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To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 6 July (WA 32), what assessment they have made of the effect increased information and advice will have on (a) the number of abortions, and (b) the reasons why women have abortions.[HL1214]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The reasons why women have abortions are complex. But access to increased information, advice and contraception will help to reduce abortion rates and give women the necessary tools to make responsible and informed decisions about sexual activity.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 6 July (WA 32-3), what proposals they have for reducing the number of unintended conceptions; and whether they have plans for a public consultation on that issue.[HL1215]
Earl Howe: Action to reduce the number of unintended conceptions is ongoing. Contraception is free for everyone on the National Health Service to assist this. However, more needs to be done. Details of future work will be available in due course.
|Legal abortions-by statutory grounds under the Abortion Act 1967, as amended, residents, England and Wales, 1968-2009|
|Year||Section 1(1)(a)||Section 1(1)(b)||Section 1(1)(c )||Section 1(1)(d)||Section 1(4)||Total|
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): UK Border Agency officials were first made aware of the Independent Monitoring Board's difficulties in acquiring airside passes for Liverpool John Lennon Airport in February 2009. Officials pursued the matter with the IMB Secretariat, who could not confirm that the clearance application forms had been progressed since the appointments were made in July 2008.
New forms were submitted in February 2009. Security clearance ordinarily takes a minimum of eight weeks to process due to the range of agencies approached and can take considerably longer. The IMB Secretariat confirmed successful clearance for each member in May 2009, July 2009 and August 2009. Board members were then able to apply for airside passes to the Peel Group, responsible for John Lennon Airport. The airport's pass office has advised that passes were issued on the same day as they received the applications in two cases and within 10 days in the third.
There are no plans to introduce cooking facilities for the provision of hot meals within the airport holding room. The UK Border Agency has reviewed the logistics and the use of the accommodation and is satisfied that the existing provision is adequate. Individuals are routinely offered food, which includes a hot and
19 July 2010 : Column WA156
Detention custody officers, who operate the holding rooms on behalf of the UK Border Agency, have access to an all-hours medical advice line. In the event of an emergency, paramedics are called. This provision of medical care is consistent across the agency's holding rooms and there are no plans to change the current arrangements.
To ask Her Majesty's Government from what sources the Association of Chief Police Officers obtains its income; how much is derived from public sources; and how often they review their relationship with the Association.[HL904]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) derives its main public source of income from Home Office funding. In addition to an annual grant-in-aid payment (£836,232 in 2009-10), the Home Office makes regular payments to ACPO to fund a number of specific projects or initiatives (totalling at least £41 million in 2009-10) and these grants are prescribed for the purposes specified and the use is closely monitored. Police authorities contributed £829,510 to ACPO in 2009-10. Some £30,000 was contributed from non-Home Office police authorities (such as British Transport Police and Ministry of Defence Police) in 2009-10.
We are currently reviewing ACPO's role and status as part of a wider review of the policing landscape in England and Wales. Future funding will be decided by the spending review, reporting in October this year.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether their representatives on the Basel Committee are promoting the interests of contingent capital bonds and investors in such instruments; and whether they plan to encourage further issuance of such bonds.[HL872]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The UK is represented on the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (BCBS) by the Bank of England and the Financial Services Authority (FSA). In December 2009, the BCBS put out proposals for consultation, which included a commitment to continue to review
19 July 2010 : Column WA157
To ask Her Majesty's Government how the invitation list for Broadband Delivery UK Industry Day on 15 July at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, 1 Victoria Street, was created; and by whom.[HL1224]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK), the BIS team responsible for delivering the Government's universal service commitment and superfast broadband objectives, was responsible for managing the expressions of interest and invitations to the BDUK industry day.
BDUK published a prior information notice on 14 June 2010, which stated that the industry day was aimed at organisations with broadband delivery capability
19 July 2010 : Column WA158
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Broadband Delivery UK Industry Day on 15 July at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, 1 Victoria Street, will be broadcast using live and interactive video conference streaming.[HL1225]
The Digital Radio Action Plan, published on 8 July 2010, sets out the work that needs to be carried out in order to provide the Government with the information they need to make a well informed decision on whether to proceed with a radio switchover.
