Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how much his Department spent on (a) gas and (b) electricity bills in each year since 2010. [201659]

Gregory Barker: Departmental spend on gas and electricity bills, by financial year, is as follows:

25 Jun 2014 : Column 235W

Gas
 £

2010-11

19,122

2011-12

16,700

2012-13

21,719

2013-14

115,851

Electricity
 £

2010-11

203,723

2011-12

165,782

2012-13

202,289

2013-14

205,847

1 March gas bill not yet received, February used as approximation.

Energy: China

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what commitments to transparency were included in the bilateral co-operation agreements with China on Energy announced on 17 June 2014. [201315]

Michael Fallon: On 17 June 2014, the UK signed two agreements relating to civil nuclear energy at the UK-China Summit. Both the Joint Statement on Civil Nuclear Energy Co-operation and the Memorandum of Understanding on Enhancing Co-operation in the Field of Civil Nuclear Industry Fuel Cycle Supply Chain are on the gov.uk website and can be viewed via the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/multimillion-boost-to-uk-economy-as-china-and-uk-government-sign-civil-nuclear-agreement-and-sign-agreement-to-deepen-cooperation-on-climate-change

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what the cost has been of the visit of his Department’s officials ahead of the completion of the agreements on energy collaboration with China signed on 17 June 2014; and if he will publish the dates and purpose of each such visit. [201316]

Michael Fallon: From 12-15 April, three officials from the Office for Nuclear Development visited Beijing to discuss the Joint Statement on Civil Nuclear Energy Co-operation and Memorandum of Understanding on Enhanced Co-operation on Civil Nuclear Industry Fuel Cycle Supply Chain with the Chinese Government. Officials also attended various other meetings to understand Chinese civil nuclear capability and to explain UK regulatory requirements. The cost of this visit was £11,787.38.

Housing: Energy

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many households in (a) the UK, (b) England, (c) Scotland, (d) Wales and (e) Northern Ireland are off the mains gas grid. [201492]

Michael Fallon: In 2012, it is estimated that there were approximately 2.83 million households in Great Britain that did not have access to the gas network; 2.21 million of these households were in England, 0.44 million in Scotland and 0.20 million in Wales.

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Data on gas connections in Northern Ireland, and data on the number of households within 500 meters of the gas grid, are not held by DECC.

These data are available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/sub-national-estimates-of-households-not-connected-to-the-gas-network

Tom Greatrex: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many properties were connected to the gas distribution network in (a) 2013 and (b) 2014. [201495]

Michael Fallon: The figures set out in the following table are for gas grid connections that fall under the eight gas distribution networks in Great Britain. These figures do not include gas transmission, nor do they include independent gas transporters (IGTs) as IGTs are not regulated (they are part of a relative price control as part of Ofgem’s remit).

Please see the following figures from 1 April 2012 until 31 March 2013:

2012-13
 New housingExisting housingIndustrial/commercialFuel poorTotal

East of England

1,559

4,534

74

2,748

8,915

London

635

1,145

68

200

2,048

North West

494

1,523

57

1,943

4,017

West Midlands

469

1,257

47

1,206

2,979

Northern Gas Networks

1,187

3,341

407

914

5,849

Scotland

378

7,531

295

2,801

11,005

Southern

3,405

6,577

458

120

10,560

Wales and West

2,653

5,069

556

2,105

10,383

Industry

10,780

30,977

1,962

12,037

55,756

Ofgem receive the 2013-14 regulatory year submissions from the companies on 31 July. We therefore do not have any more up-to-date information at the moment for gas distribution connections in 2014.

Housing: Insulation

Fiona Mactaggart: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change how many households with a below-average income have received support for comprehensive insulation of their homes in the last year. [904340]

Gregory Barker: The coalition Government is committed to fighting fuel poverty through the installation of robust energy efficiency measures.

Statistics published this morning show that from the start of 2013 to the end of April 2014, 394,000 low-income and vulnerable consumers, or households in specified areas of low income, had benefited from energy efficiency measures being installed under the new energy company obligation.

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Liquefied Petroleum Gas

Mr Cox: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of existing regulations on commercial propane gas providers. [201530]

Michael Fallon: The supply of propane gas in bulk and cylinder form is subject to UK competition law under the Competition and Markets Authority; and Health and Safety Regulations.

The study by the Office of Fair Trading into the off-grid energy market in 2011 showed that on the whole competition works well, with consumers offered a good choice of suppliers, and that the off-grid sector does not need price regulation.

