10 Apr 2013 : Column 1117W

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Written Answers to Questions

Wednesday 10 April 2013

Business, Innovation and Skills

Arms Trade: Latin America

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will discuss with international mail service and courier companies with registered offices in the UK the use of postal services for the export of handguns and small weapons to Central and Latin America. [150322]

Michael Fallon: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) is the lead Department for the enforcement of the UK's strategic export controls which includes controls on exports of firearms. HMRC works in partnership with the Border Force, who deliver customs control activity at the UK border.

HMRC and Border Force treat enforcing UK strategic export controls as a high priority and risk assess every export of firearms from the UK regardless of destination. Both Departments liaise regularly with Royal Mail Group (RMG) and Parcel Force who are responsible for the UK's international mail service as well as commercial companies responsible for courier consignments. They jointly conduct checks on any suspect shipments of firearms and ensure appropriate action is taken. These checks take a variety of forms and include a programme of anti-smuggling operations at key locations.

Higher Education

Damian Hinds: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what information his Department holds on the average distance away from home that undergraduates study at university. [150333]

Mr Willetts: The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) collects and publishes data on student enrolments at UK higher education institutions (HEIs).

HESA estimates show that for UK domiciled students entering full-time first degree courses in 2011/12, the average distance (as the crow flies) between their home postcode and their HEI of study was 59 miles; this has increased from 58 miles in 2010/11 and 56 miles in 2009/10.

Please note that the figures supplied exclude the following students:

Students domiciled in the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man;

Northern Irish domiciled students who go to study in England, Scotland or Wales. The same exclusions apply for English, Welsh and Scottish domiciled students who go on to study in Northern Ireland.

Distance Learners and Open University students;

Franchised students who are enrolled at one institution and are studying 100% elsewhere;

Students of unknown domicile.

There is also information available from UCAS covering the distance between a prospective student's home address and the university where they are accepted to study, which can be found on p107 of the End of Cycle Report:

http://www.ucas.ac.uk/documents/End_of_Cycle_Report_12_12_2012.pdf

10 Apr 2013 : Column 1118W

Energy and Climate Change

Biofuels

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what quantity of stemwood and sawlogs was used for bioenergy generation in 2011-12; and what measures his Department is taking to minimise the use of those materials. [150090]

Gregory Barker: The Department does not require those who generate energy to provide data on the quantity of stemwood and sawlogs used in bioenergy generation. In the recent consultation on sustainability for biomass feedstock generators, DECC is consulting on introducing a requirement for those who generate energy to provide additional information on whether biomass used for power generation includes stemwood or sawlogs.

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what quantity of wood from trees killed by pests or disease was used for bioenergy generation in 2011-12; and what steps his Department is taking to ensure that biosecurity is not compromised by increasing imports of such wood. [150091]

Gregory Barker: The Department does not hold information on the quantity of wood from trees killed by pests or disease used in bioenergy generation.

The Forestry Commission regulates wood imports under the Plant Health (Forestry) Order 2005 (SI 2005 No. 2517), which implements in Great Britain the requirements prescribed in Council Directive 2000/29/EC (“the plant health directive”). This includes a requirement to heat-treat higher-risk woods from certain countries (including Canada).

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether his Department plans to include the carbon dioxide emissions released on combustion of wood for electricity, and the time taken to neutralise these emissions from forest regrowth, in the proposed greenhouse gas standard for bioenergy receiving support via the renewables obligation. [150095]

Gregory Barker: The consultation on biomass sustainability criteria for the renewables obligation sets out our proposal to use the greenhouse gas lifecycle methodology from the 2009 EU renewable energy directive (RED), as amended to reflect recommendations from the EC report on sustainability requirements for solid biomass and biogas published in 2010.

This methodology considers greenhouse gas emissions from the cultivation, harvesting, processing and transport of the biomass feedstock and from direct land use change where this occurs.

The Government response to the consultation on biomass sustainability criteria for the renewables obligation will be published shortly.

Carbon Monoxide: Alarms

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether his Department has discussed with energy suppliers providing a carbon monoxide alarm for consumers receiving assistance under the energy company obligation scheme. [147714]

Gregory Barker: Carbon monoxide monitors are not eligible energy efficiency measures under the energy company obligation (ECO) scheme. However, during the assessment process, checks will be made for the presence

10 Apr 2013 : Column 1119W

of carbon monoxide monitors. Furthermore, installers of ECO measures have to comply with the PAS 2030 standard, which obligates the installer to check existing carbon monoxide monitors are working and whether they are sufficient to cover the installation of the ECO measure(s).

In addition, under the Green Deal, Green Deal installers are obligated to ascertain whether or not any carbon monoxide monitors already installed have been tested within the past 12 months, and to install carbon monoxide monitors where required.

Energy: Prices

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate his Department has made of the (a) wholesale and (b) retail cost of (i) electricity and (ii) gas in each of the last 12 years. [149865]

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

DECC receives data on wholesale gas and electricity prices from commercial price reporting companies. DECC collects and publishes data on retail prices, split by domestic and industrial consumers.

Wholesale prices from 2001 are shown in the following table:

Annual wholesale prices, p/k Wh current terms
 ElectricityGas

2001

1.84

0.75

2002

1.67

0.55

2003

2.12

0.68

2004

2.26

0.82

2005

3.90

1.43

2006

4.26

1.36

2007

3.11

1.02

2008

7.45

1.98

2009

3.75

1.06

2010

4.19

1.43

2011

4.82

1.91

2012

4.51

2.05

Industrial price data are published in Table 3.1.3 of DECC's Quarterly Energy Prices:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/86548/Annual_prices_of_fuels_ purchased_by_manufacturing_industry_original_units__QEP_3.1.3_.xls

Domestic price data are published in Tables 2.2.3 and 2.3.3 of Quarterly Energy Prices:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/49373/qep223.xls

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/49377/qep233.xls

The wholesale prices of gas and electricity have generally followed an upward trend since 2001.

The high wholesale gas prices observed in 2008 are a result of the oil price spike when prices peaked at $146/bbl in July. Gas prices are linked to oil prices due to the widespread use of oil-index gas supply contracts in Europe, which feed through to the UK wholesale market. In 2009 the gas prices fell as demand contracted following the global recession, and production from unconventional sources in the US also increased the availability of LNG supplies, putting additional downward pressure on prices. This glut of LNG has subsequently been eroded due to increased demand for gas in Asia, putting upward pressure on UK wholesale gas prices.

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In general, wholesale electricity prices have moved with gas prices over this time period. This is because, in the GB wholesale electricity market, the marginal (price-setting) plant is usually a gas generator, which can pass through any changes in gas or carbon prices to the electricity price.

The UK has a competitive retail energy supply market and setting of retail energy prices is a commercial decision for energy suppliers. The wholesale costs of gas and electricity make up around half the average domestic duel fuel bill, and, along with the rising costs associated with the need to replace ageing network infrastructure, have been the primary drivers of rising retail energy prices in recent years.

Notes:

1. Wholesale: Electricity data are sourced from Spectrometer reports, taking the average day-ahead baseload wholesale electricity prices for each year. The figure for 2002 has been constructed from fewer data points. Wholesale gas data are sourced from ICIS Heren.

2. Domestic: 2012 data for domestic consumers are provisional. Final data will be published on 28 March. There is a break in the series in 2008: prior to 2008, prices are for standard credit consumers; from 2008 onwards, prices are an average across all consumers.

3. Industrial: Prices are average annual prices paid by manufacturing industry. Data for 2012 are not currently available. 2012 data will be published on 28 March.

