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Written Answers to Questions

Thursday 4 September 2014

Northern Ireland

Administrative Scheme for the “On the Runs” Independent Review

Kate Hoey: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland with reference to paragraph 2.58 of the report of the Hallett Review, whether the individual x has been prosecuted; and if she will make a statement. [206671]

Mrs Villiers: The decision whether or not to prosecute an individual is a matter for the independent prosecuting authorities.

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what the (a) acommodation, (b) travel, (c) staffing and (d) other costs of the Hallett Inquiry into the on-the-runs administrative scheme were. [207796]

Mrs Villiers: Officials are currently finalising the total cost of the review. A summary breakdown will be published when it is available.

Lady Hermon: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland (1) which recommendations of the Hallett Report, published on 17 July 2014, into the on-the-runs administrative scheme she plans to implement; and if she will make a statement; [207797]

(2) what assessment she has made of the progress being made by the Police Service of Northern Ireland's Operation Red Field to review the 228 on-the-runs who received administrative comfort letters; and if she will make a statement; [207794]

(3) what recent steps her Department has taken in response to the Hallett Report, published on 17 July 2014, into the on-the-runs administrative scheme; and if she will make a statement. [207798]

Mrs Villiers: As I said in my statement of 17 July following publication of the Hallett Report, the Government accepts the report and all its recommendations in full.

The Northern Ireland Office (NIO) has set up an OTR Policy Oversight Board, chaired by the NIO Permanent Secretary, to ensure that follow-up action is taken to implement the recommendations in full. The Board brings together representatives from all interested parties to ensure that the response to the Hallett report is fully co-ordinated.

I will keep Parliament abreast of developments as appropriate.

Telephone Services

Valerie Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland under what timetable her Department plans to phase out use of telephone lines with the prefix (a)

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0845, 0844 and 0843 in accordance with the Cabinet Office guidance on customer service lines published in December 2013 and

(b)

03 and 08, where 03 is the primary number under a dual numbering system. [207290]

Mrs Villiers: My Department does not use any of the prefixes listed for its customer service lines.

Television

Mr Bradshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how much her Department spent on the purchase of televisions in (a) 2013 and (b) 2014 to date. [207222]

Mrs Villiers: My Department spent £3,543.20 on new televisions in 2013 when the Northern Ireland Office moved from Millbank to new offices at 1 Horse Guards Road. This move will deliver a saving to the taxpayer in the region of £1 million per year.

There has been no expenditure on the purchase of televisions in 2014 to date.

Warm Home Discount Scheme

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what progress has been made on extending the Warm Homes Discount Scheme to Northern Ireland. [207152]

Mrs Villiers: Energy matters in Northern Ireland are devolved and are the responsibility of the Department of Enterprise, Trade and Investment in Northern Ireland.

Although the responsibility for issues in this area are devolved, the Government is playing its part to address the problems we know people are encountering in Northern Ireland as a result of fuel prices. Notably, the Chancellor has frozen fuel duty for the remainder of the Parliament. Since home heating oil heats 68% of homes in Northern Ireland compared to 4% in Great Britain this has a very significant impact.

Attorney-General

Corruption

Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Attorney-General how many self-reports from companies have been made under (a) the Bribery Act 2010 and (b) other corruption legislation in the last 12 months. [207305]

The Solicitor-General: Self-reports are not necessarily made relating to specific legislation, and it is for the prosecutor to determine the relevant legislation in each case when considering charging.

Further, given the small number and seriousness of cases investigated by SFO, it would not be desirable to provide a breakdown of this data because of the need to protect individuals and the risk of prejudicing investigations.

Metropolitan Police

Helen Goodman: To ask the Attorney-General if he will seek a review of the Crown Prosecution Service's decision not to prosecute the Metropolitan Police officers accused of starting sexual relationships with environmental activists. [207399]

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The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) will review any cases referred to it by the police in accordance with the two stage test that is set out in the Code for Crown Prosecutors. Where there is sufficient evidence for a realistic prospect of conviction and it is in the public interest, such cases will be prosecuted.

The CPS has been working with officers conducting the Operation Herne investigation into the conduct of a number of officers.

On 21 August 2014 the Crown Prosecution Service issued a statement containing the reasons it gave for not prosecuting officers considered under Operation Aubusson, a subset of Operation Herne which is available at:

http://www.cps.gov.uk/news/latest_news/charging_ decision_concerning_mps_special_demonstration_squad/

Since that date one person has requested that the case be re-reviewed under the Victims’ Right to Review scheme and that process is under way.

Television

Mr Bradshaw: To ask the Attorney-General how much the Law Officers' Departments spent on the purchase of televisions in (a) 2013 and (b) 2014 to date. [207208]

The Solicitor-General: The Serious Fraud Office spent £450 on televisions in 2013-14, and £1,272 in 2014-15 as at 31 August.

The Crown Prosecution Service does not collect this information centrally. To obtain it would require local area managers to review all paper procurement records which would incur a disproportionate cost.

The remaining Law Officers' Departments have not incurred any such expenditure during the past two years.

Transport

A47

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what criteria were used in choosing the 10 schemes for work on the A47 which would be subject to further feasibility work by the Highways Agency. [207751]

Mr Hayes: The Department's A47 Corridor feasibility study has reviewed evidence to identify the current and future problems and issues along the corridor. In considering potential investment proposals the study focused on the sections of the route that currently experience the most severe problems or where problems are predicted to be exacerbated due to planned development and growth.

A range of possible interventions to address the identified problems were assessed in terms of their deliverability and the extent to which they would meet a number of objectives for the corridor, including the extent to which they would support economic growth, help improve capacity, address resilience and safety, and the degree to which impacts on the surrounding natural environment and landscape could be minimised. The better performing interventions identified are to be further assessed in terms of affordability, deliverability and value for money.

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Biofuels

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport when the eligibility criteria and terms of reference for his Department's competition for £25 million of capital funding for advanced biofuel plants in the UK will be announced. [207606]

Mr Goodwill: A feasibility study into the design of the £25 million Advanced Biofuels Demonstration Competition has been completed, further work is underway to test the business case and plan the delivery of the competition. Further details, including the competition eligibility criteria, will be published together with the feasibility study report on the Government’s website later this year, with the competition running during 2015.

Highways Agency

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the National Audit Office report entitled, Maintaining strategic infrastructure roads, HC169, published on 6 June 2014, how many IT systems the Highways Agency and its contractors plan to use for its integrated asset management system by May 2015. [207784]

Mr Hayes: By May 2015 the Agency/contractors will be using 11 systems:

The Integrated Asset Management Information System (IAM IS) solution:

five maintenance contractors will be live on the IAM IS Routine Maintenance/Customer Enquiry modules; and

the IAM IS Pavements module (including network occupancy for booking road space for maintenance and the new network model) will have been rolled out to all maintenance contractors. This replaces the existing HA Pavements Management System and Schedule of Road Works.

Seven maintenance contractors will continue (until contract renewal) to use their own routine maintenance systems. It is expected that the final maintenance area will go-live in June 2016.

Three legacy databases for Structures (planned implementation July 2015), Drainage and Geotechnical (planned implementation April 2016).

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport by what date the Highways Agency plans to have a fully populated and integrated asset management system with 100 per cent coverage of its contractors. [207792]

Mr Hayes: The Highways Agency plans to have a fully populated and integrated asset management system in place by the end of 2017-18.

Large Goods Vehicles

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what discussions he has had with his counterparts in HM Treasury about likely effects of the proposed methanol excise duty reduction to incentivise the increased use of methanol as a replacement for diesel in HGVs on (a) the wider fuel market and (b) the wider vehicle market. [207607]

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Mr Goodwill: Officials from the Department for Transport and Her Majesty's Treasury are in regular contact on the development of proposals to change the duty rate for methanol.

These changes will provide businesses with the tax certainty they need to invest in alternatively fuelled commercial vehicles and improve air quality. The reduced rate will apply to methanol composed of 95% pure methanol, and 5% water.

Draft legislation will be published at the autumn statement for further consultation, including with representatives from the fuel industry and motor manufacturers.

Motorways: Closures

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many motorway lanes were closed by the Highways Agency in each year for which figures are available. [207612]

Mr Hayes: I regret that this data can be produced only at disproportionate cost.

Pedestrian Crossings

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport whether his Department plans to increase the time for pedestrians to cross on signalised crossings. [207788]

Mr Goodwill: Local councils are responsible for setting pedestrian crossing timings with reference to the Department for Transport’s guidance walking speed of 1.2 metres per second given in Local Transport Note 1/95: ‘The Assessment of Pedestrian Crossings’, Local Transport Note 2/95: ‘The Design of Pedestrian Crossings’, and Traffic Advisory Leaflet 5/05: ‘Pedestrian Facilities at Signal-controlled Junctions’.

