17 Oct 2012 : Column 279W
17 Oct 2012 : Column 279W
Written Answers to Questions
Wednesday 17 October 2012
Mr Harper: Ten members of the Inter-Departmental Ministerial Group on Human Trafficking, including myself, are undertaking a range of activities, on or around Anti-slavery Day, to raise awareness of this important issue.
Emergency Calls: Performance Standards
Mr Harper: The treaty was signed by the Governments of the UK and USA on 31 March 2003. The treaty was approved by the US Senate in September 2006 and the US Instrument was signed by the then President in December 2006. The treaty entered into force when the Governments exchanged Instruments of Ratification on 26 April 2007.
Identity and Passport Service
Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what representations the Identity and Passport Service has received from people who find it distressing to remove their glasses when required to do so by the Identity and Passport Service. 
Passport applicants are recommended to remove their glasses for the passport photographs in order to prevent glare and to prevent the frames of the glasses from covering the applicant's eyes. This will help to ensure that the photograph meets the relevant
17 Oct 2012 : Column 280W
international standards and may help to prevent delays to the processing of the application. There is no record of representations being received on this subject.
Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when the Government plan to publish their response to the consultation on police powers to promote and maintain public order, which closed in January 2012; and when the Government will announce their position regarding the consultation on amending section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 to remove reference to insulting words or behaviour. 
Damian Green: The Government are carefully considering the responses to the consultation ‘Police Powers to Promote and Maintain Public Order’. The Government will publish their response to the consultation in due course.
Stephen Crabb: The Secretary of State for Wales, my right hon. Friend the Member for Clwyd West (Mr Jones), and I have regular discussions with ministerial colleagues and others on the broadcasting industry in Wales including a meeting yesterday with Teledwyr Annibynnol Cymru, the Welsh independent producers.
Mr David Jones: The development of city regions is important for economic growth in Wales and I have already discussed this matter with the First Minister. I will be undertaking further conversations with my ministerial colleagues.
Stephen Crabb: There are two apprentices currently working in the Wales Office. Both are paid and are completing a qualification as part of their apprenticeship. There are currently no interns working in the Wales Office.
17 Oct 2012 : Column 281W
West Coast Railway Line
Mr David Jones: The Secretary of State for Transport, my right hon. Friend the Member for Derbyshire Dales (Mr McLoughlin), has assured me that there will be no impact on services as a result of the West Coast Main Line franchise decision.
Women and Equalities
Mr Raab: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 15 May 2012, Official Report, column 29WS on Equalities/Equality and Human Rights Commission, what progress she has made with the review of the general and specific duties under the Public Sector Equality Duty established by the Equality Act 2010; and when the Government expects to publish its findings. 
Maria Miller: The review of the Public Sector Equality Duty is under way. At this stage, we are focused on analysing existing research and case law but will shortly commence the gathering of evidence more broadly especially from those who have knowledge and experience about the operation of the duty within their organisations. We announced in the written ministerial statement of 15 May 2012, Official Report, column 29WS, that we will be completing the review by April 2013. A decision on how and when the findings are published has not yet been made.
Mark Menzies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many people received custodial sentences for animal cruelty offences in (a) 2009-10, (b) 2010-11 and (c) 2011-12; and how many sentences were for more than six months in each of those years; 
There were no sentences imposed greater than six months for animal cruelty offences for the period given in the table. The main offences dealing with animal cruelty in the Animal Welfare Act 2006 are summary only and carry a maximum penalty of six months' imprisonment and/or a level fine (£5,000).
17 Oct 2012 : Column 282W
|Number of persons found guilty at all courts and sentenced to immediate custody for offences relating to animal cruelty(1), England and Wales, 2009-11(2,3)|
|(1) The offences of animal cruelty are covered by the following Acts; Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986, Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981, Performing Animals (Regulations) Act 1925, Docking and Nicking of Horses Act 1949, Pet Animals Act 1951, Animal Health Act 1981, Animals (Cruel Poisons) Act 1962, Animal Boarding Establishments Act 1963, Riding Establishments Acts 1964 and 1970, Slaughter of Poultry Act 1967, Agriculture (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act 1968, Protection of Badgers Act 1992, Wild Mammals (Protection) Act 1996, Fur Farming (Prohibition) Act 2000 and the Animal Welfare Act 2006. (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. Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services—Ministry of Justice|
Jeremy Wright: Information held centrally by the Ministry of Justice on the Court Proceedings Database does not contain information about the circumstances behind each case, beyond the description provided in the statute under which proceedings are brought. It is not possible to identify from this centrally held information whether a defendant proceeded against for any specific offence is a homeowner following a domestic burglary.
Criminal Cases Review Commission
Damian Green: All non-departmental public bodies are subject to triennial reviews as part of the Government's commitment to transparency and accountability. The Commission's triennial review is due this autumn and an announcement will be made shortly.
Domestic Violence: Legal Aid Scheme
17 Oct 2012 : Column 283W
related to domestic violence in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and if he will make a statement. 
