Social Security Benefits

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many applications were made for short benefit advances in 2013-14; how many such applications were successful; what average amount was awarded to successful claimants; and what reason was given for the rejection of each unsuccessful application. [208472]

Steve Webb: The total volume of Short Term Benefit Advance (STBA) applications received from April 2013 to March 2014 was around 313,000. This figure relates to JSA, ESA, IS and IB applications only. Of these applications, around 90,000 received an immediate payment of benefit. Of the remaining 223,000, around 79,000 were successful in receiving a Short Term Benefit Advance with an average award of approximately £57.00.

We do not keep data on the reasons for refusal of STBAs.

Terminal Illnesses: Scotland

Dame Anne Begg: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions how many people in Scotland have had DWP form DS1500 signed by their doctor to confirm they are terminally ill in the latest period for which figures are available. [208206]

Mr Harper: The Secretary of State for Work and Pensions is unable to provide the requested information as the DS1500 is completed by various health care professionals from across the UK and the Department is not required to capture this level of management information.

Universal Credit

Stephen Timms: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions pursuant to the answer of 7 July 2014, by the Cabinet Secretary to Question 32 in oral evidence taken in the Committee of Public Accounts, when the Major Projects Authority informed him that the universal credit project was way off track. [208626]

11 Sep 2014 : Column 706W

Mr Harper: The reset rating highlighted in the Major Projects Authority Report (September 2013) referred to the shift in the delivery plan and change in management in early 2013. Since the reset, we have worked to a clear plan to deliver universal credit. We are on track with this plan and we are making good progress. In June 2014, the CEO of the Major Projects Authority reported to Public Accounts Committee that the universal credit programme was stable and on track.

Vacancies: Internet

Mr Frank Field: To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions which of the tools, processes and techniques used by Monster on its commercial job search website to protect users from fraudulent activity are not used on Universal Jobmatch; and what changes Monster has proposed to his Department to improve anti-fraud protection on his Department's website. [208500]

Steve Webb: Any information on the tools, processes or techniques used by Monster on its commercial job search website would be held by Monster. In addition, for obvious reasons, it would not be in the public interest for the Department to disclose particular details of our anti-fraud measures.

Transport

Apprentices

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he or Ministers in his Department have had with Ministers in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on the proposed reform of apprenticeships and its potential effects on his Department's projects and the work of its supply chain; and whether officials in his Department sit on programme boards managing that reform. [208615]

Claire Perry: The Secretary of State for Transport and Ministers in his Department have not had discussions with Ministers in the Department for Business Innovation and Skills on the proposed reform of apprenticeships and its potential effects on the Department’s projects and the work of its supply chain.

I can also confirm that no officials within his Department sit on programme boards managing the apprenticeship reform.

Great Western Railway Line

Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent assessment he has made of the progress made in electrifying the Great Western Rail route. [208513]

Claire Perry: Officials at the Department for Transport are in regular dialogue with Network Rail with regards to the programme for Great Western Electrification. The electrification is programmed to be delivered in phases starting with Maidenhead to Newbury, Oxford, Chippenham and Bristol Parkway in December 2016. Chippenham to Bristol Temple Meads electrification is programmed to be delivered in May 2017, and Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway to Cardiff is programmed for December 2017.

11 Sep 2014 : Column 707W

High Speed 2 Railway Line

Christopher Pincher: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate his Department has made of the number of people likely to take up the alternative cash offer under the High Speed 2 compensation scheme. [208587]

Mr Goodwill: The Department recognises that the alternative cash offer is a new approach to compensating those who will be affected by the railway and we therefore do not have the evidence to estimate the number of people likely to take it up. We have instead modelled a range of possible take-up rates, up to 75%. In order to strengthen our understanding of the potential impact of this policy, we have commissioned an independent social research company to gather further evidence and we will also be able to draw upon responses from the current consultation.

Pay

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the (a) highest and (b) lowest full-time equivalent salary paid by (i) his Department and (ii) its public bodies was in (A) 2010-11, (B) 2011-12, (C) 2012-13, (D) 2013-14 and (E) 2014-15; and if he will make a statement. [208292]

11 Sep 2014 : Column 708W

Claire Perry: The highest and lowest full-time equivalent salary paid by (a) the Department for Transport and (b) its public bodies in 2010-11, 2011-12, 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15 is shown in the following table.

£
 Department for TransportPublic Bodies
 LowestHighestLowestHighest

2010-11

12,041

159,613

14,862

361,600

2011-12

12,041

170,000

13,946

181,455

2012-13

14,400

165,000

14,862

181,455

2013-14

14,967

166,574

15,221

183,270

2014-15

16,256

166,574

13,500

750,000

Pedestrians: Accidents

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of pedestrians who are (a) male, (b) female, (c) children and (d) over 65 suffered (i) fatal and (ii) serious injuries in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available. [208623]

Mr Goodwill: The proportion of (i) killed and (ii) seriously injured pedestrians who were (a) male, (b) female, (c) a child (aged 0 to 15 years) or (d) aged over 65 for the years 2004 to 2013 is given in the following tables.

(i) Pedestrian fatalities in reported road accidents by gender and selected age: Great Britain, 2004 to 2013
 2004200520062007200820092010201120122013

(a) Male

450

421

452

422

362

324

275

308

290

270

% share

67

63

67

65

63

65

68

68

69

68

           

(b) Female

221

250

223

224

210

176

130

145

130

128

% share

33

37

33

35

37

35

32

32

31

32

           

(c) Child: 0-15 years

77

63

71

57

57

37

26

33

20

26

% share

11

9

11

9

10

7

6

7

5

7

           

(d) Aged over 65

221

234

240

251

211

176

130

151

161

131

% share

33

35

36

39

37

35

32

33

38

33

           

All ages

671

671

675

646

572

500

405

453

420

398

(ii) Seriously injured pedestrians in reported road accidents by gender and selected age: Great Britain, 2004 to 2013
 2004200520062007200820092010201120122013

(a) Male

4,208

3,889

3,867

3,838

3,626

3,344

3,115

3,211

3,345

2,947

% share

62

60

61

61

60

60

60

59

60

59

           

(b) Female

2,597

2,568

2,508

2,440

2,439

2,200

2,085

2,243

2,214

2,050

% share

38

40

39

39

40

40

40

41

40

41

           

(c) Child: 0-15 years

2,262

2,071

1,954

1,842

1,727

1,623

1,620

1,569

1,525

1,332

% share

33

32

31

29

28

29

31

29

27

27

           

(d) Aged over 65

1,000

957

926

990

981

889

803

890

936

860

% share

15

15

15

16

16

16

15

16

17

17

           

All ages

6,807

6,458

6,376

6,278

6,070

5,545

5,200

5,454

5,559

4,998

11 Sep 2014 : Column 709W

Railways: Fares

Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to limit changes to rail fares for commuters in 2015; and if he will make a statement. [208569]

Claire Perry: The Government is taking action to support hardworking families by lowering the cost of travelling to workplaces and schools. The cost of regulated rail fares for 2015 will be capped at inflation, removing the previously planned increase of rail fares of RPI plus 1%. Furthermore, for 2015, train operating companies will no longer be able to increase individual fares by up to 2% more than the permitted increase.