The Department recommends that where a crossing may be used by a large number of older people or those with mobility issues, for example outside residential care homes, this should be taken into account when setting timings.

The Department expects to bring the successor to the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions, which will include all pedestrian crossing types, into force in 2015 and once that is complete will consider the need to update existing guidance.

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will assess the potential merits of lowering the assumed walking speed of 1.2 metres per second used for calculating crossing times for pedestrians; and if he will publish the findings of that assessment. [207789]

Mr Goodwill: Local councils are responsible for setting pedestrian crossing timings with reference to the Department for Transport’s guidance walking speed of 1.2 metres per second given in Local Transport Note 1/95: ‘The Assessment of Pedestrian Crossings’, Local Transport Note 2/95: ‘The Design of Pedestrian Crossings’, and Traffic Advisory Leaflet 5/05: ‘Pedestrian Facilities at Signal-controlled Junctions’.

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The Department recommends that where a crossing may be used by a large number of older people or those with mobility issues, for example outside residential care homes, this should be taken into account when setting timings.

The Department expects to bring the successor to the Traffic Signs Regulations and General Directions, which will include all pedestrian crossing types, into force in 2015 and once that is complete will consider the need to update existing guidance.

Rail North

Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what information and estimates his Department gave to Rail North in respect of (a) passenger numbers on existing services, (b) the spending envelope for the new franchise, (c) changes in staff numbers required and (d) stations closures or transfer of control of those stations to local authorities. [206718]

Claire Perry: The Department and Rail North are working collaboratively in accordance with the “Partnership Principles,” which includes “full and open disclosure between parties subject to any confidentiality obligations which apply.” As such Rail North was provided with all of the information necessary for the creation of the consultation document. This included known passenger numbers on existing services and financial information from the Department’s Long Term Forecast for both franchises. As stated in the consultation, the Department is not considering line or station closures for these competitions. Staffing levels are a matter for the train operators and estimates have not been made regarding them.

Austin Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) how many representatives of each local authority are in Rail North; and what the name is of each such representative; [206720]

(2) which councillors from North East Lincolnshire and Northern Lincolnshire councils were represented in the preparation of Rail North's consultation paper on the TransPennine and Northern Rail franchises; and whether such councils were consulted by Rail North before it issued the document. [206719]

Claire Perry: Rail North’s represents 30 local transport authorities in the north of England. Its constitution, including the specific make up of its membership, and decision making process are a matter for them. The Department worked with the Rail North group on the development of the consultation paper and the views of individual councillors were not presented or sought as part of this process.

Railway Signals

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what funding he is making available to improve the reliability of rail signalling. [206844]

Claire Perry: This is a matter for Network Rail and the independent Office of Rail Regulation. Network Rail is required to manage its network, including its signalling assets, in a safe, reliable and efficient manner. It must deliver the level of overall performance over

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each five-year funding period specified by the Office of Rail Regulation, following receipt of the Government’s high level strategic outputs and the amount of national funding available.

The Office of Rail Regulation’s Final Determination sets out the funding that Network Rail will receive over Control Period 5 (1 April 2014 to 31 March 2019), including funding for the efficient maintenance and renewal of its signalling assets.

Road Traffic

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what estimate he has made of the average

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number of vehicles on an average day on

(a)

the strategic road network and

(b)

local roads in the most recent year for which figures are available. [207585]

Mr Goodwill: The table below includes the annual average daily flow for the strategic road network, local authority managed major roads and minor roads in England for 2013.

Department for Transport statistics

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-transport/series/road-traffic-statistics

Motor vehicle flow by road class and road management, England, 2013, annual average daily flow1
Vehicles a day
Highways Agency (HA) managed roadsLocal authority (LA) managed roads
Motorways'A' roadsAll HA roadsMajor roadsMinor roadsAll LA roadsAll Roads

82,500

31,200

52,800

13,300

1,500

2,600

3,800

1 The calculation for the annual average daily flow is estimated by dividing the annual traffic estimate by the road length. Source: DFT National Road Traffic Survey. Last updated: June 2014. The figures in this table are National Statistics.

Roads: Repairs and Maintenance

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport (1) with reference to the National Audit Office report entitled, Maintaining strategic infrastructure roads, HC169, published on 6 June 2014, what assessment his Department has made of the effect on local highways of local authorities not implementing guidance from the highways of maintenance efficiency programme; [207783]

(2) which local highways authorities have not completed an asset management plan. [207791]

Mr Goodwill: The Department for Transport continues to work closely with the all parts of the sector to help spread best practice in highways asset management, including through the Highways Maintenance Efficiency. It is recommended that local highway authorities have an asset management strategy in place to ensure the efficient delivery of highway maintenance service for which they are responsible.

The development of highways asset management plans and strategies is entirely a matter for each local highway authority. As the National Audit Office report highlighted many authorities are currently at different stages of implementing such plans. The Department does not, therefore, hold comprehensive data on how many authorities have up to date asset management plans in place.

Rolling Stock: North East

Mr Iain Wright: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he with ensure that Pacer trains operating on services in the North East are replaced rather than modified; and if he will make a statement. [207642]

Claire Perry: As stated in the consultation document for the next Northern and TransPennine Express franchises, The Department will require bidders

“to include plans, either in their core proposition or as an option, which would enable the withdrawal of all Pacer units from Northern services.”

Beyond this the Department does not intend to specify rolling stock solutions for either the TransPennine or Northern franchises.

Shipping

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what (a) domestic and (b) European regulations are deemed by the Maritime and Coastguard Agency to have superseded the Merchant Shipping (Emergency Equipment Lockers for Ro/Ro Passenger Ships) Regulations 1988. [207648]

Mr Hayes: No domestic or European regulations have specifically superseded the Merchant Shipping (Emergency Equipment Lockers for Ro/Ro Passenger Ships) Regulations 1988.

Levels of safety on ships now are higher than they were in 1988 because of the introduction of a number of regulations since then. These include the International Safety Management Code—an international standard for the safe management and operation of ships; SOLAS 90—an international standard for passenger ship stability; and the Stockholm agreement—an international agreement on stability requirements for Ro/Ro Passenger ships.

In addition there have been improvements in the requirements for training of ships' officers and crew: The International Convention on Standards of Training, Certification and Watchkeeping for Seafarers.

Shipping: Safety

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what the Maritime and Coastguard Agency's (MCA) annual budget for promoting seafarer safety to ship owners operating in the UK was in each year since 2009-10; and what the MCA's budget for such work is in 2015-16. [207105]

Mr Hayes: The Maritime and Coastguard Agency’s activities for each financial and operating year are set out in its published Business Plans. These set out the

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Agency’s total budget for the delivery of its work, including efforts to promote the safety of seafarers.

However no specific budgetary allocation has been or will be earmarked for this activity.

Defence

Armed Forces: Housing

Caroline Dinenage: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if his Department will review regulations to allow unmarried partners with children to live together in service family accommodation. [207076]

Anna Soubry: The New Employment Model programme aims to examine how we might strike a better balance between the requirements of service and the demands placed on service personnel and their families, adjusting where necessary to promote greater stability in service life while continuing to recognise the impact of mobility.

This programme includes the future accommodation project which is addressing single and family accommodation, with the aim to balance the future needs of the service with the aspirations of service personnel for affordable and good quality housing. Within the future accommodation project the Ministry of Defence is reviewing entitlement for service families’ accommodation to better suit modern 21st century families. This review includes considering the eligibility for service personnel in long-term relationships.

BAE Systems

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of the Commercial Principles Agreement signed with BAE MNS. [207785]

Mr Dunne: I am withholding the information as its disclosure would prejudice the commercial interests of the Department and because it relates to the formulation of government policy.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether under the Commercial Principles Agreement signed with BAE MNS the public purse bears any cost of future rationalisation of UK warship building. [207786]

Mr Dunne: Under Government accounting conventions, it is normal for provision to be made for some redundancy costs to be met at customer expense. Such liabilities do not stem from the Commercial Principles Agreement, but from the conventions laid down in the “Yellow Book”, the Government Profit Formula and its Associated Arrangements, which covers single source procurement.

As these conventions currently stand, the Ministry of Defence could be liable for any reasonable and appropriate costs that are attributable to single source warship procurement in the event of future rationalisation.

Angus Robertson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence with reference to the answer of 18 November 2013, Official Report, column 697, what the value was of the outstanding key industrial capacity notice received by BAE MNS. [207787]

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Mr Dunne: No payment value had been calculated for the Key Industrial Capability (KIC) notice when the Commercial Principles Agreement was signed in November 2013. Under the terms of this agreement, BAE Systems agreed to waive any outstanding claims for KIC payments.