The data cover protective injunction cases and private family law matters where domestic violence has been identified as a primary factor. The data include both initial advice and assistance (‘Legal Help’) as well as legal representation.
|Volumes by age bands(1)|
|(1 )Please note age only started being recorded from October 2007 for the legal help scheme.|
|Volumes by marriage status(1)|
|(1 )Please note marital status is only recorded for the civil representation scheme.|
17 Oct 2012 : Column 284W
Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he expects to announce the winning bid for his Department's contract relating to the tagging of offenders due to be implemented in April 2013. 
Jeremy Wright: The electronic monitoring provision under the future competition will be delivered through four separate contracts: Monitoring and Systems Integration; Software; Hardware; and Networks. We expect to announce the award of these contracts early in 2013 prior to implementation.
Jeremy Wright: Over the life of the re-competition and procurement of this service, under current plans, the Ministry of Justice expects to have spent around £3.5 million on delivering the new Electronic Monitoring contracts.
At 31 August 2012, the latest period for which figures are available, the number of full-time equivalent staff directly employed by the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) was 42,345. This includes staff in HM Prison Service (HMPS) and NOMS headquarters.
These figures exclude the 1,282 FTE who are on the Ministry of Justice payroll, but work for the National Offender Management Service. HMPS figures include all those directly employed in public sector prisons and area support teams, but not regional services. HMPS and headquarters figures include deputy director of custody (DDC) offices and regional offices.
Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps he is taking to improve violence reduction and suicide and self-harm monitoring procedures at prisons in (a) Merseyside and (b) England and Wales. 
17 Oct 2012 : Column 285W
Jeremy Wright: All prisons have broad, integrated and evidence-based safer custody management policies and procedures that seek to reduce prisoner distress and provide a safer environment for all who live and work there. However, there is no central monitoring of regional or local initiatives, and to obtain such information would incur disproportionate costs. It is not possible, therefore, to specify any particular procedures in place at prisons in Merseyside.
The National Offender Management Service's (NOMS) safer custody policy, which includes suicide/self-harm and violence, is outlined in Prison Service Instruction 64/2011 entitled “Management of prisoners at risk of harm to self, to others and from others (Safer Custody)”, a copy of which is in the House Library.
The prison population contains a high proportion of very vulnerable individuals, many of whom have experienced negative life events that we know increase the likelihood of them harming themselves. An individually focused prisoner care planning system—Assessment, Care in Custody and Teamwork (ACCT)—for those identified at risk of harm has helped prisons to manage self harm. ACCT plans are opened proactively, often in advance of self harming behaviour.
Prisons take extremely seriously the responsibility of keeping staff, prisoners and visitors safe. The management of violence and its reduction is central to successful prison management. It is fundamental to NOMS' objectives and vital to achieving the broad aims of safer custody.
Jeremy Wright: The sale of the Ashwell prison site has not yet been completed and disclosing details at this stage of the amount the Ministry of Justice expects to receive from its disposal may adversely affect future negotiations.
Prisons: Contracts for Services
Mrs Glindon: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what contacts there were between his ministerial team and any of the private-sector bidders during the current prisons market-testing evaluation process before the recent announcement of a delay to that process. 
17 Oct 2012 : Column 286W
(4) when he expects HM Inspectorate of Prisons to undertake a review of the reducing re-offending strategy at (a) HMP Liverpool and (b) HMP Altcourse; and what support his Department is offering HMP Liverpool with its plans to reduce re-offending. 
(1) All prisoners new to custody and/or new to the particular prison are provided with key information relevant to their first days in the establishment to help them understand their entitlements and responsibilities, and how to access support available to them. Local induction policies must be compliant with the national specification but will be tailored to local needs.
The induction and first night procedures at HMP Liverpool are under ongoing review with continuous improvements being made, including to the quality of the induction process. The majority of prisoners, including vulnerable prisoners receive their induction on the first working day after their arrival or during their first week into the prison.
On arrival at Altcourse all new prisoners are provided with current information on a range of support agencies available. An educational assessment is completed during the induction period as well as a medication review. Altcourse also offers a wide range of support at induction to those who may be vulnerable. Appropriate support is also provided for those with drug or alcohol dependency issues.
(2) On 22 June 2010, the Prison Officers Association (POA) and the chief executive officer of the National Offender Management Service (NOMS) issued a joint statement which gave a commitment to zero tolerance to violence in prisons including assaults on staff, visitors and prisoners.
NOMS has a comprehensive violence management information system in place which assists in the analysis and robust management of violent incidents. Reducing violence is fundamental to NOMS' objectives and vital to achieving the broad aims of safer custody.
17 Oct 2012 : Column 287W
prison management and both HMP Liverpool and Altcourse continue to give it a high priority. Liverpool is shortly to relaunch its violence reduction policy and there has been a decline in violent incidents in Altcourse.
Issues surrounding safer prisons are also being dealt with at a strategic level at the quarterly safer prisons and security forum which is held regionally involving manager representatives from each establishment in the north west.
