Prisoners

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what projections of the (a) female and (b) male prison population for the next five years his Department has made in (i) decreasing sentencing, (ii) no change and (iii) increasing sentencing scenarios. [138246]

Jeremy Wright: The Ministry of Justice produces annual projections of the prison population in England and Wales, most recently in November 2012. These project the prison population under three different scenarios based on the impact of three different sentencing trends, where:

Scenario 1—where the number of custodial convictions and the average custodial sentence length decreases;

Scenario 2—where the number of custodial convictions and the average custodial sentence length are unchanged from the previous year; and

Scenario 3—where the number of custodial convictions and the average custodial sentence length increases.

The following tables show the total projected prison population for males and females at the end of June from 2013 to 2018.

Projections for total male prison population (end of June figures)
 Sentencing scenarios
As at June each yearScenario 1Scenario 2Scenario 3

2013

79,100

80,600

82,300

2014

78,100

80,300

82,800

2015

77,200

80,500

84,000

2016

76,600

80,800

85,000

2017

76,700

81,300

86,100

2018

76,600

81,600

86,700

Note: All figures are rounded to the nearest hundred
Projections for total female prison population (end of June figures)
 Sentencing scenarios
As at June each yearScenario 1Scenario 2Scenario 3

2013

3,900

4,100

4,200

2014

3,800

4,000

4,100

2015

3,700

4,000

4,200

2016

3,700

4,000

4,200

2017

3,700

4,000

4,300

2018

3,700

4,000

4,300

Note: All figures are rounded to the nearest hundred

More details on the projections may be found in the latest published bulletin “Prison Population Projections 2012-2018” Ministry of Justice Statistics Bulletin, 1 November 2012. This is available at the following webpage:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/statistics/prison-probation/prison-pop-projections/prison-pop-projections-2012-18.pdf

22 Jan 2013 : Column 221W

These projections incorporate the expected impact from the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. This impact is applied equally to all three scenarios. These projections provide a set of “baseline” scenarios against which the impacts of future changes can be assessed.

Prisoners’ Release

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many offenders serving sentences of (a) 12 months and under and (b) more than 12 months were released from prison in (i) 2010, (ii) 2011 and (iii) 2012. [136482]

Jeremy Wright: These figures are published quarterly in the publication “Offender Management Statistics Quarterly Bulletin” and are available via this link:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/statistics/prisons-and-probation/oms-quarterly

The following table shows total discharges from determinate sentences for 2010, 2011 and from January to June 2012 (latest available).

Prisoners discharged from determinate sentences, by sentence length, on completion of sentence or on licence, England and Wales
Sentence length band(1)201020112012(2)

Total

89,666

85,540

43,283

Less than or equal to 12 months

48,901

45,683

22,547

More than 12 months to less than life

40,765

39,857

20,736

(1 )Excludes discharges following recall after release on licence, non-criminals, persons committed to custody for non-payment of a fine, persons reclassified as adult prisoners and deported prisoners. (2 )Total discharges for the year is not available; two quarters of 2012 (January to June) provided.

These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems which, as with any large-scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.

Prisoners: Legal Aid Scheme

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much has been spent in total on legal aid for serving prisoners in England and Wales in each of the last five years; how much such aid had been spent on each (a) category of prisoner and (b) purpose of legal aid spending; whether the Government have any plans to reduce the amount of legal aid granted; and if any alternative means of pursuing legal matters will be available to prisoners in future. [137597]

Jeremy Wright: The Legal Services Commission (LSC) does not hold complete data on the category of prisoner receiving legal aid. However, the following table sets out spending by the LSC on prison law claims from 2007-08 to 2011-12, split by the claim type:

Prison law legal aid claims for the last five years
Spend (£ million)
Claim type2007-082008-092009-102010-112011-12

Free-standing advice and assistance

8.6

12.0

14.3

15.1

13.0

Advocacy assistance (prison discipline hearings)

2.8

3.4

3.7

3.2

2.0

22 Jan 2013 : Column 222W

Advocacy assistance (parole board hearings)

4.9

5.9

6.9

7.5

7.9

Total

16.3

21.3

24.9

25.8

22.9

Reforms under the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 are not changing the scope, eligibility criteria or remuneration to providers of the criminal legal aid scheme which includes legal aid for prison law. However, on 7 November 2012 the Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, my right hon. Friend the Member for Epsom and Ewell (Chris Grayling), announced a review into aspects of the legal aid system that affect its credibility with the public.

Legal aid is available for a range of matters related to prisoners' treatment, sentencing, disciplinary hearings and parole board reviews. However, prisoners also have access to the prisons complaints system, which is available for issues relating to life in prison. Should a prisoner not be satisfied with the outcome of a complaint he/she may refer the issue to the prisons and probation ombudsman, Independent Monitoring Board or the Parliamentary Commissioner for Administration.

Prisoners: Suicide

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many prisoners were considered to be at risk of suicide in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012; [137463]

(2) what support mechanisms there are in prisons for prisoners considered to be at risk of suicide; [137773]

(3) how many people in prison considered to be at risk of suicide received additional support from the Prison Service in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012; [137460]

(4) how many prisoners in HM Prison Lincoln were considered to be at risk of suicide in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012; [137459]

(5) how many people in HM Prison Lincoln considered to be at risk of suicide received extra support from prison staff in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012; [137774]

(6) how many inmates of each prison in England and Wales committed suicide in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [137809]

Jeremy Wright: The information is as follows:

(1) There is no specific measure for those at risk of suicide because the intent of individuals self-harming is not always known. The latest available figures show that 6,623 individual prisoners self-harmed in 2010 and 6,854 in 2011 but very few of these would have intended to take their lives. The numbers for 2012 are not due to be published until April 2013.