Cyprus

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether the protected status of every designated nature conservation area in Akrotiri Sovereign Base Area will be maintained following the agreement between the UK and Republic of Cyprus in January 2014 to open the Sovereign Base Area to development. [207717]

Mr Francois: The Sovereign Base Areas Administration (SBAA) and the Government of the Republic of Cyprus published guidelines for the designation of planning zones and the preparation of planning policy for the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia (SBAs) on 16 July 2014. These draft guidelines are now subject to consultation until the end of October 2014. It is proposed that the SBAA Policy Statement will underpin planning and development in the SBAs, ensuring this is carried out in a controlled manner and that designated special areas of protection and conservation are maintained appropriately.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how his Department plans to ensure that any consultation run by the government of the Republic of Cyprus with regard to development of the Akrotiri Sovereign Base Area will include consultation with civil society. [207718]

Mr Francois: The Sovereign Base Areas Administration (SBAA) and the Government of the Republic of Cyprus are holding a joint consultation process for the designation of planning zones and preparation of planning policy for the Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri and Dhekelia (SBAs). Public meetings with representatives of the relevant local communities were held on 16 July 2014, when the formal joint consultation process commenced. The draft proposals for the designation of planning zones and planning policy in the SBAs have been provided to all SBA communities and to various interested Non Government Organisations. The relevant documents can be accessed on the SBAA website, together with accompanying maps providing guidance on current land use and constraints, including existing and proposed special areas of protection and conservation.

Departmental Records

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence if he will place in the Library a copy of JSP 411-Defence Records Management Policy and Procedures, versions 4.3 and 4.2. [207302]

Anna Soubry: Copies of JSP 411, Defence Records Management Policy and Procedures, version 4.3 and 4.2 have been placed in the Library of the House.

Electronic Warfare

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the status is of the Cyber Reserve. [207634]

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Mr Brazier: Recruitment for the Joint Cyber Unit (Reserve) began in October 2013. The Cyber Reserve will provide support to the Joint Cyber Unit (Corsham), the Joint Cyber Unit (Cheltenham), and tri-service Information Assurance units. Interest in joining the Cyber Reserve has been extremely positive, both in terms of the quality and quantity of applications received. A number of Cyber Reservist applicants have been selected and are now going through single service recruiting processes, with many more being invited to interview. The first Cyber Reserve induction courses have taken place and these individuals will now move onto specific workplace induction and training. The next two years will see the Cyber Reserve fully operational.

EU Law

Mr Redwood: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many new EU directives and regulations have been transposed into UK law by his Department since May 2010. [207256]

Mr Brazier: The Ministry of Defence has transposed three EU directives into UK law since 2010: the EU Defence and Security Procurement Directive (2009/81/EC); the EU Directive on the Right to Interpretation and Translation in Criminal Proceedings (2010/64/EU); and the EU Directive on the Right to Information in Criminal Proceedings (2012/13/EU).

Medical Equipment

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 19 June 2014, Official Report, column 728W, on medical equipment, how the equipment referred to in that note was disposed of; how much was raised from any re-sale; and which such equipment was donated. [207408]

Mr Dunne: Information on the disposal of the items listed in Defence Instruction Notice 2014DIN04-053 and declared obsolete over the last 10 years could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

RAF Waddington

Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what recent assessment his Department has made of the effect of the RAF Air Show at RAF Waddington on (a) the public profile of the RAF, (b) public interest in the RAF and (c) money raised for RAF charities; and what plans he has for the future of the air show at RAF Waddington. [207015]

Mr Francois: The RAF Waddington International Air Show is the RAF’s largest official Air Show and aims to raise awareness of the RAF and its activities and to raise money for charity. It has attracted an average attendance of 130,000 for the two day event over the past five years. Since 1995, £3.3 million has been raised and donated to charities.

The 2015 Air Show has been cancelled due to essential work due to be carried out on the RAF Waddington runway.

The RAF is reviewing Air Show commitments from 2016 onwards. The results of this review will be announced in due course.

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Reserve Forces

Oliver Colvile: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress he has made in establishing pals reservists regiments as part of Army 2020. [207368]

Mr Brazier: The Army is not directly seeking to recreate 'Pals' regiments under Army 2020. Pals regiments were historic First World War formations mainly raised through the efforts of local authorities, industrialists or committees of private citizens and were composed of men who lived in a particular city or district, or who shared a common social or occupational background.

Army units, both Regular and Reserve, remain a key part of UK society and their local communities. Many continue to have a natural affinity to a particular part of the country in their recruiting. We encourage all serving Reservists to ‘bring a friend’ along to training. Significant work has gone into ensuring that there is an effective regional footprint of Army Reserve units under Army 2020. This, coupled with a strong recognition of the benefits of local and regional recruiting activity, alongside a wider national profile for the Army Reserve are key parts of the growth and investment in the Reserve Forces under Army 2020.

The Reserve Forces and Cadets Associations continue to play an important role in maintaining and developing that profile.

Reserve Forces: Warrington

Helen Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many people in Warrington have joined the reserve forces as a result of the Government’s recent advertising campaign. [207618]

Mr Brazier: The Volunteer Reserve Forces are continuously recruiting and numbers joining are not normally attributed to particular advertising campaigns. In the 12 months ending 31 July 2014, approximately 10 people joined Reserve Units in Warrington.

Source:

Defence Statistics. Numbers have been rounded to the nearest 10.

Travel

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence pursuant to the answer of 18 June 2014, Official Report, column 637W, on travel, how much was paid to staff in receipt of the excess fares allowance in each year since 2007-08. [207411]

Anna Soubry: The following table shows how much was paid to staff in receipt of excess fares allowance (EFA) in each year since 2007-08:

Financial yearTotal amount of EFA paid (£)

2007-08

7,519,701

2008-09

8,547,614

2009-10

7,728,579

2010-11

8,122,913

2011-12

8,376,180

2012-13

6,793,270

2013-14

5,702,607

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Veterans UK

Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence (1) what checks and balances he has put in place to ensure that Veterans UK is accountable to his Department; [207033]

(2) what checks and balances he put in place to ensure that the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency was accountable to his Department. [207038]

Anna Soubry: Veterans UK and the former Service Personnel and Veterans Agency are part of Defence Business Services (DBS) and form part of the Ministry of Defence (MOD). DBS is responsible and accountable to the MOD Permanent Under Secretary and Ministers who are answerable to Parliament.

War Pensions

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what the average length of time taken to process settlements for the War Pensions Scheme has been in each year since 2010. [206082]

Anna Soubry: The average length of time taken to process claims under the War Pensions Scheme in each year since 2010 has been:

 Working days

2010-11

39

2011-12

51

2012-13

82

2013-14

110

2014-15 (year to 31 July)

102

In the majority of cases deadlines for progressing cases are met. The War Pensions and Armed Forces Compensation Schemes are jointly resourced and administered. The impact of the implementation of the Boyce Review on the Armed Forces Compensation Scheme (Cm 7798, published February 2010) and its subsequent publicity campaign, combined with an increase in the number of applications for War Disablement Pension (linked to more people with pre-April 2005 service reaching the end of their engagement), led to delays in processing prospective claims.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Business: Human Rights

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which trade associations or sector groupings of companies have developed guidance on human rights and due diligence over the last year; and what steps his Department is taking to support such initiatives. [207616]

Mr Lidington: There is no central repository in the UK that captures sector specific guidance on business and human rights. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills continues to work with bodies including Business in the Community, the Ethical Trading Initiative and the British Retail Consortium on guidance for their

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respective members, drawing on the “Good Business: Implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights”.

Climate Change

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department has spent on climate change-related diplomacy in each of the last five years; and what funding has been allocated for future climate change-related diplomacy. [207615]

James Duddridge: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO)’s Total Direct Expenditure on ‘Climate Change/Low Carbon Economy/Energy Security’ over the last 5 years are as follows:

 £

2009-10

28,796,697

2010-11

25,892,831

2011-12

21,926,636

2012-13

18,958,265

2013-14

15,823,777

These figures include Prosperity Fund project spend and salaries. The figures exclude management, support and indirect costs/overheads.

The reduction in spend has occurred within the context of the wider Government and FCO budgetary reductions necessitated by the biggest budget deficit in the UK's peacetime history inherited from the previous Administration. We have been able to target our climate change spending where the FCO can have the most impact.

Climate change and energy/resource security remain high-level foreign policy priorities. Precise budgetary allocations for future years are dependent on the overall FCO budgetary allocation from Her Majesty's Treasury and for 2015-16 onwards relate to the next Comprehensive Spending Review Period.