Earl Attlee: The previous Government granted full funding approval to the Luton Dunstable Busway scheme in March and this was reconfirmed by the Chief Secretary to the Treasury on 17 June following a review of all spending approvals made since 1 January. The contract between Luton Borough Council and the contractor was signed on the same day (17 May) that the Chief Secretary announced the review of spending approvals.
Some advance works have already taken place to clear vegetation on the site and additional topographical and ground investigation works are currently under way. The contractor is due to begin lifting the disused railway track in early August and the main works are due to begin towards the end of September. The scheme is forecast to complete in autumn 2012.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the HM Revenue and Customs tax deductibility rate of 40p per mile for reimbursement for business use of private cars was last updated; and what the rate would be on comparable motoring costs today.[HL1209]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The issue of inadequate diet and nutrition requires action nationally and locally through partnerships with other organisations. There has been a great deal of progress recently, which includes the introduction of new registration requirements for care providers, with a strong focus on nutritional care, as well as the publication of a range of resources and support for commissioners and staff in all care settings.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Answer by Lord Marland on 6 July (Official Report, col. 101) saying "the Government believe climate change is one of the most serious threats the world faces", whether that Answer took account of the cut in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's spending on its low-carbon high-growth programme of around £3 million this financial year.[HL1187]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The Government have made clear their commitment to tackling global climate change. The UK will provide £1.5 billion fast-start finance for developing countries between now and 2012-13 to support early action to limit emissions and adapt
19 July 2010 : Column WA160
All departments need to play their part in tackling the budget deficit. But as the Foreign Secretary has made clear, the announcement in respect of the low-carbon high-growth programme does not mean the FCO is ending work on these issues: our diplomats will remain fully engaged in the UK's international efforts to promote a low-carbon high-growth economy.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Answer by Lord Marland on 5 July (Official Report, col. 3), what is their assessment of the likely impact of the Climate Change Act 2008 and European Union initiatives to reduce carbon dioxide emissions on the number of people in fuel poverty in the United Kingdom.[HL1067]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): An assessment of the fuel poverty impacts of the UK's carbon budgets (set in line with the UK's commitments under the EU Climate and Energy Package) can be found on my department's website at http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/77_20090423091800_e_@@_euclimateenergypackage.pdf.
Baroness Verma: The UK Government are monitoring the human rights situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) very closely. The Department for International Development (DfID) does not provide aid directly to the Government of DRC but works through partner organisations and civil society. In taking decisions on the provision of aid DfID takes into consideration the country Government's commitment to human rights, as well as their commitment to poverty reduction, accountability and combating corruption, and the level of development and humanitarian needs in the country.
To ask Her Majesty's Government why they have a reservation exempting them from any provisions of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in respect of immigration. [HL1148]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The reservation in respect of immigration for the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was intended to ensure that the convention did not inadvertently create new rights in a way that could undermine immigration control or our ability to protect public health. There is an ongoing government review to assess the continued need for this reservation.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to compensate local education authorities and education providers who have incurred costs for previously approved capital projects which have now been cancelled.[HL1247]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): There are no plans to compensate local authorities and education providers for costs incurred in preparing capital projects that were stopped following the Secretary of State for Education's announcement on 5 July.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Structural Reform Plan, published by my department on 8 July, states that we will legislate through the localism Bill for directly elected mayors to enable the largest 12 cities in England to have mayors from 2012, subject to confirmatory referendums and full scrutiny by elected councillors.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord McNally on 1 July (WA 295-6) stating that Irish citizens can vote in United Kingdom parliamentary elections, which other countries' citizens have such rights.[HL1138]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Subject to all other registration criteria being met (including, for example, residence), those entitled to register to vote in parliamentary elections are British citizens, qualifying Commonwealth citizens and citizens of the Republic of Ireland.
Section 50 of the British Nationality Act (BNA) 1981 provides that the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are part of the UK for nationality purposes and therefore their citizens are also eligible to vote in UK parliamentary elections if they are resident in the UK.
