Buildings

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Attorney-General how much has been spent on refurbishing (a) gymnasium and leisure facilities, (b) cafeteria and (c) interior

22 July 2014 : Column 1041W

decoration in (i) the Law Officers' Departments and (ii) buildings owned by the Law Officers' Departments in (A) 2013 and (B) 2014 to date. [205352]

The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has not spent anything on refurbishment of gymnasiums, leisure facilities or cafeterias in 2013 or 2014. The CPS spent £149,780 in financial year 2013-14 on interior decoration on a mix of refurbishment and other works on premises on its estate. Nothing has been spent in the current financial year to date. The CPS did not spend anything on interior decoration on buildings that it owns in either period.

The Serious Fraud Office (SFO) rents office space in a 1930s building in Cockspur Street. Its office has no gymnasium, leisure facilities or cafeteria. The SFO moved to this office in 2012-13 after it was refurbished to meet its needs. Any interior decoration was incidental to the overall refurbishment project. The SFO does not hold information on the proportion of refurbishment costs attributable to interior decoration.

In 2013-14, the SFO took over an additional floor in the building containing its office in order to be able to accommodate staff dealing with some of its newly-opened major investigations. That floor, too, required refurbishment. Again, the SFO does not hold information on the proportion of the refurbishment costs attributable to interior decoration, but can indicate that the cost of painting existing walls amounted to £9,000 plus VAT. Nothing has been spent on interior decoration in 2014-15 to date.

The Treasury Solicitor’s department (TSol) did not incur any expenditure on gymnasium or leisure facilities at its offices during the past two years.

The floor in the main cafeteria within its main at One Kemble Street was replaced in April 2014 for health and safety reasons, at a cost of £42,282.55 (inclusive of VAT). No other refurbishment works have taken place in 2013 and 2014 within the cafeterias.

Interior decorations undertaken within the three buildings leased by TSol are included in the annual service charge payable to the relevant landlord. In the One Kemble Street office, itemised works specific to TSol totalled £187 in 2013 and £0.00 to date in 2014. No interior decorative works have taken place in Croydon or Taunton.

The HM Crown Prosecution Service Inspectorate are tenants of TSol and based at the One Kemble Street building. They have not incurred any separate expenditure during the past two years.

The Attorney-General’s Office (AGO) is based in one building in Victoria Street, which is leased. There has been no expenditure on gymnasium and leisure activities or on a cafeteria in 2013 or 2014 to date. AGO has incurred no expenditure on internal decoration in 2013 or 2014 to date.

Prosecutions

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General how many Crown Prosecution Service (a) pre-charge decisions, (b) decisions to take no further action, (c) decisions to caution and (d) prosecutions there were in cases of (i) rape, (ii) domestic violence and (iii) child abuse in each police force area in each of the last six years; and what the conviction rate for each such offence in each such area was in that period. [205151]

22 July 2014 : Column 1042W

The Solicitor-General: Tables containing the information requested have been placed in the Library of the House.

The volumes of pre-charge decisions, prosecutions and convictions rose in 2013-14 from the previous year, across rape, domestic violence and child abuse. The Crown Prosecution Service has worked with the police to address the previous fall in volumes which they identified in 2012-13; succeeding in an overall turnaround during 2013-14.

The conviction rates for domestic violence and child abuse have risen to 74.6% and 76.2% respectively in 2013-14.

In parallel, cautions fell to the lowest level ever for rape and domestic violence in the same time period; and decisions to take no further action also reached the lowest level ever for rape and child abuse.

For rape, the volume of pre-charge decisions rose by 8% compared with the previous year, reaching 5,850. Decisions to take no further action fell to the lowest level ever—by 15% as compared with a rise in the volume charged of 25%, reaching the highest volume ever of 3,621 defendants. Prosecutions rose by 5% to 3,891 and the volume convicted has risen by 0.6%, reaching 2,348.

The Director of Public Prosecutions addresses the regional variation across police force areas through the bi-annual Violence against Women and Girls Assurance scheme, highlighting where specific actions are detailed and targeted for improvement.

Sir Menzies Campbell: To ask the Attorney-General how many applications for a preliminary hearing for a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (a) the Director of Public Prosecutions and (b) the Serious Fraud Office have made since 24 February 2014. [205838]

The Solicitor-General: No such applications have been made so far.

Serious Fraud Office

Emily Thornberry: To ask the Attorney-General if he will place in the Library the reports by Peter Mason and Alan Wood on data loss at the Serious Fraud Office published in June 2013; and which recommendations of those reports have been (a) accepted and (b) rejected. [205179]

The Solicitor-General: In respect of Peter Mason's report I refer the hon. Member to the answer given by my predecessor on 4 December 2013, Official Report, column 677W.

Mr Mason returned in March 2014 to review progress and was able to give positive assurance to the Director that he could be confident that the Serious Fraud Office (SFO) now has the right checks and balances in place to avoid a similar incident from occurring again.

The Director of the SFO asked Alan Woods to provide feedback and assurance on processes and controls across the SFO, and to confirm that these were in good order with risks being properly addressed. This feedback was provided to the Director in September 2013. A programme of work has been introduced to oversee the implementation of recommendations made by Mr Woods.

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Neither Mr Mason's report or details of Mr Woods' feedback have been published because they contain operational information about the SFO.

Women and Equalities

Accountancy: Females

Luciana Berger: To ask the Ministers for Women and Equalities what assessment she has made of the auditing by accountancy firms of their appointment of women to their boards. [206056]

Jo Swinson: Government regulations (effective from 1 October 2013) apply to quoted companies in the UK to disclose the numbers of men and women on boards, in senior management and in the business as a whole. This aims to help companies to spot areas of talent block within their own organisations.

We follow a voluntary approach in the UK to increase the numbers of women on boards and engage closely with organisations who are active on building the pipeline of female talent such as the 30% Club.

In 2012, the 30% Club carried out research with one of the leading global management consulting firms, McKinsey & Company to aggregate results looking into the numbers of women in UK partnerships in Professional Services Firms. Their study made recommendations to help firms get more women to the top. Many of these firms including KPMG, Deloitte, Linklaters and PWC are members of the 30% Club (at Chairmen and CEO level) whose goals are to achieve better gender balance at all levels of an organisation.

This approach complements the work and progress of the Lord Davies business-led initiative to achieve 25% of women on boards by 2015.

Public Expenditure

Gloria De Piero: To ask the Ministers for Women and Equalities (1) how much the Government Equalities Office has spent on (a) plants and (b) wine in each of the last five years; [206587]

(2) how much the Government Equalities Office has spent on (a) outside catering and refreshments, (b) artwork and (c) televisions in each year since 2010. [206584]

Jo Swinson: The Government Equalities Office has not spent any money on plants, televisions or artwork over the past five years.

The available information is in the following table:

Expenditure on catering and refreshments
Financial year£

2013-14

3,666

2014-15

3,328

Notes: 1. GEO's transfers between Departments mean that the data is accessible only through a number of different legacy systems. Further detail could be provided only at disproportionate cost. 2. Expenditure on wine is included in the figures above; it is not recorded separately.

22 July 2014 : Column 1044W

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

Israel/Palestine

Seema Malhotra: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the situation in Israel and Palestine. [905000]

Mr Ellwood: As the Prime Minister said in his comprehensive statement yesterday, we are clear that Israel has a right to defend itself against these attacks. No country would stand by as rockets are fired or terrorist tunnels are constructed into their territory. We are equally clear that Israel’s response must be proportionate, taking all necessary steps to minimise civilian casualties in line with International Humanitarian Law.

Air Displays: Farnborough

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations he received on the decision to give permission to the Russian company Rosoboronexport to exhibit its military technology at the Farnborough International Air show in July 2014. [205928]

Mr Ellwood: It is a commercial matter for Farnborough International Ltd (FIL) to whom they sell exhibition space, however the Prime Minister has not received any representations following their decision to allow Rosoboronexport to exhibit. In light of the continuing suspension of military cooperation with Russia, no representatives from the Russian Government were issued with Her Majesty’s Government (HMG) invitations to the event. Russia was also removed from the list of countries eligible to use post-exhibition Open General Export Licenses (OGELs). The organisers also took the decision to ensure that no Russian military hardware was displayed and that there was no Russian military participation in the flying display.

