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To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will pursue a trade ban on eggs and egg products produced by hens housed in conventional cages if more time is given to member states other than the United Kingdom to phase out conventional cages from 1 January 2012.[HL4206]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The Commission has no plans to bring forward proposals which would allow for such a derogation. However, if the situation were to change and the Commission were to suggest giving more time to some member states, we would aim to find a way of prohibiting eggs produced from hens in conventional cages from entering the UK.
We have recently written to the Commission stating concerns over the probability of EU wide non-compliance and have urged it strongly to put sufficient enforcement measures in place to protect compliant producers if other countries do not meet the 2012 deadline.
On 19 November the Minister of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, met with Commissioner Dalli and others from the Commission to discuss a range of issues which included the 2012 laying hen conventional cage ban. The commissioner made it very clear that there should be no derogation and the Commission has asked member states for information on progress on complying with the deadline.
Lord Henley: The UK has previously suggested the introduction of a Code 4 for eggs produced by hens housed in enriched systems with the Commission. However, the Commission has made it clear that it views the introduction of an additional code as confusing to consumers, costly to introduce and it is not an option it is willing to consider.
Defra is continuing to do everything possible to support the UK egg industry and officials are working with the Commission to ensure that those UK producers who have already invested heavily to comply with the legislation are not disadvantaged. We have recently written to the Commission stating concerns over the probability of EU wide non-compliance and have strongly urged it to put sufficient enforcement measures in place to protect compliant producers if other countries do not meet the 2012 deadline.
On 19 November the Minister of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, met Commissioner Dalli and others from the Commission to discuss a range of issues which included the 2012 laying hen conventional cage ban. The commissioner made it very clear that there should be no derogation and the Commission has asked member states for information on progress on complying with the deadline.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of United States Department of Defense Congressional testimony on 2 February 2010 on the relative costs per flight hour of the US Marine Corps and US Navy's Joint Strike Fighters in the future and the service's current F/A-18 Hornets and AV-8B Harriers.[HL3500]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): We continue to work very closely with the US Department of Defense to assess through-life cost estimates for the Joint Strike Fighter (JSF). The support costs for the carrier variant are anticipated to be lower than those predicted for the short take off and vertical landing variant due to its less complex construction. Given the best value principles set out in the production sustainment and follow-on development memorandum of understanding and the economies of scale derived from a common support solution for the 3,000 plus aircraft JSF partners intend to purchase, we remain confident that through-life costs remain affordable, despite the significant leap in capability provided by JSF.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Astor of Hever on 4 November (WA 428), how much, in addition to the £51 million spent on urgent operational requirements, was spent on the Harrier GR9 force to conduct operations in Afghanistan from 2004 to 2009. [HL3810]
Lord Astor of Hever: The costs, additional to the £51 million spent on urgent operational requirement expenditure, to the direct support of Harrier GR9 to operations in Afghanistan from 2004-2009 is estimated to be £73 million.
Lord Astor of Hever: The capital cost of procuring the Rivet Joint fleet is around £650 million. Estimated logistic support costs up to 2025 are £590 million, which includes regular capability updates.
Rivet Joint is replacing the Nimrod R1 aircraft. The annual estimated logistic support cost that can directly be attributed to the Nimrod R1 fleet in its last full year of service life (2009-10) is £18 million. This figure does not include the costs of managing obsolescence and updating capability which were incurred throughout the life of the aircraft; such costs are included in the Rivet Joint figure.
Rivet Joint provided best value for money when compared to all other options. It will provide an assured capability through-life, able to cope with evolving threats, and will be substantially more capable than the current Nimrod R1 aircraft.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many Harrier GR7 remain in service; how many have been upgraded to GR9 standard; how many Harriers have been retired in each year since 1997; and how many of those were (a) scrapped, (b) cannibalised for spares, or (c) sold to third parties.[HL4014]
Lord Astor of Hever: All 44 Harrier aircraft currently in service with the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force have been upgraded from the GR7 to the GR9 variant. In addition, there are 14 GR9 and 6 GR7 aircraft currently awaiting decisions on disposal and one GR9 aircraft engaged on trials with QinetiQ.
|Year||Number of Aircraft|
Lord Astor of Hever: Interoperability is achieved though compliance with international standards of ground and cargo handling, irrespective of the actual aircraft type operated. In addition, there will be joint exercises and cross-tasking with allies.
Loading of the A400M will be by standardised cargo ground handling equipment currently used by military and civilian operators across the globe. The A400M will also comply with all appropriate NATO interoperability standardisation agreements (STANAGs) including international standard cargo restraint systems and cargo pallet size. This will allow cargo handling to be undertaken with both foreign military and civilian cargo handlers worldwide, under the supervision of the onboard RAF loadmasters.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they anticipate that all countries now flying any version of the C130 aircraft will be able, without notice or delay, to provide any parts necessary to service the A400M aircraft.[HL4020]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they anticipate that all countries now flying any version of the C130 will be able, immediately and without notice, to provide ground crew to service the A400M aircraft.[HL4021]
Lord Astor of Hever: Although they are both military transport aircraft, the A400M and C130 are very different aircraft manufactured by completely different companies and so do not share common components or parts. Equally, while the type of skills required by ground crew to service these aircraft will be similar, as with any aircraft, specific to type training is required to ensure that personnel are competent to carry out work on that particular aircraft.
