Horse Meat

Sir Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs when she intends to publish the official report examining the causes of the 2013 horse meat scandal; and what the reason is for the delay in publication. [208030]

George Eustice: On 4 June 2013 the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announced that Professor Chris Elliott would lead an independent review of Britain’s food system in light of the horsemeat fraud. The ‘Review into the Integrity and Assurance of Food Supply Networks’ focused on consumer confidence in the authenticity of all food products and any weaknesses in food supply networks which could have implications for food safety and public health. The review started in June 2013 and the final report was published on 4 September 2014.

Unmanned Air Vehicles

Sir Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many quadcopters or similar remote controlled devices her Department has purchased; for what purpose such quadcopters were so purchased; and at what cost to the public purse such quadcopters were so purchased. [208032]

Dan Rogerson: Core DEFRA has not acquired or used any quadcopters or similar remote controlled devices.

Transport

A65

David Morris: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if there are any plans to widen the A65 which connects Cumbria and North Lancashire to Yorkshire. [207895]

9 Sep 2014 : Column 560W

Mr Goodwill: The A65 runs from the M6 in Cumbria to Leeds in Yorkshire and is the responsibility of the five local authorities along its route. I am not aware that any of the local authorities have plans to widen the section of route that runs through their area.

Crewe-Derby Railway Line

Joan Walley: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of the need for extra capacity on the Crewe-Derby rail line. [207817]

Claire Perry: I have made no such assessment. Network Rail is currently undertaking a Long Term Planning Process in consultation with industry, local and other stakeholders to identify the strategic priorities for future development of the rail network following the 2014-19 Control Period.

Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency

Mr Gregory Campbell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many complaints his Department has received from people in Northern Ireland about the DVLA since July 2014. [208059]

Claire Perry: Since 1 July, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency has received 38 complaints from Northern Ireland residents.

East Croydon Station

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy to increase capacity at East Croydon station; and if he will make a statement. [208154]

Claire Perry: Network Rail’s Sussex Route Study is considering options to enhance capacity right along the Brighton Main Line. A draft report for consultation will be published later this year, and a final report will be publish in 2015 setting out options for potential schemes beyond 2019.

Energy

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps he is taking to reduce energy costs in his Department; and if he will make a statement. [208348]

Claire Perry: The Department for Transport has introduced a number of measures across its organisations to improve energy efficiency and reduce energy costs. These include:

An overarching Operations Sustainability Strategy which enables the identification, management and delivery of energy efficiency measures;

The development and implementation of the Carbon Trust endorsed organisation specific Carbon Management Plans by the Central Department and the Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (former Driving Standards Agency estate);

Rationalisation of offices to maximise the efficient and effective use of office space;

Relocation of staff to more appropriate sites where functions have diminished or changed;

Partial closing of buildings during low occupancy periods (i.e. Christmas, new year);

9 Sep 2014 : Column 561W

Optimising building management systems to minimise the use of heating and cooling;

Installation of boiler optimisation controls to improve boiler efficiency;

Installation of voltage optimisation equipment at large administrative buildings to reduce electricity consumption;

Lighting improvement programmes (including the installation of LED lights where appropriate and passive infrared (PIR) controls);

Optimisation of IT servers;

Improvements to building insulation;

Updating desktop IT with more efficient models;

Rationalisation of peripheral IT equipment such as printers and faxes with the introduction of multi-functional devices (MFDs);

Installation of renewable energy sources such as wind turbines, air source heat pumps and photovoltaic cells where appropriate and cost-effective;

Motorway lighting switch off scheme between midnight and 5 am in pre-assessed areas of the motorway network.

The Department for Transport is committed to achieving all its sustainability targets and lowering energy costs through improving energy efficiency is seen as a key element in attaining that goal.

Level Crossings: Accidents

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people were killed on unmanned rail track crossings in each year since 2011. [208113]

Claire Perry: The following table sets out the number of accidental fatalities at unmanned level crossings each year:

Accidental fatalities
 20112012201320141Total

Total

5

7

9

7

28

1 2014 is a part year; this figure refers to January to March.

Network Rail

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport if he will make it his policy to sell Network Rail to the train operating companies following the failure of the signalling system on the Great Western Rail line between Hereford and London Paddington on 21 July 2014. [207848]

Claire Perry: On 1 September Network Rail was reclassified to the public sector and the Department and Network Rail published a Framework Agreement setting out their new relationship. Reclassification is an independent statistical decision that does not change the structure of the rail industry. The Framework Agreement represents Government policy on Network Rail and there are no plans to change this.

Following its reclassification, Network Rail is now an arm’s-length public sector body. The reliability of the signalling systems on its Western Route remains an operational matter for the company.

Network Rail advises that a signalling failure at Worcester in the early morning of 21 July caused considerable delay to both First Great Western services to London and to London Midland services to Birmingham. Normal working was restored around midday. To address issues

9 Sep 2014 : Column 562W

with the reliability of the mechanical signalling in the Worcester area, Network Rail has provided an additional maintenance team based at Worcester which is working to address underlying causes of poor reliability.

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport with reference to the National Rail framework agreement published on 1 September 2014, when the National Audit Office will have access to Network Rail's accounts. [208092]

Claire Perry: The Comptroller and Auditor General will audit Network Rail’s Annual Report and Accounts.

It is intended that the appointment of the Comptroller and Auditor General as external auditor to Network Rail will take effect from April 2015 to time with the start of the new financial year. Until then, Network Rail will continue to ensure that another appropriate auditor will carry out a statutory audit under the Companies Act 2006 and that its annual regulatory financial statement is also suitably audited.

Paragraph 5.5 of the Framework Agreement explains that to enable the Comptroller and Auditor General to exercise his or her function as the statutory auditor, Network Rail will make available relevant information, documents and access to staff as necessary, including in the period prior to appointment, to develop a sound understanding of the Network Rail business and accounts.

Railway Stations: Accidents

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many people were injured as a result of staff negligence at railway stations in each year since January 2010. [208101]

Claire Perry: The Department does not hold this information as it is a matter for the individual train operators.

Railways: Greater Manchester

Andrew Gwynne: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what assessment he has made of whether the new Northern Franchise will take account of increased connectivity to Reddish South and Denton arising from the better use of existing infrastructure through those stations. [208033]

Claire Perry: The Department for Transport is currently working with Rail North in the development of the specifications for the TransPennine Express and Northern franchises. In doing so we will take account of all relevant data and the views expressed in responses to the consultation.

Railways: Kingsnorth

Damian Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what plans he has to provide a new rail halt at Kingsnorth in Ashford, Kent; and if he will make a statement. [208299]

Claire Perry: In line with our localism agenda, it is for local authorities to decide whether they want a new station that meets local transport needs. It is for Kent county council to decide on whether building a new station in Kingsnorth meets local transport needs.

9 Sep 2014 : Column 563W

Railways: North of England

Eric Ollerenshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what steps are being taken to ensure safety on Northern Rail and TransPennine Express trains running driver-only operations. [207965]

Claire Perry: There are currently no services on either the TransPennine Express (TPE) or Northern franchises that use driver only operation (DOO). In the consultation on the future of these franchises, which concluded on 28August, we stated that:

“on the Northern franchise, we expect to require bidders to set out how DOO may be introduced onto suitable services. On TPE, this will be left at bidders' discretion.”