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many staff in (a) his Department in the UK and (b) British embassies and high commissions overseas work on climate change-related diplomacy; and what projections he has made of the future staffing requirements for such work. [207617]

James Duddridge: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) currently has 20 staff who work full time in London on climate change. This includes the Foreign Secretary’s Special Representative on Climate Change. We have the full time equivalent of 70 staff dedicated to climate change and energy work across our overseas network. In addition, as climate and energy priorities demand, we have around a further 80 overseas staff who are also regularly engaged on climate diplomacy.

Climate change and energy/resource security remain high-level foreign policy priorities for the FCO and we keep resourcing arrangements under constant review.

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Conflict Resolution: Females

Bridget Phillipson: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 4 June 2014, Official Report, column 726-8W, on Conflict Resolution: Females, if he will place in the Library copies of the minutes of the inter-departmental meetings referenced in that Answer. [207409]

James Duddridge: Officials from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office regularly meet their counterparts from the Department for International Development and the Ministry of Defence to discuss the women, peace and security agenda. The Secretaries of State from these three Departments launched the UK’s third National Action Plan on Women, Peace and Security at the Ending Sexual Violence Summit in June.

Successive Governments have not disclosed minutes of internal meetings which inform the development of Government Policy as it undermines the ‘private space' needed to allow officials to have free and frank discussions, and advise Ministers on policy options.

Diego Garcia

Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what payments the Government would accrue from extending the lease for use of Diego Garcia by the United States for a further 20 years. [207605]

James Duddridge: There is no lease of Diego Garcia to the United States military under which a rent is charged. The use of the British Indian Ocean Territory (including Diego Garcia) is regulated by a series of bilateral agreements between the UK and US covering a period of fifty years. I expect my officials to begin substantive discussions with US colleagues about post-2016 arrangements later this year, as the conclusions from the feasibility study on resettlement of Chagossians begin to become clear.

Charlotte Leslie: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the potential security benefits of the UK's ability to use Diego Garcia as a military base after the current lease for use of that territory by the US has expired. [207610]

James Duddridge: The 2012 White Paper, ‘The Overseas Territories-Security, Success & Sustainability’ made clear the strategic importance of our Overseas Territories, which give Britain a global strategic reach in support of our international objectives. The US Base on Diego Garcia represents a vital part of the Anglo-American defence relationship, remains a significant strategic asset for the UK and has previously been used for UK military operations.

Occupied Territories

Mr Godsiff: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps the UK plans to take in response to Israel's announcement that it will appropriate nearly 1,000 acres of Palestinian land in the Etzion settlement. [207603]

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Mr Ellwood: The Government has made it clear that it deplores the Israeli Government's expropriation of 988 acres of land around the settlement of Etzion near Bethlehem. It is a particularly ill-judged decision at a time when the priority should be to build on the ceasefire in Gaza. We believe it will do serious damage to Israel's standing in the international community.

The Government's position on settlements is clear: they are illegal under international law, present an obstacle to peace and take us further away from a two state solution at a time when negotiations to achieve this objective urgently need to be resumed.

We have strongly urged the Government of Israel to reverse this decision.

Culture, Media and Sport

Broadband

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps can be taken to provide broadband services to residential properties in major cities where (a) commercial internet providers have deemed the street cabinets serving that commercially unviable and (b) the local authority is restricted in its ability to use public funds to build broadband networks in contravention of state aid regulations. [207611]

Mr Vaizey: The Government is investing up to £150 million in the SuperConnected Cities Programme to support UK cities to develop the digital infrastructure capability required to remain internationally competitive.

In addition there has also been a substantial increase in planned commercial infrastructure investment in urban areas, including BT committing an additional £50 million to their commercial roll-out; Virgin Media investing to improve its superfast footprint by 100,000 premises; and a range of other providers making investments in cities such as York, Coventry and Peterborough. These investments will benefit both businesses and domestic households. There is also the ongoing roll-out of 4G which will make a significant impact on connectivity in urban locations.

The Government is also working to drive down costs of network delivery and has amended the planning regulations and Electronic Communications code, supported the European directive on measures to reduce broadband deployment costs, and has a universal basic broadband commitment to ensure minimum service levels.

When Government reviews outstanding coverage issues in urban locations after the closure of the SME voucher initiative in March 2015, we will be better placed to identify the most challenging areas and to consider the most appropriate and effective method of intervention at that time.

Broadband: Northern Ireland

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) what steps he is taking to ensure that internet broadband operators do not default in their contractual duty to deliver telecommunication services in Northern Ireland; [207755]

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(2) if he will increase the penalties available to be levied against internet broadband operators who fail in their contractual duty to provide telecommunication broadband service to customers in Northern Ireland. [207757]

Mr Vaizey: The Government does not license, monitor, or levy penalties on communications providers operations in the UK. The UK, through Ofcom, operates a general authorisation regime that requires communications providers (including internet broadband providers operating in Northern Ireland) to meet a range of general and specific conditions that entitle them to operate in the sector. Communications providers are also required to abide by consumer protection law. In instances, where there is dispute concerning a company fulfilling its contractual duties, consumers can seek independent resolution through one of the Ofcom accredited schemes (CISAS, or the ombudsman services) of which all communications providers must be a member. Ofcom holds enforcement powers with respect to both the general authorisation regime and consumer protection law and can take action should it consider it appropriate to. There is no evidence that the enforcement regime is proving ineffective and requires amending.

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will make representations to service providers regarding poor broadband coverage in rural areas of Northern Ireland. [207756]

Mr Vaizey: The Northern Ireland Assembly has lead responsibility for the provision of broadband delivery in Northern Ireland and has been allocated £11.64 million to support the delivery of broadband improvements.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Agricultural Products: Russia

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (1) what assistance she plans to offer farmers and businesses affected by sanctions on Russia which apply to agricultural products from the EU; [207722]

(2) what assessment she has made of the potential effect of sanctions on Russia on the UK agriculture industry. [207721]

George Eustice: The UK has been monitoring the situation closely since the ban came into effect on 7 August.

In the UK, the ban will affect approximately £39 million of agricultural produce–this is 0.2% of UK’s total food, feed and drink exports for 2013 at £18.9 billion. UK producers may face lower prices in some products as producers sell what was originally intended for Russia on the EU market. Some UK businesses had goods in transit, including dairy, poultry and fish consignments, which were turned away. Our investigations show very limited market impact caused by the ban with stable prices for most products.

We recognise that the ban will have an impact on some businesses, particularly the pelagic sector of the Scottish fishing industry. At a UK level, exports of fish (mainly frozen mackerel) to Russia were approximately

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£18 million in 2013. That was 1% of UK total fish and seafood exports and 8% of frozen fish exports but 18% of UK mackerel exports.

The cheese industry, which exported about £5.8 million to Russia (1.3% of UK’s total exports) may be affected. Northern Ireland exported almost £3 million worth of food (mainly dairy) to Russia in 2013-14.

The UK’s produce is world class and our priority is to minimise the potential impact of the totally unjustified Russian ban by working with trade associations and industry in identifying alternative markets. We encourage our growers to find other outlets such as processing, and to utilise existing EU Producer Organisation promotion funds.

The European Commission has now announced support measures for EU farmers and growers: €125 million worth of aid for fruit and vegetable producers and €10-20 million for dairy farmers to pay for the temporary storage of butter, cheese and skimmed milk powder. Both schemes will be available within the UK. On 3 September, the Commission also announced an additional €30 million for EU Promotions to help the industry find other markets for products that might otherwise have been exported to Russia.

We are working with the Scottish Government, the European Commission and pelagic industry to develop new and emerging markets.

Agriculture: Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the UK is taking to monitor the effect of the UK food industry on greenhouse gas emissions. [207747]

Dan Rogerson: The Food Statistics Pocketbook 2013:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/food-statistics-pocketbook

contains a chapter on environmental statistics, including greenhouse gas emissions. Around 176 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent greenhouse gases (mt CO2e) were emitted within the UK from domestic agri-food sector activity in 2011. This excludes emissions from non-fertiliser pre-farm gate production, food packaging, food waste and land use change; the largest contributor is net trade in food and drink, estimated at 61 mt CO2e. The UK farming and fishing sector was the second largest contributor, accounting for 55.1 mt CO2e.

Food Supply Networks Review

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she plans to publish the review led by Professor Elliott into the food system and food contamination. [207532]

George Eustice: The report has been published today (4 September 2014).