Green Deal Scheme

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what rate of interest is charged on loans taken out under the Green Deal. [149356]

Gregory Barker: Interest rates are a commercial matter for Green Deal providers to agree with consumers and can vary between providers. We understand the Green Deal Finance Company offers finance to Green Deal providers who choose this option at a rate of 6.96%, plus a flat administrative charge per plan of £63 to set up and £20 each year for the lifetime of the loan, which is competitive with the best deals on the high street. High street deals are dependent on good credit scores, making them inaccessible to around half the population, whereas GDFC's rate will be available to 80% of the population.

Hinkley Point C Power Station

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what consideration he has given to the letter of 13 March 2013 from four former directors of Friends of the Earth in respect of the funding arrangements for the proposed Hinkley C nuclear plant and its implications for wider electricity generation strategy and UK energy policy. [151026]

Michael Fallon: The letter from the four former directors of Friends of the Earth of 13 March 2013 is currently with my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister’s office and a response will be issued in due course.


Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to his Oral Statement of 19 March 2013, Official Report, columns 809-10, on Hinkley Point, what consideration he gave in assessing the environmental impact of generating electricity from the reactors of the local environment and health effects of the mining and milling of uranium fuel needed to fuel the nuclear plant; and if he will place in the Library a list of sources to which reference was made in making that assessment. [151070]

10 Apr 2013 : Column 1121W

Michael Fallon: None. My right hon. Friend the Secretary of State did not consider activities that take place overseas in making his decision. The Government’s position on uranium mining is set out in paragraphs 3.678 to 3.680 of the Government Response to Consultation on the Revised Draft National Policy Statements for Energy Infrastructure and in the Regulatory Justification decisions on the EPR and AP1000 reactor designs (paragraphs 6.171 to 6.207 of the EPR decision and paragraphs 6.175 to 6.211 of the AP1000 decision).

These documents were placed in the Library of the House on publication and are available here:

https://whitehall-admin.production.alphagov.co.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/37053/1945-govt-resp-consultation-on-nps.pdf

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/regulatory-justification-decisions-on-nuclear-reactors

Nuclear Power

Geoffrey Clifton-Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what comparative assessment he has made of the use of thorium and uranium technologies in nuclear power electricity generation. [150336]

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

DECC recently commissioned an initial comparative assessment of thorium and uranium technologies in nuclear power electricity generation. This is available online from:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/thorium-and-uranium-fuel-cycles-comparison-by-the-national-nuclear-laboratory

Nuclear Power Stations

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Cheltenham of 28 February 2013, Official Report, column 632W, on nuclear power stations, what consideration he has given to requesting the National Audit Office to review whether his Department's plans to subsidise nuclear power represents value for money for UK taxpayers and businesses in respect of (a) carbon floor price support, (b) contracts for different support, (c) the underwriting of accident liability over a defined amount, (d) the underwriting of long-term waste storage and monitoring which go beyond any funded agreement in the event of that agreement failing and (e) the underwriting of construction costs for new nuclear power stations; and if he will make a statement. [150117]

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

An Investment Contract will only be agreed for Hinkley Point C if it represents a fair deal which is affordable and value for money for consumers, and is consistent with the Government's policy of no public subsidy for new nuclear, a positive state aid decision from the European Commission and Royal Assent of the supporting legislation. If a deal is agreed, we will set out the evidence to demonstrate that these tests have been satisfied. We would obviously comply fully with the National Audit Office's scrutiny of the deal, if it chooses to examine and report on the value for money considerations of the deal.

Peat Bogs

Sir Tony Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether it is the policy of his Department to avoid siting energy infrastructure on peatlands. [149462]

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Gregory Barker: It is Government policy that any proposal for siting energy infrastructure on peatlands should be assessed on its own merit.

Applicants for consent for major energy infrastructure must provide assessments of potential biodiversity and geological impacts, which would include an assessment of the effects of locating the infrastructure on peatland if that was the case. The decision-making authority would need to take such impacts into account before making its decision. The National Policy Statement for Renewable Energy Infrastructure (EN-3)(1) contains further information on the assessment of applications for consent for onshore wind farms on peat.

(1) https://Whitehall-admin.production.alphagov.co.uk/government/ uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/37048/1940-nps-renewable-energy-en3.pdf

Wind Power

Chris Heaton-Harris: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change when the results of the Call for Evidence on Onshore Wind—Part A (Community Engagement and Benefits) published in September 2012 will be announced. [R] [147630]

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

We are currently analysing all of the replies and will publish final reports on both Part A (Community Engagement and Benefits) and Part B (Costs) in the summer.

Defence

Afghanistan

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 7 March 2013, Official Report, column 1124W, on Afghanistan, when he expects to release information on the cost of the withdrawal of British Military forces and equipment from Afghanistan. [150122]

Mr Robathan: We expect current planning to allow estimated costs to be produced in the summer.

Dr McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many armed forces personnel were based in Afghanistan in the most recent period for which figures are available. [150255]


Mr Robathan: I refer the hon. Member to the statement made by my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister on 19 December 2012, Official Report, column 841, in which he stated that the force level in Afghanistan is reducing from 9,000 at the end of 2012 to around 5,200 by the end of 2013, in line with the increased capability of the Afghan National Security Force (ANSF). This number is kept under review.

The precise number of personnel in Afghanistan fluctuates on a daily basis for a variety of reasons. This will include mid-tour rest and recuperation, temporary absence for training, evacuation for medical reasons, the roulement of forces, visits and a range of other factors. We do not, therefore, publish actual figures for personnel deployed.

Armed Forces: Housing

Mike Crockart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the amount of service family accommodation which will be required under his proposed new employment model in (a) Edinburgh and (b) Scotland by 2020. [150207]

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Mr Francois: The final requirement for service family accommodation to support the revised structure of the armed forces in Scotland has not yet been confirmed.

Mark Hendrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what representations Ministers in his Department have made to colleagues at the Department for Work and Pensions on the effect of the under occupancy penalty on households where one or more members spend time away from home serving abroad. [143642]

Mr Francois: I had a meeting on 4 February 2013 with the Minister for Welfare Reform, Lord Freud, about several benefit issues, including the ‘under occupancy’ deduction. This meeting led to a greater shared understanding of how changes to benefit policies impact on members of the armed forces.

The decision to claim benefits is a private matter about which the Ministry of Defence has no requirement to collect information. However, I am aware that there are concerns among some parents of service personnel that they may be affected and I am glad to be able to say that the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions, my right hon. Friend the Member for Chingford and Woodford Green (Mr Duncan Smith), announced on 12 March 2013, Official Report, columns 9-10WS, that adult children who are in the armed forces but who continue to live with parents will be treated as continuing to live at home, even when deployed on operations.

Armed Forces: Logistics

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress his Department has made towards meeting its performance targets for making deliveries on time to (a) Afghanistan and (b) all other sites. [148478]

Mr Dunne: Due to the complexity of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) supply chain, information about delivery targets for equipment outside of the UK and north-west Europe is not readily available. For the Afghanistan theatre of operations equipment is dispatched by land, sea and air. All priority requests are required to be delivered by air within nine days from the point of departure in the UK to the point of arrival in theatre. In the majority of cases this timeline is achieved. In order to mitigate against delays in journey times the MOD holds sufficient stocks of equipment in Afghanistan to meet operational demands.

Information about the delivery of equipment within the UK and north-west Europe for financial year 2011-12 is shown in the following tables:

UK
 ImmediatePriorityRoutine
Mode of distributionRoad-AirRoadRoad

Performance timeline (days)

1

6

7

Timeline achieved (%)

90

92

95

10 Apr 2013 : Column 1124W

North-west Europe
 ImmediatePriorityRoutine
Mode of distributionRoad-AirRoadRoad

Performance timeline (days)

(1)1

6

7

Timeline achieved (%)

79

85

95

(1) In January 2012 the target for immediate deliveries to Germany was increased from one day to 36 hours to reflect more accurately the wide geographic spread of units in Germany. Factors that impacted on delays to journey times included road closures and adverse weather conditions. Note: Postal deliveries are excluded from these tables.