Health and Safety Regulations place obligations on propane gas suppliers so that the supplier must ensure that the installation is safe to receive propane gas before refilling, that the product is safely contained and that the installation is fitted with a pressure regulator and other key safety devices.

Nuclear Power

Gareth Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what proportion of the UK's energy supply he expects to be obtained from nuclear energy in each of the next five years. [201221]

Michael Fallon: DECC’s most recent projections of future electricity generation were made as part of the EMR December Delivery Plan 2013. The percentage of total electricity generation expected from nuclear sources in each calendar year is shown in Table 1.

Table 1: Yearly percentage of total electricity generation expected from nuclear sources
 Percentage of total generation from nuclear sources

2014

17.4

2015

17.6

2016

17.2

2017

17.3

2018

17.4

2019

17.4

Veterans

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change whether his Department issues guidance about the protocol of former armed forces personnel using their rank as a title after they have left service. [201635]

Gregory Barker: The Department of Energy and Climate Change does not have a policy or guidance on the protocol of former armed forces personnel using their rank as a title after they have left service.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Burma

Valerie Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make an assessment of the accuracy of the report of 9 May 2014

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by the James Martin Center for Non-proliferation Studies that a military factory in Pauk Township of the central Magwe Division, Burma, has some features that are consistent with a chemical plant. [201667]

Mr Swire: The James Martin Centre report states that it is not possible to determine the nature of the facility in question. We are unable to make any further assessments at this stage.

We have made a concerted effort to encourage Burma to ratify their Chemical Weapons Convention (CWC). I raised this most recently with Deputy Foreign Minister U That Kyaw on 12 June. We are working with the OPCW to offer practical support, and the UK National Authority to the CWC has offered to host a Burmese delegation later this year.

India

Valerie Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on sexual assault of ethnic Chin women and children from Burma in New Delhi, India; and if he will make a statement. [201663]

Mr Swire: We are aware of such reports. We are committed to working with the new Indian Government and international partners to address the problem of gender-based violence, human trafficking and child exploitation in India. Through the Department for International Development's (DFID) programmes, we support measures in India's 120 poorest districts to promote the empowerment and access to benefits and services of excluded and vulnerable groups. Through DFID, we also provide support to national and state authorities in India helping girls to complete basic education and further tackling violence against women and girls.

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), invited the Indian Government to attend the recent global summit to end sexual violence in conflict and has already discussed the initiative with the new Indian Foreign Minister. The Indian high commissioner to the UK attended the summit.

Kashmir

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the situation in Kashmir; and what recent discussions he has had with his (a) Indian, (b) Pakistani and (c) US counterparts on this matter. [201187]

Mr Swire: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), has spoken to each of his Indian, Pakistani and US counterparts in recent months about South Asia regional issues and relations between India and Pakistan. We recognise the importance of finding a lasting solution to the situation in Kashmir, but remain of the view it is not for third parties to prescribe one. We continue to follow developments in the region closely, and officials from our high commissions in both New Delhi and Islamabad regularly discuss the situation in Kashmir with both governments and travel to the region, security situation permitting.

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Palestinians

Mr Godsiff: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to his Israeli counterpart on the recent destruction of fruit trees at the Tent of Nations farm on the West Bank. [198634]

Hugh Robertson: We have not raised this specific issue with the Israeli authorities. However, we repeatedly make clear to the Israeli authorities our serious concerns about continued demolitions of Palestinian property and the need to abide by their other obligations under international law. Officials from our Embassy in Tel Aviv raised the issue of demolitions in general on 28 May with Prime Minister Netanyahu’s office.

Sudan

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make representations to the government of Sudan about the imprisonment of Meriam Ibrahim. [198895]

Mark Simmonds: I am appalled at the death sentence given to Meriam Ibrahim, and her continued imprisonment. Immediately following her trial, I issued a statement describing her conviction as barbaric and calling upon the Government of Sudan to respect the right to freedom of religion and international human rights laws as enshrined in its own constitution. The chargé d’affaires of the Sudanese embassy in London was summoned to the Foreign Office on 19 May at the request of the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague). The Under-Secretary of State for International Development, the hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Lynne Featherstone), reiterated our demand with the Sudanese Foreign Minister when she met him on 20 May. Our embassy in Khartoum, that attended her trial, continues to press the Sudanese authorities for Meriam Ibrahim’s release, and is in close contact with the defence team.