(3) In May 2011 NOMS published, jointly with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, a Review of Offender Learning which evaluated the efficiency and effectiveness of offender learning and proposed recommendations for radical reform. In response to the review, a new contract for the Offenders' Learning and Skills Service (OLASS) was launched in August this year and is in place in the north west of England (including Liverpool). This will help offenders develop the skills they need to become active in their communities, gain employment, reform, and turn away from crime. Evidence suggests that individuals who are in employment are between a third and a half less likely to reoffend.
Under the new arrangements, there will be a strong focus on assessment of learning needs when prisoners come into custody and addressing literacy and numeracy will be a priority where needed. 12 months prior to release prisoners will be provided with training that will prepare them for employment based on labour market information from the areas into which they will be released. NOMS will also be increasing access to apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships for prisoners. NOMS has set up an Employers Forum for Reducing Re-offending, led by a team of business representatives with real experience of working with prisoners and ex-offenders, to help them better prepare for employment.
Altcourse, as a contracted prison, does not fall within scope of the OLASS. However, the prison will be engaging in local partnership working with a cluster of prisons in Merseyside, Lancashire and Cumbria, to help them to achieve better outcomes. All aspects of regime delivery at Altcourse are intended to enhance employability and to reduce reoffending rates.
NOMS publishes quarterly prison reoffending rates on the Ministry of Justice website. The latest reoffending rates(1) for Liverpool were 55.4% for sentences less than 12 months; and 41.1% for sentences of 12 months or more.
The latest reoffending rates for Altcourse were 59.7% for sentences less than 12 months; and 41.2% for sentences of 12 months or more. These statistics are for all prisoners released in the 12 month period ending September 2010.
(4) HMIP is an independent body who set their own inspection programme. HMIP last inspected HMP Liverpool in December 2011 and the report was published in May 2012. HMP Altcourse was last inspected in January 2010 and the report was published in May 2011. Both inspections included a detailed examination of the establishments' strategies for reducing reoffending. The next inspection will be unannounced and will examine the progress they made in this area.
(1) Due to the different types of offenders held in each prison, raw reoffending rates should not be used to make comparisons between prisons. However, the Ministry of Justice has developed a statistical model that takes account of the variability in the mix of offenders within each prison and which helps to explain if reoffending rates
17 Oct 2012 : Column 288W
are affected by the specific prison they arc discharged from. The figures outlined above were not found to be significantly different from what was expected after taking into account offence, offender and prison characteristics.
Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what budget his Department allocated to the (a) Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council, (b) Assessor for Compensation for Miscarriages of Justice, (c) Civil Justice Council, (d) Civil Procedure Rule Committee, (e) Criminal Cases Review Commission, (f) Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority, (g) Criminal Procedure Rule Committee, (h) Crown Court Rule Committee, (i) Family Justice Council, (j) HM Inspectorate of Prisons, (k) HM Inspectorate of Probation, (l) Insolvency Rules Committee, (m) Judicial Appointments Commission, (n) Judicial Appointments and Conduct Ombudsman, (o) Judicial Office, (p) Law Commission, (q) Legal Services Board, (r) Legal Services Commission, (s) National Offender Management Service, (t) Probation Service, (u) Court Funds Office, (v) Office of the Information Commissioner, (w) Office for Judicial Complaints, (x) Legal Ombudsman, (y) Office of the Public Guardian, (z) Official Solicitor and Public Trustee, (aa) Parole Board, (bb) Prisons and Probation Ombudsman, (cc) Sentencing Council, (dd) Tribunal Procure Committee, (ee) Commissioner for Victims and Witnesses and (ff) Youth Justice Board in (A) 2012-13, (B) 2013-14 and (C) 2014-15. 
|(1) The Government intend to abolish the Administrative Justice and Tribunals Council under the Public Bodies Act 2011 during 2012-13. As such funding had been allocated in 2012-13 to cover the costs of the AJTC until closure, currently expected to take place by end of January 2013.|
17 Oct 2012 : Column 289W
The Office of the Public Guardian is currently budgeting to receive more income than its expenditure. This is reflected in the organisation's budget. Budgets for the following bodies are part of larger budgets within the core Department for which no distinct budget allocation is made:
Assessor for Compensation for Miscarriages of Justice
Civil Procedure Rule Committee
Criminal Procedure Rule Committee
Insolvency Rules Committee
Crown Court Rule Committee
Court Funds Office
Tribunal Procedure Committee.
Civil Justice Council
Family Justice Council
Office for Judicial Complaints
Legal Services Board
17 Oct 2012 : Column 290W
The Department has not set budgets for 2013-14 and 2014-15. Budgets will be set as part of the Department's regular annual budget allocation process. Allocations will be made on the basis of need and according to departmental priorities.
Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people in each county in the north west of England were prosecuted for not having a television licence in each of the last 10 years. 