(2) The National Offender Management Service has in place a prisoner-focused care planning system for those identified as at risk of self-harm or suicide. The system, Assessment, Care in Custody and Teamwork (ACCT), has helped prisons to manage prisoners’ risk of self-harm and suicide since 2007. The vast majority of self-harm is not directly life threatening but nevertheless can be extremely distressing both for those affected by it

22 Jan 2013 : Column 223W

and those who have to deal with it. There are no easy solutions to self-harm but we remain committed to managing and finding ways to reduce it.

(3) Information on additional support provided to prisoners at risk of self-harm is not held centrally. The ACCT care planning process will identify any specific support needs of individual prisoners.

(4) There is no specific measure for those at risk of suicide because the intent of individuals self-harming is not always known. The latest available figures for HMP Lincoln show that 78 individual prisoners self-harmed in 2010 and 95 in 2011. We currently publish the number of self-harm incidents by prison but not the corresponding numbers of individuals self-harming. Figures for 2012 will not be available until April 2013.

(5) Information on additional support provided to prisoners at risk of self-harm is not held centrally. The ACCT care planning process at HMP Lincoln will identify any specific support needs.

(6) Nationally, there were 58 self-inflicted deaths in 2010 and 57 in 2011. The numbers for 2012 are due to be published in April 2013.

Probation

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how much was spent on (a) staffing costs and (b)

22 Jan 2013 : Column 224W

accommodation costs (i) in total and (ii) as a proportion of annual budget in the Probation Service in (A) 2010-11 and (B) 2011-12; [136353]

(2) how much was spent on (a) staffing costs and (b) accommodation costs (i) in total and (ii) as a proportion of the annual budget in each Probation Trust in England and Wales in each year of their inception. [136458]

Jeremy Wright: The following tables show total expenditure by probation trusts on staffing costs and accommodation costs for financial years 2010-11 and 2011-12, and individually by trust from their inception.

Also shown is the proportion of these costs as a percentage of the total annual outturn expenditure incurred by Trusts against the funding allocated by the National Offender Management Service (NOMS). It should be noted that trusts may also provide services to and be funded by other sources, and as such a comparison of staffing and accommodation costs against NOMS outturn costs may not fully represent the position. In addition the staffing costs recorded in the individual Probation Trust Annual Report and Accounts will reflect full expenditure by trusts including the provision of any services to other commissioning organisations in addition to NOMS. As a result, figures may not be directly comparable between trusts.

Probation trusts staffing costs
 2008-092009-10
Probation trustAnnual staff costs (£ million)Total outturn (£ million)Percentage of total outturnAnnual staff costs (£ million)Total outturn (£ million)Percentage of total outturn

Dyfed Powys

6.1

9.1

67

6.3

8.9

71

Humberside

14.2

17.7

80

13.3

18.9

70

Leicestershire and Rutland

13.3

14.8

90

12.8

15.3

84

Merseyside

23.7

29.9

79

22.9

31.2

73

South Wales

19.1

25.2

76

19.6

25.8

76

West Mercia

11.6

15.8

73

11.4

15.6

73

Greater Manchester

n/a

n/a

n/a

42.5

53.6

79

Lancashire

n/a

n/a

n/a

18.0

24.3

74

Total

88.0

112.6

78

146.8

193.6

76

 2010-112011-12
Probation trustAnnual staff costs(£ million)Total outturn (£ million)Percentage of total outturnAnnual staff costs(£ million)Total outturn (£ million)Percentage of total outturn

Avon and Somerset

17.1

20.2

84

16.3

19.4

84

Bedfordshire

6.7

9.5

71

6.7

9.0

74

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

7.5

10.0

76

7.5

9.5

79

Cheshire

11.6

14.9

78

10.7

14.3

75

Cumbria

6.1

8.8

70

6.1

8.1

76

Derbyshire

10.3

13.8

75

10.0

12.7

78

Devon and Cornwall

15.5

19.5

80

14.3

18.3

78

Dorset

7.8

9.2

84

7.3

8.7

84

Durham Tees Valley

18.7

22.8

82

16.5

21.8

76

Essex

14.2

19.3

74

14.0

18.6

75

Gloucestershire

6.0

7.6

79

5.3

7.1

75

Greater Manchester

43.4

51.4

84

39.0

48.0

81

Hampshire

18.8

25.2

75

17.4

23.0

76

Hertfordshire

8.5

11.5

74

8.0

10.9

74

Humberside

14.3

18.3

78

12.4

15.7

79

Kent

15.9

21.8

73

14.1

19.5

73

Lancashire

17.8

22.7

79

17.9

23.2

77

Leicestershire and Rutland

14.3

15.2

94

14.4

14.1

102

Lincolnshire

7.4

9.2

80

7.2

8.8

82

22 Jan 2013 : Column 225W

22 Jan 2013 : Column 226W

London

119.1

146.2

81

111.0

138.1

80

Merseyside

25.2

31.9

79

21.6

29.0

75

Norfolk and Suffolk

15.4

20.5

75

15.1

19.1

79

Northamptonshire

7.2

9.0

80

7.1

8.7

81

Northumbria

21.3

28.5

75

20.3

27.8

73

Nottinghamshire

18.5

19.0

97

17.0

18.0

94

South Yorkshire

20.0

25.4

79

17.9

23.6

76

Staffordshire and West Midlands

59.9

72.5

83

56.0

68.6

82

Surrey and Sussex

20.9

28.2

74

19.0

25.1

76

Thames Valley

22.2

26.9

83

19.2

24.6

78

Wales

38.2

53.8

71

37.6

52.4

72

Warwickshire

5.6

6.9

81

5.5

6.6

83

West Mercia

11.1

15.3

72

10.5

14.4

73

West Yorkshire

33.4

42.4

79

31.4

38.4

82

Wiltshire

5.3

7.5

71

4.9

7.0

70

York and North Yorkshire

7.3

9.9

74

7.0

9.5

74

Total

692.4

874.6

79

646.1

821.4

79

Probation trusts accommodation costs
 2008-092009-10
Probation trustAnnual accom. costs (£ million)Total outturn (£ million)Percentage of total outturnAnnual accom. costs (£ million)Total outturn (£ million)Percentage of total outturn

