical assistance to (i) co-operatives, (ii) financial mutuals, (iii) employee-owned businesses and (iv) credit unions; and if he will make a statement. [116886]

12 July 2012 : Column 370W

Andrew Stunell: My Department has recently launched a £30.5 million support programme to help eligible community organisations and social enterprises to take advantage of the Community Right to Challenge and to take on the community ownership and management of assets. £17.5 million of support is also available to those looking to take advantage of the Community Right to Build. These programmes will provide advice, guidance and funding to a range of organisations, some of which may be co-operatives, financial mutuals, employee-owned businesses or credit unions. In order to apply for funding, organisations will need to meet the eligibility criteria for the individual grant schemes.

My Department is also working with Co-operatives UK to establish a Community Shares Unit that will support a range of organisations including co-operatives, mutuals and social enterprises to enable the growth of the community shares market as a means of unlocking investment for community projects. We will announce further information about this scheme shortly.

We have also temporarily doubled small business rate relief and given local authorities powers to fund business rates discounts as they see fit.

With the Homes and Communities Agency, we are working with the Confederation of Co-operative Housing and the wider community led sector on their proposal to establish a private investment fund to support the development of homes. In addition, the Homes and Communities Agency has set aside a portion of the Affordable Homes Programme to enable community led organisations to bid for funds to develop affordable housing.

On 10 July, as part of the £30 million Empty Homes Community Fund, I announced that £25.1 million would go to 74 community and voluntary organisations to bring empty homes back into use as affordable housing. A further 20 of these organisations are undergoing due diligence checks to ensure that a further £4.9 million is used for community groups.

Homelessness: Greater London

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many (a) families and (b) single people presented themselves as homeless in each London borough in each month since April 2011. [116350]

Grant Shapps: The total numbers of decisions about households presenting as homeless (i.e. those applying for assistance under the 1985 and 1996 Housing Acts) made by each local authority in England during 2011-12 are shown in the Department for Communities and Local Government Live Table 784.

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/statistics/xls/2102106.xls

These total decisions comprise: (i) all eligible households found to be in priority need and unintentionally homeless (acceptances); (ii) those in priority need but intentionally homeless; (iii) those not in priority need and (iv) those found to be not homeless.

Information on the types of households, including single people, accepted in priority need is published at the England level in Live Table 780.

http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/statistics/xls/2102093.xls

12 July 2012 : Column 371W

We secured an additional £70 million last year to help local agencies prevent and tackle homelessness. This includes a £20 million Single Homelessness Prevention Fund to help ensure single homeless people get access to good housing advice. This is on top of the existing £10 million to help single people access private rented sector accommodation and £400 million we are investing for homelessness prevention over four years (2011-12 to 2014-15).

Housing: Regeneration

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) whether the estimate of the March 2011 report of the Audit Commission entitled Housing Market Renewal: housing, programme review, that the pathfinder housing market renewal programme attracted private investment to complete over 15,000 new homes was based on information provided by his Department; [116341]

(2) whether the estimate of the March 2011 report of the Audit Commission entitled Housing Market Renewal: housing, programme review, that the Pathfinder housing market renewal programme had refurbished more than 108,000 existing homes was based on information provided by his Department. [116342]

Grant Shapps [holding answer 10 July 2012]: I refer the right hon. Member to my answer of 25 June 2012, Official Report, columns 10-11W, which outlines the damaging obsession with demolition under the last Administration's Pathfinder scheme, and the role of central Government in promoting demolition targets.

The figures in the Audit Commission reports were provided by local authority pathfinders. I would also note the National Audit Office's estimate that there were plans for a total of 57,100 properties to be demolished.

This Government has cancelled the Pathfinders programme and is instead actively seeking to get empty homes back into productive use.

Mitzvah Day UK

Barry Gardiner: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many meetings he has had with Mitzvah Day UK. [116629]

Andrew Stunell: On various occasions the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government, the right hon. Member for Brentwood and Ongar (Mr Pickles), and I have participated in engagements at which staff of the Mitzvah Day Charitable Trust were present.

