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There are no Commonwealth countries to which as a matter of policy the Government will not return failed asylum seekers for safety reasons.

Further information on asylum is available from the Control of Immigration publications available in the Library of the House and the Home Office Science website at: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/science-research/ research-statistics.

Bank of England

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Bank of England contributed substantially to the analysis of the lessons from the financial crisis, both for the regulators and for central banks, in speeches and in public evidence to parliamentary committees from the start of the crisis. It also contributed to the Government's own review during 2008.

The Bank highlighted in particular the need for a resolution regime for banks, better regulation of bank liquidity, and revised liquidity insurance arrangements that could be drawn without risk of stigmatising the beneficiaries. The 2009 Banking Act gave the Bank responsibility for bank resolution. Temporary arrangements for liquidity insurance introduced in 2008 were replaced by a permanent liquidity insurance facility in the Bank's 2010 sterling market framework (the Red Book).

Charities

Question

Asked by Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Charity Commission for England and Wales. I have asked the commission to reply:

Letter from Sam Younger, Chief Executive, Charity Commission, to Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts, dated 13 May 2011.

As the Chief Executive of the Charity Commission, I have been asked to respond to your written Parliamentary Question on which regulators of exempt charities have signed memoranda of understanding with the Charity Commission. [HL91011

The Charity Commission has a memorandum of understanding with each of the following regulators of exempt charities (known as principal regulators):

the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), principal regulator for the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew;the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), principal regulator for sponsored national museums and galleries; andthe Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE), principal regulator for most universities and other higher education institutions in England.

The first principal regulator appointments took effect on 1 June 2010.

On 30 March 2011, the Government announced proposals for the following groups of charities:

the governing bodies of voluntary and foundation schools (England and Wales);academy schools (England only); andsixth form college corporations (England only).

Academies will be made exempt and the other charities in this group will have their exemption restored. The Secretary of State for Education will be appointed as principal regulator for those charities in England, and the Welsh Assembly Government will be appointed as principal regulator for the governing bodies of voluntary and foundation schools in Wales.



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The Charity Commission expects to establish further memoranda of understanding with these organisations when these changes come into effect.

Charities Act 2006

Question

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: Chapters 2 and 3 of Part 3 of the Charities Act 2006 have been implemented. However, Chapter 1 of Part 3 of that Act, which makes provision for the regulation of public charitable collections, has not yet been implemented. Several representations have been received about the implementation of the public charitable collections provisions from charity sector representatives and local licensing authorities, arguing both for and against implementation.

No decision has been made on whether the relevant provisions of the Act will be implemented or not. Instead the review of the Act, due to start later this year, will consider the options for the future licensing and regulation of public charitable collections.

Consumer Prices Index

Question

Asked by Lord German

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.



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Letter from Stephen Penneck, Director General for ONS, to Lord German, dated May 2011.

As Director-General for the Office for National Statistics (ONS), I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking whether the review of the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) and Retail Prices Index (RPI) will include a review of the reasons why the difference between these two indices is larger in Britain than in other European Union and Commonwealth countries. [HL9225].

ONS has been asked by the UK Statistics Authority to consider the strengths and weaknesses of the CPI and the RPI as macroeconomic measures of inflation and as compensation indices. In response to this request, the ONS intends to publish this summer an article that will describe the main current consumer price indices and future plans including the production of further variants. On current plans, it is likely that this article will also include an overview of the differences between the national CPI (RPI) and the Harmonised Index of Consumer Prices (CPI) in the UK and how these compare to the differences between such indices in other countries.

Crime: Motoring Convictions

Questions

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The number of persons found guilty at all courts for driving without insurance or having a vehicle on the road without a valid tax disc, in England and Wales, 1996 to 2009, can be viewed in the table.

Court proceedings data for 2010 are planned for publication on 26 May 2011.

Information for Scotland and Northern Ireland are matters for the Scottish Executive and Northern Ireland Office respectively.