Dyfed Powys

0.5

9.1

6

0.5

8.9

6

Humberside

1.4

17.7

8

1.4

18.9

7

Leicestershire and Rutland

1.4

14.8

10

1.7

15.3

11

Merseyside

2.7

29.9

9

2.7

31.2

9

South Wales

2.0

25.2

8

2.0

25.8

8

West Mercia

1.4

15.8

9

1.4

15.6

9

Greater Manchester

n/a

n/a

n/a

5.4

53.6

10

Lancashire

n/a

n/a

n/a

1.9

24.3

8

Total

9.5

112.6

8

17.1

193.6

9

 2010-112011-12
Probation trustAnnual accom. costs (£ million)Total outturn (£ million)Percentage of total outturnAnnual accom. costs (£ million)Total outturn (£ million)Percentage of total outturn

Avon and Somerset

1.8

20.2

9

1.7

19.4

9

Bedfordshire

0.9

9.5

9

0.8

9.0

8

Cambridgeshire and Peterborough

1.0

10.0

10

0.9

9.5

10

Cheshire

1.5

14.9

10

1.4

14.3

10

Cumbria

0.9

8.8

11

0.8

8.1

10

Derbyshire

1.1

13.8

8

1.0

12.7

8

Devon and Cornwall

1.4

19.5

7

1.4

18.3

8

Dorset

0.9

9.2

9

0.8

8.7

9

Durham Tees Valley

2.0

22.8

9

2.0

21.8

9

Essex

1.3

19.3

7

1.3

18.6

7

Gloucestershire

0.7

7.6

9

0.7

7.1

9

Greater Manchester

5.2

51.4

10

5.1

48.0

11

Hampshire

2.1

25.2

8

2.0

23.0

9

Hertfordshire

0.9

11.5

7

0.9

10.9

8

Humberside

1.4

18.3

8

1.2

15.7

8

Kent

1.5

21.8

7

1.4

19.5

7

Lancashire

1.9

22.7

8

1.9

23.2

8

Leicestershire and Rutland

1.4

15.2

9

1.4

14.1

10

Lincolnshire

0.7

9.2

8

0.7

8.8

8

London

9.6

146.2

7

9.4

138.1

7

Merseyside

2.6

31.9

8

2.6

29.0

9

Norfolk and Suffolk

2.0

20.5

10

2.0

19.1

10

Northamptonshire

0.8

9.0

9

0.8

8.7

9

Northumbria

2.1

28.5

7

2.1

27.8

8

Nottinghamshire

1.5

19.0

8

1.5

18.0

8

South Yorkshire

2.0

25.4

8

2.0

23.6

8

22 Jan 2013 : Column 227W

22 Jan 2013 : Column 228W

Staffordshire and West Midlands

6.5

72.5

9

6.2

68.6

9

Surrey and Sussex

1.7

28.2

6

1.6

25.1

6

Thames Valley

2.2

26.9

8

2.2

24.6

9

Wales

4.1

53.8

8

3.9

52.4

7

Warwickshire

0.7

6.9

10

0.6

6.6

9

West Mercia

1.3

15.3

9

1.2

14.4

9

West Yorkshire

3.4

42.4

8

3.3

38.4

9

Wiltshire

0.5

7.5

7

0.5

7.0

8

York and North Yorkshire

0.9

9.9

9

0.9

9.5

10

Total

70.6

874.6

8

68.1

821.4

8

Notes: 1. Figures are subject to rounding. 2. Six probation trusts were initially formed in year 2008-09; two further trusts in 2009-10; Dyfed Powys and South Wales Probation Trusts subsequently merged with North Wales Probation Board and Gwent Probation Board to form the Wales Probation Trust. 3. Total outturn figures are expenditure recorded in the NOMS agency annual accounts. Income received by trusts from other sources is not included. 4. Accommodation costs for probation trusts are met centrally by the Ministry of Justice and then recharged to probation trusts based on the amount of space occupied within the whole estate. In the current year, 2012-13, this is based on an average cost of £178 per square metre per annum with separate charges apportioned for approved premises. The recharge recovers approximately 70% of the cost of the estate, the other 30% is borne centrally.

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the average caseloads of individual probation officers in each probation trust in England and Wales were in each year since the introduction of the trusts. [136486]

Jeremy Wright: Information is collected on the number of cases supervised by trusts and on the number of probation officers, and I refer the right hon. Gentleman to my replies to his recent questions on these subjects:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201213/cmhansrd/cm130116/text/130116w0004.htm#13011670004930

Although it is possible to make a rough estimate of the average number of cases per officer using the figures for caseload and staff, this is unlikely to produce an accurate average caseload per officer as it would not take account of the fact that some probation officers do not have caseloads, for example those who are responsible for group work. This level of detail is not available centrally and could be obtained only from probation trusts at disproportionate cost.

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice when he expects to announce the budget for the Probation Service in (a) 2012-13, (b) 2013-14 and (c) 2014-15. [137971]

Jeremy Wright: The overall budget allocated to Probation Trusts for 2012-13 is £814 million rounded to the nearest £ million. This amount reflects the total of the contract values agreed with each Probation Trust at the beginning of the year. It should be noted that, in addition to this amount, some funds are held centrally for specific offender- related initiatives. These are not embedded in the budget and contract values and are therefore excluded from the figure given.

The Department has not yet set Probation Trust 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.

Allocated budget amounts may vary throughout the financial year. Probation Trusts may also receive income from elsewhere.