Naomi Long: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will press for the immediate release of Meriam Ibrahim and her two children who are imprisoned in Sudan. [201304]

Mark Simmonds: Meriam Ibrahim was released on 23 June, which we strongly welcomed. She has subsequently been detained again by the Sudanese authorities. Together with our international partners we are urgently seeking clarity on the precise details of her re-arrest and to seek her immediate release.

Before her short release, the Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for International Development, my right hon. Friend the Member for Putney (Justine Greening), and I had all issued statements calling for Meriam Ibrahim to be released immediately. We also raised our concerns directly with the Government of Sudan: my colleague Lynne Featherstone with the Sudanese Foreign Minister; and our ambassador in Khartoum with other Ministers and senior officials. We will continue to press for her freedom.

25 Jun 2014 : Column 240W

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent steps he has taken to call for the release of Mariam Ibrahim and her son from prison in Sudan and for her death sentence to be revoked. [201657]

Mark Simmonds: We have repeatedly raised our concerns about this appalling case with the Government of Sudan. The Prime Minister, the Secretary of State for International Development, and I all issued statements calling for Meriam Ibrahim to be released immediately. We also raised our concerns directly with the Government of Sudan: I highlighted this case in a letter to Presidential Assistant Professor Ghandour; the Under-Secretary of State for International Development, the hon. Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Lynne Featherstone), raised it with the Sudanese Foreign Minister; and our ambassador in Khartoum has raised it on multiple occasions with other Ministers and senior officials.

Syria

Mark Hendrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what evidence his Department holds on whether the Syrian Government was responsible for the chemical weapons attack in Kafr Zita. [199799]

Hugh Robertson: The UK was among the first to express concern at allegations that chemical weapons had again been used in Syria, and called for them to be investigated.

On 29 April the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) Director General announced he was establishing a Fact Finding Mission to determine the truth behind recent allegations of chemical weapon use in Syria. The UK has continued to stress the importance of this mission determining the full facts.

We are aware of at least 9 attacks in April in which the use of chemical weapons has been alleged. We consider it likely that chemical weapons have been used on at least some of these occasions. There are a number of pieces of information that suggest that only regime could have been responsible for these attacks, including the use of helicopters to deliver bombs to their targets and the fact that the attacks took place in opposition controlled areas. We have shared the information we hold with the OPCW.

We condemn the attack on the convoy carrying inspectors to Kafr Zita and urge all parties to the conflict to ensure that inspectors are given secure and unrestricted access to all relevant sites to enable the full facts to be established.

Health

Abortion

Daniel Kawczynski: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what regulatory oversight his Department will apply to 24 hour helplines provided by independent abortion clinics. [201311]

Jane Ellison: It is a condition of approval from the Secretary of State that independent sector providers have a 24 hour helpline available. The Care Quality Commission is considering the best approach to regulating termination of pregnancy services.

25 Jun 2014 : Column 241W

Billing

Nick de Bois: To ask the Secretary of State for Health how many creditors had remained unpaid by his Department on 1 June 2014 for (a) 45, (b) 60, (c) 75 and (d) 76 days and over. [201613]

Norman Lamb: As at 1 June 2014, the Department had three creditors that remained unpaid for between 45-59 days.

The Department had no creditors that remained unpaid for between 60-74 days.

The Department had no creditors that remained unpaid for 75 days.

Following the abolition of primary care trusts (PCTs) and strategic health authorities (SHAs) on 31 March 2013, the Department took over responsibility for ensuring that legacy invoice payments were made correctly. Legacy PCT and SHA teams remained in place, to process creditor payments for prior to 1 April 2013, until 31 August 2013. Those outstanding at that point were transferred to successor organisations, including the Department. As at 1 June 2014, there were 270 creditors that remained unpaid. This is due to the careful diligence taking place in order to mitigate the risk of making fraudulent or duplicate payments.

Diabetes

Mr Amess: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) what discussions he has had with the Chief Executive of NHS Improving Quality on (a) preserving the legacy of the work of NHS Diabetes and (b) improving care for people with diabetes; and if he will make a statement; [201298]

(2) what discussions he has had with the National Clinical Director for Obesity and Diabetes on the implementation plans for Action for Diabetes; and if he will make a statement. [201296]

Jane Ellison: Jonathan Valabhji, the National Clinical Director for Obesity and Diabetes, has had no discussions with the Secretary of State for Health, my right hon. Friend the Member for South West Surrey (Mr Hunt), specifically about Action for Diabetes.