There was never any requirement for the A400M to be serviced without any further training by personnel who currently work on the C130. Moreover, no such wide-ranging reciprocal servicing or spares arrangements exist for the current UK C130 fleet.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will disclose whose commercial interests they consider will be prejudiced by disclosure of whether there is any clause in their contract that restricts their freedom to sell the A400M aircraft to other countries who are either inside or outside the manufacturing consortium.[HL4022]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have had any discussions with other members of the consortium manufacturing the A400M aircraft about Her Majesty's Government's freedom to sell the A400M aircraft to other countries; and, if so, with whom.[HL4023]
Lord Astor of Hever): Contractual negotiations between partner nations and Airbus Military on the A400M programme are at an advanced stage. Disclosure of Airbus Military's obligation to seek permission from partner nations for exports could be exploited by competitors and therefore harm Airbus Military and its suppliers. There is no known intention to limit Airbus Military's export campaign in practice. Indeed, we fully anticipate that the A400M will be an
24 Nov 2010 : Column WA331
Lord Astor of Hever: The UK decision to procure the A400M was based on a value-for-money evaluation of the capability it delivers to help meet our future military airlift requirements. This decision was confirmed during the strategic defence and security review. It is for this reason that we do not have any plans to sell these aircraft once they are delivered.
It should, however, be noted that once these aircraft are delivered and ownership has transferred from the manufacturer to Her Majesty's Government, save for matters of government policy, no restrictions on our ability to sell these aircraft would exist.
Lord Astor of Hever: Harrier GR7 aircraft have been superseded by the Harrier GR9 variant and are no longer cleared to carry any weapons or intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (ISTAR) systems. For information on the weapons and ISTAR systems cleared for use on the Harrier GR9 and Tornado GR4 I refer the noble Lord to my Answer of 11 November (Official Report, cols. WA 105-106).
Lord Astor of Hever: While previous work has looked at the contribution that an armed Watchkeeper unmanned air system could make in current and future operations, there is currently no endorsed requirement to arm Watchkeeper.
Lord Astor of Hever: Since 1997 five Tornado GR4 aircraft have been retired from RAF service. One aircraft was retired in 2005, one in 2007 and three in 2010. These aircraft have been scrapped with the exception of one aircraft retired in 2010. Action to scrap this aircraft will commence before the end of the year.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the average annual running costs of a (a) River Class, (b) Type 22, (c) Type 23, (d) Type 42, and (e) Type 45 ship; and what is their forecast of the annual running costs of Type 26 ships.[HL4048]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): In-service class operating costs are heavily influenced by each ship's operational tasking and upkeep and maintenance regime during any particular 12 month period. The average running cost per class of River Class is £20 million, Type 22 is £130.9 million, Type 23 is £313.8 million, and Type 42 is £ 160.1 million. These figures, based on the expenditure incurred by the Ministry of Defence in 2009-10, include maintenance, safety certification, military upgrades, manpower, inventory, satellite communication, fuel costs and depreciation.
The Type 26 global combat ship is in its assessment phase, which is considering the design of the vessel. As this will influence its running costs, it is too early to forecast the annual running cost of this class.
Lord Astor of Hever: When the Type 26 global combat ship assessment phase contract was announced in March 2010, it was expected that each ship would have a displacement of around 6,000 tonnes. Since then, the strategic defence and security review has adjusted the Type 26 capability requirement to match more recent assessments of the perceived future global maritime environment. Final decisions on capability and performance, which will drive the resultant ship size, are yet to be made.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the order for 22 Chinook helicopters announced by the previous administration has been placed; and, if so, what penalties will be incurred by the proposal to reduce the order to 12.[HL4013]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): An order for 22 Chinook helicopters was never placed and, therefore, no penalties will be incurred as we proceed with an order for 12.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The table below comprises those personnel recorded as being nationals of the Republic of Ireland who entered the UK Armed Forces over the past five years.
Due to the introduction of the joint personnel administration (JPA) system, there are no data available for the Army for financial year 2007-08. Similarly, there are no figures available for the RAF prior to April 2006, or the Navy prior to April 2007.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will consult the Asylum Support Partnership and others in contact with asylum applicants concerning the operation of the azure payment card, prior to reviewing the system.[HL3792]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): There are currently no plans to undertake a review of the Section 4 payment system. However, members of the Asylum Support Partnership and other voluntary sector organisations regularly attend working level meetings with UK Border Agency officials at which Section 4 payment cards and other issues are discussed.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many age-disputed unaccompanied asylum seekers who applied for asylum in each of the last five years and so far this year were subsequently found to have been incorrectly assessed at the initial age assessment stage.[HL4092]
Baroness Neville-Jones: The table below shows the number of age-disputed asylum applications, excluding dependants, from 2005 to Quarter 2 2010. An age dispute case refers to an applicant who claims to be a child with little or no evidence to support their claimed age and the UK Border Agency considers their physical appearance and/or demeanour very strongly suggests that they are 18 years or over.
Outcomes of age assessments may be recorded in the individual case notes rather than in database fields. Therefore collating this information would require referring to individual records and is available only at disproportionate cost.