Armed Conflict: Sexual Offences

Alistair Burt: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the outcomes were of the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict. [202517]

Mark Simmonds: The Global Summit had two primary objectives: to agree practical action to tackle impunity for the use of rape as a weapon of war, and to begin to change global attitudes to these crimes. The Summit set in motion a series of unprecedented practical steps and commitments. In addition, it significantly raised the profile of this issue and placed it firmly on the international policy agenda.

During the Summit we launched the first ever International Protocol on how to document and investigate sexual violence in conflict as a means of overcoming one of the key barriers to prosecutions of these crimes and announced an ambitious plan to implement the Protocol. The Secretary of State announced £6 million in new UK funding to support survivors of rape, and the United States, Bahrain, Australia, Japan and others including European partners also made new pledges. The African Union announced a pilot project in the

22 July 2014 : Column 1045W

Central African Republic to respond to the urgent needs of victims of sexual violence, supported by the UK and Japan. In addition the Somali Government launched a new action plan, supported by the UN and the international community, for addressing sexual violence, which has blighted the lives of thousands there.

Within the Summit we convened a special meeting on security in Nigeria, where violence against women and girls is a particular concern among the wider impact of Boko Haram. We agreed that a Regional Intelligence Fusion Unit should be made operational immediately. The countries of the region also agreed rapidly to implement joint or coordinated patrols along their borders and Cameroon committed to add a battalion to that regional task force. The UK, US and France pledged to support of these regional efforts. We announced a separate package of support for Nigeria including: increased tactical training for the Nigerian army, assistance to regional security and intelligence cooperation, and a joint UK/US educational programme to educate an additional 1 million children in Nigeria. All the parties present also agreed on the need for UN sanctions against Boko Haram’s leadership and Ansaru, another dangerous terrorist organisation. Both were listed by the UN Security Council’s Al Qaida Sanctions Committee on 26 June.

Finally, states and delegates at the Summit joined together to sign a Statement of Action, uniting Governments, UN Agencies, civil society, experts and survivors with a shared determination to tackle these issues.

Children: Abuse

John Mann: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether any files on child abuse have been passed to his Department by (a) other parts of the Government or (b) hon. Members; and in what year such files were so passed. [205426]

Mr Lidington: The FCO's human resource, personnel security and records management departments are not aware of any files on child abuse which have been passed to the FCO from other parts of government or from hon. Members.

Cultural Heritage: Theft

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (1) what reports he has received of the theft of antiquities by ISIS and their sale in the international arts market; [205842]

(2) what reports he has received of the sale on stolen antiquities to fund violent conflict and terrorism in Iraq. [205749]

Mr Ellwood: The British Government takes the funding of terrorist organisations through any means very seriously. The Government is concerned by recent reports that stolen antiquities may be funding terrorist activity by groups such as the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL). The Government is also concerned by any destruction of important cultural heritage.

The Government endorsed guidelines on countering trafficking in cultural property and related offences at

22 July 2014 : Column 1046W

the UN Office on Drugs and Crime Commission on Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice at its 23

rd

session in May 2014.

Cyprus

Mr Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the prospects for a successful solution to the Cyprus problem; and what steps he is taking to assist this development. [206544]

Mr Lidington: Since talks resumed on 11 February 2014, the two communities have engaged in substantive negotiations. Both sides now have a much better sense of each other's positions and concerns, and they have begun seeking the common ground in a number of areas. The parties have expressed a wish to intensify their efforts in the months ahead.

We welcome the leaders' commitment to reach a comprehensive settlement as soon as possible. Their level of ambition, Turkey's engagement, and the recognition of the political and economic benefits al! mean that a successful solution is possible through this round of talks. No-one should underestimate the scale of the potential challenges ahead, but there has been no better time in recent years to achieve a lasting solution. Given those prospects, we are encouraging the two sides to begin building public support for a comprehensive settlement.

We have been active in supporting the UN-facilitated talks. I recently invited the two chief negotiators to London, and was struck by their seriousness and determination to reach an agreement.

Our diplomatic network has been engaged in regular discussions of the need for progress in Cyprus not only with Cypriot leaders but with Turkey, Greece, and others.

Mr Burrowes: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what response the Government has made to the petition presented to 10 Downing Street on 9 December 2013 on the return of Famagusta to its lawful inhabitants and the opening of the city's seaport; and what steps the UK is taking to support the return of that city to its former inhabitants. [206576]

Mr Lidington: I wrote to the organisers of the petition on 15 January 2014.1 understand the strength of feeling for the return of the Varosha area of Famagusta. The present state of that once-bustling town and nearby port reflects the consequences of the continued division of Cyprus.

We fully support all relevant Security Council resolutions, including Resolutions 550 and 789 which address the future of Varosha. We have raised this issue with the Turkish Cypriots and with the Turkish authorities. I remain convinced that, ultimately, a comprehensive settlement is the best chance of resolving this complex issue. The UK will continue to support the negotiations for a settlement, which will also address the question of Varosha.

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Diego Garcia

Mr Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 8 July 2014, Official Report, column 175W, on Diego Garcia, what other files were lost in the same incident. [205421]

Mark Simmonds: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth East (Mr Ellwood), on 16 July. British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT) immigration officials have reported that no other documents or files were lost or damaged.

Mr Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 8 July 2014, Official Report, column 172W, on Diego Garcia, where and on what dates the water damage to the records occurred. [205422]

Mark Simmonds: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for Bournemouth East (Mr Ellwood), on 16 July.

India

Mr Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to support religious tolerance of Christians in India. [205995]

Mr Swire: Our high commissioner to India, Sir James Bevan, recently met India’s Minister of Minority Affairs, Dr Najma Heptulla, on 16 June to discuss a range of minority issues, including the protection of religious freedoms. Our high commission in New Delhi also discusses minority issues, including religious tolerance of Christians, with the Indian National Commission for Minorities and with other relevant state level authorities. Minority rights were also discussed at the EU-India human rights dialogue on 27 November 2013. We will continue to maintain a dialogue with the new Indian Government about minority rights issues.

Israel

Mr Godsiff: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will introduce an embargo on the export of weapons to Israel. [205884]

Mr Ellwood: We remain deeply concerned about the situation in Gaza. We call for an immediate de-escalation and restoration of the November 2012 ceasefire, to avoid further civilian injuries and the loss of innocent life.

The United Kingdom does not believe that imposing a blanket arms embargo on Israel would promote progress in the Middle East Peace Process. All countries, including Israel, have a legitimate right to self-defence, and the right to defend its citizens from attack. In doing so, it is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law, and are calibrated to avoid civilian casualties.

22 July 2014 : Column 1048W

Export licence applications to all countries continue to be considered on a case by case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria, taking into account the circumstances prevailing at the time of application. In view of the situation in Gaza, we are keeping all licence applications under review to ensure that all our decisions remain consistent with our human rights commitments and all applicable criteria. If a decision is taken to suspend or revoke licences we will announce this to Parliament, and where possible we will do this in concert with our EU partners.

Japan

Mr Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of recent changes in Japan's constitution and its defence doctrine. [206184]

Mr Swire: The UK welcomes a more active role for Japan on international peace and security. These reforms, based on a reinterpretation of Japan's constitution, will allow it to make a greater contribution to international peace and security, including through exercising its right under the UN charter to collective self-defence. We have worked well with Japan in difficult security environments overseas and we welcome the prospect of greater practical co-operation in these areas.

Kashmir

Mr Robin Walker: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what representations his Department has made about human rights and the humanitarian situation in Kashmir in the last year. [205717]

Mr Swire: We are aware of allegations of human rights abuses on both sides of the Line of Control in Kashmir. We are clear that such allegations of human rights abuses must be investigated thoroughly, promptly and transparently. We regularly raise our concerns through our high commissions in Islamabad and Delhi as appropriate.