Damian Green: The number of persons proceeded against at magistrates courts for offences of installing or using a television receiver without the appropriate licence in the North West region of England from 2002 to 2011 can be viewed in the table.
|Number of persons proceeded against at magistrates courts for television licence evasion offences, by police force area in the North West of England, 2002 to 2011(1,2,3,4)|
|Police force area||2002||2003||2004||2005||2006||2007||2008||2009||2010||2011|
|(1) 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. (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) Data given for 2002 to 2006, as well as television licence evasion, include proceedings for summary offences under the Wireless Telegraphy Acts 1949 and 1967. (4) Data given for 2007 to 2011 include offences of television licence evasion only under the Communications Act 2003. Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services—Ministry of Justice|
Business, Innovation and Skills
Mike Crockart: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many apprentices working in his Department are (a) paid and (b) completing a qualification as part of the apprenticeship. 
Jo Swinson: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills currently has four internal apprentices (i.e. existing staff) working to up-skill to national vocational qualification level 2 or 3. Following the launch of a further internal apprenticeship scheme, a number of additional members of staff will start apprenticeships at the end of October. There are also two externally recruited apprentices working to achieve a basic apprenticeship. All are paid.
Jo Swinson: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills currently employs (a) six apprentices, four of whom are internal and two externally recruited and (b) 34 graduate interns, all of whom are paid the appropriate rate for the grade of work they are doing. Following the launch of a further internal apprenticeship scheme, a number of additional members of staff will start apprenticeships at the end of October 2012.
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) how many apprenticeship starts there were in Warrington in the (a) public and (b) private sector in each of the last five years; 
17 Oct 2012 : Column 291W
Matthew Hancock: Table 1 shows the number of apprenticeship programme starts and framework achievements in Warrington local education authority between the 2006/07 and 2010/11 academic years. 2010/11 is the latest year for which final data are available.
|Table 1: Apprenticeship programme starts and achievements by geography, 2006/07 to 2010/11|
|Notes: 1. Figures are rounded to the nearest 10. 2. Geographic breakdowns are based upon the home postcode of the learner. 3. Figures are based on the geographic boundaries as of May 2010. Source: Individualised Learner Record|
BAE Systems: EADS
Mr Wallace: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to separate his role under the Enterprise Act 2002 with regard to adjudicating on the proposed merger of BAE and EADS and his role as the guardian of the Government's golden share as a BAE shareholder. [R] 
Michael Fallon: BAE Systems and EADS have decided not to proceed with the proposed merger. With no merger proposed the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, the right hon. Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable), will not need to consider the use of powers in the Enterprise Act 2002 or the use of the Special Share in BAE Systems.
Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the monetary value is of the construction sector to the economy in (a) Lancashire and (b) Pendle constituency. 
Michael Fallon: In 2011, orders for new construction work in Lancashire (excluding Blackpool and Blackpool with Darwen) amounted to £456 million. Latest figures show that in the first half of 2012, new orders totalled £262 million.
17 Oct 2012 : Column 292W
Extractive Industry Companies
Anas Sarwar: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of progress in reaching agreement on EU transparency laws for extractive industry companies to report their payments to foreign governments at project level. 
We are engaged in EU level negotiations on this issue as part of the directive on the annual financial statements, consolidated financial statements and related reports of certain types of undertakings. The European presidency will soon begin discussions with the European Parliament and the Commission to achieve compromise on outstanding issues.
Green Investment Bank: Pendle
Michael Fallon: We are committed to taking action now to put the whole economy on a low-carbon, resource efficient path. In doing so we need to maintain UK competitiveness and lay the foundations for strong and sustainable growth in the future.
The Government are making rapid progress towards establishment of the UK Green Investment Bank, which will be a key component of the transition to a green economy. UK Green Investment Bank plc has now been formed with funding of £3 billion; it will complement other green policies to help accelerate additional capital in green infrastructure. It is expected to be fully operational in the autumn, following state aid approval. In the interim, the Government's UK Green Investments team (UKGI) is making Government investments in green infrastructure.
Following competitive processes, UKGI has committed £180 million to specialist fund mangers to co-invest equity in smaller waste infrastructure, energy from waste, and non domestic energy efficiency projects. A pipeline of further projects is under development. All these investments will be made on market terms or meet the requirements for existing state aid exemptions or approvals.
The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has a number of programmes that are relevant to the development of the UK's green economy. Government initiatives, such as the Regional Growth Fund (RGF) and the Advanced Manufacturing Supply Chain (AMSC) fund encourage investment across sectors and regions, including green or low carbon sectors in the North West. The RGF allocated £7.5 million to the Accelerating Business Growth Programme, a competitive grant scheme that helps fund business growth projects across Lancashire including Pendle, and includes green projects.
17 Oct 2012 : Column 293W
Government, business and communities. It sets out the range of policies we are using to support the transition to a green economy, the opportunities that are created and the implications for the way in which businesses operate.