My Department has facilitated seven meetings of the Steering Group and 10 meetings of the Reference Group in relation to A Year of Service, and the Mitzvah Day Charitable Trust has attended each of these meetings. There has additionally been regular contact between my Department and the Mitzvah Day Charitable Trust in implementing the programme.

Mortgages: Government Assistance

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many homes had been bought under the (a) NewBuy and (b) FirstBuy schemes as at 5 July 2012. [116547]

12 July 2012 : Column 372W

Grant Shapps: Quality assured data on the total number of completions under the industry-led NewBuy Guarantee scheme are not yet available to Government. The Government expect to receive and make this information available from September 2012.

The purchase of a newly built home is normally completed up to six months after reservation; as of 5 July, the NewBuy Guarantee scheme was under four months old.

The FirstBuy scheme, introduced by this Government, will help around 10,500 first time buyers by March 2013. Homes have been available for sale since September 2011.

Official statistics published by the Homes and Communities Agency on 12 June show that there were 2,994 sales to the end of March 2012, illustrating how the scheme is on course and on target.

Housebuilders have found significant interest from first time buyers, reporting so far over 7,000 reservations by eligible applicants.

Private Rented Housing

Mr Sanders: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what consideration his Department has given to applying the decent homes standard to English private rented sector housing; and if he will assess the practicality of adopting this approach as a means of raising standards in the sector. [116249]

Andrew Stunell: Local authorities have powers, under the Housing Act 2004, to assess the risks and hazards in all residential properties using the Housing Health and Safety Rating System. If a property is found to contain serious (category 1) hazards, the local authority has a duty to take the most appropriate action. This could range from trying to deal with the problems informally at first to prohibiting the use of the whole or part of the dwelling. This system provides an important safety net, ensuring that homes are safe and decent.

Local authorities also have powers to establish a local licensing system for certain rented properties and to set appropriate standards. We believe this is a proportionate framework, and have no plans to adopt a national scheme.

Social Rented Housing

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 3 July 2012, Official Report, columns 618-9W, on social rented housing, if he will place in the Library a copy of all the advice he has received from departmental statisticians on the estimated number of social tenants with incomes over £60,000 a year; and what methodology was used to extrapolate the number of such tenants. [116549]

Grant Shapps: Estimates of the number of social tenants with a household income of over £60,000 a year were derived from two years of survey data from the English Housing Survey and one year of data from the Department for Work and Pensions Family Resources Survey. The sample covered more than 10,000 social rented households in total.

12 July 2012 : Column 373W

Respondents to the surveys were asked questions about the incomes of each member of their household. From the answers the Department calculated the joint incomes of the household reference person (the highest earning tenant) and their partner, if there was one. The Department then counted how many times these joint incomes were found to exceed the threshold.

These calculations were used to extrapolate figures across the social housing sector. To deal with the uncertainties of extrapolating from a relatively small sample, the Department calculated a confidence interval around the central estimate. This provided a range in which we can have greater confidence than an exact number, thus giving a reasonable indication of the number of social renters with high incomes.

With regard to the request to place a copy in the Library of the House, of the advice that Ministers have received, it is not the normal practice to disclose departmental advice to Ministers, as to do so would inhibit the frankness and candour of such advice. That notwithstanding, the statistical analysis provided to Ministers used the methodology described above.

Social Rented Housing: South East

Mr Denham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will take steps to (a) increase the social housing stocks and (b) reduce social housing waiting lists in (i) Southampton, (ii) Hampshire and (iii) the south-east. [116411]

Grant Shapps [holding answer 10 July 2012]: We are investing £4.5 billion over the spending review period to deliver 170,000 affordable homes in England. This investment will lever in £15 billion of private sector investment, a total of £19.5 billion.

Between April 2012 and April 2015, the Homes and Communities Agency currently expects to deliver new affordable homes as follows:

(i) In Southampton £15 million is being invested through the Affordable Homes Programme to provide 400 new homes. These figures are subject to change as schemes are finalised.

(ii) In Hampshire almost £35 million is being invested through the Affordable Homes Programme to provide 1,720 new homes. These figures are subject to change as schemes are finalised.

(iii) In the Homes and Communities Agency's south and south-west area, where Southampton and Hampshire are included, almost £340 million is being invested to provide 9,320 new homes.