The Government has therefore protected passengers by taking 3% off the maximum increase for a regulated fare. Over a quarter of a million season ticket holders will benefit from this move, saving on average £75 for 2014 and 2015.

South Wales Railway Line

Jessica Morden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether electrification of the South Wales Main Line will include electrification of the relief lines between Severn Tunnel Junction and Cardiff Central stations. [208485]

Claire Perry: Electrification of the South Wales Main Line is in an early stage of development. The scope of works to be undertaken is currently being determined by Network Rail and therefore it is too early to confirm whether the relief lines will be included or not.

Transport: Berkshire

Adam Afriyie: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what recent steps he has taken to improve transport connections between Windsor and Reading. [208388]

Mr Goodwill: On 27 March, the Government and Transport for London announced that Crossrail services will be extended to serve Reading from 2019. Once Crossrail services begin across the whole line in 2019, passengers travelling to London from Windsor, Reading and other Thames Valley stations will be able to travel to more destinations across London without the need to change at Paddington. Construction of Crossrail is now more than half completed and electrification of the Great Western Main Line is also under way. Electrification of the Slough to Windsor route is approved and will improve local connectivity.

The transformation of Reading station was completed on time and under budget as part of the £850 million Reading Station Area Redevelopment programme and formally opened by Her Majesty the Queen on 17 July.

The Government continues to progress the M4 Junction 3–12 smart motorway project, the next step for which is formal public consultation in the autumn. The Highways Agency is also taking forward a £2.5 million pinch point scheme to increase capacity at the M4/A329 (M) junction.

On 7 July the Government agreed the £96.9 million Growth Deal with the Thames Valley Berkshire Local

11 Sep 2014 : Column 710W

Enterprise Partnership. This includes £94.6 million to support local transport improvements across the whole of Berkshire, including in and between Windsor and Reading.

House of Commons Commission

Clerk of the House

Mr Simon Burns: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, pursuant to the answer of 5 September 2014 to Question 207883, if the Commission will make available to the right hon. Member for Chelmsford all the records of all the discussions of the panel considering the appointment of the new Clerk of the House and Chief Executive with the personal data of the applicants redacted. [208377]

John Thurso: Applicants for the role of Clerk of the House and Chief Executive applied in confidence. Records relating to the recruitment process constitute the personal data of the applicants. It would still be possible to identify personal information about individuals following the redaction of names and other personal data from records of the panel discussion. It is not the Commission’s practice to disclose confidential personal information of this nature.

Library: Secondment

Mr Simon Burns: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, who authorised the secondment of a member of the House of Commons Library staff to work in Burma with the Burmese Parliament; how long this secondment has lasted; and how much the staff member has been paid in (a) salary and (b) expenses while on secondment. [208219]

John Thurso: In her speech to Members of both Houses in Westminster Hall on 21 June 2012 Burmese opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi urged the UK to provide “practical help” to support moves to democracy in Burma.

The initial secondment of a senior researcher from the House of Commons Library to work with the Burmese Parliament for 6 months from January 2014 was authorised by the Clerk of the House. The Burmese side subsequently requested an extension of the secondment for a further 6 months; this was agreed by the Clerk of the House and confirmed in a letter of 14 July 2014. The secondment overall will accordingly run from January 2014 to January 2015. The secondment is referred to in the House of Commons business plan 2014/15 and contributes to the House Service’s objective of supporting other parliaments, especially those in transition towards democracy.

The researcher is paid on the A2 salary scale, currently £46,532 to £61,255.

As at the end of August 2014, total expenses have amounted to £24,100.50 including accommodation, travel and local project costs.

11 Sep 2014 : Column 711W

Treasury

Energy

Simon Kirby: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he is taking to reduce energy costs in his Department; and if he will make a statement. [208349]

Andrea Leadsom: The Treasury is committed to improving the energy efficiency of the Department's estate and reducing energy consumption year on year and continues to work with Exchequer Partnership, its PFI supplier, on developing appropriate energy reducing initiatives.

The Treasury takes a range of mitigating measures, including:

the replacement of some lighting with new energy efficient LED bulbs;

installing sensors to lighting in some parts of the building;

replacing end of life equipment with more energy efficient appliances;

engagement campaigns for HM Treasury staff and other building occupiers on switching off lights, computer monitors and any other electrical equipment when not in use;

taking forward the recommendations from a recent air conditioning survey;

proactively monitoring the electricity supply to the building to identify areas where further investigation is called for; and

development of a Treasury Sustainability Plan with one of the key elements being to reduce energy consumption.

Pay

Mr Thomas: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the (a) highest and (b) lowest full-time equivalent salary paid by (i) his Department and (ii) its public bodies was in (A) 2010-11, (B) 2011-12, (C) 2012-13, (D) 2013-14 and (E) 2014-15; and if he will make a statement. [208293]

Andrea Leadsom: HM Treasury and agencies have a commitment to the Government to publish Organogram and Salary data twice a year. The information requested can be found using the following link:

http://data.gov.uk/organogram/hm-treasury

Information relating to the end of September 2014 will be published later in the year.

Northern Ireland

Administrative Scheme for the “On the Runs” Independent Review

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the timetable is for the full implementation of the Hallett report’s recommendations; and if she will make a statement. [208315]

Mrs Villiers: I made an oral statement to the House of Commons on 9 September 2014, Official Report, columns 779-89, which dealt with some aspects of the implementation of the recommendations of the Hallett report. My statement clarified that:

This scheme has ended;

11 Sep 2014 : Column 712W

Letters issued in whatever form do not represent any commitment that the recipient will not be investigated or prosecuted, if that is now considered appropriate by the responsible authorities;

Those who received individual or composite letters indicating that they were ‘not wanted’ and who derived comfort from that, should cease to derive any such comfort;

Recipients should cease to place any reliance on their letters;

Decisions about investigation and prosecution in specific cases, now or in the future, will be taken on the basis of intelligence and/or evidence relating to whether or not the person concerned committed offences; and

These decisions will be based on the views of those who now have responsibility for these matters. Their views may be the same as those that led to the letters being sent in the past, or they may be different.

In addition, the Northern Ireland Office has set up an ‘On the Runs’ Policy Oversight Board to oversee the implementation of the recommendations. In association with others, we will ensure that the Hallett report recommendations are implemented with due care and in a timely manner.

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland which recommendations of the Hallett Report have already been implemented; and if she will make a statement. [208321]

Mrs Villiers: All of the recommendations of the Hallett Report have now either been implemented or are in the process of implementation.

