Written Answers to Questions

Monday 1 September 2014

Prime Minister

Intelligence Services

Paul Flynn: To ask the Prime Minister if he will make it his policy to answer parliamentary questions on intelligence matters. [206949]

The Prime Minister: Parliamentary questions are answered by the relevant Minister.

Military Medals Review

Jim Dowd: To ask the Prime Minister when he expects (a) to have concluded consideration of the report of the Honours and Decorations Committee's Medal Review and (b) to publish the Government's response to that report. [207055]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the Written Statement made by the Leader of the House of Lords and Lord Privy Seal, my noble Friend the right hon. Baroness Stowell of Beeston on 29 July 2014, Official Report, column WS147.

Communities and Local Government

Affordable Housing: Greater London

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many affordable homes were built in each London Borough in each year since 2010. [206261]

Brandon Lewis: Statistics on delivery of affordable housing by local authority area are published in the Department’s live table 1008, which is available at:

www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-affordable-housing-supply

These statistics include both newly built housing and acquisitions, and include figures for 2010-11, 2011-12 and 2012-13. Further statistics will be published in due course.

My Department holds some statistics for 2013-14, for affordable housing delivery through programmes reported by the Homes and Communities Agency and the Greater London Authority (but not through other sources).

In total, the combined figures show that almost 200,000 affordable homes have been delivered in England from 2010-11 to 2013-14, of which almost 49,000 are in London. We expect these figures to be revised upwards when full affordable housing supply statistics are published in due course.

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The Government’s affordable housing programme for 2015 to 2018 aims to deliver 165,000 new affordable homes, and lever in a further £23 billion of public and private investment in affordable housing.

Alcoholic Drinks

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what his Department's policy is on alcohol consumption on the premises (a) in general and (b) during parties in his Private Office. [205321]

Kris Hopkins: This Government has stopped departmental spending of taxpayers’ money on alcohol. We have closed and called time on the secret nationalised bar in our Department’s basement (coined by some wags as “the Prezza Arms”).

Yet Ministers in this Department are not killjoys. As was the case under the last Administration, there is no prohibition on alcohol consumption (funded privately), and we recognise that there may be occasions when it is not inappropriate for a few drinks after work to mark a colleague leaving or note a particular milestone achieved, provided staff exercise personal responsibility, observe the standard of behaviour required by the Civil Service Code, and follow the law on drinking and driving. This is common practice in other workplaces across the land. This Department champions common sense, not the nanny state.

Also, as the lead Department for community pubs, we would encourage staff to continue any celebrations in a nearby licensed premises to do their bit to support Britain’s pub trade and benefit from this Government’s cuts in beer duty and scrapping of Labour’s beer duty escalator.

Buildings

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will review his departmental estate in order to reduce costs; and if he will make a statement. [206683]

Kris Hopkins: Since 2010, the Department has had considerable success in reducing the cost of its wider estate through the rationalisation of retained office space and targeted building disposals. This has seen the Department surrender six leasehold office properties through a combination of lease breaks and expiries, generating net savings in the period of around £7 million per annum. The Department has also successfully sub-let surplus space across its leasehold office estate during the same period, reducing the overall property costs by around £6.5 million per annum.

Building on this success, in 2013-14, we have secured further savings of £4.6 million by subletting further space in Eland House in London ahead of vacating the building in September 2014. The move from Eland House to 2 Marsham Street will reduce my department’s running costs by £9 million a year from 2015-16. Overall, these changes will save taxpayers a total of £220 million over the lifetime of the building’s lease commitments.

This illustrates the scope for local government and, indeed, the public sector as a whole to make sensible savings through better property management.

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In June 2013, supporting the Prime Minister’s commitment to support the development of small and medium enterprises, the Department agreed terms with business incubator providers to take vacant space at 2 Rivergate House in Bristol and Bridge House, Guildford. This is an important part of the Government’s drive to assist the start-up and small and medium enterprises business and we are also working with the Government Property Unit on potential Government Space for Growth opportunities in other properties held by DCLG.

Children: Protection

Andy Sawford: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of his Department's Information Sharing Guidelines on providing professionals with information about sharing data in the interests of child protection; and if he will make a statement; [206971]

(2) when he will update his Department's Information Sharing Guidance; [206970]

(3) what discussions (a) Ministers and (b) officials in his Department have had with counterparts in the Department for Education on his Department's Information Sharing Guidelines and child protection. [206972]

Kris Hopkins: The Government is committed to improving information sharing, for the benefit of vulnerable children and adults, and all members of society. The statutory guidance, ‘Working Together to Safeguarding Children’ requires all organisations to have arrangements in place which enable the effective sharing of information. Government Departments have been working to review procedures to identify children and adults at risk of abuse and the outcome of this review was published on 29 July and can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/news/working-together-to-safeguard-children-multi-agency-safeguarding-hubs

The Government is reviewing the guidance for practitioners and managers to dispel mistaken beliefs which prevent information being shared appropriately and effectively.

Community Infrastructure Levy

Mr Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government which local authorities have a Community Infrastructure Levy (a) approved and (b) in operation. [206860]

Brandon Lewis: The following 18 authorities in England and Wales have had their Community Infrastructure Levy Charging Schedules approved at examination but are yet to either formerly adopt, or to start charging, the levy:

Barking and Dagenham

Haringey

Hertsmere

Hillingdon

Islington

Lambeth

Lewisham

New Forest

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Richmond Upon Thames

Rhondda Cynon Taf

Sedgemoor

Sevenoaks

Surrey Heath

Tandridge

Teignbridge

West Berkshire

West Lancashire

Woking

The following 45 authorities are currently charging the Community Infrastructure Levy, having passed the independent examination.

Barnet

Bassetlaw

Bedford

Brent

Bristol

Broadland

Caerphilly

Chelmsford

Chorley

City of London

Croydon

Dartford

East Cambridgeshire

Elmbridge

Epsom and Ewell

Exeter

Fareham

Greater London Authority

Harrow

Havant

Huntingdonshire

Merthyr Tydfil

Merton

Newark and Sherwood

Newham

Norwich

Oxford

Plymouth

Poole

Portsmouth

Preston

Purbeck

Redbridge

Shropshire

Southampton

South Norfolk

South Ribble

Sutton

Taunton Deane

Trafford

Waltham Forest

Wandsworth

Waveney

Winchester

Wycombe

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In addition to the 63 authorities listed above, a further 116 authorities have made significant progress towards adopting the levy.

Of the 116, 21 authorities have either submitted their levy charging schedules for examination or been scheduled for examination, a further 25 have published a draft charging schedule for consultation and a further 70 have published a preliminary draft charging schedule for consultation.

Correspondence

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will estimate the annual cost to his Department of (a) stationery and (b) postage incurred when sending a ministerial reply to hon. Members; and if he will make a statement. [206143]

Kris Hopkins: We do not specifically hold information on costs of replies to hon. Members, however we can estimate a cost based on use of paper, envelopes, postage and ink cartridges on annual inquiries ranging between 10,000 to 12,000, of which 95% are postal replies. The cost ranges between £6,500 and £7,500 depending on reply volume per annum.

Most correspondence from hon. Members continues to be received as letters and is replied to in the same format. Ministers do, however, reply by e-mail when they consider it appropriate to do so.