The New Homes Bonus also rewards councils for helping provide more affordable housing; our empty homes programme will support vacant properties being brought back into use as affordable housing; and the Community Right to Build will help provide low-cost homes for local families and residents.

Between 1997 and 2010 the number of households on housing waiting lists in England rose from l million to 1.8 million, with many people left languishing on waiting lists for years. In 2009-10, 420,000 households were under-occupying their social homes by two bedrooms or more, while 270,000 social homes were overcrowded. In 2009-10, 99% of general needs social lettings were provided on a lifetime basis.

In addition, to delivering much needed new affordable homes, we are reforming the social housing system to remove the inflexibility and abuses which have contributed to high waiting lists. Local authorities are now able to

12 July 2012 : Column 374W

decide who should qualify for social housing in their area; they are free to match the length of tenancy to the needs of the household; and they can meet the needs of homeless households with suitable private rented accommodation. By making full use of these new freedoms, local authorities will be able to target social housing on those who need and deserve it the most, for as long as they need it.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Burma

Rushanara Ali: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether HM ambassador to Burma has raised the oppression of the Rohingya ethnic groups from Burma in recent meetings with the Government of Burma. [116236]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The UK continues to raise our concerns on issues affecting the Rohingya. On 12 June, following my statement on 10 June expressing our concern about the ongoing violence in Rakhine State, the British ambassador to Burma met the Burmese President Thein Sein, informed him of our concerns, and made clear that we stood ready to support the President's efforts to end the violence.

On 19 June, the British high commissioner in Bangladesh accompanied the EU's Head of Delegation in delivering a démarche to the Bangladeshi Foreign Ministry in Dhaka, which expressed our concern over the treatment of those fleeing the violence and called on the Bangladeshi Government to respect its international obligations.

During the visit of Aung San Suu Kyi from 18-26 June to the United Kingdom, both the Prime Minister and I raised with her the issues affecting the Rohingya community.

On 22 June, officials from the British embassy in Rangoon raised our concerns over the lack of humanitarian aid access to Rakhine State and the closure of the border with Bangladesh with the Burmese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The UK strongly supported a UN resolution at the Human Rights Council in March which called on the Government of Burma to recognise the right of members of the Rohingya ethnic minority in Rakhine State to nationality and to protect all of their human rights.

We will continue to highlight the need for the Government of Burma to recognise the basic human rights of the Rohingya, with them directly, with our international partners and within international institutions, until the issue is resolved.

Jo Swinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of the rape of ethnic Rohingya woman by police and security services following recent communal violence in Burma. [116644]

Mr Jeremy Browne: We are deeply concerned about reports of rape having been committed by members of security forces in Rakhine (Arakan) State.

We remain in regular contact with non-governmental organisations (NGOs) on the ground there. Simmering tensions between the different communities remain and this presents risks to local volunteers. This is not only hampering the provision of humanitarian assistance, but is also making verification of reports of rape problematic.

12 July 2012 : Column 375W

In my statement of 10 June I called on all parties to act with restraint and urged the authorities and community leaders to open discussions to end the violence and to protect all members of the local population.

The UK continues to raise awareness of the issues affecting the Rohingya. We strongly supported a UN resolution at the Human Rights Council in March which called on the Government of Burma to recognise the right of members of the Rohingya ethnic minority in Rakhine State to nationality, and to protect all of their human rights.

We will continue to highlight the need for the Government of Burma to recognise the basic human rights of the Rohingya.

Indonesia

Mr Spellar: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will discuss the importance of direct flights from London to Jakarta with the Secretary of State for Transport in advance of the visit to the UK of the President of Indonesia. [116309]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The Government would welcome the commencement of direct air services between the UK and Indonesia, subject to updating the UK/Indonesia Air Services Agreement. The possibility of introducing and operating of such flights has been discussed at official level in advance of the state visit of the President of Indonesia later this year but would ultimately be a commercial decision for Indonesian and British airlines to take.