9 Sep 2014 : Column 564W

Driver only operation is a safe method that is already the working practice on around 30% of existing franchise services (including for instance many commuter services in London and Glasgow).

Roads: Accidents

Richard Burden: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport how many pedestrians who are (a) male, (b) female, (c) children and (d) aged over 65 suffered (i) fatal and (ii) serious injuries in each of the last 10 years for which figures are available. [207929]

Mr Goodwill: The numbers of reported pedestrian casualties (killed, seriously injured and slightly injured) in Great Britain who were male, female, children (aged 0 to 15) and aged over 65 in the years 2004 to 2013 are given in the following table:

Reported pedestrian casualties by gender, selected age and severity: GB, 2004-2013
 2004200520062007200820092010201120122013

Male

          

Killed

450

421

452

422

362

324

275

308

290

270

Seriously injured

4,208

3,889

3,867

3,838

3,626

3,344

3,115

3,211

3,345

2,947

Slightly injured

15,654

15,028

13,505

13,192

12,278

11,643

11,449

11,528

10,736

10,406

All casualties

20,312

19,338

17,824

17,452

16,266

15,311

14,839

15,047

14,371

13,623

           

Female

          

Killed

221

250

223

224

210

176

130

145

130

128

Seriously injured

2,597

2,568

2,508

2,440

2,439

2,200

2,085

2,243

2,214

2,050

Slightly injured

11,737

11,095

10,420

10,053

9,540

9,197

8,780

8,763

8,502

8,228

All casualties

14,555

13,913

13,151

12,717

12,189

11,573

10,995

11,151

10,846

10,406

           

Child: 0-15 years

          

Killed

77

63

71

57

57

37

26

33

20

26

Seriously injured

2,262

2,071

1,954

1,842

1,727

1,623

1,620

1,569

1,525

1,332

Slightly Injured

9,895

9,116

8,106

7,628

6,864

6,323

6,283

6,205

5,454

5,038

All casualties

12,234

11,250

10,131

9,527

8,648

7,983

7,929

7,807

6,999

6,396

           

Aged over 65 years

          

Killed

221

234

240

251

211

176

130

151

161

131

Seriously injured

1,000

957

926

990

981

889

803

890

936

860

Slightly Injured

2,358

2,255

2,124

2,069

1,991

1,949

1,727

1,840

1,886

1,845

All casualties

3,579

3,446

3,290

3,310

3,183

3,014

2,660

2,881

2,983

2,836

Data for 2014 will be available in June 2015.

Written Questions

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Transport what proportion of named day written questions were answered by his Department within the prescribed period in the (a) 2012-13 Session, (b) 2013-14 Session and (c) 2014-15 Session to date. [208432]

Claire Perry: Departmental performance information, for ordinary and named day parliamentary questions, is collated by the Office of the Leader of the House of Commons and submitted to the Procedure Committee. This is published on a sessional basis by the committee, and includes evidence regarding departmental performance. The monitoring report relating to the 2012-13 Session was published on 13 February 2014 as HC1046. The report covering statistics relating to performance during the 2013-14 Session will be published very shortly by the Procedure Committee.

The Department for Transport has answered all named day parliamentary questions in the 2014-15 Session within the prescribed period.

9 Sep 2014 : Column 565W

House of Commons Commission

Carol Mills

Michael Fabricant: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, whether the selection panel for the new Clerk of the House and Chief Executive was informed by Saxton Bampfylde of the Australian Senate investigations into the conduct of Ms Carol Mills; and when the panel became aware of those investigations. [207728]

John Thurso: I refer the hon. Gentleman to my answer of 8 September 2014, Official Report, column 430W, to the right hon. Member for Chelmsford (Mr Burns).

The panel was not made aware of the investigations before reaching its conclusion.

Pay

Mr Frank Field: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, how many (a) direct, (b) outsourced and (c) agency employees on the Parliamentary estate are (i) paid less than the London living wage and (ii) employed on a zero-hours contract. [208038]

John Thurso: The House of Commons is an accredited London Living Wage Employer. In order to obtain our licence the House had to satisfy the Living Wage Foundation that no directly employed or contracted workers engaged to work on the Parliamentary estate are paid less than the London Living Wage (LLW). The House of Commons has gone further than its obligations under this licence by adopting a policy of assuring that all contractors supplying a service to the House, regardless of whether they work on the Estate, are paid at least a living wage.

The House is committed to offering guaranteed minimum hours contracts to all directly-employed staff on call-off (zero hours) contracts and has recently completed a process of offering guaranteed minimum hours contracts to all affected staff. The only call-off contracts that remain relate to two employees who have yet to accept or who preferred not to accept our offer.

We do not have information on whether or how many contracted workers are employed on zero hours contracts.

Speaker's Commission on Digital Democracy

Mr Simon Burns: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, what the total cost has been of the Speaker's Commission on Digital Democracy; and how many people are employed to work on the Commission. [208179]

John Thurso: The total cost assigned to the Commission on Digital Democracy's budget to the end of July 2014 is £146,512.

There are currently four people employed to work on the Commission, although one of these spends 20% of his time working on other matters.

9 Sep 2014 : Column 566W

Mr Simon Burns: To ask the hon. Member for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross, representing the House of Commons Commission, who authorises expenditure for the Speaker's Commission on Digital Democracy; and out of which budget-heading such funding has been allocated. [208217]

John Thurso: Expenditure for the Speaker’s Commission was authorised by the Director General, Information Services. The Commission on Digital Democracy has a separate budget heading within the Department of Information Services budget.

Cabinet Office

Cybercrime

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what role the National Security Adviser has in relation to cyber-security. [208223]

Mr Maude: The National Security Adviser is the Head of the National Security Secretariat within the Cabinet Office, which supports the National Security Council and the Prime Minister in the full range of national security issues across Government, including cyber security, and ensures that departmental work is effectively co-ordinated. The Office of Cyber Security and Information Assurance sits within the National Security Secretariat and has responsibility for coordinating work to achieve the aims of the UK Cyber Security Strategy and oversees the National Cyber Security Programme.

Immigrants: Russia

Lady Hermon: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what estimate he has made of the number of Russian citizens resident in the UK; and if he will make a statement. [208331]

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

Letter from Caron Walker to Lady Hermon, dated September 2014:

On behalf of the Director General for the Office for National Statistics (ONS), I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question to ask what estimate he has made of the number of Russian citizens resident in the UK; and if he will make a statement. [208331]

The latest estimates that are available for the number of Russian citizens resident in the UK are derived from Annual Population Survey (APS) data for the 12 month period of January to December 2013.

The estimated number of Russian citizens resident in households in the UK was 35,000, with a corresponding margin of error of +/- 8,000. The margin of error refers to the 95 per cent confidence interval and is a measure of the uncertainty associated with making inferences from a sample. In this case we expect the true number of Russian citizens resident in households in the UK to be within the range 27,000 to 43,000 in 19 out of 20 possible samples drawn.

The APS is the Labour Force Survey (LFS) plus various sample boosts. It is a household survey and so does not include people living in most types of communal establishment.