Armed Forces: Northern Ireland

Dr McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many members of the armed forces based in Northern Ireland are registered to vote. [150264]

Mr Francois: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 18 March 2013, Official Report, column 437W, to the right hon. Member for East Renfrewshire (Jim Murphy). Surveys indicate that, overall, some two thirds of eligible service personnel are registered to vote.

Dr McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many members of the armed forces have been based in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years; [150265]

(2) how many members of the armed forces are based at each site in Northern Ireland. [150266]

Mr Francois: The number of armed forces personnel based in Northern Ireland in each of the last five years is shown in the following table:

 Number

April 2009

4,390

April 2010

4,140

April 2011

4,010

April 2012

3,740

January 2013

2,730

Of the 2,730 armed forces personnel based in Northern Ireland up to January 2013, their basing is as follows:

 Number

Antrim

820

Belfast

20

Castlereagh

10

Craigavon

10

Down

590

Lisburn

600

North Down

(1)670

(1) Rounding has been used in the gathering of the data, totals and sub-totals have been rounded separately and so may not equal the sums of their rounded parts.

There will be further changes to the numbers and location of armed forces personnel based in Northern Ireland as a result of my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Defence’s basing announcement of 5 March 2013, Official Report, columns 845-848.

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Dr McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many Army families reside in Northern Ireland. [150267]

Mr Francois: There are currently around 650 Army families living in service family accommodation within Northern Ireland.

Armed Forces: Scotland

Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 18 December 2012, Official Report, column 708W, on armed forces: Scotland, if he will place in the Library a copy of the capacity review of the Army estate in Scotland. [148172]

Mr Robathan: I am withholding the capacity review of the Army estate in Scotland as its disclosure would prejudice commercial interests.

Mike Crockart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to his Department's Strategic Defence and Security Review, on 26 October 2010, Official Report, Cm 7948, what assessment his Department has made of the (a) personnel capacity and (b) potential for expansion of (i) Glencorse Barracks, (ii) Glencorse HIVE and (iii) other associated facilities. [150278]

Mr Robathan: As part of the Army Basing Plan announced by the Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), on 5 March 2013, work was carried out to assess the capacity of the Defence estate which included Glencorse. I am withholding the information requested as its disclosure would prejudice commercial interests.

Armed Forces: Sexual Offences

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many allegations of (a) rape, (b) assault by penetration and (c) sexual assault have been made by armed forces personnel serving in Germany in each year since 2005; how many of these allegations have been referred for prosecution; how many have resulted in a conviction; and if he will make a statement. [136191]

Mr Francois: The following table provides the number of allegations of rape, assault by penetration and sexual assault made by armed forces personnel serving in Germany each year since 1 November 2009 to 31 December 2012.

 RapeSexual Assault by PenetrationSexual Assault

2009

1

0

2

2010

2

1

6

2011

3

2

4

2012

1

2

5

Total

7

5

17

The above allegations make up seven cases of rape and 22 cases of sexual assault by penetration and sexual assault. Of these:

10 Apr 2013 : Column 1126W

 RapeSexual Assault and Sexual Assault by Penetration

Cases not investigated because the complaint was not pursued

0

2

Cases investigated but not resulting in a person being referred to a prosecuting authority under the Armed Forces Act 2006

1

3

Cases resulting in persons being referred to a prosecuting authority under the Armed Forces Act 2006 but did not result in court martial or other disciplinary proceedings

4

1

Cases resulting in a conviction

0

5

Cases which resulted in a court martial or other disciplinary proceedings which resulted in a conviction for a lesser offence

0

3

Cases resulting in a court martial or other disciplinary proceedings which did not result in a conviction

0

1

Cases ongoing

2

7

The data provided are based on information recorded by service police for the period between 1 November 2009, the date of the implementation of the Armed Forces Act 2006, and 31 December 2012.

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many allegations of assault by penetration have been made by serving armed forces personnel since 2005 by service and gender; how many such allegations have been referred for prosecution; how many have resulted in a conviction; and if he will make a statement. [136192]

Mr Francois: The following table provides details of the number of allegations recorded by the service police of assault by penetration made by female and male members of each service each year from 1 November 2009, the date of the implementation of the Armed Forces Act 2006, to 31 December 2012.

 NavyArmyAir Force
 FemaleMaleFemaleMaleFemaleMale

2009

0

0

2

0

0

0

2010

0

0

7

2

1

0

2011

2

0

7

5

2

0

2012

0

0

5

3

0

0

Total

2

0

21

10

3

0

The above allegations make up 36 cases. Of these:

Five cases were not investigated because the complaint was not pursued;

Five cases were investigated but did not result in a person being referred to a prosecuting authority under the Armed Forces Act 2006;

Seven cases resulted in persons being referred to a prosecuting authority under the Armed Forces Act 2006 but did not result in court martial or other disciplinary proceedings;

Four cases which resulted in a court martial or other disciplinary proceedings resulted in a conviction;

Four cases which resulted in a court martial or other disciplinary proceedings resulted in a conviction for a lesser offence;

Three cases resulted in a court martial or other disciplinary proceedings which did not result in a conviction, and

Eight cases are ongoing.

10 Apr 2013 : Column 1127W

Service police data are based on cases where the service police have jurisdiction and the investigative lead.

The Military Defence Police do not have any cases recorded of armed forces personnel making allegations of assault by penetration during the period 1 November 2009 to 31 December 2012.

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many allegations of child sexual offences have been made by (a) service personnel and (b) civilian staff based in the UK in each year since 2005; how many of these (i) were referred for prosecution and (ii) resulted in a conviction; and if he will make a statement; [137679]

(2) how many of the allegations of child sexual offences made against (a) service personnel and (b) civilian staff based in the UK in each year since 2005 (i) were referred for prosecution and (ii) resulted in a conviction; and if he will make a statement. [137680]

Mr Francois: The Ministry of Defence holds the following information on allegations of child sexual offences made by and against service personnel and civilians based in the UK between the implementation of the Armed Forces Act 2006 on 1 November 2009 and 31 December 2012:

 Allegations(1) made by service personnelAllegations made by civilian staff

2009

0

1

2010

7

0

2011

5

0

2012

1

0

Total

13

1

(1) This includes offences as defined in sections 4-15 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and other sexual offences where the alleged victim is under 18.

Information held on the above cases indicates the following outcomes:

Five cases were either not investigated or were investigated but did not result in a person being referred to a prosecuting authority.

One case resulted in a person being referred to a prosecuting authority but did not result in either proceedings or a conviction.

Five cases resulted in a court martial or other proceedings which resulted in a conviction.

Three cases are ongoing.

 Allegations made against service personnelAllegations made against civilian staff

2009

8

6

2010

13

2

2011

6

4

2012

1

4

Total

28

16

Information held on the above cases indicates the following outcomes:

24 cases were either not investigated or were investigated but did not result in a person being referred to a prosecuting authority.

Four cases resulted in a person being referred to a prosecuting authority but did not result in either proceedings or a conviction.

13 cases resulted in a court martial or other proceedings which resulted in a conviction.

Three cases are ongoing.

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Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many of the allegations of child sexual offences made by (a) service personnel and (b) civilian staff based in Germany in each year since 2005 (i) were referred for prosecution and (ii) resulted in a conviction; and if he will make a statement; [137681]

(2) how many of the allegations of child sexual offences made against (a) service personnel and (b) civilian staff based in Germany in each year since 2005 (i) were referred for prosecution and (ii) resulted in a conviction; and if he will make a statement. [137682]

Mr Francois: The Ministry of Defence has no record of any allegations of child sexual offences(1) made by service personnel or civilians in Germany in the period between the implementation of the Armed Forces Act 2006 on 1 November 2009 and 31 December 2012.