Rape

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people were tried for rape offences in England and Wales in each year from 1997 to the latest year for which figures are available; and how many such people were convicted. [138296]

Jeremy Wright: The number of defendants tried and found guilty at the Crown court for rape offences in England and Wales, from 1997 to 2011, can be viewed in the table.

Defendants tried and found guilty at the Crown court for rape(1 )offences, England and Wales, 1997-2011(2, 3, 4)
 Total triedFound guilty

1997

1,249

615

1998

1,518

674

1999

1,464

654

2000

1,373

593

2001

1,352

569

2002

1,059

651

2003

1,687

671

2004

1,726

748

2005

1,841

787

2006

1,897

854

2007

1,813

860

2008(5)

1,798

913

2009

1,984

984

2010

2,103

1,037

2011

2,153

1,134

(1) Includes rape and attempted rape. (2) Includes all cases which completed in the Crown court within each reporting period. (3) 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. (4) 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. (5) Excludes data for Cardiff magistrates court for April, July and August 2008. Source: Justice Statistics Analytical Services—Ministry of Justice.

22 Jan 2013 : Column 229W

Sentencing

James Wharton: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps his Department has taken to assess the severity of punishments handed out for equivalent crimes by different courts. [138256]

Jeremy Wright: Sentencing in individual cases is a matter for the independent Judiciary. When deciding a sentence, the Judiciary will consider the seriousness of an offence and in doing so it is required to consider the culpability of the offender and the harm caused by the offence. The independent Sentencing Council publishes guidelines which provide non-exhaustive lists of common aggravating and mitigating factors, and courts retain discretion to treat the particular circumstances of individual cases.

The Ministry of Justice publishes annual statistics on offenders sentenced and outcome by criminal justice area. These statistics are published on the MOJ website, with the 2011 annual publication (the latest available) and previous editions located on the following webpage:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/statistics/criminal-justice/criminal-justice-statistics/criminal-justice-statistics-editions

In 2007, the Ministry of Justice published research on “Local Variation in Sentencing in England and Wales”. The research is published on the MOJ website, and can be located on the following webpage:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/statistics/mojstats/local-variation-sentencing-1207.pdf?type=Finjan-Download&slot=0000019A&id=00000199&location=0A644210

Sentencing: Crime

James Wharton: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what information his Department holds on research into links between the severity of sentences handed out by local courts and overall crime rates in the areas which they serve. [138135]

Jeremy Wright: The Ministry of Justice published an evidence report to accompany its consultation on “Breaking the Cycle: Effective Punishment, Rehabilitation and Sentencing of Offenders” in December 2010.

This report summarises the main findings from our assessment of a variety of evidence sources that we reviewed to support policy development on rehabilitation and sentencing. The report is published on the MOJ website, located on the following webpage:

http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/consultations/green-paper-evidence-a.pdf

We do not hold any specific assessment of the link between the severity of sentences handed out by local courts and overall crime rates in the areas which they serve.

Sexual Offences

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many convicted sex offenders have had their sentences cut on appeal in each of the last five years; [138418]

(2) how many convicted absconded sex offenders have had their sentences cut on appeal in their absence in each of the last five years. [138419]

Mrs Grant: The available information required to answer this question is currently being collated. I will write to my hon. Friend as soon as it is available. A copy will be placed in the House Library.

22 Jan 2013 : Column 230W

Wales

Aerospace Industry

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent assessment he has made of the aerospace industry in Wales. [138410]

Mr David Jones: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to the hon. Member for Pendle (Andrew Stephenson), on 16 January 2013, Official Report, column 859.

Departmental Responsibilities

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what his Department's top three policy implementation (a) successes and (b) failures have been since May 2010. [138386]

Mr David Jones: The Programme for Government contains three commitments that relate directly to Wales: introduce a referendum on further Welsh devolution, establish a process similar to the Caiman Commission for the Welsh Assembly and take forward the Sustainable Homes Legislative Competence Order. All three have been delivered.

A broader look at implementation progress can be found in the Government's Mid-Term Review document published on 7 January 2013 at:

http://midtermreview.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/

and the Programme for Government Update published on 9 January 2013 at:

http://midtermreview.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/programme-for-government-update/

Entry Clearances: Industry

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions he has had with the Secretary of State for the Home Department on the visa regime as it relates to industry in Wales. [138493]

Mr David Jones: I have made representations to Ministers in the Home Office with regard to the potential impact of the visa regime on industry in Wales.

Human Transplantation (Wales) Bill

Jonathan Evans: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales (1) what plans he has to bring forward amendments to the Human Tissue Act 2004 consequential to the Human Transplantation (Wales) Bill; and if he will make a statement; [137359]

(2) with reference to paragraph 20 of the explanatory memorandum on the Human Transplantation (Wales) Bill published by the Welsh Government on 3 December 2012, which Secretary of State agreed in principle to make an order pursuant to section 150 of the Government of Wales Act 2006 relating to that bill; and if he will make a statement; [137355]

(3) with reference to paragraph 20 of the explanatory memorandum on the Human Transportation (Wales) Bill published by the Welsh Government on 3 December 2012, when he agreed in principle to make an order pursuant to section 150 of the Government of Wales Act 2006 relating to that Bill; whom he consulted before making that commitment; and if he will make a statement. [137820]

22 Jan 2013 : Column 231W

Mr David Jones: The power to make such an order exists under the Government of Wales Act 2006. Following discussions with the Department of Health and the Welsh Government, and prior to the Bill's introduction to the National Assembly for Wales, I agreed to consider the amendments required to the Human Tissue Act 2004 as a consequence of the Bill. The UK Government (and in particular the Secretary of State for Health, my right hon. Friend the Member for South West Surrey (Mr Hunt)) is yet to take a final decision on the amendments required.