Information on age disputed asylum applications is set out in the following table and is available in Table 2d of Control of Immigration: Quarterly Statistical Summary, United Kingdom, April-June 2010 in the Libraries of the House and the Home Office's Research, Development and Statistics website at http://www. homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration-asylum-stats.html.
|Age disputed (1)(2) asylum applications received in the United Kingdom, excluding dependants, 2005 to Quarter 2 2010|
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many age-disputed unaccompanied asylum seekers who applied for asylum in each of the last five years and so far this year and who were found to have been incorrectly assessed spent any period of time in an adult detention centre.[HL4093]
Baroness Neville-Jones: UK Border Agency began to collect statistics on age disputes in detention from October 2009. Between October 2009 and the end of September 2010, six age-disputed applicants were initially assessed as an adult, detained in an immigration reception centre (IRC), but later found to be a child and subsequently released from detention.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): On 12 April, Section 4 support was increased by 1.1 per cent from £35 to £35.39 per supported person, per week. The UK Border Agency reviews the provision of asylum support, including Section 4 support, annually. The next review is scheduled to take place in early 2011.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): A UK subsidiary of the Bank of Ireland-Bank of Ireland (UK) plc-was created on 1 November. This means that Post Office products under the joint venture with the Bank of Ireland are now regulated through the Financial Services Authority and come under the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS), in line with other UK banks and building societies.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 2 November (WA 379), what was the "decisive action" taken to tackle unacceptable bank bonuses; and whether they regard this action as sufficient.[HL3855]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government are tackling unacceptable bank bonuses through a combination of measures that target remuneration and bonuses directly; and indirect measures which have the potential to reduce the profits from excessive risk taking, improve governance, impose stronger capital requirements and introduce greater competitive pressure over time.
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) is currently revising its remuneration code, and rules will be in place by 1 January 2011 that will ensure bonuses are deferred over a number of years, and are linked to the performance of the employee and their firm. In addition, significant portions of any bonus will be paid in shares or other securities.
Alongside this, the Government have assembled the Independent Commission on Banking, with a specific mandate to investigate competition issues, introduced a levy that incentivises less risky banking activities, and will continue to investigate the costs and benefits of a financial activities tax.
Lord Sassoon: Banks will make bonus decisions in respect of performance during their specific 2010 financial years in accordance with their commercial and contractual obligations. The Government have undertaken reforms to ensure that remuneration decisions are consistent with effective risk management including rules on the policies and structures through which bonuses are awarded.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 19 October (WA 137), whether the Financial Services Authority or individual banks will be required to disclose amounts clawed back under banks' bonus arrangements.[HL3857]
Lord Sassoon: The remuneration disclosure provisions in the revised EU Capital Requirements Directive include a requirement to provide information on the amounts of deferred remuneration reduced through performance adjustment mechanisms. The Financial Services Authority (FSA) issued a consultation document on 10 November 2010 outlining its proposals to implement these remuneration disclosure provisions. The FSA intends to have its disclosure regime in place by 1 January 2011 and relevant firms will be required make disclosures in respect of the 2010 financial year.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 8 November (WA 6), whether the assumptions made included an amount by which bank bonuses would have been higher in the absence of the Bank Payroll Tax; and, if so, what was the amount so assumed.[HL3858]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 8 November (WA 6), whether their estimations included an assessment of the amount by which bank bonuses might have been higher in the absence of the bank payroll tax; and, if so, what was the assessed amount. [HL3859]
Lord Sassoon: The gross and net yields from the bank payroll tax (BPT) were quoted in the previous Written Answer on 8 November (WA 6). The wider impacts of the measure cannot be directly established from observable data, so are dependent on the assumptions about the behavioural response to the tax.
The incidence of the tax must be borne by either the banks' shareholders or employees (through lower bonuses). The original costing by the previous Government when the measure was announced assumed the burden would be shared equally between the shareholders
24 Nov 2010 : Column WA337
Since the announcement of the tax, reports have indicated varying responses by banks, ranging from keeping bonuses more or less unchanged to passing on most of the cost of the BPT to staff. On balance, while it is clear that not all banks have significantly responded to the BPT, we have taken the view that there is insufficient evidence to justify changing the original assumptions on tax pass-through.
Separately from the pass-though assumption, the costing includes a general behavioural response to allow for avoidance and labour supply effects as with other tax changes. The result of this is that bonuses subject to the BPT and income tax and NICs are assumed to have been 8 per cent lower than they would have been without the tax. Again this uses the same assumption made for the original costing when the measure was announced.