The Ministry of Defence holds the following information relating to allegations made against service personnel and civilians in Germany in this period:

 Allegations made against service personnelAllegations made against civilian staff

2009

0

0

2010

7

0

2011

3

1

2012

3

1

The 15 allegations above constitute a total of 14 cases. Information held on these cases indicates the following outcomes:

Two cases were investigated but did not result in a person being referred to a prosecuting authority under the Armed Forces Act 2006.

One case resulted in a person being referred to a prosecuting authority under the Armed Forces Act 2006 but did not result in court martial or other disciplinary proceedings.

Seven cases which resulted in a court martial or other proceeding which resulted in a conviction.

One case resulting in a court martial or other proceeding which did not result in a conviction.

Three cases are ongoing.

(1 )This includes offences as defined in sections 4-15 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003 and other sexual offences where the alleged victim is under 18.

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) how many allegations relating to the possession of indecent images have been made by (a) armed forces personnel and (b) civilian staff based in the UK in each year since 2005; how many of these have (i) been referred for prosecution and (ii) resulted in a conviction; and if he will make a statement; [137687]

(2) how many allegations relating to the possession of indecent images have been made against (a) armed forces personnel and (b) civilian staff based in the UK in each year since 2005; how many of these have (i) been referred for prosecution and (ii) resulted in a conviction; and if he will make a statement. [137688]

Mr Francois: The Ministry of Defence holds the following information on allegations of possession of indecent images over the period between the implementation of the Armed Forces Act 2006 on 1 November 2009 and 31 December 2012:

10 Apr 2013 : Column 1129W

 Allegations(1) made by service personnelAllegations made by civilian staff

2009

0

0

2010

9

3

2011

12

4

2012

6

0

Total

27

7

(1) This includes all indecent images of children and extreme pornography as defined by the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and the Protection of Children's Act 1978.

Information held on the above 34 cases indicates the following outcomes:

10 cases were either not investigated or were investigated but did not result in a person being referred to a prosecuting authority.

One case resulted in a person being referred to a prosecuting authority under the Armed Forces Act 2006 but did not result in court martial or other disciplinary proceedings.

Five cases resulted in a court martial or other proceeding which resulted in a conviction.

One case resulted in a court martial or other proceeding which resulted in a conviction for a lesser offence.

17 cases are ongoing.

 Allegations made against service personnelAllegations made against civilian staff

2009

4

1

2010

8

0

2011

13

2

2012

6

0

Total

31

3

The 34 allegations (above) constitute a total of 32 cases. Information held on these cases indicates the following outcomes:

12 cases were either not investigated or were investigated but did not result in a person being referred to a prosecuting authority.

One case resulted in a person being referred to a prosecuting authority under the Armed Forces Act 2006 but did not result in Court Martial or other disciplinary proceedings.

Nine cases resulted in a court martial or other proceedings which resulted in a conviction.

One case resulted in a court martial or other proceeding which resulted in a conviction for a lesser offence.

Nine cases are ongoing.

Mrs Moon: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many allegations relating to the possession of indecent images have been made by (a) armed forces personnel and (b) civilian staff based in Germany in each year since 2005; how many of these have (i) been referred for prosecution and (ii) resulted in a conviction; and if he will make a statement. [137689]

Mr Francois: The Ministry of Defence holds the following information on allegations of possession of indecent images in Germany over the period between the implementation of the Armed Forces Act 2006 on 1 November 2009 and 31 December 2012:

 Allegations(1) made by service personnelAllegations made by civilian staff

2009

0

0

2010

2

0

2011

5

0

2012

4

0

Total

11

0

(1) This includes all indecent images of children and extreme pornography as defined by the Criminal Justice Act 1988 and the Protection of Children's Act 1978.

10 Apr 2013 : Column 1130W

This table shows allegations made by service personnel. We have no record of any allegations made by civilian staff in this period.

Information held on the above cases indicates the following outcomes:

Four cases were investigated but did not result in a person being referred to a prosecuting authority under the Armed Forces Act 2006.

Two cases resulted in a court martial or other proceeding resulting in a conviction.

Five cases are ongoing.

Armoured Fighting Vehicles

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what plans he has to procure materials from UK suppliers for the serial production phase of the ASCOD SV programme; [149595]

(2) what proportion of the content, by value, of the serial production specialist vehicles being procured from General Dynamics European Land Systems will be sourced from UK suppliers. [149598]

Mr Dunne: The prime contract for the demonstration phase of the Scout specialist vehicle programme was awarded to General Dynamics UK Limited (GD UK) in June 2010 following an open competition. On completion, the output from the demonstration phase will inform the Ministry of Defence's decision for manufacture and initial in-service support.

GD UK, as the prime contractor, is responsible for the selection of its supply chain. It has previously indicated that a majority of the contract activity will be conducted in the UK.

Depleted Uranium

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what testing regimes he has put in place to measure any (a) changes in the specific activity of depleted uranium penetrator stock and (b) difference in activity between penetrators manufactured from different batches of depleted uranium. [149888]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 25 March 2013]: A report entitled ‘Ministry of Defence Depleted Uranium Research Programme; Radiochemical Analysis Task Summary Customer Report, Dstl/CR23587 VI.0’, dated 20 May 2007, has previously been placed in the Library of the House. This report describes the testing and the need for testing of depleted uranium munitions stocks. It is based on work by the MOD and on information from the Royal Society, United Nations and US Army reports.

The report concludes that as variations in radionucleide content have not been found to be of any recognised health significance, there was no need for specific testing. However, we are not complacent and continue to review emerging information in the scientific and other literature.

Depleted Uranium: Solway Firth

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will publish his Department's timetable of work to recover depleted uranium rounds from the Solway Firth; and if he will make a statement. [150116]

Mr Francois: The Ministry of Defence has no plans to recover depleted uranium rounds from the Solway Firth.

10 Apr 2013 : Column 1131W

Disclosure of Information

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many civil servants in his Department have been subject to non-disclosure agreements in each year since 2010. [150029]

Mr Francois: The Ministry of Defence is not aware of any incidence of the use of a non-disclosure agreement. However, all staff are required to adhere to the terms of the Civil Service Code, the Public Interest Disclosure Act (PIDA) 1998 and, where appropriate, the Official Secrets Act.

Fuels: Prices

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether cost increases arising from fuel inflation are included in the built-in risk for his Department's core equipment programme. [140812]

Mr Dunne [holding answer 1 February 2013]: The costs of operating defence equipment, including the costs of fuel, are not provided for in the core equipment plan. The Ministry of Defence's overall forward plan includes an estimate of the fuel volumes required and expected changes in cost. Exposure to fluctuations in the market prices of aviation and marine fuels is managed using swap contracts for forward deliveries. This arrangement provides price stability and more efficient budgetary planning.

Military Bases

Mike Crockart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the statement of 5 March 2013, Official Report, column 845, on the Army basing plan, what assessment he has made of the effects on service families of movement of service children between the Scottish and English education systems; and what assessment he has made of the effects of this announcement on the (a) capacity, (b) costs and (c) operation of the Queen Victoria School in Dunblaine. [150087]

Mr Francois: The normal posting and appointment process for service personnel means that service children routinely move between the differing curricula in the countries of the UK and overseas. The challenges of changing curricula are well understood, and comprehensive advice is available to service parents through the Department's Children's Education Advisory Service.