Council Housing

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent estimate he has made of the number of council-owned homes in England which are affected by damp; and if he will make a statement. [205010]

Brandon Lewis: According to the English Housing Survey, in 2012 there were around 116,000 (7%) local authority homes affected by damp, down from 214,000 (12%) in 2009. The Department for Communities and Local Government have allocated £2.26 billion of decent homes funding for 2011-16 to further reduce this number.

Council Housing: Greater London

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many council homes were built in each London Borough in each year since 2010. [206262]

Brandon Lewis: More new council housing was started in London last year than in all the 13 years of the last Labour Government combined. Statistics on local authority (council) house building by local authority area are published in the Department’s live table 253, which is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-house-building

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Families: Disadvantaged

Tim Loughton: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many officials of his Department work on the Troubled Families programme; and what their grade and pay scale is. [204874]

Kris Hopkins [holding answer 14 July 2014]: The Troubled Families team, based in DCLG, was established in 2011 to join up efforts across the whole of government and to provide expert help to local authorities to drive forward the programme of turning around the lives of troubled families. Government data collected in 2011 estimated that £9 billion is spent annually on troubled families—an average of £75,000 per family each year. Of this, an estimated £8 billion is spent reacting to the problems these families have and cause with just £1 billion being spent on helping families to solve and prevent problems in the longer term.

As of the end of June 2014, my Department had the following number of officials working on Troubled Families programme:

four executive officers (and equivalents);

three higher executive officers;

seven senior executive officers,

three grade 7;

five grade 6;

two deputy directors;

one director; and

one director general.

The latter two senior salaries are published as part of our transparency agenda, and are respectively (a) within the range of £110,000 to £114,999 and (b) within the range of £130,000 to £134,999.

More generally, civil servants are paid within a grade pay scale. These ranges are:

executive officer (£22,279 to £31,225);

higher executive officer (£26,058 to £39,513);

senior executive officer (£32,311 to £45,985);

grade 7 (£40,852 to £57,110);

grade 6 (£50,203 to £70,375); and

deputy director (£62,000 to £117,800).

Fire Services: Pensions

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the potential liability to Government should the take-up rate in the proposed 2015 firefighters' pension scheme be lower than anticipated. [206187] Penny Mordaunt: The Government is committed to providing good quality public service pension schemes and encouraging saving for retirement. Firefighters will continue to get one of the most generous public service pensions available—over £19,000 at age 60 after a full career (based on a firefighters’ salary of £29,000). Many firefighters who transfer to the firefighters’ pension scheme 2015 will see a reduction in their employee contribution rate of around 2 percentage points in 2015-16.

If a firefighter opts out of the pension scheme, this reduces the long term liability for the taxpayer but increases the short term top-up grant paid by the Department to

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fund the shortfall in scheme income. Overall, this would be likely to result in a long-term net saving for taxpayers, but we have not undertaken the actuarial work to calculate a precise assessment. This is because we would encourage firefighters to remain in the scheme, given it remains an extremely good defined benefit scheme—an equivalent private pension pot would need over half a million pounds of funding and require firefighters to contribute twice as much.

Housing: Construction

Mr Betts: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many houses have been completed in each local authority area in each of the last five years; how many such houses are affordable houses built under a section 106 agreement; and what proportion of the total number of houses on each scheme built in that time are houses built under section 106 agreements. [206859]

Brandon Lewis: Statistics on house building completions by tenure in each local authority district are published in the Department’s live tables 253 (annual) and 253a (quarterly), which are available at the following link.

http://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-house-building

Statistics on the numbers of affordable homes built through section 106 agreements and without Government grant funding are published in Live Table 1000, which is available at the following link.

http://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-affordable-housing-supply

The estimates exclude affordable homes built through section 106 supported with grant funding.

The proportion of the total number of houses on each scheme built that are houses built under section 106 agreements is not centrally collected.

Housing: Greater London

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what recent estimate his Department has made of the number of new homes needed annually to meet London's housing needs into 2020. [206259]

Brandon Lewis: From the 1 April 2012, the Mayor of London has had strategic oversight of housing, regeneration and economic development in London.

The Department does not estimate demand for housing. However, the Department publishes household projections, which are a trend-based view of the number of households that would form given projected population and previous demographic trends.

The most recent household projections are 2011-based. The projected household numbers are disaggregated by household type and are published at:

http://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/department-for-communities-and-local-government/series/household-projections

I would observe that new home registrations rose by 30% in 2013 in England, the highest since 2007; and are up 60% in London, the highest for over two decades, this is in contrast to Wales which has a Labour Administration, where new home registrations are falling1.

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More new council housing was started in London last year than in all the 13 years for the last Labour Government combined.

1Source: NHBC

Local Government Finance

Chris Ruane: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will provide a list of the amount and proportion by which central government funding to each local authority in England, ranked in order by percentage, has been reduced in each year since 2010. [206420]

Kris Hopkins: The information is not held centrally in the form requested.

Figures showing local authority income from central Government grants are collected on the Revenue Outturn forms, and are published by individual local authority on the DCLG website at:

2010-11

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-authority-revenue-expenditure-and-financing-england-2010-to-2011-individual-local-authority-data--5

2011-12

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-authority-revenue-expenditure-and-financing-england-2011-to-2012-individual-local-authority-data--2

2012-13

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-authority-revenue-expenditure-and-financing-england-2012-to-2013-individual-local-authority-data-outturn

However, meaningful, like-for-like comparisons for individual local authorities cannot be made over more than one financial year owing to changes in local authority responsibility and function, as for instance due to the transfer of responsibility for concessionary travel and due to the introduction of academy schools.

Local Government Finance: York

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much funding his Department allocated to City of York Council for (a) local authority supported capital expenditure in housing stock and (b) major repairs allowance in each year since 2009-10. [202842]

Brandon Lewis: The information requested is as follows:

 Major Repairs Allowance (£)

2009-10

5,127,440

2010-11

5,242,423

2011-12

5,185,387

2012-13

5,266,485

The local authority received £1 million in Supported Capital Expenditure (Revenue) in both 2009-10 and 2010-11.

Following our reform and decentralisation of the Housing Revenue Account in April 2012, the system has fundamentally changed and no longer operates in that manner outlined in the hon. Member’s question.

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Councils now manage their housing stock without annual payments to or from central Government. They now keep their rental income and use it to fund their housing stock (called ‘self-financing’).

In 2012, the move to self-financing included a one-off settlement payment to, or from, each council, giving each a level of debt it can support, based on a valuation of its council housing stock. Where the valuation was lower than the amount of housing debt supported through the Housing Revenue Account subsidy system, the Government paid off the difference. Where the valuation was higher than the debt supported by the Housing Revenue Account subsidy, the council paid the difference to the Government.

These payments were based on a valuation of each council’s stock, using a 30-year discounted cash flow model of income and expenditure. The costs in the model assumed that councils will need to spend on average 15% more on managing, maintaining and repairing their stock than was assumed under the subsidy system. The self-financing settlement took into account an assessment of local authorities’ needs, including major repairs.

These reforms have given councils the resources, incentives and flexibility they need to manage their own housing stock for the long term and to improve quality and efficiency, and they have also provided a clearer relationship between the rent a landlord collects and the services they provide.