For each £1 reduction in bonus income, there is a loss of 53.8p in income tax and national insurance contributions (NICs) collected from higher rate taxpayers. The combined effect of the two behavioural effects described above is to reduce income tax and NICs revenue by approximately £1.2 billion. This accounts for the difference between the gross and net estimates of yield from the BPT.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether banks will be required to produce detailed reports in early 2011 quantifying all bonuses paid in excess of £500,000 in respect of the calendar year 2010, as proposed by the report published by Sir David Walker.[HL2475]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 20 October (WA 174), how they define unacceptable bonuses; and how prevalent they believe such bonuses to be in the banking sector.[HL3071]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the light of the review of corporate governance in United Kingdom banks and other financial industry entities, what action they are taking to ensure that a remuneration disclosure framework is in place in time for the production of the 2010 calendar year annual reports and accounts.[HL3156]
Lord Sassoon: The Financial Services Authority has been consulting on implementation of the European Union's Capital Requirements Directive on the remuneration disclosure regime that increases transparency and improves the oversight of the linkage between pay and risk. Firms covered by the regime will be required to make disclosures in respect of the 2010 financial year.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government are committed to a robust remuneration disclosure regime and the principles set out in Sir David Walker's report. We will make an announcement in due course.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions have taken place with Ministers in the devolved Administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland in advance of the international climate change discussions in Cancun in December 2010. [HL4218]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): Officials from the Department of Energy and Climate Change have had regular discussions with the devolved Administrations and Ministers have discussed international climate change with Ministers from the Scottish Government and the Welsh Assembly Government in the margins of recent environment councils.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements are in place for discussions with Ministers in the devolved Administrations in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland to take forward the United Kingdom Government's objectives in relation to climate change. [HL4219]
Lord Marland: DECC Ministers have regular discussions with Ministers in the devolved Administrations on a range of issues all of which have a bearing on climate change, including at Joint Ministerial Committee, European Council and British-Irish Council meetings.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): Subject to their control order obligations, controlled individuals are free to undertake education and training on the same basis as other members of the public. The Government are always prepared to consider requests to modify control order obligations to facilitate a controlled individual's participation in education or training on a case-by-case basis.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government are working to introduce a new system of pricing for medicines, where the price of a drug will be linked to its assessed value, when the current pharmaceutical price regulation scheme expires at the end of 2013. Our proposals to ensure that clinicians and patients will have better access to licensed and effective drugs will be set out in a public consultation before the end of this year.
Rewards to companies under the orphan medicines scheme should be proportionate to the effort and cost incurred. If there is evidence of systematic use of the orphan drug legislation in circumstances where companies are not incurring substantial research and development costs, then we would consider pressing for a change in the European legislation.
Lord Taylor of Warwick: The independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) will provide an updated assessment of prospects for the UK economy on 29 November 2010. This forecast will incorporate the OBR's assessment of the impact of the financial crisis in some parts of Europe on economic growth in the United Kingdom. The Government continue to monitor all relevant factors from a range of sources as part of their surveillance of the UK economy.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Earl Howe on 13 October (WA 72) and 16 November (HL3634), what are the criteria uniformly employed by the Human Fertilisation
24 Nov 2010 : Column WA340
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that it understands this question relates to the investigation of a complaint about the authority's handling of an incident, referred to in an earlier question answered on 13 October 2010 (OfficialReport, col. WA 72-73).
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The European Commission has published its proposals for those stocks that do not require agreement with the Norwegian Government. These include cuts of 50 per cent in the total allowable catches (TACs) for cod, in both the Irish Sea and West of Scotland, for 2011. We are certainly concerned about the scale of the proposed cuts, which is likely to result in an increase in discards, and have asked the Commission to justify them. We will consider our formal response in the light of that explanation. The TAC for North Sea cod will be agreed in due course on the basis of the existing long-term management plan, in the context of the EU/Norway negotiations.
To ask Her Majesty's Government to what extent there has been a decline of the under-10-metre inshore fishing fleet since 1990; and whether they will take action to halt and reverse any such decline. [HL4290]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): There has been a 36 per cent reduction in the UK under-10 metre fleet, from 7,367 vessels in 1990 to 4,715 vessels in 2009.
The Government are committed to securing a more economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future for the inshore fleet. The sustainable access to inshore fisheries (SAIF) project is currently developing
24 Nov 2010 : Column WA341
Delivering effective change is going to be challenging, and an industry working group of representatives from both the under and over 10 metre sectors has been established to look at the issues. A public consultation on proposals for reform is planned for early 2011.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The third report on the proportion of domestically produced food procured by government was published by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in February this year. It referred to the financial year 2008-09 and provided a figure of nil per cent for the procurement of UK pork by the HO (HQ). The figure for the purchase of United Kingdom pork for the Home Office headquarters has risen to 100 per cent in the current financial year.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their definition of fuel poverty; how many households experience it; how many of the households belong to pensioners; how many of those pensioners are over and under the age of 80; and what is their estimate of the number of deaths in winter over the past three years caused by fuel poverty.[HL4230]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): A household is said to be in fuel poverty it if needs to spend more than 10 per cent of its income on fuel to maintain an adequate level of warmth (defined as 21 degrees for the main living room and 18 degrees
24 Nov 2010 : Column WA342
In 2008, the latest year for which this information is available, there were 4.5 million fuel poor households in the UK. In England, in the same year, there were 3.3 million households in fuel poverty. Of the fuel poor households in England, 1.7 million contained someone aged 60 or over and 0.5 million contained someone over the age of 80.