Kenya

Mr Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he has taken to offer support and advice to UK citizens visiting Kenya. [206551]

Mark Simmonds: FCO travel advice provides objective information and advice to help British nationals make better informed decisions about foreign travel. Our travel advice is reviewed regularly, and is updated if we are aware of an incident that might significantly affect Britons travelling or living in a particular area. We promote travel advice updates via e-mail alerts and on our social media channels. We advise against travel when we consider the level of risk to British nationals in a particular place is unacceptably high. The current travel advice for Kenya can be found on the gov.uk website:

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/kenya

22 July 2014 : Column 1049W

Land

Heidi Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much land his Department has released for the purpose of building new homes since May 2010. [205479]

Mr Lidington: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office’s (FCO) owned estate in the UK is small and does not contain any land considered suitable for housing development. The FCO has not therefore released any land for this purpose.

Middle East

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the number of (a) Palestinian children killed by Israeli military attacks on Gaza and (b) Israeli citizens killed by rockets launched into Israel from Gaza since 1 July 2014. [205494]

Mr Ellwood: As of noon on 21 July at least 436 Palestinians had been killed since the start of Operation Protective Edge, of which at least 83 were children. Twenty Israeli citizens were killed by rockets launched from Gaza during the same period.

Mr Godsiff: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what guarantees he has sought from Israel that weapons sold to it by the UK will not be used on civilians in Palestine; and what assessment he has made of the reliability of those guarantees. [205885]

Mr Ellwood: All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria in light of the prevailing circumstances. We will not issue an export licence where we judge there is a clear risk that the proposed export might be used for internal repression. We continue to monitor events in Gaza and Israel carefully and call on all sides to ensure that their actions are in line with international humanitarian law. It is vital that all actions are proportionate and are calibrated to avoid civilian casualties.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent steps his Department has taken to reduce tension in the on-going conflict between Israel and Palestine. [205911]

Mr Ellwood: We are working to secure a ceasefire, to alleviate humanitarian suffering, and to keep alive the prospects for peace negotiations which are the only hope of breaking this cycle of violence and devastation once and for all. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond) spoke with the Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman on 18 July 2014 and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas on 19 July 2014. The Prime Minister also spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on 20 July 2014.

Mr Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in other NATO member states on the Middle East. [205996]

22 July 2014 : Column 1050W

Mr Ellwood: I have not yet had discussions with other NATO member states. However, the Government is in regular and frequent close contact with NATO member states on a range of issues across the middle east.

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the reasons why Hamas has orchestrated the firing of rockets at Israel. [206036]

Mr Ellwood: Although we do not talk to Hamas, we are aware that they have been under unprecedented political and financial pressure, are isolated and have a strong and active military wing.

Paul Flynn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department has taken to substantiate allegations made by Hamas in Gaza that Israel has attacked water wells, water purification plants and sewage treatment plants in Gaza. [206037]

Mr Ellwood: The water and sanitation crisis is severe, with 50% of all services down. This situation has been exacerbated by damage to sewerage facilities caused by Israeli airstrikes.

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will investigate whether any UK manufactured weapons or components have been used by Israeli military forces during Operation Protective Edge. [206225]

Mr Ellwood: We continue to monitor the situation in Gaza and Israel carefully to ensure that all our licensing decisions on weapons and components to Israel remain consistent with our human rights commitments and all applicable criteria. We currently have no plans to undertake a more comprehensive investigation into whether any UK manufactured weapons or components have been used by Israeli military forces during Operation Protective Edge.

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of whether Israeli military action during Operation Protective Edge has complied with its international legal obligations. [206229]

Mr Ellwood: We have not yet made a full assessment. We continue to monitor events in Gaza and Israel carefully and call on all sides to ensure that their actions are in line with International Humanitarian Law. International Humanitarian Law requires all sides to distinguish between military and civilian targets and enable unhindered humanitarian access. It is vital that all actions are proportionate, in line with International Humanitarian Law and are calibrated to avoid any further civilian casualties.

Mr Khalid Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the implications for his policies of the statement of 10 July 2014 by the Secretary General of the UN on the escalating tensions between Israel and Palestine. [206284]

22 July 2014 : Column 1051W

Mr Ellwood: We support the statement of 10 July 2014 from the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. There has now been further escalation with Israel's ground operation started on 17 July. The UK will continue working towards our three policy objectives for the Gaza crisis-to secure a ceasefire, to alleviate humanitarian suffering, and to keep alive the prospects for peace negotiations, which are the only hope of breaking this cycle of violence and devastation once and for all.

Simon Danczuk: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent talks Ministers in his Department have had with (a) Israeli and (b) Palestinian leaders on the current situation in Gaza. [206290]

Mr Ellwood: The Prime Minister spoke to Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu on 20 July.

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), spoke with Palestinian President Abbas on 19 July and Israeli Foreign Minister Liebermann on 18 July.

Mr Jim Cunningham: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what information his Department holds on the number of (a) Palestinians and (b) Palestinian children who have been killed as a result of Israeli military action in the last 10 years. [206375]

Mr Ellwood: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office holds no information centrally on the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli military action in the last 10 years.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will make an assessment of the potential effects of the imposition of economic sanctions on Israel on that country's (a) actions towards and (b) relations with the areas governed by the Palestinian Authority since the beginning of Israel's current military action in Gaza. [206562]

Mr Ellwood: We have not made an assessment of the potential effects of the imposition of economic sanction on Israel, as the UK does not believe that imposing sanctions on Israel would be a constructive step. We enjoy a close and productive relationship with Israel which enables us to express our views at senior levels very frankly. It is our assessment that imposing sanctions on Israel would lessen this influence, not increase it, and would not promote the urgent progress towards a two-state solution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict which we want to see.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports his Department has received about the role of Egyptian border control policies in contributing to the shortage of basic medical supplies in Gaza. [206567]

Mr Ellwood: We welcome the humanitarian aid packages that Egypt has been supplying to Gaza throughout the current crisis. However, we remain concerned at the frequent closures of the Rafah crossing, and the additional

22 July 2014 : Column 1052W

pressure that this puts on the fragile humanitarian situation. We continue to encourage the Egyptian authorities to ease the movement of humanitarian aid through Rafah.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports his Department has received of water supplies and sewage plants being the targets of Israeli air strikes in Gaza during the recent Israeli military action. [206568]

Mr Ellwood: The water and sanitation crisis is severe, with 50% of all services down. This situation has been exacerbated by damage to sewerage facilities caused by Israeli airstrikes.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the number of Israeli citizens killed by rockets launched from Gaza into Israel since the beginning of Israel's current military action in Gaza. [206569]

Mr Ellwood: As of the morning of 21 July our reports are that there have been 20 confirmed Israeli fatalities. One Israeli fatality caused by rocket fire; one Israeli fatality caused by mortar fire prior to the ground operation and 18 Israeli soldiers killed during the ground operation.

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department has taken to encourage the Israeli Government to end the occupation of the West Bank and the blockade of Gaza since the beginning of Israel's current military action in Gaza. [206574]

Mr Ellwood: I refer my hon. Friend to the Statement on Gaza made by the then Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), on 14 July 2014, Official Report, column 434.

Montserrat

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the (a) planning regulations and (b) environmental policies of the Montserrat government have been followed during the development of the new aquatic and sport centre. [206535]

Mark Simmonds: The elected Government of Montserrat has devolved constitutional responsibility for planning regulations and environmental policies. The Montserrat Ministry of Health, Education, Community Services, Sports and Youth has the responsibility for securing the relevant planning permission for the project. The Montserrat Development Corporation (MDC) have been sub-contracted to deliver the project. We understand that a planning application has been submitted and construction work will not start before this has been agreed.

North Korea

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what consular assistance is available to British nationals travelling to and around North Korea. [205908]

22 July 2014 : Column 1053W

Mr Swire: The British embassy in Pyongyang can only provide limited consular assistance to British nationals in some parts of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) as a result of the limited access allowed to these areas. If a British national is based within the capital, where possible, regular consular services can be provided. British nationals travelling independently should report their travel plans to the British embassy in advance. Full travel advice for the DPRK is available at:

www.gov.uk

Mr Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to prevent the use and development of nuclear weapons by North Korea; and what assessment he has made of the recent missile tests in the Gongwan Province. [206223]

Mr Swire: We remain extremely concerned by the continued development of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea’s (DPRK) nuclear and ballistic missile programme, and by its refusal to abide by UN Security Council resolutions. We continue to work closely with partners to press for implementation of the UN’s sanctions regime, to control the DPRK’s access to proliferation sensitive material and to prevent them from exporting arms and technology.

