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10 Nov 2010 : Column WA73



10 Nov 2010 : Column WA73

Written Answers

Wednesday 10 November 2010

Agriculture: Dairy

Question

Asked by Lord Christopher

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The Scottish Agricultural College research project "A Study to Investigate the Management and Welfare of Continuously Housed Dairy Cows" is considering cows' behaviour. Specifically, it is investigating how housed dairy cattle might best be allowed to perform a full range of natural behaviour. Details can be found on the Defra website at: http://randd.defra.gov.uk/Default.aspx?Menu=Menu&;Module=More&Location= None&Completed=0&ProiectID=15761.

Agriculture: Genetically Modified Crops

Question

Asked by The Countess of Mar

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The human and environmental safety of specific formulations is considered by the pesticides regulatory regime where each product is used. If a specific formulation is marketed in the EU, it will have been considered in accordance with the requirements of Directive 91/414 that established the European regulatory regime for plant protection products (to be replaced by Regulation 1107/2009 on 14 June 2011).

EU legislation sets maximum residue levels (MRLs) for pesticide active substances in food and feed based on the EU risk assessment of those uses. MRLs are also set to the same standards for residues of pesticides in imported food and feed. MRLs for glyphosate have been agreed for a range of products including dry pulses, oilseeds and cereals. This legislation also establishes an EU programme for monitoring compliance with these MRLs.

Under EU pesticides legislation, the European Food Safety Authority has assessed the consumer safety of glyphosate residues, in relation to their presence on imported genetically modified crop commodities, and concluded that existing MRLs should remain unchanged.



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Anti-social Behaviour

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): On 23 September, Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary (HMIC) published a report Anti-social Behaviour: Stop the Rot on the way police forces in England and Wales deal with anti-social behaviour (ASB). The report was based on HMIC's assessment of each force, research by the University of Cardiff and an Ipsos MORI survey of victims of ASB.

One of the report's key findings was that, for some forces, a lack of understanding of the harm it causes to communities and vulnerable individuals had contributed to an increasing acceptance or defining down of ASB that we should not have grown used to. HMIC's analysis is being considered as part of the Home Office's review of the ASB toolkit.

Armed Forces: A400M

Questions

Asked by Lord Gilbert

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): As contractual negotiations between partner nations and Airbus Military on the A400M programme are at an advanced stage, it would not be in the commercial interests of any of the parties involved if this information were released.

Asked by Lord Gilbert

Lord Astor of Hever: Yes. The A400M Design and Production Phase contract requires the consent of all parties before any information could be released.

Asked by Lord Gilbert



10 Nov 2010 : Column WA75

Lord Astor of Hever: No such representations have been received.

Asked by Lord Gilbert

Lord Astor of Hever: I refer the noble Lord to the Answer I gave him on 1 November 2010 (Official Report, col. WA340).

Armed Forces: Aircraft

Question

Asked by Lord West of Spithead

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Currently, US- manufactured unmanned aerial vehicles in UK service are not able to carry the RAPTOR pod.

Armed Forces: Medals

Question

Asked by Lord Touhig

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals (HD Committee) met to consider the Pingat Jasa Malaysia Medal on 7 December 2005.

HD Committee minutes are not published but information on the decision can be found on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office website at http://www.fco.gov.uk/resources/en/pdf/pdf21/fco_pingatjasamalaysiamedal.

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Question

Asked by Viscount Waverley

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): At the most recent meeting of the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board in Sarajevo in June 2010, the steering board agreed that the five objectives and two conditions necessary for closure of the office of the high representative had not yet been completed. In particular, there had

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been little progress towards an agreement between the state and entity-level authorities on the registration of state property. The steering board expressed concern at Bosnia and Herzegovina's lack of progress in this area.

There has been no significant step forward on this issue since June. The UK continues to underline the importance of completion of the five objectives and two conditions and to emphasise to Bosnian leaders the need to work constructively together towards achieving this.

Council Tax

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The independent Office for Budget Responsibility assumes that after freezing the precept in England in 2011-12, police authorities would on average choose to increase precept in line with historical trend growth.

Crime: Hate

Question

Asked by Lord Dear

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The revised Hate Crime manual is operational police guidance and is therefore a matter for the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). ACPO has indicated that the revised manual where appropriate will take account of Section 29JA of the Public Order Act 1986, as inserted by the Criminal Justice and Immigration Act 2008.