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Number of persons found guilty at all courts for selected offences, England and Wales, 1996-2009(1)(2)

Statute

Offence description

1996

1997

1998

1999

2000(3)

2001

2002

Road Traffic Act 1988 S. 143(2)

Using motor vehicle uninsured against third party risks

169,311

162,504

163,039

160,588

167,105

164,342

179.177

Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994

Keeping a motor vehicle on highway without a current vehicle excise licence

130,154

135,938

167,120

158,698

168,547

141,105

161,515

Statute

Offence description

2003

2004

2005

2006

2007

2008

2009

Road Traffic Act 1988 S. 143(2)

Using motor vehicle uninsured against third party risks

205.908

216,649

198,425

191.476

171.156

145,631

131,309

Vehicle Excise and Registration Act 1994

Keeping a motor vehicle on highway without a current vehicle excise licence

169,656

126,061

100,738

76.066

72,849

58,393

169,656

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

Lord McNally: The number of persons proceeded against at magistrates' courts and found guilty at all courts for "dishonestly making a false representation to make a gain for oneself or another or to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk", under the Fraud Act 2006, in England and Wales, for the years 2008 to 2009 (latest available) can be viewed in the table.

Data for 2010 are planned for publication on 26 May 2011.

It is not possible to separately identify from defendants who were prosecuted or convicted of this offence those who were motorists making fraudulent insurance claims.

Information for Scotland and Northern Ireland are matters for the Scottish Executive and Northern Ireland Office respectively.

The Department for Transport have provided the following information on the number of and cost of fraudulent insurance claims made by motorists:

According to the Insurance Investigation Bureau, undetected general insurance claims (that is all claims including motor insurance) fraud totals £1.9 billion a year and the cost of fraud adds on average £44 to every policyholder's insurance premium.

The Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) launched on 26 July 2006 to provide a cost effective, tactical solution for the detection and prevention of organised, cross industry fraud, supporting the wider Association of British Insurers industry fraud strategy. The IFB leads or co-ordinates the industry response to the identification of criminal fraud networks and works closely with the police and law enforcement agencies. http://www. insurancefraudbureau.

The Department for Transport is working with the insurance industry to allow insurers to check with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency database, the accuracy of details given by drivers applying for insurance (for example penalty points record, disqualifications). This will help tackle fraud and also prevent situations where drivers who have given inaccurate information when taking out insurance being detected only when they come to make a claim to their insurer.

Number of persons proceeded against at magistrates' courts and found guilty at all courts for selected offence under the Fraud Act 2006(1), in England and Wales, 2008 to 2009(2)(3)
Proceeded againstFound guilty
Sections of Fraud Act 2006Offence description2008(4)20092008(4)2009

SS.1(2a), (3) & (4) & 2

Dishonestly making a false representation to make a gain for oneself or another or to cause loss to another or to expose another to a risk

5,717

8,521

4,526

6,607

Education: English Baccalaureate

Question

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The English Baccalaureate is not a qualification in its own right. It is recognition of the achievement of a combination of GCSEs, or accredited versions of iGCSEs, in English, maths, the sciences, a language, and history or geography. The individual GCSEs or iGCSEs in those subjects do not all have to be achieved in a single exam session to count towards the English Baccalaureate. All results achieved before the end of year 11 will be taken into account for the purposes of determining whether a student has achieved the English Baccalaureate.

We intend in due course to issue certificates to recognise where students have achieved the English Baccalaureate. We are currently considering the mechanism for doing so and whether it will be feasible to issue certificates to those who complete the combination after the age of 16.

Elections: Voting System

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): We estimate the total cost of the referendum will be between £106 million and £120 million. This includes the costs of the conduct of the poll and the freepost mailings that were sent out by the two designated organisations. The final cost of the referendum will be known when all accounts from regional counting officers and counting officers for the conduct of the poll have been received and settled.

Energy: Green Deal

Question

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The Green Deal is a market based mechanism and take up will depend on the level of consumer demand. The Green Deal impact assessment (IA), published alongside the Energy Bill in December 20101, contained illustrative scenarios for the take-up of Green Deal measures. Detailed profiles of the illustrative take-up scenarios are in Annexe 4 of the IA. Some households would be expected to take up more than one measure.

Energy: Wind Farms

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Crown Estate's future rental income from leases on offshore wind projects will depend on the developing capacity and efficiency of the technology. In turn, these factors will depend on the cost structure of, and competition within, the energy industry and the scope for exports.