Data from the Office for National Statistics show that there were 79,870 excess winter deaths in England between 2006-07 and 2008-09, with over 90 per cent of these being people aged 65 and over. However, there are no data available on the number of excess winter deaths attributable to fuel poverty. Excess winter death figures should also be considered against other factors such as the severity of the winter and flu epidemics.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Government of Israel regarding the capacity of the Karni crossing point; and what prospects there are of this operating six days out of seven, as suggested by the United Nations Relief and Works Agency.[HL4183]
Baroness Verma: The Minister of State for International Development, the right honourable Alan Duncan MP, raised Gaza access with Israeli Ministers during his recent visit to the region. He pressed for full implementation of the measures announced in June to ease movement and access restrictions. In August, senior officials from the Department for International Development (DFID) discussed the capacity of crossings into Gaza, including that of Karni, with General Dangot, the Co-ordinator for Government Activities in the Territories. We co-ordinate closely with the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) over Gaza and will continue to support its representations to the Israeli authorities as necessary.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many staff have been employed on temporary or short-term contracts since 12 May to support the Secretary of State for International Development; what are the names of those employed; at what grade and what level of remuneration they were employed; and what selection criteria were used to determine their suitability for the post.[HL3848]
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The full list of ministerial appointments is available on the No 10 website at http://www.numberl0.gov.uk/news/topstorynews/2010/05/her-majestys-government-49840.
Details of ministerial salaries are available on the No 10 website at http://www.number10.gov.uk/news/latest-news/2010/05/a-new-politics-cutting-ministerial-pay-50065.
A list of parliamentary private secretaries is available on the No 10 website at http://www.number10.gov.uk/news/latest-news/2010/11/government-publishes-list-of-parliamentary-private-secretaries-57099.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department funds research in the National Health Service through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR). The department is increasing its routine monitoring of NIHR expenditure across all therapeutic areas including cancer.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Government are committed to attracting the brightest and the best students to the UK, and welcome legitimate students coming here for study. We undertook in our programme for government to introduce new measures to minimise abuse of the immigration system, including abuse of the student route.
It is also the Government's aim to reduce net migration to sustainable levels; tens of thousands, not hundreds of thousands. Alongside an annual limit which will reduce the numbers who can come here to work from outside the European Union, over the coming months we will also take action against abuse of the student route, as well as that of family and settlement routes.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord McNally on 12 November (WA 145), which meetings of the International Co-ordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions each of the three accredited United Kingdom statutory bodies have attended in the past five years.[HL4302]
The Minister of State, Ministry Of Justice (Lord McNally): This is a matter for the three accredited United Kingdom national human rights institutions (the Equality and Human Rights Commission, the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission and the Scottish Human Rights Commission), which operate independently of government. The noble Lord may wish to write to each of the commissions directly.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have received from information technology companies and organisations about the impact of the proposed cap on non-European Union immigration.[HL3787]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Home Secretary launched a consultation over the summer to ensure that we took a wide range of views and evidence on board and into account before announcing our plans for the first full annual limit. The consultation is now closed and the responses, including those from information technology companies and organisations, are being carefully assessed.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether a pass at grade C or above in GCSE or International GCSE English is accepted for all immigration purposes as sufficient proof of English language ability. [HL3881]
To ask Her Majesty's Government on how many occasions in the last six months, and at what ports or airports, passengers have been able to depart from the United Kingdom without passing through any form of immigration control.[HL4037]
Baroness Neville-Jones: Persons leaving the United Kingdom are not required routinely to pass through an immigration control on embarkation. Since March 1998, following a lengthy period of consultation with interested parties, embarkation controls have been conducted on an intelligence-led basis, with enhanced co-operation between the border agencies and an increased use of CCTV technology.
Baroness Neville-Jones: In June the Home Secretary commissioned the independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) to advise on the level of next year's limit. The MAC has published its report. The Government announced their decisions as regards tier 1 and 2 of the points-based system on 23 November.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions have taken place with Scottish Ministers in relation to (a) the temporary cap on immigration, and (b) the proposed permanent arrangements for a cap on immigration to the United Kingdom.[HL4222]
Baroness Neville-Jones: On 28 June the Home Secretary announced the interim limit and launched a consultation to ensure that we took a wide range of views and evidence on board and into account, before announcing our plans for the first full annual limit.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Collecting societies, such as the Design and Artists Copyright Society (DACS), are private members organisations which collect copyright royalties on behalf of the members who mandate them to act on their behalf. I shall write to the noble Lord with the contact details of DACS which I understand would be happy to deal with his question.
To ask Her Majesty's Government which states fail to provide travel documents for their nationals awaiting deportation from the United Kingdom;
24 Nov 2010 : Column WA346
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): Virtually all countries accept their obligation to accept back their nationals when their removal is enforced, provided nationality (and often, identity) can be satisfactorily established. This is often the key challenge to removing and/or deporting individuals from the UK. Effective co-operation with the country of origin is therefore essential to agree and implement documentation arrangements and methods of return.
Where a country declines to issue a document, in any circumstance, UKBA and FCO invest considerable effort to understand their concerns and help secure co-operation. As we continue to engage with such countries on migration issues, it would be inappropriate to name them.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The requested information is not available as figures on persons entering detention have been published only since the beginning of 2009. The attached table shows the number of children who entered detention, solely under Immigration Act powers, between January 2009 and June 2010.
|Children entering detention (1)(2)(M) held solely under Immigration Act powers, by place of initial detention, (excluding Harwich), 2009-Q2 2010 (3)(4)|
|Number of children|
|Children entering detention|
|Place of initial detention||2009||Q1 2010||Q2 2010|
Baroness Neville-Jones: The requested information is not available. Data for children entering detention under Immigration Act powers for July 2010 to September 2010 will be available from 25 November 2010 when data for the third quarter of 2010 are published.