Crime: Race and Criminal Justice Statistics

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury



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The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): Police forces record crimes in accordance with the law and the provisions set out in the Home Office Counting Rules for Recorded Crime (HOCR). The relevant legislation (the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 as added to by the Anti-Terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001) created a single offence of racial or religious aggravation. Police recorded crime statistics currently include racially and religiously aggravated offences as set out in law. The Home Office plans to require forces to submit more detailed information on these and other notifiable offences from April 2011 which will provide additional data to show the split between the racial and religious elements.

Police data on racially or religiously aggravated offences have been published in the Race and the Criminal Justice System report since 2002 and tables showing the figures for individual police force areas have been published since 2003.

Once new proposals by the Home Office are in place, the Ministry of Justice's chief statistician will be responsible for any decision concerning the inclusion of these new data in subsequent reports dependent on their quality.

Cuba

Question

Asked by Lord Patten

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): In July the Government of Cuba announced that they would release 52 political prisoners-originally detained in 2003-within three to four months. To date, 39 have been released and have travelled to Spain. The Cuban Catholic Church announced in October that eight other political prisoners (ie, not part of the original 52) would also be released-and our embassy in Havana has been told that others will follow.

The UK, with our EU partners, will continue to monitor the situation closely-and our embassy in Havana will continue to discuss future releases with the Cuban Government and the Cuban Catholic Church. We hope that the Cuban Government will fulfil their commitment to release the remaining 13 (ie, from the original 52) within their self-imposed deadline of early November. My honourable friend Jeremy Browne, Minister for Latin America, welcomed the announcement, and called on Cuba to allow all freed prisoners to remain in Cuba if they wish. We will continue to support this process and hope that it will lead to further human rights progress in Cuba including the release of all political prisoners in the country.



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Culture and Arts: Funding

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

Baroness Rawlings: The total cash paid by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (not arm's-length bodies' expenditure) on culture and the arts, via grant in aid or through central budgets from 1997-98 to 2009-10 is in the table.

Financial YearMuseums & Galleries £000Renaissance in the Regions £000Arts Funding £000Total £000

1997/98

215,799

N/A

196,428

412,227

1998/99

208,491

N/A

199,704

408,195

1999/00

219,301

N/A

229,737

449,038

2000/01

228,619

N/A

238,772

467,391

2001/02

255,262

N/A

252,949

508,211

2002/03

271,266

7,592

291,152

570,010

2003/04

283,318

12,408

325,955

621,681

2004/05

288,771

21,000

370,502

680,273

2005/06

305,858

30,000

410,389

746,247

2006/07

329,048

32,000

430,203

791,251

2007/08

359,348

45,000

425,698

830,046

2008/09

378,133

46,215

430,742

855,090

2009/10

371,624

26,180*

448,203

846,007

* The budget for Renaissance in the Regions in 2009-10 was £47,463 million. £26,180 million reflects the total cash paid by DCMS to the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council for this programme during this year with the remainder of the budget taken from accumulated underspends in previous years.

The department does not hold information on the proportion of government expenditure. The figures do not include in-lieu schemes, gift aid or other tax incentives.

Cybercrime

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): This Government recognise the real and increasing risk to our national security from cyber attack. Therefore the National Security Council has assessed cybersecurity as a tier 1 threat in the National Security Strategy published on 18 October (Official Report, Commons, 18 October 2010, 48WS]. The sstrategic defence and

10 Nov 2010 : Column WA79

security review assessed that cybersecurity is one of the highest priorities for UK national security over the next five years. UK interests are facing ongoing, persistent threats from terrorists, criminals and other states operating in cyberspace, which has a detrimental impact on the economic and social well-being of the nation as well as threatening national security.

Disabled People: Poverty

Question

Asked by Lord Touhig

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The Government are committed to fighting poverty; supporting those facing disadvantage; and helping people break the cycle of benefit dependency that has blighted some communities.

The work programme will provide more personalised back-to-work support for long-term unemployed people and for those with more significant barriers to employment.

The Government have also announced their clear commitment to disabled people by introducing a new programme called Work Choice, from 25 October 2010. It will sit alongside the work programme and will help into work disabled people who face the most complex barriers to finding and staying in employment.

Work Choice has been developed in close consultation with disability groups and disabled people. It is less prescriptive and more flexible than the one-size-fits-all approach that was available in the past. The support it provides is based on the needs of the individual.

The Work Choice programme is tailored to meet the needs of customers and has a greater focus on supporting customers to achieve their full potential. It is a modular format, designed to provide a flexible support service that is responsive to customers' employment needs.