EU: Membership

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The UK strongly supports Iceland's application to join the EU and looks forward to concluding negotiations as soon as Iceland has met the agreed conditions. On 26 May 2010 the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) Surveillance Authority issued a letter of formal notice to Iceland stating that it was obliged under European Economic Area (EEA) law to ensure reimbursement of UK depositors in the failed Icelandic banks. On 17 June 2010, the European Council decided to open accession negotiations with Iceland and made clear that progress would depend on Iceland addressing existing obligations such as those identified by the EFTA Surveillance Authority under the EEA agreement, including in the area of financial services. These conditions are fully reflected in the negotiating framework formally adopted by the EU and Iceland on 26 July 2010.



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Freedom of Information

Question

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Ministry of Justice has published online guidance, aimed at central government but accessible to all public authorities, on the handling of freedom of information requests. This guidance recommends that public authorities may wish to consider seeking legal advice on the use of certain exemptions in the Freedom of Information Act 2000, and can be found at: http://www.justice.gov.uk/guidance/freedom-and-rights/freedom-of-information/exemptions-guidance.htm.

Public bodies across the wider public sector may choose proactively to consult the relevant government department for its view on the use of legal advice in handling a Freedom of Information request.

Government Departments: Budgets

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) regularly reviews and reprioritises its budgets to ensure that funds are spent in order to achieve the Government's foreign policy priorities in the most cost-effective manner. This includes a monthly discussion of the financial position at its board on which the UK Trade and Investment chief executive sits.

Details of FCO expenditure including the level of funds not spent by the end of the financial year are presented to Parliament in our resource accounts each year. We expect that our 2010-11 accounts will be published in June 2011.

Government: Ministerial Posts

Question

Asked by Lord Trefgarne



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Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The Ministerial and other Salaries Act 1975 limits the number of paid Ministers to 109.

Higher Education: Sites

Question

Asked by Lord Inglewood

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Neither the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills nor the Skills Funding Agency collect or hold information pertaining to the number of further education colleges located on sites that are let to them by third parties.

Higher Education: Student Loans

Question

Asked by The Countess of Mar

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): We do not share income-contingent student loans data with credit reference agencies and currently have no plans to do so. As data are not shared, they will not impact on an individual's credit score, either positively or negatively. The Council of Mortgage Lenders has advised that it is very unlikely that a student loan would impact materially on an individual's ability to get a mortgage.

Home Office: Internships

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Browning): The Home Office and its agencies has offered internships to 20 people since 8 May 2010, 19 as part of the fast-stream summer placements and one Windsor fellowship. These interns will take up their placements between June and August 2011. These internships relate to the graduate fast stream and are exempt from the recruitment freeze.

Immigration

Questions

Asked by Lord Avebury



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The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Browning): All UK Border Agency approved providers of English language tests operate globally and there are already many thousands of testing centres worldwide. The number makes it impractical to provide the information in this answer. The UK Border Agency's website provides the names of the approved English language test providers and the organisations themselves are able to tell a prospective applicant where their nearest test centre is. The UK Border Agency is working with its providers to further extend the coverage of test centres worldwide. We are exempting from the language requirements those applicants who are applying to join a spouse or partner in the UK and who are long-term residents of countries where no testing is yet available. The list of countries where Al testing is not available is below and will be revised as and when testing becomes available there.

Angola2

Burkina Faso2

Cambodia2

Cape Verde2

Central African Republic2

Chad2

Comoros1

Congo4

Democratic Republic of Congo4

Dominican Republic5

Equatorial Guinea1

Eritrea4

Gabon1

Guinea3

Guinea-Bissau1

Ivory Coast3

Kiribati1

Lesotho1

Liberia3

Madagascar2

Maldives1

Rwanda4

Samoa1

Sao Tome Principe1

Seychelles1

Sierra Leone3

Somalia1

Swaziland1

Togo1

Wallis and Futuna Islands1

Asked by Lord Judd



18 May 2011 : Column WA344

Baroness Browning: The Government are committed to fulfilling their obligations to refugees from Libya under the 1951 Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees, and under EU law.

We are also committed to offering practical assistance to other EU member states, especially those particularly exposed to flows from north Africa, such as Italy and Malta, to enable them similarly to fulfil their obligations and to protect those fleeing persecution.