I have addressed the first four recommendations through public statements. These were that the Northern Ireland Office should:

Clarify with all relevant parties whether the NIO will retain responsibility for determining the future of the scheme;

Confirm whether any element of the scheme still exists and, if so, whether it will continue:

Seek legal advice, in conjunction with the police and prosecuting authorities, to determine whether it should notify any individuals whose status, as communicated to them, has changed or may change in the future; and

Consider how to mitigate against further abuse of process arguments, for example by confirming to recipients the factual and contemporaneous nature of their letters of assurance.

In response to these recommendations, I have made it clear that:

This scheme has ended;

Letters issued in whatever form do not represent any commitment that the recipient will not be investigated or prosecuted, if that is now considered appropriate by the responsible authorities;

Those who received individual or composite letters indicating that they were ‘not wanted’ and who derived comfort from that, should cease to derive any such comfort;

Recipients should cease to place any reliance on their letters;

Decisions about investigation and prosecution in specific cases, now or in the future, will be taken on the basis of intelligence and/or evidence relating to whether or not the person concerned committed offences; and,

These decisions will be based on the views of those who now have responsibility for these matters. Their views may be the same as those that led to the letters being sent in the past, or they may be different.

In addition, the Hallett report also made the following recommendations for the Government:

Co-ordinate the investigation of the potential errors identified by this Review and, in conjunction with the police and prosecuting authorities, resolve them at the earliest opportunity:

11 Sep 2014 : Column 713W

Consider establishing a procedure for recording on a central register-where this is appropriate-the use of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy.

An ‘On the Runs’ Policy Oversight Board has been set up, chaired by the NIO, which will address these recommendations. NIO officials are liaising with the Ministry of Justice in relation to the proposal for a central register for the use of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy.

Disclosure of Information

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps she is taking in response to the breach of internal communications security in her Department relating to the leak of information to newspapers regarding her announcement to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee on 3 September 2014; and if she will make a statement. [208316]

Mrs Villiers: There was no breach of communications security in my Department relating to the leak of information to newspapers regarding the evidence I gave to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee on 3 September 2014. Any communication with the media was aimed at correcting inaccurate reports of what I was expected to say to the Northern Ireland Affairs Committee.

Energy

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps she is taking to reduce energy costs in her Department; and if she will make a statement. [208346]

Mrs Villiers: My Department currently operates from two locations; 1 Horse Guards road, London; and Stormont house, Belfast.

The relocation of the London office in February 2013 enabled a considerable reduction of the footprint from 3,098 square metres to 462 square metres. The move reduced energy costs through maximising open plan working and sharing resources with other Departments within the building. The office space was recently reduced by 30 square metres, further reducing energy costs for heating and lighting.

In our Belfast office there is a strong emphasis on encouraging staff to be energy aware and to maximise the sharing of IT equipment, turning off all appliances (computers, printers and lights) when not in use. The ‘Turn it Off’ campaign is promoted throughout the Department which also includes the use of energy efficient appliances and light bulbs.

A number of working practices have been streamlined or ceased in recent months as part of an efficiency and reform package, which has reduced energy usage in Stormont house. For example, the canteen facility has been closed and overnight accommodation is no longer used, resulting in reduced use of appliances, lighting, heating etc.

Work has recently commenced to review the use of the accommodation in Belfast which will seek to maximise efficiency within the existing footprint, and to identify potential options to reduce the NIO footprint if possible, with a view to reducing overheads and energy costs. Part of the office is a Grade II listed building so this will be taken into consideration as part of the review.

11 Sep 2014 : Column 714W

Foreign Investment in UK

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many international businesses she has met to discuss inward investment into Northern Ireland since her appointment as Secretary of State; and if she will make a statement. [208319]

Mrs Villiers: Details of external meetings with organisations and individuals are published on a quarterly basis and can be found at:

www.nio.gov.uk/publications

Pay

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the (a) highest and (b) lowest full-time equivalent salary paid by (i) her Department and (ii) its public bodies was in (A) 2010-11, (B) 2011-12, (C) 2012-13, (D) 2013-14 and (E) 2014-15; and if she will make a statement. [208289]

Mrs Villiers: The Northern Ireland Office follows the Ministry of Justice terms and conditions, including pay scales for bands A-F. There are different pay scales for London and Belfast; the lowest pay bands for each region are shown below.

Pay for the senior civil service across all Departments is determined centrally by the Cabinet Office based on annual recommendations from the Review Body on Senior Salaries (SSRB) which is an advisory non-departmental public body, sponsored by Cabinet Office. Details of the recommendations for 2014-15 can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/senior-salaries-review-body-36th-report-2014

The NIO’s annual reports giving details of the SCS salaries for the year 2010-15, can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/search?q=nio+annual+report+and+accounts

 Highest (band A)Lowest (band F)
 LondonBelfastLondonBelfast

2010-11

67, 969

60,649

16, 737

14, 320

2011-12

67, 969

60,649

16, 737

14, 320

2012-13

67, 969

60,649

16, 737

14, 320

2013-14

67, 969

60,649

17,391

14,800

2014-15

67, 969

60,649

17,800

15, 230

My Department has two non-departmental public bodies—the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Parades Commission for Northern Ireland; and one advisory non-departmental public body—the Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland. As such bodies are independent of Government, the hon. Member may wish to write to the commissions direct on these matters—contact details are set out below:

ALBStatusContact details

Parades Commission Northern Ireland

Executive NDPB

info@parades commission.org

Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission

Executive NDPB

information@nihrc. org

11 Sep 2014 : Column 715W

Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland

Advisory NDPB

bcni@belfast.org.uk

Prerogative of Mercy

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what steps she is taking to establish a procedure for recording on a central register the use of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy as recommended in the Hallett Report published on 17 July 2014; and if she will make a statement. [208226]

Mrs Villiers: My officials are working with officials from the Ministry of Justice to

“consider establishing a procedure for recording on a central register—where this is appropriate—the use of the Royal Prerogative of Mercy”

as recommended by Lady Justice Hallett in her Report into the ‘on the runs’ administrative scheme.

Terrorism

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment she has made of the terms of reference adopted by the Police Service of Northern Ireland to review on-the-run cases under Operation Red Field; and if she will make a statement. [208228]

Mrs Villiers: Policing in Northern Ireland is devolved and independent of Government. In that context, the terms of reference for policing operations are a matter for the police.

