Bramshill Police College

Mr Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much capital investment there has been in Bramshill police college in each financial year between 2009-10 and 2012-13. [134835]

Damian Green: The National Policing Improvement Agency as freehold owner of the Bramshill site spent £19.7 million of capital on estates assets at the site across the period requested. This figure can be broken down as follows:

 £ million

2009-10

14.3

2010-11

3.3

2011-12

1.4

2012-13

0.7

Carbon Monoxide: Poisoning

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will make an assessment of the potential benefit of conducting a national television advertising campaign on raising awareness of the carbon monoxide risk associated with taking barbecues into tents. [134499]

Jo Swinson: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

The Department has not carried out public awareness campaigns for a number of years and has no plans to make an assessment of a television campaign. This is because we believe bodies such as the Carbon Monoxide and Gas Safety Society, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, and the Camping and Caravanning Club are better placed to determine how to direct such campaigns.

Recent examples include the Gas Safe Society's leaflet campaign, available at:

http://www.co-gassafety.co.uk/downloads/25885_GasSafe_CO_Campaign_DL_Leaflet_2pp_AW_v1_lr.pdf

and advice on the Camping and Caravanning Club website:

http://www.campingandcaravanningclub.co.uk/helpandadvice/camping-safety/carbon-monoxide-poisoning/

Closed Circuit Television

Lilian Greenwood: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment her Department has made of likely trends in the number of CCTV cameras in operation in the UK up to 2015. [135579]

James Brokenshire [holding answer 7 January 2013]: The Home Office has made no assessment of the likely trends in the number of CCTV cameras in operation in the UK up to 2015.

8 Jan 2013 : Column 227W

Communications Data Bill (Draft)

Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what her latest estimate is of the cost of fully implementing the draft Communications Data Bill. [134909]

James Brokenshire: The Communications Capabilities Development Programme's business case is being revised at present. We will provide the new estimates in an impact assessment alongside a revised Bill.

Crimes of Violence: Arrests

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people have been (a) arrested and (b) charged with offences relating to assault on (i) shop workers and (ii) other public-facing workers in the last 12 months. [134919]

Mr Jeremy Browne: This information is not collected centrally.

Crimes of Violence: Females

Andrew Griffiths: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many female victims of (a) grievous bodily harm and (b) actual bodily harm there were (i) of each age and (ii) in each ward in the latest year for which figures are available. [135321]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The information requested is not available from the police recorded data collected by the Home Office. While statistics are held on the number of recorded offences of grievous bodily harm (GBH) and actual bodily harm (ABH), it is not possible to identify either the gender or the age of the victim.

In addition, recorded crime data are not available at ward level.

Databases: Telecommunications

Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what her policy is on the recommendations made by the Joint Committee on the Draft Communications Data Bill that the Interception of Communications Commissioner should be given increased powers to monitor communications data requests, including testing of necessity and proportionality; [134890]

(2) whether she plans to propose changes to the legal definitions of communications data and content to reflect current communications practices; [134902]

(3) what her policy is towards the establishment of a specialised single point of contact unit for communications data requests by infrequent users; and what assessment she has made of the effect that such a unit would have on operational practice; [134906]

(4) if she will keep communications monitoring laws under regular review and if necessary bring forward legislative proposals to amend those laws in the light of the fast changing nature of communications practices. [134908]

8 Jan 2013 : Column 228W

James Brokenshire: The Government have received the report of the Joint Committee on the Communications Data Bill and accepted the substance of all its recommendations.

We will discuss these issues with the incoming Interception of Communications Commissioner, in order to ensure that he has the powers and resources he requires to fulfil his duties under the proposed legislation.

We are looking at the definitions of communications data, given the wide array of information held by some social media platforms. We will address this issue in consultation with communications service providers.

We also accept the Committee's proposal for a centralised Single Point of Contact (SPoC), on the basis that it will ensure the appropriate expertise is in place to safeguard access to communications data.

A full response to the Committee's report will be issued to Parliament in due course. The Government are committed to post-legislative scrutiny of its legislation.

Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the training of law enforcement officers in understanding and using communications intercept powers; and whether she has any plans to improve that training. [134903]

James Brokenshire: The responsibility for delivering training to law enforcement officers is transferring from the National Police Improvement Agency to the new College of Policing.

We are working with them to ensure that training across law enforcement takes proper account of how communications technology, the communications industry and communications usage are changing and how this might affect criminal behaviour. The primary requirement in law enforcement is to develop a broad-based knowledge and understanding of communications technology and usage, what information may be obtained from industry when authorised, and how this can be used to assist investigations.

In his evidence to the Joint Committee on the CD Bill, DCI Steve Higgins (NPIA) said that since October 2010, a five-day course for investigators and analysts has been rolled out to over 5,000 police officers and staff. Measures are in place to evaluate this programme—all classroom based training, for example, is assessed three months after courses. The latest statistics show that 91% of officers completing the core skills course believe it has improved their ability to support investigations. Surveys and data on communication data applications will be used to evaluate the long-term success of the programme. The learning delivered by the programme is coordinated with regular briefings for police forces.

Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the effectiveness with which law enforcement agencies use their powers to intercept communications under the Regulation of Investigatory Powers Act 2000. [134904]

James Brokenshire: The 2008 Privy Council Review of Intercept as Evidence stated that interception “is essential for national security and so must be retained

8 Jan 2013 : Column 229W

and protected”. In his 2011 report, the Interception of Communications Commissioner states that:

“lawful interception and the use of communications data represent significant, cost-effective tools in the fight against the growing number and variety of threats faced by the citizens of the UK.”

Interception is used as part of a range of investigative techniques to combat terrorism and tackle serious crime.

Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the long-term viability of the current voluntary system of provision of communications data by overseas companies to UK public authorities. [134905]

James Brokenshire: There are constructive working relationships between overseas providers and UK public authorities. Our aim is to maintain and enhance these relationships so public authorities can get better access to communications data. The new legislation will provide us with an updated legal mandate to work collaboratively with overseas providers to invest in systems to ensure that the data are retained appropriately and are available (subject to robust safeguards) to public authorities in a form that is accessible to them.

Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many public authorities are currently allowed access to communications data and whether she plans to increase or decrease the number of authorities that will be covered by the powers contained in the draft Communications Data Bill. [134907]

James Brokenshire: A full list of those authorities currently approved by Parliament to access communications data is contained in the Regulation of Investigatory Powers (Communications Data) Order 2010.

In terms of the current proposals, only four bodies or types of body are currently listed on the face of the Bill: the police, intelligence agencies, the National Crime Agency and HM Revenue and Customs. The Bill draft already makes clear that local authorities will not have access to additional data generated under the Bill and if other bodies cannot justify their access, they will not receive it.

Parliament will scrutinise and approve the proposed list of public authorities, the data they can access, and the purposes for which it can be accessed.

Deportation: Sri Lanka

Mr Virendra Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent representations she has received from human rights groups on the UK's returns policy to Sri Lanka. [135481]

Mr Harper: Representations have been made by Freedom from Torture who have made allegations as to mistreatment of Tamil returnees to Sri Lanka from the UK.

Similar representations and allegations have been made by Human Rights Watch and Tamils against Genocide.

Mr Virendra Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent consideration she has given to the UK's returns policy to Sri Lanka. [135482]

8 Jan 2013 : Column 230W

Mr Harper: The alleged mistreatment of returnees to Sri Lanka has been fully considered by the UK Border Agency. Guidance was issued in a country policy bulletin for Sri Lanka, published on the UK Border Agency website in October 2012. Following consideration of the evidence published by Freedom from Torture, Human Rights Watch and Tamils against Genocide it was concluded that it did not support the assertion that a change in the UK Border Agency's policy on returns to Sri Lanka is warranted.

Employment Agencies

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the total spending on recruitment agencies by her Department was in each month from July to December 2012. [135204]

James Brokenshire: The Home Office accounting system does not separately identify spending on recruitment agencies.

Entry Clearances

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many migrants have entered the country on a tourist visa and then not returned to their country of origin in each of the last five years. [132265]

Mr Harper: Since the phasing out of embarkation controls in 1994, no Government have ever been able to produce an accurate figure for the number of people who are in the country illegally. By its very nature, it is impossible to quantify accurately and that remains the case. Information on the number of tourist visitors to the United Kingdom who overstayed their visa over the last five years could be obtained only by the detailed examination of individual case records at disproportionate cost.

E-Borders screens over 64% of passenger movements in and out of the UK (including 100% of commercial aviation routes from outside the EEA). E-Borders enables us to target the most harmful individuals and supports the ability to undertake effective exit checks as passengers leave the UK. It processes in excess of 138 million passenger and crew movements a year across more than 4,300 routes.

E-Borders is one of a comprehensive suite of checks being carried out at the border. Through screening passenger data against wider watchlists and databases, the system has proved successful in detecting previously unknown individuals and providing an intelligence-led basis to undertaking interventions at ports of arrival or departure and elsewhere across the globe.

Entry Clearances: India

Richard Fuller: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many visitor visas were applied for by people from India in each of the last three years; and how many such applications were granted. [127782]

Mr Harper: Visit visa applications can be submitted worldwide at any of the UK Border Agency's visa application centres, regardless of the applicants' nationality.

The figures provided are for visit visa applications submitted by Indian nationals in India only.

8 Jan 2013 : Column 231W

 Total visitors
Financial yearApplicationsIssued

2009-10

269,885

236,240

2010-11

292,293

255,140

2011-12

292,610

265,301

Note: These data are based on internal UK Border Agency Management Information. It is provisional and subject to change.

Richard Fuller: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many visitor visas for people from India were decided (a) within four weeks, (b) between four and eight weeks, (c) between eight and 12 weeks and (d) after more than 12 weeks in the last year. [127783]

Mr Harper: Visit visa applications can be submitted worldwide at any of the UK Border Agency's visa application centres, regardless of the applicants' nationality.

The figures provided are the processing times for visit visa applications for Indian nationals applying from India in the financial year 2011-12.

VisitorsNumber

Resolved cases

291,504

Of which

 

Within 4 weeks

276,949

4-8 weeks

13,760

8-12 weeks

401

Over 12 weeks

394

Note: These data are based on internal UK Border Agency Management Information. It is provisional and subject to change.

Richard Fuller: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how much revenue was earned from applications for visitor visas from people from India in each of the last three years. [127784]

Mr Harper: Visit visa applications can be submitted worldwide at any of the UK Border Agency's visa application centres, regardless of the applicants' nationality.

The data provided in the table are for applications and income received for visit visa applications submitted by Indian nationals in India.

Financial yearApplicationsIncome (£)

2009-10

269,885

24,191,549

2010-11

292,293

27,020,814

2011-12

292,610

30,108,361

Note: These data are based on internal UK Border Agency Management Information. It is provisional and subject to change.

Entry Clearances: Overseas Students

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of the applicants who applied for sponsor status between 1 July and 30 September 2012 and have had their sponsor status approved received a pre-registration visit before approval by points-based system tier. [134379]

8 Jan 2013 : Column 232W

Mr Harper [holding answer 18 December 2012]: Of successful applications submitted between 1 July and 30 September 2012, the following received a pre-licence visit:

 Percentage

Tier 2

8.22

Tier 4

47.05

Tier 5

4.54.

The decision to undertake a pre-licence visit is taken on the basis of an assessment of risk.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what discussions she has had with the UK Border Agency on issues affecting tier 4 visas for (a) London Metropolitan university and (b) other higher education institutions; and if she will make a statement. [134794]

Mr Harper [holding answer 20 December 2012]: The UK Border Agency has kept Ministers fully informed about all of its decisions in relation to the case of London Metropolitan university, in particular the decisions to suspend and revoke the university’s tier 4 sponsorship licence.

The UK Border Agency has also kept Ministers fully informed, where it has decided to take compliance action against other higher education institutions.

