Atlantic Ocean: Fisheries

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether the Government conducts satellite surveillance of (a) Tristan da Cunha, (b) South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands, (c) Bermuda and (d) Pitcairn Island territorial waters to determine the number of vessels fishing illegally in the exclusive fishing zone. [95031]

Mr Bellingham: Fisheries management within Overseas Territory territorial waters is a devolved responsibility. Overseas Territory Governments employ a range of methods to monitor and deter vessels fishing illegally within their territorial waters and support has been provided by the British Government to assist with this and help to ensure that their marine resources are managed sustainably.

Bangladesh

Jim Fitzpatrick: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the implications for security in the UK of links between Bangladeshi citizens in the UK and those responsible for the attempted military coup in Bangladesh. [95007]

Alistair Burt: On 19 January, the Bangladesh Army announced an ongoing investigation into a small number of individuals suspected of involvement in an attempted coup plot. The British high commission in Dhaka is following developments closely. Should the investigation identify any link between those responsible and Bangladeshi citizens in the UK, the British Government will take appropriate action in line with national security interests and relevant legal and policy commitments.

British Indian Ocean Territory

Jeremy Corbyn: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs to what extent the administration of British Indian Ocean Territory (a) based at his Department in London and (b) in Diego Garcia is subject to the provisions of (i) the Freedom of Information Act 2000, (ii) the Environmental Information Regulations 2004 and (iii) other freedom of information legislation. [95229]

Mr Lidington: The Freedom of Information Act, the Data Protection Act and the Environmental Information Regulations do not extend to the British Indian Ocean Territory.

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Burma

Valerie Vaz: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which UK companies have approached the Government to express an interest in investing in or trading with Burma. [94522]

Mr Jeremy Browne: We are aware that a number of UK companies are interested in investing in or trading with Burma. For reasons of commercial confidence, it would not be appropriate to comment on the nature of any contact we have had with UK businesses, or to name those companies with whom we have had contact.

However, our policy remains that the British Government do not encourage trade and investment in Burma and offers no commercial services to companies wishing to trade or invest there.

Caribbean: EU

Mr Lammy: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the statement of 25 January 2012, Official Report, column 17WS, on Brazil and the Caribbean (Foreign Secretary visit), what plans his Department has to support the Caribbean in its relationship with the European Union. [94143]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The UK is a strong supporter of the EU-Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM) Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) and we encourage both the Caribbean and the EU to take full advantage of the benefits of the agreement. Discussions on the EPA were an important element of the UK-Caribbean Ministerial Forum in Grenada where UK and Caribbean Ministers agreed to work together to improve EU market access for Caribbean export of goods and services. The UK and Caribbean also agreed to work with the EU to maximise the impact of development funding to the region. The UK has a regular dialogue with the EU External Action Service both in the Caribbean and in Brussels to ensure that EU decisions take into account the particular circumstances of the Caribbean. The European External Action Service participated in the UK-Caribbean Ministerial Forum.

Departmental Official Hospitality

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proportion of the (a) food and (b) drink served to guests to his Department on official occasions is sourced from UK farmers, fisheries and food and drink manufacturers. [95055]

Mr Bellingham: The information for (a) and (b) is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Huw Irranca-Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department (a) has a policy or (b) provides guidance on the sourcing of (i) food and (ii) drink from UK farms, fisheries and food and drink manufacturers served to guests on official occasions. [95056]

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Mr Bellingham: Government Hospitality in Protocol Directorate arranges business hospitality for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and all other Government Departments for official occasions, as required. Government Hospitality offers guidance to its catering suppliers that food and drink should, where practicable, and without increasing costs to the taxpayer, source sustainable, seasonal UK produce, in accordance with EU procurement rules and the coalition agreement on procuring food to UK or equivalent production standards.

Departmental Procurement

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what proportion of the total value of contracts issued or to be issued by his Department in 2011-12 have required successful organisations to put up a capital bond; and if he will make a statement. [94917]

Mr Lidington: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has not required any successful suppliers to put up a capital bond and does not intend to require this for current planned central procurements.

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs which contracts his Department has tendered or will tender in 2011-12 which require successful organisations to have a capital bond of more than £5 million; which contracts have not required such a bond; and if he will make a statement. [94935]

Mr Lidington: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has not required any successful suppliers to put up a capital bond and does not intend to require this for current planned central procurements, as such no central contracts awarded have required the supplier to put up a capital bond.

Economic and Monetary Union

Emma Reynolds: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the ability of the Government to initiate legal proceedings against other EU member states in (a) the European Court of Justice and (b) other courts if they exceed the remit of the fiscal compact treaty. [94751]

Mr Lidington: Although political agreement was reached among the 25 EU member states who intend to participate in the proposed fiscal compact treaty, the treaty has yet to be signed and ratified by the member states concerned and therefore is not yet in force.

The Government consider that, once in force, the treaty or actions taken under it must not conflict with the EU treaties. This includes the use of the EU institutions. We have been clear that the treaty must not undermine the operation of the single market or otherwise infringe on areas of policy that are properly for discussion by all member states in the EU context, and we have reserved our position on the proposed treaty. If following the entry into force of the treaty the participating member states were to act in a manner prejudicial to the operation

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of the single market or the operation of the EU treaties, the Government would consider all possible avenues of action available.

Mr Clappison: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the Government's policy is on the use of the (a) European Commission, (b) the Court of Justice of the European Union and (c) other European Union institutions in connection with the proposed treaty on stability, co-ordination and governance in the Economic and Monetary Union; whether the UK has made an objection to any party concerning use of such institutions; and if he will make a statement. [95134]

Mr Lidington: The Government have a number of concerns regarding the use of the EU institutions in the inter-governmental treaty on stability, co-ordination and governance in the Economic and Monetary Union.

However, the Government want the eurozone to do what is necessary to solve the crisis as long as it does not damage the UK's national interest. The Government are, therefore, reserving their position on the use of the EU institutions in the new agreement. The proposed agreement must not encroach on the competencies of the EU, or undermine the operation of the single market. The Government will be monitoring this closely and will take action if the UK's national interests are threatened.

Hungary

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the extent of freedom of the media in Hungary. [95471]

Mr Lidington: We believe it is essential that any legislation that may have an impact on the media should comply with the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) principles and commitments in the field of freedom of expression, free flow of information and freedom of the media; Council of Europe standards emanating from article 10 of the European convention on human rights; and all relevant European Union policies and legislation.

Following expert level talks between Hungarian media law experts and European Commission officials, the Commission suggested four amendments to bring the media law into line with EU norms. The UK supported the Commission's findings, which were then addressed by the Hungarian Government. The amended legislation was overwhelmingly passed by the Hungarian Parliament.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his Hungarian counterparts on freedom of the media in that country. [95472]

Mr Lidington: I have discussed the media law with my Hungarian counterpart Eniko Gyori. Membership of the EU places obligations on member states to respect the highest standards with regard to fundamental freedoms and democracy. The UK Government place great importance on these obligations and considers freedom of the press and opinion as one of the key pillars of a democratic society.

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Patrick Mercer: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what the outcome was of the London International Cyber Conference of November 2011; and what steps his Department is taking to assist the Hungarian government to prepare for the Budapest Conference later this year. [95548]

Alistair Burt: The London Conference on Cyberspace set the agenda for future international dialogue on building a secure, resilient and trusted global digital environment. It was attended by more than 700 people from over 60 countries. Many thousands more watched online and followed it through social media. For the first time we brought together discussions on the benefits of cyberspace as well as the threats and started a high-level international process to maintain this balanced approach. The conclusions of the conference are set out in the closing statement made by the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) which is available from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website. We have started discussions with Hungary about the follow-up conference in Budapest and will keep in close touch with them over the coming year.