9 Sep 2014 : Column 567W

Pay

Mr Thomas: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office (1) what the (a) highest and (b) lowest full-time equivalent salary paid by his Office was in (i) 2010-11, (ii) 2011-12, (iii) 2012-13, (iv) 2013-14 and (v) 2014-15; and if he will make a statement; [208279]

(2) what the (a) highest and (b) lowest full-time equivalent salary paid by No. 10 Downing Street was in (i) 2010-11, (ii) 2011-12, (iii) 2012-13, (iv) 2013-14 and (v) 2014-15; and if he will make a statement; [208290]

(3) what the (a) highest and (b) lowest full-time equivalent salary paid by (i) his Department and (ii) its public bodies was in (A) 2010-11, (B) 2011-12, (C) 2012-13, (D) 2013-14 and (E) 2014-15; and if he will make a statement. [208302]

Mr Maude: The Deputy Prime Minister’s Office and the Prime Minister’s Office are integral parts of the Cabinet Office.

The following tables set out the highest and lowest full-time equivalent salaries paid by my Department and its public bodies, during the years specified:

Cabinet Office
£
 2009/102010/112011/122012/132013/142014/15

Min

15,938

16,229

16,229

16,229

16,807

16,807

Max

238,526

238,526

238,526

190,000

191,813

193,923

Big Lottery Fund
£
 2010/112011/122012/132013/142014/15

Min

13,459

12,632

13,853

13,853

13,853

Max

140,000

140,000

141,400

140,000

140,000

Written Questions

Hilary Benn: To ask the Minister for the Cabinet Office what proportion of named day written questions were answered by his Department within the prescribed period in the (a) 2012-13 session, (b) 2013-14 session and (c) 2014-15 session to date. [208418]

Mr Maude: Departmental performance information for ordinary and named day Parliamentary Questions is collated by the Office of the Leader of the House of Commons and submitted to the Procedure Committee. This is published on a sessional basis by the committee, and includes evidence regarding departmental performance. The monitoring report relating to the 2012-13 session was published on 13 February 2014 as HC1046. The report covering statistics relating to performance during the 2013-14 session will be published very shortly by the Procedure Committee.

Prime Minister

National Security Council

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Prime Minister whether the National Security Council has reviewed the collective strategic impact of policy changes since its creation in 2010. [208171]

9 Sep 2014 : Column 568W

The Prime Minister: Shortly after its creation in 2010, the National Security Council (NSC) approved a new National Security Strategy (NSS) to ensure a strong Britain in an age of uncertainty. There have been no fundamental changes to our policy on national security issues since then. The NSS has provided a sound basis to guide our response to subsequent challenges to our national security. Whitehall Departments are brought together through the NSC to take collective decisions at a time of increasing strategic uncertainty.

Radicalism: Wales

Stephen Doughty: To ask the Prime Minister what recent discussions he has had with the First Minister of Wales on tackling extremism; and whether he plans to discuss the issue of tackling extremism at his next Joint Ministerial Council meeting. [208166]

The Prime Minister: I regularly meet the First Minister of Wales to discuss a range of issues and will continue to do so.

Business, Innovation and Skills

Biofuels: Imports

Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what information he holds on the proportion of wood pellets imported from North America that were derived from roundwood in the latest year for which figures are available. [207891]

Matthew Hancock: The Government does not hold any information on the proportion of imported wood pellets from North America from roundwood.

Graham Stringer: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what information he holds on the level of wood pellet imports from (a) the USA and (b) Canada in each of the last three years for which figures are available. [207892]

Matthew Hancock: Data on the value and net mass of imports of wood pellets are published by HMRC in Overseas Trade Statistics. Data for the year 2011 to 2013 are shown in the following tables. Due to routine updating of the commodity codes by EUROSTAT, wood pellets were coded as ‘44013020—sawdust and wood waste and scrap, agglomerated in pellets’ in 2011, but then classified to the new code ‘44013100—wood pellets’ in 2012 and 2013. For this analysis, we have combined these two headings to provide a consistent series.

Wood pellet imports to the UK from the USA
 201120122013

Value wood pellets imports (£)

32,516,769

59,993,226

196,894,259

Net mass of wood pellet imports (kg)

274,453,183

475,336,518

1,684,810,418

9 Sep 2014 : Column 569W

Wood pellet imports to the UK from Canada
 201120122013

Value wood pellets imports (£)

77,712,194

108,073,728

168,603,061

Net mass of wood pellet imports (kg)

591,780,847

854,602,676

1,355,464,003

Note: Wood pellets were classified as ‘HS 44013020—sawdust and wood waste and scrap, agglomerated in pellets’ in 2011 and as ‘HS 44013100—wood pellets’ in 2012 and 2013. Source: HMRC Overseas Trade Statistics.

Business: Billing

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what recent assessment he has made of the effect of late payments on small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs); and whether his Department plans to bring forward any further measures to assist in SMEs with cash flow. [207890]

Matthew Hancock: In the May 2014 Government Response to our discussion paper, ‘Building a Responsible Payment Culture’, we set out measures to create greater transparency of payment practices and a more responsible payment culture. Through the Small Business, Enterprise and Employment Bill we are developing a requirement for large firms to publish their payment practices and a measure to prohibit contractual barriers to finance.

In addition, we have committed to working with the Institute for Credit Management and signatories to strengthen the Prompt Payment Code. And the British Business Bank aims to address long standing, structural gaps in the supply of finance to businesses and provide diverse sources of funding for small and medium sized businesses.

Construction

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the level of construction output in (a) Coventry, (b) the West Midlands and (c) England in each of the last five years. [208173]

Nick Boles: Data on construction output is published by the ONS, in their statistical bulletin ‘Output in the Construction Industry’. This includes information on construction output for the regions of England, plus Scotland and Wales. No data for individual cities is published. This information has not been adjusted for inflation.

Value of Construction Output: current prices (£ million)
 20092010201120122013

England

97,068

102,005

106,456

102,195

106,468

West Midlands

8,243

9,158

8,927

8,329

9,347

Source: ONS

Higher Education: Admissions

Michael Fabricant: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the recent trends in the number of university applications from students from disadvantaged or minority ethnic backgrounds. [207993]

9 Sep 2014 : Column 570W

Greg Clark: The latest figures published by UCAS for the 2014 application cycle show that, as at the main UCAS deadline of 15 January, the application rate for young people from the most disadvantaged areas in England had risen to the highest ever level (20.7%). The detailed figures can be found at:

http://www.ucas.com/news-events/news/2014/2014-cycle-applicant-figures-january-deadline-2014

The latest data on ethnic background show that application rates for all ethnic groups rose in 2014, reaching new highs for most groups. The figures can be found at:

http://www.ucas.com/data-analysis/analysis-notes

Local Enterprise Partnerships: East of England

Stephen Barclay: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills for what reasons the new Anglia LEP has received an extension on its loan facility but the Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP was refused a similar request. [207492]

Greg Clark: Growth Deals were bespoke to each LEP area and negotiated with Government based on each LEP’s multi-year Strategic Economic plan, taking into account their priorities for which interventions would drive economic growth in their area. Greater Cambridge Greater Peterborough LEP submitted two proposals to support existing business support initiatives. GCGP LEP prioritised one of the proposals, the Agri-tech fund, during negotiations, which received £1.55 million in 2015/16 in their Growth Deal.