Insects

Kerry McCarthy: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Truro and Falmouth of 14 May 2014, Official Report, column 614W, on insects, when the Government is likely to publish its final National Pollinator Strategy. [207613]

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Dan Rogerson: The National Pollinator Strategy is planned for publication this autumn. This enables us to consider its content in light of the findings of the Environmental Audit Committee’s report on the Strategy, which was published in July.

Meat

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps the Government is taking to educate the public about the (a) health and (b) environmental effects of eating high amounts of red meat. [207746]

George Eustice: The Government provides tips and information on healthy eating through the Live Well pages of NHS Choices website and through promotional material on the “eatwell” plate, to educate the public on eating meat as part of a healthy balanced diet.

As depicted in the “eatwell” plate, the Government recommends eating some meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy sources of protein as part of a healthy balanced diet.

In response to one of the Green Food Project’s recommendations in 2012, DEFRA initiated a debate about sustainable food consumption. The Sustainable Consumption report from the group of interested organisations which came together to work on this project, published in July 2013, included eight principles of a healthy and sustainable diet. These are being reviewed by the Global Food Security Programme and will be published as part of its Insight series in due course.

Education

Children in Care

Ian Austin: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps her Department is taking to tackle the damaging effects of moving in and out of care for looked-after children. [207514]

Mr Timpson: Permanence is achieved through a successful return home, however, we know far too many children re-enter care. The Government is seeking to address this through a better understanding of data, undertaking research to improve practice and strengthening the statutory framework where necessary.

In September 2013 the Government published the ‘Improving Permanence for looked-after children’ data pack1, which encourages local authorities to consider their own systems and processes for returning children home and to improving their rate of success.

In 2013 the Department for Education consulted on a range of proposals to improve permanence for looked-after children. Departmental officials have convened a meeting of the relevant expert group on 9 September to discuss these issues and the Government’s formal response will be published later this year.

The Government has commissioned the National Children’s Bureau and the Centre for Child and Family Research at Loughborough University to deliver an action research project. The project is working with frontline practitioners and families to support improved practice in returning children home.

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This project is complemented by research we have commissioned from the NSPCC and the University of Bristol. Their approach is ‘top down’, working with senior practitioners to implement a specific model of support for children returning home, developed and tested by NSPCC. This research will build on earlier work by NSPCC and includes a focus on implementation science, identifying savings and efficiencies, and developing a practice model that can be used by local authorities without the need for specialist support from the NSPCC.

Both these research projects will report in 2015.

1 www.gov.uk/government/publications/improving-permanence-for-looked-after-children-data-pack

Children's Centres

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) what steps she is taking to ensure that children's centres receive live birth data from local authorities; [207114]

(2) whether local authorities require parental consent in order to share live birth data with Sure Start children's centres; [207115]

(3) how many local authorities share live birth data with children's centres in their areas. [207116]

Mr Gyimah: The Department for Education’s Sure Start children’s centres statutory guidance says that health services and local authorities should share information (such as live birth data and data on families with children under five who have recently moved into the area) with children’s centres on a regular basis.

Local authorities and commissioners of health services should consider developing local partnership agreements or protocols to enable effective sharing of live birth data, whilst ensuring compliance with the requirements of the Data Protection Act 1998 and other relevant legal provisions.

Birth registration data are in the public domain, and therefore explicit consent is not required for the sharing of live birth data between health and local authorities and between local authorities and Sure Start children’s centres.

The Department does not hold data relating to local authority practice with regards to live birth data.

Educational Psychology

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what the average waiting times for students referred to educational psychologists were in each region of England in each of the last five years. [207388]

Mr Timpson: The Department for Education does not collect information on waiting times for students referred to educational psychologists.

The Government does however recognise the vital role that Educational Psychologists play in supporting children and young people with special educational needs (SEN). That is why we have retained their statutory role in the new SEN and disability system and have increased investment in educational psychology training which includes providing £5.5 million per year to support 132 new training positions, up from 120.

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The reforms to the SEN and disability system will ensure pupils' needs are quickly identified and where appropriate specialist support put in place quickly.

Female Genital Mutilation

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Education (1) how many cases of female genital mutilation have been reported by teachers and staff in school in the latest period for which figures are available; [207194]

(2) whether her Department offers guidance to teachers and staff on addressing cases of female genital mutilation amongst female students. [207195]

Mr Timpson: In April 2014, the Department for Education published the ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ guidance that provided schools with updated information regarding the safeguarding of pupils. The guidance contains information about female genital mutilation as well as a link to other, more detailed multi-agency guidelines. The Secretary of State for Education wrote to all schools in April to draw their attention to the guidance. In addition, the summer term e-mail to all schools reminded them of the need to be particularly vigilant because of the heightened risk during the summer holiday. Schools will be reminded of the guidance again in our ‘Need to Know’ e-mail early in the autumn term.

The Department commissioned the Personal Social Health and Economic Association to produce briefing for schools on FGM and this was published over the summer1.

1 www.psheassociation.org.uk/resources_search_details.aspx? Resourceid=536&Keyword=fgm&SubjectID=0&LevelID=0& ResourceTypeID=3&SuggestedUseID=0

Information on the number of cases of female genital mutilation reported by teachers and staff in schools is not collected by the Department. Any reports would be collated by individual local authorities under local safeguarding children arrangements.

Home Education

Mr Sheerman: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what assessment she has made of the performance in external examinations of home schooled children at Key Stage (a) 2, (b) 3 and (c) 4 in the most recent academic year for which figures are available. [207744]

Mr Gibb: The requested information is not held by the Department for Education. Therefore, no assessment has been made.

Offences against Children: Rotherham

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps she plans to take to implement the recommendations made by the Independent Inquiry into child sexual exploitation in Rotherham from 1997 to 2013. [207396]

Mr Timpson: Following publication of the Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Exploitation in Rotherham, I wrote to Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council on 28 August1. I asked the Council to provide urgent reassurance about how they are responding to the issues identified in the report in respect of current social work practice. The Council will report to me by 12 September.

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It has also been agreed with Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector that Rotherham will be the subject of an early inspection of its child protection and looked after children’s services. The Department for Education will not hesitate to take further action if necessary to ensure children are safe.

The specific recommendation for the Department in Professor Jay’s report pertains to the issue of redactions from Serious Case Reviews (SCRs). Our statutory guidance, Working Together 2013, is clear that SCRs should not be written in such a way as to harm the welfare of any child and that will continue to be the case. Redactions in SCRs make them harder to understand and important lessons from them harder to learn, and should only be used where necessary.

1 www.gov.uk/government/publications/letter-from-edward-timpson-to-rotherham-borough-council

Performing Arts: Children

Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what discussions she has had with amateur theatre and arts groups on proposed changes to the Child Performance Regulations on performance hours and breaks. [207600]

Mr Timpson: The Department for Education ran a public consultation this summer, from 23 June to 29 August, on proposed changes to the Child Performance Regulations. We first announced our intention to do so last December, during the passage of the Children and Families Bill (now Act) 2014.

The consultation was open to all those with an interest, including the amateur sector. A full consultation report will be published later this year.

Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what consideration she has given to regulating smaller amateur theatre and arts groups under a separate class under the Child Performance Regulations. [207601]

Mr Timpson: The child performance licensing system is designed to provide a check that suitable arrangements are made to ensure the safety and wellbeing of children when they take part in performances, and that their education does not suffer when they do. This principle applies regardless of whether the performances are put on by amateur or professional organisations.

We therefore have no plans to introduce differential licensing arrangements for different types or sizes of organisation. We are, however, planning to remove some unnecessary and outdated restrictions and have recently consulted on other options to improve flexibility, but without reducing any of the important safeguards. We expect the resulting changes to benefit all types of organisation involved in child performances and, of course, the children themselves.

Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what assessment she has made of the effect of matron licence fees on participation in theatre and arts groups. [207602]

Mr Timpson: The Department for Education has made no assessment of the effect of local authority fees for licensing of matrons (otherwise referred to as chaperones) on participation in theatre and arts groups.

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Pupil Referral Units

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how many times children have been transferred to a pupil referral unit for behavioural problems in each of the last five years. [207363]

Mr Gibb: The requested information on the number of pupils entering pupil referral units because of behavioural problems is not held by the Department for Education.

Information on the total number of pupils enrolled in pupil referral units in the last five years is available in the “Schools, pupils and their characteristics: January 2014” Statistical First Release (table 2a), which is published online at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/schools-pupils-and-their-characteristics-january-2014

Special Educational Needs

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if she will make it her Department's policy to collate and record the numbers of special educational needs co-ordinators in maintained and independent schools. [207096]

Mr Timpson: The Department for Education has no plans to collate or record the number of special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs) in schools. All state funded mainstream schools in England are already under legal duties to appoint a qualified teacher as a SENCO. School governing bodies or proprietors are responsible for ensuring their schools meet this requirement under the Children and Families Act 2014. Further guidance is set out in the new Code of Practice which came in to effect on 1 September.