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what assessment she has made of the current security threat posed by the Real IRA and other dissident republicans; and if she will make a statement. [208318]

Mrs Villiers: Northern Ireland continues to face a severe terrorist threat from a small minority of groups who have almost no popular support but do retain both lethal intent and capability. In recent months, the PSNI, who work in close co-operation with An Garda Siochana and others, have secured significant disruptions, arrests, convictions and arms seizures that have impeded violent dissident activity. This Government is clear that terrorism will never prevail in Northern Ireland and we remain fully committed to tackling it now and in the future, keeping the people of Northern Ireland safe and secure.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Arms Trade: Saudi Arabia

Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will bring forward proposals to make military exports to Saudi Arabia contingent on human rights reform in that country. [208151]

11 Sep 2014 : Column 716W

Mr Ellwood: The Government of Saudi Arabia faces a number of security challenges, with concerns arising from the fractious regional situation and external sources, and so have a legitimate requirement for types of equipment in the performance of its sovereign defensive responsibilities.

The Government remains confident that the UK has a thorough and robust export control and licensing system, which distinguishes between exports for legitimate defence and security purposes and exports that breach the criterion 2 threshold: a clear risk that they might be used for internal repression, violation of human rights or gender-based violence. These considerations are specifically identified in the Government’s Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, criteria against which all applications for strategic export control licences for military goods, including arms and dual-use goods are assessed on a case-by-case basis.

The Government is satisfied that the currently extant licences for Saudi Arabia are compliant with the UK’s export licensing criteria.

Bahrain

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he has made to his Bahraini counterpart on the detention of Abdulhadi Alkhawaja; and if he will make a statement. [208155]

Mr Ellwood: We are closely monitoring the case of Abdulhadi Al Khawaja. As in the case of his 110 day hunger strike in 2012, we are concerned about his welfare. Bahraini Ministry of Interior’s Ombudsman’s Office announced it was launching an investigation into the conditions of his detention. As a result, an investigator visited Mr Al Khawaja in Jau prison. We understand that Mr Al Khawaja has seen medical staff regularly since he began his hunger strike and that, according to the Ombudsman’s Office, the medical staff continue to provide him with health care and are monitoring his medical condition closely.

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the government of Bahrain about the detention of Maryam Al-Khawaja at Bahrain International Airport; and if he will make a statement. [208156]

Mr Ellwood: We are aware of the arrest of Maryam Al-Khawaja last week. We are monitoring the case closely. The British ambassador to Bahrain raised her case with the Bahraini authorities last week. We urge the Government of Bahrain to ensure that due legal process is fully respected and international norms of justice adhered to.

Burma

Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the Burmese Government on their treatment of the Rohingya. [208152]

Mr Swire: We have raised the treatment of the Rohingya in every one of our recent ministerial contacts with the Burmese Government.

11 Sep 2014 : Column 717W

The former Foreign Secretary, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), raised the situation in Rakhine State in a call with his Burmese counterpart, U Wunna Maung Lwin, in April 2014. He called for the Burmese Government to facilitate humanitarian assistance to all communities in the State. I also raised this issue with Khin Maung Soe, Burmese Minister for Electric Power in July, as well as with the Burmese ambassador, whom I summoned in April to register my concerns. More recently, the Minister of State, Department for International Development, my right hon. Friend the Member for New Forest West (Mr Swayne), discussed Rakhine with Minister for the President’s Office, U Soe Thein in August.

Our ambassador and embassy officials consistently discuss these concerns with representatives of the Burmese Government.

Egypt

Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of progress with democratic reform in Egypt. [208149]

Mr Ellwood: Since January 2014, Egypt has held a constitutional referendum; elected a new President, Abdel Fattah Al Sisi; and is preparing for parliamentary elections. We look to President Al Sisi to take steps to implement the rights contained in Egypt’s constitution by opening up political space, in particular ensuring freedom of expression and association as well as ensuring that human and legal rights are fully upheld. I raised these issues with the Egyptian Assistant Foreign Minister for Europe during my visit to Cairo on 25 August.

Energy

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to reduce energy costs in his Department; and if he will make a statement. [208342]

Mr Lidington: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is committed to meeting the Greener Government Commitments and to reducing the energy use of its operations. In 2014-15, the FCO will be undertaking the following measures to reduce the energy costs of its UK operations: installing additional LED lighting; installing additional daylight and motion sensors on lighting; improvements to equipment and operation of the heating infrastructure in the King Charles street main building; virtualising and consolidating the server estate in our main data-centre; adjustments and interventions to reduce the cooling requirement of its main data-centre; and installing additional automated meter reading and more efficient pumps. Consolidation of the FCO’s principal London offices into one building in 2015 will also bring large net energy savings.

The energy savings from these measures in 2014-15 will add to numerous energy saving initiatives in recent years such as installation of voltage regulation equipment and thermostatic radiator valves; LED lighting; decommissioning legacy IT systems; powering down desktops at night and staff switch off campaigns.

11 Sep 2014 : Column 718W

In addition the FCO enjoys the benefits of utilising the centralised Government Procurement service framework for the purchasing of its electricity and gas.

The answer relates to the FCO's UK estate, which comprises King Charles street, Old Admiralty building, Lancaster house, Carlton gardens, Hanslope park and Northgate house. It would incur a disproportionate cost to source this information from our network of overseas posts, as this information is held locally.

Hamas

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the sources of rockets supplied to Hamas operating in Gaza; and if he will make a statement. [208182]

Mr Ellwood: Our assessment is that rockets are brought to Gaza from several sources, including the tunnels which run into the territory.

Iraq

Ian Paisley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department has taken to end the persecution of Christians in Iraq by the Islamic State. [208526]

Mr Ellwood: The Government is providing £23 million in humanitarian assistance to those who have fled areas of Iraq controlled by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), and have taken part in a series of air drops to people trapped by ISIL. We are providing military assistance to the Kurdish Peshmerga as set out in the Prime Minister's statement on 1 September so that they can restore control over areas taken by ISIL. I also met leaders of the Syriac Orthodox Church, the church to which many Iraqi Christians belong, making a statement strongly condemning the persecution that Iraq's religious minorities have suffered.

I visited Iraq on 26 to 27 August and pressed the then Prime Minister-designate Haider Al-Abadi to ensure his new government in Iraq would ensure the protection of all minorities, promote human rights and reassert the rule of law.

Religious Freedom

Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent steps his Department has taken to tackle religious persecution internationally. [208594]

Mr Lidington: The promotion and protection of the right to freedom of religion or belief is one of the UK’s human rights priorities. We actively raise individual cases and work to combat discriminatory legislation and practices through multilateral systems and targeted project work. In the last month alone, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Ministers have expressed grave concern about persecution of individuals on the grounds of their religion or belief in Syria, Pakistan and Iraq.

11 Sep 2014 : Column 719W

Most recently, at the Special Session of the UN Human Rights Council on Iraq on 1 September, we and international partners sponsored a resolution which commits the Council to working with the Government of Iraq

“to foster religious freedom and pluralism by promoting the ability of members of all religious communities to manifest their religion and to contribute openly and on an equal footing to society, and to take appropriate measures to prevent attacks against persons on the basis of their religion or belief and to prosecute the perpetrators of such attacks.”