Section 37 of the BNA 1981 provides that those having the status of a Commonwealth citizen are (a) British citizens, British Overseas Territories citizens, British nationals (overseas), British overseas citizens and British subjects; and (b) citizens of Commonwealth countries.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will publish an assessment of the experience of the alternative vote system in those countries where it has been used for national and federal elections.[HL1157]
Lord McNally: The Government have no plans to make such an assessment. As my right honourable friend the Deputy Prime Minister announced on 5 July (Official Report, col. 23-25) a Bill will be introduced before the summer to provide for a referendum on the alternative vote system, and for a review of constituency boundaries in order to create fewer and more equally sized constituencies. The Bill will set out further details about the form of alternative vote system to be put in the referendum.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 30 June (WA 281-2), how deriving stem cells from embryos created using the nuclei from a patient with type 1 diabetes could improve treatment of diabetes.[HL998]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Embryonic stem cells derived from embryos created using the nuclei from a patient with type 1 diabetes could enable the derivation of insulin producing pancreatic cells (beta cells), which are a genetic match for the patient and can be transplanted back into the patient. This may offer a way of avoiding the current problems of rejection of the transplanted cells and the requirement to take anti-rejection medication in order to avoid this problem.
To ask Her Majesty's Government to what extent the Human Tissue Authority would be consulted about the use in embryological research of skin
19 July 2010 : Column WA163
Earl Howe: There is no legal requirement to consult the Human Tissue Authority (HTA) about specific research proposals. The HTA has published codes of practice on research which are available on its website at: www.hta.gov.uk.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 30 June (WA 281-2), how potential applications involving human reproduction would fulfil the original aims of research licence R0152 as pertaining to the use of stem cells.[HL1035]
Earl Howe: In considering an application for a research licence, the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) must be satisfied that the conditions for granting a licence, as set out in Schedule 2 to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, as amended, are satisfied. Beyond that, neither the Government nor the HFEA can speculate on the potential applications of the research authorised by a licence.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 30 June (WA 280-1), when the Scientific and Clinical Advances Advisory Committee of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) met to discuss the research findings reported in the Sunday Times on 13 June; and to what extent the comments of the HFEA chair that were cited in that article were based on such deliberations.[HL997]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has yet to approve the revised patient information and consent forms submitted by
19 July 2010 : Column WA164
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Thornton on 6 April (WA 393), whether the activities authorised by Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority research licence R0152 include the use of donor nuclei from (a) patients undergoing a Caesarean section, and (b) children with a serious mitochondrial disease. [HL1001]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 1 July (WA 296), whether the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) requires a separate form to be completed for each centre and research licence supplying eggs to a licensed project; if so, whether that requirement applies equally to the use of eggs from a human source and eggs from other species; and for what purposes the HFEA has collected and held such information about the use of human eggs in research.[HL1002]
Earl Howe: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that its Scientific and Clinical Advances Advisory Committee has not met to discuss the research findings reported in the Sunday Times on 13 June.
In respect of patient information and consent forms for research covered by HFEA research licences R0145, R0152 and R0153, I refer the noble Lord to the minutes of the authority's Research Licence Committee on 19 May 2010, which can be found on its website, http://guide.hfea.gov.uk/guide/ShowPDF.aspx?ID=4180. A copy has been placed in the Library. The HFEA has further advised the activities authorised under research licence R0152 are: the storage of eggs, storage of embryos, the creation of embryos in vitro, storage of licensed material, use of donated embryos for research purposes and the derivation of human embryonic stem cell lines.
In respect of the requirement for completion of forms related to the supply of eggs to HFEA-licensed research projects, I refer the noble Lord to my Written Answer of 23 June (Official Report, col. WA184). The HFEA has advised that centres holding research licences authorising the creation of embryos for research are required to submit information on the number of embryos created for use in research. On occasion, this may include information about the use of eggs.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Baroness Thornton on 19 January (WA 224-5) and Earl Howe on 23 June (WA 182-3) regarding regulation of research involving only eggs and research involving embryos, whether the eggs used in all currently licensed research projects at each centre were used in attempts to create embryos; and, if not, how the use of human eggs in a project pertaining to laser biopsied blastocysts relates to the Written Answer by Baroness Thornton on 16 December 2009 (WA 236) regarding the polar body of an egg.[HL1036]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 1 July (WA 296), whether the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) would hold information about the use of eggs in research if the records of a licensed centre are inspected by the HFEA when a licence is reviewed; and, if so, why the number of eggs contributed to research according to HFEA records was less than the number described elsewhere as having been used to generate embryos for research over the corresponding time period.[HL1037]
Earl Howe: In respect to the use of eggs for research, I refer the noble Lord to my Written Answer of 23 June 2010 (Official Report, col. WA184). The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has advised that it has nothing further to add to the information given in that Answer.