Middle East

Anna Soubry: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to promote freedom of religion in the middle east. [116183]

Alistair Burt: Protecting religious freedoms and preventing discrimination on grounds of religion or belief are priority human rights issues for the Government. The UK strongly supports the right to freedom of thought, conscience, religion or belief and the right to freedom of opinion and expression as set out in key international human rights instruments such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

We regularly stress to countries in the middle east and north Africa region through our bilateral contacts that respect for human rights and dignity are universal rights which must underline all political systems, without exception. We continue to make clear that we deplore all discrimination against religious minorities. For example, following violence in Egypt on 9 October 2011, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), called the former Egyptian Foreign Minister on 12 October to discuss the action that the Egyptian Government were taking to address sectarian tension.

We also fund projects to promote religious tolerance in the region. For example, in Iraq we have funded a grassroots religious reconciliation initiative involving a series of meetings to encourage dialogue between local

12 July 2012 : Column 376W

religious leaders from across the sectarian divides. In Egypt, we have been supportive of interfaith dialogue and initiatives such as Beit El-Eila. We also use our close relationship with Al-Azhar University to promote inter-faith dialogue.

Mongolia

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Mongolian authorities on the freedom of the press and safety of journalists. [116188]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The UK Government are a strong supporter of freedom of opinion and expression, including on the internet. Freedom of speech and of the press is protected by law in Mongolia, and although Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) officials regularly have raised the importance of prioritising human rights, in general terms, with the Mongolian Government, press freedom and safety of journalists has not been raised specifically.

However, while we recognise that Mongolia has made significant strides towards meeting international human rights standards, no state should be complacent. We are aware of a recent report of an attack on eight journalists and camera operators from local television broadcaster Sky TV on 28 June, in northern Mongolia. According to media reports, this was in response to their coverage of the recent legislative elections. Our embassy in Ulaanbaatar is monitoring the case and we will continue to urge Mongolia to ensure that internationally recognised democratic norms are respected.

Nepal

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Nepalese authorities on the freedom of the press and safety of journalists. [116187]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The UK frequently raises issues of human rights with the Nepalese authorities. We will discuss recent reports of intimidation and the deteriorating situation of human rights defenders and journalists during the eighth Session of the EU-Nepal Joint Commission next 19 July.

Occupied Territories

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had on the legal position of goods produced in the west bank and Gaza by individuals or businesses unlawfully occupying those areas. [116617]

Alistair Burt: The issue of settlement produce is a subject of active discussion with our EU partners. EU Foreign Ministers, at their meeting on 14 May, agreed that:

“the EU and its Member States reaffirm their commitment to fully and effectively implement existing EU legislation and the bilateral arrangements applicable to settlement products. The Council underlines the importance of the work being carried out together with the Commission in this regard.”

12 July 2012 : Column 377W

This ongoing work includes measures to ensure that settlement produce does not enter the EU duty-free, under the EU-Israel Association Agreement, and steps to ensure that EU-wide guidelines are issued to make sure that settlement products are not incorrectly labelled as Israeli produce.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials have recently engaged in discussion with non-governmental organisations regarding the legality of settlement produce, however, there are currently no plans for EU or domestic legislation on this issue.

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with other EU member states on settlement produce from the west bank and Gaza. [116618]

Alistair Burt: EU Foreign Ministers considered these issues at the 14 May EU Foreign Affairs Council. The Foreign Affairs Council's conclusions on the middle east peace process set out the EU's position on settlements, settlement produce, and the need to increase Palestinian Authority control of the west bank. These can be found at:

http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_Data/docs/pressdata/EN/foraff/130195.pdf

On settlement produce EU Ministers agreed that:

“The EU and its Member States reaffirm their commitment to fully and effectively implement existing EU legislation and the bilateral arrangements applicable to settlement products. The Council underlines the importance of the work being carried out together with the Commission in this regard.”

This ongoing work includes measures to ensure that settlement produce does not enter the EU duty-free, under the EU-Israel Association Agreement, and that settlement products are not incorrectly labelled as Israeli produce, in violation of EU consumer protection regulations.

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions his Department has had with the Palestinian Authority on settlement produce. [116619]

Alistair Burt: We have a regular dialogue with the Palestinian Authority regarding our shared concern on Israeli settlements.