Newspaper Licensing Agency
Ian Murray: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the cost to his Department was of Newspaper Licensing Agency licences for scanned content for each year since 2010. 
|Financial year||Total NLA payments excluding VAT (£)|
Jo Swinson: The Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, my right hon. Friend the Member for Twickenham (Vince Cable), visited Nottinghamshire on 1 August 2011 and Nottingham on 31 May 2012, the Minister for Universities and Science, the right hon. Member for Havant (Mr Willetts), visited Nottingham on 8 March 2012 and 19 September 2012, the Financial Secretary to the Treasury, the right hon. Member for Tunbridge Wells (Greg Clark), visited Nottingham on 30 August 2011 and 9 February 2012, the Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change, the hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings (Mr Hayes), visited Nottingham on 20 October 2011, 2 November 2011, 25 November 2011, 9 February 2012 and 11 May 2012, and the Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Lord Green, visited Nottingham and Nottinghamshire on 26-7 July 2011, 1 March 2012 and 26-7June 2012.
Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills to what extent his Department and the public bodies and agencies for which he is responsible used name-blank or anonymised sifting of applications to recruit staff in the last year for which information is available. 
Jo Swinson [holding answer 18 September 2012]: The core Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) did not use name-blank or anonymised sifting of applications to any extent in its recruitment of staff in the last year.
17 Oct 2012 : Column 294W
I am replying on behalf of Companies House to your Parliamentary Question tabled 13 September 2012, to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, UTN 121550.
Companies House does not currently use name-blank or anonymised sifting of applications to recruit staff.
I am responding in respect of the Intellectual Property Office to your Parliamentary Question tabled 13th September 2012, to the Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.
The Intellectual Property Office, an executive agency of BIS, has used name-blanked applications for one external recruitment campaign in the past 12 months. Standard practice is currently not to anonymise or name-blank application forms.
I write on behalf of Land Registry in response to your Parliamentary Question 121550 tabled on 13 September 2012 which asked the following:
To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, to what extent his Department and the public bodies and agencies for which he is responsible used name-blank or anonymised sifting of applications to recruit staff in the last year for which information is available.
I can confirm that Land Registry has not used name-blank or anonymised sifting of applications to recruit staff in the last year, nor during 2011/12.
I hope that you find this information useful.
The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has asked me to reply to your question, to what extent his Department and the public bodies and agencies for which he is responsible used name-blank or anonymised sifting of applications to recruit staff in the last year for which information is available
The Insolvency Service only has delegated responsibility to recruit below Senior Civil Service level Anonymised sifting of applications is undertaken for all external recruitment it carries out.
As Director General and Chief Executive of Ordnance Survey, I have been asked to reply to you in response to your Parliamentary Question asking the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills “to what extent his Department and the public bodies and agencies for which he is responsible used name-blank or anonymised sifting of applications to recruit staff in the last year for which information is available”.
Given the general presumption against recruitment within Government at the present time, Ordnance Survey's recruitment activity has been very limited, to business-critical roles, over the past 24 months. Ordnance Survey does not use name-blank or anonymised sifting of applications to recruit staff. However, such sifting has been used as part of the process for selecting internal candidates into the corporate talent management scheme where candidates may be personally known to all panel members.
Ordnance Survey adheres to all best practice standards regarding equality data—for example, age, gender, disability—which is collected as part of the application stage but which is not used during the selection process.
I hope this information is of use.
The UK Space Agency, an executive agency of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, has not used name-blank or anonymised sifting of applications to recruit staff in the last year, as per the response to PQ415 in June 2012.
17 Oct 2012 : Column 295W
Thank you for your question in asking the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, to what extent his Department and the public bodies and agencies for which he is responsible used name-blank or anonymised sifting of applications to recruit staff in the last year.
Please be advised that the Skills Funding Agency only conducts a process of using named applications for sifting recruitment purposes.
I am replying on behalf of the Met Office to your Parliamentary Question tabled on 13 September 2012, UIN 121550 to the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills.
The Met Office recruitment process uses a system of anonymised sifting for all job applications.
I hope this helps.
I am responding in respect of the National Measurement Office (NMO) to your Parliamentary Question tabled on 13 September 2012, asking the Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills about the use of name-blank or anonymised sifting of applications to recruit staff.
NMO does not name blank or anonymise application forms for vacancies in the Agency.
Regional Assistance: Northern Ireland
Dr Alasdair McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the effect on Northern Ireland of proposals to remove automatic assisted area status for Northern Ireland in 2014. 
Michael Fallon: The Government published the response to the consultation on revising the Industrial Development Act 1982 (IDA) on 28 June. The response confirms the Government's intention to remove the automatic 100% assisted area status of Northern Ireland, and to make a number of more technical revisions to update the IDA.
An impact assessment for all four proposed changes was included at annex 3 of the Industrial Development Act Revisions consultation document. However, the post 2013 allocation implications for Northern Ireland of removing the automatic 100% assisted area coverage will not be known until the new regional aid guidelines are implemented by the European Commission in 2013 and we start to draw up the 2014-2020 assisted areas map. An economic and equality impact assessment will be undertaken at this time.