There have been no recent discussions about diabetes between the Secretary of State for Health and NHS Improving Quality.

Drugs: Misuse

Mr Virendra Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to reduce the incidence of opiate-related overdoses among people recently released from prison. [201223]

Jane Ellison: People who have recently been released from prison are at a greater risk of overdose. A 2005 report on drug-related mortality among newly released offenders (1998-2000) showed that male prisoners in the study were about 29 times more likely to die than males in the general population.

The Department of Health and Ministry of Justice have funded a joint initiative to improve the “through the gate” provision for prisoners who are dependent on

25 Jun 2014 : Column 242W

drugs and alcohol. Ten prisons in the North West are currently piloting a range of innovative interventions to provide more intensive support and supervision for people leaving custody which include the use of peer mentors, recovery housing services and take-home naloxone as they return to the community.

Public Health England has also published a checklist to support local authorities with commissioning services and interventions that help to prevent overdose, as part of a wider treatment and harm reduction system.

The Integrated Drug Treatment System (IDTS) programme, implemented in prisons between 2006 and 2010, sought to improve the standard and quality of drug treatment in prisons. One of the key drivers for this programme was the need to reduce drug-related deaths among people who had been recently released from prison.

Through IDTS, prisoners could get access to evidence-based opioid substitution treatment in prison, which they could continue in the community after release. The extent in which this was successful in reducing drug-related overdose deaths will be one of the themes in the IDTS evaluation, which will be published next year.

The principles of IDTS continue to be adopted by local partners responsible for commissioning health services.

Mr Virendra Sharma: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of take-home naloxone in reducing the number of opiate-related deaths across the UK in conjunction with the training and educational programmes within the prison services. [201224]

Jane Ellison: From July 2009 to February 2010, the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (now part of Public Health England (PHE)) ran a trial at 16 pilot sites around England in which carers and relations of opiate misusers were trained to respond to overdoses and use the antidote naloxone and basic life support techniques.

A report1 on the trial was published in 2011, and it was clear that naloxone appeared to help save lives. The report said that there were 18 overdoses where carers used naloxone and two where they applied basic life support. All the drug users survived the overdose. The trial included people who were about to leave prisons, and the report covers some of the issues around this.

There is currently a trial running on the effectiveness of giving prisoners naloxone when they leave prison, which has yet to report.

Some prisons currently supply prisons with take-home naloxone as part of their post-release support. PHE does not hold the data centrally.

The Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs has recommended that naloxone be made more widely available, and the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency has undertaken a consultation with the field on implementing this recommendation. There will be no further policy announcements on naloxone until the report on this consultation is published.

1 Full report available at:

http://www.nta.nhs.uk/uploads.naloxonereport2011.pdf

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Healthy Start Scheme

Mrs Hodgson: To ask The Secretary of State for Health how many parents received Healthy Start vouchers in the latest year for which figures are available; and what the total cost to the Exchequer of such vouchers was. [201421]

Dr Poulter: Healthy Start provides a nutritional safety net to pregnant women, new mothers and children under four years old in United Kingdom families claiming income-based benefits, or claiming child tax credit without working tax credit (unless it is working tax credit run-on) with an annual family income of £16,190 or less. Healthy Start vouchers are issued four-weekly by post and the number entitled to receive the vouchers in each complete four week period during 2013-14 is set out in the following table.

Four weeks beginning on:Total number of householdsTotal number of women and children

8 April 2013

457,035

557,833

6 May 2013

455,271

555,454

3 June 2013

453,646

553,208

1 July 2013

450,164

548,533

29 July 2013

443,939

540,437

26 August 2013

441,385

537,195

23 September 2013

438,471

533,703

21 October 2013

434,397

528,620

18 November 2013

432,549

526,151

16 December 2013

428,328

520,777

13 January 2014

427,362

519,570

10 February 2014

425,659

517,463

10 March 2014

423,156

514,217

The gradual reduction in the number entitled to support during 2013-14 reflects a decline in the number of households meeting the qualifying criteria.

Approximately £93 million was paid to retailers during 2013-14 for Healthy Start vouchers they had accepted in exchange for milk, formula milk, fresh and frozen fruit and vegetables. Retailers have six months from the use-by date printed on vouchers to claim reimbursement, and typically they claim reimbursement for at least 91% of all Healthy Start vouchers issued.

