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To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the consequences of replacing the need for a personal licence to carry out experiments on animals with a requirement for registration. [HL5473]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The new European Union Directive 2010/63/EU requires authorisation (or by other means) of those who currently work in the UK under personal licences.
We are weighing up the implications of the various requirements of the directive with a view to seeking views in the public consultation. We plan to reach firm decisions on the way forward before the Summer Recess after considering the responses.
We are considering two options in the impact assessment (which will form part of the consultation)-"copy out" in which we would transpose the minimum requirements of the directive (some of which are lower than current United Kingdom requirements); and a second option in which we would retain current United Kingdom requirements where they are higher. We are not yet at a point where we can say which option we favour. The United Kingdom's current requirements for personal licences are more detailed than required by the directive and a decision will need to be taken in due course.
Baroness Neville-Jones: European Directive 2010/63/EU on the protection of animals used for scientific purposes is to be implemented in United Kingdom legislation in January 2013. A detailed assessment of the impact of its provisions including those relating to inspections is under way and will in due course be included in a public consultation on options for transposition.
We are weighing up the implications of the various requirements of the directive with a view to seeking views in the public consultation. We plan to reach firm decisions on the way forward before the Summer Recess after considering the responses on this and other issues.
Baroness Neville-Jones: We are weighing up the implications of the various requirements of the directive with a view to seeking views in the public consultation. We plan to reach firm decisions on the way forward before the Summer Recess after considering the responses.
We are considering two options in the impact assessment (which will form part of the consultation)-"copy out" in which we would transpose the minimum requirements of the directive (some of which are lower than current United Kingdom requirements); and a second option in which we would retain current United Kingdom requirements where they are higher. We are not yet at a point where we can say which option we favour.
To ask Her Majesty's Government to whom the PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) report on the Royal Bank of Scotland is addressed; and whether PwC has placed any restrictions on the publication or release of the report to third parties.[HL5422]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): On 2 December the Financial Services Authority (FSA) announced the conclusion of a supervisory investigation into the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). The investigation looked specifically at the conduct of senior individuals at the bank, the acquisition of ABN AMRO in 2007 and the 2008 capital raisings. The FSA conducted the investigation with assistance from PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).
The Treasury has not seen a copy of the contents of the review, including the output of the assistance provided by PwC. The noble Lord's inquiry has therefore been passed to the FSA, which will write directly to him on this subject.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the report produced by PricewaterhouseCoopers for the Financial Services Authority into the collapse of the Royal Bank of Scotland found any failings by the auditors.[HL5599]
Lord Sassoon: On 2 December the Financial Services Authority (FSA) announced the conclusion of a supervisory investigation into the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS). This work considered if regulatory rules had been broken and looked specifically at the conduct of senior individuals at the bank, the acquisition of ABN AMRO in 2007 and the 2008 capital raisings. The investigation confirmed that RBS had made a series of bad decisions in the years immediately before the crisis. However the FSA said that the issues investigated did not warrant any enforcement action, either against RBS or against individuals.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Officials from HM Treasury and the Royal Mint have met with representatives of the Automatic Vending Association on several occasions in the past year to discuss the implications of the introduction of new coins, in particular the proposal to change the metal content of 5p and 10p coins.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): We are looking at a number of ways of helping businesses and protecting employees as part of our ongoing employment law review. As part of that review, the Government are considering calls for changes to the employment tribunal system. We will make any announcements following on from that review in due course.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will extend the consultation period on the draft energy national policy statement to allow public consideration of the Institute of Engineering and Technology and KEMA report on the costs of building new high voltage transmission lines. [HL5773]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The IET report on costs of overhead transmission lines and undergrounding is a factual, independent review which will not be subject to public consultation because it will be published as an expert report. The department will accept it as an authoritative report and we will reference it in the energy national policy statements. In these circumstances we do not consider that extending the NPS consultation (and therefore delaying approval of the NPSs) is necessary or warranted.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the proposal by the chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Industry, Research and Energy that the ban on incandescent light bulbs should be lifted in view of the dangers to health from mercury contained in energy-saving light bulbs.[HL5590]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): Compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) contain a small amount of mercury in order to operate. This is limited by the restriction of hazardous substances directive to 5 mg (and will be further tightened over the next two years). Before the ban on placing 100W incandescent light bulbs on the market came into force in September 2009, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) reviewed the potential health effects of mercury exposure from broken CFLs, and found that the exposure was likely to be small and very unlikely to cause harm. The HPA has published a factsheet on mercury and CFLs containing precautionary guidance on how to deal with any broken bulbs which is available on the HPA website.
