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The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Government remain of the view that any change to the law in this emotive and contentious area is an issue of individual conscience. We therefore take a neutral view when others seek to change the law. This means neither standing in the way of such a change nor actively pursuing it. It is, rightly, a matter for Parliament to decide rather than one for government policy.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the current review of the air passenger duty will take into account the level of United Kingdom air passenger duty compared to levels in the rest of the world, and the effect of the Duty on overseas travel by United Kingdom residents and job losses and growth prospects in the United Kingdom aviation industry; and when they expect the report of this review to be published.[HL11671]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government undertook a consultation on the UK's air passenger duty between 23 March and 17 June 2011. The Government are reviewing the considerable number of responses submitted by interested parties and will publish a summary of responses later this autumn.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether HM Treasury or the Financial Services Authority will consider reviewing the definition of eligible assets for the purpose of calculating bank liquidity coverage ratios and the net stable funding ratio.[HL11704]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Basel III accord sets out, for the first time, an international framework for liquidity with the intention of introducing global liquidity standards in order to promote a more resilient banking sector. This framework includes a clear definition of eligible assets for the purpose of calculating a bank's liquidity coverage ratio (LCR) and net stable funding ratio (NSFR).
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In the EU, liquidity regulation is being introduced by amending the capital requirements directive and introducing a capital requirements regulation. The Government will be participating fully in the relevant negotiations.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Financial Services Authority was aiming to deliver a publishable report into the failures of RBS in the spring. This has now been delayed following an announcement on 5 May 2011 by the chairman of the Treasury Select Committee (TSC) that in agreement with the FSA, the TSC has asked Sir David Walker and Bill Knight to conduct an independent review of the report.
The FSA's supervisory investigations into other banks that failed during the crisis are ongoing. If they lead to enforcement action being taken, it would be usual for the FSA to make these outcomes public, if such actions against individuals or institutions are successful.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take to ensure that the S4C Authority and its management team are wholly independent of the BBC Trust once S4C is funded by the BBC licence fee.[HL11561]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take to ensure that the level of representation of BBC management or appointees on the S4C management team is appropriate once S4C is funded by the BBC licence fee.[HL11564]
Baroness Rawlings: Constructive discussions are already under way between S4C and BBC about the new governance structure that will underpin the new funding arrangements from 2013. The Government will announce the details of the partnership after the negotiations
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Baroness Rawlings: Constructive discussions are already under way between S4C and BBC about the new governance structure that will underpin the new funding arrangements from 2013. S4C's future reporting mechanism is part of that discussion. The Government will announce the details of the partnership arrangements after the negotiations between S4C, the BBC and the Government have been concluded.
Baroness Rawlings: The proposed amendment to the Public Bodies Bill will give greater clarity and assurance on the Government's commitment to S4C in the long term. The new clause will set in statute a requirement that S4C receives sufficient funding for it to be able to fulfil its statutory role as an independent Welsh language broadcaster.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Howell of Guildford on 11 August (WA 392), whether the undertaking that "The Government would consult fully before making any decision on whether to support the admission of any further states" to the Commonwealth would entail that Parliament would be consulted; and in what manner they plan to do this.[HL11741]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Government would consult all key stakeholders, including relevant parliamentary groups. However, this is a foreign policy issue, and while a wide range of views would be taken into account, a decision on whether the UK would support the admission of any further states to the Commonwealth is a matter for my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary. There is no formal requirement to consult Parliament.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to introducing financial incentives to encourage the use of bioliquid made from waste cooking oil and kerosene for supplying fuel for domestic heating and hot water.[HL11836]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): We recognise that there are valuable uses of bioliquids in heat generation, including those developed from wastes such as used cooking oil. We stated in the Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) document published in March this year, that we would consider bioliquids for introduction in 2012.