For unit-level moves, additional advice is provided to unit staff, and to schools and local authorities, or equivalents in the unit's current and future catchment areas. This process will continue to be followed during future moves into and out of Scotland and will benefit from the recent appointment of a National Transitions Officer for Scotland, funded through Fife Council by the Ministry of Defence's £3 million support fund for State Schools with Service children.

Although admission to Queen Victoria School Dunblane requires the serving parent to have an appropriate link to Scotland, the full-boarding nature of the school means that families are based throughout the UK and overseas. We do not expect re-basing into and out of Scotland to significantly impact on the school in terms of capacity, costs or operation.

10 Apr 2013 : Column 1132W

Military Bases: Edinburgh

Mike Crockart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence where he expects (a) the Army Bomb Disposal Unit and (b) other units based at Craigiehall, other than the 2nd Division headquarters, to be based after the closure of Craigiehall before the completion of any new facilities. [150206]

Mr Robathan: Edinburgh Troop, 521 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Squadron, Royal Logistics Corps is currently planned to move from Craigiehall to Dreghorn Barracks during 2016. The facilities will be ready prior to this move. The other small lodger units based at Craigiehall will be relocated as required prior to the disposal of the site.

Mike Crockart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to his oral statement of 5 March 2013, Official Report, column 847, on Army basing plan, what plans his Department has for the future of the Castlelaw and Dreghorn training area. [150330]

Mr Robathan: The detail of the future training estate requirement following Army 2020 is subject to further work.

Military Bases: Kirknewton

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer to the right hon. and learned Member for North East Fife of 6 February 2013, Official Report, column 235W, on military bases: Kirknewton, if he will place in the Library a copy of the notes taken of the meeting on 11 January 2011. [143038]

Mr Robathan [holding answer 13 February 2013]: The notes of the meeting are available on the Ministry of Defence's Freedom of Information website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/notes-of-a-meeting-between-the-secretary-of-state-for-defence-and-the-first-minister-of-scotland-on-11-january-2011

These notes were not cleared with the Private Office and should not be taken as an official record of the meeting. They were first released as a result of an FOI request in September 2012.

Military Bases: Scotland

Mike Crockart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) pursuant to the answer of 18 October 2011, Official Report, column 879, on military bases, what timescale his Department has set for the phased disposal of the three Defence Estate sites in Edinburgh; [149591]

(2) if he will place copies of maps of the defence estate lands in Edinburgh which his Department proposes to sell in the Library. [149871]

Mr Robathan: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 18 October 2011, Official Report, column 879.

The Army basing plan announcement by the Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), on 5 March 2013, Official Report, columns 845-8) noted that the Ministry of Defence still intends to dispose of Craigiehall, and part of Redford barracks. However, Dreghorn barracks will continue to be used.

10 Apr 2013 : Column 1133W

The decision on which part of Redford Barracks to be disposed of is subject to further work. Craigiehall is set to be disposed of in 2016.

Mike Crockart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) pursuant to his oral statement of 5 March 2013, Official Report, columns 845-63W, on Army basing plan, if he will take steps to ensure that military personnel in all parts of Scotland have access to similar facilities to those provided by the (a) Army education centre, (b) Army learning Centre and (c) Edinburgh HIVE of Redford and Dreghorn Barracks; [149958]

(2) what plans his Department has for the provision of information services to military personnel from (a) Edinburgh, (b) Stirling, (c) Glasgow and (d) other parts of Scotland following the closure of Edinburgh Dreghorn HIVE. [150279]

Mr Robathan: Army personnel have access to a range of education and learning facilities in Scotland. The locations of these are being reviewed in the light of the Army basing plan to ensure that the greatest number of personnel have access to them.

The location of HIVEs in Scotland is also being reviewed. There are currently no plans to move the Edinburgh HIVE from Dreghorn Barracks.

Recruitment

Andrew Bridgen: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department spent on advertising job vacancies in (a) 2005, (b) 2006, (c) 2007, (d) 2008 and (e) 2009. [150286]

Mr Francois: The information requested was not held centrally until February 2007. The departmental spend on advertising job vacancies from 2007 to 2009 was as follows:

 £

2007

617,093.00

2008

1,622,461.00

2009

1,575,163.00

This does not include senior civil service job vacancies for which compilation will take time. I will write to the hon. Member once the information has been collated.

Reserve Forces

Jack Lopresti: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress his Department has made in reaching its target of 30,000 deployable Army reservists. [144590]

Mr Francois: After a long-term decline in numbers, the number of enquiries from those interested in joining the Territorial Army (TA) has increased and early indications are that the trained strength for the TA is now stabilising at around 19,000.

Implementation of Future Reserves 2020 is progressing for all reserve forces, including those within the Army. Proposals in the forthcoming White Paper will set the conditions to deliver the required reserve force strengths

10 Apr 2013 : Column 1134W

in the future. For the Army we anticipate that, together with the White Paper, transforming the Army recruiting system through the Recruiting Partnering Project with Capita and new recruiting campaigns will lead to a significant increase in recruiting performance.

Syria

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what steps UK military personnel in Jordan are taking to assist Syrian rebels. [149703]

Mr Robathan: Jordan is a key partner in our regional policy for the Middle East. This relationship includes the deployment of UK military personnel to Jordan on a regular basis.

After successfully securing an amendment to the EU arms embargo, the UK is now able to provide non-lethal military equipment and all forms of technical assistance to the Syrian National Coalition where it is intended for the protection of civilians.

Additionally, the UK will also assist elements of the opposition in understanding their responsibilities and obligations under international law, and international human rights.

Telephone Services

John Healey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence for each of the principal access numbers operated by (a) his Department and (b) the agencies for which he is responsible, what revenue has been retained by (i) the telephone provider for that line and (ii) his Department in each of the last three years. [149991]

Mr Francois: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave on 18 March 2013, Official Report, column 443W to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Richard Burden)

Neither the Ministry of Defence nor its agencies have retained any revenue for the principal access numbers which are provided through the Defence Fixed Telecommunications Service contract with British Telecom (BT).

John Healey: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence which telephone lines are operated by (a) his Department and (b) the agencies for which he is responsible for public inquiries or other services; what the (i) principal access number and (ii) telephone service provider is for each number; and which such lines (A) are free to the caller and (B) may incur a charge to the caller. [150014]

Mr Francois: I refer the right hon. Member to the answer I gave on 18 March 2013, Official Report, column 443W) to the hon. Member for Birmingham, Northfield (Richard Burden).

The following table depicts the number of premium rate numbers which are free to the caller and those which may incur a charge to the caller provided through the Defence Fixed Telecommunications Service contract with British Telecom.

10 Apr 2013 : Column 1135W

Premium Rate Telephone Number PrefixFree to callerLocal Rate Charge to callerNational Rate Charge to caller

0800 (x 79 numbers)

79

0

0

0808 (x 1 number)

1

0

0

0845 (x 21 numbers)

0

21

0

0870 (x 2 numbers)

0

0

2

Thursday 28 March 2013

   

Territorial Army: Edinburgh

Mike Crockart: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to his Department's Strategic Defence and Security Review published in 2010, what proportion of the increase in the size of the Territorial Army will be based in Edingburgh; what the current strength is of the Territorial Army and his assessment of its required strength in 2020; and what assessment he has made of the capacity of the Territorial Army estate in and around Edinburgh to accommodate the estimated rises in Territorial Army numbers. [149952]

Mr Robathan: Further to the publication of the Strategic Defence and Security Review in October 2010, I refer the hon. Member to the statement made the Secretary of State for Defence, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), on 5 March 201, Official Report, column 1085, in which he said that the future strength of the Army would include an integrated trained reserve of 30,000.

The current, trained strength of the Territorial Army is around 19,000. Proposals in the forthcoming White Paper will set the conditions to deliver the required reserve force strengths in the future. For the Army we anticipate that, together with the White Paper, transforming the Army recruiting system through the Recruiting Partnering Project with Capita and new recruiting campaigns will lead to a significant increase in recruiting performance.