In the last few weeks the DPRK has undertaken a series of launches of short-range ballistic missiles, mainly of the SCUD class. No prior notice was given in advance of any of these launches. While it is likely that the DPRK is conducting these launches for training and development purposes, it is without doubt also using them to demonstrate its capability, and timing them to maximise political effect. We strongly condemn these, and we urge the DPRK to comply with all of its obligations under relevant UNSCRs and to refrain from any further provocations that cannot help but destabilise the peninsula and the wider region.

Occupied Territories

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department has taken to discourage the continued construction of illegal Israeli settlements in Palestinian territories since the beginning of Israel's current military action in Gaza. [206573]

Mr Ellwood: The UK has reiterated on many occasions to Israel the need to cease constructing settlements that we consider illegal under international law. I refer the hon. Member to the statement on Gaza made by the then Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), on 14 July 2014, Official Report, column 434.

Passports

Mark Lazarowicz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many emergency travel documents were issued in (a) June 2013 and (b) June 2014. [206105]

22 July 2014 : Column 1054W

Mark Simmonds: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued 2,895 emergency travel documents in June 2013 and 5,235 in June 2014 (as at 16 July).

Pay

Keith Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the average salary gap is between women and men in his Department. [206220]

Mr Ellwood: Salary in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is determined by a range of factors including grade, performance, and length of time in employment. The latest data on average salaries of FCO staff by gender and grade are set out as follows and can be found in the FCO Diversity and Equality report, which was published in April 2014 and based on data for 2013. Full details can be found on page 12 of the report.

GradeAverage female pay (£)Average male pay (£)Percentage male pay exceeds female pay

SMS 3&4

118,470

131,360

10.88

SMS 2

88,471

89,669

1.35

SMS 1

67,030

68,286

1.87

D7

57,147

58,195

1.83

D6

47,204

47,576

0.79

C5

35,581

36,233

1.83

C4

28,753

28,710

-0.15

B3

24,690

24,612

-0.32

A2

20,700

20,492

-1.00

A1

18,156

18,156

0.00

The pay gap between men and women at senior management structure 3 &4 is due to the relatively small number of women currently in those grades.

Procurement

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how much his Department paid to (a) G4S, (b) Serco, (c) Sodexo, (d) GEOAmey, (e) Capita, (f) Atos, (g) Mitie, (h) Working Links, (i) A4E, (j) MTC Amey, (k) GEO Group and (l) Carillion in (i) 2010-11, (ii) 2011-12, (iii) 2012-13 and (iv) 2013-14. [205687]

Mr Lidington: As part of this Government's commitment to increasing transparency, all contracts over £10,000 are published at:

http://www.contractsfinder.co.uk

Radicalism

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his European counterparts on steps to tackle Islamic extremism in Europe. [205913]

Mr Ellwood: Countering violent extremism in Europe is an important issue on which the British Government maintains a regular, ongoing dialogue with our European partners. For example, we have engaged with the recent revision of the EU's Strategy for Combating Radicalisation and Recruitment, and welcomed this as an opportunity

22 July 2014 : Column 1055W

to enhance the approach of member states and the EU to countering radicalisation and further challenging extremism in Europe.

Social Networking

Mr Kevan Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many Twitter accounts are run by his Department; how much his Department spends annually on (a) Twitter accounts and (b) all social media; and how many people in his Department are employed to work on social media. [206051]

Mr Lidington: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has 17 corporate twitter accounts, including a central @foreignoffice account. The other accounts are for support to British nationals overseas, work on forced marriage, communications in Arabic and Urdu, and a range of other priorities such as recruitment, ending sexual violence in conflict and our policy on Europe. Six Ministers and the Permanent Under-Secretary are also on twitter in an official capacity, as well as most of our 270 posts overseas, many of our ambassadors and some other senior officials. The FCO does not spend anything on its Twitter accounts.

The FCO runs a range of other social media accounts such as Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Weibo, Flickr, Google+, YouTube but does not pay for any of these.

The FCO occasionally uses paid-for advertising on its social media channels to promote key content. Any such advertising is subject to Cabinet Office marketing and advertising spending controls and is cleared in line with Cabinet Office procedures. It is not possible to breakdown exact spending, although details of overall exemptions to marketing and advertising controls are available on GOV.UK:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/exceptions-data

One FCO official in London maintains the main Foreign Office corporate social media accounts. Staff from across the FCO contribute to other social media channels. For example, a number of staff in our Consular team contribute to the @FCOTravel twitter account as part of our customer service to British Nationals, and staff at posts contribute to overseas channels. It is not possible to give precise numbers across our network as this information is not held centrally and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

South East Asia

Mr Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to encourage freedom of religion in Burma and other South-East Asian countries. [205891]

Mr Swire: I made very clear during my visit to Burma in January that respect for freedom of religion and belief must be guaranteed. Our ambassador and officials regularly discuss the importance of freedom of religion, which is guaranteed in the constitution, with the Burmese Government, and also regularly meet representatives of all faith communities. The UK is also providing funding to train journalists on responsible coverage of religious freedom and conflict, and supporting a project to enhance the capacity of civil society groups to advocate freedom

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of religion. We have previously provided funding for interfaith dialogue and peace building among young people.

Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials across South-East Asia regularly discuss these issues with local governments and faith communities, and Ministers also raise specific issues and concerns as they arise. Recently, for example, I raised our concerns about the introduction of a sharia criminal code in Brunei with Deputy Foreign Minister Pehin Lim; our ambassador in Jakarta has discussed the protection of religious minority groups in Indonesia; and my noble Friend, the right hon. Baroness Warsi, has stressed the importance of tolerance and mutual respect with senior ministers in Malaysia. We will also continue to support projects across South-East Asia designed to bolster and protect freedom of religion and belief.

Syria

Ian Lucas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with the newly elected President of the Syrian National Council. [205844]

Mr Ellwood: We are in constant contact with the Syrian opposition, including with the newly-elected President of the National Coalition, Hadi al-Bahra. We are increasing our support for them, as they counter the threats from extremists and Assad’s regime. UK Special Representative to Syria, Jon Wilks, met President al-Bahra on 10 and 15 July. In these discussions Mr Wilks stressed the UK’s strong support for the National Coalition’s goal of a transition to peaceful, democratic and inclusive Syria. I look forward to meeting and working with President al-Bahra in due course.

Mr Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what level of assistance his Department has provided to rebels in Syria; what form such support has taken; and what steps he is taking to prevent its misuse. [205892]

Mr Ellwood: We have provided more than £20 million this year to support the moderate opposition, including the National Coalition who we recognise as the sole legitimate representatives of the Syrian people. In May this year the then Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), laid a written ministerial statement before Parliament announcing the lifting of the temporary hold on gifting to the Supreme Military Council and the intention to resume delivery of £1 million of non-lethal equipment as soon as is practical. Recipients of this assistance have been carefully selected to prevent equipment being given to those involved in extremist activities or human rights violations. The UK is not supplying weapons to anybody in Syria.

The equipment we provide, including to the armed opposition groups, has undergone intense scrutiny to ensure that we are providing the best possible support and that we meet all our national and international obligations. The equipment has been scrutinised to ensure its provision is consistent with export controls under the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria and EU restrictions on the provision of goods to Syria (as agreed by Member States on 27 May 2013).

22 July 2014 : Column 1057W

We have also supported the opposition’s political umbrella group, the National Coalition, with advisory and practical support. This has included strategic communications advice, and advice on internal governance arrangements. We have also supported the National Coalition’s delivery arm, the Interim Government, as they expand their plans to deliver services in opposition-held areas inside Syria. We have also funded a range of projects in support of civil society and activist groups both inside and outside Syria, which have included those documenting human rights abuses. The then Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs announced in May that we would spend £30 million in support to the Syrian opposition and to bolster regional security.

Ukraine

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs What recent assessment he has made of the security situation in Ukraine. [205919]

Mr Lidington: The situation in eastern Ukraine is of grave concern. As the Prime Minister recently discussed with President Obama, Chancellor Merkel and President Hollande, Russia still needs to take steps towards de-escalation including support for a ceasefire; release of all hostages; and preventing the transit of weapons and fighters across the Russia-Ukraine border.