Iran

Mr Ainsworth: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs pursuant to the answer of 19 January 2012, Official Report, columns 928-29W, on Iran: mass media, whether the issue of media disruption by the Iranian authorities was discussed during the International Telecommunications Union World Radiocommunication Conference 2012; what role the Government played in any such discussions; and what recent progress has been made on ending such actions. [95090]

Alistair Burt: The issue of jamming of satellite broadcasts was discussed in depth at the International Telecommunications Union World Radiocommunications Conference 2012. The UK, represented by the Office of Communications (OfCom), played an important role in obtaining an amendment to the Radio Regulations which will make it incumbent on states to take action against any jamming emanating from their territory.

Iran: Politics and Government

Mr Douglas Alexander: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his counterparts in Russia and China on tightening the sanctions regime in Iran; and on how many separate occasions he has raised this issue with them in the last six months. [94159]

Mr Hague: The E3+3 group—made up of the UK, US, France, Germany, Russia and China—supports a dual track policy of pressure on and engagement with Iran and discusses these issues regularly. My officials and I have had a wide range of discussions with E3+3 members about increasing peaceful pressure on Iran. Most recently, I have spoken publicly about the importance of China not increasing its oil imports from Iran, so that the EU oil embargo achieves the impact we are seeking and encourages Iran to resume serious negotiations on the nuclear issue.

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Israel

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what reports he has received on the case of Khader Adnan Mohammad Musa who has been on hunger strike for 50 days in Ramlah military hospital; and if he will make representations on this matter to the Israeli Government. [95170]

Alistair Burt: We are aware of the case of Mr Khader Adnan Mohammad Musa. On 31 January 2012 Mr Musa was transferred to Mayanei HaYeshua Medical Centre in central Israel after 45 days on hunger strike. On 16 February, he had sustained his hunger strike for 61 days.

Our embassy in Tel Aviv discussed Mr Musa's condition with the Israeli Prison Service again on Friday 10 February 2012, urging them to comply with their obligations under international law. We have also raised the case with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Israeli authorities claim that he is receiving medical attention from the NGO Physicians for Human Rights and from ICRC.

Our officials have discussed the issue with the ICRC. They are closely involved and report that Khader Adnan's condition is critical, but that he remains conscious, has access to medical treatment and is receiving family visitors.

Mr Slaughter: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs if he will raise the case of Khader Adnan Mohammad Musa with his counterparts in the EU and request them to make representations on this matter to the Israeli Government. [95171]

Alistair Burt: The Head of the EU Delegation in Tel Aviv carried out a demarche to the Israeli authorities on this issue on 15 February 2012. On 16 February our ambassador to Tel Aviv raised our concerns with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and has discussed the matter with other EU Heads of Mission. We have also discussed this issue with other EU member states and in Brussels. Together with our EU partners, we continue to monitor the situation closely and are considering what further action can be taken.

Journalism

Katy Clark: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what estimate he has made of the number of journalists recently killed abroad. [94661]

Mr Jeremy Browne: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) monitors existing independent reporting on journalists killed abroad, including from Reporters Without Borders, which has said that four journalists have been killed so far in 2012.

This Government are deeply concerned about the safety of journalists. Reporting from our embassies and high commissions overseas shows that journalists, bloggers and others continue to be obstructed from doing their work by being harassed, monitored, detained, or subjected to violence, and we strongly condemn such attacks. The FCO highlights the dangers facing journalists worldwide in its annual report on human rights.

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Libya: Human Rights

Rehman Chishti: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to monitor the situation in Libya in regard to (a) the reports of secret detention centres and (b) the use of torture against people not linked to the National Transitional Council. [94600]

Alistair Burt: UK Ministers have regularly raised concerns over the treatment of detainees since the liberation of Libya. Immediately following the reports of mistreatment and torture in Misrata, I raised our serious concerns with the Libyan Deputy Foreign Minister. Last week the Prime Minister, the hon. Member for Taunton Deane (Mr Browne) and I reiterated these concerns to the Libyan Interior Minister. Our ambassador in Tripoli has also raised the matter with members of the Libyan Transitional Government.

The Libyan Deputy Prime Minister announced on 31 January that all allegations of mistreatment will be investigated and that officials from the Ministries of Justice and Interior would visit detention centres and begin the process of bringing all detention facilities under central control. The NTC have stated that they will fully co-operate with the UN Human Rights Council's Commission of Inquiry and have offered it full access.

The UK has already provided training to Libyan judges and legal professionals and will be providing further support, including on prison reform. The UK will continue to follow closely the actions taken by the Transitional Government, providing support and assistance where appropriate, to help the Libyans live up to their human rights commitments.

Maldives

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what consular assistance his Department is giving to British citizens in the Maldives in light of the recent civil unrest in that country. [95111]

Alistair Burt: In light of the recent developments, we changed our travel advice to reflect the situation on the ground: it now states that we advise only against all but essential travel to Malé Island—which has been the focus of unrest in the Maldives. We have received no reports of the disturbances affecting tourists, tourist resorts or other islands, and the airport, located on a separate island to Malé, is operating normally. The vast majority of British nationals are on holiday or working in the tourist islands. The level of consular support was, nevertheless, increased through the deployment of a UK-based member of staff and support from the wider regional network to Malé in order to assist those who work or reside there. In addition, consular officers met with tour operators and staff were stationed at the airport. All inquiries were followed up and we are not aware of any outstanding consular cases of concern. We continue to monitor developments and will consider further measures to assist our nationals if necessary. The full range of consular assistance to British nationals in the Maldives is available to those who need it by contacting the British high commission in Colombo, which has responsibility for the provision of the consular service in that country.

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Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment he has made of the UK's relationship with the Maldives; and if he will make a statement. [95112]

Alistair Burt: As the Prime Minister said on 8 February, the UK enjoys strong links with Maldives and we have a strong interest in the well-being of the large number of British nationals who visit each year. The British Government have been concerned by recent developments in Maldives and has been in direct contact with the major parties to urge calm and restraint. We have called on the new leadership to establish its legitimacy, including through an independent review of the circumstances that led to the transfer of power. We are in close contact with commonwealth partners.

The UK is a strong supporter of Maldives' democratic reform process and it is vital that this is preserved.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many officials in his Department are stationed in the Maldives. [95113]

Alistair Burt: There is no British diplomatic mission in Maldives. There is an honorary consul in Malé who handles any urgent consular issues on behalf of our high commission in Colombo, which has formal responsibility for Maldives.

Following the resignation on 7 February of President Nasheed, a team, led by the British high commissioner, was deployed to Maldives that evening. This included an officer from the political team and a number of consular officers. Exact consular deployment has varied, with up to four consular officers in Maldives for a period of time.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he plans to visit the Maldives. [95116]

Alistair Burt: There are currently no plans for a ministerial visit to the Maldives.

I most recently attended the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) Summit held in Maldives on 9-10 November 2011.

Our high commissioner in Colombo was deployed to Maldives following the resignation of President Nasheed on 7 February and remained there until 12 February.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent discussions he has had with his counterparts in the Maldives. [95117]

Alistair Burt: Since the resignation of President Nasheed on 7 February I have spoken to both him and President Waheed on a number of occasions. I most recently spoke to President Waheed on 9 February and to former President Nasheed on 10 February. My consistent message to all parties has been the need for calm and restraint.

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many British nationals have requested consular support in the Maldives in the last month. [95119]

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Alistair Burt: Between 13 January and 13 February 2012, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office provided consular assistance or advice in relation to 21 British nationals in the Maldives. This was either as a result of direct approaches by those nationals, or contact made with them following concerns raised by family and friends with consular staff in London or at our high commission in Sri Lanka, which holds responsibility for assistance in the Maldives.

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to help ensure the safety of the former President of the Maldives, Mohamed Nasheed and the Maldivian Democratic Party. [95377]

Alistair Burt: As the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), said to the House on 9 February we are concerned about events in Maldives, in particular reports of attacks on members and supporters of the Maldivian Democratic Party.

I have spoken to former President Nasheed on a number of occasions, most recently on 10 February when he confirmed he was safe. I have also spoken a number of times to President Waheed, most recently on 9 February. I have called for calm and restraint from both sides and expressed concern to President Waheed about ensuring the safety and security of Nasheed and his supporters. Our high commissioner has also raised the matter with the Police Commissioner and Maldivian Defence Ministry.