Pay

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the (a) highest and (b) lowest full-time equivalent salary paid by (i) his Department and (ii) its public bodies was in (A) 2010-11, (B) 2011-12, (C) 2012-13, (D) 2013-14 and (E) 2014-15; and if he will make a statement. [208300]

Jo Swinson: The following table shows the highest and lowest full-time equivalent salaries paid by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) in bands of £5,000 between 2010 and 2014.

 Lowest full-time equivalent salaryHighest full-time equivalent salary

2010-11

10,000 to 15,000

220,000 – 225,000

2011-12

15,000 to 20,000

200,000 – 205,000

2012-13

15,000 to20,000

185,000 to190,000

2013-14

15,000 to20,000

170,000 to175,000

As we have not competed the financial year 2014-15 we are unable to provide figures for that period at this time.

This information is not held by BIS in respect of non-departmental public bodies.

9 Sep 2014 : Column 571W

Students: Loans

Sir Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills when his Department plans to make a decision about future funding of students and recognition of courses at the 23 private colleges which it suspended from recruiting further students in November 2014. [207043]

Greg Clark: The Department required all alternative providers to reapply to have their courses designated for student support for the 2014/15 academic year. All alternative providers, including those that had their designations suspended for the remainder of the 2013/14 academic year, are being reviewed against the new criteria, and have already received a final decision or have been invited to submit additional information.

Sir Nick Harvey: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what guidance his Department has issued to the 23 private colleges which it suspended from recruiting further students in November 2013 on their ability to advertise and recruit students to commence courses in September 2014. [207044]

Greg Clark: The Department required all alternative providers to reapply to have their courses designated for student support for the 2014/15 academic year. All alternative providers, including those that had their designations suspended for the remainder of the 2013/14 academic year, were told that they should not advertise their courses as attracting student support until such time as these course had been redesignated.

Textiles

Mr Ward: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills which projects have received how much funding under the Textile Growth Programme to date. [207546]

Greg Clark: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills does not hold the data in the format requested.

Mr Ward: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the key objectives are of the Textile Growth Programme. [207547]

Greg Clark: The key objectives of the Textile Growth Programme are to:

Stimulate private sector enterprise by investing in work force skills, design and innovation capacity and modern plant and machinery in small and medium-sized enterprises.

Strengthen local supply chains, support reshoring of textile manufacturing and promote sustainable growth.

Create or safeguard over 1,000 private sector jobs at all skill levels in Greater Manchester, Lancashire and West Yorkshire.

Trade Agreements

Mr Godsiff: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what information his Department holds on whether the proposed Trade in Services Agreement treaty is likely to contain provisions to prevent increased regulation of the financial services sector. [207177]

9 Sep 2014 : Column 572W

Matthew Hancock: The UK Government is a strong supporter of the Trade in Services Agreement, which provides an opportunity to address barriers to trade in services through seeking to deepen services trade rules and regulatory disciplines and to address market access objectives. Given the crucial role of financial stability to overall economic stability, governments and regulators need to have the ability to closely monitor and regulate banks, insurance companies and other financial services providers. The TiSA text will contain a prudential carve-out which will fully protect the ability of UK and international financial regulators to regulate and take any prudential actions for the sake of financial stability or to protect investors, depositors, policy holders or persons to whom a fiduciary duty is owed by a financial service supplier.

Communities and Local Government

Affordable Housing: Construction

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment his Department has made of the proportion of affordable homes delivered through section 106 agreements on sites of fewer than 10 homes in each of the last five years. [208220]

Brandon Lewis: The Government does not hold statistics on the proportion of affordable homes delivered through section 106 agreements on sites of fewer than 10 homes in each of the last five years.

The Government's public consultation on proposed changes to national policy on section 106 planning obligations agreements closed on 4 May. Interested parties were invited to submit evidence on the impact of the proposed measures, both in terms of developer contributions to local infrastructure and affordable housing, and on unblocking stalled sites and increasing the pace and scale of small site development. Unrealistic Section 106 agreements result in no housing development, no regeneration and no community benefits. Over 300 responses were received and the Government is now carefully considering the evidence submitted before announcing the outcomes of the consultation.

Affordable Housing: Rural Areas

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment his Department has made of the potential effect of removing section 106 planning obligations from sites of fewer than 10 houses on the provision of affordable housing in rural areas. [208221]

Brandon Lewis: The Government's public consultation on proposed changes to national policy on section 106 planning obligations agreements closed on 4 May. Interested parties were invited to submit evidence on potential local impacts of the proposed measures both in terms of developer contributions and on increasing the pace and scale of small site development. Over 300 responses were received and the Government is now carefully considering the evidence submitted before announcing the outcomes of the consultation.

9 Sep 2014 : Column 573W

Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will issue guidance to the Planning Inspectorate on decisions where the location of a planning appeal is within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. [207849]

Brandon Lewis: Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, along with National Parks and the Broads, have the highest status of protection in national planning policy in relation to landscape and scenic beauty. This is set out in the National Planning Policy Framework, which must be taken into account in the preparation of local and neighbourhood plans, and is a material consideration in planning decisions.

In March 2014 we issued web-based planning guidance to support the policies in the Framework. This guidance is available to all decision makers at:

http://planningguidance.planningportal.gov.uk/blog/guidance/natural-environment/landscape/

Council Tax

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what estimate he has made of the cost to local authorities of holding council tax referendums. [207133]

Kris Hopkins: Further to the passage of the Localism Act, the Government published an impact assessment on the council tax referendums policy. A copy has been placed in the Library of the House.

Notwithstanding, the costs will be significantly lower if a referendum is held at the same time as another election. Given a general election will be held in May 2015, the marginal cost to the public purse of holding a referendum next year alongside this would be minimal, other than the small costs of printing and counting the extra ballot papers.

Council Tax Reduction Schemes

Hilary Benn: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) with reference to the answer of 27 February 2014, Official Report, column 442W, on council tax benefits, when he expects to (a) begin and (b) publish the findings of an

9 Sep 2014 : Column 574W

independent review into council tax support schemes; and if he will make a statement; [207597]

(2) what progress he has made in identifying the right data sources for an independent review into council tax support schemes; and with which local authorities his Department has been working. [207596]

Kris Hopkins: The Department is currently working with the Council Tax Partnership Forum and local authorities to identify appropriate and proportionate data for the review. The Council Tax Partnership Forum consists of representatives of local authorities, fire and rescue authorities, the Society of County Treasurers, the Society of District Council Treasurers, the Police Authority Treasurers Society, the Association of Chief Police Officers, the Society for Information Technology Management, Unitary Treasurers, London Councils, the Local Government Association, the Institute of Revenues, Rating and Valuation, and the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy.

The timetable, coverage, process for data collection and detailed terms of reference for the review will be agreed and published in due course.

Spending on council tax benefit doubled under the last Government, costing taxpayers £4 billion a year—equivalent to almost £180 a year per household. Welfare reform is vital to tackle the budget deficit by the last Administration.

Our reforms to localise council tax support now give councils stronger incentives to support local firms, cut fraud, promote local enterprise and get people to into work. We are ending the last Administration's 'something for nothing' culture and making work pay.