Entry Clearances: Pakistan

Andrew Stephenson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many student visitor visas were issued to Pakistani nationals in each of the last three years. [131773]

Mr Harper: There were 199, 304 and 440 entry clearance student visitor visas (main applicants) issued to Pakistani nationals in 2009, 2010 and 2011 respectively (based on published immigration statistics for 2010 and 2011 and on provisional internal UK Border Agency management information for 2009).

The latest Home Office immigration statistics on entry clearance visas issued is published in the release Immigration Statistics release, which is available at:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/science-research-statistics/research-statistics/immigration-asylum-research/immigration-q3-2012/

A copy of the latest release “Immigration Statistics July-September 2012” has been placed in the House Library.

Immigration

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if she will estimate the additional cost of the delivery of those public services for which her Department is responsible arising from inward migration since 1997. [134290]

Mr Harper: The Department does not routinely collate the information needed to provide such estimates, and to do so would incur disproportionate cost.

8 Jan 2013 : Column 233W

Immigration Controls

Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many times Warnings Index checks have been suspended at ports of entry in the last year; and at which ports of entry have these suspensions taken place. [133121]

Mr Harper [holding answer 12 December 2012]: All passengers who present themselves at the PCP on arrival to the UK or juxtaposed controls are examined by a Border Force officer and checked against a Home Office database before being allowed into the UK. Giving more detailed information would prejudice the security of the UK Border.

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the UK Border Agency's service standard targets are for processing in-country immigration applications for limited leave to remain and permanent leave to remain by (a) points-based system tier and (b) category. [134119]

Mr Harper [holding answer 17 December 2012]: The UK Border Agency's service targets for processing in-country immigration applications for limited leave to remain and permanent leave to remain are published on their website and the following table is taken from the document available at the following link:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/aboutus/percentage-of-migration/

In-country applications—Postal service standards
 2010-122012-13
 PercentageTimePercentageTime

Family

65

In 4 weeks

65

In 4 weeks

Visiting the UK

65

In 4 week

80

In 4 weeks

Employment

75

In 4 weeks

90

In 4 weeks

Study

75

In 4 weeks

85

In 4 weeks

Permanent Residence

95

In 6 months

99

In 6 months

European Casework, ECAA and Bulgaria and Romania Casework

95

In 6 months

99

In 6 months

Accession

95

In 4 weeks

99

In 4 weeks

British Citizenship

95

In 6 months

99

In 6 months

Sponsor Licensing

65

In 4 weeks

80

In 4 weeks

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what proportion of in-country immigration applications for limited leave to remain and permanent leave to remain were processed within the UK Border Agency’s service standard target between 1 January 2012 and 31 March 2012 by (a) points-based system tier and (b) category. [134121]

Mr Harper [holding answer 17 December 2012]: Data on the number of points-based system applications decided and the proportion of those decided within service standard are published on an annual and quarterly basis. Latest figures are available on the UK Border Agency website at the following link:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/aboutus/percentage-of-migration/

8 Jan 2013 : Column 234W

Licensing Laws

Guto Bebb: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) if she will broaden the definition of ancillary sale for the purposes of easing the licensing burdens for businesses currently covered by such a definition; [135096]

(2) what steps she is taking to reduce the licensing burdens on ancillary sellers of alcohol; and what barriers she is putting in place to prevent the abuse of such a reduction in alcohol licensing requirements. [135097]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The Government are committed to reducing unnecessary regulation for businesses. Reducing the licensing burdens on ancillary sellers of alcohol is one of the proposals in the alcohol strategy on which we are currently consulting. This includes seeking views on the definition of ancillary sales and the impact this proposal could have on the licensing objectives. We will publish our response to the consultation in due course, after it has closed on 6 February.

Passports

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the number of passports that were issued for residents of (a) Glasgow, (b) Scotland and (c) the UK in (i) 2009, (ii) 2010, (iii) 2011 and (iv) 2012. [133789]

Mr Harper: I refer the hon. Member to the answer given on 5 December 2012, Official Report, column 801W.

While the Identity and Passport Service does not normally hold information on the geographical location of the applicant, work has been carried out on the location of the address from which applications have been made in the UK.

The following table sets out the number of passports issued in each of the requested years by virtue of the address from which the application has been received. Providing evidence of place of residence is not a requirement in considering an application for a passport.

Number
Calendar yearPPT's issued to Scottish postcodesPPT's issued to Glasgow postcodesIPS PPT's issued to all UK

2009

542,752

151,159

5,105,698

2010

532,933

143,489

5,367,259

2011

541,550

151,800

5,259,835

2012(1)

561,498

150,704

5,122,180

(1) 2012 information up to month end November. Source: Data—HQ Ml Services monthly OUTPUT database for Scotland and Glasgow PPT's

Police

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many police officers there were for every 100,000 residents in (a) the west midlands, (b) Birmingham and (c) each police authority area in each year since 2008. [135056]

Damian Green: The number of police officers per 100,000 population, by police force area and Birmingham basic command unit, as at 31 March 2008 to 2012 (full-time equivalent) can be seen in the following table. Figures at basic command unit level ceased to be collected from 2011-12 by the Home Office.

8 Jan 2013 : Column 235W

Number of police officers per 100,000 population, by police force area and Birmingham basic command unit as at 31 March 2008 to 31 March 2012(1,2,3,4)
 20082009201020112012