Hospitals: Waiting Lists

Ms Abbott: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department is taking to reduce the number of patients waiting more than six weeks for diagnostic tests through NHS England; and if he will make a statement. [201358]

Jane Ellison: The Government has invested more than £750 million over four years to support early diagnosis in cancer and improve access to key diagnostics to make sure that everyone has access to the best possible treatment. Awareness raising campaigns such as Be Clear on Cancer are encouraging more people to come forward with their symptoms.

Patients should receive timely care, and NHS England, the NHS Trust Development Authority and Monitor are working with providers and commissioners to ensure patients get access to tests and treatment as quickly as possible.

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In Vitro Fertilisation: Trafford

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps his Department plans to take to ensure that Trafford Commissioning Group provides the full treatment for IVF as recommended by National Institute for Health and Care Excellence in 2004. [201288]

Jane Ellison: The level of provision of infertility treatment, as for all health services they commission, is decided by local clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) and will take into account the needs of the population overall. The CCG’s decisions are underpinned by clinical insight and knowledge of local health care needs. As such, provision of services will be tailored to local requirements.

NHS England expects all those involved in commissioning infertility treatment services to be fully aware of the importance of having regard to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence fertility guidelines. In February 2013, NHS England issued a factsheet to support CCGs in taking on those responsibilities.

Meat

Sir Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what assessment he has made of the effect of recent changes to safety checks in slaughterhouses on the risk of diseased meat entering the food chain undetected; and if he will make a statement. [201310]

Jane Ellison: The Food Standards Agency advises that the new procedure for pig meat inspection will better protect consumers from foodborne pathogens such as Salmonella. It reduces the amount of routine carcase handling and incision carried out by officials that contributes to the risk of microbiological contamination on carcases and offal. This is in line with a 2011 scientific opinion from the European Food Safety Authority.

Under the new procedures, all pigs will continue to be inspected by an official veterinarian while they are alive, and their carcases and offal will be visually inspected by an official meat inspector or veterinarian after slaughter. Any abnormalities that indicate possible animal health, public health or welfare issues will be further investigated and removed before meat can be declared fit for human consumption.

Medicine: Research

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Health (1) if the Health and Safety Executive will create a register of qualified professionals to ensure that clinical research is carried out safely; [201201]

(2) if he will bring forward legislative proposals to ensure that clinical research is carried out by suitably qualified professionals. [201200]

Norman Lamb: The Health and Safety Executive is responsible for the enforcement of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 and ensuring that

“risks to people’s health and safety from work activities are properly controlled”.

25 Jun 2014 : Column 245W

The Health Research Authority (HRA) ensures that ethically-approved clinical research is carried out by suitably qualified professionals through its arrangements for research ethics committee review. Research ethics committee review includes scrutiny of researchers’ suitability to conduct the research they are proposing. This review is required by departmental guidance, which applies to all health and adult social care research, and by legislation, for instance, in the case of clinical trials, by schedule 1 part 2(2) of the Medicines for Human Use (Clinical Trials) Regulations 2004 (SI 2004/1031).

The HRA publishes a register of research summaries, including a contact name (usually that of the chief investigator) and the research ethics committee’s opinion. The register is publicly available online at:

www.nres.nhs.uk/researchsummaries

From September 2013, registration of clinical trials in a publicly accessible database is a condition of the favourable ethical opinion given by a research ethics committee.

Organs: Donors

Stephen Phillips: To ask the Secretary of State for Health what steps he is taking to work with international counterparts to ensure the sharing of best practice to increase organ donation. [201300]

Jane Ellison: NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT)-the United Kingdom organ donation organisation responsible for matching and allocating donated organs-actively participates and is involved in European Union initiatives to increase organ donation. This includes two current major European organ donation projects: the ACCORD (Achieving Comprehensive Coordination in Organ Donation) and FOEDUS (Facilitating the Exchange of Organs Donated in EU Member States) projects. NHSBT was also a collaborating partner for the completed ODEQUS (European Organ Donation Quality System) project.

The UK drew heavily on evidence of world-wide success, such as Spain, for the development and implementation of the Organ Donation Taskforce recommendations published in 2008, which saw donor rates rise by 50% in five years. A number of international experts from the Unites States of America, Germany and The Netherlands also contributed to the development of the UK’s new strategy published in 2013 “Taking Organ Transplantation to 2020”. A number of measures will be used to track improvements in performance in organ donation and transplantation to compare with international benchmarks, in order to try and match the best performing programmes in the world.