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department is taking to help ensure that the security situation in the Maldives does not deteriorate following the resignation of former President Mohamed Nasheed. [95378]

Alistair Burt: The British Government are concerned about recent developments in Maldives. A team, led by the British high commissioner, has been active on the ground, talking to all sides. I have spoken to former President Nasheed and President Waheed on a number of occasions. The UK has consistently urged calm and restraint on all sides.

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent assessment his Department has made of the political situation in the Maldives; and if he will make a statement. [95379]

Alistair Burt: As the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), said to the House on 9 February 2012, Official Report, column 509, we are concerned about events in Maldives. It is for the new leadership to establish its legitimacy with its own people and with the international community with an independent review of the circumstances leading to the transfer of power. We are in close contact with Commonwealth partners.

We call on the new leadership to demonstrate its respect for the rights of all political parties and their members, and to ensure that the constitution is upheld. The UK is a strong supporter of Maldives' democratic reform process and it is vital that this is preserved.

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Mr Buckland: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps his Department has taken in response to the political situation in the Maldives; and if he will make a statement. [95606]

Alistair Burt: As the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), said to the House on 9 February 2012, Official Report, column 509, we are concerned about events in Maldives.

We deployed a team to Maldives, led by the UK high commissioner. They have been talking to all parties. I have also spoken with former President Nasheed and with President Waheed on a number of occasions.

It is for the new leadership to establish its legitimacy with its own people and with the international community with an independent review of the circumstances leading to the transfer of power. We call on the new leadership to demonstrate its respect for the rights of all political parties and their members, and to ensure that the constitution is upheld. The UK is a strong supporter of Maldives’ democratic reform process and it is vital that this is preserved.

Mr Buckland: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what discussions he has had with his counterparts in (a) the EU, (b) the Commonwealth, (c) the US, (d) the UN, (e) the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation and (f) other countries on the political situation in the Maldives. [95607]

Alistair Burt: Ministers and officials have held a number of discussions with international partners, including EU institutions and member states, the Commonwealth Secretary-General and members of the Commonwealth Secretariat and Commonwealth Member States, the US, the UN and India, which is a member of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation. An EU Heads of Mission delegation visited Maldives from 13-15 February and a Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group Fact Finding Mission visited on 17 February.

Middle East: Cybercrime

Michael Ellis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what recent reports he has received on cyber-attacks in the Middle East. [94359]

Alistair Burt: I am aware of recent media reporting of tit-for-tat cyber attacks in the Middle East and will continue to monitor the situation.

The low cost and largely anonymous nature of cyberspace makes it an attractive domain for those who seek to use it for malicious purposes. The UK is therefore working to promote dialogue between all those with a stake in cyberspace, including governments, the private sector and civil society, on the principles that should govern behaviour in this domain and to improve international co-operation to combat cybercrime.

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Serbia: Human Rights

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of respect for human rights in the case of Nick Djivanovic in prison in Serbia. [94373]

Mr Lidington: The UK does not normally offer consular assistance to UK dual nationals detained in the country of their other nationality. In the case of Mr Djivanovic, we were made aware of specific concerns regarding his welfare and therefore consular staff from our embassy in Belgrade visited him in prison. Mr Djivanovic did not raise any allegations of mistreatment and consular staff established that he was not being treated any differently to other prisoners.

Somalia

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he raised the deaths of Somali journalists (a) Abdisalan Sheik Hassan, (b) Farah Hasan Sahel, (c) Noramfaizul Mohd Nor and (d) Abdiaziz Ahmed Aden with the Somalian President during his recent visit to that country. [94844]

Mr Bellingham: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), raised the recent killing of Hassan Osman Abdi ‘Fantastic’ with the President of the Transitional Federal Government, Sheikh Sharif, on his recent visit to Mogadishu. He also impressed upon the President the need for an independent inquiry into Hassan’s death and the importance of media freedoms in building democracy in Somalia. Somalia remains the most dangerous country in the world for journalists to operate in. Officials in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the British Office for Somalia are actively looking at ways in which we can support journalists in Somalia.

John McDonnell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he met representatives from the National Union of Somali Journalists during his recent visit to that country. [94845]

Mr Bellingham: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), did not have a chance to meet with officials from the National Union of Somali Journalists (NUSOJ) during his recent visit to Mogadishu. However, the Foreign Secretary did raise the issue of media freedoms with the President of the Transitional Federal Government, Sheikh Sharif. Somalia remains the most dangerous country in the world for journalists to operate in. Officials from the British Office for Somalia in Nairobi meet frequently with the NUSOJ and are actively looking at ways in which we can support journalists in Somalia.

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether he has sought assurances from the Kenyan Government that it will meet its legal obligation in respect of the rights of Somalis to seek asylum and to respect the principle of non-refoulement. [94892]

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Mr Bellingham: We have repeatedly urged the Kenyan authorities to continue accepting refugees from Somalia and not to forcibly return Somali refugees. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) lobbied his Kenyan counterpart during his visit to Nairobi of 3 February not to precipitously return refugees.

Mr Ivan Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps (a) he and (b) his international counterparts are taking to ensure that (i) civilians are protected from air strikes and military actions in Somalia and (ii) Kenyan and African Union troops, the Transitional Federal Government and Ethiopia are accountable for their actions. [94893]

Mr Bellingham: We have repeatedly urged the Ethiopian and Kenyan authorities to ensure that their action in Somalia is undertaken in co-ordination with the Transitional Federal Government, complies with international law, ensures the protection of civilians and does not impede the delivery of humanitarian assistance.

Britain has consistently encouraged African Union (AU) troops in Mogadishu to show restraint when engaging in military operations. The African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) has taken steps over the last 18 months to reduce civilian casualties. Such measures have included the declaration of “no fire zones” within the city and the Force Commander conducting an internal investigation where AU troops have injured or killed civilians during combat operations.

International partners are also emphasising the importance of the international laws of armed conflict. It is included in pre-deployment training for AMISOM and in training of Somali troops through the European Union Training Mission.

Somalia: Diplomatic Service

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs how many officials in his Department are stationed in Somalia. [94642]

Mr Bellingham: The Foreign and Commonwealth Office does not currently have any officials based full-time in Somalia. The British Office for Somalia operates from Nairobi, under the leadership of our new ambassador. Britain is actively seeking to reopen an embassy in Mogadishu as soon as local circumstances permit.

Somalia: Foreign Relations

Andrew Rosindell: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs with reference to his recent visit to Somalia what assessment he has made of the UK’s bilateral relationship with that country; and if he will make a statement. [94648]

Mr Bellingham: The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), recent historic visit, the first by a Foreign Secretary in 20 years, gave us the opportunity to engage directly with the President of the Transitional Federal Government (TFG)

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ahead of the London conference on Somalia on 23 February. The Foreign Secretary also met the Prime Minister of the TFG in Nairobi on 3 February. He stressed to both the importance we attach to the completion of the political transition this summer, which provides the opportunity to create a broader and more inclusive political process. We hope that the London conference will act as a catalyst for enhanced and sustained international and Somali effort.

Syria: Sanctions

Sajid Javid: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of whether (a) senior members of the Syrian administration and (b) prominent supporters of the Syrian regime who hold joint UK and Syrian citizenship are using their UK citizenship to evade international sanctions against Syria. [94619]

Alistair Burt: We are not aware of any persons holding joint UK and Syrian citizenship who are senior members of the Syrian administration or prominent supporters of it who are using their UK citizenship to evade international sanctions against Syria, but have asked the Home Office to investigate.

The UK enforces sanctions robustly. EU restrictive measures apply to all EU citizens. As such, in the event that any British national sought to circumvent the EU sanctions they may fall foul of the provisions in the relevant EU regulation which prohibit such circumvention. Dual UK/Syrian nationals cannot therefore use their UK citizenship to evade EU restrictive measures, such as asset freezes.

