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Question

Asked by Lord Ouseley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Lord Young of Norwood Green): When the Government introduced the default retirement age in 2006, a commitment was made to review it in 2011. Subsequently, it was announced in Building a Society for All Ages in July this year that the Government would bring forward the review to 2010. It is important that it is based on robust evidence, which we are now in the process of gathering and we have issued a call for stakeholders to submit evidence to inform the review.



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Safeguarding Children

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): My right honourable friend the Secretary of State has written to all honourable Members of Parliament to clarify the circumstances under which the scheme would require an honourable Member to register. This would depend on the nature of the activity to be undertaken. A copy of his letter dated 31 July 2009 has been placed in the House Libraries.

Sustainable Communities Act

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The Secretary of State will publish his decision, the reasons for it and a statement of the action he proposes to take with a view to the implementation of shortlisted local authority proposals made under the Sustainable Communities Act 2007. The timing of the Secretary of State's decision will be determined by the number and complexity of proposals shortlisted by the selector and must follow the submission of the shortlist by the selector to the Secretary of State.

Swine Flu: Air Traffic Controllers

Question

Asked by Lord Smith of Leigh

Baroness Thornton: We are not prioritising the distribution of antivirals, such as Tamiflu, to professional groups or particular sections of society. We have sufficient stocks of antivirals for anyone reporting symptoms to receive treatment following an assessment through the National Pandemic Flu Service, or general practitioner practices if they have underlying health conditions.

Air traffic control staff do not, as a group, meet current criteria for eligibility for the swine flu vaccination campaign although individual members of staff may fall within one or more of the high-risk priority groups in line with Joint Committee on Vaccination

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and Immunisation (JCVI) advice. The use of the vaccine in the wider healthy population will depend on the evolution of the pandemic as well as new and emerging clinical data on the use of the vaccine. This will be kept under review by JCVI.

Tax Credits

Question

Asked by Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): Tax credits treat couple and lone parent households equally, and are not designed to favour any particular arrangement. Levels of financial support are determined by need, and are based on the number of children in the family and the household's income. Indicative costs of changes to certain rates and thresholds in tax credits were most recently published in November 2008 in table 4 of Tax ready reckoner and tax reliefs, available at http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/pbr08_tax readyreckoner_287.pdf.

Taxation: Personal Allowance

Questions

Asked by Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): Due to the complex nature of these Questions the following estimates should be treated with caution. These estimates exclude any behavioural response to the change, which could be significant given the magnitude of the change.

The estimated cost of allowing personal tax allowances to be transferred between married couples and civil partners would be £4.9 billion for 2009-10 and would

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benefit around 41 per cent of married couples and civil partnerships. Married couples with children will be better off by around £290 per year on average. Those without children will be better off by around £150 per year on average.

These estimates have been calculated using HM Treasury's tax and benefit micro-simulation model using Family Resources Survey 2007-08 data.

United Nations Children's Fund

Question

Asked by Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer

Lord Brett: The United Kingdom's Institutional Strategy (IS) with the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) 2009-11 has recently been agreed and finalised. The new IS is available on the Department for International Development's website at www.dfid.gov.uk and will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

Working Time Directive

Question

Asked by Lord Ouseley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Lord Young of Norwood Green): Negotiations on revisions to the working time directive collapsed after conciliation failed on 27 April this year. This meant that we were successful in retaining the opt-out as the proposal to amend the directive was withdrawn and with it any suggestion of phasing it out.

It is now for the Commission to decide how they wish to proceed. Several member states are keen to see a solution to specific problems caused by ECJ judgments on the treatment of on-call time and compensatory rest, and we would be happy to engage on negotiations on these issues. But 15 member states use the opt-out and we will strongly oppose any future proposal that draws into question the freedom of member states and individuals to use the opt-out. We have made this very clear to the Commission and other member states.


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