A £1.8 billion package has been allocated to improving training and equipment for the reserves.

The future basing plan for the Territorial Army is currently under review and is expected to be announced before the summer recess.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Democratic Republic of the Congo

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the recent displacement of people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo by the M23 rebel group. [149704]

Mark Simmonds: We remain concerned that the number of internally displaced people in eastern Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) continues to rise because of the activities of the M23 and other armed groups. There are an estimated 2.7 million displaced people in DRC today compared to 1.7 million at the start of 2012. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), saw the impact of the recent fighting when he visited camps near Goma during his recent visit.

10 Apr 2013 : Column 1136W

We strongly support the peace, security and co-operation framework signed on 24 February and the UN Organisation Stabilisation Mission in the DRC's revised mandate as the basis for finding long-term sustainable solutions to the conflict in the east of DRC, and are committed to providing effective and timely emergency support to those affected by violence.

Guatemala

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will discuss with his US counterpart the sale of personal semi-automatic weapons to Guatemala and its effects on regional security. [150320]

Mr Swire: There are currently no plans to raise or discuss the sale of personal semi-automatic weapons to Guatemala with US counterparts. We welcome Guatemala's strong support for the arms trade treaty and will continue to work with the US and Guatemalan Governments to tackle regional security issues.

Kenya

Nia Griffith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department took to support a democratic election process in Kenya. [150201]

Mark Simmonds: The UK has strongly supported efforts to deliver credible and peaceful elections in Kenya and urged Kenya's politicians to support the organisations tasked with achieving this, including the Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) and judiciary. In addition, the UK has, through the Department for International Development, provided £16 million of funding to support the election commission, voter education, tackling hate speech, peace building, police reforms and election security.

Nia Griffith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the potential effect of Kenya's presidential election on UK interests in that region. [150202]

Mark Simmonds: We are pleased that the Kenyan elections occurred peacefully, ensuring there was no repeat of the violence that marred the 2007 elections and which impacted negatively on the regional economy.

We will continue to have a strong shared interest in working together with the new Kenyan Government on important areas of co-operation including regional security issues such as Somalia and piracy.

Telephone Services

John Healey: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) for each of the principal access numbers operated by (a) his Department and (b) the agencies for which he is responsible, what revenue has been retained by (i) the telephone provider for that line and (ii) his Department in each of the last three years; [149995]

(2) which telephone lines are operated by (a) his Department and (b) the agencies for which he is responsible for public inquiries or other services; what

10 Apr 2013 : Column 1137W

the (i) principal access number and (ii) telephone service provider is for each number; and which such lines (A) are free to the caller and (B) may incur a charge to the caller. [150018]

Mr Lidington: No telephone numbers in use by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) or its agencies require the public to make telephone calls which charge more than the national rate. No revenue is derived from these numbers.

The telephone service provider for the FCO is Level 3. Information on the telephone service providers for agencies is not held centrally and can be obtained only at disproportionate cost. Principal contact numbers for the FCO and agencies are as follows:

FCO switchboard, including the FCO Global Response Centre (020 7008 1500)

FCO consular assistance, including Child Abduction Section helpline and the Forced Marriage Unit helpline (020 7008 1500)

FCO Legalisation Office; and births, marriages and deaths enquiries (03700 00 22 44)

FCO Services (01908 515789)

Wilton Park (01903 815020)

British Council (0161 957 7755).

Attorney-General

Crown Prosecution Service

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General what proportion of cases referred to Crown Prosecution Service prosecutors by the police were (a) decisions to charge, (b) decisions to caution and (c) decisions to take no further action in each of the last 10 years. [149961]

The Attorney-General: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) maintains a central record of the numbers of suspects referred to prosecutors for a pre-charge decision since Statutory Charging was fully rolled out across England and Wales in April 2006.

The following table shows, in each of the last six years for which figures are available, the proportion of decisions to charge, caution (including conditional cautions) and to take no further action.

Percentage
 (a) Charge(b) Caution(c) No further action

2006-07

45.8

2.4

31.9

2007-08

55.8

3.0

29.4

2008-09

57.7

3.4

26.5

2009-10

56.7

3.4

26.7

2010-11

58.5

2.9

25.5

2011-12

60.2

2.5

24.0

Philip Davies: To ask the Attorney-General how many non-qualified lawyers are prosecuting cases in court for the Crown Prosecution Service. [150072]

The Attorney-General: CPS prosecutors who appear as advocates in court are regulated by an approved regulator in accordance with the Legal Services Act 2007. The qualification, training and extent of their rights of audience are determined by their approved regulator. All CPS prosecutors are qualified to the standards set by their approved regulator.

10 Apr 2013 : Column 1138W


Domestic Violence: Prosecutions

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General whether the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) monitors the number of occasions in which domestic violence suspects against whom the CPS decides to take no further action are subsequently arrested and charged for a similar offence. [150208]

The Attorney-General: Monitoring by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not identify the number of domestic violence suspects against whom the CPS decides to take no further action, who are subsequently arrested and charged with a similar offence.

Such a decision is, however, recorded by the police, so that if there is any subsequent similar allegation, consideration can be given to whether it should be reviewed and the suspect charged with both offences. Alternatively it can be used as a basis for making a bad character application in any subsequent prosecution.

Rape: Prosecutions

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General whether the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) monitors the number of occasions in which rape suspects against whom the CPS decides to take no further action are subsequently arrested and charged for a similar offence. [150209]

The Attorney-General: Monitoring by the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not identify the number of rape suspects against whom the CPS decides to take no further action, who are subsequently arrested and charged with a similar offence.

Such a decision is, however, recorded by the police, so that if there is any subsequent similar allegation, consideration can be given to whether it should be reviewed and the suspect charged with both offences. Alternatively it can be used as a basis for making a bad character application in any subsequent prosecution.

Telephone Services

John Healey: To ask the Attorney-General (1) for each of the principal access numbers operated by (a) the Law Officers Departments and (b) the agencies for which he is responsible, what revenue has been retained by (i) the telephone provider for that line and (ii) his Department in each of the last three years; [149987]

(2) which telephone lines are operated by (a) the Law Officers Departments and (b) the agencies for which the Law Officers Departments are responsible for public inquiries or other services; what the (i) principal access number and (ii) telephone service provider is for each number; and which such lines (A) are free to the caller and (B) may incur a charge to the caller. [150010]

The Attorney-General: The principal access numbers for the Law Officers Departments are as follows:

10 Apr 2013 : Column 1139W

10 Apr 2013 : Column 1140W

DepartmentLine functionService providerNumber

Attorney-General's Office

Public Enquiry Point (PEP)

Level 3 Communications UK Limited

020 7271 2492

Serious Fraud Office

Switchboard

Virgin Media

020 7239 7272

Treasury Solicitor's Department (TSol)

Bona Vacantia and Litigation/Employment Inquiry Line

Level 3 Communications UK Limited

020 7210 4700

TSol

TSol General Inquiries

Level 3 Communications UK Limited

020 7210 3000

HMCPSI

HMCPSI General Inquiry

Level 3 Communications UK Limited

020-7210 1160

Crown Prosecution Service

PEP

Level 3 Communications UK Limited

0203 357 0899

No information is held on the revenue retained by the provider for these numbers in each of the last three years. Callers are charged at their normal network rate. No revenue is received by the Law Officers Departments in respect of any public access numbers.

Women and Equalities

Disclosure of Information

Jon Trickett: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities how many civil servants in the Government Equalities Office have been subject to non-disclosure agreements in each year since 2010. [150034]

Mrs Grant: There are no civil servants in the Government Equalities Office who have been subject to non-disclosure agreements in each year since 2010.