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Education to what additional vetting procedures special educational needs co-ordinators are subject. [207098]

Mr Timpson: Schools are responsible for ensuring appropriate vetting procedures are carried out for their workforce, this includes special educational needs coordinators (SENCOs).

In addition, mainstream schools must ensure that there is a qualified teacher designated as SENCO for the school. All newly appointed SENCO must be a qualified teacher and, where they have not previously been the SENCO at that or any other relevant school for a total period of more than twelve months, they must achieve a National Award in Special Educational Needs Coordination within three years of appointment. Further guidance is set out in the new 0-25 special educational needs Code of Practice which came into force on 1 September.

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Education pursuant to the answer of 1 July 2014, Official Report, column 551W, on pupils: disadvantaged, from which experts and organisations her Department received representations when drafting the 0-25 Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice (a) in general and (b) on its recommendation that the SENCO, headteacher and governing body or proprietor

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of a school should consider their strategic approach to meeting special educational needs in the context of the total resources available to the school, including any resources targeted at particular groups, such as the Pupil Premium. [207430]

Mr Timpson: The individuals and organisations who responded to the consultations on the draft Special Educational Needs and Disability Code of Practice are listed in the Government's response to the consultations, which also summarises the key points made by respondents.

This information can be found at:

www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/319071/SEND_code_of_practice_0_to_25_years_response.pdf

Teachers: Recruitment

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education pursuant to the answer of 3 July 2014, Official Report, column 761W, if she will discuss the potential merits of introducing an appeals process for where there are technical problems with the skills test for prospective teachers. [207781]

Mr Laws: There is a process for raising concerns where there are technical difficulties or exceptional circumstances at the time of taking the test; although this is not called an appeals process, it functions in the same way. Candidates who experience issues with their tests are directed to make the invigilator and test centre aware at the time or to contact the skills tests helpline, currently managed by the contractor Pearson VUE, either by telephone or e-mail. The first stage of the process is conducted by the contractor. Pearson VUE deals with each enquiry by investigating the nature of the concern raised and asking candidates to provide additional evidence where appropriate. In dealing with inquiries, Pearson VUE may contact the test centre, obtain statements from staff or review CCTV footage as necessary to fully investigate and respond to inquiries.

While appeals are dealt with by Pearson VUE in the first instance, the Department for Education retains the right of final decision on all appeals. The process for dealing with appeals is kept under constant review and is being refined as the service migrates from Pearson VUE to learndirect.

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Education if she will discuss options for how to respond to technical problems with the skills test for prospective teachers other than annulling and re-siting the test with Learndirect. [207782]

Mr Laws: When it is determined that technical issues affected a test, the outcome is annulled and the candidate is allowed a free resit. It is not possible to change the mark awarded for a test, since the score the candidate would have achieved had they not experienced the technical issue cannot be determined. It would, therefore, be inappropriate to change the outcome, for example from fail to pass, without such evidence. Where an appeal is successful, the only option available is to allow the candidate a further attempt at the relevant skills test.

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Television

Mr Bradshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Education how much her Department spent on the purchase of televisions in (a) 2013 and (b) 2014 to date. [207212]

Mr Gibb: The Department for Education has spent £518 on televisions in 2014. A further amount of £9,100 was spent on seven screens as part of the Sanctuary Buildings refresh also in 2014. These are primarily used as A/V screens to display presentations and other information during meetings.

The Department spent nothing in 2013 on televisions.

Treasury

Aggregates Levy: Northern Ireland

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent discussions his Department has held with European Commission officials on the Aggregate Credit Levy scheme. [207470]

Priti Patel: Officials have been in regular discussions with the European Commission in regards to their decision on the aggregates credit levy scheme. Further to this on 7 August 2014, the European Commission released a short summary of their decision on the investigation in to the compatibility of the scheme with State Aid guidelines. Their decision finds that the aid met the Environmental Aid Guidelines. The full, detailed, decision will be published once commercially sensitive information has been redacted.

Fracking: Taxation

Eric Ollerenshaw: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of potential tax revenue to the Exchequer from shale gas and oil products in each region and constituent part of the UK. [207431]

Priti Patel: Reports by the British Geological Survey’s clearly demonstrate the potential for shale gas in the UK. Shale gas has the potential to increase our energy security, generate growth and support thousands of jobs, and the Government is doing everything it can to support the safe and sustainable development of shale gas. This is why we introduced the onshore allowance, to incentivise investment in onshore oil and gas projects and kick-start exploration. Last year, the industry also announced that local communities would receive £100,000 when a test well is fracked – and a further 1% of revenues if shale gas is discovered.

More work is needed to determine the extent of the gas that can be technically and commercially recovered. While there is clearly potential for shale gas to provide substantial revenue to the Exchequer in the future, no forecasts have been produced on the scale or timing of the revenue.

Insurance

Ms Ritchie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer on how many occasions he has met representatives of the insurance industry in the last 12 months; and what was discussed at those meetings. [207150]

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Andrea Leadsom: Treasury Ministers and officials routinely meet with a wide range of stakeholders as part of the process of policy development.

Details of ministerial and Permanent Secretary meetings with external organisations on departmental business are published on a quarterly basis and are available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hmt-ministers-meetings-hospitality-gifts-and-overseas-travel

Textiles

Mr Ward: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what fiscal steps his Department is taking to boost textile manufacturing in the UK. [207526]

Priti Patel: This Government is committed to strong and sustainable growth that is balanced across the economy. Manufacturing, including textile manufacturing, is a vital part of this. Textile manufacturing has received direct support from the Government; including awarding £12.8 million of grant funding to the Textiles Growth Programme through the Regional Growth Fund, which is being used to support capital investment, training, and research and development in the textile industry.

Textile manufacturing, and indeed all manufacturing, in the UK is also being supported by various measures announced in the most recent Budget. This includes increasing the annual investment allowance to £500,000 until 31 December 2015, raising the rate of the R&D tax credit payable to loss making SMEs to 14.5%, and the package of measures to reduce manufacturers’ energy bills and improve UK competitiveness.

International Development

International Assistance

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what progress has been made in the negotiations towards achieving a post-2015 set of millennium development goals; and if she will make a statement. [207140]

Justine Greening: The United Nations Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals (OWG) issued its final report on 28 July 2014. The report proposed 17 goals and 169 targets. It reflects many of the UK priorities for the post-2015 agenda including on poverty eradication, gender, sustainable development and open societies and open economies.

The next step will be for the United Nations Secretary General to deliver his Synthesis Report in the autumn in preparation for intergovernmental negotiations in January 2015. The final post-2015 agenda will be agreed upon at a summit in September 2015.

Iraq and Syria

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development how much the UK has allocated to be spent in 2014-15 on humanitarian aid to the victims of conflict in (a) Syria and (b) Iraq; what steps her Department is taking to deliver humanitarian aid to victims in Iraq; what further steps she is planning to assist (i) people in Iraq and (ii) Iraqi refugees in

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neighbouring countries; what plans she has to increase UK humanitarian aid to Iraqi victims of conflict; and if she will make a statement. [207665]

Justine Greening: In response to the Syria crisis the UK has allocated £600 million to date for humanitarian aid to victims of the conflict. Total allocations for 2014-15 will depend on decisions to be taken on the basis of evolving needs. In Iraq, the UK has allocated £23 million of humanitarian aid for 2014-15.

In Iraq, DFID support has included airdrops of assistance onto Mount Sinjar and in the Iraqi town of Amerli. The UK has also chartered cargo flights in order to deliver aid supplies for displaced people in the Dahuk region. £12.5 million of DFID's funding is being delivered through the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and NGO partners to provide basic life-saving assistance, including food, shelter, water, sanitation and medical care.

Overseas Aid

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps the UK is taking to end aid dependency in countries which receive UK aid; and if she will make a statement. [207088]

Justine Greening: The UK Government is working to eradicate poverty and end aid dependency through faster economic development, which helps poorer countries achieve a secure, self-financed and timely exit from poverty through creating jobs for individuals and generating taxes for governments to invest in key sectors such as health and education. To achieve this vision, we are putting in place a coherent framework to address the key constraints to economic development and support the main drivers of inclusive and sustained economic growth.

Philippines

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps her Department has taken to help the Philippines recover and build resilience after Typhoon Haiyan. [207138]

Justine Greening: Following the devastation wrought by Typhoon Haiyan last November, DFID committed funding of £77 million for the humanitarian response and early recovery activities. The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI), the UK independent aid watchdog, reviewed DFID’s response and found it exemplary.