With regard to the EU travel ban, where an EU Council Decision requires a member state to prevent a specific individual's entry into, or transit through, its territory, the member state must comply with this obligation in the event that the individual seeks to enter its territory.

This obligation to enforce a travel ban does not, however, apply where an individual is seeking entry to, or transit through, the member state of which he is a citizen. This is specified in the text of the EU Council Decisions, including those on Syria. For this purpose, where a named individual holds dual citizenship that includes British citizenship, the individual's position in relation to the travel ban and any entry to the UK is the same as if the individual were solely a British citizen. The UK cannot enforce the travel ban. A separate, although related issue, has to do with such an individual's immigration position. British citizens are exempt from immigration control. There are no powers under immigration law to regulate a British citizen's entry into, or departure from, the UK. This is the case whether or not a travel ban is in force.

Turkey: Balkans

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment he has made of the role of Turkey in promoting regional dialogue and security in the Western Balkans; and if he will make a statement. [94371]

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Mr Lidington: Turkey and the EU share a vital interest in seeing all countries in the Western Balkans move towards EU accession with greater prosperity and stability for the region.

We welcome the important role that Turkey has played in promoting reconciliation and dialogue in the region, which remain crucial if the countries of the Western Balkans are to move forward, resolve the legacies of conflict, and make progress towards the EU. We also welcome Turkey's active role in Bosnia and Herzegovina in the Peace Implementation Council and its role in promoting regional stability through, for example, contributions to the EU-led military mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina (EUFOR Althea), to the NATO peacekeeping Mission in Kosovo (KFOR) and to the EU Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX).

Turkey: Serbia

Karen Lumley: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what assessment his Department has made of the political relationship between Serbia and Turkey since the election of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in June 2011. [94370]

Mr Lidington: Turkey and Serbia have a close political relationship, which has recently developed to include a free trade agreement, an agreement on infrastructure co-operation and the mutual abolition of visas. These various agreements were signed prior to June 2011, however, they signal a consistently developing relationship between Turkey and Serbia. The Turkish International Co-operation and Development Agency has also launched activities in Serbia.

The UK and Turkey share a vital interest in seeing the Western Balkans, including Serbia, move towards EU accession, with greater prosperity and stability for the region.

We welcome, in particular, the important role that Turkey has played in promoting regional reconciliation, including through initiatives, such as the Istanbul Declaration of April 2010, in which both Turkey and Serbia participate.

USA

Ben Gummer: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what steps he is taking to ensure that Richard O'Dwyer receives all necessary assistance after his extradition. [95232]

Alistair Burt: It would not be appropriate for me to comment on individual cases. However, in cases where a British national is extradited to the United States of America consular staff will provide the same level of support as they do for other British detainees who meet the criteria for consular assistance.

Consular staff’s primary role is one of welfare, but full details of the assistance they provide can be found in the publication ‘In Prison in Canada or the USA’, which is available on our website. Examples of the support offered include: consular visits, providing contact details of local lawyers and the UK non-governmental organisation Prisoners Abroad, and helping to transfer money from friends and family to detainees.

20 Feb 2012 : Column 539W

Whisky

Pete Wishart: To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs whether his Department charges Scottish Development International for the holding of receptions in embassies to promote the whisky industry. [93184]

Mr Lidington: Events designed to encourage inward investment to the UK and promoting UK exports overseas are one of the UK Government's main foreign policy priorities and since April 2011 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has implemented a policy of not charging other Government Departments for holding events in its network of nearly 270 posts overseas, with recovery only applied for direct costs incurred by the FCO.

Under the terms of the Memorandum of Understanding held with the Scottish Government, it is specified that the FCO will recover costs of services provided in line with its practice for charging UK Government Departments. It is therefore FCO policy not to charge Scottish Development International for holding events in FCO premises overseas unless direct costs are incurred by the FCO.

Deputy Prime Minister

Returning Officers

Dr Murrison: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister if he will publish the papers prepared by his Department relating to the transfer of the duties of acting returning officers to senior local government officials. [94848]

Mr Harper: The Government will be reviewing the assumptions they use to allocate funds for the various activities which are essential to running national polls. As part of this review, we will look at whether the current level of returning officers’ fees is appropriate, with a view to ensuring that all those responsible for the successful delivery of elections receive appropriate remuneration for their work.

Returning Officers: Pay

Dr Murrison: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what adjustment is made for the salaries of local government officials in respect of time spent in their employment as returning officers. [94733]

Mr Harper: This information is not held centrally. Each local authority is an independent employer in their own right and has the autonomy to make decisions on pay and reward that are appropriate to local circumstances and which deliver value for money for local taxpayers. This includes the award of additional fees for officers for their duties in relation to local elections. We are aware that some authorities have taken the local decision to include such fees within a chief officer’s overall salary, others pay separate fees.

The Localism Act 2011 introduced provisions to increase the transparency and accountability of local decisions about pay and reward, particularly for senior officers, and requires authorities to publish statements

20 Feb 2012 : Column 540W

of their policies. The accompanying guidance makes it clear that authorities should declare within their statements any policy to award additional fees for chief officers for their local election duties.

Dr Murrison: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister (1) how much was paid in fees to (a) acting returning officers at general elections and (b) returning officers at local elections in each of the last 10 years; [94735]

(2) what payments were made to acting returning officers in each parliamentary constituency in respect of the May 2010 general election. [94736]

Mr Harper: The maximum recoverable amounts which acting returning officers are entitled to claim for their services and expenses in conducting UK parliamentary elections are set out in statutory orders which are made by the Secretary of State prior to the date of the poll.

The relevant orders are the Parliamentary Elections (Returning Officers' Charges) Order 2010 and the Parliamentary Elections (Returning Officers' Charges) Order 2005 which were made respectively for the 2010 and 2005 UK parliamentary elections. These can be found at:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2010/830/contents/made

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/uksi/2005/780/contents/made

The total amount claimed by acting returning officers in England and Wales for the 2005 UK parliamentary election was £1,464.886. The total amount paid to date to acting returning officers for conducting the 2010 UK parliamentary election in England and Wales is £1,671,237. However, as the figures listed in the charges order are maximum recoverable amounts, we will only know the actual total claimed once all claims for this poll have been settled.

Information on the amounts which returning officers were paid for conducting local elections is not available centrally.

Returning Officers: Qualifications

Dr Murrison: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what qualifications are necessary for the post of (a) acting returning officer at a general election and (b) returning officer at a local election. [94734]

Mr Harper: The acting returning officer at a general election must be an individual who has been appointed by a local authority as an electoral registration officer, under section 8 of the Representation of the People Act 1983. Under section 35 of the same Act, a local authority is required to appoint one of its officers as the returning officer for local elections.

While the responsibility for appointments rests with local authorities, we would expect a thorough assessment of individual capabilities and experience to take place in reaching decisions.

Returning Officers: Working Hours

Dr Murrison: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister what estimate he has made of the average hours worked by (a) acting returning officers at general elections and (b) returning officers at local elections. [94732]

20 Feb 2012 : Column 541W

Mr Harper: No estimate has been made of the average hours which acting returning officers and returning officers work in the lead up to and during UK parliamentary and local elections.

Returning officers take on additional responsibilities in administering elections and carry out this role over and above the duties of their normal local authority post.

Titles Deprivation Act 1917

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Deputy Prime Minister whether he plans to bring forward proposals to amend or repeal the Titles Deprivation Act 1917. [94420]

Mr Harper: The Government have no plans to bring forward proposals to amend or repeal the Titles Deprivation Act 1917.

Prime Minister

10 Downing Street: Official Hospitality

Luciana Berger: To ask the Prime Minister if he will place copies of the menus for each official function held at 10 Downing street since May 2010 in the Library. [95202]

The Prime Minister: I refer the hon. Member to the answer I gave on 10 January 2012, Official Report, column 42W, to the hon. Member for Harlow (Robert Halfon).