Internet: Broadband

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Rawlings: Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) exists to execute government policy, which is to deliver the best superfast broadband network in Europe by the end of this Parliament. The Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport is satisfied that it is doing so.

Investor Protection Treaties

Questions

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The UK has 98 investor protection and promotion agreements (IPPAs) currently in force. A list of all IPPAs, including the date on which each was brought into force, may be found on the website of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office: http://www.fco. gov.uk/en/publications-and-documents/treaties/treaty-texts/ippas-investment-promotion/.

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

Baroness Wilcox: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has policy responsibility for investor protection treaties. BIS decides on a case by case basis what action, if any, will be taken by the UK Government as to enforcement of these treaties.



18 May 2011 : Column WA345

Israel and Palestine: Quartet

Question

Asked by Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Since 2007, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has seconded: one higher executive officer equivalent (salary range £23,157 to £31,495); one grade 7 equivalent (salary range £38,852 to £53,783) who has since retired; and one senior civil servant (salary range £57,300 to £116,000) to work in the Office of the Quartet Representative. Salary costs of those seconded have been met by the FCO.

The Department for International Development also funds a secondee to provide expert governance analysis (Grade 6 equivalent, salary range £55,814 to £66,873).

A locally engaged secondee to the Office of the Quartet Representative in Jerusalem was also funded through the Conflict Prevention Pool from October 2007-August 2008 at a total cost of £30,874.

Kyrgyzstan

Question

Asked by Viscount Waverley

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We welcome the decision of the Kyrgyz Government to allow the Kyrgyzstan Inquiry Commission (KIC) to conduct its work unhindered, and its willingness to accept responsibility for some of the issues identified in the KIC's subsequent report. We understand that the Kyrgyz Government intend to establish a special commission for discharging the report's recommendations. We believe this provides an opportunity for the Kyrgyz authorities to focus on the process of rehabilitation that is much needed in Kyrgyzstan, including in respect of the report's recommendations on accountability and impunity. This can make an important contribution to a peaceful, stable, democratic and prosperous future for all the people of Kyrgyzstan. We will continue to monitor developments closely. We will also consider ways in which we can build on our existing support for Kyrgyzstan-including, for example, a recent commitment of £200,000 to the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe's community security initiative, which is designed to reduce inter-ethnic tensions by promoting respect for human rights and providing advice on community policing principles.



18 May 2011 : Column WA346

Libya

Questions

Asked by Lord Chidgey

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): All appropriate security measures are being taken to protect personnel deployed in Libya for training and humanitarian activities in the event of continued fighting in and around strongholds of forces opposed to Muammar Gaddafi in Libya.

Asked by Lord Chidgey

Lord Howell of Guildford: We maintain diplomatic relations with the Libyan Government. We have used these links to make clear to the regime that it must comply in full with UN Security Council Resolutions 1970 and 1973, desist from further violence and withdraw military forces to barracks. We co-ordinate closely with our international partners with the objectives of bringing about a ceasefire, helping the people of Libya to plan now for the political future that they want to build, and preparing for post-conflict economic reconstruction. In all contacts with the regime, we have underlined that Gaddafi must go and that we support the Libyan people's yearning for a better future.

Magistrates: Retirement

Question

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Government have considered the merits of such a change, following discussions with the judiciary and others. For the immediate future we remain convinced that the current mandatory retirement regime for judicial office-holders, including magistrates, supports the legitimate aim of a justice system that is independent, fair and efficient. There are no plans to change the compulsory retirement age for magistrates.



18 May 2011 : Column WA347

Marine Environment: Gibraltar

Questions

Asked by Lord Hoyle

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Our ambassador in Madrid made representations about the "Atalaya" incident to the Spanish Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on 6 May 2011. Our embassy in Madrid followed this up with a written complaint to the MFA on 9 May 2011. Our representations have stated clearly that the behaviour of the "Atalaya" was an unacceptable violation of British sovereignty over British Gibraltar territorial waters.

We are aware of the Government of Gibraltar's concern about the timeframes within which HMS "Scimitar" and HMS "Sabre" can be mobilised, and their call for a review of the operational arrangements of the Royal Navy's Gibraltar Squadron. We balance our military and diplomatic responses to deter challenges to sovereignty on the waters, and will continue to do so.