In addition, the UK is making a £5 million investment through a multi-donor trust fund with the Asian Development Bank to build urban resilience in 25 cities in six countries including the Philippines. This will allow them to plan for and invest in measures, such as flood protection and drainage systems, to help in the event of future extreme weather events.

Syria

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what recent assessment she has made of the humanitarian situation in Syria. [207135]

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Justine Greening: The humanitarian crisis in Syria has reached catastrophic proportions. The UN estimates that 10.8 million people are in dire need of humanitarian aid within Syria. At least 6.5 million people in Syria have been forced to flee their homes to other areas of the country and there are now 3 million refugees in the region. The UN reports that July 2014 was the deadliest month in Syria since the start of the conflict in March 2011, with over 1,000 reported civilian deaths.

Ukraine

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what steps her Department is taking to provide humanitarian assistance in Eastern Ukraine; and if she will make a statement. [207090]

Justine Greening: The UK has committed £1.4 million of humanitarian assistance to Ukraine this financial year, which includes £1 million following the recently launched UN Preliminary Response Plan.

Justice

Independent Monitoring Boards

Steve Rotheram: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many staff are employed by the Secretariat of the Independent Monitoring Board; [207790]

(2) how many staff of the Secretariat of the Independent Monitoring Board have previously been employed by the police. [207726]

Andrew Selous: The Secretariat for the Independent Monitoring Boards employs 14 staff, all full-time. One member of staff has previously been employed by the police.

King Richard III

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent progress his Department has made on the burial of the remains of King Richard III. [207745]

Simon Hughes: On 7 August the University of Leicester announced on behalf of Leicester Cathedral that the remains will be laid to rest in the Cathedral on 26 March 2015. The Ministry of Justice has no further role in the matter.

National Offender Management Service

Mr Bradshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how much the National Offender Management Service spent on subsidising its retail canteen service contract in each year since 2010. [207330]

Andrew Selous: The National Offender Management Service (NOMS) does not subsidise its retail canteen service contract.

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Open Prisons

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many and what proportion of prisoners who were liable for deportation (a) applied for and (b) were refused Category D prison status in each of the last five years. [204755]

Andrew Selous: Prisoners liable to any type of enforcement proceedings are risk assessed very carefully to ensure they are suitable for open conditions. On 13 August 2014 we amended the Prison and YOI Rules so that prisoners who have a Deportation Order served against them and have exhausted their rights of appeal from within the UK can no longer be moved to open conditions or considered for temporary release.

Prisoners who have not yet been served with a Deportation Order, but are being considered by the Home Office for removal from the UK, are now subject to a more rigorous assessment before being considered for open conditions or temporary release to ensure that they are of very low risk of absconding.

To provide information on the number and proportion of prisoners who were liable for deportation and had applied for, and were refused Category D/open conditions status in each of the last five years, could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many indeterminate sentenced prisoners were held in open prisons in the years ending 31 March (a) 2012, (b) 2013 and (c) 2014. [206954]

Andrew Selous: The number of indeterminate sentenced prisoners held in open prisons in England and Wales, for financial years 2012-14, can be found in table 1.

A life sentence is mandatory on conviction for murder. Under a life sentence, and an indeterminate sentence for public protection (IPP), the court determines the minimum period to be served in prison for the purposes of punishment and deterrence. Prisoners serving these indeterminate sentences have no automatic right to be released. If released they are subject to recall for the rest of their life or, in the case of an offender serving an IPP, for at least 10 years. Public protection is the priority and the release of indeterminate sentence prisoners once they have served their minimum term is entirely a matter for the Parole Board.

Progression to open conditions is never automatic and only follows a satisfactory assessment of risk, generally involving the independent Parole Board in the case of prisoners serving indeterminate sentences.

The Parole Board may recommend such prisoners for open conditions if, for example: they have successfully completed any offending behaviour programmes identified in their sentence plan as essential to the risk reduction process; their behaviour in custody is such that it is considered that a move is appropriate; and their risks are manageable in open conditions.

Once allocated to open prison, prisoners continue to be monitored and are returned to closed prison immediately if there are any concerns about their suitability for low security conditions.

Open prisons have been used since 1936, because they are the most effective means of ensuring that prisoners are suitably risk-assessed before they are released into

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the community under appropriate licence conditions. When a prisoner moves to the less rigid structure of open conditions an assessment can be made in a relatively safe environment of how the prisoner will adapt to increasing responsibility. For many prisoners, in particular those such as life sentence prisoners, who have spent a considerable amount of time in custody; these are essential components for successful reintegration in the community and therefore an important factor in protecting the public.

Prisoners' Release

Mr Winnick: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many people sentenced to life for murder in each year since 2004 were released from prison at the time of the minimum period imposed by the courts. [206714]

Mike Penning: A life sentence is mandatory on conviction for murder. Under a life sentence, the court determines the minimum period to be served in prison for the purposes of punishment and deterrence. Once that period has been served it is for the Parole Board to determine if and when the offender may be released from prison on life licence and subject to recall for the rest of their life. Public protection is the priority and the Board will take into account a range of factors when assessing whether an offender’s risk is reduced sufficiently for him or her to be released.

In order to provide data relating to released life sentenced offenders in each year since 2004 would involve manually examining prisoner records.

Reliable centrally held electronic information on life sentenced prisoners released from custody is only available from 2011 onwards. Prior to this date the required individual record information was only kept in paper files for offender management purposes. It would therefore be at a disproportionate cost to search through these files to identify those prisoners sentenced for murder who were released after serving a minimum period of imprisonment imposed by the courts prior to 2011.

The latest available information on the number of released life sentenced offenders is publicly available under “Offender Management” at the following website address:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/offender-management-statistics-quarterly-january-to-march-2014

Prisoners' Transfers

Mr Bradshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many determinate sentence prisoners with more than two years to serve to their earliest release date were moved to open prisons in (a) 2013-14, (b) 2012-13 and (c) 2011-12. [207334]

Andrew Selous: Determinate sentence prisoners are not allocated to open prisons with more than two years to serve to their expected release date.

Categorisation and allocation to open prison is never an automatic progression. Public protection is foremost in the decision making process. Only prisoners who have successfully completed offending behaviour essential to their risk reduction and whose risks are manageable in conditions of low security will be allowed to an open prison.

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Prisoners: Per Capita Costs

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the average direct resource expenditure cost per prisoner in (a) male young offenders institutions and (b) male adult prisons was for the latest period for which figures are available. [206956]

Andrew Selous: The Department routinely publishes average costs per prisoner and prison place, based on actual net resource expenditure for each private and public sector prison and in summary form for the whole of the prison estate in England and Wales on an annual basis after the end of each financial year. This includes a breakdown of these costs by prison category and individual prison within each category.

The most recently published figures are for financial year 2012-13 which give an annual Direct cost per prisoner of £38,990 for male young offenders institutions (YOI) and £24,541 for male adult prisons for public and private prisons. This is the latest information available. Prisons are classified according to their major use as at 31st March 2013. YOIs include those with major use offenders up to age 21; adult prisons are those with major use over age 21.

Direct costs are those accounted for at each prison cost centre and exclude expenditure met at regional or national level.

The information for financial year 2012-13 is available in the Cost per Place and Prisoner and Supplementary Information files on the Department’s website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/prison-and-probation-trusts-performance-statistics-201213

Figures for 2013-14 are due to be published alongside the Management Information Addendums to the NOMS Annual Report and Accounts in October 2014.

Continuing to reduce prison unit costs is one of the key targets for the Department. Between 2009/10 and 2012/13 prison unit costs (based on Overall prison costs) have reduced in real terms by 16% per place and 13% per prisoner. The Department is committed to delivering prison changes designed to modernise the prison estate and further reduce prison costs.

Reoffenders: Staffordshire

Gavin Williamson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) how many repeat offenders in (a) South Staffordshire constituency, (b) Staffordshire and (c) Wolverhampton were cautioned or sentenced for recordable offences in each of the last five years; and how many and what proportion of total offences were attributable to such offenders in that period; [207309]

(2) how many repeat juvenile offenders in (a) South Staffordshire constituency, (b) Staffordshire and (c) Wolverhampton were cautioned or sentenced for recordable offences in each of the last five years; and how many and what proportion of total offences were attributable to such offenders in that period. [207310]

Andrew Selous: The Ministry of Justice's extract of the Police National Computer (PNC), which is used for analyses of offenders' criminal histories, only holds information on cautions and convictions given for recordable offences. The information held on MoJ's

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extract of the PNC will only allow a breakdown by police force area. To provide you with information at a lower level than this as requested, we would need to contact all courts and police forces in the South Staffordshire constituency, and in the Staffordshire and Wolverhampton areas which could be done only at a disproportionate cost.