CFLs also cause less mercury to be emitted to the environment over their life time than incandescent light bulbs. This is because mercury is emitted from power stations during electricity generation. As CFLs are more energy efficient, less energy needs to be generated. Nevertheless, they should be disposed of responsibly.
The Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment Directive (WEEE) requires CFLs to be recycled. WEEE requires distributors to take back used electrical equipment. In the UK many retailers have opted instead to pay into a central distributor take-back scheme, which has funded many local authority recycling sites. From these sites, manufacturers are obliged to fund the transport, treatment and recycling, where most of the mercury can be recovered.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what has been the percentage contribution of wind turbines to the United Kingdom's output of energy power from 1 December 2010 to the latest date available; and at what percentage of their capacity they were operating during that period.[HL5750]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): DECC publishes data on the UK's primary energy output, as well as electricity generation, including wind power, on a quarterly basis. Figures for the last quarter of 2010, which will show the proportion of
17 Jan 2011 : Column WA5
DECC publishes data on the load factors from all UK onshore and offshore wind turbines on an annual basis. Across 2009, the load factor for all UK wind farms was 28 per cent. This load factor is calculated by taking the generation of wind farms that have been operational for the full course of the year and then dividing by the total maximum output that would be possible given the installed capacity.
Electricity generation figures for the six weeks from 1 December 2010 are available for the 40 per cent of wind generation which is operationally metered by National Grid to assist in balancing the system. Over this time period, the load factor of operationally metered wind generation was 23 per cent.
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: Statistical information about the Cabinet Office's Freedom of Information cases is published by the Ministry of Justice on a quarterly basis. Information up until September 2010 is available on the Ministry of Justice's website at the following location: http://www.justice.gov.uk/publications/ freedomofinformationquarterly.htm and copies are also in the Library of the House. Information for October-December 2010 will be published in due course.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Earl Howe on 21 December (WA 291), whether they will give further consideration to splitting research money between type 1 diabetes and type 2 diabetes, and consult with various research centres on the desirability of this course of action. [HL5606]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department does not currently intend to allocate, or consult on the allocation of, specific funds for type 1 and type 2 diabetes research.
The department's National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) welcomes applications for support into any aspect of human health. 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.
The Department of Health's National Institute for Health Research Clinical Research Network currently has 201 studies in diabetes that are in set-up or recruiting patients. The breakdown is as follows:
|Type||Number of Studies|
To ask Her Majesty's Government what powers they have to ensure that continence patients have access to the full range of urology appliances listed under Part IV of the Drug Tariff (a) under the current commissioning arrangements, and (b) under the proposed new NHS commissioning arrangements. [HL5576]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Prescribers operating under National Health Service primary medical care contracts are able to prescribe, as appropriate for their patients, appliances listed in Part IX of the Drug Tariff. Dispensers operating under NHS Pharmaceutical Services provisions (pharmacies, dispensing appliance contractors and dispensing doctors) are able to dispense prescriptions for these products. We have no plans to introduce changes to this as a result of introducing the proposed new NHS commissioning arrangements.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The United Kingdom has a reciprocal health agreement with the Isle of Man. The agreement, which came into effect on 1 October 2010, enables UK citizens visiting the Isle of Man to receive free necessary healthcare. Similarly, visitors to the UK from the Isle of Man are able to receive free National Health Service care that becomes necessary on a temporary visit. The agreement does not cover elective treatment, as this is a separate commissioning arrangement.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps have been taken to make local authority personnel charged with completing the Alternative Provision Census aware of paragraph 2.2.1 of Claiming Back Funding for College and Special Needs: Guidance from Government October 2010.[HL5441]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The advice in question was emphasised in the 2010 Alternative Provision Guidance document. The emphasis was noted in the version history at the beginning of the guidance document as a way of bringing this to the attention of readers. A readiness email was sent to local authorities in December 2009 with a link to the 2010 guidance, together with some basic readiness advice; this included stressing the importance of the collection to local authority funding.
Guidance for the 2011 collection was made available on the department's website in October 2010. A readiness email is due to be issued to local authorities in January drawing attention to the guidance and providing the usual advice.
To ask the Chairman of Committees what assessment has been made of the flood defences of the Palace of Westminster in light of possible impacts of climate change; what measures are used to calculate the highest water level in the River Thames at this point; and what that level has been in each of the past 10 years.[HL5569]
The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): In November 2010, the Parliamentary Estates Directorate commissioned a flood risk assessment for the Parliamentary Estate. This identified the Palace of Westminster as being within an area benefiting from flood defence (the Thames Barrier and the Embankment wall) and therefore concluded that there is minimal risk from river flooding. Parliament does not monitor the water levels of the River Thames, and has no information on the highest levels reached. River level data are gathered by the Environment Agency.