Universal credit will improve incentives to work (especially for low earners such as disabled people) by a combination of earnings disregards and a single withdrawal rate to reduce the credit when earnings exceed the disregard. This will make the benefits of work clearer and simpler: encouraging people to move into work and see the financial benefits of increasing the number of hours they work.

Elections: Gibraltar

Question

Asked by Lord Ashcroft



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The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The question of who is entitled to vote in any particular referendum will be considered and determined in the light of the subject matter. The franchise for each referendum is commonly set out in the primary legislation which establishes that a referendum is to be held.

Under the provisions of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill, anyone who is registered to vote in Westminster parliamentary elections will be entitled to vote in the referendum on the voting system for the House of Commons. This means that British, Republic of Ireland and Commonwealth citizens resident in the UK and meeting all the eligibility criteria who are aged over 18 can do so. Citizens of British overseas territories, including Gibraltar, are classed as "Commonwealth citizens" under the Representation of the People Act 1983. It would therefore be possible for Gibraltarians resident in the UK and meeting all other eligibility criteria to vote. One specific eligibility criterion for Commonwealth citizens is that they have obtained any leave to enter or remain that they require in order to be in the UK.

British citizens living in Gibraltar who are registered to vote in parliamentary elections as overseas electors would also be entitled to vote in the referendum on the parliamentary voting system.

EU: UK Membership

Question

Asked by Lord Tebbit

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Since 1972, there have been a number of changes to the treaties which have expanded the scope of the European Union's competence. These include the following:

the Single European Act;the Maastricht treaty;the Amsterdam treaty;the Nice treaty; andthe Lisbon treaty.

In each case the United Kingdom ratified these subsequent treaties once they had been considered by Parliament and, in exercise of its sovereignty, approved through an Act of Parliament, as follows:

the European Communities (Amendment) Act 1986 (the Single European Act);

the European Communities (Amendment) Act 1993 (the Maastricht treaty);

the European Communities (Amendment) Act 1998 (the Amsterdam treaty);

the European Communities (Amendment) Act 2002 (the Nice treaty) and

the European Union (Amendment) Act 2008 (the Lisbon treaty).



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Flooding

Questions

Asked by Lord Campbell-Savours

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): Under the National Infrastructure Plan, published by Her Majesty's Treasury last month, the Government will encourage greater investment in flood resilience by making information on levels of flood risk more available and accessible to all.

Non-commercial interests researching floodplain mapping are not restricted from using Environment Agency-owned modelling inputs or outputs. Modelling that the Environment Agency does not own, or does not have the appropriate third-party intellectual property rights to share, may be restricted. The Environment Agency does not own floodplain mapping software-it is licensed from software companies and these licences do not allow it to be passed to others.

Asked by Lord Greaves

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): Defra had discussions with key representatives from the insurance industry, the National Flood Forum, the Environment Agency and local government at the recent Flood Insurance Summit. We agreed to continue working in partnership to ensure insurance remains widely available beyond 2013, when the current Statement of Principles agreement expires.

Government Departments: Recruitment

Question

Asked by Lord Rooker



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Baroness Rawlings: The chairman of the BBC Trust is a ministerial appointment which is made under the terms of the Royal Charter, and in accordance with the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA) Code of Practice. Given the public interest in this appointment, it was important that the position was advertised widely to ensure any interested persons were aware of the opportunity to apply.

Government policy on recruitment advertising states that if a department believes that they have strong reasons, as set out in the Cabinet Office guidance, for spending money on marketing or advertising, departmental communications directors can authorise expenditure up to a threshold of £25,000. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport adheres to this policy.

Government Departments: Salaries

Questions

Asked by Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay

Baroness Verma: No such estimate has been made. Following the announcement on the outcome of the 2010 spending review the Department for International Development (DfID) is working to determine the workforce reforms required in order to live within DfID's spending review resource DEL settlement. It is not possible at this time to accurately estimate the impact on DfID's net pay bill.

Asked by Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay

Earl Attlee: Following the spending review settlement for the Department for Transport, detailed workforce plans and pay bill allocations, on which such estimates would be based, are being developed and finalised. We are therefore currently unable to provide estimates of savings for the years in question.

Government: Despatch Box

Question

Asked by Lord Tebbit

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): The Government do not maintain such a list.



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Holy See

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Holy See has no citizens of its own. We have not had any reason to raise with the Holy See the human rights situation of the citizens or residents of the Vatican City State.

The Holy See is a valuable partner in the work we do on a wide range of issues, including taking forward international development, tackling climate change, preventing and resolving conflict, and promoting dialogue between faiths. The recent visit by Pope Benedict to the UK provided an excellent opportunity to develop our close co-operation on these and other issues.