The tragic incident involving Malaysian Airlines flight MH17 underlines the seriousness of the situation. The reason violence continues in eastern Ukraine is because Russian-backed armed separatists refused to respect a ceasefire and have continued to intimidate, mount attacks and disrupt the lives of ordinary people.

Ukraine: Russia

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to ensure that Crimea is still internationally recognised as part of the Ukraine. [205915]

Mr Lidington: The Government strongly condemns Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea which violates the UN Charter and is illegal under international law. The UK co-sponsored UN General Assembly Resolution 68/262 on the “Territorial Integrity of Ukraine”, which was adopted on 27 March 2014 with 100 votes in favour and only 11 against. This result delivered a resounding international condemnation of Russian actions in Crimea and made clear Russia's isolation in the Security Council and in the international community.

G7 leaders issued a statement on 4 June which affirmed G7 countries' non-recognition of Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and condemned the unacceptable interference in Ukraine's sovereign affairs by the Russian Federation. G7 Leaders confirmed the decision by G7 countries to impose sanctions on individuals and entities who had actively supported or implemented the violation of Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity and who were threatening the peace, security and stability of Ukraine. They underlined their implementation of a strict policy of non-recognition with respect to Crimea/Sevastopol, in line with UN General Assembly Resolution 68/262.

22 July 2014 : Column 1058W

The EU has regularly condemned Russian actions in Crimea and eastern Ukraine and supported action including the imposition of travel bans and asset freezes on 72 individuals and the sanctioning of two entities; the cancellation of the EU-Russia Summit; agreement not to hold bilateral summits; and a decision to block Russian membership of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and International Energy Agency.

On 16 July, and in line with the EU's policy of non-recognition of the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol, the Prime Minister and other EU Leaders requested the European Commission and the European External Action Service to present proposals for additional measures on restricting investments in Crimea and Sevastopol. The European Council also asked the International Financial Institutions to refrain from financing any projects that explicitly or implicitly recognised the illegal annexation of Crimea and Sevastopol.

The UK remains firmly committed to Ukraine's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity.

USA

Mr Tyrie: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what arrangements the Government has reached with the US Administration about the holding of detainees on Diego Garcia. [205286]

Mark Simmonds: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer given by my right hon. Friend the Member for Faversham and Mid Kent (Hugh Robertson), on 10 June 2014, Official Report, column 91W.

Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

Animal Products: Clones

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the Government's position is in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations on meat and dairy products derived from cloned animals in the UK food-chain; and if she will make a statement. [205726]

George Eustice: The Government believes that the existing EU Novel Food controls on the use of cloned material already ensure adequate protection of community consumers. The scientific advice we have makes clear that meat and milk from clones or their progeny is just as safe as that produced by more traditional methods. We do not therefore see the need for any further controls at this point.

Animal Welfare

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the Government's position is in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations on any weakening of farm animal welfare provisions in the UK; and if she will make a statement. [205733]

George Eustice: The Government continues to support the European Commission in seeking equivalence in animal welfare standards between the EU and US as an important part of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment

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Partnership (TTIP) negotiations and will strongly resist any attempts to undermine our high national standards or those of our Community partners.

In parallel, we are working with the European Commission through the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) to ensure that global standards of animal welfare match those of the EU.

Bees

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what her most recent estimate is of the UK population of each species of bumble bee; and what steps she is taking to increase the numbers. [205771]

Dan Rogerson: It is not possible to estimate the number of each species of bumblebee in the UK. We have made an assessment of trends in bumblebee populations from occurrence or distribution data collected by volunteer groups. Of the 26 bumblebee species which have been recorded in the UK, two have been declared extinct in the last century. One new species has arrived and another is being re-introduced. Bumblebee diversity generally decreased in Great Britain between 1950 and 1989, although the rate of decline appears to be slowing in more recent decades.

DEFRA supports a number of initiatives that directly benefit bumblebees and other insect pollinators. Building on these initiatives, we are working with stakeholders to develop a National Pollinator Strategy. This will contain a series of policy actions to safeguard pollinators. We have also commissioned a two-year research project to develop and test a programme to monitor pollinators.

On 18 July 2014 we launched our pollinator call to action, ‘Bees’ Needs: Food and a Home’. This is a simple message for all land managers on the essential needs of pollinators and how to fulfil them. By making a few simple changes to our land management practices, we can make a positive difference for pollinators, including bumblebees.

Birds: Trapping

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with the (a) British Association for Shooting and Conservation and (b) Countryside Alliance on Larsen traps for the control of corvids. [205767]

George Eustice: DEFRA Ministers have not discussed the use of Larsen traps for the control of corvids with either the British Association for Shooting and Conservation or the Countryside Alliance.

Cane Sugar

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what discussions she has had with the European Commission on cane sugar imports. [206596]

George Eustice: The Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for South West Norfolk (Elizabeth Truss), has not had any discussions with the Commission to date.

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However, since agreement was reached on the Common Agriculture Policy in June 2013, the former Secretary of State, my right hon. Friend the Member for North Shropshire (Mr Paterson), exchanged letters with the Agriculture Commissioner on the needs of the cane refining sector. My right hon. Friend’s letters, sent on 22 July 2013 and 8 January 2014, stressed the importance of competition in the sugar market and the need for a reduction in tariff barriers for raw cane sugar in order to maintain this. In his replies, the Commissioner promised to take these issues into account.

EU External Trade: USA

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the Government's position is in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations on future-proofing UK and EU standards of consumer and worker protection, animal welfare and environmental sustainability following the conclusion of those negotiations. [205724]

George Eustice: The Government wants to preserve the ability of the UK and EU to set and regulate standards for a range of issues (including consumer and worker protection, animal welfare and environmental sustainability) in order to address our future needs. The Government therefore wishes to enhance cooperation between the EU and US, without affecting the ability of governments to set policy on these issues.

Floods: Business

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs with reference to the answer of 3 March 2014, Official Report, column 624W, on Floods: Business, how many Repair and Renewal Grant applications have been (a) received and (b) processed. [206039]

Dan Rogerson: The ‘Repair and Renew’ grant was launched on 1 April 2014. Applications for the grant are being received and processed by local authorities, who may then invoice DEFRA every quarter. DEFRA began receiving invoices from local authorities in July.

Fly-tipping

Mrs Main: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what estimate she has made of the cost to the public purse of dealing with animals involved in fly-tipping. [206472]

Dan Rogerson: We have made no such estimate.

Food

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what assessment she has made of whether measures to achieve regulatory convergence under the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership may lead to a lower standard of food production in the UK in respect of (a) food safety, (b) food labelling and transparency, (c) animal welfare, (d) worker protections and (e) consumer protections; and if she will make a statement. [205730]

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George Eustice: Regulatory coherence offers greater compatibility of EU and US systems and helps to reduce the costs of complying with duplicate procedures at our borders. Leaders on both sides of the Atlantic have been clear that this is not about reducing regulatory standards. Any agreement will need to take into account EU and US rules on food safety, food labelling, animal welfare, worker protection and consumer protection. Regulatory coherence between the EU and US is not therefore expected to lead to lower standards of food production in the UK.

Food Banks

Hugh Bayley: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the oral answer from the right hon. Member for Banbury, representing the Church Commissioners to the hon. Member for York Central of 17 July 2014, what information her Department holds on how many (a) food banks existed and (b) people made use of food banks in the UK in each of the last 10 years. [206404]

George Eustice: There are no official figures for the number of food banks or for people who have made use of them. The provision of food aid ranges from small, local provision, through to regional and national schemes. The greatest proportion is community-led provision responding to local needs. As such, the Government do not believe it is possible to keep records of the number of food banks or how many people made use of them.

Food Supply

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs pursuant to the answer of 15 July 2014, Official Report, column 611W, on Biofuels, what steps her Department has taken to embed the importance of food security across her Department's policies; and what research her Department supports in this area. [206548]

Dan Rogerson: Through business planning DEFRA is able to ensure that food security is embedded as a priority objective across all relevant policy areas. For example, DEFRA’s policy to improve the openness of world markets will not only promote growth, but also ensure the diversity of the UK’s food supply. Pressing for reform of agricultural and trade policies will also contribute to future food security by increasing agricultural productivity and reducing inefficiencies.