The Home Office publishes statistics on the number of children detained solely under Immigration Act powers on a quarterly and annual basis, which are available from the House Library and from the Home Office's research, development and statistics website at: www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration-asylum-stats.html.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the number of small businesses that will be affected by the delay in universal broadband rollout; and what is their assessment of the impact on rural communities.[HL4329]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): It is estimated that 20 per cent of all BT lines are used by businesses and there are 2.7 million lines affected by sub 2Mbps broadband, although not all are in rural locations. The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has no estimate of the impact the lack of access to broadband will have on rural communities, but the Government have committed £530 million to facilitating the delivery of universal broadband and stimulating private sector investment to deliver the best super-fast broadband network in Europe by 2015.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the nature and extent of the impact of the reduction in eligibility for legal aid upon the practical enjoyment of the protection against unlawful discrimination and harassment under the Equality Act 2010.[HL4226]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the nature and extent of the impact of the reduction in eligibility for legal aid upon the exercise of rights of appeal against decisions of employment tribunals and county courts for alleged victims of unlawful discrimination and harassment. [HL4227]
The Government propose that legal aid should continue to be available for all unlawful discrimination claims and appeals currently within the scope of legal aid funding, regardless of the category of law in which they arise. This means that current funding for harassment claims and appeals under the Equality Act 2010 will also continue. Applicants would be subject to the usual tests of means and the merits of the case.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): Discussions have taken place with the national park authorities in recent months on the impact of the spending cuts. Officials are currently looking at how the overall reduction in Defra's budget will impact on individual spending programmes, including the grant which is given to the national park and Broads authorities. It is proposed to announce the individual grant settlements for each of the authorities when the local government funding announcements are published.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the position of community clinics for sexually transmitted infections and contraception under the new general practitioner commissioning structure; whether an impact assessment has been undertaken to identify the value of community clinics; whether community clinics will continue; whether the general practitioner consortium commission will undertake the work; and whether the current model of patient choice will continue.[HL4354]
Consultation documents accompanying the White Paper will set out the proposed funding and commissioning routes for public health services, including proposals about how comprehensive sexual health services might best be commissioned.
At a local level, directors of public health may commission local health providers, including general practitioners, to provide health improvement services, such as tailored advice and support services. We also need to work in new ways at a local level with key players in the community such as clinicians, public and sexual health specialists, local voluntary and independent sector organisations, and patient groups to ensure that sexual health services are commissioned and delivered in a way which meets local need and ensures patient choice.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 8 November (WA 30), what was the name of each of the firms that applied for approved bidder status to the National Framework for the supply of oxygen to the National Health Service.[HL3934]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 8 November (WA 30), what is the difference between a competition and a mini-competition in the supply of oxygen to the National Health Service within the NHS Framework.[HL3935]
Earl Howe: There are two main stages in the procurement of home oxygen services and both processes are competitive. In the first stage, bidders are competing to be appointed to a national framework. The National Health Service regions will then each run mini-competitions working from those organisations on the national framework. At that second stage, bidders to supply the regions will not have to submit a pre-qualification questionnaire, as they would already have been judged to meet the core requirements of the contract at national framework stage of the procurement.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 8 November (WA 30), what was the cost of the Home Oxygen Service to NHS procurement bodies within the United Kingdom for the last 12 months before September 2010.[HL3937]
Earl Howe: The department does not collect this information as we do not monitor the cost of home oxygen to the National Health Service procurement bodies. This information can be obtained from each NHS procurement body.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Interim Chairman of the Committee of the Office for Budget Responsibility to make it clear that it is a matter for the Interim Committee and the Committee to decide whether minutes of meetings should be published.[HL4043]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Paragraph 11 of Schedule 1 to the Budget Responsibility and National Audit Bill makes clear that the Office for Budgetary Responsibility (OBR) may determine its own procedure and the procedure of committees and sub-committees. This includes any procedure for publication of minutes.
The OBR has stated that it will be publishing a list of contacts between the OBR and Ministers, special advisers and their private offices shortly after each autumn and Budget forecast, beginning with the forthcoming forecast on 29 November.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their contribution to each police authority in England in the current year by way of specific grant for the employment of Police Community Support Officers. [HL3786]
|Allocations for Neighbourhood Policing fund (Specific Grant) in 2010-11-24|
|Force||Neighbourhood Policing Fund Allocation in 2010-11 (£m)|
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): Police authorities have responsibility for administering the police pension scheme and making specified decisions under it. The power to compel police officers with 30 years or more service to retire has been in the relevant regulations since they were enacted in 1987.
|Number of police officers in each police force area with 30 years service or more in 2009/10 1|
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether it is their intention to replace police involvement with Partnerships and Communities Together (PACT) in all neighbourhoods by the introduction of the proposed monthly Police Beat Meetings.[HL4148]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Government are committed to giving residents the opportunity to put forward their concerns and hold the police to account though regular beat meetings.