Business Advisory Group

Nicholas Soames: To ask the Prime Minister what (a) topics were discussed and (b) conclusions were reached at the most recent meeting of his Business Advisory Group. [94689]

The Prime Minister: The Business Advisory Group is a forum for discussion between myself, business leaders

20 Feb 2012 : Column 542W

and Cabinet Members with economic portfolios. We do not publish agendas or conclusions and the discussions are private. The meetings tend to cover the Government's business priorities and topics of importance including training and trade issues. At the most recent meeting we also discussed remuneration.

Student Loans Company: Pay

Mr Nicholas Brown: To ask the Prime Minister when his attention was drawn to the arrangement by which the Chief Executive of the Student Loans Company was paid. [94190]

Mr Willetts: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.

I draw the right hon. Member's attention to the answer given by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, the right hon. Member for Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey (Danny Alexander), to the urgent question he raised in the House of Commons on 2 February 2012, Official Report, column 1001.

Departmental Training

Luciana Berger: To ask the Prime Minister how many away days his Office has held since May 2010; what the location was of each such away day; how many staff attended; and what the cost was of each such event. [93856]

Mr Maude: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Cabinet Office.

Details of events can be found in the following table. In all cases, staff are encouraged to use facilities on the Cabinet Office estate wherever possible, but in some cases it is more beneficial to hold events offsite and away from office distractions. There is a robust approvals process in place which requires sign-off at senior level in the Department's finance team. Expenditure is in accordance with published departmental guidance on financial procedures and propriety, based on principles set out in “Managing Public Money” and the Treasury handbook on “Regularity & Propriety”.

Event Location Number of staff attending Cost (£)

1

Cabinet Office Estate

13

0

2

Cabinet Office Estate

14

102

3

Cabinet Office Estate

30

395

4

Cabinet Office Estate

70

500

5

Cabinet Office Estate

21

105

6

Cabinet Office Estate

16

80

7

Cabinet Office Estate

15

29

8

Cabinet Office Estate

17

555

9

Institute for Government, London

10

386

10

Wallacespace, London

12

1,252

11

Charity and Social Enterprise organisation (Rich Mix) London

70

2,584

12

Somerset House, London

55

470

13

Social enterprise and charity support organisation (CAN Mezzanine)

10

110

14

Somerset House, London

95

472

15

Emmanuel Centre, London

60

2,500

16

English Heritage (Kenwood House, London)

20

480

17

Trafalgar Studios, London

6

0

20 Feb 2012 : Column 543W

Attorney-General

Crown Prosecution Service

Ann Clwyd: To ask the Attorney-General whether he is aware of any similar cases to that of the collapsed prosecution of former South Wales police officers where the disappearance and re-emergence of key evidence has led to a retrial. [95120]

The Solicitor-General: I am not aware of any other similar cases. The features of the prosecution of the former police officers in South Wales were both complex and highly unusual and the reasons that caused the prosecution to end the case were unique to the circumstances of that case.

In order to conduct a full check of all unsuccessful cases, enquiries would need to be made of all Chief Crown Prosecutors, Heads of Casework Divisions and Heads of Complex Casework Units throughout the Crown Prosecution Service's (CPS) offices in England and Wales, which would incur a disproportionate cost.

Departmental Procurement

Mr Thomas: To ask the Attorney-General (1) what proportion of the total value of contracts issued or to be issued by the Law Officers' Departments in 2011-12 have required successful organisations to put up a capital bond; and if he will make a statement; [94924]

(2) which contracts the Law Officers' Departments have tendered or will tender in 2011-12 which require successful organisations to have a capital bond of more than £5 million; which contracts have not required such a bond; and if he will make a statement. [94944]

The Solicitor-General: No contracts issued or to be issued by the Law Officers' Departments in 2011-12 have required successful organisations to put up a capital bond.

It is not possible to provide details of all the tenders and contracts awarded by the Law Officers' Departments without incurring a disproportionate cost, but the majority of contracts involving a value of £10,000 or over are routinely published on the Government's Business Link website in line with Cabinet Office requirements.

Freedom of Information

Tom Brake: To ask the Attorney-General with reference to Decision Notices dated 12 September 2011 (ref. FS50347714) and 13 September 2011 (ref. FS50363603), for what reason he exercised his veto under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 before the matter was considered by the Information Rights Tribunal. [95390]

20 Feb 2012 : Column 544W

The Solicitor-General: A detailed statement of the reasons for the Attorney-General's decision to exercise the veto in relation to these Decision Notices was placed in the Library on 8 February 2012. He considered that disclosure of the requested information would be damaging to the doctrine of collective responsibility and detrimental to the effective operation of Cabinet government, and the balance of public interest favoured withholding the information. He also concluded that this constituted an exceptional case and that the exercise of the veto was warranted in accordance with the statement of Government policy on the use of the veto. The Freedom of Information Act 2000 does not require the Government to wait for the First-Tier Tribunal to consider the case. Section 53 makes clear that a decision to veto can be taken at any time after the Information Commissioner has issued a decision notice.

Police: Ports

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Attorney-General how many people were prosecuted by the Crown Prosecution Service following investigations and arrests made by port police forces in (a) 2010 and (b) 2011. [95085]

The Solicitor-General: The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) does not maintain a central record of the number of defendants prosecuted following investigations and arrests made by port police forces. It would not be possible to provide such information locally or nationally without incurring a disproportionate cost.

Business, Innovation and Skills

Apprentices: Greater London

Mr Evennett: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many (a) men and (b) women enrolled in apprenticeships in (i) information and communication technology and (ii) engineering and manufacturing technology in (A) Bexleyheath and Crayford constituency, (B) the London borough of Bexley and (C) Greater London in the latest period for which figures are available. [91995]

Mr Hayes: Table 1 shows the number of Apprenticeship starts by gender in Information and Communication Technology, Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies and all Sector Subject Areas in the London region, Bexley local authority and Bexleyheath and Crayford parliamentary constituency, in the 2010/11 academic year, based on provisional data. Data are based on the home postcode of the learner.

Table 1: Apprenticeship starts by gender and sector subject area in Bexleyheath and Crayford parliamentary constituency, Bexley local authority and the London region, 2010/11 (provisional data)
  Gender Information and Communication Technology Engineering and Manufacturing Technologies All Apprenticeships

Bexleyheath and Crayford Constituency

Female

10

350

 

Male

10

40

270

 

Total

20

40

620

         

Bexley Local Authority

Female

10

960

20 Feb 2012 : Column 545W

20 Feb 2012 : Column 546W

 

Male

40

100

740

 

Total

50

110

1,700

         

London Region

Female

870

140

22,480

 

Male

1,620

2,100

17,930

 

Total

2,490

2,250

40,410

Notes: 1. All figures are rounded to the nearest 10. Total figures may not add up due to rounding. 2. Geography information is based upon the home postcode of the learner.

Information on the number of Apprenticeship starts is published in a quarterly Statistical First Release (SFR). The latest SFR was published on 27 October 2011:

http://www.thedataservice.org.uk/statistics/statistical firstrelease/sfr_current

Information on Apprenticeship starts by geographic breakdown, gender and sector subject areas are available in the SFR Supplementary Tables:

http://www.thedataservice.org.uk/statistics/statistical firstrelease/sfr_supplementary_tables/Apprenticeship_sfr_supplementary _tables/

Business

Chi Onwurah: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what plans he has to update Table 2 in Economics Paper number 15 published in December 2011 showing English business clusters. [95236]

Mr Willetts: Table 2 in Economics Paper number 15 was originally produced as part of a one-off piece of analysis to inform Lord Sainsbury's Clusters Policy Steering Group. As such, there are no plans to update this table. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills continually works with and gathers information from industry and sectors to ensure a full picture of key business clusters.