Treasury

Building Societies

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer when he expects to publish the results of the consultations on bail-in order for building societies; and if he will make a statement. [201186]

Andrea Leadsom: The Government is currently analysing the responses to the consultation on bail-in secondary legislation. Once this review is completed, the Government will publish a summary of the responses and indicate how it plans to proceed.

25 Jun 2014 : Column 246W

Children: Day Care

Ian Austin: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what guidance his Department issues to employers on helping employees with the cost of childcare. [201184]

Nicky Morgan: HM Revenue and Customs has published extensive guidance to help employers run successful child care schemes, including the Employer Helpbook E18 'How you can help your employees with childcare'.

Minimum Wage

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on what date each of the 25 firms named and shamed for breach of the national minimum wage by his Department on 8 June 2014 was issued with the relevant Notice of Underpayment of the minimum wage by HM Revenue and Customs. [200988]

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

The dates that the Notice of Underpayments (NoU) were issued for the 25 firms named and shamed for breach of the national minimum wage (NMW) are as follows.

MonthNoUs

December 2013

1

January 2014

9

February 2014

10

March 2014

4

April 2014

1

They were issued under the revised Naming Scheme which was introduced on 1 October 2013. It takes time for cases to work their way through the system as there is a process to follow before an employer can be named. If HMRC investigates an employer that is breaking NMW law they will be issued with a Notice of Underpayment (NOU) by HMRC. An employer has 28 days to appeal against the NOU and 14 days from when the case closes to make representations to BIS.

Mortgages: Government Assistance

Andrew George: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many applications for the Help to Buy scheme have been for (a) shared equity, (b) shared ownership, (c) mutual housing and (d) self-build properties since the scheme was launched. [201366]

Andrea Leadsom: The Government does not collect data on the number of applications made under the Help to Buy: mortgage guarantee scheme.

The Government publishes quarterly official statistics relating to the Help to Buy: mortgage guarantee scheme. The first of these were published on 29 May 2014.

This report, along with accompanying tables, can be found at:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/help-to-buy-mortgage-guarantee-scheme-quarterly-statistics-october-2013-to-march-2014

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The Help to Buy: equity loan scheme is a shared equity scheme. At Budget 2014, the Government announced that it will seek to explore how it can make the Help to Buy: equity loan scheme available for custom build.

Statistics on the legal completions supported by the equity loan scheme are published monthly at:

www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/help-to-buy-equity-loan-scheme-monthly-statistics

Stamp Duty Land Tax

Mrs Gillan: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will bring forward proposals to offer a stamp duty holiday to people who will be required to sell their property and purchase another as a result of High Speed 2. [201629]

Mr Gauke: The Government announced in April an extensive compensation and assistance package for property owners close to the route of HS2.

There is no separate treatment of SDLT for individuals purchasing a property after their property has been compulsorily purchased by a public body.

However, owner occupiers within the ‘surface safeguarded area’ and those who are eligible for the Express Purchase scheme will be entitled to reasonable moving costs, including surveyors’ fees, legal fees and stamp duty land tax on a replacement property of similar value.

VAT

Mr Chope: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will publish details of the Government's proposed legislation to provide for a controlled release of non-financial VAT registration data for specific purposes. [201571]

Mr Gauke [holding answer 24 June 2014]: The Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill, introduced today on 25 June, includes a clause making provision that allows HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to release non-financial VAT registration data to qualifying organisations for the purposes of assessing credit worthiness, risk of fraud or compliance with financial regulations.

Research indicates that this has the potential to release up to £1.8 billion worth of additional trade credit. Taking into account the differing circumstances of individual businesses, we estimate an actual take-up of between £0.7 and £1.4 billion.

Venture Capital

Cathy Jamieson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 11 June 2014, Official Report, column 160W, on venture capital, what steps he has taken to support crowdfunding and peer-to-peer (a) lending to and (b) investment in small businesses; and if he will assess the value of such forms of finance to the small and medium-size sector. [201391]

Andrea Leadsom: Crowdfunding and peer-to-peer lending are innovative new forms of finance that support competition in the business lending sector.

The Government has taken a number of steps to support their growth, including bringing peer-to-peer lending within the scope of the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), and announcing that the range of

25 Jun 2014 : Column 248W

products that can be held in stocks and shares ISAs will be expanded to include loans made through peer-to-peer platforms.

The Government also operates two tax-advantaged venture capital schemes which are used by equity crowdfunding investors: the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) and the Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS).

The Government has not made any assessment of the value of investment in small and medium-sized businesses from peer-to-peer lending and crowdfunding platforms.