Income Tax

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assessment he has made of the Government's income tax policy as it relates to Wales. [138501]

Mr David Jones: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given on 16 January 2013, Official Report, column 860, to my hon. Friends the Members for Lincoln (Karl McCartney) and for Aberconwy (Guto Bebb).

Infrastructure

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent discussions he has had with ministerial colleagues on the Government's infrastructure guarantee scheme. [138500]

Mr David Jones: My Department has had regular discussions with the Treasury regarding the Infrastructure Guarantee Scheme. I have discussed the scheme with the First Minister and business organisations in Wales to encourage both the public and private sectors in Wales to make the most of this opportunity to deliver much-needed infrastructure investment in Wales.

Motor Vehicles: Manufacturing Industries

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what recent assessment he has made of the automotive industry in Wales; and if he will make a statement. [138406]

Mr David Jones: I refer my hon. Friend to the reply given to the hon. Member for Hornchurch and Upminster (Dame Angela Watkinson), on 16 January 2013, Official Report, column 853.

Wylfa Power Station

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assessment he has made of the potential benefits to the Welsh economy of the proposed nuclear power station development at Wylfa. [138499]

Mr David Jones: Hitachi's investment in the proposed nuclear development at Wylfa will help to drive economic growth across Wales. With a firm commitment to involve the UK supply chain, the deal presents excellent opportunities for businesses in Wales and across the UK.

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Deputy Prime Minister

Electoral Register

Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what recent estimate he has made of the number of unregistered voters in (a) the UK and (b) each region of the UK; and if he will make a statement. [137969]

Miss Chloe Smith: The Government do not hold this information. However, the Cabinet Office has recently funded research by the Electoral Commission into the completeness and accuracy of the electoral registers in Great Britain (published in 2011); the Commission has also undertaken research on continuous electoral registration in Northern Ireland (published in 2012).

Reports based on this research are available on the Electoral Commission's website:

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/voter-registration/individual-electoral-registration/research-on-voter-registration

Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what progress has been made on the (a) data matching and (b) data mining pilots intended to improve voter registration; and if he will make a statement. [138197]

Miss Chloe Smith: The pilots to test the confirmation of existing electors were carried out between September and December 2012. These pilots tested whether entries on the electoral register could be successfully matched with data held by the Department for Work and Pensions, thereby simplifying the transition to individual electoral registration for the majority of current electors.

The electoral registers of the 14 pilot local authorities were matched against the DWP records at two points in time: prior to the annual canvass and afterwards. The sample of authorities participating was spread across England, Scotland and Wales with a mix of urban and rural councils, and varying in size from Lothian to Ceredigion.

The Cabinet Office undertook a preliminary evaluation in December 2012; at the same time the Electoral Commission independently evaluated the pilots and both organisations published their findings on 6 December 2012. These reports are available at:

http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/transition-individual-electoral-registration

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0008/152747/Data-matching-confirmation-pilots-interim-findings.pdf

The preliminary results showed that on average 71% of entries could be positively matched and confirmed. The confirmation rate varied between areas, from 55% in Tower Hamlets to 83% in Wigan.

In summary the Electoral Commission agreed that the confirmation of electors to move them on to the IER register should be pursued, and recommended that further options for increasing the proportion of electoral register entries that can be confirmed should be explored as this would make the transition to IER simpler for voters and more cost-effective.

A full report on the data matching pilots will be published in March 2013. This will include results of in-depth qualitative interviews with the participants in

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the 14 pilot areas, which explored their experience of the process of confirmation and views on the effectiveness of the pilots.

The data mining pilots are scheduled to begin in February 2013. These pilot projects will test data matching with other national data sets for the purpose of finding individuals not registered, with a view to improving the completeness of electoral registers. A statutory instrument authorising this scheme was passed by both Houses and made by the Minister on 19 December 2012. The Cabinet Office evaluation of these projects will be published in July 2013.

Monarchy: Succession

Mr Andrew Turner: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) whether his legislative proposals on the Succession to the Crown will have an effect on Royal Dukedoms; [138200]

(2) whether his legislative proposals on the Succession to the Crown will effect the title of the Princess Royal. [138208]

Miss Chloe Smith: The Succession to the Crown Bill does not change the rules governing the inheritance of Royal Peerages and titles. It removes two areas of discrimination with regard to the rules of royal succession: the male preference primogeniture and the ban on the heir marrying a Roman Catholic. The Bill also replaces the Royal Marriages Act 1772 with a provision requiring the consent of the monarch to the marriage of any of the six people nearest in line to the Crown.

Mr Andrew Turner: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether a child born to a member of the Roman Catholic Church who had married into the Royal Family would be able to succeed to the Crown under the Government's legislative proposals on succession to the Crown. [138513]

Miss Chloe Smith: The Succession to the Crown Bill does not change the requirement for the Monarch to be in communion with the Church of England. However there is nothing in the Bill that would specifically prevent a child born to a member of the Roman Catholic Church who had married into the Royal Family succeeding to the Crown.

Culture, Media and Sport

Amazon

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many contracts were awarded by her Department to Amazon in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [138052]

Hugh Robertson: No contracts were awarded to Amazon in either 2010, 2011 or 2012.

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many meetings she and officials of her Department had with Amazon in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [138076]

Hugh Robertson: Officials have regular meetings with representatives of Amazon on a range of issues; however, the Department does not hold centrally a list of all

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meetings held by officials and to collate this information for the period requested would incur disproportionate cost. The Department publishes details of all ministerial meetings with external organisations, since May 2010, on its transparency website at the following link:

http://www.transparency.culture.gov.uk/category/other/meetings/

Arts: Staff

Chris White: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many people have been employed in creative industries in (a) England, (b) Warwickshire and (c) Warwick and Leamington constituency in each of the last four years. [136813]

Mr Vaizey: DCMS Creative Industries Economic Estimates provide employment estimates for the UK. They are 1.44 million in 2009 and 1.50 million in 2010. We do not provide estimates at a lower geographical level and do not have earlier estimates on a consistent basis with the latest methodology.