The Government want the public to trust the police and know that they will be there for them when they need them, so police forces will publish local crime data and hold beat meetings to strengthen the bond between the police and local people. It will be for police forces to decide how these relate to the current approach to Partnerships and Communities Together in neighbourhoods.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The spending review confirmed that the department will increase spending on health research in real terms. The department is fully committed to clinical and applied research into treatment and cures for cancer. The department's National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) welcomes applications for support into any aspect of human health, including prostate cancer. These applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the scientific quality of the proposals made. In all disease areas, the amount of NIHR funding depends on the volume and quality of scientific activity.
To ask the Leader of the House what discussions he has had with HM Treasury Ministers about Questions for Written Answer, given that on 18 November 19 out of 44 Questions that remained unanswered after 10 working days, dating back to 11 October, await replies from HM Treasury. [HL4324]
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): I have raised the matter of unanswered HM Treasury Questions with the Commercial Secretary to the Treasury. As of 24 November, the number of HM Treasury Questions remaining unanswered within the 10 working day target had fallen to five. I have encouraged the Treasury to keep its unanswered Questions to a minimum.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the allegations that the UK Border Agency is not complying with its duties under the Race Relations Act 1976; whether they will conduct an investigation into those allegations; and whether they will take action against employees of the UK Border Agency if necessary.[HL3933]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): In response to the chief inspector's report, the UK Border Agency has committed to ensuring its approach to processing visa applications is compliant with all aspects of the Equality Act (formerly the Race Relations Act). It is currently taking legal advice on this issue.
No investigation is planned by the UK Border Agency. All UK Border Agency entry clearance staff receive equality and diversity training which covers the provisions of the Equality Act and its relevance to visa decision-making.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking together with national and international organisations and with other governments and agencies to protect the livelihood of rainforest-dwelling people and to preserve the habitats of the wildlife and plants that live within those forests.[HL4213]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): At the recent Convention on Biological Diversity summit in Nagoya, parties agreed a target that:
We will work with our international partners to deliver this objective, including through our work to support the Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation intiative (REDD+) and our work to tackle illegal logging.
We are addressing the trade in illegal timber through the recently agreed EU Illegal Timber (Due Diligence) Regulation, in addition to the negotiation of voluntary
24 Nov 2010 : Column WA355
The Department for International Development (DfID) is supporting the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), a coalition of organisations working to improve forest tenure, rights and market access of local and indigenous communities. This work has positively affected the livelihoods of tens of millions of people. DfID is also helping improve the livelihoods of almost half a million members of community forest user groups in Nepal.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): Our assessment, based on information in the 4th assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and taking account of the 2010 Global Forest Resource Assessment of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, is that deforestation and associated land use change accounted for some 8 GtCO2/yr over the past decade. It contributed about 17 per cent of global greenhouse gas emissions in 2005. Global action to reduce the destruction of rainforests will therefore be crucial to limiting the rise in global temperatures to 2 degrees centigrade above pre-industrial levels.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The local growth White Paper sets out the Government's policies to encourage economic growth at the local level including the opportunity for local authorities and business to form local enterprise partnerships. In the West Midlands currently four such partnerships have been invited to form their boards.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): We do not plan for a replacement capability to enter service until around the middle of the next decade. No timetable has yet been set for the issue of an invitation to tender.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the independent scientific advisory committees currently offering advice to government departments, with an explanation of their function in each case. [HL3921]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Government are committed to taking decisions based on the best possible scientific evidence and advice. They value greatly the contributions made by hundreds of scientists, usually unpaid, to that process.
Published in March 2010, the Principles for Scientific Advice to Government are clear that Government should properly consider advice from independent scientific advisers, and not prejudge or reject it before its publication. These principles are now explicitly referred to in the Ministerial Code.
Scientific advisory committees currently advising the Government are listed below. Also provided are sources of information on or explanations of their function, and the descriptor of any proposed reform. I will place a copy of this table in the Library of the House.
It remains the case that all scientific advisory committees, whether advisory NDPBs or committees of experts, will be set up, be recruited to and provide independent advice in line with the Government's Principles for Scientific Advice and the Code of Practice for Scientific Advisory Committees.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Security Industry Authority (SIA) was set up under the Private Security Industry Act 2001 to drive out criminality and raise standards in the private security industry, and is responsible for the mandatory licensing of individuals working in it. Before the SIA will grant a licence, it carries out criminal record and other checks to establish that the applicant has the required training and qualifications. One of the sectors where a licence is required under the 2001 Act is door supervision.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): As at 15 November 2010 the number of people listed on the Security Industry Authority (SIA) website as having a valid licence totals 348,778.
Regularly updated details by type of valid licence are available on the SIA's website at www.sia. homeoffice.gov.uk/Pages/licensing-stats.aspx.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what were the outcomes of the workshop on severe space weather and the threat of a major electromagnetic pulse announced by Baroness Neville-Jones at the Electric Infrastructure Security summit in September. [HL3149]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Cabinet Office workshop held on 21 September 2010 was attended by representatives from the communications, transport and energy sectors, government, regulators, and space weather experts from both the UK and the US. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the likelihood and severity of future space weather events and the impact on infrastructure.