The issue of settlement produce is a subject of active discussion with our EU partners. EU Foreign Ministers, at their meeting on 14 May, agreed that:

“the EU and its Member States reaffirm their commitment to fully and effectively implement existing EU legislation and the bilateral arrangements applicable to settlement products. The Council underlines the importance of the work being carried out together with the Commission in this regard.”

This ongoing work includes measures to ensure that settlement produce does not enter the EU duty-free, under the EU-Israel Association Agreement.

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent representations he has made to the Israeli Government on settlement produce. [116635]

Alistair Burt: We discuss the issue of settlements with the Israeli Government on a regular basis, most recently on 10 July.

12 July 2012 : Column 378W

Our position on Israeli settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is clear: they are illegal under international law, an obstacle to peace and make a two-state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital, harder to achieve. We constantly urge the Israeli authorities to cease all settlement activity.

The issue of settlement produce is a subject of active discussion with our EU partners. EU Foreign Ministers, at their meeting on 14 May, agreed that:

“the EU and its Member States reaffirm their commitment to fully and effectively implement existing EU legislation and the bilateral arrangements applicable to settlement products. The Council underlines the importance of the work being carried out together with the Commission in this regard.”

This ongoing work includes measures to ensure that settlement produce does not enter the EU duty-free, under the EU-Israel Association Agreement.

Public Expenditure

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he expects his Department to underspend its budget for 2012-13; and what estimate he has made of any such underspend. [116462]

Mr Lidington: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has significantly improved its financial management and has put in place rigorous procedures for tracking its spending throughout the year. This has allowed us to forecast spending more accurately. The FCO Management Board monitors the Department's budget on a monthly basis and reprioritises in-year resources in order to seek the best value for the taxpayer and to achieve the Government's foreign policy priorities.

The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) forecasts underspends in departmental expenditure limits as part of its Economic and Fiscal Outlook in the autumn. As part of the Transparency Agenda the Government publish the full detail of plans and outturn for all Departments after the end of the financial year, usually in September. HM Treasury publish outturn data for all Departments from the combined online information system database, available on the Treasury website on a quarterly basis. Forecasts for 2012-13 outturn by Department will be published at Budget 2013.

Turkey

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to the Turkish authorities on the arrest of journalist Müyesser Yildiz. [116189]

Mr Lidington: The Government have made representations to the Turkish authorities over the issue of detentions in Turkey. Our ambassador to Turkey, David Reddaway, raised the issue with senior officials from the Turkish Ministry of Justice earlier this year. More recently, Simon Fraser, our permanent under-secretary raised the issue of freedom of expression with his Turkish counterpart.

We welcome Müyesser Yildiz's release from prison on 18 June. While we have not made representations on her individual case we urge the Turkish Government to pursue a comprehensive reform strategy that fulfils their international commitments on human rights and freedom of expression.

12 July 2012 : Column 379W

Leader of the House

Party Funding

Mr Dodds: To ask the Leader of the House (1) how much Representative Money has been paid to political parties in the House in each year since 1982; [116387]

12 July 2012 : Column 380W

(2) what accounting mechanisms he has put in place to ensure that Representative Money is used solely for parliamentary purposes; [116367]

(3) whether he has made an assessment of the use of Representative Money since its publication. [116361]

Sir George Young: Sinn Fein is the only party to receive Representative Money, which was introduced in 2005-06. Payments have been:

£
Financial yearMain budgetTravelTotal

2005-06

35,163

0

35,163

2006-07

86,245

0

86,245

2007-08

90,036

0

90,036

2008-09

93,639

0

93,639

2009-10

94,482

0

94,482

2010-11

95,195

0

95,195

2011-12

101,004

0

101,004

Parties must provide the accounting officer of the House of Commons with an auditor's certificate each year confirming that “financial assistance has been claimed for expenses incurred by [the party] in carrying out its Representative Business”. This audit must be provided to the accounting officer no later than three months after the end of the financial year to which the audit relates. I will write to the right hon. Member with samples of the auditors' notes and audit certificate.

I have made no assessment of the use of Representative Money since its publication.

Defence

Afghanistan

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department has spent on helicopter leasing in Afghanistan to date. [115979]

Peter Luff: The Ministry of Defence has spent approximately £41 million to date on the leasing of helicopters in Afghanistan. This excludes the cost of a six-week contract in 2007-08 for the delivery of mail during the Christmas period for which information is not held centrally.