Broadband: Rural Areas

Mr Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps her Department is taking to provide small and medium-sized high street businesses in rural communities with access to broadband internet and the ability to trade online. [138813]

Mr Vaizey: The Government have made available £680 million to support improvements to broadband infrastructure across the UK, with £530 million available to projects covering rural areas. The programme is now proceeding at pace. The first BDUK-funded fibre cabinet was unveiled in North Yorkshire before Christmas, and nine local projects have signed contracts. The remainder should have completed their procurements by this summer.

In addition, the Government are delivering a package of measures to reduce barriers to broadband rollout. It is relaxing planning restrictions around the installation of new cabinets and poles via an enabling clause in the Growth and Infrastructure Bill and amendments to secondary legislation, which will reduce the cost of rollout and increase certainty for communications providers. The Law Commission has undertaken a review of the Electronic Communications Code (which governs the wayleave regime for installing communications equipment over or under private land) and will make its recommendations to Government in February 2013. The Department for Transport has produced new guidance on issuing permit schemes for street works, which will also simplify the process for superfast broadband rollout. All of these measures are a vital support to the Government's ambition to have the best superfast broadband network in Europe by 2015.

Candidates: Disability

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) further to the answer of 8 January 2013, Official Report, column 150, what steps she plans to take to encourage further applicants to the Access to Elected Office Fund; and what steps she plans to take to ensure that further funding is available after March 2014; [137731]

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(2) what proportion of the Access to Elected Office Fund has been distributed; how many people received funding; and how much on average was paid to each recipient. [137800]

Mrs Grant: The £2.6 million Access to Elected Office Fund was launched in July 2012. Six applications to the fund from individual applicants totalling £33,970 have been approved. A further six applications are awaiting a decision. With effect from 1 January 2013, the application limit per applicant per calendar year has been increased from £10,000 to £20,000 to encourage more applications particularly from disabled people. The Government also continue to work jointly with political parties, the Local Government Association, disability organisations and Convey, the independent administrator for the Fund, to promote greater awareness of the Fund. There are no plans to extend the fund beyond March 2014 at present.

Dell

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many contracts were awarded by her Department to Dell CSC in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [138036]

Hugh Robertson: No contracts were awarded to Dell in either 2010, 2011 or 2012.

Direct Selling

Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps she is taking to enforce call blocking systems. [137564]

Mr Vaizey: No additional steps are considered to be necessary as most telecom service providers already offer a range of services that can help to reduce the need to answer unwanted calls. This includes BT's ‘Choose to Refuse’ service, which allows consumers to block numbers by specifying numbers they do not want to receive calls from; Caller Display that enables a consumer to ignore calls that withhold their number; and Anonymous Call Rejection that allows a consumer to block incoming calls that withhold their number. A range of other call blocking systems are also commercially available that can help to block unwanted calls.


Graeme Morrice: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps she is taking to tackle the problem of persistent silent and nuisance telephone calls from marketing companies. [137565]

Mr Vaizey: The Office of Communications (Ofcom), through the Communications Act 2003, has responsibility for regulating silent calls. Ofcom takes action on a case by-case basis in proportion to each particular offence and can issue a maximum penalty of £2 million. Ofcom has an ongoing enforcement programme and has issued penalties totalling £810,000 within the past year. Further details about their remit are available at:

http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/2012/10/abandoned-and-silent-calls

Under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) 2003, consumers are protected from nuisance unsolicited marketing calls, through the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), which is a free

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service. Callers are legally required not to call a number that is registered with the TPS, or if they have previously notified the caller that they do not wish to receive such calls. The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) considers complaints about breaches and can an issue a fine of up to £500,000 for the most serious breaches of the PECR.

I met with ICO, Ofcom and TPS in July to press for improvements in enforcement. Consequently, the ICO has increased the resources devoted to enforcement of PECR and on 28 November 2012 served monetary penalties, totalling £440,000, to two illegal marketers responsible for distributing millions of spam texts. The ICO has also published on its website a list of the most complained about companies that make calls to TPS registered consumers; if the companies fail to remedy their actions, then they could face further enforcement action. The ICO is also currently considering issuing penalties to three other companies for breaching the PECR.

In addition, Ofcom has improved information available to consumers online at:

http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/tell-us/telecoms/privacy

which provides clearer advice on how to avoid nuisance calls, texts and e-mails and a new Consumer Guide that signposts the correct place to make a complaint:

http://consumers.ofcom.org.uk/2012/10/tackling-nuisance-calls-and-messages

Football: Sports Grounds

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what her policy is on proposed changes to the Football Spectators Act 1989 to allow standing in football grounds; and if she will make a statement. [138221]

Hugh Robertson: The Government believe that the long-standing policy, which requires that stadia of football clubs in the top two divisions be all-seater, remains the best means to ensure the safety and security of spectators at football grounds in England and Wales. The football authorities, police and those responsible for safety all continue to support the current policy and a compelling case has not been made to change this.

Gambling: Rehabilitation

Mr Jamie Reed: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what action her Department is taking to prevent irresponsible gambling and to help those with gambling addictions. [138812]

Hugh Robertson: Problem gambling in Britain is tackled through a range of activities that include licence conditions and codes of practice for gambling operators licensed by the Gambling Commission and the allocation of funds, raised from the industry, by the Responsible Gambling Trust to cover research, education and treatment of problem gamblers. A number of measures are in place, for example: the signposting of assistance to gamblers in gambling premises and on websites; controls on gambling advertisements; a national problem gambling helpline and online equivalent; and the funding of treatment services.

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Google

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many contracts were awarded by her Department to Google in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [138060]

Hugh Robertson: No contracts were awarded to Google in either 2010, 2011 or 2012.