Work and Pensions

Disadvantaged: EU Grants and Loans

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) how much of the EU's Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived he has allocated to public bodies and non-governmental organisations in 2014; [201516]

(2) how much of the EU's Fund for European Aid to the Most Deprived he intends to allocated to public bodies and non-governmental organisations in each year between 2014 and 2020. [201517]

Esther McVey: No allocations have yet been made.

National Insurance

Mr Ruffley: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what recent estimate he has made of the number of (a) new national insurance numbers registered and (b) new workers in (i) Bury St Edmunds constituency, (ii) Suffolk and (iii) England and Wales in the latest period for which figures are available. [200746]

Esther McVey: Information on the number of national insurance numbers registered to individuals including new workers, via constituency, county and country, can be found at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk

Guidance on how to extract the information required can be found at:

https://sw.stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/webapi/online-help/Stat-Xplore_User_Guide.htm

National Insurance Contributions Office: Newcastle Upon Tyne

Andy McDonald: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions for what reason Newcastle was chosen as the National Insurance centre for residents of Middlesbrough; and what effect this choice is having on service provision. [200847]

Esther McVey: Newcastle was chosen as the national insurance centre for residents of Middlesbrough as it has centralised expertise in administering applications for national insurance numbers. Given this expertise, proximity to Middlesbrough and availability of public transport, Newcastle provides a viable service that maintains the level of expertise and security required.

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New Enterprise Allowance

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many claimants of employment and support allowance have been admitted to the new enterprise allowance scheme in each year since that scheme began. [201605]

Esther McVey: NEA was rolled out nationally in August 2011, with eligibility for JSA claimants only. Eligibility was broadened to ESA WRAG recipients in February 2013 although we expect the vast majority of participants to continue to be those claiming JSA.

The benefit type of claimants admitted on new enterprise allowance (NEA) is not routinely recorded. Analysis has been conducted to identify NEA mentor starts by ESA claimants since eligibility for NEA was opened up on 18 February 2013. The results are shown in the following table.

Estimated number of NEA mentor starts by ESA claimants in each calendar year
 Estimated number

18 February 2013 to 31 December 2013

630

1 January 2014 to 31 March 2014

210

Notes: 1. Figures rounded to the nearest 10 2. Data available to 31 March 2014 3. More than 99% of mentor starts were matched to an appropriate benefit record Source: DWP National Benefits Database and Opportunities Database

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many start up loans have been approved by his Department for participants on the new enterprise allowance scheme in each year since that scheme began. [201606]

Esther McVey: Following a trailblazer started in January 2011, new enterprise allowance was launched in April 2011 creating 46,000 new businesses between April 2011 and March 2014.

Table 1: Number of loans that have been made on behalf of DWP under the new enterprise allowance scheme
Year (January-December)Number of loans

2011

910

2012

5,140

2013

7,711

2014

472

Table 2: Number of new enterprise allowance loans that have been made since October 2013 under the Start Up Loans scheme administered by BIS
Year (January-December)Number of loans

2013

158

2014

1,805

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how much his Department spent on the new enterprise allowance in each year since the scheme began. [201609]

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Esther McVey: Following a trailblazer started in January 2011, new enterprise allowance was launched in April 2011 creating 46,000 new businesses between April 2011 and March 2014. Expenditure on new enterprise allowance in each year since the scheme began up to March 2014 is shown in the following table.

New enterprise allowance
 £

2010-11

45,600

2011-12

14,384,781

2012-13

38,853,998

2013-14

64,358,727

This includes capital loan payments which will be repaid within three years.

Nurseries

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what steps his Department has taken to help its employees who use on-site nurseries to find alternative childcare when these close from September 2014. [201360]

Mike Penning: The following steps have been taken to support DWP employees affected by the on site nursery closures:

At least six months notice of the closures given to users of the nurseries, in order to give them sufficient time to find a suitable alternative place. All contract expiry dates coincide with the beginning of the new school year to minimise disruption for parents and children as much as possible.

Employees have been provided with information regarding the DWP salary sacrifice scheme, where employees can give up part of their salary in return for childcare vouchers. This allows for savings through tax relief and gives parents support in order to make their own choices for child care.

Information, on other nurseries in their local areas, has been provided to parents

DWP has awarded one day’s paid special leave to give parents paid time off work to find an alternative place.

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions whether employees of his Department’s Child Maintenance Group will be compensated for the loss of their childcare subsidy. [201398]

Steve Webb: Five Child Maintenance Group on-site nurseries are due to close on expiry of the contract at the end of September 2014. They are located at offices in Birkenhead, Dudley, Falkirk, Hastings and Plymouth.