C17 Aircraft

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the UK's involvement is in the Globemaster Sustainment Partnership Programme; how many Boeing employees are stationed at RAF bases through the programme; how much of the maintenance of UK C-17 Globemaster aircraft takes place in the US; and what the cost of the programme has been to the public purse in each of the last three years. [115977]

Peter Luff: The UK participates in the Globemaster Sustainment Partnership Programme through a Foreign Military Sales agreement with the United States Government. This agreement utilises a United States Air Force contract with Boeing to provide cost effective and affordable logistic, maintenance and engineering services to the UK's fleet of eight C-17 aircraft. This agreement provides a total of 18 Boeing employees, who are based at RAF Brize Norton. Depot maintenance is undertaken by Boeing in the USA, with all remaining maintenance being conducted by 99 Squadron at RAF Brize Norton. Support costs for the last three years, including spares but excluding acquisition and RAF running costs, were as follows:

Support costs
 £ million

2009-10

37

2010-11

40

2011-12

44

Defence Industry

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what one-to-one meetings each Minister in his Department has held with companies from the defence sector in the last 12 months. [116031]

Peter Luff: Ministers meet with a range of defence contractors, to discuss a wide range of issues. Details of all ministerial meetings with external organisations, including companies from the defence sector, are published in the Ministry of Defence's quarterly transparency returns as required by the Government's Transparency Agenda. The following website address provides the latest published returns:

http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/AboutDefence/CorporatePublications/FinancialReports/Expenses/MinistersHospitalityReceived.htm

Meetings during the period January 2012 to March 2012 will be published in due course.

Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when the RAF expects to take delivery of (a) Lot 7, (b) Lot 8 and (c) Lot 9 Low Rate JSF 35B aircraft; how many aircraft will be delivered in each Lot; and what the unit cost is of each aircraft. [115981]

Peter Luff: Aircraft ordered within Lot 7 are scheduled to be delivered in financial year (FY) 2015-16, Lot 8 are scheduled to be delivered in FY 2016-17, and Lot 9 in

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FY 2017-18. The number of aircraft to be ordered within these lots is still to be formally approved. The cost of each Joint Strike Fighter will be determined at the next Main Gate decision currently planned for 2013.

Unmanned Air Vehicles

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will undertake a review of the use of drone missiles. [116133]

Nick Harvey: Reaper is the only armed remotely piloted aircraft system used by the UK. It currently plays a vital role in military operations in Afghanistan where it is an important means of giving our ground forces the vital information they need to stay one step ahead of the enemy. It has proved to offer great military benefit and its presence has undoubtedly saved the lives of many UK and coalition forces.

The UK complies fully with its obligations under international law including that set out in Article 36 of Additional Protocol 1 to the Geneva conventions, to review all new weapons and means and methods of warfare (a process that applies equally to unmanned capabilities and other manned weapon systems). The UK Reaper system can only release its weapons when commanded to do so by the fully trained and qualified flight crew operating it from the ground.

In Afghanistan, the policy governing the use of Reaper is identical to that for conventionally piloted combat aircraft. UK forces in Afghanistan come under the command of the NATO International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF) and operate in accordance with international humanitarian law (also known as the law of armed conflict) and UK rules of engagement. Military lawyers based in Afghanistan advise on all aspects of operations including the selection and prosecution of all ISAF targets, which is the subject of a rigorous process that is compliant with international humanitarian law. Every effort is made to minimise the risk of collateral damage, particularly civilian casualties, which includes in some circumstances deciding not to engage the target.

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the effect of restrictions on the use of UK airspace on the unmanned air vehicles development programme. [116255]

Peter Luff [holding answer 10 July 2012]: All UK military unmanned aircraft (UA) flying in UK airspace do so in accordance with the Military Aviation Authority regulations. UA are currently only permitted to fly in segregated airspace, ensuring that they can be operated safely and without risk to other aircraft. There is no current requirement for military UA to operate in the UK in non-segregated airspace. These restrictions therefore have no impact on the unmanned aircraft systems development programme.