Fire Services

Mr Spencer: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will estimate the Government spend per head of population on fire and rescue services in (a) Nottinghamshire, (b) the East Midlands and (c) England in each of the last three years. [201779]

Penny Mordaunt: The following table shows local authority expenditure on fire and rescue services, as well as the number of fire incidents attended, over the last decade. It illustrates the significant fall in the number of incidents attended, whilst average spending has remained broadly the same over that long-term period.

 Expenditure per head (£)Fire incidents attended (number)
 NottinghamshireEnglandNottinghamshireEngland

2003-04

31.98

34.82

13,800

473,600

2004-05

35.83

38.36

9,000

342,000

2005-06

35.40

40.56

8,700

336,100

2006-07

36.85

43.03

8,600

336,200

2007-08

38.61

43.46

7,700

293,900

2008-09

38.61

40.60

6,300

249,200

2009-10

39.54

41.71

6,200

241,400

2010-11

38.48

41.12

5,600

228,400

2011-12

37.64

39.87

6,100

223,900

2012-13

36.98

39.61

3,300

154,400

Sources: Revenue Outturn forms and Office for National Statistic’s mid-year population estimates.

9 Sep 2014 : Column 575W

My Department does not publish statistics by the former Government Office Regions.

Last year, Sir Ken Knight’s independent review of the fire and rescue services found huge variations in the way that local fire and rescue authorities operated. Services continue to spend according to the budget they are given, rather than to the risks they have to manage. Huge variations exist between how the 46 different fire authorities operate, with the cost per head of providing a service almost double in some areas to that of others. This did not seem to be related to whether they are large or small, rural or urban, deprived or affluent.

Sir Ken concluded that there were significant opportunities for sensible savings such as through: sharing of senior staff, reforms to flexible staffing and crewing arrangements, better procurement, shared services, collaboration with emergency services and other organisations on service delivery and estates, sickness management, locally-led mergers and operational collaborations, new fire-fighting technology, preventative approaches and working with local businesses.

Fire Services: Pensions

Sir Bob Russell: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government if he will provide additional funds to Essex fire and rescue service to cover the cost of payments to the firefighters injury pension scheme incurred in each financial year since 2006. [207773]

Penny Mordaunt: The regulations governing the firefighters’ pension schemes set out which payments are eligible for annual pension top-up grant claims by fire and rescue authorities and is paid by the Department. The statutory “Guidance for fire and rescue authorities on new financial arrangements for firefighter pensions with effect from April 2006” issued by the Department in 2006 provides guidance for fire and rescue authorities to implement the finance arrangements, including setting out which specific payments are eligible for top-up grant expenditure and which are not eligible. The guidance sets out that injury awards are not eligible expenditure for the top-up grant.

We understand that, since the changes were implemented in 2006, Essex fire and rescue authority has incorrectly claimed certain injury payments as eligible expenditure through the top-up grant. We are in discussions with the fire authority on this issue.

Piers: Eastbourne

Mr Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government under what cost heading Eastbourne pier has been granted money to help in its reconstruction. [207426]

Penny Mordaunt: The Government announced that up to £2 million will be made available to Eastbourne council to help them recover from the fire at Eastbourne pier. HM Treasury will provide additional funding as required and this will be agreed as part of the 2014-15 supplementary estimates. The £2 million funding to Easbourne council will be used to support local businesses and traders. None of the funding will be provided for the rebuilding of the pier itself, which, I understand, is covered by the pier owner’s insurance.

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Mr Andrew Turner: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government whether the money allocated by his Department to Eastbourne pier is covered in full or in part by insurance. [207776]

Penny Mordaunt: The £2 million of funding to Eastbourne council will be used to help counter the impact of the loss of the pier on local businesses and the community. None of the funding will be provided for rebuilding of the pier itself, which, I understand, is covered by the pier owner’s insurance.

Planning

Andrew Bingham: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of village or neighbourhood plans; and how many such plan have been lodged and accepted. [207990]

Brandon Lewis: Neighbourhood planning, for the first time, gives residents and individuals in businesses the opportunity to produce neighbourhood plans that have real statutory weight in the planning system and grant planning permission for development they want to see through neighbourhood development orders (including community right to build orders). Over 1,100 communities have taken the first steps towards producing a neighbourhood plan for their area and there has been overwhelming support for neighbourhood plans at the 27 local referendums held so far. The first 19 neighbourhood plans are now in force (made) and are part of the development plan for the area. Planning applications will be determined in accordance with the development plan unless material considerations indicate otherwise.

Right to Buy Scheme: North East

Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many tenants exercised the right to buy in each local authority in Northumberland, Durham and Tyne and Wear in each of the last five years. [207969]

Brandon Lewis: The number of Right to Buy sales made by each local authority can found in Table 685 at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/statistical-data-sets/live-tables-on-social-housing-sales Figures for sales by private registered providers (housing associations) are not available at a local authority level.

Solar Power

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how many planning applications were made for solar energy generation on farmland in each of the last three years. [207710]

Kris Hopkins: In publishing our new planning guidance in March, we took the opportunity to make clear to local councils the factors they should consider in relation to solar farms. These include making effective use of brownfield land and steering proposals away from good quality agricultural land. We also underlined that visual impacts need particular attention.

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To help focus these developments on brownfield sites, we are consulting on increasing the amount of solar that can be installed on commercial and industrial buildings without the need for a planning application.

This Department does not gather statistics on the number of planning applications for solar energy developments by land use type. However, the Department of Energy and Climate Change's Renewable Energy Planning Database (RESTATS) includes information on a range of renewable energy projects above 0.01 megawatts, including applications for solar energy developments. The database tracks the progress of potential new projects from inception, through planning, construction and operational stages, and can be accessed at:

https://restats.decc.gov.uk/cms/planning-database

International Development

West Africa

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for International Development what action her Department is taking to help tackle the ebola epidemic in West Africa; and if she will make a statement. [208061]

Lynne Featherstone: The current outbreak of Ebola poses a serious public health risk to West Africa and is deeply concerning. The UK is taking a leading role in working with the countries affected and with the international community to ensure that the outbreak is contained and help reaches those in need. In total, over £25 million of British funding is supporting the global effort to contain this disease. This includes £5 million of new direct funding to help partners working on the ground like the WHO, Red Cross and Médecins Sans Frontières? to treat victims and prevent the spread of Ebola in West Africa. Over £20 million of UK support is helping contain Ebola through commitments to multilateral institutions (the World Bank and the African Development Bank) and the EU.

Home Department

British Nationality

Dr Huppert: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department on what date section 65 of the Immigration Act 2014 will be brought into force. [207807]

James Brokenshire: Section 65 of the 2014 Act will insert new registration provisions into the British Nationality Act 1981 for people born to British fathers before 1 July 2006.

The 2014 Act is being implemented in phases to ensure the provisions are brought into force in an orderly and effective manner. We have not yet set a commencement date for section 65.

Extradition

Jacob Rees-Mogg: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what estimate she has made of the number of extraditions of British nationals from the UK under the European arrest warrant that would not have proceeded had the proportionality test that

9 Sep 2014 : Column 578W

has been introduced by the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 been in force at the relevant time. [207063]

James Brokenshire: A full impact assessment has been conducted on Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA. Details of this assessment can be found in Command Paper 8897 at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/326698/41670_Cm_8897_Accessible.pdf

published on 3 July 2014.