Local Plans

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what steps he is taking to ensure that local authorities complete and publish local development plans as soon as possible; and if he will make a statement. [205022]

Brandon Lewis: The Localism Act enabled the abolition of the Labour Government’s top-down Regional Strategies and strengthened the role of Local Plans (complemented by neighbourhood planning) in determining where new development should and should not go. However, a locally-led planning system needs councils to have up-to-date plans in place, and requires elected councillors to take decisions, sometimes challenging, in consultation with local residents.

We have provided support for all local authorities in plan-making, both directly and in conjunction with the Planning Inspectorate and Planning Advisory Service. This includes engagement from expert officials to support authorities in resolving challenging issues and preparing effectively for examination, and by providing direct support on technical matters via the Planning Advisory Service.

The National Planning Policy Framework strongly encourages all areas to get Local Plans in place quickly as the best way of determining what development is appropriate and where; councils with a Local Plan are in a strong position to stop unwanted speculative development.

Plan production has increased significantly in the last few years: 79% of local authorities have now published a Local Plan. To place this in context, six years after the

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Labour Government's 2004 Planning Act, by May 2010, only one in six local planning authorities had an adopted Core Strategy.

Morecambe

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will estimate how much money his Department has spent in Morecambe and Lunesdale constituency since May 2010. [204771]

Kris Hopkins: The information is not centrally held in the form requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Funding is generally not allocated by parliamentary constituency.

Parking

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will place in the Library all responses to his Department's consultation on local authority parking. [202289]

Penny Mordaunt: We have placed in the Library of the House a copy of the detailed summary of the 800 responses to the consultation.

Pay

Mr Bradshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many officials in his Department, of each grade, have remained at that grade since 2010 but received a pay rise; and how much of a rise each such person at each such grade has received. [204764]

Kris Hopkins: The information requested has been placed in the Library of the House. The figures reflect the historic regime of contractual binding pay progression; we intend to end this by December 2014 and replace it with a fairer system which allows greater control over future pay awards.

More broadly, our departmental audited annual accounts for the core Department show that staff costs fell from £216 million in 2009-10 to £95 million in 2013-14, a reduction of 56% in cash terms, or a saving of £121 million a year.

Poultry: Farms

Roger Williams: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what guidance his Department gives planning authorities on the extent to which they should assess the cumulative effect of intensive chicken units on the environment and local communities in determining planning applications relating to such units. [206643]

Brandon Lewis: Local authorities across England must have regard to the National Planning Policy Framework. This asks local authorities to assess the needs of the food production industry and resolve any associated planning barriers, but also to recognise the character and beauty of the countryside and prevent unacceptable levels of pollution. Local authorities have to assess each proposal on its facts and merits in the light of the Local Plan, of national planning policies, and all other material

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considerations, including the views expressed by local people. They can also assess the cumulative impact of numbers of such premises on the area.

Procurement

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many contracts (a) let since 2010 and (b) about to be let by his Department and its agencies are worth (i) between £1 million and £3 million and (ii) over £3 million; how much has been spent on monitoring each contract let by his Department since 2010; and how many officials in his Department monitor each contract let since 2010. [205197]

Kris Hopkins: The following table sets out the number of contracts that has been let by the core Department since 2009-10, as shown on our procurement and financial systems.

 Number of contracts
 Contract value between £1 million and £3 millionContract value over £3 million

2009-10

2

9

2010-11

1

1

2011-12

5

2

2012-13

10

3

2013-14

4

2

For contracts that are about to be let there are none within the values requested. We have not included those contracts that are about to be extended nor those about to be let through a framework agreement as we do not yet know the value of the framework contract.

Information relating to the expenditure and the number of officials involved in monitoring contracts is not held centrally.

Regeneration: Thames Gateway

Sir Nicholas Soames: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) how much each local authority in the Thames Gateway spent on regeneration activities in the last 15 years for which figures are available; [201950]

(2) how much each local authority in the Thames Gateway spent on economic development activities in each of the last 15 years for which figures are available. [201953]

Penny Mordaunt: The information is not centrally held in the form requested and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

I would note that many of the local authorities in the Thames Gateway cover an area larger than just the Thames Gateway, and do not split their published expenditure between inside and outside the Thames Gateway.

Rented Housing: Greater London

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what proportion of new affordable homes in each London Borough were rented at below (a) 70 per cent, (b) 60 per cent and (c) 50 per cent of market rent in each year since 2010. [206260]

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Brandon Lewis: This information is not held centrally. Notwithstanding, I also refer the right hon. Member to the answer to him of 14 May 2014, Official Report, column 638W.

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the average sector rent was in each London Borough in each year since 2010. [206263]

Brandon Lewis: Information on average rents in the local authority sector for 2011-12 and 2012-13 can be found in section H of the datasets on the Department’s website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/local-authority-housing-statistics-data-returns-for-2011-to-2012

and

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/local-authority-housing-statistics-data-returns-for-2012-to-2013

Information on average rents in the private sector can be found on the Valuation Office’s website at:

http://www.voa.gov.uk/corporate/statisticalReleases/140610_Private_Rental_Market.html

Information on average social rents Private Registered Providers can be found on the Department’s website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-rents-lettings-and-tenancies

The following tables show how rents have fallen in real terms.

England
 Rental Index (Nominal)Rental Index (Real)Annual PercentageChange Nominal (%)Annual Percentage Change (Real) (%)

May 2010

99.6

87.0

May 2011

100.3

83.9

0.8

-3.5

May 2012

101.8

82.9

1.5

-1.3

May 2013

103.1

81.7

1.3

-1.4

May 2014

104.1

81.3

1.0

-0.5

London
 Rental Index (Nominal)Rental Index (Real)Annual PercentageChange Nominal (%)Annual Percentage Change (Real) (%)

May 2010

100.0

85.5

May 2011

100.5

84.1

0.5

-1.7

May 2012

102.9

83.8

2.4

-0.4

May 2013

105.1

83.3

2.2

-0.5

May 2014

106.5

83.2

1.4

-0.1

Travellers: Caravan Sites

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will bring forward proposals to introduce mandatory eviction orders to be used by local authorities when unauthorised Traveller encampments take place in public parks; and if he will make a statement. [206617]

Brandon Lewis: Our expectation is that local authorities will be proactive in their use of the existing strong enforcement powers that are available to deal with unauthorised encampments and development.

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A possession order under Part 55 of the Civil Procedure Rules can be obtained by both local authorities and private landowners who require the removal of trespassers from property including land.

A local authority can use its powers under sections 77-78 of the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 to direct individuals to remove their vehicles and belongings, and to leave highway land, or any land occupied without the consent of the landowner.

We have lifted the previous Administration’s restrictions on the use of temporary stop notices, which give councils more freedom to take early and decisive action against unauthorised sites and encampments. Councils can issue such a notice on both private and public sector land.

In August last year we sent all council leaders a summary of the powers available to them to remove illegal and unauthorised sites; at the same time we reminded them of the need to act swiftly, working with other local agencies, including the police.

Northern Ireland

Buildings

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will review her departmental estate in order to reduce costs; and if she will make a statement. [206693]

Mrs Villiers: My Department has accommodation at three locations:

1 Horse Guards Road, London, Hillsborough Castle (Co. Down), and Stormont House, Belfast.

The London office relocated from 11 Millbank to 1 Horse Guards Road in February 2013. This move enabled the Department to secure significant savings of just under £1m per annum. In July 2014, the Northern Ireland Office’s (NIO) footprint within 1 Horse Guards was further reduced which will create an additional annual saving of approximately £58,000.