Avon and Somerset

218

213

207

200

187

Bedfordshire

204

209

208

201

188

Cambridgeshire

183

191

191

180

174

Cheshire

218

217

215

207

199

Cleveland

303

314

309

296

271

Cumbria

251

258

250

238

228

Derbyshire

212

215

207

201

180

Devon and Cornwall

214

213

213

206

192

Dorset

216

213

209

205

193

Durham

272

263

249

236

223

Essex

203

206

211

208

196

Gloucestershire

234

235

223

214

204

Greater Manchester

315

321

316

300

285

Hampshire

214

207

202

196

182

Hertfordshire

204

204

196

187

179

Humberside

248

233

225

213

201

Kent

227

231

229

220

208

Lancashire

254

259

253

¦239

229

Leicestershire

233

243

236

224

215

Lincolnshire

175

177

173

172

162

London, City of

*

*

*

*

*

Merseyside

331

333

334

318

302

Metropolitan Police

430

432

436

430

411

Norfolk

190

198

196

187

179

Northamptonshire

196

196

198

191

180

Northumbria

285

294

298

289

274,

North Yorkshire

202

185

188

183

175

Nottinghamshire

224

227

225

215

200

South Yorkshire

248

235

226

219

209

Staffordshire

214

208

203

195

182

Suffolk

. 188

182

175

174

163

Surrey

179

170

172

169

175

Sussex

201

208

207

199

188

Thames Valley

194

198

201

197

, 193

Warwickshire

198

189

182

172

157

West Mercia

210

208

201

189

184

West Midlands

324

332

329

309

295

West Yorkshire

269

268

261

249

232

Wiltshire

190

191

182

168

160

Dyfed-Powys

237

236

236

229

223

Gwent

266

257

257

268

258

North Wales

234

234

234

225

214

South Wales

264

255

253

247

231

Total of all 43 forces

264

266

264

254

243

Birmingham

304

307

303

225

Note: 1. This table contains full-time equivalent figures that have been rounded to the nearest whole number. 2. Officers per 100,000 population for City of London and Metropolitan police are combined. 3. The number of police officers for Birmingham basic command unit for 31 March 2011 is the sum of Birmingham East, Birmingham North, Birmingham South and Birmingham West and Central. The number of police officers for 31 March 2008 to 2010 for Birmingham basic command unit are the sum of West Midlands D1-03, E1-E3 and F1-F3 basic command units. 4. Figures at basic command unit level ceased to be collected from 2011/12 following Lord Wasserman's assessment.

8 Jan 2013 : Column 236W

Police: Finance

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether the policing budget will be protected from the planned reduction in departmental spending in 2013-14 and 2014-15. [134955]

Damian Green: I refer the hon. Member to the statement I made in the House on 19 December 2012, Official Report, columns 112-18WS. I have decided to protect the police from the reductions in 2013-14 as a result of the reduction in the Department's budget announced by the Chancellor at the autumn statement. I have also taken the decision to protect the police from reductions as a result of the public sector pay restraint announced at autumn statement 2011. I have not yet made a decision on police funding allocations for 2014-15.

Procurement

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the monetary value was of contracts awarded by her Department to (a) management consultancies and (b) IT companies in (i) 2010-11 and (ii) 2011-12; and if she will make a statement. [135173]

James Brokenshire: The value of contracts awarded by the Home Department and its Executive agencies to management companies and IT companies in 2010-11 and 2011-12 was as follows:

£ million
Financial yearManagement consultanciesICT companies

2010-11

37.71

164.62

2011-12

30.74

107.68

Redundancy

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many civil service posts have been made redundant by her Department in each year since 1999; and what the cost of redundancies has been in each such year; [135499]

(2) how many posts have been declared redundant by each of her Department's Executive agencies and non-departmental public bodies in each year since 1999; and what the cost of those redundancies has been. [135500]

James Brokenshire: Information on compulsory redundancies is held on employees rather than the number of posts made redundant within the Department.

Between 1998-99 and 2010-11, there were no compulsory redundancies in the Home Office and its agencies.

In 2011-12, there were 27 compulsory redundancies in the Home Department and its Executive agencies and in 2012-13 (to 30 November 2012), there have been 23.

In 2012-13 (to 30 November 2012), the Home Department has been charged the following amounts in relation to compulsory redundancies:

(i) £136,906.30 for the Home Department; and

(ii) £406,698.14 for the Executive agencies.

8 Jan 2013 : Column 237W

The costs for redundancies in 2011-12 have fallen to be accounted in 2012-13 and therefore the above figures cover the cost of compulsory redundancies for both years.

Information on the number of compulsory redundancies in the non-departmental public bodies could be made available only at disproportionate cost.

Redundancy Pay

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the total amount of redundancy pay paid to civil servants in her Department was in each month from July to December 2012. [135202]

James Brokenshire: The amounts of redundancy pay paid to civil servants in the Home Office in the months July to December 2012 is shown in the following table:

Table A
 £

July

26,279.290

August

0

September

60,044.45

October

126,079.75

November

0

December

79,717.59

Temporary Employment

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what amount her Department spent on interim staff as defined by the National Audit Office in (a) 2010-11 and (b) 2011-12; and if she will make a statement. [135174]

James Brokenshire: The Home Office has spent the following amounts on contingent labour and agency staff as published in the Home Office Report and Accounts:

 £ million

2010-11

34.7

2011-12

21.4

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many temporary staff have been recruited in her Department in each month from July to December 2012. [135203]

James Brokenshire: The Home Office, including its Executive agencies, recruited a total of 361 temporary staff during the period July to December 2012 as follows:

Table 1: Home Office Group and its Executive agencies (CRB, IPS andUKBA)
 Number

July

129

August

34

September

49

October

75

November

14

December

60

8 Jan 2013 : Column 238W

UK Border Agency

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department pursuant to the answer of 31 October 2012, Official Report, column 248W, on UK Border Agency, what steps she plans to take to monitor (a) the quality of asylum claims interviews and (b) the quality of decision-making in respect of asylum claims made by women; and if she will make a statement. [133407]

Mr Harper: The information is as follows:

(a) The UK Border Agency continues to audit 10% of all first instance asylum interviews and decisions against a detailed quality assurance framework drawn up and agreed with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees. In the 12-month period to November 2012, 1,402 cases were sampled, and average quality scores were:

Interview: 91.5%, decision: 89.7%. The quality benchmark is considered to be 90%.

A new quality assurance process is being developed to re-design the agency’s existing framework, providing a more detailed analysis of quality and expanding the scope to measure success at each stage of the end-to-end asylum system, looking at the critical elements of the process.