House of Lords: Intranet

Question

Asked by Baroness Gardner of Parkes

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): Although the parliamentary intranet has recently been redesigned, the link to House of Lords Business remains on the front page of the Lords Online Members' Centre in the same way as before. In addition, on the new front page, there is a summary of the day's business in the House. This is a new feature, using an automated feed taken from the parliamentary calendar.

There has not been an increase in the number of inquiries about House of Lords Business since the changes to the Lords Online Members' Centre in May. The web and intranet service is actively seeking feedback on the intranet with a user satisfaction survey (http://survey.parliament.uk/intranetsurvey) and Members are encouraged to take part.

House of Lords: Reform

Question

Asked by Lord Rooker



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The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The cross-party Committee chaired by the Deputy Prime Minister is discussing as part of its deliberations all issues pertinent to reform of the House of Lords including disqualification for membership of the reformed second Chamber.

Housing

Questions

Asked by Lord Beecham

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): There was a corrected figure of 40,000 net decrease in affordable housing from 1997-08 to 2009-10. This takes account of losses to the social stock through sales under right to buy, right to acquire and similar schemes. It does not factor in demolitions of stock. If demolitions are included, there was a net decrease of 200,000.

Asked by Lord Bassam of Brighton

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): This information is not available.

The non-dependant deduction rates that will apply over the period covered by the Spending Review 2010 have not yet been agreed. The increases in rates will be provided for by way of legislation in the annual benefit uprating order, and will be implemented as part of the department's and local authorities' annual uprating exercises.

From February 2007, DWP has been collecting more detailed housing benefit and council tax benefit data electronically from local authorities. Over time this will improve the accuracy, timeliness and level of detail available in the published statistics, as the information supplied is quality assured.

At present, the management information used to estimate the number of households affected by the proposed change to non-dependant deductions has not been sufficiently quality assured to release.

We shall publish an equality impact assessment on the proposed changes to non-dependant deductions announced at the June 2010 Budget to accompany the relevant legislation when introduced in Parliament. Subject to quality assurance, the equality impact assessment will provide information on the total number of people affected by this measure.



10 Nov 2010 : Column WA85

The department will also consider whether estimates of the number of people affected by this measure by local area can be used publicly once this quality assurance work is complete.

Housing Benefit

Questions

Asked by Lord Beecham

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): We will publish an impact assessment for the proposal to increase LHA rates by the consumer price index in the normal way, accompanying the relevant legislation when introduced in Parliament.

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The department published a document on Impacts of Housing Benefit Proposals: Changes to the Local Housing Allowanceto be Introduced in 2011-12 on 23 July, which includes analysis at the local authority level. A copy of the document has been placed in the Library.

Immigration

Questions

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Government carried out a full public consultation over the summer to ensure that we took a wide range of views and evidence on board and into account. The consultation asked what more the UK can do to attract the entrepreneurs and investors who will help to drive economic growth. The Government are assessing the responses and will announce their decisions in due course.

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): We will announce the operation of the immigration limit and precise details of how individual routes will

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work in due course. As the Prime Minister said last week, businesses have told us that intra-company transfers should not be part of the annual limit. We have listened carefully to this advice.

Iraq

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): All Iraqi asylum and human rights claims are carefully considered on their individual merits in accordance with our obligations under the 1951 United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees and the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). Protection is granted to those applicants who face a real risk of persecution or ill-treatment. Those applicants who are found not to need international protection have a right of appeal to the appellate authorities. In this way the UK Border Agency ensures that it provides protection to those asylum seekers who need it.

The UK Border Agency's Country of Origin Information (COI) Service closely monitors the situation in all the countries that generate asylum seekers to the UK, including Iraq. The COI Service provides accurate, objective, sourced and up-to-date country information, compiled from a wide range of sources, for use by UK Border Agency officials involved in the asylum determination process.

In a country guidance judgment in September 2010, the Immigration and Asylum Chamber of the Unified Tribunal Service (IAC) concluded that the degree of indiscriminate violence in Iraq does not reach such a high level that any civilian returned there would be at risk for that reason alone.

Israel

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): As my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary has made clear, we are very disappointed by the continuation of settlement building, following the recent expiry of the settlement moratorium. We continue to call on Israel to freeze settlement activity. Settlements are illegal under international law and an obstacle to peace. We have made our views clear to the Government of Israel and will continue to discuss these issues.