On 1 April 2014, my Department transferred responsibility for the management and day to day running of Hillsborough Castle, whilst retaining accommodation and an office for Ministers, to the charity Historic Royal Palaces. This new arrangement will achieve significant savings for the NIO, with the added benefit of enabling the Castle to become fully open to the people of Northern Ireland and visitors from abroad.

My Department will continue to keep under review potential options to make further savings at all three of its locations.

Correspondence

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland if she will estimate the annual cost to her Department of (a) stationery and (b) postage incurred when sending a ministerial reply to hon. Members; and if she will make a statement. [206152]

Mrs Villiers: My Department does not hold the specific information requested.

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Wales

Buildings

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales if he will review his departmental estate in order to reduce costs; and if he will make a statement. [206697]

Stephen Crabb: The Wales Office takes every opportunity to maximise the use of the estate and reduce running costs. We lease office space in Cardiff in a modern energy efficient building, and starting in 2013-14 we leased space in our London office to provide us with an income which reduces our running costs.

Motor Sports

Andrew Bridgen: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what discussions his Department has had with the Welsh Government on State Aid rules and the Circuit of Wales. [206857]

Stephen Crabb: The Wales Office has not had any discussions with the Welsh Government on State Aid rules and the Circuit of Wales. As a devolved matter it is for the Welsh Government to decide how to allocate funding for economic development/leisure projects within their own capital budgets and to ensure that any support is compliant with State Aid rules.

Scotland

Buildings

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Scotland if he will review his departmental estate in order to reduce costs; and if he will make a statement. [206694]

David Mundell: The Scotland Office estate comprises two leased buildings: one in London and one in Edinburgh. The Scotland Office takes every opportunity to maximise the use of the estate and to reduce running costs.

Treasury

Block Grant: Northern Ireland

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the likely reduction to the block grant for Northern Ireland in the current financial year arising from lack of progress on welfare reform difficulties. [206837]

Danny Alexander: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave him on 8 April 2014, Official Report, column 228W.

Buildings

Simon Kirby: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will review his departmental estate in order to reduce costs; and if he will make a statement. [206696]

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Andrea Leadsom: HM Treasury occupies a small estate the core of which is the building at 1 Horse Guards Road. Space rationalisation since May 2010 in this building has allowed the Cabinet Office, the Northern Ireland Office, the Office of Parliamentary Counsel and UK Export Finance to be accommodated, generating £12 million pa in rental income. Inline with business planning HM Treasury regularly reviews its accommodation needs.

Business: Capital Allowances

Adam Afriyie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many businesses received the annual investment allowance in (a) 2010-11, (b) 2011-12 and (c) 2012-13. [205500]

Mr Gauke: Annual Investment Allowance (AIA) has been used to encourage investment in plant and machinery by all businesses. The number of unincorporated businesses and companies that received AIA is presented in the following table, and has been rounded to the nearest 1,000. The latest year for which figures are available is 2011-12.

 2010-112011-12

Number Of AIA Claims

1,203,000

1,222,000

Consultants

Keith Vaz: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what the cost to the public purse was of external consultants employed by his Department in (a) 2010, (b) 2011, (c) 2012, (d) 2013 and (e) 2014 to date. [206287]

Andrea Leadsom: Spend on external consultants and other professional services is published annually in the Department's annual report and accounts. These can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/hmt-annual-report

Correspondence

Simon Kirby: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will estimate the annual cost to his Department of (a) stationery and (b) postage incurred when sending a ministerial reply to hon. Members; and if he will make a statement. [206155]

Andrea Leadsom: Information relating to costs of stationery and postage incurred when sending a ministerial reply to hon. Members is not recorded and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Simon Kirby: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether he has any plans to increase the number of replies within his Department's working day standard; and if he will make a statement. [206483]

Andrea Leadsom: The handling of correspondence is given the highest priority by my Department and we aim to respond to all correspondence within 15 working days.

1 Sep 2014 : Column 16W

Guidance on handling correspondence from Members of Parliament, peers, MEPs and Members of devolved Administrations will be updated in due course.

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/61196/guide-handling-gov-correspondence.pdf

Credit: Interest Rates

Mr Dodds: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps his Department is taking to address concerns that payday loan companies are exploiting vulnerable people. [206553]

Andrea Leadsom: The Government has fundamentally reformed regulation of the payday market, transferring regulatory responsibility for consumer credit regulation from the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) from 1 April 2014. The FCA has a statutory objective to protect consumers.

It is important that consumers are protected from unfair costs. The Government has therefore legislated to require the FCA to introduce a cap on the cost of payday loans, and the FCA is currently consulting on its cap proposals.

The Government also strongly welcomes the FCA's new rules for regulating payday lending, including action on rollovers and continuous payment authorities (CPAs). Payday lenders are also required to adhere to the FCA's high level principles of business, including that of “treating customers fairly”.

The FCA has also introduced affordability rules to strengthen consumer protection, based on the principle that money should only be lent to a consumer if they can afford it.

EU Grants and Loans

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer under what circumstances the use of European Investment Bank loans by the Northern Ireland Executive would lead to a reduction in the block grant from his Department. [205168]

Danny Alexander: The Northern Ireland Executive’s spending is funded from a variety of sources, including the ‘block grant’ allocation from the UK Government, borrowing, and locally raised revenue. The Northern Ireland Executive can currently borrow up to £200 million per year, up to a total of £3 billion, from the UK’s National Loans Fund (NLF), through the Reinvestment and Reform Initiative (RRI).

Any loans from the European Investment Bank which were additional to the NLF borrowing would, like the existing facility, count towards the UK’s overall Public Sector Net Cash Requirement (PSNCR) and would have the effect of increasing the overall level of public spending. For this reason, any Northern Ireland Executive borrowing needs to be within the £200 million per year limits which are provided for within the devolved Administration’s total budgets each year. Any increases in borrowing beyond the agreed limits must be offset by reductions in other spending to avoid adding to the overall limits on public spending set out by the Government.

1 Sep 2014 : Column 17W

Such reductions could be enforced by cuts to the ‘block grant’ portion of NI budgets if the Northern Ireland Executive did not make other offsetting savings.

It is important to recognise that bodies other than the Northern Ireland Executive can bid for EIB loans in Northern Ireland. In January 2014, the University of Ulster secured a £150 million loan to help build its new Belfast campus, and the Northern Ireland Finance Minister has been encouraging councils within the new local authority structures in Northern Ireland to consider the EIB as a source of finance for infrastructure investment.

EU Law

Mr Redwood: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many times the UK has lost EU infraction proceedings since May 2010 which relate to matters that fall within his Department's responsibility. [206663]

Andrea Leadsom: Since May 2010 the UK has not lost any EU infraction proceedings falling within the responsibility of HM Treasury. The UK has never been fined for an infraction.

Foreign Investment in UK

Adam Afriyie: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the amount of foreign direct investment generated since 2010 as a direct result of the lower rate of corporation tax. [206722]

Mr Gauke: Since 2010, the Government has cut the main rate of corporation tax from 28% to 21%. It will fall further next year, to 20%, giving the UK the joint lowest rate of corporation tax in the G20. The Small Profits Rate has also been cut to 20%.

These cuts are a central part of the Government’s long-term economic plan. They are intended to make the UK more competitive, supporting business investment and job creation.