Asked by Lord Luce

Lord Howell of Guildford: There have been no other Spanish navy incursions in the past six months into British Gibraltar territorial waters (BGTW). However, during this period there have been a number of serious incidents involving Spanish vessels, about which we have protested formally to the Spanish authorities. We take these matters very seriously. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right honourable friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) raised the issue directly with his Spanish counterpart on 16 February 2011. The Minister for Europe, my right honourable friend the Member for Aylesbury (Mr Lidington), also raised it with the Spanish Foreign Minister, in the margins of the Council of Europe meeting on 10 and 11 May 2011. The UK remains confident of its sovereignty over BGTW and will continue to assert this clear legal position with Spain.

Asked by Lord Luce



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Lord Howell of Guildford: The last ministerial meeting of the Trilateral Forum took place on 29 July 2009. A number of other meetings took place under the auspices of the Trilateral Forum between then and November 2010. There are no further meetings currently planned, although we continue to discuss options with Spain and Gibraltar.

Asked by Lord Kilclooney

Lord Howell of Guildford: On 3 May 2011, the Spanish naval vessel, the "Atalaya", entered British Gibraltar territorial waters (BGTW) and attempted to take executive action, instructing merchant vessels anchored there to move on.

The Royal Navy deployed to the incident and issued a warning to the Spanish vessel, and we immediately protested to the Spanish authorities through our embassy in Madrid. As a result of these actions the incident was brought to a swift and peaceful conclusion and the Spanish vessel departed BGTW, with none of the merchant vessels being made to move.

We balance our military and diplomatic responses to deter challenges to sovereignty on the waters, and we will continue to do so.

Media: Journalists

Question

Asked by Viscount Waverley

Baroness Rawlings: The Government strongly believe that a press free from state intervention is fundamental to our democracy. This is why we have no intention of creating any statutory registry. Of course, with that freedom comes responsibility, and newspapers have a duty to ensure that they are accurate and do not mislead readers and the system of self-regulation retains the confidence of the public.

Museums and Galleries

Question

Asked by Lord Harrison



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Baroness Rawlings: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport maintains an arm's-length relationship with its sponsored body, Tate, and would not therefore intervene in decisions about displays, which are the responsibility of the gallery's board and executive.

National DNA Database

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Browning): This information is not held centrally.

National Employment Savings Trust

Question

Asked by Lord Hollick

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): I refer the noble Lord to my Answer of 29 March 2011.

My department continues to work with the NEST Corporation to refine cost estimates for NEST. The costs of establishing the scheme will ultimately depend on a range of factors, including the size and nature of its membership.

Based on current estimates, we envisage that the loans made to the NEST Corporation each year will be in the order of:

YearFigures rounded to nearest £5 million

2010-11*

£80 million

2011-12

£55-60 million

2012-13

£65-75 million

2013-14

£70-85 million

2014-15

£80-90 million

We anticipate that the total loan period, including years in which NEST borrows from the Government and makes repayments, will last in the region of 20 years.

Pensions

Questions

Asked by Lord Hollick



18 May 2011 : Column WA350

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): Employers can use a wide range of pension schemes to fulfil their duty to automatically enrol qualifying workers into a workplace pension, including defined benefit, defined contribution, stakeholder, or group personal pension schemes, which must meet the qualifying criteria set out in the Pensions Act 2008:

defined benefit schemes automatically qualify if there is a contracting-out certificate2 and the vast majority of defined benefit schemes are contracted- out schemes. Those defined benefit schemes that are not contracted out must satisfy a test of overall scheme quality based on a benchmark of 1/120ths annual accrual;defined contribution or money purchase schemes require an overall minimum contribution of 8 per cent of qualifying earnings of which at least 3 per cent must be paid by the employer.

The decision about which qualifying scheme to use will be made by the employer, who will consider what best suits his workforce and business needs when making that choice.

To ensure that employers' potential use of contract-based schemes would not conflict with the spirit of the distance marketing directive, DWP sought advice from the EU Commission. The Commission concluded the pension reforms anchor membership of workplace personal pensions firmly in the employment relationship, and do not place the worker in an unbalanced economic position.