Baroness Verma: The Government announced on 3 July that the first wave of implementation would go ahead in October. The Government are considering how the rest of the Act can be implemented in the best way for business and will make an announcement in due course.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): UK citizens who are employed as permanent officials, temporary agents or contractual agents of EU institutions have their salaries and expenses met by whichever EU institution employs them, which is in turn funded from the EU's budget.
UK officials who are seconded to EU institutions as "Detached National Experts" will have their salaries paid by their home UK employer, and normally will receive expenses from the EU institution which employs them. Full details of the terms for employment of EU officials and detached national experts are found at http://ec.europa.eu/dgs/human-resources/human_resources_en.htm
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they or the Financial Services Authority (FSA) plan to review the capitalisation of financial clearing houses given the role of such institutions in safeguarding financial stability; and whether they or the FSA plan to review the management of any conflicts of interest between owners and users of financial clearing houses.[HL1006]
On 14 June the Commission published a consultation paper that covers issues relating to organisational and risk-management standards for central clearing counterparties (CCPs). Among other issues, it includes provisions regarding CCPs' own financial resources and managing conflicts of interests.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government wish to see the adoption of a single high-quality set of global accounting standards and have worked towards this goal in the G20. They actively participate in the EU adoption process for international standards and in EU policy-making on accounting standards. In addition to presenting their own views, the Government also encourage input by UK official and stakeholder bodies into the global standard-setting process.
The Government took part in formulating and support the call in the Toronto declaration for the International Accounting Standards Board and the Financial Accounting Standards Board to complete their current convergence project by the end of 2011, while noting the pressures on the standard setters in meeting this demanding timetable.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether employees of the prudential regulator will be on the same pay scales and remuneration policies as employees of the Bank of England once it becomes a subsidiary of the Bank of England.[HL1086]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The matter raised in these questions will be for the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the Bank of England to resolve during the transition to the new regime. Day-to-day operations of the FSA and the Bank of England are, and will remain, independent from Government. Should any legislation be needed to facilitate these arrangements, the Government will bring it forward in the forthcoming Bill.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Baroness Thornton on 23 February (WA 282-3) and 6 April (WA 398) about the letter published by Professor Chester Douglass and the non-publication of his study on fluoride and osteosarcoma, whether it is normal scientific practice to cite as evidence studies which have not yet been published, and letters which report the results of those studies, without making clear the status of such documents.[HL1112]
Baroness Verma: On 5 July the Government of Israel announced new measures to increase the range and volume of goods entering Gaza. This includes materials for reconstruction projects approved by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and overseen by international organisations. We hope this will enable essential public infrastructure, including sanitation networks, to be built or repaired. The UK Government will continue to press Israel to deliver on commitments it has made.
We share the International Committee of the Red Cross's (ICRC's) concerns regarding healthcare, particularly low levels of essential drugs and medical supplies. Intra-Palestinian co-ordination must be improved and delays caused by security screening of drugs and supplies must be reduced. We agree that restrictions on the use of agricultural land and limits on fishing near Gaza affect the economy and livelihoods of ordinary Gazans. The UK continues to press Israel to ease these restrictions. We also agree that the detention of Gilad Shalit, and Hamas's refusal to allow the ICRC to visit him, is unacceptable and continue to call for his immediate release.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they are making to the Government of Israel and through the quartet and the European Union about the shortage of electricity in Gaza and its implications for public health in the summer.[HL1014]
Baroness Verma: Shortages of electricity in Gaza have been caused both by Israeli restrictions on the amount of fuel supplied to Gaza, and recent disagreements between the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company (GEDCO). We recognise that shortages have implications for the provision of healthcare in Gaza and for the general health of the population.