The Commission has been clear during negotiations that a bilateral treaty between the UK and the EU on any matters falling within the scope of the block opt-out is not feasible. Furthermore, on 16 January 2013, President Barroso responded to a European parliamentary question from Daniel Hannan MEP on this matter and stated that

“the Commission sees no room for the conclusion of international agreements between the EU and the United Kingdom on such matters.”

The Government has not undertaken an assessment of the number of extraditions of British nationals from the UK under the European arrest warrant that would not have proceeded had the proportionality test been in place at the relevant time. The proportionality bar is intended to ensure extradition is barred in the most minor cases, irrespective of the nationality of the person concerned.

Extradition: EU Countries

Mr Raab: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department with reference to the answer of 14 May 2014, Official Report, column 620W, on arrest warrants, in addition to Slovakia, Latvia, Belgium and the Czech Republic, which other EU member states retain an absolute bar on extraditing nationals in non-European Arrest Warrant extradition cases. [201018]

James Brokenshire: In non-European arrest warrant cases, the following EU member states have an absolute bar on extraditing their own nationals:

Austria

Belgium

Czech Republic

France

Germany

Greece

Latvia

Luxembourg

Slovakia

Slovenia

Spain

In addition, Finland and Sweden have an absolute bar to extraditing their own nationals to countries other than Norway and Iceland.

Extradition: EU Law

Jacob Rees-Mogg: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the possibility of the UK concluding a bilateral

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treaty with the EU on extradition instead of remaining bound by Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA. [207061]

James Brokenshire: A full impact assessment has been conducted on Framework Decision 2002/584/JHA. Details of this assessment can be found in Command Paper 8897 at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/326698/41670_Cm_8897_Accessible.pdf

published on 3 July 2014.

The Commission has been clear during negotiations that a bilateral treaty between the UK and the EU on any matters falling within the scope of the block opt-out is not feasible. Furthermore, on 16 January 2013, President Barroso responded to a European parliamentary question from Daniel Hannan MEP on this matter and stated that

“the Commission sees no room for the conclusion of international agreements between the EU and the United Kingdom on such matters.”

The Government has not undertaken an assessment of the number of extraditions of British nationals from the UK under the European arrest warrant that would not have proceeded had the proportionality test been in place at the relevant time. The proportionality bar is intended to ensure extradition is barred in the most minor cases, irrespective of the nationality of the person concerned.

Human Trafficking

Margot James: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what the (a) nationality and (b) gender was of each suspected victim of trafficking referred to the Trafficking Victim Support Scheme operated by the Salvation Army in July 2014; in which (a) region and (b) county, each of the suspected victims was found; which agency referred each person to the scheme; in which town the shelter was in which they were placed for the relevant period; and what contact is maintained with each victim after he or she leaves the shelter to ensure he or she is not re-trafficked. [207591]

Karen Bradley: The data requested for July 2014 can be found on the Salvation Army’s website, at:

http://www.salvationarmy.org.uk/uki/Anti_Human_Trafficking_Latest_Report

Monthly reports are published on the website providing information on victims that have been supported. In the interests of the victim’s safety, only the region in which the victim was encountered will be provided.

Upon leaving Government-funded care, a victim is provided with tailored support either to safely return home or integrate in the UK, if they are eligible to do so. Once a victim leaves the service, no formal mechanisms exist to maintain contact with them. However, ongoing support of victims is being considered as part of the review of the National Referral Mechanism.

Immigration

Heidi Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many individuals have been granted limited leave to remain with no recourse to public funds in each year since 2003. [207459]

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James Brokenshire: The specific information that has been requested is not held centrally.

The Home Office does publish statistics on extensions of stay in tables ex_01 to ex_02_o within the ‘Immigration Statistics’ release. A copy of the latest release, “Immigration Statistics April to June 2014” is available from the Library of the House and at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/home-office/series/immigration-statistics-quarterly-release

Members: Correspondence

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she plans to reply to the letter to her dated 14 July 2014 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regards to Dr M. Naz. [207851]

James Brokenshire: A Home Office official wrote to the right hon. Member on 28 July 2014.

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she plans to reply to the letter to her dated 22 July 2014 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regards to Mr Kenny Edobor Friday Ake. [207852]

James Brokenshire: We understand that this question relates to correspondence dated 2 July 2014. A Home Office official wrote to the right hon. Member on 18 July 2014.

Sir Gerald Kaufman: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department when she plans to reply to the letter to her dated 12 June 2014 from the right hon. Member for Manchester, Gorton with regards to Mr E. M. Bendoki. [207853]

James Brokenshire: I wrote to the right hon. Member on 4 September 2014.

Police: Training

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department what assessment she has made of the cyber skills of police forces; and what steps she is taking to improve those skills. [207635]

Karen Bradley: Tackling cybercrime is one of the key objectives of the UK's Cyber Security Strategy. The Government has supported this with £860 million of investment over five years through the National Cyber Security Programme (NCSP). We have so far committed £70 million of NCSP funding in improving law enforcement agencies' ability to respond to this threat, including setting up the National Cyber Crime Unit in the National Crime Agency, and cyber teams in each of the Regional Organised Crime Units. We are also supporting the training of police officers and investigators in local forces in England and Wales, through the development of new online and classroom-based training packages by the College of Policing for 5,000 officers.

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Radicalism

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many organisations have received funding from her Department to deliver the Channel programme in each of the last five years; and what assessment she has made of the effectiveness of the programmes delivered by each such organisation. [207904]

James Brokenshire: Channel exists in every local authority area in England and Wales—the programme was rolled out nationally in April 2012. Each of the nine police regions receives funding to support the Channel programme. In most areas, the local authority and other partners work effectively together to support people at risk of radicalisation and getting drawn into terrorism. In order to ensure that all partnerships work consistently well, we are placing Channel on a statutory footing to secure the effective local co-operation that is required in all areas.

Unmanned Air Vehicles

Sir Greg Knight: To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many quadcopters or similar remote controlled devices her Department has purchased; for what purpose such quadcopters were so purchased; and at what cost to the public purse such quadcopters were so purchased. [208031]

Karen Bradley: No quadcopters or other designs of unmanned air vehicles have been purchased by the Home Office.

Wales

Energy

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what steps he is taking to reduce energy costs in his Department; and if he will make a statement. [208350]

Alun Cairns: The Department has a number of energy efficiency measures in place and all staff are made aware of our sustainability requirements. The Department’s Cardiff office is a modern building with built in energy efficiency measures.

NATO: Newport

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what estimate he has made of the benefits to the Welsh economy of holding the NATO summit in Newport. [208313]

Stephen Doughty: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what assessment he has made of the potential financial benefits to Wales arising from holding the NATO Summit in Newport and Cardiff. [208174]

Stephen Crabb: The NATO summit has shown the world that Wales is an excellent location to invest, set up a business or host world-class events. Many Welsh businesses, including those in the tourism and hospitality sectors, have benefitted from Wales’ successful hosting of the summit.

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A recent report from Barclays that looked at the NATO summit and its impact on Wales concluded that:

“A successful Summit will create direct and indirect business opportunities for Welsh companies for many years to come”.