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Israel and Palestine

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The detention of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli Prison Service facilities is a serious concern. We have called on the Israeli Government to take immediate action to ensure all cases are reviewed by a court in accordance with fair procedures, and that their rights, particularly the rights to a fair trial and family visits, are upheld.

Legal Aid

Question

Asked by Lord Bach

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): As of 3 November 2010 there have been 67 letters before action received by the Legal Services Commission (LSC) in relation to the proposed new legal aid contracts for civil (non-family) law. It should be noted that not all of these are formal pre-action letters, and that some of these may also be included in the total number of 27 judicial reviews as of 26 October, stated in my Answer to your earlier question HL2962.

The LSC is the non-departmental public body with responsibility for the administration of the legal aid fund and the tender process and award of legal aid contracts are operational matters for the LSC.

Local Government: Staff

Question

Asked by Lord Rooker

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Deputy Prime Minister publishes details of all official external meetings on a quarterly basis. (http://download.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/transparency/dpm-meetings.csv).

Migration

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick



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The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Government believe that Britain can benefit from migration but not uncontrolled migration. We have always been clear that we will continue to allow the brightest and the best to come to the UK, including the world class researchers who play such an important role in cancer research. Controlling migration is very much about attracting the best, and the two aims are not incompatible.

NHS: Procurement

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Sir Philip Green's efficiency review focused on commodity procurement, property and major contracts.

For the National Health Service, the White Paper Equity and Excellence set out plans to shift decision-making as close as possible to individual patients by devolving power and responsibility for commissioning services to local consortia of general practitioner (GP) practices, supported and held to account by the establishment of an independent NHS commissioning board.

Giving GP consortia more responsibility and control over commissioning budgets will align responsibility for management of care with the management of resources and should help GPs consider the financial consequences of their clinical decisions. With a real budget comes the responsibility to use public resources as efficiently and effectively as possible. This will lead to better management of resources, and support improvements in the quality and responsiveness of primary care services.

Consortia will have the freedom to make commissioning decisions and they may choose to act collectively, for instance by adopting a lead commissioner model to negotiate and monitor contacts with large hospital trusts or with urgent care providers.

NHS: Service Providers

Question

Asked by Lord Mawson

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department is currently examining the implications for the management and ownership of the estate following the dissolution of primary care trusts in 2013.



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An option appraisal of the various alternatives is being undertaken before making recommendations to Ministers. This approach will ensure they are consistent with the proposals set out in the White Paper Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS. It is anticipated that an announcement will be made in the late autumn.

Northern Ireland: Human Rights Commission

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Shutt of Greetland: As set out under Section 69 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998, and Sections 14-16 of the Justice and Security (Northern Ireland) Act 2007, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission (NIHRC) has a wide-ranging remit, which includes keeping under review the effectiveness and adequacy of law and practice relating to the protection of human rights, as well as promoting the understanding and awareness of human rights in Northern Ireland. The NIHRC is independent of Government and it is entitled to set its own programme of work, consistent with its statutory functions. Its strategic and business plans from 2003 onwards are available on the NIHRC website at www.nihrc.org.

The Government have no reason to believe that the plans have been inconsistent with the NIHRC's statutory functions.

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Shutt of Greetland: Knowledge and understanding of human rights is explored during the appointment of individuals to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission. All appointments to the commission are on merit and have been run in accordance with the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA) guidelines.

Overseas Aid

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon



10 Nov 2010 : Column WA90

Baroness Verma: The Department for International Development (DfID) has a number of systems and procedures in place to ensure effective financial oversight of its funding and ensure that aid delivers for its intended recipients.

The UK Government will take forward a strong focus on results in all our aid programmes. That is why we are currently reviewing all our programmes to ensure UK aid is effective, represents value for money and brings real benefit to the world's poor. This includes an assessment of contributions to the EU and UN organisations under the Multilateral Aid Review. DfID has seconded two staff members to the European Commission (EC), which manages all UK aid to the EU, to work on aid effectiveness and impact evaluation.

DfID has also revamped its programme partnership arrangements (PPAs), the main central channel of support to the voluntary sector, by strengthening performance frameworks and ensuring that they are focused on results, outcomes and value for money. From 2011, DfID also plans to carry out due diligence checks for all organisations selected for funding through its centrally managed funds for civil society before any funding is provided. This will include funding through PPAs, the Civil Society Challenge Fund (CSCF) and the Global Poverty Action Fund (GPAF). The due diligence checks will assess: the integrity of the organisations' status and objectives; financial status, viability and capacity (including analysis of audited accounts); the technical capacity to undertake the proposed activities; robustness of operational and commercial systems, process and procedures including compliance with policies, laws and regulations; procurement capability, efficiency and cost effectiveness; and procedures for managing environmental risks.