The UK Government have made clear to the PA and GEDCO that we wish to see a sustainable, long-term arrangement that safeguards electricity provision for ordinary Gazans. We continue to press the Government of Israel over restrictions of goods entering Gaza and welcome the announcement of 5 July to ease restrictions of certain goods. We will monitor carefully the implications of this announcement for the supply of fuel to Gaza.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): In 1999, the department published Improving Outcomes in Gynaecological Cancers, which set out recommendations on how services for patients with gynaecological cancers, including vulval cancer, should be organised in order to ensure that patients receive prompt diagnosis and effective treatment. It is for cancer networks in collaboration with the National Health Service and local stakeholders to decide how best to implement the Improving Outcomes guidance. A copy of the guidance has been placed in the Library.
We recognise that more needs to be done to prevent cancer and improve health outcomes for cancer patients. We have therefore asked Professor Sir Mike Richards,
19 July 2010 : Column WA169
The Government will be publishing a White Paper on public health later this year. This will set out how to assist people in improving their health and reducing their risk of disease, including cancer.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what treatments they have recommended to general practitioners to prescribe to diabetes patients in the past five years; and what new treatments they are considering. [HL1391]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has issued guidance to the National Health Service on a number of treatments for diabetes and has further guidance in development. Details of published guidance and guidance in development can be found at: http://guidance.nice.org.uk/Topic/EndocrineNutritionaIMetabolic.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the National Prescribing Centre intends to consult industry, clinicians and patient advocacy groups during its review of the prescription and use of oral nutritional supplements; and, if so, when and how.[HL1197]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The National Prescribing Centre has been commissioned by the department to develop guiding principles and accompanying advice for prescribers and National Health Service organisations on the appropriate use of oral nutritional supplements in primary care. Clinicians have been involved in the expert and focus groups which have helped to develop this work. The National Prescribing Centre will circulate a draft to relevant stakeholders, including industry and patient advocacy groups, later in the summer.
Earl Howe: The department has received representations from noble Lords (including the noble Lady's Questions), honourable Members and members of the public about the availability of Sinemet (co-careldopa) as follows:
Earl Howe: The department has had regular discussions with the manufacturers of Sinemet and its generic alternatives (co-careldopa) since supply problems arose in the autumn of 2009. The situation in the United Kingdom is being kept under review.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Department of Health will introduce indicators in the national component of the Commissioning for Quality and Innovation scheme to encourage a reduction in levels of malnutrition.[HL1195]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Commissioning for Quality and Innovation (CQUIN) payment framework is a national framework for locally agreed quality improvement schemes, enabling commissioners to pay a quality increment to providers if they deliver excellent care in line with commissioner priorities.
The majority of CQUIN goals are locally agreed and commissioners can already choose to use the CQUIN framework to reward providers for ambitious improvements in nutritional care, based on best practice-for example, in support of the recently identified high-impact action on "Keeping Patients Nourished".
In 2010-11 a proportion of the financial value (one-fifth) of each acute provider's CQUIN scheme is linked to two nationally defined goals-on reducing the incidence of venous thromboembolism and on improving responsiveness to personal needs of patients. We expect to clarify any changes to the CQUIN framework for 2011-12, including whether there will be any nationally defined goals, later this year.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Spinal cord injury is not a recognised specialty under the General and Specialist Medical Practice (Education, Training and Qualifications) Order 2010. Doctors dealing with spinal cord injury can come from a number of different recognised specialties. Consequently, data are not held centrally on the number of doctors who specialise in this particular area.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Neville-Jones on 29 June (WA 265), by what criteria they judge there to be a shortage of social workers in children's and family services, certain skilled senior care workers, and pre-registration and registered pharmacists in the National Health Service sufficient to include those professions on the shortage occupation list for tier 2 of the points-based system for entry visas to the United Kingdom from non-European Union countries.[HL1096]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The previous Government added these occupations to the shortage occupation list on the basis of recommendations made by the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC).