Government modeling suggests that the corporation tax cuts introduced in this parliament will:

increase business investment by between 2.5% and 4.5% (£3.6bn to £6bn in today’s prices) in the long term

increase GDP by between 0.6% and 0.8% (£9.6bn to £12.2bn in today’s prices) in the long term

Foreign direct investment decisions are influenced by a range of factors including skills, market access, and infrastructure. Consequently, it is difficult to isolate the exact impact of the corporation tax cuts from reform in other areas. But recently published data on inward investment has been very encouraging.

In their 2013/2014 Inward Investment Report, UKTI said ONS data showed the value of FDI stock increased from £725.6 billion in 2010, to £936.5 billion in 2012.

UKTI also reported that the UK attracted more inward investment projects last year than in any year since records began in the 1980s. UKTI recorded 1,773 projects, creating 66,390 new jobs.

This is supported by analysis from Ernst and Young, who use their own independent database to assess inward investment. Ernst and Young’s Annual Attractiveness Survey, published in June, showed the number of inward

1 Sep 2014 : Column 18W

investment projects in the UK had risen by 15% in the past year, against the background of a European market that grew by just 4%.

As noted above, it is difficult to isolate the impact of tax policy on these trends, and UKTI does not have estimates of how much of the new investment has been a direct result of the lower rate of corporation tax. But it is clear that the corporation tax reforms have changed perceptions of the UK competitiveness. For the past two years, the UK has ranked highest in the KPMG survey on international tax competitiveness, ahead of countries including the US, the Netherlands and Switzerland.

Income Tax

Andrew Jones: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people in (a) the UK and (b) North Yorkshire no longer pay income tax as a result of changes in the personal income tax threshold introduced since 2010. [206808]

Mr Gauke: By April this year this Government's increases in the personal allowance (for those born after 5 April 1948) are estimated to have taken over 3 million individuals out of the income tax system altogether. 266,000 of these individuals live in the Yorkshire and the Humber region, which includes North Yorkshire.

These estimates are based on the 2011-12 Survey of Personal Incomes, projected to 2014-15 using economic assumptions consistent with the Office for Budget Responsibility's March 2014 economic and fiscal outlook.

HM Treasury does not publish this information at constituency level.

Mapeley

Ian Lavery: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with regard to the Mapeley-Salisbury STEPS contract for cleaning services in Northern Ireland, how much HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has paid towards the Mapeley-Salisbury STEPS contract for cleaning services in Northern Ireland; what arrangements HMRC and Mapeley have in place to monitor the STEPS contract with staff representatives; for what reasons former civil servants employed by ISS on the Mapeley STEPS contract have not received a pay award in 2013 in line with the terms of the contract; and if he will make a statement. [206334]

Mr Gauke: HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) are unable to provide a breakdown of payments by service as this information is commercially sensitive. HMRC monitors the performance of its contractor regularly under a range of provisions. HMRC are unable to comment on the terms and conditions of ISS employees as this information is commercially sensitive.

Mass Media: Subscriptions

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what subscriptions to (a) magazines and (b) television channels his Department funds. [205348]

Andrea Leadsom: HM Treasury subscribes to the following magazines:

AGRA Facts

1 Sep 2014 : Column 19W

Banker

Commercial Motor Thu

Bloomberg Business Week

Commercial Motor Thu

Farmers Weekly Fri

Local Government Chron Fri

Motor Transport Thu

New Statesman Thu

Private Eye Wed F/N

Prospect

Spectator

Taxation Thu

Times Education Supp Fri

HMT does not subscribe to any subscription based TV channels.

In 2009-10 HM Treasury was spending £189,561.41 on periodicals and newspapers. In 2013-14, this was down by 66%.

Minimum Wage

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what steps HM Revenue and Customs takes when an employer whom it has deemed to have underpaid the minimum wage absconds without repaying the money owed; [205524]

(2) what outstanding total of minimum wage arrears were unpaid because the employer had absconded in each of the last five years; [205525]

(3) how many times HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) has encountered employers suspected of underpaying the minimum wage who (a) falsified documents, (b) obstructed the investigation and (c) had previously been found on previous occasions by HMRC or by an employment tribunal, to have underpaid on a previous occasion in each of the last five financial years. [205612]

Mr Gauke: The Government takes the enforcement of the national minimum wage (NMW) very seriously. HMRC review every complaint that is referred to them by the Pay and Work Rights Helpline. In addition, by collating and analysing data received from various sources, HMRC ensure targeted enforcement through robust risk assessment processes to identify employers across the United Kingdom who are more likely to be not paying NMW.

The majority of employers identified as paying below national minimum wage will pay arrears on receipt of a formal notice of underpayment. Where they don’t, we will pursue recovery through the civil courts.

For deliberate non-compliance or obstructive behaviour, we investigate at a criminal level. This could include employers who abscond.

The statistics requested on absconded employers are not available, and HMRC does not routinely collect statistics on falsification and obstruction of investigation.

Of those employers prosecuted within the last five financial years, there were no incidences of previous underpayment of the national minimum wage. Employment tribunals are the responsibility of HM Courts & Tribunals Service.

1 Sep 2014 : Column 20W

Ministers: Official Cars

Lyn Brown: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many journeys Ministers of his Department have made using the Government Car Service; and how many such journeys were for the transportation of a red box. [204946]

Andrea Leadsom: HM Treasury does not keep a record of Ministers' individual car journeys.

Mortgages: Government Assistance

Jim Shannon: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether the Government plans to provide help for mortgage holders in the event of an increase in interest rates. [206796]

Andrea Leadsom: The Government has taken a number of measures aimed at helping people to avoid mortgage repayment difficulties. The Money Advice Service has been set up by Government to promote understanding of the financial system and raise levels of financial capability across the UK. The Support for Mortgage Interest scheme helps pensioners and those out of work to meet their mortgage payments. Furthermore, all borrowers can seek protection in the courts using the Pre-Action Protocol, which makes it clear that repossession must always be the last resort for lenders.

Motor Sports: Wales

Andrew Bridgen: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer whether his Department has received any requests from the Welsh Government for loans or grants for the construction of the Circuit of Wales. [206834]

Danny Alexander: The Treasury has not received any requests for loans or grants from the Welsh Government in relation to the construction of the Circuit of Wales.

Personal Pensions

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will hold discussions with the Financial Conduct Authority on addressing the challenges faced by people who are not yet retired who hold personal pensions which commenced between 1970 and 2000, and who are no longer contributing, but are being charged annual fees which reduce the amount in their pensions. [206726]

Mr Gauke: As a conduct of business regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority’s role is to promote effective competition in the interests of consumers, secure an appropriate degree of protection for consumers, and to protect and enhance the integrity of the UK financial system. The Government works closely with the FCA. It is, however, important that the FCA, as an independent regulatory authority, has the ability to develop rules without undue fear of direct intervention by Government.

Public Expenditure

James Duddridge: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will place in the Library the underlying data to Chart B.5 on page 97 of the Budget 2014 Red Book in (a) percentage of gross domestic product and (b) £ million. [201381]

1 Sep 2014 : Column 21W

Priti Patel: The data (the Office for Budget Responsibility’s forecast for debt in 2015-16 and HM Treasury projections for debt in 2035-36 under different policy assumptions with and without illustrative shocks) has been placed in the Library of the House. The forecast and projections have been provided both as a percentage of GDP and in £ million in today’s terms.

