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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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether Peers visiting schools as part of the Peers in Schools programme or otherwise will have to register with the Vetting and Barring Scheme run by the Independent Safeguarding Authority. [HL5597]
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.
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.
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
27 Oct 2009 : Column WA143
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the most recent estimate of the costs of increasing the couple element in tax credits to ensure that couples do not face a disadvantage when compared to lone parents for each of the next five years. [HL5611]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the most recent estimate of the total financial effect on (a) married couples with children, and (b) married couples without children of making the personal allowance transferable for each of the next five years. [HL5608]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the most recent estimate of the proportion of individuals who are married who would benefit from a transferable personal tax allowance for each of the next five years. [HL5609]
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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To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will publish their new Institutional Strategy with the United Nations Children's Fund for 2009-2012, following the public consultation which ended in January. [HL4852]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the likelihood of imminent agreement on reform of the European Union working time directive and a phased removal of the opt-out provision applicable across the United Kingdom. [HL5671]
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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