In terms of research, the Government’s Agri-Tech Strategy, published last July, sets out our approach to helping improve global food supply while maximising the economic potential of the UK’s agri-food science base. This is on top of the more than £400 million a year the Government was already spending on research into different aspects of food security, funded by the Research Councils, Department for International Development and devolved Administrations as well as DEFRA.


Food Supply Networks Review

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs how many meetings (a) Chris Elliot and (b) members of his team

22 July 2014 : Column 1062W

have had with representatives from the meat importation sector during the investigation into criminality in the food chain. [206279]

George Eustice: The city of London police, working with their counterparts across Europe, are taking forward complicated and far-reaching criminal investigations into the Europe-wide horsemeat fraud.

During the course of his Review into the Integrity and Assurance of Food Supply Networks, Professor Elliott and his team carried out site visits, and met many industry stakeholders, regulators and consumers, including representatives from the meat importation sector.

Food: Procurement

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the Government's position is in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations on food procurement rules and the ability of the Government to stipulate conditions on procurement which recognise local and regional food and the economic and other benefits of sourcing local and regional food for public procurement; and if she will make a statement. [205729]

George Eustice: Public sector procurers are required to seek value for money through fair and open competition. Through our membership of the European Union and as a signatory to international agreements, our contracting authorities are required to treat suppliers from Europe and various other countries on an equal footing with UK suppliers. The Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership is expected to incorporate these long-standing principles of EU and WTO (World Trade Organisation) law. The Public Services (Social Value) Act (2012) requires contracting authorities to consider the full social, environmental and economic value of public services procurements at the pre-procurement stage.

The Government wants UK companies to be successful in public procurement. The most appropriate way to do this is for companies to offer the goods and services at the right quality levels and to provide good value for money. The Government is determined to make access to public sector contracts easier and is introducing a simpler, streamlined method for procuring food and catering services that sets out public sector's requirements more clearly. This was launched on 21 July in ‘A Plan for Public Procurement of Food and Catering Services’.

Forests

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department is taking to promote the forestry industry. [206547]

Dan Rogerson: The Government is committed to promoting the forestry industry in line with its Forestry and Woodlands Policy Statement.

In addition to supporting the industry-led Grown in Britain initiative, which has already gained commitment from 26 major UK Contractors Group companies, with a collective turnover of over £26 billion, to buy British timber preferentially where possible, we are providing support to the sector though the Rural Development

22 July 2014 : Column 1063W

Programme, which has provided over £167 million over the past seven years. The new Farming and Forestry Productivity Scheme will further improve the forestry industry’s productivity by supporting new business entrants, innovative practice and our forestry skills base.

The Government’s Renewable Heat Incentive has funded over 3,400 woodfuel boilers, helping to create a new sustainable market for British timber. In addition, our £15 million Rural Community Energy Fund is supporting 12 projects enabling communities to utilise local woodlands to meet their biomass energy requirements.

Genetically Modified Organisms: Labelling

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the Government's position is in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations on labelling of products containing GM in the UK food chain; and if she will make a statement. [205728][Official Report, 1 September 2014, Vol. 585, c. 2MC.]

George Eustice: This issue has yet to be discussed in detail within the framework of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations. The Government will consider its negotiation position based on a range of factors including the environmental impact and public health benefit of such anti-microbial treatments that can reduce potential for foodborne illness.

Horse Meat

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what progress has been made on the investigation into criminal prosecutions as a result of the adulteration of beef products with horsemeat; and if she will make a statement. [206280]

George Eustice: The Food Standards Agency and the City of London police, working with their counterparts across Europe, are taking forward complicated and far-reaching investigations into the Europe wide horsemeat fraud. The Crown Prosecution Service has announced that criminal proceedings have been instituted for the mislabelling of goat meat and the failure to comply with traceability requirements in relation to horsemeat. It would not be appropriate to comment further on ongoing criminal investigations.

Meat

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the Government's position is in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations on pork and other meats treated with lactic acid and other organic washes entering the UK food-chain; and if she will make a statement. [205725]

George Eustice: This issue has yet to be discussed in detail within the framework of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) negotiations. The Government will consider its negotiation position based on a range of factors including the environmental impact and public health benefit of such anti-microbial treatments that can reduce potential for foodborne illness.

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Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the Government's position is in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations on meat containing ractopamine entering the UK food-chain; and if she will make a statement. [205727]

George Eustice: The use of beta-agonists such as ractopamine for growth promotion purposes is banned under Council Directive 96/22/EC. Third countries permitted to export to the EU are required to have equivalent standards, therefore meat from those countries entering the EU should not contain residues of these substances.

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the Government's position is in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations on meat treated with antibiotics as growth promoters entering the UK food chain; and if she will make a statement. [205732]

George Eustice: The use of antibiotics as growth promoters has been banned in the EU since 2006. Third countries permitted to export to the EU are required to have equivalent standards, therefore meat from those countries entering the EU should not contain residues of these substances.

Nature Conservation

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she is taking to maintain the natural balance of numbers of birds of prey, foxes, magpies, grey-back crows and badgers. [205772]

George Eustice: DEFRA seeks to protect vulnerable species and to ensure that where abundant or pest species need to be controlled this is done so by legal means.

Dr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps she has taken to implement the commitments contained in the white paper, The Natural Choice: securing the value of nature published in 2011. [206012]

Dan Rogerson: We have made good progress on implementing the ambitious programme of policies set out in the White Paper. Of the 92 commitments made in the White Paper, over three quarters are now assessed as “completed” and action is ongoing to deliver the remaining commitments.

We have published a series of implementation updates on the gov.uk website, setting out the progress that has been made towards the White Paper’s commitments, most recently in February 2014. This information can be found at:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/natural-environment-white-paper-implementation-updates

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Peat Bogs

Dr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what steps her Department is taking to restore upland peat sites. [205987]

Dan Rogerson: DEFRA has a range of measures in place to support the restoration of upland peat sites. These include protection through statutory area designations such as sites of special scientific interest (SSSIs) and areas of outstanding natural beauty (AONBs). In addition there are specific incentives for peatland restoration in agri-environment schemes. In 2013 we committed £31.2 million through environmental stewardship (covering around 98,000ha) to management options for the maintenance and restoration of moorland habitats. A further £4.1 million was committed in capital grants for grip blocking. These are the key options in environmental stewardship that contribute to the management of upland peat. This support will continue to be provided under the new environmental land management scheme.

The dark peak nature improvement area (NIA) in the Peak District, one of the 12 NIAs announced in 2012, is focused on improving upland peatland habitats across an area of 25,000ha.

In September 2013 we launched the pilot UK Peatland Code which provides a basis for business sponsorship of peatland restoration. An initial suite of restoration projects from across the UK have been identified covering over 25,000 ha of mainly blanket bog.

Upland peat restoration is also being addressed through DEFRA’s Research and Development Programme, with over £1 million committed between 2010 and 2015 to identify restoration techniques with the best environmental outcomes.

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Poultry

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the Government's position is in the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership negotiations on poultry treated with hyper-chlorinated water entering the UK food chain; and if she will make a statement. [205731]

George Eustice: This issue has yet to be discussed in detail within the framework of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership TTIP negotiations and is unlikely to be until the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) delivers an opinion on the public health, safety and environmental impact of this treatment process. The Government will consider its position when the EFSA opinion becomes available.

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what the restricted grant-in-aid to Royal Gardens Botanical, Kew has been in each financial year since 2007. [206134]

Dan Rogerson: Kew publishes the funding it receives from DEFRA in its Annual Reports and Accounts, which are publicly available on the Kew website. The presentation of Kew’s accounts has evolved over the years and they have moved to reporting in terms of ‘restricted’ and ‘unrestricted’ DEFRA funding from 2013-14. DEFRA places no restrictions on its core or operational funding (resource), which Kew currently considers how best to allocate to deliver its statutory objectives; Kew accordingly defines this as 'unrestricted'. DEFRA does place restrictions on its capital funding, which may only be used for specified purposes in accordance with bids from Kew. Kew now reports this as ‘restricted’ funding.