I want to build a lasting legacy for Wales following the summit. As part of this, the Celtic Manor will host a UK investment summit in November which will showcase Wales as a great place to invest.

Pay

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales what the (a) highest and (b) lowest full-time equivalent salary paid by his Department in (i) 2010-11, (ii) 2011-12, (iii) 2012-13, (iv) 2013-14 and (v) 2014-15; and if he will make a statement. [208294]

Alun Cairns: The following figures (which include allowances) are all full-time equivalent salaries. As the Wales Office has a relatively small staff complement, to protect the confidentiality of individuals, the highest and lowest full-time equivalent salaries are shown via reference to a range.

2010-11:

Highest (FTE): £80,000 to £85,000

Lowest (FTE): £10,000 to £15,000

2011-12:

Highest (FTE): £80,000 to £85,000

Lowest (FTE): £10,000 to £15,000

2012-13:

Highest (FTE): £80,000 to £85,000

Lowest (FTE): £10,000 to £15,000

2013-14:

Highest (FTE): £80,000 to £85,000

Lowest (FTE): £10,000 to £15,000

2014-15:

Highest (FTE): £80,000 to £85,000

Lowest (FTE): £10,000 to £15,000.

Television

Mr Bradshaw: To ask the Secretary of State for Wales how much his Department spent on the purchase of televisions in (a) 2013 and (b) 2014 to date. [208324]

Alun Cairns: The Wales Office did not purchase any televisions in 2013 or 2014 to date.

Defence

Challenger Tanks

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how much his Department will spend in each year under the Challenger II Life Extension programme. [208108]

Mr Dunne: I am withholding the information as its disclosure would prejudice commercial interests.

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Defence: Procurement

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what progress has been made towards meeting the assumed savings in the (a) Complex Weapons Programme and (b) Submarine Enterprise Performance programme; and how much has been saved through each such programme to date. [207919]

Mr Dunne: The Complex Weapons Programme is on track to deliver significant cost benefits, providing greater flexibility and responsiveness to changing requirements, and supporting the industrial skills and capabilities needed to deliver Operational Advantage and Freedom of Action. Financial benefits of £196 million have so far been achieved against a forecast of £1.2 billion.

The Submarine Enterprise Performance Programme is also making good progress, with the signature of two of the three Foundation Contracts, the establishment of a robust benefits delivery and audit process, and the formation of the Submarine Portfolio Office providing a coherent joint programming function across the Enterprise. Financial benefits of £356 million have so far been achieved against a forecast of £900 million.

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence whether he plans to let the contracts for the managed service providers (MSP) before the end of September 2014; and if he will place relationship with the services and Defence Equipment and Support. [208062]

Mr Dunne: We continue to make excellent progress on the competition for the managed service providers (MSPs) and expect to place the first contracts in the next few weeks.

The MSPs will have an important role in supporting the transformation of Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) into a world class programme management organisation, capable of delivering the best possible equipment and support to our armed forces. Strengthening the relationship between the Service Commands and DE&S is a key aspect of the transformation programme.

Domestic Visits

Sheila Gilmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what domestic visits he and his predecessor have made since January 2013; and what the purpose of each such visit was. [208176]

Mr Brazier: This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Details of all ministerial overseas travel is published on a quarterly basis.

Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence when he was made aware by his US counterpart of the suspension of F35 engine deliveries as a result of subgrade titanium. [208244]

Mr Dunne: The Joint Strike Fighter Programme Office was notified in May 2014 of a potential problem with regard to the quality of the titanium used in the manufacture of a component, a vane arm, within the F35 engine.

9 Sep 2014 : Column 584W

This incident only impacted the latest batch of engines in production. No engines from this latest production batch were destined for installation within any UK aircraft planned for delivery. All suspect vane arms have now been removed from the F35 inventory and all engines waiting to be delivered have been replaced with new vane arms.

Saudi Arabia

Caroline Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence how many (a) civilian staff of his Department based in the UK, (b) military personnel based in the UK, (c) civilian staff of his Department based in Saudi Arabia and (d) military personnel based in Saudi Arabia were employed by the (i) Saudi Arabian National Guard Communications Project and (ii) Ministry of Defence Saudi Armed Forces Project on 1 April 2014; and what the function is of each of those projects. [207819]

Mr Dunne: The number of civilian and military staff based in the UK and in Saudi Arabia working on both the Saudi Arabian National Guard Communications (SANGCOM) Project and the Ministry of Defence (MOD) Saudi Armed Forces Projects (MODSAP) on 1 April 2014 is shown in the table. The Saudi Arabian Government reimburses the UK MOD for these staff costs and there is, therefore, no cost to the UK taxpayer.

Manpower number as at 1 April 2014SANGCOM projectMODSAP

UK-based civilian staff

1

69

UK-based military staff

0

42

Saudi Arabia-based civilian staff

28

32

Saudi Arabia-based military staff

20

50

The function of the SANGCOM Project is to support the United Kingdom's commitment to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia by acquiring and supporting modem communications capabilities for the Saudi Arabian National Guard.

The function of the Ministry of Defence Saudi Armed Forces Projects is to support the United Kingdom's commitment to the defence of Saudi Arabia through the supply of modem military aircraft, naval vessels, weapons and associated support services to the Saudi armed forces.

Warships

Alison Seabeck: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence what process the Royal Navy uses when deciding the names of new vessels; and whether names of UK cities can be used for the Type 26. [208052]

Mr Dunne: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Plymouth, Sutton and Devonport (Oliver Colvile), on 5 September 2014, Official Report, column 363W.

9 Sep 2014 : Column 585W

As a new class of Royal Navy warship, the naming of the Type 26 Frigates will follow a theme, and this is under consideration. The Ships’ Names and Badges Committee has noted the proposal to use names of UK cities.

Education

Apprentices

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what recent assessment she has made of the role of schools in encouraging pupils to consider apprenticeships post-16. [207983]

Nick Boles: Schools are legally required to secure independent careers guidance for 12- to 18-year-olds that includes information on the full range of education and training options, including apprenticeships.

In 2013, Ofsted’s study of the early implementation of this duty found that apprenticeships were rarely promoted effectively, especially in schools with sixth forms.

The Government has published new statutory guidance and departmental advice on careers guidance and inspiration, informed by the Ofsted study, which is effective from September 2014. This provides a clear framework and practical support for schools to help them inspire their pupils about the options open to them. The guidance is clear that schools should give employers and other providers delivering apprenticeships the opportunity to inform pupils directly about what they offer. It emphasises that apprenticeships and university offer two equally effective routes to a successful career.

Ofsted is now giving careers guidance a higher priority in school inspections and we will work with them to monitor carefully the impact of the statutory guidance and the wider improvements that the Government has put in place.

Domestic Visits

Sheila Gilmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Education pursuant to the answer of 18 June 2014, Official Report, column 621W, on official visits, what domestic visits she and her predecessor have made since January 2013; and what the purpose of each such visit was. [208296]

Mr Gibb: The Department for Education does not hold a list of domestic visits in the format requested. Information about visits, meetings and events held in the diary is not set out in a way that would enable a list to be compiled without exceeding the cost threshold. Domestic visits attended by the current and former Secretary of State would include attendance at events, visits to schools and other institutions as well as external meetings held from May 2010. To compile a list of all domestic visits stating the purpose of each in an accessible format would therefore exceed the cost threshold.