In addition the UK Government are introducing a new aid transparency guarantee, which commits us to making our aid fully transparent to citizens in both the UK and developing countries, increasing accessibility and feedback, and pushing our international partners to follow our lead.

We are also establishing a new Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) which will increase independent scrutiny of UK aid spending, helping to ensure that all UK aid is well spent. The ICAI is the first of its kind and will lead the world in aid accountability. It will retain the ability to review both UK bilateral and multilateral aid spending.

Pakistan

Question

Asked by Lord Patten

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Government share the concerns raised by Amnesty International in its press release of 25 October 2010 about the torture, enforced disappearances and deaths of 40 people in

10 Nov 2010 : Column WA91

Balochistan from June to September this year. Our High Commission in Islamabad and our Deputy High Commission in Karachi regularly engage with the Government of Pakistan and the provincial government in Balochistan on matters of security, rule of law and human rights. Officials also meet representatives of the Baloch community and political parties.

In our engagement with the Government of Pakistan we regularly raise with senior military and government figures the vital need to maintain human rights and the rule of law in fighting terrorism.

On 24 November 2009, the Government of Pakistan announced a package of measures designed to address the cause of instability in Balochistan. We continue to press the Government of Pakistan to implement these measures.

Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill

Question

Asked by Lord Rooker

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Government tabled a total of 286 amendments to the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill. 118 of these were made during the Bill's Committee stage and 168 were made at the Report stage.

Many of these amendments related to the rules governing the combination of the different polls taking place on 5 May 2011. Combination provisions were tabled at Committee stage, rather than being included in the Bill when it was introduced, because the Government felt it was important to allow additional time to work with the Electoral Commission, electoral administrators and others in government on the detail of the provisions. Amendments to these provisions were then required at Report stage following the laying on 25 October of new draft orders to update the rules for elections to the devolved legislatures and the rules for local elections in Northern Ireland.

The Government also tabled amendments in order to update the referendum question, following recommendations made by the Electoral Commission in relation to its intelligibility. Many of the other amendments simply made minor and technical changes to the Bill.

At each stage, the Government tabled their amendments as early as possible in order to allow Members in the other place time to consider them before they were debated.

Parliaments: Cost

Question

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Since the European Parliament publishes its costs using different headings to the Houses of Parliament it is not possible to use exactly the same table.

Budget Allocation

MEPs' Expenses-€220 million

MEPs' Assistants-€161 million

Staff (Permanent and Temporary)- €521 million

Buildings, Furniture, Equipment and similar expenses-€317 million

Other Staff and Outside Services-€108 million.

As of May 2009, the number of officials and temporary staff working for Parliament (including its political groups) was 6,166.

Total European Parliament Budget for 2010- €1.61 billion

House of Commons Note 2009-10

Members' salaries, pensions, allowances and travel-£154,989,000

Salaries and pensions for House staff-£80,488,000

Accommodation, including rent, operating costs and security-£86,607,000

Other administration costs-£11,832,000

Total-£433,916,000

Notes:

(a) Member salaries, pensions, expenses (including staffing expenditure, administrative and office expenditure, personal additional accommodation expenditure, communications expenditure), travel, contribution to Members' staff pensions, temporary secretarial assistance, staff redundancy and winding-up allowance only. These figures are currently provisional pending the completion of the Members Resource Accounts. The payment of Members' salaries and expenses transferred to the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority following the 2010 General Election.

(b) Cost of House staff salaries taken from the Administration Resource Accounts.

(c) Accommodation costs taken from Administration Resource Accounts include buildings rental, accommodation services, security, depreciation on land and buildings, and cost of capital charge.

(d) This figure is the net resource outturn less (b) and (c). The figure for 2009-10 includes a one-off technical accounting adjustment worth £40.5 million following the revaluation of the parliamentary estate.

(e) There were 646 Members of Parliament during 2009-10.

House of Lords 2009-10

Salaries, pensions, for Members-£17,237,000

Salaries and pensions for admin staff-£21,883,000

Accommodation costs, including rent, operating costs and security-£26,384,000

Other costs-£46,151,000

Total-£111,655,000

Notes:

1. Members of the House of Lords do not receive a salary but are entitled to reclaim reimbursement of expenses. This figure includes Members' expenses.