We will work actively with the newly formed Government of Iraq to support them in this aim.

As a recent example of our project work, last week, we also sponsored a conference to share best practice between human rights defenders and journalists working on freedom of religion or belief issues in South Asia.

We will continue to be active bilaterally, multilaterally, through project work and in providing training to our staff to tackle religious persecution internationally.

Sudan

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to ensure that the demobilisation and integration of former Beja Congress fighters into civil and military services is adequately supported. [208189]

James Duddridge: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s engagement in Sudan does not include direct support to the demobilisation and integration of former Beja Congress fighters into civil or military roles.

Mark Durkan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received of recent developments in Sudan's National Dialogue process. [208190]

James Duddridge: The British Government continues to monitor Sudan's National Dialogue process closely, including via regular reporting from its embassy in Khartoum. We continue to call on the Government of Sudan to live up to its commitment to hold an inclusive national dialogue as the best way of achieving sustainable peace and a prosperous Sudan.

Syria

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking with his international counterparts to stop the war in Syria; and if he will make a statement. [208184]

Mr Ellwood: The UK has been very active over the years of the Syria conflict, and it remains a top priority. The rise of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) threatens the UK, and the whole region.

With our international partners, we have focused on support for those pushing for an inclusive political settlement. This has led to our political and non-lethal assistance to moderate opposition groups. We have committed £30 million this financial year for helping the moderate opposition and bolstering regional resilience. We have given strong backing for UN efforts in the political track.

11 Sep 2014 : Column 720W

The UK has also focused on holding Assad to account for his war crimes, which have included routine, indiscriminate bombardment of civilian areas, the use of chemical weapons, and the use of siege and surrender tactics. The UK is also the second largest bilateral humanitarian aid donor, and has been at the forefront of efforts in the UN Security Council to ensure aid gets to all those who need it.

The UK recently committed to tackling the threat from extremists, including ISIL. This needs a co-ordinated strategy in Syria and Iraq, and close co-ordination with the US and other partners.

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much of Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal (a) is intact and (b) has been destroyed to date; and if he will make a statement. [208185]

Mr Ellwood: As of 29 August, all of Syria’s declared chemical stockpile of 1,309.8 metric tonnes had been removed from Syria and thus put beyond use of the regime. 95.8%, or 1,254.8 metric tonnes had been destroyed either by incineration or neutralisation, including all of the category 1 chemicals (those deemed most proliferation sensitive by the OPCW, plus isopropanol).

The destruction of some of the category 1 chemicals in the UK was completed on 5 August, three weeks after the arrival of the chemicals in the UK. A smaller quantity of hydrogen fluoride (a category 2 chemical) will be destroyed in the UK at the turn of the year. Other chemicals are being destroyed in Germany, Finland and the United States.

Syria was required to declare and destroy all stocks of chemical weapons and their precursors, and the facilities and equipment with which they were manufactured. The international community cannot have confidence that Syria’s declarations were complete while credible reports of the use of chemical weapons, such as chlorine, continue, and until all outstanding questions surrounding the declarations have been resolved. The OPCW continues to seek answers to a number of questions.

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government recognises President Assad as the legitimate head of state of Syria. [208371]

Mr Ellwood: Britain has a long-standing policy of recognising states and not governments. Our position on Assad remains unchanged—he does not have legitimacy and should step aside in the interests of the Syrian people. Assad's elections and inauguration were parodies of democracy, disenfranchising millions of Syrians and conducted in a way which fell far short of any international democratic standards.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agriculture

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs if she will discuss with her counterparts in the devolved administrations the need for discussions with the European Commission

11 Sep 2014 : Column 721W

on the development of a relief package for farmers and the UK beef industry; and if she will make a statement. [208444]

George Eustice: DEFRA Ministers have been in regular contact with their colleagues in the devolved administrations. My officials discuss and agree a negotiating position with each of the devolved administrations prior to any EU discussions on the current unpredictability of beef markets.

In July, I hosted a “beef summit”. This was a positive meeting with senior representatives from across the UK’s food and farming industry, including Northern Irish, Scottish and Welsh farming industry bodies, to ensure that we have a sustainable and profitable UK beef industry for the future. The outcomes included the decision by producers and processors to work together on a voluntary code of conduct on improving transparency of the charges that some abattoirs make for handling carcasses and notice periods for changes to product specifications. The European Commission short-term outlook expects beef prices to remain firm although below the 2013 record highs.

Bovine Tuberculosis

Chris Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what recent assessment she has made of the effect of changes to safety requirements for the 2014 badger cull on the safety of that cull. [208550]

George Eustice: The Independent Expert Panel concluded that they were confident that controlled shooting can be carried out safely, even in the context of protester activity. As with the first year of the culls, Best Practice Guidance for the controlled shooting of badgers is in place and compliance with this will be monitored by Natural England.

Energy

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to reduce energy costs in her Department; and if she will make a statement. [208341]

Dan Rogerson: Core DEFRA procures energy from the Crown Commercial Services Energy Frameworks. These pan-government contracts enable DEFRA to benefit from economies of scale and risk-managed procurement from the energy markets, so keeping costs down. Energy costs are also minimised through measures to reduce and improve the control of energy use in its buildings.

The biggest contributor to reduced energy costs has been the rationalisation of DEFRA’s estate. Since 2012-13 the Department has reduced its London estate from four to two properties, making more efficient use of space and reducing energy consumption as part of the overall strategy.

Core DEFRA has also reduced energy costs by investing in voltage optimisation, more efficient heating systems, LED lighting and better insulation. Smart metering also enables core DEFRA to monitor and target excessive consumption and ensure building systems are operating to optimum efficiency.

11 Sep 2014 : Column 722W

Food Integrity and Food Crime Group

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to the written statement of 4 September 2014, on Elliott Review, which Departments will be represented on that group and at what level of seniority; what the membership will be of that group; and when that group will meet; what the terms of reference are of the cross-government group on Food Integrity and Food Crime. [208366]

George Eustice: Food Integrity and Food Crime will be a cross-government strategic group chaired by me. The group is being established to bring together Departments with a shared interest in the integrity of the food chain, consumer protection and confidence in food, food surveillance and crime, with the purpose of strengthening the co-ordination of the Government’s activity in these areas.

Members of the group will be Government Ministers from the Department of Health, Business Innovations and Skills and the Home Office, and the Chairman of the Food Standards Agency. It will be supported by a cross-departmental group of senior officials chaired by the Permanent Secretary to DEFRA.

A date for the first meeting this autumn is being arranged. The terms of reference and full membership details will be available shortly.

Food: Crime

Maria Eagle: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for the Home Department on enabling the recording of food crime as an identifiable category of crime in police databases. [208354]

George Eustice: The Secretary of State has not discussed the recording of food crime as an identifiable category of crime in police databases with the Home Secretary.