The Innovation and Research Strategy for Growth, published in December, sets out the Government's actions to support innovation and research. These include tackling barriers to the growth of clusters around our innovation institutions, including through work by Research Councils UK to establish a principles-based framework for treatment and submission of multi-institutional research funding bids. Furthermore, the Government will extend the Launchpad initiative to run up to three further competitions following the success of the Tech City Launchpad in London's Old Street area. Launchpad competitions encourage proposals from small and medium-sized enterprises and micro-companies aimed at developing a product or service. The competitions are designed to strengthen clusters through facilitating cooperation and networking within them.

Business: Closures

Chris Skidmore: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many companies ceased trading within (a) one year, (b) five years and (c) 10 years of registration since 1997. [94623]

Norman Lamb: The number of companies incorporated on or after 1 January 1997 and subsequently dissolved within these timeframes is as follows.

  Number

Dissolved within one year

61,495

Dissolved between one and five years

1,954,571

Dissolved between five and 10 years

486,407

Dissolved after more than 10 years

62,489

It is not possible to determine how many of these companies traded before being dissolved except at disproportionate cost.

Additionally, the number of companies that have filed dormant accounts after filing trading accounts within the specified timeframes since 1997 is as follows.

  Number

Within one year

21,361

Between one and five years

70,783

Between five and 10 years

16,139

More than 10 years

200

Business: Regulation

Priti Patel: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what new regulations affecting businesses have come into effect since May 2010; and what regulations affecting businesses have been removed since May 2010. [94749]

Mr Prisk: The Government have published details of domestic regulations affecting business that have come into effect or have been removed between January 2011 and December 2011 in the “One-in, One-out: Statement of New Regulation” (April 2011) and in departmental statements accompanying the “One-in, One-out: Second Statement of New Regulation” (September 2011). These were placed in the Libraries of the House and can be found on the BIS website at:

http://www.bis.gov.uk/policies/bre/better-regulation-framework/one-in-one-out/statement

A list of regulations affecting business that came into affect before 2011 is published on the “Archived Regulation Updates” pages on the Business Link website at:

http://online.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/ruArchive?paqe=2

20 Feb 2012 : Column 547W

Brandon Lewis: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the Red Tape Challenge on business development for small and medium-sized enterprises. [94789]

Mr Prisk: Many of the Red Tape Challenge plans announced to date will benefit small and medium-sized businesses. The business impact of these changes will be thoroughly analysed as part of the implementation process. This analysis will be validated by the independent Regulatory Policy Committee.

Copyright: Economic Growth

Dan Jarvis: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment his Department has made of the estimate in the Hargreaves Review that the Digital Copyright Exchange could contribute £2.2 billion to GDP. [94895]

Norman Lamb: The Government have made no further assessments beyond those set in Annex EE to the Hargreaves Review. It has commissioned Richard Hooper to carry out a feasibility study which will examine the wider benefits of a Digital Copyright Exchange in greater detail and report back to Government before the summer recess.

Copyright: Higher Education

Mike Weatherley: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what discussions the Intellectual Property Office has had with higher education institutions on licensing of audio-visual works for education. [94317]

Norman Lamb: As part of its consultation the Government have had discussions with a range of bodies who represent educational institutions in the higher education institutions (HEI) sector. These discussions have covered all aspects of the copyright consultation, including the licensing of audio-visual works for education.

Credit: Insurance

Justin Tomlinson: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what his policy is on ensuring that insurance policies for rent-to-own credit agreements make it clear to customers that the faulty or stolen item will not be replaced if a claim is made under the policy. [84686]

Mr Hoban: I have been asked to reply on behalf of the Treasury.

The responsibility for regulating insurance companies lies with the Financial Services Authority (FSA). The FSA requires all insurers to explain the scope of the cover for all types of insurance policies.

This includes a requirement that firms

“take reasonable steps to ensure a customer is given appropriate information about a policy in good time and in a comprehensible form so that the customer can make an informed decision about the arrangements proposed.”

20 Feb 2012 : Column 548W

Departmental Air Travel

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills which countries officials from UK Trade and Investment have visited on official business in each month since May 2010. [94572]

Mr Prisk [holding answer 9 February 2012]: The information requested will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Rachel Reeves: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much UK Trade and Investment spent on (a) first, (b) business and (c) economy class flights in each month since May 2010. [94574]

Mr Prisk [holding answer 9 February 2012]: UK Trade and Investment (UKTI) does not directly employ staff but draws on resource from its two parent Departments the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and private sector contractors. UKTI has 1,234 people located overseas with FCO in 97 different markets; 300 private sector contractors in the English regions; and 580 civil servants in London, Glasgow and the English regions.

UKTI holds financial information on travel costs at the aggregate level centrally while detailed information is held locally. To provide the information requested would require obtaining detailed information from each location and therefore can be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Procurement

Mr Thomas: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what proportion of the total value of contracts issued or to be issued by his Department in 2011-12 have required successful organisations to put up a capital bond; and if he will make a statement; [94923]

(2) which contracts his Department has tendered or will tender in 2011-12 which require successful organisations to have a capital bond of more than £5 million; which contracts have not required such a bond; and if he will make a statement. [94943]

Norman Lamb: The information requested is not held centrally and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Departmental Work Experience

Philip Davies: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what work experience or traineeship schemes his Department offers to minority groups. [92752]

Norman Lamb: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills does not operate a discrete scheme for work experience placements. However, it participates in The Whitehall Internship programme that offers two weeks of work experience for college level year 12 students from under-represented groups, including Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic communities.

20 Feb 2012 : Column 549W

These placements aim to increase professional experience and workplace skills for individuals from under-represented backgrounds.

The Department does not provide specific apprenticeships for minority groups; individuals will need to be suitably qualified for particular apprenticeship vacancies. Since apprenticeships are jobs they reflect the wider labour market, and recruitment decisions are for employers. However, the same legal duties apply to apprentices as to other staff.

EU External Trade: Peru

Zac Goldsmith: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 31 January 2012, Official Report, column 37WS, on trade policy (opt-ins), what recent assessment he has made of the likely effects on the level of illegal logging in the Colombian and Peruvian Amazon of the EU-Andean (Peru and Colombia) Free Trade Agreement. [94586]

Norman Lamb: The EU's Sustainability impact assessment of the EU-Andean Agreement identified that increased market access for processed timber products could increase deforestation trends, including through illegal logging.

The agreement's sustainable development chapter contains provisions that are designed to mitigate this. All parties have committed to improve forest law enforcement and governance and promote trade in legal and sustainable forest products, such as developing mechanisms that allow verification of the legal origin of timber products, strengthening the role of independent supervision institutions and voluntary mechanisms for forest certification.

European Fighter Aircraft: India

Graham Jones: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what meetings UK Trade and Investment held with the Indian government on the Eurofighter prior to the decision of the Indian government not to buy the Eurofighter. [94070]

Mr Prisk [holding answer 7 February 2012]: UK Government Ministers and the British high commission in New Delhi have for several years been strongly promoting Typhoon at every suitable opportunity with representatives of the Indian Government, in close co-ordination with the UK Trade and Investment Defence and Security Organisation, and with our Eurofighter partners.

Flexible Working

Kate Green: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what assessment he has made of the potential benefits to employers of introducing more flexible working practices. [94769]

Norman Lamb: In May 2011 we published the Modern Workplaces consultation document which was accompanied by a full impact assessment of the extension to the right to request flexible working to all employees. A copy of this impact assessment can be found here:

http://c561635.r35.cf2.rackcdn.com/11-744-extending-right-to-request-flexible-working-impact.pdf

20 Feb 2012 : Column 550W

The impact assessment showed that the annual benefits to employers from flexible working are increased employee productivity (£55 million), lower labour turnover (£11.8 million) and reduced absenteeism (2.5 million). In extending the right to request flexible working to all employees we are also proposing to remove the existing statutory procedure for considering requests and replacing it with a duty on employers to consider flexible working requests reasonably, supported by a statutory code of practice to explain what we mean by reasonable. This will give employers greater flexibility when considering flexible working requests, which we estimate will save employers £12.8 million per year.