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent discussions (a) he, (b) Ministers in his Department and (c) officials in his Department have had with their counterparts in the Department for Transport on the regulations surrounding the use of unmanned air vehicles in UK airspace. [116720]

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Nick Harvey: On 11 May 2012, Ministry of Defence and Department for Transport officials had discussions which included the regulations surrounding the use of unmanned aircraft in UK airspace. Further discussions, which will include this topic, are planned for later this month.

Treasury

Banks: Fraud

Stephen Timms: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will assess the (a) operation and (b) effectiveness of regulations governing banks' procedures for handling cases where fraud is suspected to have been committed on a customer's account. [116613]

Mr Hoban: The Government are committed to improving access to banking and the transparency of financial products for consumers. However, it is important to balance a bank's need to protect itself and its customers from fraud against the rights of the consumer.

It is also important that individuals continue to have recourse to adequate complaint mechanisms so that any errors can be quickly identified and rectified; and that banks continue to use good judgment and abide by best practice guidelines when using information sharing systems.

As is the case with all regulations, the Government will keep them under review.

Billing

Stephen McPartland: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has assessed the merits of US policy on e-invoicing to implement an internet payment platform by the end of 2012 and oblige commercial vendors to submit invoices only by electronic means by the end of 2013. [115070]

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

I understand that the US Department of Treasury does not oblige commercial vendors to submit invoices by electronic means, and I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave on 4 July 2012, Official Report, column 730W.

Business

Mr Thomas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent steps he has taken to offer (a) financial and (b) other practical assistance to (i) co-operatives, (ii) financial mutuals, (iii) employee-owned businesses and (iv) credit unions; and if he will make a statement. [116884]

Mr Hoban: The Government are committed to promoting mutuality and fostering diversity in financial services. The Government are undertaking a number of steps to modernise and expand the mutuals sector.

The Legislative Reform Order for Industrial and Provident Societies and Credit Unions came into force on 8 January, which has increased the capacity of credit unions to lend to their members, admit corporate bodies, and offer interest on deposits. In January this year the Government also announced a Consolidation Bill for

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Co-operatives, which will simplify the legislation, making it easier for a co-operative to be set up. The Government have recently announced their support for the Credit Union Modernisation Project being run by DWP, which will enable credit unions to strengthen and grow, helping them to serve a wider range of people. In addition, an internal review is being conducted to examine the role of employee ownership in supporting growth and to examine options to remove barriers, including tax barriers, to its wider take-up. The review will also consider the findings of the Nuttall Review of Employee Ownership, and will conclude ahead of autumn statement 2012.

CIFAS: Databases

Stephen Timms: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions he has had with CIFAS on the operation of the CIFAS National Fraud Database. [116612]

Mr Hoban: Treasury Ministers and officials meet with, and receive representations from, a wide range of organisations and individuals in the public and private sectors as part of the usual policymaking process. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such representations.

Commodity Markets

Sandra Osborne: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what his policy is on the use of position limits for the commodity derivative markets; and if he will make a statement. [116303]

Mr Hoban: The Government support the use of adjustable, temporary position limits, or delivery limits under a position management framework to address the specific circumstances of a particular market at a particular time. However, the Government believe that fixed, long -term position limits in isolation are an ineffective regulatory tool. The Government are also sceptical that such inflexible measures would be effective in reducing the presence of a particular participant type in the market, or would be an effective tool to address price volatility.

The House of Lords EU Committee published a Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II report which is in line with Government views on the regulation of commodity derivatives markets.

Excise Duties: Fuels

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to ensure that the delay to the increase in fuel duty will be fiscally neutral. [116482]

Miss Chloe Smith: As announced by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, the one-off cost of the delay of around £550 million will be paid for from within existing spending plans. More details will be announced at the autumn statement.

Income Tax: Blackpool

Paul Maynard: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people in Blackpool North and Cleveleys constituency pay income tax at (a) 20, (b) 40 and (c) 50%. [116276]

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Mr Gauke: A breakdown of taxpayers in Blackpool North and Cleveleys constituency in 2009-10 is provided in the following link:

http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/stats/income_distribution/table-3-15-mar2012.xls

Reliable estimates for later years based on the projected survey of personal incomes data, are not available due to greater uncertainties in projections for small geographical areas.