Fracking

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) on what basis parts of the (a) body and (b) conclusions of the Rural Community Policy Unit report on Shale Gas Rural Economy Impacts, published in March 2014, were redacted; [208611]

(2) which Minister determined the redactions to the Rural Community Policy Unit report on Shale Gas Rural Economy Impacts, published in March 2014; [208612]

(3) what proportion of the Rural Community Policy Unit report on Shale Gas Rural Economy Impacts, published in March 2014, was redacted; [208613]

(4) if she will place in the Library an unredacted copy of the Rural Community Policy Unit report on Shale Gas Rural Economy Impacts, published in March 2014. [208622]

11 Sep 2014 : Column 723W

Dan Rogerson: The draft Rural Economy Impacts paper was an internal document that is not analytically robust. It has not been published and we have no plans to do so. The full list of references on which it was based has been released under Environmental Information Regulations. Redactions were made to the draft paper based on exceptions under the Environmental Information Regulations; Ministers were not involved in this process.

Pay

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the (a) highest and (b) lowest full-time equivalent salary paid by (i) her Department and (ii) its public bodies was in (A) 2010-11, (B) 2011-12, (C) 2012-13, (D) 2013-14 and (E) 2014-15; and if she will make a statement. [208282]

Dan Rogerson: The following tables show the highest and lowest full-time equivalent salary paid by core-DEFRA, its executive agencies and NDPBs in each year since 2010-11.

In line with previous reporting on senior salaries, the highest salary figure has been provided in a £5k band.

2010-11
OrganisationHighest salaryLowest salary (£)

Core DEFRA

£155,000 to £159,999

15,279

AHVLA

£130,000 to £134,999

14,310

VMD

£90,000 to £94,999

19,036

CEFAS

£120,000 to £124,999

12,951

FERA

£110,000 to £114,999

14,478

RPA

£130,000 to £134,999

15,868

2011-12
OrganisationHighest salaryLowest salary (£)

Core DEFRA

£160,000 to £164,999

15,279

AHVLA

£130,000 to £134,999

14,310

VMD

£115,000 to £119,999

19,785

CEFAS

£120,000 to £124,999

13,279

FERA

£110,000 to £114,999

14,764

RPA

£155,000 to £159,999

16,118

2012-13
OrganisationHighest salaryLowest salary (£)

Core DEFRA

£160,000 to £164,999

15,529

AHVLA

£130,000 to £134,999

15,529

VMD

£115,000 to £119,999

19,785

CEFAS

£120,000 to £124,999

13,529

FERA

£110,000 to £114,999

14,912

11 Sep 2014 : Column 724W

RPA

£155,000 to £159,999

16,368

2013-14
OrganisationHighest salaryLowest salary (£)

Core DEFRA

£160,000 to £164,999

15,764

AHVLA

£130,000 to £134,999

15,529

VMD

£115,000 to £119,999

19,510

CEFAS

£80,000 to £84,999

13,927

FERA

£110,000 to £114,999

19,848

RPA

£160,000 to £164,999

16,368

1 Apprentice grade was introduced in 2013-14
2014-15
OrganisationHighest salaryLowest salary (£)

Core DEFRA

£160,000 to £164,999

15,980

AHVLA

£130,000 to £134,999

15,685

VMD

£115,000 to £119,999

19,803

CEFAS

£80,000 to £84,999

14,502

FERA

£110,000 to £114,999

19,947

RPA

£160,000 to £164,999

16,450

1 Apprentice grade was introduced in 2013 -14

The information for DEFRA’s non departmental public bodies (NDBPs) will be placed in the House Library.

Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority Committee

Procurement

Sadiq Khan: To ask the hon. Member for Broxbourne, representing the Speaker's Committee for the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, how much and what proportion of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority's (IPSA) budget was spent on activities which were contracted out in (a) 2009-10, (b) 2010-11, (c) 2011-12, (d) 2012-13 and (e) 2013-14; and how much and what proportion of IPSA's budget he expects to be contracted out in 2014-15. [205194]

Mr Charles Walker: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority. I have asked IPSA to reply.

Letter from Marcial Boo, July 2014:

As Chief Executive of the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking about contracted out services.

Contracted out expenditure has been interpreted as all third party expenditure and the data are set out in the below table.

Costs (£000)
 ActualForecast
Financial year2009-20102010-20112011-20122012-20132013-20142014-2015

Costs

1650

3332

946

1406

1646

1709.535

IPSA's administrative budget

4448

10394

8364

7908

10152

10332

% of budget related to contracted out services

37%

32%

11%

18%

16%

17%

Defence

Apprentices

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he and Ministers in his Department have had with Ministers in the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills on the proposed reform of apprenticeships; what effect those discussions will have on his Department's projects and the work of their supply chain; and whether officials in his

11 Sep 2014 : Column 725W

Department sit on programme boards managing the reform. [208209]

Mr Dunne: The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is pleased to be recognised as the single largest deliverer of apprenticeships in the UK. Apprenticeships are firmly embedded across armed forces initial training, with, for example, 95% of Army recruits enrolling in an apprenticeship each year, most of whom complete within two years. The MOD is also the largest deliverer of civilian apprenticeships across Government Departments.

The Government’s apprenticeship reform programme is aimed at ensuring apprenticeships in England become more rigorous and more responsive to the needs of employers. MOD officials do not sit on the programme boards, and this programme has not been the subject of Ministerial discussions between MOD and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). However, I can confirm that senior MOD officials are fully engaged with their BIS counterparts as we look to influence the implementation of this reform and to develop MOD policy in support of it.

It is in the MOD’s interests to ensure its supply chain contains personnel with the skills required to support defence interests. To that end the MOD seeks to reflect wider supply chain training requirements through bodies such as the Defence Growth Partnership (DGP).

MOD officials are engaged with BIS on the development of new Trailblazer apprenticeships to meet MOD and wider defence industry needs. In the context of the Aerospace Trailblazer Group the RAF has collaborated with major employers such as BAE and Airbus to produce apprenticeship standards for the manufacture of aircraft. Another example is the Supply Chain and Logistics Operations Trailblazer. This is divided into four main areas: Warehouse Operations, Specialist Driving, Specialist Operative and Port Operations. The MOD is represented on the committees responsible for the development of standards for each of these main areas.

Armed Forces Covenant

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report 2013, page 13, what progress has been made on the Partner Employment Project; and if he will make a statement. [208498]

Anna Soubry: The mobile nature of Service life can create a particular difficulty for working partners who often give up their own jobs to accompany Service personnel. The Partner Employment Project (PEP), as part of the New Employment Model (NEM) programme, is focused on addressing the barriers that hinder spousal employment.