Alongside these quantified benefits we recognise that there a number of substantial benefits to employers that we haven't been able to quantify. These include access to a wider talent pool of candidates when recruiting; reduced office overheads and fixed costs as employees work from home or in a more flexible way requiring less office space.

Further Education: Higher Education

Mr Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills if he will make arrangements for unfilled places to study for higher education qualifications in further education colleges to be transferred to universities. [94409]

Mr Willetts: The Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) is responsible for allocating student places. HEFCE have made it clear in their guidance that if an institution under recruits by more than 5% or 25 places, whichever is the larger, it may lead to a reduction in the number of student places allocated in future years.

Google

Jim Dowd: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what representations his Department received from Google Inc. and any of its operating parts on proposals for extending copyright exceptions for educational use, prior to his Department's bringing forward proposals on that matter. [93888]

Norman Lamb: No representations were received by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills from (a) Google Inc. and (b) any of its operating parts on proposals for extending copyright exceptions for educational use, prior to publication of the Government's consultation on Copyright.

Graduates: Cumbria

Tim Farron: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many young people graduated from higher education in (a) Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency and (b) Cumbria in each of the last 10 years. [94306]

Mr Willetts [holding answer 8 February 2012]: The latest available information on first degree qualifiers from full-time courses at UK higher education institutions who were aged under 25 is shown in the following table for each of the last 10 years. Information for the 2011/12 academic year will become available from January 2013. Equivalent figures for qualifiers from higher education courses at further education colleges are not available.

20 Feb 2012 : Column 551W

Full-time first degree qualifiers aged under 25 from Cumbria local authority and Westmorland and Lonsdale constituency. UK higher education institutions, academic years 2001/02 to 2010/11
Academic year Cumbria of which Westmorland and Lonsdale

2001/02

1,435

355

2002/03

1,505

345

2003/04

1,530

355

2004/05

1,610

340

2005/06

1,555

355

2006/07

1,635

365

2007/08

1,605

365

2008/09

1,600

355

2009/10

1,705

385

2010/11

1,735

370

Notes: 1. Figures are based on a HESA qualifications obtained population and have been rounded up or down to the nearest multiple of five. 2. The figures in the answer do not include qualifiers where the local authority and constituency of the student cannot be established due to missing or invalid postcode information. Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) Student Record

Green Investment Bank

Angie Bray: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills (1) what estimate he has made of the amount of investment in London which will result from the creation of the Green Investment Bank; [94836]

(2) how many jobs he expects to be created in London as a result of the establishment of the Green Investment Bank. [94839]

Mr Prisk: Capitalised with £3 billion, the Green Investment Bank (GIB) will complement other green policies to help accelerate additional capital in green infrastructure. It is not yet possible to assess how much investment will be created in any particular part of the country. It will not be a large institution; the indications are that it will employ no more than 50-100 full-time equivalent staff. Nevertheless it is clear that people see it as a valuable organisation which will be an asset to its location. The decision on where the GIB will be located will be announced later this month.

Higher Education

Mr Blunkett: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills when he plans to publish the responses his Department received to its consultation on the higher education White Paper, Students at the Heart of the System. [94995]

Mr Willetts: The White Paper consultation, “Students at the Heart of the System” was published on 28 June 2011. Over 200 responses were received and in addition comments were posted on the consultation website and on a Student Room discussion forum.

The Department also published on 4 August 2011 a technical consultation document, “A new fit for purpose regulatory framework for the higher education sector”. Over 150 responses were received.

20 Feb 2012 : Column 552W

We intend to publish in due course a response covering the range of issues which were considered. The response will include a list of respondents and a summary of responses for each of the consultations.

Sajid Javid: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what steps he is taking to help ensure that more UK universities are ranked in the world's top 100 universities. [95046]

Mr Willetts: I refer my hon. Friend to the answer I gave to my hon. Friend the Member for Brighton, Kemptown (Simon Kirby) on 24 January 2012, Official Report, columns 227-28W.

Higher Education: Admissions

Paul Blomfield: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what meetings the Minister for Universities and Science has had with for-profit education providers which have subsequently received approval for higher education courses to be designated courses. [86031]

Mr Willetts [holding answer 14 December 2011]: Applications for the specific designation of courses from privately funded institutions for student support purposes are assessed against standard criteria. My response to the hon. Member's previous question on 12 January 2012, Official Report, columns 407-08W, outlined the procedure involved.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills does not hold comprehensive information on whether higher education providers Ministers have met are classed as for-profit or not-for profit. A quarterly-updated list of all BIS ministerial meetings with external organisations is available at:

http://www.data.gov.uk/dataset/disclosure-ministerial-hospitality-received-department-for-business

Rehman Chishti: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many pupils went on to higher education in Gillingham and Rainham constituency in the most recent period for which figures are available; and how many of those go on to postgraduate education. [94262]

Mr Willetts: The latest available information on young undergraduate and postgraduate entrants from Gillingham and Rainham constituency to UK high education institutions is shown in the following table. Information for the 2011/12 academic year will become available from January 2013. Equivalent figures for entrants to higher education courses at further education colleges are not available.

Young (1) undergraduate and postgraduate entrants from Gillingham and Rainham constituency (2) : UK higher education institutions, academic year 2010/11
Level of study Entrants (3)

Undergraduate

555

20 Feb 2012 : Column 553W

Postgraduate

70

(1) Covers undergraduate entrants aged under 21 and postgraduate entrants aged under 25. (2) The figures in the table do not include entrants where the constituency of the student cannot be established due to missing or invalid postcode information. (3) Covers entrants to full-time and part-time courses. Note: Figures in the table are based on a HESA standard registration population and are rounded up or down to the nearest multiple of five. Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) Student Record

Mr Brady: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what the student number control for English universities is in 2011-12. [94408]

Mr Willetts: The student number control for English higher education institutions (including further education colleges) in 2011/12 is 364,325. This is the limit on students starting full-time undergraduate and postgraduate certificate in education study.

Higher Education: Applications

Tom Blenkinsop: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many home applicants in each ethnic group had submitted applications to UCAS by (a) 15 January 2012 and (b) by the equivalent date in the 2010-11 admissions cycle. [93476]

Mr Willetts: The information has been provided by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) and is shown in the table.

UK domiciled applicants to full-time undergraduate courses in the UK as at 15 January
  Year of entry
Ethnic group 2011 (1) 2012 (2)

Asian

50,739

48,241

Black

35,017

33,739

White

393,754

354,959

20 Feb 2012 : Column 554W

Mixed

17,809

16,289

Other

5,413

6,306

Unknown

3,656

2,973

Total

506,388

462,507

(1) Applicants applying to enter courses starting in autumn 2011, including those who applied for deferred entry in 2012. (2) Applicants applying to enter courses starting in autumn 2012, including those who applied for deferred entry in 2013.

Higher Education: Finance

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 11 January 2012, Official Report, columns 342-43W, on students: fees and charges, which (a) individuals and (b) organisations the Higher Education Funding Council for England will consult on teacher funding for 2013-14; and when he expects the consultation to begin. [94360]

Mr Willetts: I expect the Higher Education Funding Council for England to begin its consultation on teaching funding for academic year 2013-14 shortly. It will be open for response from all interested individuals and organisations.

Jonathan Edwards: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much investment funding the research councils have allocated to universities in (a) England, (b) Wales, (c) Scotland and (d) Northern Ireland in each of the last five (i) academic and (ii) financial years. [95038]

Mr Willetts: Research grants and contracts income from the Research Councils to UK Higher Education Institutions' (HEIs) is shown in the following table.

£000
Country of HEI 2009-10 2008-09 2007-08 2006-07 2005-06

England

1,274,456

1,240,478

1,119,386

961,097

893,323

Wales

53,070

51,548

43,900

35,580

34,604

Scotland

234,044

218,359

176,951

144,568

134,298

Northern Ireland

23,787

20,743

17,942

10,734

11,147

Notes: 1. 2009-10 is the latest available data. 2. Data relates to the institutions’ financial year, i.e. 1 August to 31 July. 3. Data includes research grants and contracts from the Research Councils, The Royal Society, British Academy and The Royal Society of Edinburgh.