Regional Growth Fund: North East
Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 18 September 2012, Official Report, column 642W, on Regional Growth Fund: North East, how many bidders to the Regional Growth Fund in the North East have had their funding withdrawn due to a failure to agree terms; and what estimate he has made of the value of such withdrawn funding. 
Michael Fallon: Pursuant to the answer of 18 September 2012, Official Report, column 642W, on Regional Growth Fund: North East, one bidder who had a conditional RGF allocation of £0.2 million as part of a package has withdrawn from the process as their project was unlikely to proceed.
17 Oct 2012 : Column 296W
Shops: Empty Property
Gloria De Piero: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) how many shops have been empty in Ashfield constituency in (a) each of the last five years and (b) the latest period for which figures are available; 
(2) how many shops have closed in (a) Ashfield constituency, (b) Nottinghamshire, (c) the East Midlands and (d) England in (i) each of the last five years and (ii) the latest period for which figures are available. 
Michael Fallon: This information is not held centrally. While there are commercial providers of such data, these tend to be focused on limited geographical areas such as town centres, rather than entire administrative areas.
We have also taken steps to support all our town centres: doubled small business rate relief, given councils new powers to cut rates for local firms while scrapping Whitehall rules that instructed them to hike parking charges, and outlined new plans to bring empty shops back into use by changing their use for two years.
Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Bovine Tuberculosis: Disease Control
West Gloucestershire: 3,600
West Somerset: 4,300
Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what funds have been provided by (a) his Department, (b) its agencies and (c) its non-departmental public bodies for the vaccination of badgers in (i) Gloucestershire and (ii) Somerset. 
Mr Heath: DEFRA is funding the Badger Vaccine Development Project (BVDP) to assess the practicability and learn lessons from using badger vaccine, and to build confidence in the principles of vaccination. Vaccination has been taking place near Stroud in Gloucestershire since 5 July 2010. To date DEFRA has paid the Food and Environment Research Agency £927,000.
17 Oct 2012 : Column 297W
DEFRA has created a Vaccination Fund to support vaccination of badgers in the badger control areas of Gloucestershire and Somerset. The fund also provides grants to support staff and volunteers from voluntary and community sector organisations wishing to train as lay badger vaccinators.
Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of badgers that have been vaccinated within a two kilometre area in each of the two pilot cull areas. 
Mr Heath: While DEFRA has not made an estimate of the number of badgers that have been vaccinated either on unculled land within each of the two pilot cull areas or within the adjacent two kilometre ring, vaccination is one of many methods of minimising the effect of perturbation.
As part of its evidence-based approach, DEFRA has adopted averages achieved in the randomised badger culling trial for land coverage area, the proportion of animals to be removed as minimum criteria and culls must be carried out annually for a minimum of four years. This is to ensure that the culls are conducted in a co-ordinated, sustained and simultaneous manner and to minimise the effects of perturbation. Further to this there are minimum biosecurity requirements and applicants must make use of barriers and buffers, such as motorways, rivers and coastlines, in addition to vaccination, where practical at the boundary of the culling areas.
Mary Creagh: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate he has made of the total land area in (a) Gloucestershire and (b) Somerset where vaccination of badgers has taken place. 
Mr Heath: While DEFRA has not made an estimate of the of the total land area in the two counties on which vaccination of badgers has taken place. We do know, however, from our own Badger Vaccine Deployment Project, that vaccination has taken place on badgers within an area of at least 110km(2) in Gloucestershire.
As part of its evidence-based approach, DEFRA has adopted averages achieved in the randomised badger culling trial for land coverage area and, the proportion of animals to be removed as minimum criteria, and culls must be carried out annually for a minimum of four years. This is to ensure that the culls are conducted in a co-ordinated, sustained and simultaneous manner and to minimise the effects of perturbation. Further to this there are minimum biosecurity requirements and applicants must make use of barriers and buffers, such as motorways, rivers and coastlines, in addition to vaccination, where practical at the boundary of the culling areas.
Ducks: Animal Welfare
17 Oct 2012 : Column 298W
Animal Welfare Act 2006 and the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007. DEFRA also has a duck welfare code which keepers are required by law to have access to and be familiar with, which encourages high standards of husbandry.
DEFRA completed a three-year research project in 2007 to assess whether farmed ducks needed bathing water and if so, how it should be provided. The findings of this research were built on, with the RSPCA, academics and the duck industry, to look at how water could be provided to ducks in a commercial setting, while being mindful of the risk to biosecurity. DEFRA took an active part in the accompanying RSPCA ‘Higher Duck Welfare Programme' steering group. As a result of this collaborative approach, duck welfare standards have been raised as both the RSPCA's Freedom Foods scheme and the industry's own Duck Assurance Scheme have ensured that their standards reflect the latest research.
Guto Bebb: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the insurance industry and other stakeholders on the availability of affordable flood insurance; and if he will make a statement. 
The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for North Shropshire (Mr Paterson), has recently met with the Association of British Insurers as part of intense but constructive negotiations with the insurance industry on what replaces the Statement of Principles agreement.