The PEP continues to support the delivery of two LIBOR-funded programmes which provide, respectively, employability and business start-up workshops: the LifeWorks for Families programme run by the Royal British Legion Industries (RBLI) and the ‘Supporting the Unsung Hero’ Business Start-Up programme run by the University of Wolverhampton. These two-year programmes started in October 2013 and I am pleased to say that over 200 spouses have already benefited. Demand is such that this year both programmes are delivering extra bespoke workshops in Germany and

11 Sep 2014 : Column 726W

Cyprus. RBLI are also delivering a course in Belgium to support serving personnel serving in NATO, as well as developing a remotely accessed programme to enable them to reach more spouses flexibly.

Childcare provision is another key issue. Although not formally part of the PEP, a childcare study has been conducted by the MOD’s Director of Children and Young People which reviews what childcare support Service personnel currently access, identifies best practice, and considers how best to use the £20 million LIBOR funds allocated to the MOD to improve childcare infrastructure. The findings of the study are currently being considered and will be shared later in the autumn.

Vernon Coaker: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the Armed Forces Covenant Annual Report 2013, page 7, what progress has been made on the introduction of pupil information profiles to help with the transfer of key information when service children move from one school to another; and whether he plans to introduce that programme on a nationwide basis. [208504]

Anna Soubry: The Pupil Information Profile was developed by North Yorkshire County Council with the Ministry of Defence (MOD), schools and the Department for Education (DfE) and its devolved equivalents using funding from the MOD’s Education Fund.

The Pupil Information Profile is a standard document used to assist the transfer of pupil information when a Service child moves schools. The document contains key information, such as their educational background, learning requirements and next learning steps.

The MOD has promoted its use in a number of ways. For example through discussions with the various education forums within the Devolved Administrations. By informing the military community of the Pupil Information Profile through articles in the Families Federations magazines and by its use in MOD schools overseas.

Whether to role the Pupil Information Profile out on a national basis is a matter for the DfE (and its devolved equivalents).

Army Reserve

Sir Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what the strength of the Regular Army Section Reserve was in each year between 2010-11 and 2013-14; [208236]

(2) what the strength of the Long Term Reserve was in each year between 2010-11 and 2013-14; [208237]

(3) what the strength of the Regular Army A Reserve was in each year between 2010-11 and 2013-14. [208241]

Mr Brazier: The Ministry of Defence does not recognise some of the specific terms used in these questions.

The Army Regular Reserve comprises ex-regular other ranks and officers who retain a liability to be called up for military service after they leave service. Other ranks who have voluntarily left the Army with less than 18 years service retain a reserve liability for up to six years or until they reach the 18-year point. The Army Regular Reserve also includes personnel who have applied to return to military service on fixed term reserve contracts. These include some mobilised and High Readiness Reserves,

11 Sep 2014 : Column 727W

Full Time Reserve Service and Additional Duties Commitments. Officers retain a reserve liability until they are in receipt of their pension.

The Long Term Reserve consists of ex-regular other ranks who have completed their reserve liability or have no reserve liability on discharge but who can be recalled for service under section 68 of the Reserve Forces Act. This would only happen under circumstances where national danger is imminent, an emergency has arisen or in the event of an attack on the United Kingdom. The Long Term Reserve liability includes the Regular Reserve liability and remains to age 55 or up to 18 years after leaving service, whichever is earlier.

The following table provides the strengths of the Army Regular Reserve and Long Term Reserve. These figures are collated from internal Army manning data and are not classed as a national statistic.

 April 2011April 2012April 2013February 2014

Regular Army Reserve—officer and other ranks with reserve liability

33,583

33,754

34,670

34,735

Regular Army Reserve—other ranks Long Term Reserve

19,715

25,699

30,987

35,446

Sir Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the strength of the Regular Army Reserve of officers was in each year between 2010-11 and 2013-14. [208240]

Mr Brazier: The strength of the Regular Army Reserve of officers at 1 April each year has been published by Defence Statistics since 2012. The information is available at the following link:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/uk-reserve-forces-and-cadets-strengths-2014

The totals are shown in the following table.

 Total

2012

9,020

2013

9,200

2014

8,970

Army: Redundancy

Sir Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) voluntary redundancies, (b) compulsory redundancies, (c) voluntary exits and (d) involuntary exits from the Army there were in each year between 2010-11 and 2013-14. [208242]

Anna Soubry: The information requested is shown in the table:

 2010-112011-122012-132013-14

Redundancies

0

600

2,080

4,050

Voluntary exits

4,240

4,980

5,530

4,710

Involuntary exits

4,390

4,720

4,030

4,030

11 Sep 2014 : Column 728W

All redundancies are compulsory. The figures for ‘involuntary exits’ include data for those coming to the end of their engagement, medical discharge, discipline discharge and all other circumstances.

Figures have been rounded to 10; numbers ending in 5 are rounded to the nearest multiple of 20 to prevent systematic bias.

Army: Training

Sir Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the cost of Army (a) phase one and (b) phase two training was in each year between 2010-11 and 2013-14. [208246]

Mr Francois: The cost of activities across phase 1 and phase 2 training establishments are split between a number of different budgets which are not managed centrally. For example, infrastructure costs (including utilities) are managed by the Defence Infrastructure Organisation through contracts which do not allow the costs for individual units operating on a particular site to be identified. Similarly, equipment costs are managed across whole fleets of items by Defence Equipment and Support, and not by individual location or unit. For this reason, the full running costs of Army phase 1 and phase 2 training cannot be provided. However, the costs of phase 1 and phase 2 training attributable to the Army Recruiting Training Division are provided for financial year 2010-11 to 2013-14 in the table. These figures cover stock consumption such as ammunition, contract costs such as driver training along with other costs including travel and subsistence and administrative expenditure.

£ million
Training2010-112011-122012-132013-14

Phase 1

47

46

44

43

Phase 2

72

71

68

65

Total

118

117

113

108

Defence Equipment

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what estimate he has made of the amount of military equipment supplied to Iraq by NATO states that has been appropriated by ISIS in 2014. [207376]

Mr Francois: Iraqi security force losses of military equipment since January 2014 cannot be accurately quantified. Known losses of equipment supplied by NATO members include howitzers and their tractors, an armoured personnel carrier and numerous vehicles, small arms and munitions. We continue to monitor the situation closely.

Military Exercises

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the benefits of participation by the Royal Air Force in Exercise Red Flag; and if he will make a statement on the 2014 exercise. [207654]

11 Sep 2014 : Column 729W

Mr Francois: Participation in Exercise Red Flag in 2014 was important in maintaining close ties, from strategic to tactical levels, with the USA and Australia, and provided a realistic and testing environment for coalition training for both aircraft and ground-based force elements.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what assessment he has made of the merits of participation by the Royal Air Force in the Anatolian Eagle 2014 exercise; and if he will make a statement. [207655]

Mr Francois: Participation in Exercise Anatolian Eagle in 2014 at Konya Air base in Turkey afforded UK personnel with the experience of deploying and operating alongside NATO and other potential coalition allies. This includes exposure to the complexities of operating large numbers of aircraft from the same base and in missions of large airborne formations.