Leave

Priti Patel: To ask the Minister for Women and Equalities how many officials in the Government Equalities Office qualify for privilege days; and what the total cost to the public purse was of the number of privilege days utilised each year by such officials. [147740]

Mrs Grant: All Government Equalities Office (GEO) employees are entitled to 2.5 days privilege holidays in line with the rest of the civil service, as follows:

Maundy Thursday (half day)

The Queen’s Birthday (one day)

Christmas/New Year period (one day)

No assessment has been made of the cost of privilege days to the public purse by GEO. We do not hold central records for our non-departmental public bodies.

Northern Ireland

Buildings

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the names and locations are of all properties used by officials of her Department; whether those properties are (a) owned by the Department, (b) leased by the Department and (c) subject to a private finance initiative agreement; when existing lease agreements relating to such properties are due to expire; and what the total floor space is of each property. [143382]

Mike Penning: My Department uses three properties, one in London (Millbank) and two in Northern Ireland (Stormont House and Hillsborough Castle). The information requested in relation to each is set out as follows:

Millbank

A total floor space of 3,098 m(2) is leased by my Department; the lease expired on 31 March 2013;

Stormont House

A total floor space of 3,357 m(2) is leased by my Department; the lease is due to expire on 31 March 2015;

Hillsborough Castle

This property has a total floor space of 4,226 m(2) and is owned by Her Majesty's Government.

None of these properties are subject to a private finance initiative agreement.

Staff

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will estimate her Department's total staffing requirement in full-time equivalent posts for fulfilling its minimum statutory obligations. [143340]

Mike Penning: My Department's core statutory functions, and associated staff numbers and costs, are outlined in the Northern Ireland Office's Annual Report and Accounts, copies of which are available in the Library of the House.

Culture, Media and Sport

Direct Selling

John Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what recent discussions she has had with the organisation Which? on nuisance telephone calls. [150340]

Mr Vaizey: No recent discussions have been held with Which?, regarding nuisance telephone calls. However, I will shortly be inviting representatives from consumer groups, which includes Which?, to a forthcoming round table, that will consider what further improvements can be made in this area.

Internet: Ashfield

Gloria De Piero: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many households in Ashfield constituency do not have access to the internet. [149838]

Mr Vaizey: Ofcom's Communication Infrastructure Report 2012 stated that current generation broadband is available in close to 100% of premises in the UK. Ofcom estimated that 1.3% of UK premises were in potential broadband notspots, but noted that where broadband is not available via fixed access networks, customers may have access via other technologies such as satellite and mobile services or local community schemes.

10 Apr 2013 : Column 1141W

From the evidence available, in the Nottinghamshire County Council area there is 71.3% total broadband take-up

http://maps.ofcom.org.uk/broadband/

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) Internet Access Update also shows a figure of 80.7% of adults (aged 16+) in North Nottinghamshire and 80.6% of adults (aged 16+) in South Nottinghamshire, who have ever used the internet

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171778 300874.pdf

Olympic Games 2012: Northern Ireland

Dr McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many members of the Great Britain Olympic team were from Northern Ireland. [150268]

Hugh Robertson: There were six athletes from Northern Ireland in Team GB (Olympics) at London 2012. Three of them won medals: Peter and Richard Chambers won silver in the Men's Lightweight Four (Rowing) and Alan Campbell won bronze in the Men's Single Sculls (Rowing). The others were Wendy Houvenaghel (Cycling), Iain Lewers (Hockey), and Na Lui (Table Tennis).

Press: Regulation

Glyn Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport under what circumstances the blog of an hon. Member would be subject to the provisions of the new press regulation system. [149784]

Mr Vaizey: As Leveson recommended, and in line with the cross-party agreement on 18 March, the Government will be establishing a system of exemplary costs and damages to create an incentive for the press to take part in the new self-regulatory system. The clauses being introduced to the Crime and Courts Bill are to give effect to this new system and include a definition of ‘relevant publisher'; groups such as lone bloggers and tweeters would not be expected to join the self-regulator. This means that single-person blogs, such as the hon. Member's ‘A view from Rural Wales', would not be affected.

10 Apr 2013 : Column 1142W

In recognition that people have been seeking clarification on how the legislation could apply to small-scale bloggers, the Government have made clear that a period of reflection will now be undertaken in order to consider whether or not there is a need for further amendment.

Public Expenditure

Chris Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport pursuant to the Budget 2013 Red Book, Table 2.5, which capital items and projects are no longer proceeding as a consequence of the underspend for her Department in 2012-13; and if she will make a statement. [150123]

Hugh Robertson: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport capital underspend (set out in table 2,5 of the Budget 2013 Red Book) largely reflects changes in programme delivery timetables, efficiencies and planned transfers to other Departments, and is not the result of any capital items or projects being cancelled. The Department will set out its spending for the year, in detail, in its annual accounts in the usual way.

Sickness Absence

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many officials in (a) her Department and (b) each of its non-departmental public bodies have had (i) fewer than five days, (ii) five to 10 days, (iii) 10 to 15 days, (iv) 15 to 20 days, (v) 20 to 25 days, (vi) 25 to 50 days, (vii) 50 to 75 days, (viii) 75 to 100 days, (ix) 100 to 150 days, (x) 150 to 200 days, (xi) more than 200 days, (xii) more than three months, (xiii) more than six months and (xiv) more than one year on paid sick leave (A) consecutively and (B) in total in each of the last five years. [148002]

Hugh Robertson: The following table shows the proportion of days on average, staff were absent as a result of ill health in each of the last five financial years. More detailed information is not held centrally and can only be obtained at disproportionate cost. We do not hold central records for our non-departmental public bodies.

Financial Year2007-08200S-092009-102010-112011-12

Total Average Working days lost

2.1

33

4.8

4.9

4.2

Estimated cost of such absence per employee

£476.19

£748.30

£1,088.44

£1,111.11

£952.38


For 2011-12, the Civil Service wide sickness rate was 7.6 average working days lost.

This Department is committed to the health and welfare of its staff, helping staff to stay healthy and reducing the need for sick leave. Support is provided to staff returning from long-term sick leave, referring them to Occupational Health to advise on how best to facilitate a return to work and offering access to an Employee Assistance Programme for independent advice and support.

Special Olympics: Northern Ireland

Dr McCrea: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many members of the Great Britain Special Olympics team were from Northern Ireland. [150269]

Hugh Robertson: DCMS does not hold information about the make up of the Great Britain Special Olympic Team. The hon. Member may wish to contact Special Olympics GB, who are responsible for selecting the team, via the following link:

http://www.specialolympicsgb.org.uk

Telephone Services

Fabian Hamilton: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport whether her Department's customer service telephone lines are restricted to those beginning 0870. [149019]

10 Apr 2013 : Column 1143W

Mr Vaizey: The Department's customer service telephone lines do not have any 0870 telephones numbers. The Department has 0207 geographic telephone numbers for public use.

John Healey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport for each of the principal access numbers operated by (a) her Department and (b) the agencies for which she is responsible, what revenue has been retained by (i) the telephone provider for that line and (ii) her Department in each of the last three years. [149990]

Hugh Robertson: DCMS does not receive any revenue from the calling of its principal access numbers. Information about our agencies is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

John Healey: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport which telephone lines are operated by (a) her Department and (b) the agencies for which she is responsible for public inquiries or other services; what the (i) principal access number and (ii) telephone service provider is for each number; and which such lines (A) are free to the caller and (B) may incur a charge to the caller. [150013]

Hugh Robertson: DCMS holds the following numbers:

Public Enquiries. The number is 020 7211 6000 and a charge is incurred by the caller.

Telephony Services e.g. voicemail. We cannot provide the number as it is used by staff only, but there is no charge to the caller.