Kew budget since 2007-08
£000
 Data from Kew's Published ARA
Income Split2007-082008-092009-102010-112011-122012-132013-14

GIA Income

25,204

26,600

28,550

24,620

28,500

32,475

28,000

DEFRA (Capital)

7.60

8.75

10.90

7.90

12.70

117.00

213.6

DEFRA (Operational)

17.60

19.85

17.65

16.72

15.80

115.45

14.4

1 Taken from DEFRA records as income split is not published in Kew’s accounts for this year. 2 This includes £1.3 million for severance and redundancy payments.

Turtles: Cayman Islands

Dr Offord: To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs whether the CITES Management Authority has declared that the Cayman Turtle Farm is a humane facility. [206288]

George Eustice: The elected Government of the Cayman Islands, a British Overseas Territory, has devolved constitutional responsibility for animal welfare and conservation including for legislation and policies governing the Cayman Turtle Farm.

An independent investigation in 2002, carried out in support of an application to register the Cayman Turtle Farm as a captive-breeding operation under CITES, a Convention for which DEFRA is responsible, concluded that the standards of care at the Cayman Turtle Farm were humane.

The UK Government has been in contact with the Cayman Islands Government more recently, expressing the UK’s commitment to raising animal welfare standards and requesting an assurance that the Cayman Islands Government takes the findings of a report by the then World Society for the Protection of Animals seriously and be committed to making appropriate improvements. I am pleased to say that the Deputy Premier of the Cayman Islands, Mr Kirkconnell, gave that assurance in a response to the Secretary of State on 24 October 2013.

The UK CITES Management Authority has not made a recent assessment of whether the Cayman Turtle Farm is a humane facility.

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Deputy Prime Minister

Electoral Register

Chris Ruane: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister pursuant to the answer of 9 July 2014, Official Report, columns 298-9W, to the hon. Member for South West Devon, representing the Speaker's Committee on the Electoral Commission, on electoral register, which of the local authorities which failed Performance Standard Three in more than one year (a) were and (b) were not granted additional central government funding to increase registration. [205138]

Mr Gyimah: All Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) have received funding, based on their levels of under-registration, to help with the costs of local activities to maximise registration as part of the transition to Individual Electoral Registration.

Communities and Local Government

Building Regulations

Mr Raynsford: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what research he has undertaken into the effects of the changes introduced in 2010 to part F of the building regulations. [R] [205935]

Stephen Williams: We have not undertaken any research yet into the effects of the 2010 changes to the ventilation provisions in part F of the building regulations, but this is being considered by the Department.

Coastal Areas

Diana Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government what the responsibilities of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Coastal Communities will be; and whether Hull will be classed as a coastal community for this purpose. [206520]

Penny Mordaunt: My responsibilities are on the DCLG website and can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/people/penny-mordaunt

Hull is classed as a coastal community under the Government’s Coastal Communities Fund which covers both coastal and estuarine settlements. It has received two grant awards from the Fund to date totalling over £700,000 to support projects promoting growth and jobs in the city.

Fire Services: Pensions

Lyn Brown: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government (1) what estimate he has made of the annual administrative costs of the firefighters pension scheme 1992 and the new firefighters pension scheme 2006; [205754]

(2) what estimate he has made of the administration costs of the proposed 2015 firefighters’ pension scheme. [205713]

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Penny Mordaunt: The firefighters’ pension schemes are administered locally by individual fire and rescue authorities. No assessment has been made of the administrative costs of the schemes by this Department.

Freedom of Information

John Woodcock: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much his Department spent on legal fees in cases relating to the release of information requested under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in each of the last five years. [204271]

Kris Hopkins: This information could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Future High Streets Forum

Mr Umunna: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government on how many occasions the Future High Streets Forum has met this year; and who has attended each such meeting. [206018]

Penny Mordaunt: The Future High Streets Forum has met three times this year, on 21 January, 29 April and 8 July. Attendee details can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/groups/future-high-streets-forum

Housing Revenue Accounts

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government pursuant to the answer of 15 July 2014, Official Report, column 617W, on housing revenue accounts, what criteria are used to assess bids for the allocation of extra borrowing allowed against the housing revenue accounts. [206545]

Brandon Lewis: The prospectus for the Local Growth Fund: Housing Revenue Account Borrowing Programme (2015-16 and 2016-17) sets out how bids for additional housing revenue account borrowing are assessed. The prospectus is available on the Government’s website at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/local-growth-fund-housing-revenue-account-borrowing-programme-2015-to-2016-and-2016-to-2017

The Government has announced £60 million additional housing revenue account borrowing across 15 local authorities and expects to make further funding announcements at the end of the summer. We have also announced that there will be a second round of bidding to the Housing Revenue Account Borrowing Programme with a deadline for bids of 30 September 2014.

Procurement

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much and what proportion of his Department's budget was spent on activities which were contracted out in (a) 2009-10, (b) 2010-11, (c) 2011-12, (d) 2012-13 and (e) 2013-14; and how much and what proportion of his Department's budget he expects to be contracted out in 2014-15. [204890]

22 July 2014 : Column 1069W

Kris Hopkins: DCLG purchases a wide range of goods and services from outside suppliers. The information requested for the last five years is not centrally held in the form requested and would incur disproportionate cost to provide. However, details of all spending over £250 are available on my Department’s website as part of our transparency data.

I would add that we have recently adopted a shared services model with other Departments, with our legal function being undertaken by Treasury Solicitors and our procurement being undertaken by the Crown Commercial Service. There is significant scope for further sharing of services.

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government how much his Department paid to (a) G4S, (b) Serco, (c) Sodexo, (d) GEOAmey, (e) Capita, (f) Atos, (g) Mitie, (h) Working Links, (i) A4E, (j) MTC Amey, (k) GEO Group and (l) Carillion in (i) 2010-11, (ii) 2011-12, (iii) 2012-13 and (iv) 2013-14. [205850]

Kris Hopkins: As part of my Department’s transparency programme, any spend over £250.00 is available on the Department’s website. Since January 2011, all contracts over £10,000 in value are published on Contracts Finder:

https://www.contractsfinder.co.uk/

Culture, Media and Sport

Aerials: Planning Permission

Bill Wiggin: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will make it his policy to consult local residents on decisions on the construction of mobile telephone masts under the mobile infrastructure project where plans for construction have been through pre-planning and published. [206306]

Mr Vaizey: Arqiva will be consulting with communities in line with the Mobile Operators Code of Best Practice.

Authority for Television on Demand

Nia Griffith: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how many broadcasters in (a) Wales and (b) the UK have been closed as a result of their inability or refusal to pay the Authority for Television On Demand's regulatory fees. [206114]

Mr Vaizey: ATVOD has no power to close an on demand programme service and therefore has not required any service to close for non-payment of fees.

Ofcom has not, to date, exercised its statutory powers to either suspend or restrict the entitlement of an on-demand service provider to provide its services because of non-payment of fees.

Billing

Mr Watson: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what the value is of duplicate supplier payments identified by his Department since 2010; and what proportion of such payments have since been recovered in each of the last two financial years. [205968]

22 July 2014 : Column 1070W

Mrs Grant: The value of duplicate supplier payments detected by the Department in each financial year since 2010 was:

Financial year£

2010-11

38,815.22

2011-12

17,976.00

2012-13

nil

2013-14

26,481.10

All of these duplicate payments were detected by the Departments own financial control processes and recovered in full in the same financial year at no cost to the Department.

Broadband: Rural Areas

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps his Department is taking to improve the broadband infrastructure for businesses in rural areas. [205773]

Mr Vaizey: The Government is investing £780 million, with local match funding, to provide superfast broadband coverage to 95% of UK premises, including in rural locations. Coverage will include both business and residential consumers. In addition, the Government has also launched eight pilot projects to explore options for improving coverage of superfast broadband beyond 95%, including to the most hard to reach areas of the UK.

Broadcasting: Lancashire

Mark Hendrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will discuss with the BBC Trust measures to increase coverage of life, history and culture in Lancashire across the BBC national television and radio network. [206327]

Mr Vaizey: The Secretary of State has regular discussions with the BBC Trust but has no plans to discuss this issue. Under the terms of the BBC’s Charter and Agreement, the BBC is required to

“promote awareness of different cultures and alternative viewpoints, through content that reflects the lives of different people and different communities within the UK”.

The BBC is however operationally and editorially independent of Government and there is no provision for the Government to intervene in the corporation’s day-to-day operations.