(b) The existing quality assurance process is essentially the same for male and female applicants; however, the gender of the applicant in each audit is recorded, and the criteria for assessment includes how the interviewer and decision maker handled gender-related issues. The agency’s monthly analysis of figures does not currently include a breakdown of claims by gender but a thematic review of asylum claims based on or featuring gender-related persecution and gender issues was completed in June 2011, and this highlighted areas for improvement which are being addressed.

Mike Gapes: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what advice she has given to the UK Border Agency on dealing with representations by hon. Members on reviewing decisions on visit visa applications in cases when the usual appeals process is not appropriate due to time constraints. [134029]

Mr Harper: UK Border Agency officials will consider representations from hon. Members outside the normal appeal procedures due to time constraints where exceptional, compassionate circumstances are involved, such as the serious illness or the death of a close family member. Further evidence will be requested from the applicant and the application reviewed on that basis. If there is enough strong evidence presented, the refusal may be overturned and entry clearance issued.

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what the estimated cost to the public purse was of ultimately successful appeals against UK Border Agency decisions in (a) 2008, (b) 2009, (c) 2010, (d) 2011 and (e) 2012 to date; [135419]

(2) what the total number of appeals made against UK Border Agency decisions for asylum cases was in the latest period for which figures are available; what the total number of successful appeals was; and what the total cost to the public purse was; [135420]

8 Jan 2013 : Column 239W

(3) what the average cost to the public purse is of an appeal against a UK Border Agency decision. [135421]

Mr Harper: Regarding the question(s) of cost:

Appeals are managed by the UK Border Agency (the Agency). Information about the agency's overall litigation expenditure is contained in its annual Resource Accounts. However, the agency does not record litigation expenditure in the format which would enable it to answer the questions posed and to do so would incur disproportionate costs.

Regarding the question of appeals numbers/statistics for the latest period:

The latest published figures show that in Q3 2012 (July to September), the total number of appeal applications made is 1,920 and the total number of appeals allowed is 521.

The Home Office publishes quarterly and annual statistics on the number of appeal applications and determinations. These are available in Table as.14 (annual) and Table as.14.q (quarterly) of asylum excel tables volume four of the quarterly Immigration Statistics. The latest release Immigration Statistics July to September 2012 is available in the Library of the House and from the Home Office Science website at:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/science-research-statistics/research-statistics/immigration-asylum-research/immigration-tabs-q3-2012

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) what proportion of cases referred to the UK Border Agency (UKBA) were processed on time according to UKBA's targets in each year since the agency's creation; [135423]

(2) what the UK Border Agency's target for the amount of time to process an average individual case is; [135426]

(3) what the average amount of time that the UK Border Agency takes to process an average individual case is. [135427]

Mr Harper: The UK Border Agency publishes extensive information on its performance as part of its commitment to transparency. This includes information on the proportion of cases processed in time, average processing times and service standards.

This information has been published for the last two financial years and is updated on a quarterly or annual basis depending on the publication.

The transparency publications include information on asylum, migration and international case loads; they can be found here:

http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/aboutus/our-performance

Alex Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what recent assessment she has made of the performance of the UK Border Agency in processing its caseload. [135424]

Mr Harper: The Secretary of State for the Home Department, my right hon. Friend the Member for Maidenhead (Mrs May), gave her most recent assessment in oral evidence to the Home Affairs Select Committee on 18 December 2012 (HC 563-ii).

8 Jan 2013 : Column 240W

Young Offenders

Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many people of each age group up to 18 years in each region of the UK have been (a) arrested and (b) charged with a crime in the last 12 months. [135146]

Mr Jeremy Browne [holding answer 7 January 2013]: Arrests data for England and Wales are collected by the Home Office and published on an annual basis in the National Statistics series ‘Police Powers and Procedures’. Available data currently relate to 2010-11 for the age groups ‘Under 10 years’ and ‘10 to 17 years’ and are included in table A.06 of the latest internet-only release, which is available via:

http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/science-research-statistics/research-statistics/police-research/police-powers-procedures-201011

Data for 2011-12 are scheduled to be published in spring 2013.

The Ministry of Justice has advised that data on persons charged are not collected centrally.

Justice

Chief Coroner

Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many staff are employed in the office of the newly-appointed Chief Coroner; [135250]

(2) what the budget is of the office of the Chief Coroner. [135255]

Mrs Grant: There are currently three staff employed in the Chief Coroner's office, although the Judicial Office is in the process of recruiting additional members of staff. The budget of the office for 2013-14 is £1.2 million, which includes the Chief Coroner's salary and coroner training budget.

Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice whether the Chief Coroner will make an annual report to the Lord Chancellor under section 36 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009; and if this report will be laid before Parliament. [135256]

Mrs Grant: The Chief Coroner will make an annual report to the Lord Chancellor and the Lord Chancellor will lay a copy of the report before Parliament as required under section 36 of the Coroners and Justice Act 2009. They will fulfil these duties once section 36 of the 2009 Act has been brought into force.

Civil Justice Council

Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice in which areas he expects the Civil Justice Council to make savings in the financial year 2012-13. [135275]

Mrs Grant: The Civil Justice Council (CJC) will deliver two types of savings on expenditure in 2012-13: staff salaries and other expenditure.

In relation to staff salaries, the CJC has employed two full-time members of staff during 2012-13—an assistant secretary and a finance and project manager. The post of secretary to the CJC was merged during

8 Jan 2013 : Column 241W

this financial year with firstly the post of secretary to the Family Justice Council and latterly the post of private secretary to the Master of the Rolls. In addition, the post of communications manager for the CJC/FJC has not been filled. These decisions have undoubtedly generated savings, although the precise sums are hard to quantify given the shared nature of the roles.

With regard to other expenditure, the CJC was allocated £54,140 in 2012-13. It is anticipated that £40,640 will be spent organising various conferences, an independent review of court forms and leaflets to assist self-represented litigants, research into the impact of court fees on litigants, and a public legal education initiative in the current financial year. Some £13,500 that could not be used before 1 April 2013 has been surrendered to the Ministry of Justice.