A number of options are under consideration and we are working hard with the industry to ensure that insurance against flooding remains widely available and affordable. Further announcements will be made in due course.
Mr Heath: There is no official estimate of the level of food poverty in the UK. DEFRA actively monitors retail food prices and the drivers behind changes in commodity prices. Research shows that the key drivers behind changes in food prices are global agricultural commodity prices, exchange rates, and fluctuating oil prices.
17 Oct 2012 : Column 299W
Government also provide a number of schemes to help the most vulnerable in society afford and have access to nutritious food, such as the Healthy Start scheme.
Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent discussions he has had on the phasing out of peat in compost and other growing media; what recent assessment he has made of the value of conserving peat bogs to (a) carbon storage, (b) biodiversity and (c) water quality and surface water management; and if he will make a statement. 
Richard Benyon: With respect to the use of peat in growing media, I discussed the emerging findings of the Sustainable Growing Media Task Force with its chairman, Dr Alan Knight OBE, in May prior to the publication of the task force's report in July. My officials are involved in ongoing discussions with both task force members and other interested parties, and the Government will produce its response to the report by the end of this year.
The Government recognise the important role that functioning peat bogs can play in delivering a range of ecosystem services including climate regulation and water storage and purification. The most recent national assessment of the value of peat bogs was part of the Natural Ecosystem Assessment. It identified gaps in the evidence base to assess the impact of peatland management on carbon storage and DEFRA has research in place to address these gaps. A particular gap is the evidence on lowland peatlands (from where peat is extracted for horticultural use) and DEFRA is funding a £1.75 million research project to address this.
Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the potential threat to UK ash trees of fungus from continental Europe; 
Officials from the Forestry Commission and the Food and Environment Research Agency are working together to protect the UK's ash trees in response to the UK findings of ash dieback caused by Chalara fraxinea.
The Plant Health Authorities are following up findings. Trees found to be infected are destroyed and those in the vicinity of infected sites are also being monitored by the Plant Health Authority to check for the presence of the disease. Inspections of nurseries growing and trading ash plants as well as monitoring of the wider environment is taking place. The Secretary of State for Environment,
17 Oct 2012 : Column 300W
Food and Rural Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for North Shropshire (Mr Paterson), recently confirmed our intention to introduce a ban on ash imports and movements, if this was supported by the outcome of the current consultation on the pest risk assessment for this disease and the results of the surveillance being carried out. The consultation will close on 26 October. A ban could then come into force before the main planting season gets underway in November. In the meantime, we will continue to act on a precautionary basis against any further findings.
Communities and Local Government
Bed and Breakfast Accommodation: Children
Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many homeless children aged 16 years old and under were accommodated in bed and breakfast accommodation provided by local authorities for more than six weeks in each of the last seven years; and if he will make a statement. 
Mr Prisk: The information requested is not available. Local authorities provide the Department with figures for the total number of dependent children within households in bed and breakfast accommodation as at the end of each quarter, but separate figures are not collected for the number of children in those households that have been in such accommodation for more than six weeks.
It is unacceptable and avoidable for families to be placed in bed and breakfast. Legislation remains in place that prohibits the use of bed and breakfast for families unless in an emergency, and then for no more than six weeks. The law is also clear that local authorities must be satisfied that any accommodation they secure is suitable for the applicant and their household.
Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many new households there were in Cambridge in each of the last 11 years; and what the change in the population of Cambridge was in each of the last 11 years. 
17 Oct 2012 : Column 301W
Mr Prisk: The Department for Communities and Local Government publishes household estimates and projections for local authority districts. The latest projections are 2008-based and include the following figures for Cambridge:
|Number of households (thousand)|
|Source: Department for Communities and Local Government|
|Mid year||Total population|
|(1) Revised due to improved migration estimates. (2) Official mid-2011 estimate based on results of the 2011 census and not consistent with estimates for earlier years. Source: Office for National Statistics|
Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of (a) the likely change in the number of dwellings in Cambridge between 2011 and 2021 and (b) the likely change in population between 2011 and 2021. 
The Department for Communities and Local Government publishes household projections that show household numbers based on population projections and demographic trends, that are used by local authorities in assessing future housing trends. They show the following projected total households for Cambridge:
17 Oct 2012 : Column 302W
|Household projections (thousand)|
|Source: Department for Communities and Local Government|
Gloria De Piero: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many families were assisted by family intervention projects in each of the last five years; and what the different categories for families who have been assisted are. 
Brandon Lewis: The Government have previously published statistics on families supported by Family Intervention Projects. The last published figures show that Family Intervention Projects had worked with just under 9,000 families between February 2007 and March 2011. New figures up to March 2012 will be available shortly. The statistics have not shown different categories of families, but have included information on outcomes in four separate domains: family functioning and risk; crime and antisocial behaviour; health; education and employment.
Domestic Waste: Waste Disposal
To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which local authorities have received funding to enable them to change from alternate weekly to weekly refuse collection in 2012-13; and which
17 Oct 2012 : Column 303W
local authorities have received additional funding to enable them to maintain weekly collection rather than changing to alternate weekly collections to date. 
Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the proportion of electrical cabling installed that was counterfeit or falsely marked in each of the last five years. 
Mr Prisk: No such estimate has been made. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has commissioned the Health and Safety Executive to look into cable standards and counterfeiting but they have yet to produce a final report.
Mrs Hodgson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what discussions he has had with UK electrical cabling manufacturers on preventing the importation and installation of counterfeit or falsely-marked electrical cabling. 
Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate his Department has made of the proportion of electrical cabling installed in the UK in each of the last five years which was counterfeit or falsely marked. 
Mr Prisk: No such estimate has been made. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has commissioned the Health and Safety Executive to look into cable standards and counterfeiting but they have yet to produce a final report.
Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many first-time house buyers there were in (a) Birmingham, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England in each of the last three years. 
Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what evidence his Department has on the number of properties with planning consent which are not being built due to unviability resulting from the scale of section 106 obligations. 
17 Oct 2012 : Column 304W
“currently stalled due to sites being commercially unviable.”
Section 106 agreements are locally negotiated and circumstances will vary greatly from site to site. Information on the impact of local Section 106 requirements on individual site viability is therefore not centrally held. However, we expect our measures to create an incentive for developers to review schemes and bring forward those which would benefit from revised Section 106 provisions.
Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether it is his policy to include planning applications for housing above a certain size in the definition of major infrastructure projects under the Planning Act 2008. 
Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 17 September 2012, Official Report, column 484W, on housing: construction, if he will make it his policy that Part M of the Building Regulations applies to extensions made to domestic buildings; and if he will make a statement. 
Section 110 of the Localism Act 2011 introduced a duty to co-operate to support a locally-led approach to strategic planning. The duty requires local authorities and other public bodies to work together
17 Oct 2012 : Column 305W
constructively, actively and on an ongoing basis on strategic cross-boundary matters when preparing local and marine plans.
The duty to co-operate is not a formal document to be signed and in the spirit of localism, the Act does not prescribe how the duty should be met. The Act requires authorities to demonstrate to an independent inspector how they have complied with the duty at the plan's examination in public. Authorities must also report on their performance against the duty to co-operate in their monitoring reports.
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the likely growth in income from National Non-Domestic Rates in the next 10 years; what assumptions about (a) increases in Retail Prices Index and (b) economic growth he used in making such an assessment; and if he will place copies of all documents relating to it in the Library. 
Brandon Lewis: The Office for Budget Responsibility forecast for Great Britain business rates up to 2016-17 is shown in Table 4.7 of their March 2012 “Economic and fiscal outlook”. This incorporates DCLG's forecast of National Non-Domestic Rates growth in England. They produce forecasts of economic growth and RPI, which were used in the business rates forecast and are published in Table 4.3 of the their outlook.
These estimates do not take into account the potential benefits from the local retention of business rates being introduced through the Local Government Finance Bill. Separate analysis of the benefits to economic growth from these reforms can be found online at:
Planning Inspectorate: Staff
Mr Andrew Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether he proposes any increase in staffing of the Planning Inspectorate to manage the increased workload resulting from planning policy changes announced in September 2012. 
Private Rented Housing: Electrical Safety
Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps he is taking to ensure that landlords in the private rental sector comply with electrical safety standards; and if he will ensure that appropriate action is taken against those who fail to do so. 
Mr Prisk: Private landlords are responsible for ensuring that their properties are safe. The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 requires that electrical installations are safe when a tenancy begins, and are maintained in a safe condition throughout the tenancy.
17 Oct 2012 : Column 306W
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. The Government continues to urge local authorities to make full use of their powers.
Social Services: Older People
Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the proportion of council budgets which will need to be spent on adult social care in each of the next 10 years; and what assumptions he has made of (a) the growth in numbers of elderly people and (b) increases in the cost of social care in reaching that estimate. 
Brandon Lewis: The Office for National Statistics is responsible for population projections. On 28 September they published projections of the population for the next 10 years which included the projected number of elderly people.
The ‘Technical Consultation on Business Rates Retention', which closed on 24 September, sets out Government's proposals on local authority financing. More broadly, social care reform is being considered as part of the Government's response to the Dilnot Commission. The Department of Health published a progress report on funding reform in July 2012 (Cm 8381), a copy of which is in the Library of the House.
Dan Rogerson: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many people contracted bovine tuberculosis (a) through contact with cattle and (b) by ingesting products produced by infected cattle and what the biological mechanisms were for contracting the disease. 
|Number of “Mycobacterium bovis” cases reported to Health Protection Agency national surveillance, England and Wales, 2007-11|
|Number of cases|
|Source: Health Protection Agency|
17 Oct 2012 : Column 307W
1995. The Health Protection Agency does not collect data on whether or not the dairy products consumed were from infected cattle.
The two most likely mechanisms of transmission to humans are (a) by ingestion of the organism in contaminated dairy products or (b) by inhalation of the organism expelled from the lungs of an infected cow.