As Director General for the Office for National Statistics (ONS), I have been asked to respond to your question concerning how much the rate of non-EU immigration has been reduced since May 2010. .
The Office for National Statistics produces estimates of long-term international migration, primarily based on the International Passenger Survey. Our latest provisional estimates, for the year to March 2010, were published on 25 November 2010 and can be
17 Jan 2011 : Column WA9
As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking how many people aged 75 and over were reported to have died during the last 12 months broken down by day of the week where data is available. (HL5693)
Provisional weekly figures for deaths registered in England and Wales, in the latest eight weeks for which data are available, can be accessed on the Office for National Statistics website at the following link: www.statistics.gov.uk/statbase/Productasp?vlnk=9684
|Table 1. Number of deaths of people aged 75 years and over, by day of week, England and Wales, 20091,2|
|Day of week||Deaths|
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether Mr Dave Ramsden, Chief Economic Adviser at HM Treasury, or his staff attend meetings of the Committee of the Office for Budget Responsibility or receive papers considered by the committee or minutes of its meetings.[HL5169]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Office for Budget Responsibility's (OBR) approach to meetings of the Budget Responsibility Committee is the responsibility of the OBR. I have asked the OBR to reply.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether Mr Dave Ramsden, Chief Economic Adviser at HM Treasury, or his staff attend meetings of the Committee of the Office for Budget Responsibility or receive papers considered by the Committee or minutes of its meetings.[HL5169]
Firstly, please accept my apologies for the delay, due to the Christmas break, in replying to your question. As set out in the Foreword to the November Economic and Fiscal Outlook, the forecast process involves discussions with a range of Government officials with expertise in economic and fiscal forecasting, including with relevant experts in the Treasury.
However, all the assumptions and judgments in the forecast were agreed solely by the Budget Responsibility Committee. We came under no pressure from ministers, special advisers or officials to change any of our conclusions.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will publish the Pilling report on official histories and the Hamilton report on the marketing of official histories prepared for the Cabinet Office.[HL5634]
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: No. The Pilling and Hamilton reports were internal advice to the Cabinet Office about the management of the official history programme. In the light of the advice, it was decided to continue with the existing programme but, in view of the public spending constraints, not to commission any new histories until the existing programme is nearing completion.
The majority of police forces are not currently recruiting trainees. They are assessing the impact of funding reductions and will decide on further recruitment and training when the impact of reductions is fully described. It is therefore not possible to estimate the number of recruits expected to be in training 2010-15.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Home Secretary announced on 13 July 2010 that the counter-terrorism powers of stop and search under Section 44 of the Terrorism Act 2000, which could allow random stop and search, would be reviewed. This was in the light of the European Court of Human Rights judgment in the case of Gillan and Quinton v. the United Kingdom, that found the powers were not in accordance with the law. The review is nearing completion. Its findings will be reported to Parliament shortly.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 22 December (WA 352), whether in the original Northern Ireland Executive (NIE) proposal to rescue the Presbyterian Mutual Society, they believed that the NIE £25 million contribution would form a loan or a donation. [HL5586]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The proposal put forward by, and agreed with, the Northern Ireland Executive (NIE), was that the £25 million from HM Government (which will not be repaid) is to be matched by an equal contribution from the NIE. This enables the NIE to bring forward its own plans to address the needs of Presbyterian Mutual Society members.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will review the public holidays on New Year's Day and May Day in the light of their proximity to other bank holidays and consider their replacement with a two-day summer public holiday in July or two additional statutory days of annual leave. [HL5742]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Government regularly receive representations to consider making changes to the pattern of bank holidays. We keep all these suggestions under consideration.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they are providing to children in primary and secondary schools in England who do not have access to (a) a computer, or (b) broadband internet, in their home. [HL4985]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Government are very aware of the importance of access to technology to bridge the digital divide both at school and at home. It has recently concluded the home access programme which has provided help for over 270,000 disadvantaged households with children in years 3-9 in state-maintained education in England. The programme has provided free computers and a broadband internet connection for one year in their home. Independent research has shown that this has helped both eligible children and their parents who have, for example, developed their online job search skills. In terms of schools we know that over 99 per cent of all schools now have broadband internet access. Outside schools, there are other ways in which people can get online, for example by visiting a UK Online Centre, and we will continue to review how to make the most effective use of technology to support learning for all children.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they will encourage schools to continue to participate in the Healthy Schools Initiative and the Targeted Mental Health in Schools Project, funding for both of which will end in March 2011; and how they envisage these projects should be funded in future.[HL5383]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): From April 2011, the Healthy Schools Initiative will move towards being school-led rather than government-led so that participation is determined according to local needs and priorities. Schools will be encouraged to continue to participate in the programme through simplified online tools and delivery processes. They will retain the flexibility to access locally-based professional support.