Estimates of additional rate taxpayer numbers in 2010-11 from Self Assessment data are not published for local areas.

LIBOR

Chris Leslie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) when the Financial Secretary to the Treasury was made aware of the Financial Services Authority's investigation into LIBOR manipulation; [115715]

(2) when officials in his Department were made aware of the Financial Services Authority's investigation into LIBOR manipulation; [115716]

(3) when the Commercial Secretary to the Treasury was made aware that the Financial Services Authority was conducting an investigation into bank manipulation of LIBOR; [115717]

(4) on what date the Financial Secretary to the Treasury informed him of the investigation into LIBOR manipulation; [115718]

(5) on what date he was informed by the Financial Services Authority that an investigation into LIBOR manipulation was underway; [115719]

(6) whether consideration was given to the regulation of LIBOR during the drafting of the Financial Services Bill; [115701]

(7) what discussions HM Treasury has had with the European Commission on bank manipulation of the LIBOR survey; [115702]

(8) what representations HM Treasury received on bank manipulation of LIBOR (a) before and (b) after the commencement of US investigations by the Commodities and Futures Trading Commission; [115703]

(9) if he will publish the advice given to Ministers in his Department before the 6 March 2012 meeting of the Financial Services Bill Committee on the manipulation of LIBOR by banks; [115704]

(10) what discussions the Financial Secretary to the Treasury and the Financial Services Authority had on an investigation into LIBOR manipulation before 6 March 2012. [115705]

Mr Hoban [holding answer 6 July 2012]: The FSA's own report of the Barclays investigation makes clear that it began investigating issues relating to LIBOR in 2009.

Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings and discussions with a wide variety of authorities as part of the process of policy development and delivery, including in relation to the drafting of the Financial Services Bill. It is not the Government's practice to provide details of ail such meetings and discussions. Furthermore, the Government would not say or do anything that might

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prejudge or pre-empt the outcome of investigations into the attempted manipulation of LIBOR and other benchmarks.

The Government have published numerous documents on their new approach to financial regulation—in July 2010 (Cm 7874), February 2011 (Cm 8012), June 2011 (Cm 8083) and January 2012 (Cm 8268)—in which they have both consulted on, and published details of, issues they have considered in preparing the Financial Services Bill.

Parliament has agreed that a parliamentary inquiry will be established to examine professional standards in the banking industry. The committee is expected to report by the end of the year in order that its recommendations can be implemented in the Banking Bill, work on which begins next year.

The Chancellor has also committed to an independent review of the regulation of LIBOR, to be headed by Martin Wheatley. This will report to the Cabinet Committee on Banking Reform, chaired by the Chancellor, with the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the right hon. Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable), as vice-chair, by the end of the summer.

Minimum Wage: Shipping

Katy Clark: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many times officers from HM Revenue and Customs' National Minimum Wage Compliance Unit and its predecessor departments investigated claims of non-payment of the national minimum wage against employers in the maritime sector in each year since 1999-2000; and if he will place in the Library copies of each such investigation. [116283]

Mr Gauke: HMRC does not categorise employers as being in the maritime sector and so cannot supply this information. If HMRC was able to provide the numbers of such investigations, it is bound by a duty of confidentiality to taxpayers and so would not be able to provide Library copies of its investigations.

Public Sector Staff

Stewart Hosie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many staff of his Department were in the civil service redeployment pool on the latest date for which figures are available; and how many of these had been in the redeployment pool for more than six months at that date. [116767]

Miss Chloe Smith: HM Treasury manages its own deployment pool which facilitates the movement of staff across the Department. As at 30 June 2012, at HM Treasury there were 25 employees in the deployment pool, one of whom had been in the pool for more than six months.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Animals: Exports

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the number of pet animals exported from the UK for sale overseas. [112117]

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Mr Paice: We record the number of certificates issued to authorise the commercial movement of cats and dogs only. These certificates may have included multiple animals and exporters are not required to specify whether these animals are to be sold as pets.

 Number of export certificates issued

2008

8,161

2009

7,764

2010

7,599

2011

8,366

2012 (1 January 2012 to 22 June 2012)

2,784