Business Continuity services. We cannot provide the number as it is used by staff only, but there is no charge to the caller.

Information about our agency is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Tourism

Mr Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what discussions she has had with Ministers in the Northern Ireland Executive on the running of the GREAT campaign. [150115]

Hugh Robertson: DCMS Ministers and officials have discussions with their counterparts at the Northern Ireland Executive about a wide variety of subjects. The Northern Ireland Tourist Board is represented on the board of VisitBritain, who are responsible for the running of the international tourism marketing campaign, which is part of the GREAT initiative.

Home Department

Association of Chief Police Officers

Mr Hanson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what grant her Department plans to allocate to the Association of Chief Police Officers in (a) 2013-14 and (b) 2014-15. [149931]

Damian Green: Home Office Grant-in-Aid funding to the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) HQ ceased at the end of 2012 when the College of Policing was established.

10 Apr 2013 : Column 1144W

The Home Office will fund the National Police Coordination Centre (NPoCC) and the UK Disaster Victim Identification (UKDVI) team, both managed by ACPO. For 2013-14, the funding for NPoCC is £1,365,000, and there will also be a grant for the development of NPoCC's Mercury ICT system of £262,000. The funding for UKDVI has not yet been determined. Decisions have not been taken for 2014-15.

Communications Data Bill (Draft)

Naomi Long: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what filtering arrangements the Government intend to propose in their revised draft Communications Bill. [150002]

James Brokenshire: The draft Communications Data Bill allowed for a request filter, which would enable authorised agencies to make a single inquiry to obtain communications data that could currently only be obtained through multiple requests to different providers. Requests through the filter will be governed by safeguards in the legislation and a programmed set of rules. We believe the filter to be a safeguard on the acquisition of communications data, as it will limit the collateral intrusion and the data not relevant to an investigation that might be returned to an investigating officer. The Joint Committee on the draft Communications Data Bill recognised these benefits, stating that:

‘the Request Filter will speed up complex inquiries and will minimise collateral intrusion’

(paragraph 126 of their report).

The Government have accepted the substance of all the Joint Committee's recommendations and will bring forward a revised Bill at the earliest opportunity.

Naomi Long: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what steps she intends to take to ensure that all data held under the provisions in the revised draft Communications Bill will be protected and secure. [150003]

James Brokenshire: The Government already have a long history of working with communications service providers to ensure that communications data retained under obligation are kept safe.

Notices issued to communications service providers to generate and retain communications data will detail specific implementation requirements on them. The providers will be required to ensure these are met so that data retained under this legislation are protected against accidental or unlawful destruction, accidental loss and unauthorised access or disclosure. Legislation will make explicit that all communications data retained by service providers under the legislation will be destroyed after the 12-month retention period (unless required for legal proceedings).

It is the duty of the Information Commissioner to keep under review the performance of any duties placed on communications service providers relating to data security and integrity.

Criminal Records Bureau

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many staff are employed by the Criminal Records Bureau in Cumbria; and what proportion of those staff are paid at or above the national level of the living wage. [149883]

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James Brokenshire [holding answer 25 March 2013]: From 1 December 2012, the functions previously undertaken by the Criminal Records Bureau (CRB) and Independent Safeguarding Authority (ISA) have been carried out by the Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS).

No staff are employed by the DBS in Cumbria.

Demonstrations

Nia Griffith: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department whether she has made a public response to the concerns recently raised by the UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, with regards to the use of embedded undercover police officers in groups that are non-violent and which exercise their democratic rights to protest and take peaceful direct action; and what her assessment is of those concerns. [149968]

Damian Green: The Government strongly support the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, and the UN Special Rapporteur has recognised the Government’s commitment to the right to peaceful protest, as well as UK support for this mandate.

The use of undercover officers remains an important investigative tool for the police in preventing and detecting serious and violent crime. The issues highlighted by the Special Rapporteur have been independently reviewed by HM inspectorate of constabulary (HMIC) and we are working with the police and others to implement the recommendations made. These issues are also subject to an investigation under the leadership of Chief Constable Mick Creedon of Derbyshire police. That investigation, called Operation Herne, is being supervised by the Independent Police Complaints Commission. It would be inappropriate to comment while that investigation is ongoing.

Entry Clearances

Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department (1) how many people who have applied for a Tier 2 visa in the UK have been waiting more than four weeks for a decision on their application; [140183]

(2) what the average waiting time for Tier 2 visa applications made inside the UK was in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012; and how many such applicants waited more than four weeks for a decision on their application. [140184]

Mr Harper: As of 24 January 2013 a total of 2,779 Tier 2 applications had been waiting more than four weeks for a decision.

Tables 1 and 2 provide figures for processing times within Tier 2. We have recently committed additional resource to this area to ensure that the service standard of processing 90% of applications within four weeks is met.

Table 1: Average processing time (days) based on despatch date, 1 January 2010 to September 2012
 Despatch years:
 201020112012(1)

Tier 2

31

32

44

(1) January to September

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Table 2: Tier 2 application processing times (weeks), 1 January 2010 to 30 September 2012
 Despatch years:
 201020112012(1)
Processing time (weeks)0-44+0-44+0-44+

Tier 2

11,765

15,021

8,590

13,011

7,278

15,992

(1) January to September Notes: 1. All figures quoted have been derived from management information and are therefore provisional and subject to change. This information has not been quality assured under National Statistics protocols. 2. Figures relate to main applicants only. 3. Figures relate to postal and premium (i.e. submitted at public enquiry offices) applications. 4. Processing time is based on the average number of calendar days between the application raised (i.e. received) and decision despatch date.

Chris Bryant: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the average waiting time for a Tier 5 visa application was in (a) 2010, (b) 2011 and (c) 2012. [148979]

Mr Harper [holding answer 19 March 2013]: The information requested is shown in the following tables:

Table 1: Tier 5 overseas visa application processing times (working days), January 2010 to December 2012
Despatch yearAverage processing time (working days)

2010

6

2011

6

2012

7

Notes: 1. All figures quoted have been derived from management information and are therefore provisional and subject to change. This information has not been quality assured under National Statistics protocols. 2. Figures relate to individuals, main applicants and dependants. 3. Data relate to Tier 5 visa applications processed between 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2012. 4. Processing time is based on the average number of working days from biometric enrolment to decision date. Figures relate to completed applications only. 5. Data generated on 15 March 2013.
Table 2: Tier 5 in-country application average processing times, January 2010 to December 2012
 Average processing time (calendar days)
Despatch yearPostal applicationsPremium applications

2010

24

1

2011

46

4

2012

56

8

Notes: 1. All figures quoted have been derived from management information and are therefore provisional and subject to change. This information has not been quality assured under National Statistics protocols. 2. Figures relate to main applicants only. 3. Figures relate to postal applications and to premium applications submitted at UKBA Public Enquiry Offices (PEOs). 4. All figures relate to Tier 5 applications decided and despatched between 1 January 2010 and 31 December 2012. 5. Processing time is based on the average number of calendar days from application raised (i.e. received) date to decision despatch date. Figures relate to completed applications only. 6. Premium applications submitted at Public Enquiry Offices (PEOs) are prioritised and considered on the same day where possible. However, there will always be a number of applications which do not contain all information required to allow the Agency to decide the case on the same day. In these cases, additional clarification is sought and as a consequence applications may take longer to decide. 7. Data generated on 15 March 2013.

The UK Border Agency had experienced higher than forecast volumes of applications across a range of in-country immigration categories and measures have been put in place, including recruiting new staff where necessary, in order to reduce delays.

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The Department aims to return to operating within the published service standards by early in the new financial year.

The published service standard for consideration of in-country applications for leave to remain under the Tier 5 route is already being met.