From April 2011, funding for Targeted Mental Health in Schools (TaMHS) services for children and young people will be available, at local discretion,
17 Jan 2011 : Column WA13
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Secretary of State, with the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, announced last June the creation of an Olympic-style schools sport event.
This event will form the pinnacle of a pyramid of school sports competitions. Other layers will be intra-school, inter-school and local authority or county level competitions. Every school, including mainstream and special schools, will be given the opportunity to get involved. It is our intention to use £10 million of Lottery funding, distributed by Sport England, to establish this competition for young people.
A further £90 million in the period 2011-12 to 2014-15 will give extra support to schools for the delivery of competitive sport for their pupils, on top of what schools choose to allocate to sport from their school budgets.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Civil Contingencies Act (2004) requires category one responders (such as local authorities, police and fire and rescue authorities) to have plans in place to respond to emergencies and every local authority is required to maintain reserves, one of whose main purposes is to meet unexpected costs from such emergencies.
When a severe weather emergency is deemed beyond the ability of the authority to handle without extra financial assistance the Department for Communities and Local Government will consider activation of the Bellwin scheme. The Bellwin scheme is a well known method of compensating local authorities for immediate actions they have to take to safeguard life and property and prevent suffering and severe inconvenience following emergencies. This scheme of emergency financial assistance is to help local authorities meet uninsurable costs they incur. Qualifying costs typically covered by the Bellwin
17 Jan 2011 : Column WA14
In addition, in the event of an exceptional emergency, individual departments: Department for Transport, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) and Department for Education and the Department for Communities and Local Government, consider providing financial support for various aspects of recovery. Full details are provided by each department and can also be viewed on the UK Resilience Website hosted by the Cabinet Office at http://interim. cabinetoffice.gov.uk/ukresilience.aspx.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many people have died so far this winter due to the extreme cold weather; and what steps they are taking to encourage energy companies to assist vulnerable people, especially the elderly and disabled, to meet their liabilities for domestic energy costs. [HL5758]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): Excess winter deaths for England and Wales in the winter of 2009-10 (the latest period for which figures are available) were estimated to be 25,400. This was a decrease of 30 per cent compared with the number in the previous winter, but is slightly higher than the level seen in 2007-08. The majority of these deaths occurred among those aged 75 and over.
In the Spending Review last year, the Government announced that from April 2011, energy suppliers would be required to provide greater help with the financial costs of energy bills to more of the most vulnerable fuel poor households, through the Warm Home Discount. On 2 December 2 DECC launched a consultation seeking views on the design of this scheme. The consultation will run until 14 January and a response will be published in due course.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they are preparing for the possible consequences, in terms of disorder, internal displacement of people and demand for humanitarian aid, of the referendum in Sudan. [HL5591]
Baroness Verma: The UK Government are closely involved in supporting the United Nations-led contingency planning and preparedness for any referendum-related crisis. The UN-led plan focuses on security and
17 Jan 2011 : Column WA15
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Neville-Jones on 22 December (WA 358), how many out-of-country visas were issued in the last three years to non-European Union students and how many in-country visas were issued to such students in those years.[HL5642]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The information requested is given in the attached table. The table shows statistics for visas
17 Jan 2011 : Column WA16
Statistics for visas issued for the purpose of study are published in table 1.1 of Control of Immigration: Quarterly Statistical Summary United Kingdom July-September 2010 while grants of extensions of leave to remain to students are published in table 4.1. This Home Office statistical bulletin is available from the Home Office's Research, Development and Statistics website at: www.homeoffice.gov.uk/rds/immigration-asylum-stats.html. A copy has been placed in the House Library.
|Entry clearance visas to the United Kingdom issued and grants of an extension of leave to remain (1)(2) in the United Kingdom abfor the purpose of study (3)(4), excluding EEA and Swiss nationals, Q4 2007 to Q3 2010|
|Number of decisions|
|Quarter/Year||Entry clearance visas issued (M)||Grants of an extension of leave to remain|
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