Revenue and Customs

Ian Lavery: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many call attempts were made to HM Revenue and Customs contact centres on each working day between 16 June and 4 July 2014; how many such calls were answered; and how many answered calls led to a request for a needs enhanced support face-to-face meeting. [206218]

Mr Gauke: During this period industrial action taken by Public and Commercial Services Union members in HMRC, led to reduced staffing between 23 and 27 June 2014, with increased demand therefore impacting later weeks.

HM Revenue and Customs Contact Centres received and answered the calls tabled below during the period requested.

DayCall Attempts MadeCall Attempts Handled

16 June 2014

391,004

261,395

17 June 2014

319,565

228,150

18 June 2014

309,711

214,686

19 June 2014

297,266

210,399

20 June 2014

292,331

193,136

21 June 2014

62,369

49,090

22 June 2014

Closed

Closed

23 June 2014

405,879

159,432

24 June 2014

315,448

223,670

25 June 2014

285,142

207,709

26 June 2014

261,284

194,392

27 June 2014

262,061

171,436

28 June 2014

72,209

49,662

29 June 2014

Closed

Closed

30 June 2014

421,030

257,619

1 July 2014

332,910

231,533

2 July 2014

290,915

226,957

3 July 2014

273,627

218,206

4 July 2014

270,626

194,765

During this period there were 6410 telephone requests to our telephony teams for customers to receive extra help resulting in 1706 face to face meetings being arranged. The remaining (4704) callers received the help they needed from telephone advisers.

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how much was paid to officials in HM Revenue and Customs in bonuses and other payments in addition to salary in each of the last five years; how many officials received such payments; and what the monetary value was of the 20 largest payments made in each year. [206497]

Mr Gauke: HMRC operates two non-consolidated award arrangements:

Performance awards tied to the annual performance for delegated grades (AA – grade 6) and senior civil servants; and

1 Sep 2014 : Column 22W

A recognition bonus scheme for delegated grades which recognises exceptional in year performance. This scheme is not open to members of the SCS.

All payments are non-consolidated and non-pensionable.

All information has been previously disclosed in HMRC accounts and transparency declarations which can be found through the following links;

Transparency returns

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/non-consolidated-performance-related-payments

Annual accounts

2013-14

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/hmrc-annual-report-and-accounts-2013-to-2014

2012-13

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/annual-report-and-accounts-2012-13--3

Prior to 2012

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/about/reports.htm

Performance awards are paid in the financial year following the performance (i.e. payments in 2009-10 relate to performance in 2008-09).

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many and what proportion of telephone calls were answered by HM Revenue and Customs in less than (a) five minutes, (b) 10 minutes, (c) 15 minutes and (d) 20 minutes in each quarter of the last three years; and how many and what proportion of telephone calls to HM Revenue and Customs went unanswered in each quarter of the last three years. [206498]

Mr Gauke: HMRC publishes regular updates on its performance. The latest publication is available here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/business-plan-indicators

Sanitary Protection: VAT

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what recent representations he has made to the European Commission on the removal of VAT on sanitary products; and if he will make a statement. [206878]

Mr Gauke: The Government has frequent discussions with the European Commission on a wide range of issues.

Since 2001, the UK has applied a 5% reduced rate of VAT, the lowest permissible under EU law, to the supply of sanitary products.

Self-employed: Preston

Mark Hendrick: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer how many people in Preston constituency were self-employed and in receipt of working tax credit in each year since 2009-10. [206321]

Priti Patel: The following table is based on finalised tax credits administrative data for each financial year. The latest data available are 2012-13.

1 Sep 2014 : Column 23W

Preston constituency
Thousand
Tax yearNumber of families in receipt of tax credits containing at least one member identified as self-employed

2009-10

1.4

2010-11

1.3

2011-12

1.4

2012-13

1.3

Shipping: Pay

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what estimate he has made of the additional annual cost to the public purse resulting from the extension of seafarers' earnings deduction to all EU and European Economic Area seafarers in 2011; [206601]

(2) what estimate he has made of the (a) number of seafarers claiming the seafarers' earnings deduction (SED) and (b) the cost to the public purse of SED in (i) 2009-10, (ii) 2010-11, (iii) 2011-12, (iv) 2012-13 and (v) 2013-14; [206602]

(3) what estimate he has made of the proportion of seafarers claiming seafarers' earnings deduction who were (a) basic, (b) higher and (c) additional rate income taxpayers in (i) 2009-10, (ii) 2010-11, (iii) 2011-12, (iv) 2012-13 and (v) 2013-14. [206603]

Mr Gauke: Budget 2010 published the estimated annual Exchequer cost of £5 million resulting from the extension of Seafarers’ Earnings Deduction (SED) to EU and European Economic Area seafarers from 2011.

HMRC publishes the estimated cost of SED each December. This can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/search?q=main+tax+expenditures+and+structural+reliefs

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the (a) number and (b) cost to the public purse of fraudulent claims for seafarers' earnings deduction in (i) 2009-10, (ii) 2010-11, (iii) 2011-12, (iv) 2012-13 and (v) 2013-14. [206619]

Mr Gauke: No estimate has been made.

To minimise any potential for fraud, a valid claim to seafarers' earnings deduction requires the individual to supply verifiable information and claims are handled by specialist HMRC staff in a single office.

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer with reference to the Office of Tax Simplification Review of Tax Reliefs: Final Report, paragraphs J.38-J.41, whether he plans to accept the report's recommendation that proposals should be brought forward to update seafarers' earnings deduction legislation in order to target better that relief. [206630]

Mr Gauke: The Government considers recommendations made by the Office of Tax Simplification carefully and keeps income tax policy, including seafarers' earnings deduction, under constant review.

1 Sep 2014 : Column 24W

Tax Evasion

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer pursuant to the answer of 10 February 2014, Official Report, column 438W, on tax evasion, what recent progress has been made by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in initiating proceedings against all current HMRC fugitives; and if he will make a statement. [206010]

Mr Gauke: HMRC continues to work towards bringing all current HMRC Fugitives facing legal proceedings before the UK Courts. They use all available systems and resources to locate and trace individuals. This includes working closely with HMRC’s Fiscal Liaison Officers based overseas, Crown Prosecution Service, National Crime Agency, Interpol and other International Partners.

HMRC will publish an update in due course.

Tobacco: Smuggling

Luciana Berger: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer (1) what the cost in salaries was for those officials in his Department employed in tackling tobacco smuggling (a) in total, (b) in detection, (c) in investigations and (d) on intelligence matters in each year since 2010-11; [206015]

(2) what expenditure HM Revenue and Customs has incurred in operating x-ray scanners to tackle tobacco smuggling in each year since 2010-11; [206016]

(3) how much HM Revenue and Customs has spent on Tackling Tobacco Smuggling strategy in each year since 2010-11; how many of his Department's staff worked on implementing that strategy in each such year; and how many such staff were engaged in (a) detection, (b) intelligence-gathering and analysis, (c) investigations and (d) the provision of legal advice. [206017]

Priti Patel: It is not possible to provide the requested breakdown of the total HM Revenue and Customs spent on salaries for staff employed on tackling tobacco smuggling in the way requested. The total costs for each year are as follows:

Salary cost
 £ million

2010-11

37.044

2011-12

36.882

2012-13

35.734

2013-14

37.731

HM Revenue and Customs does not operate any x-ray scanners. Border Force has responsibility for the operation of x-ray scanners as part of the joint strategy to tackle tobacco smuggling.