North Africa

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many service personnel are on active duty in North Africa. [207688]

Mr Francois: As of 3 September 2014, there are two service personnel deployed to Morocco, two to Algeria, six to Tunisia, and four to Egypt.

Vacancies

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what commercial, project management and engineering role vacancies there were in his Department (a) in March 2014 and (b) on the latest date for which data is available. [207918]

Mr Dunne: The requested information is presented in the table. The figures for March 2014 are lower than the normal number of vacancies in each of these areas through 2014. Changes to the Civil Service Resourcing jobs portal meant that the recruitment process was effectively frozen for a period of around three weeks in March; vacancies not submitted to the system that month were submitted to the new portal in April.

Vacancies that have been advertised on the civil service jobs website
Job Family26 March 20144 September 2014

Commercial

10

20

Programme and Project Management

39

102

Engineering and Science

44

70

Total

93

192

War Graves

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the Answer of 14 May 2014, Official Report, column 613W, on war graves, what further progress has been made on discussions with the Commonwealth War Graves Commission on the transfer of graves maintained by the Ministry of Defence to that Commissioner. [208305]

11 Sep 2014 : Column 730W

Anna Soubry: Discussions between Ministry Of Defence (MOD) and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission (CWGC) are continuing regarding the transfer of maintenance responsibility for the graves of military personnel buried in the UK since 1945. Furthermore, during the most recent discussions the CWGC has indicated a willingness to take over the maintenance work.

The MOD is now in the process of compiling specific information to assist a detailed analysis by the CWGC and we are striving to reach a conclusion at the earliest possibility.

Business, Innovation and Skills

Business: Loans

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent assessment he has made of the availability of finance for small firms and the level of lending by banks to small businesses. [905314]

Vince Cable: Recent data from the Bank of England shows some signs that bank lending to SMEs is starting to recover. Gross lending to SMEs in the first seven months of 2014 was nearly £30 billion, up 21% on the equivalent period last year. Net lending was at zero or modestly positive in each of the last three months if overdrafts are excluded, reversing a long-term negative trend. Credit conditions, however, remain tight for the smallest businesses in particular.

EU External Trade: USA

Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what estimate he has made of potential GDP growth resulting from the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. [208268]

Matthew Hancock: Independent analysis shows that an ambitious, comprehensive TTIP agreement could be worth up to £10 billion annually to the UK in the long term. This translates to additional disposable income of around £400 per year for an average UK household.

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what safeguards for (a) the NHS and (b) other UK public services the Government is seeking to secure within the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership. [905326]

Matthew Hancock: The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) will not change the fact that it is up to UK Governments alone to decide how UK public services, including the NHS, are run. The UK has insisted on maintaining the same safeguards for the NHS in TTIP as it has in all recent trade agreements.

Exports: Israel

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many decisions on standard individual export licence applications for export to Israel

11 Sep 2014 : Column 731W

were made between 8 July and 31 July 2014; and what proportion of such decisions were approved. [207349]

Matthew Hancock: 10 decisions for Standard Individual Export Licences were made for direct export to Israel.

A further four decisions for Standard Individual Export Licences were made for export, where Israel is listed as either an ultimate end user or potential ultimate end user on the application.

In total 14 decisions were made and all were for licences to be granted.

Government Assistance

Stella Creasy: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) how many and what proportion of recipients of (a) grants or (b) loans

11 Sep 2014 : Column 732W

underwritten by the Government were female in the last five years; [206822]

(2) what requirements there are for delivery partners to monitor the gender of (a) applicants for and (b) recipients of government-backed (i) grants and (ii) loan schemes; [206824]

(3) how many and what proportion of applicants for (a) grants or (b) loans underwritten by the Government were female in the last five years. [206825]

Matthew Hancock: There are a number of grant and loan schemes administered by this Department through delivery partners. Many of these loans and grants are made to a company or organisation and not to named individuals. As such, we do not collect data on gender for these loans and grants. The following tables provide details of specific schemes aimed at individual applicants.

Start Up Loans
SchemeNo. of female applicationsProportion who were femaleapplicationNo. of female recipientsProportion who were femalerecipients (%)

Start Up Loans (launched September 2012)

11,526

36

6,914

37

Start Up Loans (launched September 2012) are delivered by Start Up Loan Company (SuLCo). There is no specific requirement to monitor gender, but monitoring of gender is one of the data streams SuLCo captures to aid in its reporting to government.

Student Loans1
Type of supportNo. of females awarded loans academic year 2008-09 (000)Proportion who were femaleawarded loans academic year 2008-09 (%)No. of females awarded loansacademic year 2012-13(000)Proportion who were femaleawarded loans academic year 2012-13 (%)

Maintenance Grant Awarded

263.7

57

302.4

54

HE Grant Awarded

15.0

51

0.0

42

Adult Dependant Grant Awarded

3.6

43

3.8

43

Childcare Grant Awarded

9.4

91

12.8

90

Parental Learning Allowance Awarded

27.6

80

31.8

81

Travel Grant Awarded

0.7

58

1.0

56

Disabled Students Allowance Paid

10.9

57

31.9

58

Tuition Fee Loan Paid

362.6

54

469.9

53

Maintenance Loan Paid

419.5

54

505.5

54

1 Excludes Careleavers Grant, Dependants Grant and Lone Parents Grant

Student Loans are delivered by Student Loans Company (SLC). There is no requirement to monitor gender. Monitoring focuses on the eligibility criteria which are set out in regulations. Gender is not part of the eligibility criteria.

The data only includes two academic years because providing all five academic years would be of disproportionate cost.

The data only includes those who were “awarded” Student Loans rather than those who “applied” and “received”. This is because students are awarded Student Loans based on eligibility criteria so only those who applied and were eligible have been recorded.

24+ Advanced Learning Loan (24+ALL)1
Academic yearNo. of learners awarded 24+ALLNo. of femalelearners awarded 24+ALLProportion of female learners awarded a 24+ALL (%)No. of applications for a 24+ALLNo. of femaleapplications for a 24+ALLProportion of female applications for a 24+ALL (%)

2013/14

      

August 2013 to April 2014

52,400

39,500

75

2013/14

      

To end June 2014

69,110

52,010

75

11 Sep 2014 : Column 733W

11 Sep 2014 : Column 734W

2014/15

4,760

3,680

77

1 Introduced in the 2013/14 academic year

In addition, Vocational Education Teaching and Learning funding is outlined in the Skills Funding Statement which sets out the Government’s priorities for the budget. It is for providers to decide how they use funding to reflect those priorities. The Skills Funding Statements 2012-15 and 2013-16 also show in the Data Annex what learning the available funding has supported over the last three years, including a breakdown by gender:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/skills-funding-statement-2013-to-2016

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/skills-funding-statement-2012-2015