The meeting discussed how a reasonable worst case scenario could be formulated, based on historical data. A newly formed space environmental impact experts group (SEIEG) is now working with Cabinet Office to formulate quantitative assessments of the reasonable worst case scenario of the different solar phenomena that comprise a severe space weather event.
Following the main meeting, a further workshop discussed what is being done to limit impacts of space weather specifically on electricity networks. The Department for Energy and Climate Change is continuing to work with the electricity supply industry on this topic.
Both the main Cabinet Office meeting and the subsequent electricity network workshop concentrated on the severity and impacts of the hazard of space weather events. On the question of the threat of an electromagnetic pulse (EMP), I refer the noble Lord to the Answer my noble friend Lord Taylor of Holbeach provided on 2 November 2010 (Official Report, col. WA 392).
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many British naval ships are currently involved in anti-pirate duties in the internationally recommended transit corridor and the Somali basin; and what success they have had in the past year.[HL3839]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The UK is providing a sizeable contribution to the coalition military effort and has a leading role in countering pirate activity off the coast of Somalia. The Ministry of Defence has been at the forefront of the European Union mission-Operation Atalanta-since it was introduced in December 2008, providing the operation commander and Operation HQ at Northwood.
There are currently two Royal Naval ships involved in counterpiracy operations in the internationally recognised transit corridor and the Somali basin. HMS "Montrose" and RFA "Fort Victoria" are both currently tasked to NATO counterpiracy mission (Operation Ocean Shield).
Over the past year the Royal Navy has successfully disrupted a number of pirate action groups, continued to promote the best management practice to industry to increase resilience to attack as well as seeing eight pirates successfully prosecuted by the Kenyan authorities and passing over another six for prosecution. Coalition forces (including the Royal Navy) have disrupted 123 pirate attack groups so far in 2010.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): On 22 July, the Minister for Skills, John Hayes, published Skills for Sustainable Growth-a consultation document on the future direction of skills policy. The Minister for Skills made a Written Statement concerning the consultation to the House of Commons on that date as I did to the House of Lords. The
24 Nov 2010 : Column WA359
Baroness Wilcox: On 16 November the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, Vince Cable, launched the Government's skills strategy at the Association of Colleges' conference. The strategy sets out a vision for radical reform of the further education and skills system to deliver skills for sustainable growth, based on the coalition principles of fairness, responsibility and freedom.
Baroness Verma: Investing in skills training and employment for young people and women in Somalia is important to the country's development and future stability. The Department for International Development (DfID) has already funded some such programmes and is now considering a number of proposals from United Nations agencies, the World Bank and non-governmental organisations, that seek to create long-term jobs in agricultural production, livestock trading and other sectors, and to provide young people, particularly women, with skills training that will help them gain and retain long-term employment in more stable parts of Somalia. Final details will be available once the bilateral aid review has concluded in early 2011.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): In line with the Government's commitment to protect health spending, overall National Health Service spending will increase by 0.4 per cent in real terms over the course of the spending review period. The settlement will allow the NHS to maintain the quality of services to patients, including maternity services.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Roads and Motoring, Mike Penning, on 3 November (HC Deb, col 801W) stating that they will no longer fund the Anglian Prince tugboat as an emergency towing vessel, whether they will apply the same financial criteria to the provision of emergency aids to navigation and instruct the General Lighthouse Authorities to reduce their costs by using commercial vessels.[HL3920]
Earl Attlee: Less than 2 per cent of the operational time of the ships currently owned and operated by the General Lighthouse Authorities is spent on average dealing with emergency hazards and aids to navigation casualties. The Department for Transport reviews the provision of the vessels regularly as part of the fleet review process, the last review concluding in 2009.
Baroness Verma: The Government of Uganda have made some progress in improving the framework for their next elections in 2011, partly in response to the recommendations of the observation missions to the 2006 elections. These include amendments to electoral legislation and update of the voter register. The UK Government do, however, retain concerns about the evenness of the playing field between government and opposition, and challenges to freedom of expression and assembly. It will be particularly important to the prospects for free, fair and peaceful elections in 2011 that Uganda's electoral commission and the Ugandan police force demonstrate their independence and competence during the campaign period and in the organisation of the polls.
We are providing a range of assistance to encourage free and fair elections in Uganda, including technical support to the electoral commission through a deepening democracy programme. Some of this support includes civic and voter education, procurement of an electronic results transmission and dissemination system, and the provision of training for returning officers. We will also continue to raise the importance of free, fair and peaceful elections with the Ugandan authorities and Uganda's political leaders.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of Uganda about freedom of the press, freedom for political
24 Nov 2010 : Column WA361
Baroness Verma: Freedom of expression and assembly is a right recognised by the constitution of Uganda. The UK Government are encouraged by some reports of progress in upholding this right, including the recent abolition of the crime of sedition by the constitutional court of Uganda, and continuing evidence of open debate in Uganda's media.
The UK Government continue to make representations to the Ugandan Government on the proposed Public Order Management Bill urging the Ugandan authorities to ensure that any legislation in this area strikes an appropriate and legitimate balance between maintaining public order and protecting the rights to free expression and assembly. We have made representations in similar terms on a draft Press and Journalism Bill that has been presented to the Ugandan Parliament.
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