Courts: Lancashire

Mark Hendrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many employees of magistrates and Crown courts in Lancashire (1) were made redundant in each of the last two years; [134685]

(2) were (a) on permanent contracts, (b) on fixed-term contracts and (c) employed by an agency on 30 September (i) 2011 and (ii) 2012. [134686]

Mrs Grant: No employees of magistrates or Crown courts in Lancashire have been made compulsorily redundant in the last two calendar years (2011 and to 30 November 2012). Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) records indicate that two employees have left HMCTS under the voluntary redundancy scheme.

The number of permanent and fixed-term contract and agency employees of magistrates and Crown courts in Lancashire for the requested years are as follows:

Headcount
 At 30 September 2011At 30 September 2012

Permanent staff

331

301

Fixed term staff

6

0

Agency workers

3

11

Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008

Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice with reference to the First Report from the draft Communications Data Bill Joint Committee and the inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press by the right hon. Lord Justice Leveson, what his policy is on bringing into force sections 77 and 78 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008. [135118]

Mrs Grant: Section 77 of the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008 creates a power to alter the penalty (which can include a custodial sentence) for the unlawful obtaining of personal data, which is an offence under section 55 of the Data Protection Act 1998. Section 78 of the 2008 Act creates a new defence for journalistic, literary or artistic purposes.

These provisions were introduced by Government amendment to the then Bill but custodial penalties were not introduced nor the new defence commenced by the previous Government after the Bill received Royal Assent.

8 Jan 2013 : Column 242W

Following the report of the Joint Committee and the inquiry into the culture, practices and ethics of the press, the Government are giving careful consideration to the question of whether these provisions should now be introduced given the potential consequences in particular for the conduct of responsible investigative journalism in the public interest.

Dangerous Dogs

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will bring forward measures to improve compensation arrangements for victims of dog attacks. [134773]

Mrs Grant: There are several routes of redress open to victims of dog attacks. The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 included a provision which places a positive duty on the courts to consider ordering compensation in all cases where an offender is convicted of a dangerous dog offence that injures or causes loss or damage to a victim. This provision came into force on 3 December 2012. The victim can also pursue civil damages.

Under the recently reformed Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme 2012, victims of dog attacks may continue to claim compensation where a dog was set upon them intentionally to cause injury. Cases where a dog is not kept under proper control and causes injury to a person do not fall within the core purpose of the scheme, which is to compensate direct victims of crimes of violence.

Employment Tribunals Service

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what evidential basis he used in developing his proposals on employment tribunal users as announced in July 2012. [135792]

Mrs Grant: A broad evidence base was used to develop the proposals to introduce fees into employment tribunals, including: previous Government consultations, independent research, responses to the consultation on a fee-charging regime, national surveys of tribunal users, Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service annual reports and information published by the Office of National Statistics. The impact assessment and equality impact assessment published with the consultation response provide full details of the evidence base used and they are available on the Ministry of Justice website at the following link:

https://consult.justice.gov.uk/digital-communications/et-fee-charging-regime-cp22-2011

Family Proceedings

Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will reform the family court system to reduce the extent to which women participating in proceedings feel vulnerable and exposed. [135308]

Mrs Grant: The Government already have a number of provisions in place to help women who feel vulnerable or exposed in family proceedings.

The Revised Private Law Programme for proceedings under the Children Act 1989 requires the court to identify risks or allegations of harm at an early stage in residence and contact proceedings so that it can consider what action is required to safeguard the affected parties.

8 Jan 2013 : Column 243W

Under Part IV of the Family Law Act 1996, a party can apply for a non-molestation order to deter someone from causing or threatening violence or molestation to the applicant or to any children.

Within the courts themselves, special measures such as separate secure waiting rooms, video links and facilities to screen witnesses from the accused are available to support vulnerable and intimidated victims and witnesses.

Human Trafficking

Andrew Selous: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the (a) nationality and (b) gender was of each suspected victim of trafficking referred to the Trafficking Victim Support Scheme operated by the Salvation Army in November 2012; in which local authority area each of the suspected victims was initially found; and which agency referred each case to the scheme. [134088]

Mrs Grant: In November 2012, there were 58 referrals to the Government-funded support service for adult victims of human trafficking in England and Wales administered by the Salvation Army. Details are provided in the following table.