2. Includes income and non-cash expenditure.



10 Nov 2010 : Column WA93

People Trafficking

Questions

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The UK remains fully committed to working with international partners to combat trafficking, and views the Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and the protocols thereto and the Council of Europe convention as the main instruments with which to do this.

The UK has publicly urged all states to ratify and implement these instruments with immediate effect, as they remain the principal focus of international efforts to combat human trafficking and we will continue to do so.

Asked by Lord Hylton

Baroness Neville-Jones: The competent authorities responsible for making decisions under the national referral mechanism (NRM) are based within the UK Border Agency (UKBA) and the UK Human Trafficking Centre (UKHTC), which is part of the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA). There has been close co-operation between all agencies since the inception of the NRM in April 2009 and we shall ensure this continues.

The NRM is an approach carried out by trained competent authorities in certain agencies and does not have separate offices.

Within UKBA the functions of the competent authority are carried out by trained caseworkers who are based in various offices in the UK as part of the regional organisation of the Border Agency. The UKHTC has been part of SOCA since 1 April 2010. SOCA has premises throughout the UK, specific details of which are not made public.

Asked by Lord Hylton

Baroness Neville-Jones: The coalition Government do not agree with many of the findings in the Anti Trafficking Monitoring Group report Wrong Kind of Victim?, but we are considering its recommendations as part of our ongoing review of the national referral mechanism and will be acting where necessary.



10 Nov 2010 : Column WA94

Identified victims of trafficking are entitled to and receive advice and information regarding their legal rights and assistance to enable their rights and interests to be presented and considered at appropriate stages of criminal justice proceedings against traffickers. There are various means by which redress can be sought. This includes prosecutors requesting compensation orders upon a conviction and through the Criminal Injuries Compensation Scheme. Victims can also seek redress from the offender through the civil courts.

Asked by Lord Hylton

Baroness Neville-Jones: When police find children in cannabis farms they should follow Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) guidance which advises that such children should be assessed on a case by case basis to ascertain whether they may have been trafficked. Where circumstances give rise to reasonable suspicion that they are being exploited or abused, a child welfare response should be taken. No decision to progress charges against these children should be made until all relevant assessments have been undertaken.

Published guidance by the Crown Prosecution Service requires prosecutors to consider not prosecuting trafficked victims in circumstances where they committed the offence under duress, or where they were coerced into committing the offence as a direct consequence of their trafficking situation. However, there must be consideration of the extent to which the victim was compelled to undertake the unlawful activity.

Where the information concerning coercion is less certain, further details should be sought from the police and youth offender teams, so that the public interest in continuing a prosecution can be considered carefully.

Where the risks of harm to a trafficked child are serious, the accommodation for the child should minimise the risks of traffickers being able to re-involve the child in exploitative activities.

Essential safeguards should be observed in all settings in which looked-after children are placed. These include carers understanding the safeguarding needs of each child; being appropriately trained and supervised; be alert to children's vulnerabilities and risks of harm and knowing how to implement safeguarding procedures.

Police

Question

Asked by Lord Condon

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Government have noted the findings of HMIC's Police Governance in Austerity report, which reinforce our concerns about the performance of police authorities.

We are working closely with the Association of Police Authorities and the Association of Police Authority Chief Executives to ensure that proper arrangements are in place between now and 2012. To that end, HMIC will also be monitoring the work of police authorities during the transition to police and crime commissioners to help ensure that they provide the best possible service to the public. We are meeting the chairmen of police authorities shortly to discuss these issues.

Police: Budget

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): Core government funding to the police will be reduced by 8 per cent in real terms for 2012-13. The Government are committed to delivering a safe and secure Olympic and Paralympic Games and will ensure that sufficient funding is made available for this purpose. The funding for Olympic security is being prioritised within the Home Office budget.

Police: Community Support Officers

Questions

Asked by Lord Greaves



10 Nov 2010 : Column WA96

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): PCSOs are crucial in providing a visible, uniformed presence on our streets. It is for forces to determine how they deploy their personnel. But we are clear that forces should be focusing on finding efficiencies in back-office and support functions to protect front-line policing, and focusing on the impact that PCSOs have rather than just numbers.

The spending review on 20 October set out the overall settlement for policing. Details on the size of specific grants will be provided in early December at the same time as the provisional policing settlement.

Neighbourhoods are the key building block for the big society and neighbourhood policing teams and police community support officers (PCSOs) will play a key role in mobilising community involvement.

Both Lancashire Police Authority and constabulary submitted responses to the consultation document Policing in the 21st Century, which included some reference to the importance of neighbourhood policing, but neither mentioned PCSOs specifically.