The criteria used by the MAC, and its assessment of these occupations against the criteria, are detailed in its published shortage occupation list reports. These reports are available at: www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/mac.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many organisations or individuals applied for the contract to establish the Independent Networks Co-operative Association which was awarded to Malcolm Corbett by a letter dated 29 June 2009; how the contract was advertised; who carried out the selection; and after what process.[HL1223]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): I have nothing further to add to previous Answers on this subject, provided at Hansard 9 June (col. WA 46-47), 10 June (col. WA 55), 15 June (col. WA 104), 15 June (col. WA 104), 15 June (col. WA 103-04), 15 June (col. WA 105), 15 June (col. WA 105), 15 June (col. WA 104), 15 June (col. WA 103), 15 June (col. WA 103), and 16 June (col. WA 119).
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will make representations to the Government of the United States about reviewing the training taught on the International Military Education and Training programme in the light of the international covenants on human rights.[HL1011]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The policies underlying this program are directed by the US Department of State's Bureau of Political-Military Affairs and the constituent projects are administered by the US Department of Defense. As such this is an internal matter for the US Government and we have no plans to make any representations.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to reduce the number of care and supervision cases awaiting hearing in (a) family proceedings courts, and (b) county courts; and on what timetable.[HL1165]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): To reduce the number of care and supervision cases awaiting hearing, Her Majesty's Court Service (HMCS) provided funding for an additional 4,000 sitting days that have been allocated to HMCS regions for use since April 2010 in the current financial year.
19 July 2010 : Column WA173
In the family proceedings courts, a lead justices clerk has been identified in each HMCS region to raise the profile of family work, and a lead legal advisor has been appointed at a senior management level, to support the justices clerk and area director, and also to be the day-to-day performance manager for family cases. The volume and age of outstanding cases in the family courts is regularly monitored by the HMCS board through its monthly meetings, and resources are allocated appropriately to allow courts to deal with the volume of work awaiting resolution.
The Government are also working with the judiciary to tackle delay in care and supervision cases. The president's interim guidance, which aims to assist with backlogs in the allocation of children's guardians, has been extended until September 2010 to help the family justice system in managing the current high volume of cases. In London, where high volumes are particularly acute, the designated family judge has last month issued a supplement to his earlier published arrangements for the implementation of the interim guidance. This makes provision for the review by CAFCASS of long-standing cases, with the results of that work being reported via children's solicitors to the other parties and the court. It also provides for the appointment of children's guardians to new cases, thus preventing unnecessary delay.
Lord McNally: Family courts deal with a broad range of cases concerning the welfare of children and families, in both public and private law. During 2008 and 2009 the most significant rise in outstanding case volumes was seen in applications for care and supervision orders. This was observed in both the family proceedings courts, and in the county courts.
This rise is attributed to the publicity in November 2008 surrounding the tragic death of Peter Connelly, which led to an unprecedented level of care order applications being submitted to the family courts from local authorities. The increased level of applications has put pressure on all agencies involved in family proceedings, including the courts, CAFCASS and local authorities, and has also affected the progress of older cases in the system. This is regarded as the principal reason for the increase in the number of outstanding cases in the system.
Following the introduction of the Public Law Outline in April 2008 which was intended to tackle delay by moving more work into the pre-proceedings phase, the level of care and supervision applications received by the family courts during May 2008 stood at 702, which was a low number compared to previous years. The publicity surrounding the Baby Peter case in November 2008 and other subsequent high profile cases, reversed the decline in application volumes and the level of applications for care and supervision orders subsequently rose to record levels. In December 2008 the level of applications had risen to 1,495, an increase of over 100 per cent from the May 2008 figure.