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many meetings she and officials of her Department had with Google in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [138068]

Hugh Robertson: Officials have regular meetings with representatives of Google on a range of issues; however, the Department does not hold centrally a list of all meetings held by officials and to collate this information for the period requested would incur disproportionate cost. The Department publishes details of all ministerial meetings with external organisations, since May 2010, on its transparency website at the following link:

http://www.transparency.culture.gov.uk/category/other/meetings/

National Lottery: Gloucestershire

Mr Laurence Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much national lottery funding from each different lottery fund was given to organisations in each constituency in Gloucestershire in the latest period for which figures are available. [138190]

Hugh Robertson: Information on the value of lottery grants, including constituency awards and awarding lottery distributors, can be found by searching the Department's lottery grants database at:

www.lottery.culture.gov.uk

The database uses information on lottery grants supplied by the lottery distributors.

Oracle Corporation UK

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many contracts were awarded by her Department to Oracle in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [138020]

Hugh Robertson: No contracts were awarded to Oracle in either 2010, 2011 or 2012.

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many meetings she and officials of her Department had with Oracle in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [138084]

Hugh Robertson: Officials have regular meetings with representatives of Oracle on a range of issues; however, the Department does not hold centrally a list of all meetings held by officials and to collate this information for the period requested would incur disproportionate cost. The Department publishes details of all ministerial meetings with external organisations, since May 2010, on its transparency website at the following link:

http://www.transparency.culture.gov.uk/category/other/meetings/

22 Jan 2013 : Column 238W

Sports: West Midlands

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport with reference to the announcement by her Department on 10 January 2012, how much of the £45 million improvement fund her Department plans to invest in medium-sized facilities development projects in (a) the West Midlands, (b) the Dudley metropolitan borough council area and (c) Dudley North constituency. [138480]

Hugh Robertson: Sport England is currently in the process of considering a number of applications to the Improvement Fund. As a result, we do not hold this data as the funding decisions are yet to be made. We will be making the funding decisions in March 2013 and will publish a full breakdown following this.

Sports: Young People

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport with reference to the announcement by her Department on 10 January 2012 that her Department will invest £450 million in increasing participation in sport among 14 to 25 year olds, how her Department will monitor and assess the payment-by-results aspect of this spending. [138481]

Hugh Robertson: Over the next four years, Sport England will invest £450 million in 46 sports through the whole sport plans. Under the payment by results arrangement each sport will have annual targets for overall participation, participation by disabled people and talent development. Progress against these targets will be measured by Active People, Sport England's participation survey. Sport England will reduce or stop investment in any sport that fails to achieve its target. They may also increase funding to sports with particularly successful or innovative new programs. In addition, from June 2013 Sport England will publish league tables showing the performance of sports against their targets.

Symantec

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many contracts were awarded by her Department to Symantec in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [138044]

Hugh Robertson: No contracts were awarded to Symantec in either 2010, 2011 or 2012.

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many meetings she and officials of her Department had with Symantec in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [138108]

Hugh Robertson: There have been no meetings between Symantec and the Secretary of State or officials of her Department.

Telephone Services: Unsolicited Goods and Services

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if she will work with foreign governments to secure an international agreement to reduce the number of international unsolicited calls. [138123]

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Mr Vaizey: The Information Commissioner's Office (ICO), under the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations (PECR) 2003, considers complaints about unsolicited marketing calls. Therefore, the ICO undertakes work of this nature with other regulators and through international forums and is a signatory to the London Action plan, which is a scheme to endorse worldwide spam enforcement. Also, the ICO is a member of the Consumer Protection Cooperation (CPC) Enforcement Forum, which creates a network of public, and other enforcement bodies across the EU, that are responsible for the enforcement of consumer protection legislation in member states. Although calls from overseas foreign companies fall outside the jurisdiction of the UK, callers from within the UK, or those based overseas calling on behalf of UK companies, are already legally required not to call a number that is registered with the Telephone Preference Service (TPS), or if they have previously notified the caller that they do not wish to receive such calls.

Temporary Employment

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport 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. [135162]

Hugh Robertson: Total expenditure on interim staff in (a) 2010-11 was £2,885,127 and in (b) 2011-12 was £4,691,285. These figures include the use of interim staff for two finite major projects—the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games and broadband rollout, administered by Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK).

Tickets: Touting

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps she is taking to reduce the illegal re-sale of tickets for sporting events. [138220]

Hugh Robertson: The illegal resale of tickets is a matter for the relevant enforcement agencies. The Government have no plans to further regulate the ticketing market.

Tour de France

Julian Smith: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps she will take to support Yorkshire's successful bid to host the Tour de France's Grand Départ in 2014. [138916]

Hugh Robertson: We are delighted that Yorkshire is hosting this important sporting occasion. UK Sport is working with the organisers to assess what advice and support it can provide to ensure it is a great success. The nature of the Government's support to major sporting events during the delivery phase, which would include the Tour de France's Grand Départ in 2014, is set out in 'A Stage to Inspire' which was recently published by UK Sport.

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Video Games

Chris White: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent estimate she has made of the contribution to UK exports by the video games industry (a) in cash terms and (b) as a percentage of GDP in each year between 2009 and 2011. [136814]

Mr Vaizey: DCMS Creative Industries Economic Estimates provide export data for “Digital and Entertainment Media” which includes “Publishing of computer games” and “Ready-made interactive leisure and entertainment software development”. Exports of “Digital and Entertainment Media” were £78 million or 0.1% of UK service exports in 2009. We do not have earlier estimates on a consistent basis.