My right honourable friend, the Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice Reform, has discussed the issue of PCSOs with the chief constable of Lancashire constabulary.

Police: Expenditure Cuts

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): We believe that police forces will be able to make savings and work more efficiently so that front-line services and effective policing will be maintained.

Schools: Leaving Age

Question

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough



10 Nov 2010 : Column WA97

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): My right honourable friend the Chancellor of the Exchequer confirmed on 20 October 2010 during his spending review speech to the House that the coalition Government intend to go ahead with raising the age of participation to 18 by 2015.

Participation in this case does not necessarily mean school attendance, although this is one of the options that young people will be able to choose. As well as full-time education in a school or college, young people will be able to choose work-based learning, such as an apprenticeship; or part-time education or training, if they are employed, self-employed or volunteering for more than 20 hours a week.

Schools: Sport

Question

Asked by Lord Pendry

Baroness Garden of Frognal: The Department for Education (DfE) is considering how best to fund physical education and school sport in the future. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) is in close discussions with DfE about the support schools will require for them to be able to increase the amount of competitive sport for their pupils, both within schools and against other schools.

Young people's sport will continue to be a priority for DCMS. Sport England will retain a focus on young people's participation, and ensure that National Governing Bodies of Sport continues to help build links between local sports clubs and schools.

Over the next five years, Sport England is committing up to £35.5 million of lottery funding to a new national Olympic and Paralympic-style school sport competition. The Government are confident that this will deliver a genuine and lasting legacy from London 2012.

Spending Review 2010

Questions

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): As outlined in the Policing in the 21st Century consultation document, the police and crime commissioner will hold the chief constable to account for the full range of his or her current responsibilities.

Formal consultation on these proposals ended on 20 September. Responses submitted by a range of key policing stakeholders are now being considered ahead

10 Nov 2010 : Column WA98

of the publication of the Government's response shortly. This will further inform the duties and responsibilities of police and crime commissioners.

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): It is for chief constables and police authorities to manage the savings that need to be made.

Asked by Lord Beecham

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Government have announced a radical reform programme which gives local authorities greater power, freedoms and flexibilities to innovate, collaborate and focus on the priorities which matter most to their communities, and deliver better services for less.

These reforms include ending the comprehensive area assessment, ending central control of local area agreement targets, and de-ring-fencing all revenue grants from next year with the exception of simplified schools grants and the new public health grant.

Further details on the Spending Review reforms can be found in the 20 October letter from the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government to the leaders of local authorities in England: http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/localgovernment/doc/1745938.doc.

The Government are also working with the Local Government Group's Place Based Productivity Programme to identify further barriers and burdens which can be lifted to improve local productivity and services.

Sport: Funding

Questions

Asked by Lord Pendry



10 Nov 2010 : Column WA99

Baroness Garden of Frognal: The Government have asked Sport England, as the funding body for community sport, to reduce their administrative costs by 50 per cent over the course of the spending review period. This approach, coupled with increasing the lottery income for Sport England by returning the lottery to its original pillars, will allow the maximum amount of money to go to the front line of local community sport provision. On current lottery projections, Sport England will have more money to spend on community sport at the end of the spending review period than it does currently.

The business plan for the Department for Communities and Local Government, published on Monday 8 November, sets out its funding and programmes for the next four years. Details of the provisional local government finance settlement for local authorities will be published early in December.

Sport: Gambling

Question

Asked by Lord Pendry

Baroness Garden of Frognal: There are no immediate plans to put forward the legislation necessary for the introduction of a French-style system.

Taxation

Question

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead



10 Nov 2010 : Column WA100

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government think that it is right for banks to make a contribution to the public purse. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has published its report, A Fair and Substantial Contribution by the Financial Sector, which was commissioned by the G20.

The report endorses a financial activities tax (FAT) levied on the sum of certain profits and remuneration in the financial sector. As announced in the June Budget, we are currently examining the costs and benefits of a FAT and will continue to work with international partners monitoring developments in this area. However, the report does not offer an endorsement of a financial transaction tax (FTT), and there are many issues that need to be further explored around whether the FTT model offers a stable and efficient mechanism to raise revenue.

The Government remain totally committed to the international development agenda. In the spending review the Government announced plans to meet the international commitment for official development assistance of 0.7 per cent of gross national income from 2013.

Treasure Act 1996

Question

Asked by Lord Smith of Finsbury

Baroness Rawlings: I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given to the noble Lord, Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn, on 20 October, Official Report col. WA 186.


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