The Government are committed to reducing unnecessary delay in proceedings, and in care and supervision cases particularly, considering what further work can be done to reduce the backlog of outstanding cases in the family courts.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The recent Budget set out our plans to rebuild the UK economy including tackling the budget deficit, encouraging enterprise and supporting long-term growth. It also set out actions to help rebalance the economy. In taking this forward, we are currently developing our thinking on manufacturing. It is clear we need a fresh approach which addresses the UK's competitive advantage and weaknesses in manufacturing including productivity, skills, R&D and exports. We are keen to ensure that we provide the best long-term environment in which manufacturing can grow, recognising the vital role it plays in the UK economy.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to amend section 94(5C) of the Nationality, Immigration and Asylum Act 2007 to add sexual orientation to the list of specific descriptions for the purposes of subsection (5A).[HL1133]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Department of Health's report on its consultation on NHS car parking will propose measures to end the differences in hospital car parking charges paid by cancer patients.[HL1175]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Department of Health's report on its consultation on NHS car parking will include recommendations to hospitals to make information on their car parking charges and concessions transparent and easily accessible to patients.[HL1176]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Greater autonomy for the National Health Service includes trusts being free to decide how they run their car parking, but where parking charges are stopping patients accessing services trusts have a responsibility to look at that.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with staff and trade unions of the Northern Ireland Office about a possible pay cut similar to that taken by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.[HL1139]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether members of the Budget Responsibility Committee have been appointed for three months; and whether Mr Geoffrey Dicks and Mr Graham Parker will be standing down at the same time as Sir Alan Budd.[HL1082]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the letters of appointment to the Office for Budget Responsibility of Mr Geoffrey Dicks and Mr Graham Parker refer to the same duration of service as Sir Alan Budd.[HL1123]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The terms under which Mr Geoffrey Dicks and Mr Graham Parker are working for the Treasury are available online at http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/8174.htm.
Geoffrey Dicks and Graham Parker will continue to serve as interim members of the Budget Responsibility Committee until a permanent chair of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has been appointed.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the statement by the Deputy Prime Minister, Nick Clegg, on 5 July (Official Report, Commons, cols. 23-5), whether the boundary review by the boundary commissions will be based on electoral registers drawn up on the basis of individual registration, as defined under the Political Parties and Elections Act 2009.[HL1078]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): As my right honourable friend Deputy Prime Minister said in another place on 5 July (Official Report, col. 24) calculations for the electoral quota will be derived from the register published on 1 December 2010. The canvass for this register will be carried out under the existing household registration arrangements. The Government have committed to speeding up the implementation of individual electoral registration and will announce their approach with regard to this in due course.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress has been made in the last three years in recruiting
19 July 2010 : Column WA178
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The following tables detail the recruitment levels and strength of ethnic minority police officers and community support officers over the past three years
|Year||Recruitment of ethnic minority police officers||Ethnic minority police officer strength|
|Number of minority ethnic police officers recruited||Total number of police officers recruited||Percentage of total officers recruited||Number of minority ethnic police officers in post||Total number of police officers in post||Percentage of total officers in post|
|Year||Recruitment of Ethnic Minority Police Community Support Officers||Ethnic Minority Police Community Support Officer Strength|
|Number of minority ethnic PCSOs recruited||Total number of PCSOs recruited||Percentage of PCSOs recruited||Number of minority ethnic PCSOs in post||Total number of PCSOs||Percentage of total PCSOs in post|
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Government will provide £1 million in funding to the central police e-crime unit in 2010-11. A decision on funding for subsequent years will be taken following the outcome of the comprehensive spending review in the autumn.
The Government are committed to improving conditions for rail passengers. However, there is a clear need to make financial savings across government. Further rolling stock schemes that were being discussed with operators as part of the high-level output specification programme will now be paused and no further contractual commitments will be entered into in financial year 2010-11. This will enable the Government to undertake a review of these schemes pending the outcome of the spending review.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Funding allocations to support local delivery of the primary capital programme have already been confirmed for the current financial
19 July 2010 : Column WA179
In the context of the Government's fiscal consolidation plans and emerging policy, the Department for Education has commissioned a comprehensive independent review of all of the department's existing capital expenditure to inform decisions about future delivery models for capital investment. This will include future investment in primary schools. The review team will report at the end of the year. Its report will guide future spending decisions over the next spending review period (2011-12 to 2014-15). It will also look at how best to meet parental demand; provide new primary places in areas of population growth; and secure the best possible value for money in terms of design and procurement.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Recently the Government have announced their plan to fund a considerable expansion in the Teach First programme, which has been very successful in bringing hundreds of high-quality teachers into schools in the most deprived areas. There will now be Teach First teachers working in one-third of all challenging schools right across the country, including some of the most challenging primary schools.