Energy

Simon Kirby: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps she is taking to reduce energy costs in her Department; and if she will make a statement. [208339]

9 Sep 2014 : Column 586W

Mr Gibb: The Department for Education has already made excellent progress in reducing its energy costs by £1.4 million per annum since 2009-10 to 2013-14. This is despite the cost of energy increasing during the same period.

The Department has achieved this primarily through low and no cost energy efficiency measures, a reduction in the size of the Department’s estate and a small number of capital investments. These measures have also contributed to a reduction in associated greenhouse gas emissions of 44% during the same period.

Plans to reduce energy costs further include: continuing to refine building (energy) management system programmes; conducting annual audits of all key plant and equipment to identify cost-effective options for asset replacement and enhancement; staff awareness campaigns; monitoring and targeting unexpected building energy profiles through automated meter reading devices across the estate; and estate rationalisation and co-location.

Languages: Education

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education what steps she is taking to broaden the number of foreign language subjects available to state school students in secondary education. [208097]

Mr Gibb: Maintained secondary schools must teach a modern foreign language to all pupils at key stage 3 (ages 11-14). The choice of which language or languages to teach is for schools to make, though the great majority of secondary schools teach one or more of French, German or Spanish, with small numbers teaching an additional language or languages.

Awarding bodies determine which languages they will offer as GCSE qualifications. Schools decide whether to enter pupils for any particular language GCSE. The English Baccalaureate is already encouraging more young people to take a language at GCSE level. Take-up of a modern foreign language by key stage 4 pupils in England increased by over 20% between 2012 and 2013.

Special Educational Needs

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, whether her Department holds records on how much of the Pupil Premium is used to fund support for those pupils with special educational needs who are economically deprived, looked after by the local authority or who have left care via adoption or other routes. [207080]

Mr Timpson: The information requested could be collated only at disproportionate cost.

Justice

Legal Aid

19. Greg Mulholland: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what assessment he has made of the effectiveness of recent changes to legal aid. [905251]

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Mr Vara: The Ministry of Justice and the Legal Aid Agency keep the legal aid scheme under constant review, both in terms of expenditure and the impact of reforms.

The Government is currently undertaking a review of the operation of the mandatory telephone gateway. It will undertake a full post-implementation review of the legal aid provisions within the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (LASPO) within three to five years of implementation.

Prison Population

20. Andy McDonald: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice What forecasts the Government has made of future trends in the prison population. [905252]

Andrew Selous: Projections of the prison population are published annually in November. We are currently seeing a higher population driven by changes in the case mix, including more sex offenders being sentenced to custody. Updated projections will be published on 27 November. As these are National Statistics, I cannot comment on what they will show.

I can assure the House we will always have enough prison capacity for those committed by the courts. We currently have over 2,000 spare prison places, a further 2,000 by April, Wrexham in 2017, and by the end of this Parliament will have 3,000 more adult male places than we inherited.

Prison Places

21. Martin Vickers: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what steps his Department is taking to ensure that there will be sufficient prison places available for those offenders given custodial sentences over the next 10 years. [905253]

Andrew Selous: We will always have enough prison capacity for those committed by the courts and are committed to increasing overall capacity by more than 3,000 new places by 2017.

Decisions on the future size of the prison estate will reflect the current and projected prison population.

Youth Custody

22. Julie Hilling: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what recent assessment he has made of the potential effect of his plans for youth custody on (a) young children and (b) girls. [905254]

Andrew Selous: We have considered the impacts of our Transforming Youth Custody proposals on different groups. We believe that secure colleges have the potential to deliver improved educational and rehabilitative outcomes for all the young people they will accommodate.

Probation Service

23. Luciana Berger: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what the Government's strategy is on the future of the probation service. [905255]

Andrew Selous: Overall reoffending rates have barely changed over the last decade. Under our Transforming Rehabilitation Reforms, we will draw on the best services

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from across the public, private and voluntary sectors so that we can deliver better rehabilitation support to more offenders, reduce the number of potential victims and make our communities safer. For the first time in recent history, virtually every offender released from custody will receive statutory supervision and rehabilitation in the community.

Magistrates: Training

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice if he will place in the Library a copy of the National Annual Report of Magistrate Training mentioned in the Quarter 3 performance report of the Judicial College; and whether subsequent training reports will be published. [207996]

Mike Penning: This report on magistrates training is an internal document and is provided for judicial monitoring purposes only. I am therefore unable to comply with your request.

The Judicial College delivers a programme of core courses and prepares training packs for magistrates which are delivered under the direction of Magistrates’ Area Training Committees (MATCs). The college has a statutory responsibility to prepare the National Summary of MATC Annual Reports for the Lord Chief Justice, as Head of the Judiciary, and its purpose is to satisfy him that magistrates training is being appropriately addressed. The most recent report (for 2012/13) shows the intended learning was delivered and that magistrates felt it met their needs. The Judicial College publishes a report on the training it delivers to the judiciary:

http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/publications/review-of-activities-2012-2013/

and magistrates’ training is also covered in the Lord Chief Justice’s Annual Report 2013

http://www.judiciary.gov.uk/publications/lcj-report-2013/

The Judicial College is part of the Judicial Office (JO) which supports the judiciary in discharging its responsibilities under the Constitutional Reform Act 2005. The report was mentioned in the College Activities Report (which is publicly available) to confirm it had been done.

Sexual Offences: Rehabilitation

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what studies his Department has commissioned on the relative efficacy of prison-based treatment as against treatment in the community for sex offenders convicted of similar offences. [207844]

Andrew Selous: It is difficult to compare the efficacy of programmes delivered in prison and in the community, as at the moment they are different programmes and the sexual offender populations accessing treatment in the two settings may also differ in a way that could affect comparison.

The National Offender Management Service’s (NOMS) programmes delivered to sexual offenders across prison and probation have been developed in line with the available evidence to address the needs of this group. They have been designed in accordance with the principles of effective intervention, and have all been accredited by an independent body of experts, the Correctional

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Services Accreditation and Advisory Panel. The latest published reconviction outcome study for the NOMS Core Sex Offender Treatment Programme (SOTP) delivered in prison was conducted in 2003 (Friendship, Mann & Beech, 2003.

NOMS are working towards the development of a new programme for sexual offenders which will be delivered across prison and in the community. As part of this development, NOMS will be commissioning research into the best methodology to evaluate this programme as it is rolled out across both settings.

Mr Anderson: To ask the Secretary of State for Justice (1) what the reoffending rate is of sex offenders who have undergone (a) the sex offender treatment programme at HMP Northumberland (formerly Acklington) and (b) the Northumbria Sex Offender Groupwork programme in the community; [207845]

(2) what the national reoffending rate is of sex offenders who have undergone the sex offender treatment programme (a) in prison and (b) in the community. [207846]

Andrew Selous: The Ministry of Justice publishes proven re-offending rates for adult and juvenile offenders on a quarterly basis. However, these rates cannot be provided for offenders who have undergone the sex offender treatment programme in prison or in the community as the information held centrally on re-offending does not separately identify these offenders.