NationalityGenderRegionReferring agency

Afghan

Female

Yorkshire

UKBA

Pakistani

Female

Yorkshire

UKBA

Pakistani

Female

Yorkshire

UKBA

Slovakian

Male

South East

NGO

Slovakian

Male

South East

NGO

Slovakian

Male

South East

NGO

Albanian

Female

Yorkshire

UKBA

Albanian

Female

Yorkshire

UKBA

Cameroon

Male

Yorkshire

NGO

Vietnamese

Male

South East

Legal Representative

Albanian

Female

North West

NGO

Ethiopian

Female

Yorkshire

UKBA

Czech

Female

North West

Police

Nigerian

Female

North West

UKBA

Nigerian

Female

North West

UKBA

Hungarian

Female

North West

Police

Romanian

Female

South East

Police

Nigerian

Female

Not known

Self Referral

British

Male

Not known

Probation

Lithuanian

Female

North West

Police

Chinese

Female

South East

Self Referral

Polish

Male

Yorkshire

NGO

Slovakian

Female

South East

Police

Jamaican

Female

North East

UKBA

Vietnamese

Male

South East

Social Services

Gambian

Female

North West

UKBA

Vietnamese

Male

North West

NGO

Vietnamese

Male

South East

Legal Representative

Nigerian

Female

South East

UKBA

Czech

Male

North East

NGO

Albanian

Female

South East

NHS

Albanian

Female

South East

NGO

Eritrean

Female

West Midlands

UKBA

Kenyan

Female

Not known

Legal Representative

Ethiopian

Female

North West

UKBA

Sierra Leone

Female

South East

NGO

Romanian

Female

North West

NGO

8 Jan 2013 : Column 244W

Albanian

Female

North West

UKBA

Vietnamese

Male

South East

NGO

Nigerian

Female

South East

UKBA

Slovakian

Male

South East

NGO

Slovakian

Female

South East

NGO

Nigerian

Female

South East

NGO

Albanian

Female

South East

Local Authority

Romanian

Female

South East

NGO

Gambian

Female

South East

UKBA

Romanian

Male

South East

Police

Lithuanian

Female

South East

Other

Romanian

Male

South West

Police

Nigerian

Male

Yorkshire

UKBA

Nigerian

Female

Yorkshire

UKBA

Albanian

Female

West Midlands

UKBA

Nigerian

Female

South East

NGO

Nigerian

Female

South East

Local Authority

Chinese

Female

South East

NGO

Albanian

Female

South East

UKBA

Albanian

Female

South East

NGO

Vietnamese

Female

South

UKBA

Judicial Review

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 19 November 2012, Official Report, column 22WS, on judicial review, by what method he has estimated the effect on (a) GDP and (b) other macro-economic indicators of (i) applications for permission to apply for judicial review, (ii) permissions to proceed to determination by the court and (iii) judicial reviews granted in cases related to planning or infrastructure proposals; what these estimates were; and if he will make a statement. [135771]

Mrs Grant: The public engagement exercise “Judicial Review: proposals for reform”, published on 13 December 2012, contained proposals designed to strike the right balance between maintaining access to justice and the rule of law and reducing burdens on public services. The document was accompanied by an impact assessment covering the main possible effects of the proposals.

Landlords: Prosecutions

Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent assessment he has made of the number of prosecutions of private sector landlords for breaches of category one and two regulations. [135614]

Jeremy Wright: The Ministry of Justice has not undertaken any assessment of the number of prosecutions of private sector landlords arising from the presence of category one and two hazards under the Housing Act 2004.

The presence of category one and category two hazards is not an offence that can be prosecuted unless there is subsequently a failure to:

comply with an improvement notice (section 30);

comply with a prohibition order (section 32); or

allow action to be taken on the premises (section 35).

8 Jan 2013 : Column 245W

Prisoners: Foreign Nationals

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many foreign national prisoners have remained in custody beyond their earliest release date in each of the last five years; [134165]

(2) how many foreign national prisoners were in custody beyond their earliest release date in the most recent period for which figures are available; and for what length of time in each case. [134166]

Mr Harper: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Home Department.

The following table provides a snapshot, for each April from 2010 to 2012, of the number of foreign national offenders detained beyond the end of their sentence in both prisons and immigration removal centres. Please note that data prior to 2010 are not considered sufficiently reliable to provide. Please note that individuals may appear in the figures for more than one month.

Number
As at April each year:Foreign national offenders detained in prisons beyond the end of their sentenceForeign national offenders detained in immigration removal centres beyond the end of their sentence

2010

701

1,213

2011

516

945

2012

552

812

In September 2012, 547 foreign national offenders were detained by the UK Border Agency in prisons following completion of their custodial sentence. A further 919 foreign national offenders were detained beyond the end of their sentence in immigration removal centres.

To provide details of the length of time each individual had been detained would incur a disproportionate cost.

Please note that we have been unable to provide the data in respect of the earliest release date and have therefore interpreted the question as asking how many FNOs subject to deportation proceeding have remained in custody beyond their actual release date.

Additionally it should be noted that the Prison Service run a number of immigration removal centres on behalf of the UK Border Agency.

Victims' Commissioner

Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) when does he intend the Victims’ Commissioner to begin his role; [135251]

(2) where the offices of the Victims’ Commissioner will be; [135253]

(3) how many staff are employed in the office of the Victims’ Commissioner; [135257]

(4) what the budget will be for the office of the Victims’ Commissioner; [135258]

Victims' Commissioner and Chief Coroner

(5) whether his Department intends to review the role of the (a) Victims’ Commissioner and (b) Chief Coroner. [135263]

8 Jan 2013 : Column 246W

Mrs Grant: We expect the new Victims' Commissioner to take up her post in January 2013.

The offices of the Victims' Commissioner will be located in Ashley House, Westminster, which is part of the Ministry of Justice estate. We anticipate that two full-time members of staff will be employed in the office of the Victims' Commissioner. The budget for the office of the Victims' Commissioner will be approximately £250,000 per year, including staff costs.

Once the new Victims' Commissioner has taken up her role, the Ministry of Justice will consider any changes to the scope of the post, if necessary, in consultation with the new Victims' Commissioner. The Ministry of Justice does not intend to review the role of the Chief Coroner.

Written Questions

Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice in how many answers to Parliamentary Questions his Department has referred hon. Members to somewhere they would be able to find the information for themselves in the latest period for which figures are available. [134911]

Mrs Grant: The Ministers in the Department answered 6,437 Commons written PQs during the 2010 to 2012 session. It would only be possible to determine in how many answers hon. Members were referred to somewhere they would be able to find the information by manually checking each answer. This would exceed the disproportionate cost threshold.

Youth Justice

Robert Flello: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what plans he has to upgrade the youth courts system. [135305]

Mrs Grant: The Government are committed to maintaining a distinct youth justice system, reflecting the separate needs of children and young people. To this end, the efficiency and effectiveness of the youth courts system is kept under review.

Communities and Local Government

Advantage West Midlands: Assets

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to the answer of 23 May 2011, Official Report, column 466W, on Advantage West Midlands: assets, what assets previously owned by Advantage West Midlands have been sold; how much has been raised for the Exchequer as a result of such sales; and what assets the Department still plans to sell. [134645]

Mr Prisk: A list of the assets disposed of by the Homes and Communities Agency since August/September 2011, and details of the associated receipts, have been placed in the Library of the House. The sale proceeds of land and property assets (“inventory”) sold by Advantage West Midlands in the financial year 2011/12 can be determined from their audited annual report and accounts 2011-12 as £4.43 million.