HM Revenue and Customs total expenditure on tobacco work since 2010-11 is detailed in the following table. This includes administration and policy, as well as enforcement.

HMRC activity
 Total expenditure on tobacco work (£ million)

2010-11

65.750

1 Sep 2014 : Column 25W

2011-12

68.918

2012-13

67.641

2013-14

76.000

It is not possible to provide the staff information in the format requested. However, the total figures are set out as follows:

HMRC activity
 Full-time equivalent

2010-11

758

2011-12

777

2012-13

777

2013-14

832

For the year 2012-13, the UK cigarette illicit market was reported at 9%, which is half the level seen a decade ago. The illicit market share for hand-rolling tobacco is 36%, lower than in 2010-11 and significantly lower than the level seen in 2008-09, when it was 50%.

VAT

Dr Offord: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate his Department has made of the money annually raised through VAT on the restoration of heritage buildings. [206441]

Mr Gauke: No estimate has been made.

Dr Phillip Lee: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer if he will bring forward legislative proposals to remove VAT from death notices. [206631]

Mr Gauke: This is not possible under current EU VAT law.

Although EU law allows a VAT exemption for certain costs charged by an undertaker or crematorium, this does not extend to such things as death notices, newspaper announcements, announcement cards, flowers or wreaths, all of which are standard rated.

Cabinet Office

Buildings

Simon Kirby: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will review his departmental estate in order to reduce costs; and if he will make a statement. [206682]

Mr Maude: Since 2010 the number of Cabinet Office buildings has reduced from 14 to six with an annual saving of around £10 million. Further reductions are planned until 2016, to a total of three occupied properties, with a further £2 million annual saving.

The State of the Estate Report (SofTE) provides annual progress updates on our work improving the efficiency of the Government’s Civil Estate. The Government estate is currently 2 million sq. m. smaller since January 2010. More information is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/state-of-the-estate

1 Sep 2014 : Column 26W

Cabinet: Aberdeen

Karen Lumley: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what the estimated cost to the public purse was of holding a Cabinet meeting in Aberdeen on 24 February 2014. [206772]

Mr Maude: The central cost of holding Cabinet in Aberdeen was £1,800. This is a considerable reduction on regional Cabinet meetings under the previous Administration, which cost between £50,000 and £100,000. Departments and agencies will also have incurred costs in terms of travel, staff time and other support. The cost of any security provided by the police is a matter for the relevant police force.

Holding Cabinet meetings in different parts of the UK allows Ministers to hear at first hand the views of people in different areas, and Ministers visited various locations in the region following the meeting.

Correspondence

Simon Kirby: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office if he will estimate the annual cost to his Department of (a) stationery and (b) postage incurred when sending a ministerial reply to hon. Members; and if he will make a statement. [206142]

Mr Maude: Ministerial replies to letters from hon. Members are hand delivered to Parliament so there is no delivery cost to the Department. The stationery used is recycled paper supplied to the Cabinet Office by Banner Business Services on a closed loop arrangement, whereby our paper waste is fully recycled and returned to us to use as copy paper. Each sheet costs 0.004 pence.

Corruption

Catherine McKinnell: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) when the Government's review of enforcement of anti-corruption legislation will begin; how long that review is expected to last; and in what format the results of the review will be published; [206604]

(2) which Government Departments will be involved in the Government's review of enforcement of anti-corruption legislation; [206605]

(3) what steps the Government is taking to ensure the continuity of its anti-corruption work across each relevant Department following the change in post of the Government's anti-corruption champion. [206642]

Mr Maude: The Government is reviewing the coordination and effectiveness of the UK’s enforcement response to cases of bribery and corruption. The review has commenced and is expected to conclude by the end of the year. The Home Office is leading the review supported by the Cabinet Office, Department for International Development, the Attorney-General’s Office, Crown Prosecution Service, Serious Fraud Office and National Crime Agency. Ministers will consider the recommendations in due course.

The Government has established a ministerial group on anti-corruption, attended by Ministers and officials from relevant Departments and agencies. Its work continues and is supported by officials in the Cabinet Office as well as the Home Office which leads on the co-ordination

1 Sep 2014 : Column 27W

of domestic and international anti-corruption work across Departments. The Government is also working on, and will publish, a cross-departmental anti-corruption plan, setting out activity currently underway and future policy directions.

Debts

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what change there has been in household debt between 6 May 2010 and 27 June 2014. [206725]

Mr Newmark: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Glen Watson, dated July 2014:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics (ONS), I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking the Minister for the Cabinet Office what change there has been in household debt between 6 May 2010 and 27 June 2014. (206725)

The Office for National Statistics publishes details of the combined financial liabilities of households and non-profit institutions serving households (NPISH). NPISH is a relatively small contributor to the sector. The most recent analyses can be found in table A64 of the United Kingdom Economic Accounts (UKEA) 2014 Q1, published on 27 June 2014. The UKEA is available on the National Statistics web site at:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/naa1-rd/united-kingdom-economic-accounts/q1-2014/index.html

The latest data is only available for the 3 month period January-March 2014 and doesn't yet cover June as per your question.

Household 'debt' can be interpreted as the accumulated Total financial liabilities' of the household and NPISH sector. These are predominantly made up of short and long term loans. The UKEA shows that for households and NPISH, the combined Total financial liabilities' in 2014 Q1 was £1,557.6 billion. This compares with a 2010 Q2 figure of £1,530.8 billion. Household and NPISH Total financial liabilities' have, therefore, risen £26.8 billion between 2010 Q2 and 2014 Q1.

All values are current price series (also known as nominal, cash or value series)-these are expressed in terms of the prices of the time period being estimated. In other words, they describe the actual price charged or paid for the goods or services at time of production or consumption.

Government Departments: Pay

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office which government departments do not pay all employees the living wage as defined by the Living Wage Foundation; and how much less than the living wage those departments pay. [206840]

Mr Maude: The information requested is not held centrally.

For staff outside the Senior Civil Service, individual Departments have delegated authority to set their own pay levels, based on their own recruitment and retention needs.

Military Decorations

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office when he plans to make an announcement on recommendations relating to the award of the National Defence Medal. [206314]

1 Sep 2014 : Column 28W

Mr Maude: Sir John Holmes’ further work to implement the recommendations set out in his Military Medals Review included a review of the case for some form of National Defence Medal, to recognise all military service. As Sir John noted in his report of July 2012, the National Defence Medal is an issue of national significance which would require a broad political and public consensus and consideration by the government as a whole, in consultation with other political parties and concerned organisations.

Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome

Fiona Bruce: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office how many women are known to have died of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome in each year since 2000. [206969]

Mr Newmark: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Glen Watson dated September 2014:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking the Secretary of State for Health how many women are known to have died of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome in each year since 2000. (206969)

ONS holds mortality data for England and Wales based on the information provided at death registration. All conditions mentioned on the medical certificate of cause of death are coded according to the International Classification of Diseases (ICD). Since 2001, the ICD, Tenth Revision has been used to code deaths in which code N98.1 specifically identifies hyperstimulation of ovaries. Specific codes to identify this condition were not available in earlier revisions of the ICD.