We are currently considering the evidence including analysis on the costs and supply of sustainable biodiesel, as well as the framework in which sustainability will need to be demonstrated in order to be eligible for the RHI. We will set out our position in the forthcoming consultation on phase 2 of the RHI.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 7 September (Official Report, col. GC 81) concerning the 140 gigawatts of electricity-generating capacity added globally during 2008-09 from renewables, how this amount breaks down by each renewable technology.[HL11744]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): This figure was reported in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Special Report on Renewable Energy and Climate Change Mitigation, and draws on analysis undertaken by REN21 (the Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century) for their 2009 and 2010 Global Status Reports. The table below shows the capacity increase split by technologies.
The 2011 REN21 Global Status Report, published in July, shows that renewable energy accounted for approximately half of the estimated 194 GW of new electric capacity added globally during 2010. Existing renewable power capacity worldwide reached an estimated 1,320 GW in 2010, up almost 8 per cent from 2009.
|Breakdown of 140GW Increase in Electricity Generating Renewables Capacity During 2008 - 20091 by Technology|
|Technology2||Proportion of capacity increase (%)3|
To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the effects on United Kingdom trade in the event of the economic and monetary policies of the eurozone countries being centrally co-ordinated.[HL11740]
The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint): The Government have not estimated the effects on United Kingdom trade in the event of the economic and monetary policies of the euro area countries being centrally co-ordinated. The Chancellor has said that the euro area must accept the logic of monetary union that leads from a single currency to greater fiscal integration. A strong and stable euro area is in the UK's national interest and offers valuable prospects for UK trade as more than 40 per cent of our exports are to the euro area. But the Government have also made clear that stronger euro area fiscal integration must be done in a way that protects the UK's national interests. A critical part of that means ensuring that issues of strategic importance such as the single market continue to be discussed between all member states.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): It is for local commissioners to take decisions on funding priorities based on the assessment of need of local populations. The department proposed in Healthy Lives, Healthy People: Consultation on the Funding and Commissioning Routes for Public Health, that female genital mutilation (FGM) clinics should be commissioned by local authorities. The department published its response to the consultation feedback on 14 July. In this response, it is confirmed that on the basis of feedback from
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There is a wealth of guidance and best practice available to health professionals on FGM. The department produced a DVD on FGM in 2006, which gives a general introduction to health implications of female genital mutilation. It includes interviews with women who have undergone FGM and outlines the appropriate response from health care professionals. Guidance has also been published by HM Government: Multi-Agency Practice Guidelines: Female Genital Mutilation, 2011 which can be found at: www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publicationsandstatistics/Publications/PublicationsPolicyAndGuidance/DH_124551.
Clinical guidance has also been produced by the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists-Female genital mutilation and its management; green-top guidelineNo.53; the British Medical Association; Female Genital Mutilation: An RCN educational resource for nursing and midwifery staff, 2006; Female Genital Mutilation: Caring for patients and safeguarding children, guidance from the British Medical Association.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to review the contribution of high frequency trading and algorithmic trading in enabling the practice of laddering in equity markets and facilitating false markets in securities.[HL11659]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government, alongside the Financial Services Authority, are working with European partners to ensure that the ongoing review of the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive and the Market Abuse Directive take into account recent technological developments in financial markets.