8 Jan 2013 : Column 247W

The Homes and Communities Agency has published its disposal and development plan at:

http://www.homesandcommunities.co.uk/sites/default/files/our-work/land_development_and_disposal_plan.pdf

The long term strategy is to get all former Regional Development Agency-owned sites in the best possible condition for disposal, by reinvesting receipts. These assets were bought by the national tax-payer and therefore it is right that ultimately the receipts are used nationally. This programme uses the Local Stewardship Model which recycles money to improve sites to create local benefits. This means that receipts will be spent on meeting the legal commitments that we have inherited from the former Regional Development Agencies. In total, the current estimate of commitments is equivalent to £310.3 million (in the hon. Member's own locality, the cost of the former Advantage West Midlands' commitments is an estimated £40.2 million).

Affordable Housing: Suffolk

Mr Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much affordable housing has been built in (a) Bury St Edmunds constituency and (b) Suffolk in each of the last five years. [134574]

Mr Prisk: Information about affordable housing by constituency is not held centrally. Statistics on additional affordable housing provided in each local authority area are published in the Department's live tables 1006, 1007 and 1008, which are available at the following link.

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-affordable-housing-supply

These figures include both newly built housing, which accounts for around 85% of additional affordable housing over the last five years, and acquisitions from the private sector.

Environmental Impact Assessment

Stephen Phillips: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if his Department will take steps to streamline the environmental impact assessment process. [135301]

Nick Boles: I refer my hon. Friend to the written ministerial statement of 6 December 2012, Official Report, column 71-72WS.

Equality

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what proportion of staff in his Department have received training in equality and diversity and the requirements of the Equality Act 2010, within the last three years. [134588]

Brandon Lewis: This information is not centrally held. I would note that DCLG offers an e-learning package which is accessible to all staff.

More detail on the Department's equality objectives can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/dclg-equality-objectives-2012-to-2016

8 Jan 2013 : Column 248W

Fire Services

Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the ability of fire and rescue services to maintain services if further spending reductions are made. [135318]

Brandon Lewis: All fire and rescue authorities in England are required by the Fire and Rescue National Framework to have in place and maintain an Integrated Risk Management Plan, which identifies local need and sets out plans to tackle effectively both existing and potential risks to communities. The Integrated Risk Management Plan, which is subject to consultation with the local community, enables each fire and rescue authority to tailor the allocation of its resources to local circumstances—evaluating where risk is greatest and determining its policies and standards for prevention and intervention accordingly.

As a front line service, fire and rescue authorities have been protected by back loading formula grant reductions into years three and four of the current spending review period to provide them with the necessary time to make the changes necessary to meet the reductions without impacting on the quality of services provided to their communities.

As I outlined in my written ministerial statement of 17 December 2012, Official Report, columns 69-70WS, there is significant scope for fire and rescue authorities to make sensible savings, such as through reforms to flexible staffing and crewing arrangements, better procurement; shared services, collaboration with emergency services and other organisations on service delivery and estates, sickness management; sharing of senior staff, locally led mergers and operational collaborations, new fire-fighting technology, preventative approaches and working with local businesses.

Fracking

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will consider further ways of safeguarding (a) landscape character and (b) visual amenity in the planning process for fracking rig installation. [135088]

Nick Boles: The National Planning Policy Framework already expects the planning system to protect and enhance valued landscapes and, where appropriate, that landscape character assessments are prepared to inform the preparation of local plans. Minerals plans are also expected to set out environmental criteria so as to ensure that permitted operations do not have an unacceptable adverse impact on the natural or historic environment, which may include visual intrusion. Mineral planning authorities must also decide if an environmental impact assessment is required to inform consideration of individual proposals, in which case the assessment will set out the impact on the local environment and possible mitigation measures.

Local Government Finance

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government with reference to item 37 of his Department's document, 50 Ways to

8 Jan 2013 : Column 249W

Save: Examples of Sensible Saving in Local Government, what he meant by

(a)

sock puppet and

(b)

fake charity; and which local authorities have entered into arrangements with such organisations. [135443]

Brandon Lewis: As 50 Ways to Save explains, the footnote source referenced is the Institute of Economic Affairs' Discussion Paper, “Sock puppets: How the government lobbies itself and why”, June 2012. This can be found online, and it includes definitions of such arrangements and case studies:

www.iea.org.uk/publications/research/sock-puppets-how-the-government-lobbies-itself-and-why

50 Ways to Save also references the Taxpayers' Alliance research paper, “Taxpayer funded lobbying and political campaigning”, which includes further examples:

www.taxpayersalliance.com/tflpc.pdf

To assist the hon. Member in his visualisation of a sock puppet, I would observe that DCLG Ministers in the last Administration authorised £38,200 of taxpayers' money to bankroll lobbyists, LLM Communications; in turn, LLM then ran the supposedly independent ‘Campaign for More and Better Homes' which campaigned in favour of the last Administration's Regional Spatial Strategies, and issued press releases praising the (then) Government's policies and attacking the Government's critics.

Members: Correspondence

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will obtain a reply to the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton (Sir Gerald Kaufman), who wrote to him on 19 October 2012 with regard to Joyce Lyons, and whose letter he referred to the Planning Inspectorate, who have not responded. [135764]

Nick Boles: The Planning Inspectorate replied on 14 November.

Social Rented Housing

Mr Stewart Jackson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will take steps to ensure that the collection and collation by local authorities of lettings data in respect of the allocation of social housing is (a) properly undertaken and (b) accurate; and if he will make a statement. [134986]

Mr Prisk: Local authorities are required to provide data on social and affordable rent lettings as part of the Department's single data list. We are committed to ensuring that local authorities fully participate. All authorities are monitored on an ongoing basis for provision, completeness and accuracy of data. We will continue to monitor and intervene where necessary.

We are open to representations on what further steps can be taken to assist scrutiny and transparency in this area.

Wind Power: Planning Permission

Dr Whitehead: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what advice he has received regarding the compatibility of EU

8 Jan 2013 : Column 250W

Directive 2009/28/EC with the introduction of minimum separation distances between wind turbines and dwellings by local authorities through supplementary planning guidance. [135541]

Nick Boles: The EU Directive 2009/28/EC does not make any reference to minimum separation distances between wind turbines and dwellings.