In all cases, the individual can opt out if they believe that pension saving is not for them.

Further, legislative measures protect members' interests. The Pensions Regulator is responsible for ensuring schemes' compliance with pension legislation. In addition, the regulator has responsibility for maximising compliance with the new employer duties, which includes ensuring that the employer uses an appropriate scheme.

The Pensions Act 2008 permits the regulator to impose proportionate penalties on employers who do not comply fully with their new duties or fail to respond to the information and support offered to help them comply with their duties.

Asked by Lord German

Lord Freud: The Government's consultation paper A State Pension for the 21st Century sets out two broad options for reform to simplify the state pension and better support saving as well as examining options for a more automatic mechanism for determining future changes to state pension age in order to ensure that the state pension remains sustainable and affordable.



18 May 2011 : Column WA351

If the Government decide to take these proposals further following consultation, the publication of a White Paper and impact assessment would follow as part of the usual process.

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: Employee and employer contributions are set out clearly in note 9 to the Cabinet officer civil superannuation resource accounts.

Population

Question

Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: Population trends are one of a range of factors that inform the development of policy in a number of areas.

Countries with high fertility and rapid population growth also tend to have high proportions of women and girls who want to delay or avoid a pregnancy. Yet globally, 215 million women who want to delay or avoid a pregnancy are not able to access modern methods of contraception. Meeting the unmet need for family planning, together with wider investment in girls' education and empowerment, will reduce unwanted fertility and reduce population growth. In the Choices for Women framework for results, published by the Department for International Development in December 2010, the Government have committed to prevent more than 5 million unintended pregnancies by enabling at least 10 million more women to use modern methods of family planning by 2015.

Queen's Diamond Jubilee

Question

Asked by Lord Eden of Winton

Baroness Rawlings: The Woodland Trust launched the Jubilee Woods project in February and aims to plant six million trees across the UK to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. As part of this project, 60 Diamond woods will be planted to mark each year of Her Majesty's reign. Tree planting will begin in autumn this year and will run to the end of 2012.

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Black poplar saplings have been donated to the Greater London Lieutenancy for distribution to all 32 London boroughs plus the City of London. They are currently growing in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea's nursery in Holland Park and will be distributed to all boroughs at a presentation ceremony to take place during national tree week in December.

RAF Valley

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The requirement for medical facilities to meet future needs at RAF Valley is being scoped. Once that is complete, further work will be undertaken to determine the need to refurbish or re-provide the medical facilities at RAF Valley.

Tajikistan

Question

Asked by Viscount Waverley

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The World Bank is engaged in independent feasibility studies of the Rogun dam project in Tajikistan, which aim to take full account of the views of all interested parties. We are not aware that any Government have played a direct role in the appointment of consultants to the project, which we understand have been selected by strict, well-established international tendering processes.

Water management issues present a significant challenge in central Asia. We continue to believe that dialogue among the parties affected, and multilateral co-operation and co-ordination (including through the EU, UN and Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, as well as organisations such as the World Bank), provide the best path to a sustainable solution. We look forward to the World Bank reports in due course.

Universities: Finance

Question

Asked by Lord Adonis



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): We have not made a formal estimate of this scenario. However, in our grant letter to the Higher Education Funding Council for England we stated that overall income to the sector could rise by 10 per cent in cash terms by 2014-15 based on an average fee of £7,500 per year. If average fees turn out to be higher than this there would be a commensurate increase in fee income.

Vatican

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The work of our embassy to the Holy See is entirely policy-oriented; the dialogue with the Holy See focuses principally on global issues, such as international development, climate change, disarmament, human rights, conflict prevention

18 May 2011 : Column WA354

and inter-faith dialogue. Consular work is carried out by our embassy to the Republic of Italy, not by the embassy to the Holy See.

Violence against Women

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Browning): We want to see an end to all forms of violence against women and girls. That is why we recently published our detailed action plan setting out how we are going to tackle these crimes, including for the first time the action we are taking worldwide.

We are supportive of the work of the Council of Europe in raising awareness of violence against women and girls and supported the efforts to agree a strong convention. However, there are a number of articles on which we continue to have concerns. These require more detailed consideration before a final decision can be made on the signature and ratification of the convention.


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