Chris White: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many people have been employed in the video games industry in (a) England, (b) Warwickshire and (c) Warwick and Leamington constituency in each of the last four years. [136815]

Mr Vaizey: DCMS Creative Industries Economic Estimates provide employment data for “Digital and Entertainment Media” which includes “Publishing of computer games” and “Ready-made interactive leisure and entertainment software development”. Employment in “Digital and Entertainment Media” was 8,000 in 2009 and 13,000 in 2010. We do not have earlier estimates on a consistent basis or at a lower geographic level. However, I know that Leamington Spa is home to a number of video games companies and I am looking forward to seeing this “Silicon Spa” cluster for myself when I visit on 25 January.

Chris White: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent estimate she has made of the contribution made to UK GDP by the video game industry in each year between 2009 and 2011. [136816]

Mr Vaizey: DCMS Creative Industries Economic Estimates provide GVA estimates for “Digital and Entertainment Media” which include “Publishing of computer games” and “Ready-made interactive leisure and entertainment software development”. Latest GVA estimates for “Digital and Entertainment Media” were £400 million (0.03% of UK GVA) in 2009.

Chris White: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps her Department is taking to support the video games industry. [137654]

Mr Vaizey: Subject to approval from the European Commission, the Government will introduce corporation tax reliefs for three creative content sectors, including video games, from April 2013. In addition, we recently announced that we will match-fund voluntary industry contributions of up to £6 million over the next two years, to the existing Skills Investment Fund (SIF). Government support for the creative industries is primarily channelled through the Creative Industries Council which was established as a joint forum between the creative industries and Government to address areas where there are barriers facing the sector. Jointly chaired by the

22 Jan 2013 : Column 241W

Secretaries of State for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and Nicola Mendelsohn, President of the IPA, the council focuses on finding practical solutions to issues across the sector including access to finance, skills and growth across the UK’s creative industries.

Chris White: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many video games companies were based in the UK in (a) 2009, (b) 2010 and (c) 2011. [137764]

Mr Vaizey: Data from the ONS Inter-Departmental Business Register (IDBR) show that the number of UK enterprises in the category 'Publishing of computer games' was 85 in 2009, 95 in 2010 and 95 in 2011.

Reference table B3.1

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


Video Games: Broadband

Chris White: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent discussions her Department has had with video games businesses on the potential benefits of ultra-fast broadband to that sector. [137548]

Mr Vaizey: The Secretary of State recently met with the members of the Association for United Kingdom Interactive Entertainment (ukie) to discuss a range of issues affecting the video games sector, including broadband.

Xerox Corporation

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many contracts were awarded by her Department to Xerox in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [138028]

Hugh Robertson: No contracts were awarded to Xerox in either 2010, 2011 or 2012.

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many meetings she and officials of her Department had with Xerox in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [138092]

Hugh Robertson: There have been no meetings between Xerox and my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport, or officials of her Department.

Women and Equalities

Gay Games: Greater London

David T. C. Davies: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities whether it is the Government's intention to use public money to fund London's bid to host Gay Games X in 2018. [137756]

Mrs Grant: The Government support London's bid to host the Gay Games X in London in 2018. My Department will provide advice and assistance, as requested. We have not been asked to provide funding for the event.

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Homosexuality: Marriage

Dr Thérèse Coffey: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities how many responses to the consultation on same-sex marriage were made from outside the UK. [133425]

Mrs Grant: The Government received over 228,000 responses to the consultation on equal marriage, along with nineteen petitions. Consistent with other Government consultations, it is not standard practice to collect names and contact details of individuals where we anticipate a high volume of responses to a consultation. We are not aware of an international campaign directed at this consultation.

Dr Thérèse Coffey: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what criteria she used to establish if a response to the consultation on same-sex marriage was valid. [133426]

Mrs Grant: We considered carefully all of the 228,000 responses submitted during the consultation period whether online, via the post or email. We did not discount any of the responses. We also received nineteen petitions.

Marriage

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities if she will insert provisions and protections in the Equal Marriage Bill for teachers who have a conscientious objection to teaching same-sex marriage classes. [137561]

Mrs Grant: Legislation to enable same-sex couples to marry will be introduced to Parliament within this parliamentary session and will be subject to rigorous scrutiny and debate in both Houses. There will be no change to the approach to teaching in schools.

Richard Fuller: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities what discussions she has had on the application of legislation on same-sex marriages to Congregationalist churches and their bodies of affiliation. [137730]

Mrs Grant: In March 2012 the Government held a consultation to ask for views on how marriage could be opened up to same-sex couples. We received 228,000 responses and a number of petitions. These responses included contributions from Congregationalist churches. On 11 December 2012 the Government published its response to the consultation outlining its proposals to enable same-sex couples to marry. Since then we have continued to engage with organisations with an interest in the proposed legislation, including Congregationalist churches.

Business, Innovation and Skills

Amazon

Jim Sheridan: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many contracts were awarded by his Department to Amazon in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [138050]

Jo Swinson: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and its agencies do not hold a central contracts database from which this information can be obtained.

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An exercise is underway to create a central database and in the interim we have provided the following information relating to spend with Amazon in the years requested:

 Spend with Amazon (£)

(a) 2010/11

0

(b) 2011/12

0

(c) 2012/13

0

This information is also available on the Government website in accordance with the guidelines supporting the transparency spend initiatives.

Billing

Toby Perkins: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of how many signatories to the Prompt Payment Code have changed or extended their payment terms in the six months prior to signing the Code; and if he will make a statement. [138119]

Michael Fallon: Signatories of the Prompt Payment Code commit to paying suppliers on time within the terms agreed at the outset of the contract, without attempting to change payment terms retrospectively and without changing practice on length of payment for smaller companies.

In order to become a Code signatory, companies are required to provide referees from its suppliers, who can confirm that it is a prompt payer. The references are collected by the Institute for Credit Management which administers the Code on behalf of the Government.

The Prompt Payment Code is a voluntary undertaking and is intended to encourage a culture where suppliers can be certain that payment will be received in accordance with agreed terms.