Between 2001 and 2013 (the latest year available), two deaths have been registered in England and Wales where hyperstimulation of ovaries was recorded as the underlying cause of death (one in 2005 and one in 2006). In addition, one death was registered in 2008 which had hyperstimulation of ovaries mentioned on the death certificate, but this was not the underlying cause of death.

The number of deaths registered in England and Wales each year by sex, age and underlying cause, are published annually on the ONS website at:

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/vsob1/mortality-statistics--deaths-registered-in-england-and-wales--series-dr-/index.html

Pay: Brigg

Andrew Percy: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what estimate he has made of the number of people in Brigg and Goole constituency who are paid at a rate below the living wage as defined by the Living Wage Foundation. [207032]

Mr Newmark: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Glen Watson, dated July 2014:

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking the Minister for the Cabinet Office what estimate he has made of the number of people in Brigg and Goole constituency who are paid at a rate below the living wage as defined by the Living Wage Foundation (207032).

The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), carried out in April each year, is the most comprehensive source of earnings information in the United Kingdom. Hourly levels of earnings are estimated from ASHE and are provided for employees

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on adult rates of pay, whose earnings for the survey pay period were not affected by absence. It is not possible to estimate the number of people with earnings below specified thresholds, though it is possible to estimate the corresponding proportion of employee jobs. Figures relate to employee jobs, which are defined as those held by employees and not the self-employed.

In April 2013, the latest period for which results are available, the Living Wage rate suggested by the Living Wage Foundation was £7.45 per hour for employees who did not work in London. The proportion of employee jobs below this rate in Brigg and Goole in April 2013 was 27.0%. **

Guide to quality:

The Coefficient of Variation (CV) indicates the quality of a figure, the smaller the CV value the higher the quality. The true value is likely to lie within +/- twice the CV. For example, for an estimate of 50% with a CV of 5%, we would expect the population average to be within the range 45% to 55%. This is given by 50% +/- ({2*0.05}*50).

Key:

** CV > 10% and <= 20%

Voluntary Work

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what research he has commissioned on the number of people who volunteer and the reasons for people not volunteering since May 2010. [206707]

Mr Newmark: The Cabinet Office has commissioned the Community Life Survey which provides official statistics on volunteering, giving and community engagement. Latest data shows that in 2013-14 74% of people volunteered (either informally or formally), an increase from 65% in 2010-11.

The survey also captures why people do not volunteer. More information can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/community-life-survey

Electoral Commission Committee

Electoral Systems

Chris Ruane: To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, what proportion of the public were (a) satisfied and (b) dissatisfied with the process of voting in Great Britain and Northern Ireland in the most recent year for which data is available. [205495]

Mr Streeter: The Electoral Commission informs me that its 2013 winter tracker survey provides the most recent public opinion data on satisfaction with the process of voting in Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This research found that nearly three in four (72%) were very or fairly satisfied with the process of voting. Seven per cent were very or fairly dissatisfied. The remainder said that they were ‘Neither satisfied nor dissatisfied’ (18%) or ‘Didn’t know’ (2%).

The full topline findings are available on the Commission’s website at:

http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/our-work/our-research/public-opinion-surveys

The Commission’s May 2014 post-election public opinion survey, which contains a question on satisfaction with the procedure for voting, will also be published on the same section of the website shortly.

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Pay

Mr Bradshaw: To ask the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, how many employees of the Commission, of each grade, have remained at the same grade since 2010 and in that period received pay rises. [205747]

Mr Streeter: The Commission’s staff are not members of the civil service. It does not apply a civil service grading structure with incremental scales and so cannot provide the information as requested.

In 2010-11 and 2011-12 there were no pay awards given to its staff. In subsequent years the 1% public sector pay cap has been applied to all of its staff.

Attorney-General

Buildings

Simon Kirby: To ask the Attorney-General if he will review the Law Officers' Departments departmental estate in order to reduce costs; and if he will make a statement. [206681]

The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has been engaged in a programme of estate reduction since 2010 which has reduced the annual running cost of its estate by £9.32 million. This has been achieved by reducing the size of the estate from 95 buildings in 2010 to 59 sites, 15 of which are currently vacant or being used as storage and business continuity sites.

The CPS Estate Rationalisation Programme will continue into 2016 and by the end of 2016 the department expects to reduce the size of the estate to approximately 35 occupied buildings and 10 vacant sites with leases due to expire, reducing running costs by a further £10 million per annum.

The other Law Officers’ Departments do not have sizable estates but have made significant efforts to reduce their estate running costs since 2010, including initiatives such as relocation to more cost effective properties and sharing premises with other organisations. The departmental estate costs of all departments are continually kept under review.

Full details on the size of the Government estate-including the Law Officers’ Departments-can be found in the latest State of the Estate Report (SofTE) which reports annually on progress made during the year in improving the efficiency of the Government’s Civil Estate. This is available online at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/state-of-the-estate

Consultants

Keith Vaz: To ask the Attorney-General pursuant to the answer of 8 July 2014, Official Report, column 184W, on consultants, who the consultants were; what they were contracted to do; and how much each was paid. [206676]

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The Solicitor-General: The information requested in respect of the Crown Prosecution Service was contained in an answer given to the right hon. Member by the Attorney-General on 16July 2014, Official Report, column 678W.

The following table contains details on the consultants used by the SFO since 2010-11.

 ContractorWork typeAmount (£000)

2010-11

PA Consultancy

Support work for senior management

986

 

Corven

Development work relating to Deferred Prosecution Agreements: coaching

480

 

SCC

IT consultancy

60

 

DTZ

Preparation of Business case for relocation and satellite offices

24

 

Morland Consulting

Research & Support Strategic Risk Assessment

10

 

Processflows Ltd

IT consultancy

1

 

Ravn Systems Ltd

IT consultancy

7

    

2011-12

PA Consultancy

Support work for senior management

208

 

Corven

Consultancy work relating to Deferred Prosecution Agreements

542

 

BNP Paribas

Lease surrender

61

 

Ravn Systems

IT consultancy

44

 

Hill and Knowlton

Communication advice

1

    

2012-13

PA Consultancy

Late invoice for work in 2011-12 (as above)

31

    

2013-14

SCC

IT consultancy

32

 

CIO Partners

Preparation of specialist IT specification

2

 

Others1

Data management reviews

14

1 Two individuals carried out some work relating to an incident of data loss. Notes: 1. Records for this type of expenditure were not properly documented prior to April 2012. Available records are summarised above: 2. The combined total of costs for the year 2010/11 does not match SFO’s previously published figures. The previous figure was understated by £10k because of credits for late invoices relating to 2009/10 which had been incorrectly categorised as consultancy expenditure.

Correspondence

Simon Kirby: To ask the Attorney-General if he will take steps to increase the number of replies within the Law Officers' Departments' working day standard; and if he will make a statement. [206130]

The Solicitor-General: Performance in meeting targets is kept under regular review by Ministers and senior

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management in the Law Officer's Departments, and every effort is being made to ensure that levels of performance are maintained or improved upon.

Simon Kirby: To ask the Attorney-General if he will estimate the annual cost to the Law Officers' Departments of (a) stationery and (b) postage incurred when sending a ministerial reply to hon. Members; and if he will make a statement. [206141]

The Attorney-General: The stationery and postage costs incurred when sending a ministerial reply to hon. Members are not separately identifiable from general office stationery and postage costs.