Child Maintenance Group child care subsidy was made no longer available to new entrants from 1 June 2012. This brings Child Maintenance Group into line with the Department’s policy on child care subsidy.

As part of its remuneration package, the Department supports employees through a salary sacrifice scheme where employees can give up part of their salary in return for child care vouchers. This scheme allows for significant savings through tax relief and gives parents support in order to make their own choices for child care.

Employees affected by the closure of the five on-site nurseries have been offered a day’s special leave in order to look for suitable alternatives.

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Occupational Health

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions on what date he expects the Health and Work Service to start operations. [201607]

Mike Penning: Implementation will begin in late 2014 and the details will be confirmed when the chosen supplier has been appointed.

Personal Independence Payment

Pamela Nash: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many personal independence payment applicants are awaiting an assessment centre appointment in (a) Airdrie and Shotts constituency, (b) Scotland, (c) Wales, (d) Northern Ireland and (e) England; and what the average waiting time for such appointments is. [201522]

Mike Penning: The information you have requested is not available.

Information regarding Northern Ireland is a matter for the Northern Ireland Office.

Pamela Nash: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what average time was taken between an application for personal independence payment being made and receipt of payment for claims made in (a) Scotland, (b) Wales, (c) Northern Ireland and (d) England in each year since introduction of personal independence payment; [201524]

(2) what average time was taken between an application for personal independence payment being made and receipt of payment for claims made in each (a) parliamentary constituency and (b) local authority area in each year since introduction of personal independence payment. [201523]

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions (1) what the average time taken to resolve personal independence payment claims is; and for how long the longest outstanding personal independence claim has been awaiting resolution; [201553]

(2) how many personal independence payment claims had not had a decision more than four weeks after receipt by his Department. [201554]

Mike Penning: The information you have requested is not currently available. Statistics on clearance times are intended for future publication but releasing them at this stage would give an incorrect representation of the process since the system has not yet reached maturity, and further quality assurance of the data is required.

Information regarding Northern Ireland is a matter for the Northern Ireland Office.

Social Security Benefits: Nottinghamshire

Gloria De Piero: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many benefit claimants in (a) Ashfield constituency and (b) Nottingham, have been sanctioned in the last (i) six and (ii) 12 months. [201079]

Esther McVey: The information for JSA and ESA sanctions is published at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

25 Jun 2014 : Column 252W

New sanctions rules came into force for JSA and ESA from 22 October 2012 and 3 December 2012. The number of JSA sanctions applied for the new regime is the number of low, intermediate, and high level referrals where the decision was found against the claimant. Further information can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/jobseekers-allowance-overview-of-sanctions-rules

Social Security Benefits: Preston

Mark Hendrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many claimants in Preston constituency are being sanctioned for (a) jobseeker's allowance and (b) employment and support allowance. [201101]

Esther McVey: The information requested is published and available at:

https://stat-xplore.dwp.gov.uk/

New sanctions rules came into force for JSA from 22 October 2012 and ESA from 3 December 2012. The number of JSA sanctions applied for the new regime is the number of low, intermediate, and high level referrals where the decision was found against the claimant. Further information can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/jobseekers-allowance-overview-of-sanctions-rules

Universal Credit

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what sanctions his Department uses on universal credit claimants who refuse a zero hours contract. [201282]

Esther McVey: Universal credit means that claimants can accept any offer of work without fear of their benefits or the support they receive from the jobcentre being negatively affected. They will always be better off in work.

All claimants are expected to accept reasonable offers of employment. If they do not then they may be referred for a sanction. This is the same for UC.

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions if he will estimate the additional annual cost of introducing a taper on (a) an occupational pension and (b) other unearned income into universal credit set at 95 per cent. [201608]

Esther McVey: When universal credit is fully rolled out, a 95% taper on occupational pension is estimated to cost an additional £50 million per annum. A 95% taper on all other unearned income (excluding occupational pension) is estimated to cost an additional £300 million per annum. These estimates are in 2014-15 prices.

The general principle in universal credit is that income other than earnings which is provided to meet everyday living costs is taken fully into account in the calculation of the award of benefit. universal credit is designed to be responsive to the actual amount of income a claimant receives each month, to ensure people get help when they need it and can budget effectively. This approach also keeps administrative costs down and provides simpler rules for treatment of unearned income.