The Ministry of Justice can provide information on repeat offenders only by police force area. Staffordshire police force area would include Staffordshire and Stoke on Trent local authorities, and the West Midlands police force area would include Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton local authorities.

Cabinet Office

Honours

Dr Julian Lewis: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what arrangements his Department has put in place for the public recognition of acts of heroism by private citizens; if he will make it his policy to apply these to the women who confronted the killers of Fusilier Lee Rigby and who sought to help the attacked soldier; and if he will make a statement. [206872]

Mr Newmark: Civilian gallantry awards were introduced in 1940 for acts of heroism and great gallantry other than in the face of the enemy. The majority of recommendations are made through official channels (for example from the Emergency Services) and all cases are judged on their individual merit.

ICT

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what restrictions there are on where G Cloud suppliers should locate their data centres; and what guidance his Department provides to those suppliers on location of their data centres. [207632]

Mr Maude: G-Cloud suppliers are not restricted on data centre locations. Any off-shoring of Government information must gain permission of the Government Senior Information Risk Owner (G-SIRO)-prior to May 2010 only the permission of the departmental Senior Information Responsible Officer was required. Off-shoring of personal information must be compliant with the Data Protection Act.

A range of guidance on cloud services, including data centre locations, is available for suppliers on GOV.UK and from the Government's National Technical Authority for Information Assurance (CESG).

Members: Correspondence

Lisa Nandy: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) when the Prime Minister intends to reply to the letter sent to him of 25 July 2014 from the hon. Member for Wigan; [207663]

(2) when the hon. Member for Wigan will receive a reply to her letter to the Cabinet Secretary of 25 July 2014. [207664]

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Mr Maude: The Prime Minister's Office is an integral part of the Cabinet Office.

The Cabinet Secretary responded to the hon. Member today.

Energy and Climate Change

Energy Security

Mark Tami: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he is taking to increase the UK's energy security. [905197]

Mr Davey: We have taken a number of measures to ensure the security of the UK's energy supply. I have introduced new electricity system balancing measures. Our recent national gas risk assessment demonstrated that our gas infrastructure is resilient.

In the autumn I will publish the Statutory Security of Supply Report for 2014. This provides a further assessment of our energy security and sets out my response to Ofgem’s recent electricity capacity report.

We also engage closely with EU and G7 partners on measures to increase the EU’s energy security.

Climate Change

Pat Glass: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he is taking to secure a legally-binding global climate agreement. [905190]

Mr Davey: If we are to meet the objective of the Convention and avoid dangerous climate change, it is imperative that we secure an international, legally binding agreement with mitigation commitments for all in Paris in 2015.

To facilitate this I have pressed our case at a number of international ministerial climate change meetings this year, as well as bilaterally with my counterparts in governments and with other key actors across the globe—including China, the US and India—at incoming and outgoing visits. I will, as usual, attend the UNFCCC Ministerial Conference of Parties in December this year, and will also attend the UN Secretary General’s climate summit in September; the first meeting of leaders focused solely on climate change since 2009.

Closer to home I am continuing to push for EU agreement to an ambitious 2030 emissions reduction target of at least 40%, including through convening the Green Growth Group of Ministers.

Energy: Prices

Karl Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he is taking to help households with their energy bills. [905192]

Mr Davey: We are helping households with their energy bills by providing direct financial help, encouraging competition and supporting energy efficiency measures.

Last December, we reviewed Government policy costs and made changes to take an average of £50 a year off a household's bill and we are making it easier to shop around, switch and get the best deal.

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We are also providing direct financial help to the most vulnerable through the warm home discount, which will take £140 off the energy bills of over two million of the poorest households this year.

Fuel Poverty

Caroline Flint: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change (1) with reference to Table 12 of the Final impact assessment of the future of the Energy Company Obligation, published by his Department on 22 July 2014, how many households are forecast to be lifted from fuel poverty under the Energy Company Obligation (a) in each year between 2013 and 2017 and (b) in total between 2013 and 2017; [207749]

(2) with reference to Table 12 of the Final impact assessment on the future of the Energy Company Obligation, published by his Department on 22 July 2014, by which process he calculated the change in aggregate fuel poverty gap; [207748]

(3) with reference to Table 12 of the Final impact assessment of the future of the Energy Company Obligation, published by his Department on 22 July 2014, what estimate he has made of the change in the (a) aggregate fuel poverty gap and (b) average individual fuel poverty gap under the Energy Company Obligation in (i) each year between 2013 and 2017 and (ii) in total between 2013 and 2017; [207750]

(4) with reference to Table 12 of the Final impact assessment on the future of the Energy Company Obligation, published by his Department on 22 July 2014, by which process he calculated the change in the number of households in fuel poverty. [207758]

Amber Rudd: The Energy Company Obligation (ECO) delivers vital measures that make a real and long term difference to fuel poor households. By the end of June 2014 ECO had delivered over 520,000 measures to over 435,000 low income and vulnerable households, reducing their energy costs and risk of being in fuel poverty both now and for years to come.

Estimates published in the final Impact Assessment for the future of the Energy Company Obligation show that against a baseline with no policy in place between April 2015 and March 2017, the policy would drive an estimated reduction in the number of fuel poor households in England of around 10,000 while resulting in a nominal increase in the aggregate fuel poverty gap of around 1%. While uncertain, it is anticipated that there would be a similarly nominal increase in the average fuel poverty gap of around 1%.

These estimates reflect that in the short-run the policy generates costs for energy consumers-including the fuel poor-in order to fund long-term improvements in energy efficiency. The short run costs across all households can mask the benefits of improved energy efficiency. For those expected to receive measures from April 2015 onwards, their aggregate fuel poverty gap is expected to be an estimated £22 million lower by 2017, but partially offset in the short-run by the costs of the policy.

All estimates of the fuel poverty impacts of ECO have been conducted following the methodology published in Section Four of the Analytical Annex to Fuel Poverty: a Framework for Future Action published in July 2013.1 This same approach is used for producing projections

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of fuel poverty in the annual National Statistics report.

2

Projecting policy impacts on levels of fuel poverty is inherently uncertain and requires a range of assumptions to be made. As a result, a detailed assessment of the impact of the policy in each individual year of the scheme on fuel poverty has not been carried out. Such an assessment would be extremely difficult because of a number of uncertainties in the calculation, such as: which households take-up which measures; changes in the level and distribution of incomes across households; changes to the housing stock independent of ECO; and, also, changes to energy prices, including as a result of the policy. These uncertainties make estimates at the aggregate level more appropriate as opposed to trying to pin-point specific impacts in any one year.

1 Available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/211137/fuel_poverty_strategic_framework_analytical_annex.pdf

2 For the latest report see:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/annual-fuel-poverty-statistics-report-2014

Green Deal Scheme

Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what steps he is taking to refund people who paid for a Green Deal assessment prior to the exhaustion of the fund. [207445]

Amber Rudd: The Green Deal Home Improvement Fund (GDHIF) shut to new applications on July 24. A contribution towards the cost of a Green Deal Assessment Report was only available to customers who made a successful application to the Fund, and who went on to install measures as a result.

Assessments are the most popular part of Green Deal—by the end of July 2014 over 300,000 Green Deal Assessments were undertaken. Assessments provide a tailored picture of the first steps people can take to be more energy efficiency and potentially reduce their bills—they are not just for GDHIF.

A contribution towards the cost of a Green Deal Assessment Report cost was only available to customers who made a successful application to the Fund, and who went on to install measures as a result.

Assessments are the most popular part of Green Deal—by the end of July 2014 over 300,000 Green Deal Assessments were undertaken. Assessments provide a tailored picture of the first steps people can take to be more energy efficiency and potentially reduce their bills—they are not just for GDHIF.

Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Dr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what assessment he has made of the UK’s performance towards the targets in the Kyoto protocol on emission reduction targets between 2008 and 2012. [205988]

Amber Rudd: The UK has a target for the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol to reduce its emissions by an average 12.5% below base year levels over the five-year period 2008 to 2012.

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Thermal Insulation

Jonathan Reynolds: To ask the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change what estimate he has made of the number of homes in flood risk areas covered by the Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency 25 Year Insurance-backed warranty. [207172]

Amber Rudd: The CIGA (Cavity Insulation Guarantee Agency) 25 Year Insurance-backed warranty covers defects in material or workmanship in connection with the installation of the cavity wall insulation; the guarantee does not cover the effects of flooding. Recourse for the homeowner following the effects of flooding would usually be through buildings insurance and will of course depend upon the terms of individual agreements.