Higher Education: Part-time Education

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how much his Department has spent on financial education for applicants wishing to study higher education courses on a part-time basis. [94295]

Mr Willetts: An information campaign about the reforms to higher education student finance ran from May 2011 to February 2012 which cost £2.61 million. Messaging to part-time applicants was a feature of the campaign, but it is not possible to disaggregate this activity as a portion of the total spend.

The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) has also set up a stakeholder reference group comprised of key representatives from organisations with an interest in part-time students. This group was formed specifically to seek advice and input on tailoring communications for prospective mature part-time students in particular. The group is reviewing existing part-time communication materials and making recommendations on producing new or updated materials which best reflect part-time students as a target audience.

20 Feb 2012 : Column 555W

The members of the stakeholder reference group have also offered to open up their own channels to the Department, such that we can broaden the reach of our messaging to part-time students.

Higher Education: Portsmouth

Mr Mike Hancock: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many young people graduated from higher education in Portsmouth South constituency in each of the last 10 years. [94777]

Mr Willetts: The latest available information on first degree qualifiers from full-time courses at UK higher education institutions who were aged under 25 from Portsmouth South constituency is shown in the table for each of the last 10 years. Information for the 2011/12 academic year will become available from January 2013. Equivalent figures for qualifiers from higher education courses at further education colleges are not available.

Full-time first degree qualifiers aged under 25 from Portsmouth South constituency. UK higher education institutions. Academic years 2001/02 to 2010/11
Academic years Qualifiers

2001/02

180

2002/03

220

2003/04

180

2004/05

225

2005/06

215

2006/07

250

2007/08

290

2008/09

265

2009/10

265

2010/11

235

Notes: 1. Figures are based on a HESA qualifications obtained population and have been rounded up or down to the nearest multiple of five. 2. The figures in the answer do not include qualifiers where the parliamentary constituency of the student cannot be established due to missing or invalid postcode information. Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) Student Record

Higher Education: Private Sector

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills with reference to the Education Act 1994, what his policy is on student unions for private providers who are awarded degree awarding powers. [94431]

Mr Willetts: Where a students’ union has been established, the Education Act 1994 places a duty on governing bodies of universities, higher education corporations and designated institutions to take reasonable steps to ensure that it operates in a fair and democratic manner and is accountable for its finances. Section 21 of the Education Act 1994 sets out the establishments to which the legislation applies. This does not include private providers, irrespective of whether the organisations hold degree awarding powers.

The Higher Education White Paper “Students at the Heart of the System” and the technical consultation document “A new fit for purpose regulatory framework for the higher education sector” set out a number of measures designed to encourage greater student engagement. We will publish a response in due course.

20 Feb 2012 : Column 556W

Higher Education: Research

Adam Afriyie: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills pursuant to the answer of 7 February 2012, Official Report, column 247W, on higher education: research, what assessment he has made of the success of the programmes supported by his Department in transferring innovative university research to the commercial sector in each of the last five years. [95620]

Mr Willetts: Details of the impact of programmes supported by the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills and its partner organisations can be found at:

the Higher Education Funding Council for England website:

http://www.hefce.ac.uk/econsoc/buscom/

which includes analysis and evaluation of knowledge exchange funding:

www.hefce.ac.uk/econsoc/buscom/strat/

and analysis of the Higher Education—Business and Community Interaction Survey:

http://www.hefce.ac.uk/econsoc/buscom/hebci/

the Research Council Impact Reports:

http://www.rcuk.ac.uk/media/news/2012news/Pages/120103_4.aspx

the publications pages of the Technology Strategy Board:

http://www.innovateuk.org

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/

http://www.bis.gov.uk/files/file52026.pdf

for a 2009 report on the Smart programme; and

http://www.ktponline.org.uk/annualreports/

for evaluations of Knowledge Transfer Partnerships.

Higher Education: Scholarships

Shabana Mahmood: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills what consideration he has given to implementing the recommendation of the Advocate for Access to Education on the use of the National Scholarship Programme to cover accommodation and living costs unless a student opts for a fee. [91272]

Mr Willetts: The National Scholarship Programme starts for new students entering higher education from September 2012 who are from family backgrounds with an income no greater than £25,000 a year and who meet the institution's criteria. The programme was designed with the help of an advisory group which included the National Union of Students, Universities UK, the Sutton Trust, the Association of Colleges and the Office for Fair Access. My right hon. Friend the Member for Bermondsey and Old Southwark (Simon Hughes), the Government's Advocate for Access to Education, attended the meetings.

The programme is designed to provide a direct benefit to individual, eligible students of £3,000 (full time). We recognise that cash is an important factor for many students and the menu of support that institutions can offer students from the National Scholarship Programme includes a cash bursary—capped at £1,000. Other menu options can include fee waivers, a free foundation year or discounted accommodation.

20 Feb 2012 : Column 557W

The Office for Fair Access (OFFA) advises us that there is no hard evidence to support, for example, bursaries over fee waivers or vice versa. OFFA will closely monitor the impact of fee waivers and bursaries and look to conduct research and analysis to see if evidence emerges to suggest one method of financial support is more effective than another in supporting and protecting access.

The Higher Education Funding Council for England has commissioned Centre for Enterprise Research and Consultancy, an independent research and consultancy body, to undertake an evaluation of the National Scholarship Programme. We will consider the findings from the evaluation of the introduction of the NSP in advance of a full programme being in place from 2014.

20 Feb 2012 : Column 558W

Higher Education: Yorkshire and the Humber

Mr David Davis: To ask the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills how many people in (a) Haltemprice and Howden constituency, (b) East Yorkshire and (c) the Humberside region applied to study at (i) Oxford or Cambridge university and (ii) Russell Group universities in each of the last 10 admission cycles. [91060]

Mr Willetts [holding answer 20 January 2012]: The information, showing data for each constituency in Humberside, is given in the following tables.

Table 1: Total number of UCAS applicants from parliamentary constituencies in Humberside, who applied to study at Oxford or Cambridge, year of entry 2002 to 2011
Parliamentary constituency 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

Beverley and Holderness

31

29

30

24

23

31

20

24

30

24

Brigg and Goole

16

18

22

25

18

13

14

14

21

28

Cleethorpes

14

22

18

22

16

10

14

19

9

20

East Yorkshire

22

18

20

34

28

27

26

29

26

14

Great Grimsby

8

9

11

9

7

11

8

15

(1)

11

Haltemprice and Howden

29

36

30

40

26

30

34

32

25

31

Kingston upon Hull East

10

(1)

9

8

(1)

(1)

(1)

12

7

(1)

Kingston upon Hull North

16

8

9

(1)

13

(1)

14

9

20

8

Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle

8

6

10

(1)

6

(1)

9

(1)

8

8

Scunthorpe

21

19

15

14

8

22

18

19

20

11

(1) Numbers have been suppressed as these figures are 5 or less.
Table 2: Total number of UCAS applicants from parliamentary constituencies in Humberside, who applied to study at Russell Group universities, year of entry 2002 to 2011
Parliamentary constituency 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011

Beverley and Holderness

312

300

265

294

276

295

339

318

324

277

Brigg and Goole

197

189

234

198

200

220

200

210

226

233

Cleethorpes

222

227

212

199

193

213

208

231

225

207

East Yorkshire

253

275

248

250

275

249

281

291

293

275

Great Grimsby

138

158

141

128

146

157

151

137

146

140

Haltemprice and Howden

301

286

311

325

334

305

302

350

324

338

Kingston upon Hull East

97

109

99

118

115

90

110

126

114

136

Kingston upon Hull North

128

185

171

175

147

157

172

155

199

214

Kingston upon Hull West and Hessle

108

116

115

115

132

133

128

152

164

156

Scunthorpe

212

179

210

189

175

202

206

200

224

204

Note: The figures show the number of applicants who made one or more applications to courses at Russell Group institutions. Applicants can submit up to five applications.