The Government are committed to introducing a pupil premium for disadvantaged children. It will be for head teachers and school governors to decide how to use the premium to meet the needs of disadvantaged children in their schools, and this might include using flexibilities in the pay system to attract the best teachers.
Lord Hill of Oareford: We accept that there is a continuing need to increase the number of teachers in these subjects and it is our intention to attract more top science and mathematics graduates into the profession in England. We are therefore reviewing the routes into teaching and the incentives offered to well qualified people who want to teach science and mathematics. For example, we have already announced plans to double the number of participants in the successful scheme Teach First so that more schools may benefit from the talents of the country's best graduates. Three-quarters of Teach First participants teach the most demanding shortage subjects, including mathematics and science.
To ask Her Majesty's Government on what date Severn River Crossing plc is expected to be taken into public ownership; and what is the financial calculation behind the expected date of transfer.[HL1150]
Under the Severn crossings concession agreement, the assets will revert to government ownership when either the SRC has collected a defined sum of money from toll revenue (£995,830,000 in 1989 prices), or 30 years after the start of the concession, if this is sooner. The end date is currently predicted to be in the first half of 2017.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Our coalition agreement makes clear that ensuring the flow of credit to viable SMEs is essential for supporting growth and should be a core priority for a new Government, and we will work together to develop effective proposals to do so.
In the mean time, we continue to encourage the banks to lend to credit-worthy businesses. The Budget also announced that the enterprise finance guarantee (EFG) facility for this year is being increased by £200 million to £700 million for small businesses until 31 March 2011. In addition, the Government have in place agreed lending commitments to small and medium enterprise (SME) businesses with RBS and Lloyds Banking Group.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The UK Government are doing nothing specific to encourage new, overseas companies to base themselves in Motorsport Valley in the East Midlands.
However, UK Trade and Investment, the government organisation responsible for attracting foreign direct investment to the UK, will work with any overseas company from the automotive sector that is interested in making a high-value investment in any part of the United Kingdom, including Motorsport Valley.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how the commitment to research and development in the United Kingdom motorsport sector is recognised in the tax system; and whether provision is made in the tax system to protect the results of those activities.[HL1203]
The Chancellor of the Exchequer announced in the Budget Statement that the Government will consult with business in the autumn to review the taxation of intellectual property, the support R&D tax credits provide for innovation, and the proposals made by the Dyson review.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made, or intend to make, representations to the government of Sri Lanka about the welfare of the journalist Pregeeth Ekanaliyagoda, the safety of journalists and freedom of expression.[HL1135]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We regularly urge the Government of Sri Lanka, both bilaterally and with EU partners, to take decisive action to guarantee press freedom and also raise particular cases of concern. Our deputy high commissioner in Colombo raised the disappearance of the Lanka E News journalist Ekneligoda in March 2010 with the then Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Bogollagama. We regret that Ekneligoda has still not been found.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Howell of Guildford on 21 June (WA 145) concerning the proposed accession of Turkey to the European Union, whether their decision not to have a referendum on any accession took account of public opinions about the level of migration.[HL1031]
Turkey's dynamic economic growth and the likelihood of a lengthy transition period before allowing free movement of people will address concerns over levels of migration following Turkey's eventual EU accession.
As noted in my Answer to the noble Lord of 8 June, Official Report col. WA 35, the referendum lock is not intended to catch all treaty amendments. It depends on whether the treaty includes the transfer of further powers or competences from the UK to the EU. Accession treaties would not be subject to a referendum as they do not involve such transfers.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Neville-Jones on 29 June (WA 265), why it is not possible to distinguish between the numbers of visas issued to those coming to undertake shortage occupations and to those coming to fill other jobs.[HL1095]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): Management information captured by our entry clearance IT system does not distinguish between the numbers of visas issued to those coming to undertake shortage occupations from those issued to fill other jobs within the tier two category of the points-based system.
Our previous response to PQ HR 119, to Lord Laird of Artigarvan confirmed the number of certificates of sponsorship issued to migrants for jobs on the shortage occupations list between June 2009 and May 2010.
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