Cultural Heritage: Theft

Mark Pritchard: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport (1) if he will hold discussions with the major auction houses on the sale of stolen antiquities from conflict areas and the links between the proceeds of such sales and the funding of terrorism; [205722]

(2) what discussions his Department has had with Sotheby’s Auction House on the sale of conflict antiquities in the UK domestic marketplace; [205839]

(3) if his Department will bring forward legislation to outlaw the sale of stolen conflict antiquities in the UK. [205840]

22 July 2014 : Column 1071W

Mr Vaizey: I have no current plans to hold discussions with the major auction houses, nor has the Government recently discussed the sale of conflict antiquities with them. The Government believes that regulating trade in antiquities is primarily the responsibility of the art and antiquities trade itself. The established trade associations possess codes of ethics by which they expect their members to abide and we expect the associations to strictly enforce those codes. The DCMS has produced advice and guidance to help UK dealers and auction houses consider the relevant issues such as ensuring the secure provenance of cultural objects in which they deal.

The UK takes the issue of illicit trade in cultural goods very seriously and is continuously working to combat this type of trafficking.

The UK has legislation in place, the Customs and Excise Management Act 1979, which makes it an offence to import or export objects if that is prohibited under any enactment. Once an EU Regulation prohibiting such import or export comes into force, the act becomes a UK offence. Accordingly, prohibitions on export and import of certain Syrian cultural property under Council Regulation (EU) 1332/2013 concerning restrictive measures in view of the situation in Syria, have been backed up by UK offences since December 2013. These are complemented by a statutory instrument (The Export Control (Syria Sanctions) (Amendment) Order 2014) which was laid before Parliament on 18 July 2014. The prohibitions relate to the trade in certain Syrian cultural goods where there are reasonable grounds to suspect that the goods were removed from Syria on or after 9 May 2011 without consent of the legitimate owner or in breach of Syrian or international law.

The import, export and dealing in illegally removed Iraqi cultural property is prohibited under The Iraq (United Nations Sanctions) Order 2003. While not specific to war situations, the Dealing in Cultural Objects (Offences) Act 2003 prohibits dealing in cultural objects illegally excavated or illegally removed from monuments or structures of historical, architectural or archaeological interest.

Gun Sports

Jim Shannon: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the legacy of the 2012 Olympic games for participation in clay pigeon shooting in each region of the UK. [205768]

Mrs Grant: Sport England is investing £1.1 million in British shooting for 2013-17 to get more people taking part in shooting regularly.

According the Active People survey, 54,300 people take part in clay pigeon shooting in England at least once a month. This is an increase of 3,800 since 2012. It is the most popular shooting discipline in England.

The following table gives a regional breakdown of shooting (all disciplines) participation. Please note—a regional breakdown of figures for specific shooting disciplines is not available due to the relatively small size of the sport.

22 July 2014 : Column 1072W

 Monthly participants (16+) 
RegionOctober 2011-12April 2013-14Change since 2011-12

East

22,800

19,400

-3,400

East Midlands

14,200

11,300

-2,900

London1

North East1

North West

12,000

12,700

700

South East

21,100

23,200

2,100

South West

18,700

12,400

-6,300

West Midlands

10,500

14,400

3,900

Yorkshire

9,700

16,900

7,200

1 Data not available for these regions due to the relatively small size of the sport.

Local Broadcasting: Television

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when he last met BLTV Ltd to discuss its progress on delivering the local television franchise for the Birmingham area. [206245]

Mr Vaizey: DCMS Ministers have not met representatives from BLTV Ltd.

Steve McCabe: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how long a local television franchise is valid for; and whether BLTV will launch in Birmingham within the period of its existing franchise. [206246]

Mr Vaizey: Local TV licences issued by Ofcom expire on 25 November 2025. Successful applicants have two years from the date they were awarded the licence to begin operating services, at which point their licence commences. The Birmingham licence was awarded on 6 November 2012 and the licence holder must be on-air by 6 November 2014. Where a local TV station does not launch within two years, Ofcom's policy is to re-advertise the licence.

Procurement

Jon Trickett: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport 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. [205198]

Mrs Grant: Since 2010, the Department has let five contracts between £1 million and £3 million. These have been for:

Legal services in respect of Rural Broadband.

Legal services in respect of the Mobile Infrastructure Project.

Three contracts to test the feasibility of rolling out superfast broadband to the hardest to reach areas.

It has also let four contracts since 2010 that have been over £3 million. These are:

1. Mobile Infrastructure Project.

2. Taking Part Survey.

3. Contingent Labour.

22 July 2014 : Column 1073W

4. In addition, the Department holds the contract for the Broadband Delivery Framework under which the devolved Administrations and local authorities have contracted to provide superfast broadband as part of the Government’s programme to reach 90% of the UK by early 2016.

The Department is also about to let one contract over £3 million for Ceremonial Event Management Services.

The Department does not hold any contract information on contracts let by its agencies.

The Department does not hold data on the amounts spent on monitoring each contract and could provide it only at disproportionate cost.

In terms of the number of officials monitoring contracts, Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) is responsible for the Government’s Superfast Broadband Rollout (Rural) Programme to provide superfast broadband to 90% of premises and to universal standard broadband to all by 2016. £1.2 million of public funding is being invested in 44 separate local contracts to roll out phase 1 of this programme; plus £150 million in multiple local contracts

22 July 2014 : Column 1074W

in 22 cities as part of the Super Connected Cities Programme to provide free wi-fi in public buildings, transport networks and public spaces and help small business connect to superfast broadband; and the £150 million Mobile Infrastructure Project contract to enhance mobile connectivity in areas with no coverage. BDUK has around 90 staff, many of whom are involved in monitoring delivery of these programmes and contracts.

There are approximately 4.5 officials monitoring the other contracts listed.

Sadiq Khan: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport how much his Department paid to (a) G4S, (b) Serco, (c) Sodexo, (d) GEOAmey, (e) Capita, (f) Atos, (g) Mitie, (h) Working Links, (i) A4E, (j) MTC Amey, (k) GEO Group and (l) Carillion in (i) 2010-11, (ii) 2011-12, (iii) 2012-13 and (iv) 2013-14. [205851]

Mrs Grant: The information is as follows:

£
Supplier2010-112011-122012-132013-14

G4S

0.00

0.00

320.40

0.00

Capita Health Solutions

253.51

80.78

0.00

0.00

Capita Resourcing Ltd

0.00

116,214.73

2,859,479.69

4,312,004.26

Capita Learning and Development

0.00

0.00

16,816.15

40,584.36

Capita Business Travel

40,650.77

80,513.95

94,356.64

0.00

Capita Symonds

0.00

0.00

66,375.60

0.00

Capita Business Services (interim)

0.00

0.00

0.00

74,679.50

Atos

4,154,276.48

4,487,340.49

5,958,713.10

4,707,570.47

Mitie Managed Services

242,840.51

0.00

0.00

0.00

Carillion Business Services Ltd

121,567.48

1,100,852.66

2,301,879.07

656,254.50

Carillion Business Services Ltd

848,636.47

282,432.48

892,106.50

0.00

Telecommunications

Mr Reid: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport when he expects to respond to the Law Commission recommendations on reform of the Electronic Communications Code. [206469]

Mr Vaizey: Since the Law Commission published its report on the reform of the Electronic Communications Code in February 2013, my Department has been considering the implications of the recommendations on network rollout and service provision to consumers. In January 2014 we published an economic analysis of the impact of various wayleave valuation regimes. A copy of this report has been placed in the House of Commons Library. The analysis work is ongoing and I will make public the plans to reform the Electronic Communications Code, and respond to the Law Commission’s report, in due course.

World War I: Anniversaries

Mr Dodds: To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps his Department is taking to encourage community organisations to take up EU funding offered by the Europe for Citizens programme and similar schemes in order to commemorate the centenary of world war I through exchanges and visits. [206181]

Mr Vaizey: During the passage of the European Approval Act 2013, I took great care to emphasise the opportunities the Europe for Citizens Programme offers for commemoration of the first world war. The Government will deliver a four-year programme to mark the first world war centenary through a package of funded activity worth over £125 million. Alongside the UK centenary programme, the Europe for Citizens programme will provide opportunities to develop a greater understanding of the period between those who were both allies and adversaries at the time.