In support of these reforms, the Treasury is sponsoring a major research project conducted by the Government Office for Science. It is examining the implications of computerised trading for financial markets. On 7 September 2011, the project published a working paper and 16 supporting driver reviews. These are available online at: www.foresight.gov.uk.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Financial Services Authority (FSA) receives daily statistics from Euroclear UK and Ireland, the UK's Central Securities Depository, for those securities with the highest proportion of unsettled transactions. If a certain internally defined threshold is breached with regards to the number of unsettled transactions, it is considered that there may be an instance of stress. The relevant information concerning the security is forwarded on to the FSA's market monitoring team. The market monitoring team will then conduct further investigation to ascertain the cause of the settlement failure.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 19 July (WA 266), whether they will now seek information on the extent of individual daily variations in water intake in populations targeted by water fluoridation schemes.[HL11652]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Yes. Officials are making enquiries about a research project that has involved the collection of data on the relative amounts of tap water and manufactured water consumed by children living in a fluoridated area in Newcastle. I will write to the noble Earl with the information we obtain in due course and place a copy in the Library.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 14 July (WA 202), how the ethical requirement for individual informed consent as set out by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency in "Consent to medical treatment" applies to water fluoridation schemes. [HL11654]
Earl Howe: The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency considers that fluoridated water falls outside the definition of a medicinal product. Moreover, in our view, any infringement of human rights arising out of water fluoridation is justified by the benefits to oral health.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Earl Howe on 7 February (WA 17-18) and 17 May (WA 300), whether the website of the former National Fluoride Information Centre is still in existence; and, if so, whether the incorrect statements about the York systematic review in 2000 having expressed no health concerns about fluoridation, and having provided a figure of 3 per cent for the extent of fluorosis of aesthetic concern, have now been corrected.[HL11655]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 26 April (WA 46-7), whether it is a proper function of a
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Earl Howe: We can confirm that the website of the former National Fluoride Information Centre has now been closed. We agree that bodies dedicated to providing information to the public should endeavour to do so as objectively as possible.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what aid they have provided directly or indirectly to the representatives of the people in Gaza following the invasion by Israel in 2009 and the subsequent economic blockade.[HL11583]
Baroness Verma: The British Government have never provided any aid, either directly or indirectly, to the de facto authorities in Gaza since 2007, as under European Union and British legislation it is illegal to provide financial assistance to Hamas.
We provide budget support to the Palestinian Authority (PA), via a World Bank Trust Fund, in order to support basic services in both Gaza and the West Bank. We have provided £87 million of financial assistance to the PA since 2009, around half of which is spent in Gaza. We also support the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) to provide health, education and social services to the 1.1 million Palestinian refugees living in Gaza. We have provided £65.4 million of funding to UNRWA's core budget since 2009, approximately a third of which is spent in Gaza.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the current rate for the repayment of student loans was agreed, what was the estimated retail price index at that time; and whether there are proposals to limit either the three per cent rate of interest or the retail price index-based level of interest if the retail price index remains at current levels.[HL11729]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The Education (Student Loans) (Repayment) Regulations state that for the current income contingent repayment (ICR) scheme (loans taken out prior to September 2012), the rate of interest will be the lower of the retail prices index (RPI) or the bank base rate (for a specified group of banks) plus
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Under the new repayment scheme (post-September 2012 ICR loans), the interest rate will vary with the borrowers income, starting at RPI for those earning £21,000 or less, up to a maximum of RPI + 3 per cent for those earning £41,000 and above. There are no plans to limit either the additional 3 per cent rate of interest, where it applies, or the retail prices index-based level of interest.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the funding of university tuition fees for, and repayment of loans by, mature students taking first degrees varies from that which applies to other students. [HL11838]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): Mature students taking first degrees are eligible for the same package of funding of their university tuition fees as other students, and are subject to the same rules in relation to the repayment of their loans.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they are making to the Government of Israel following the arrest of Mr Hasan Yusuf, an elected member of the Palestine Legislative Council; and whether he has been released, administratively detained, or brought before a properly constituted court.[HL11620]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We are aware that Mr Yusuf was arrested and detained on 31 August for entering Jerusalem illegally and organising demonstrations. On Tuesday 6 September he was released after an Israeli military court ruled that he is not permitted to enter Jerusalem for one year.
We regularly raise our concerns with the Israeli Government about the application of due process and the treatment of Palestinian detainees. We shall continue to raise our concerns with the Israeli authorities as appropriate.
Baroness Verma: The UK is providing humanitarian assistance to Somali Refugee camps in Kenya through support to UNHCR and humanitarian NGOs. Our support helps camp management provide water and sanitation services and promote livelihoods and skills development by hiring refugee workers for a small daily wage to assist with various sectors in refugee operations. This includes interviewing new arrivals, distribution of fire wood, food and other non-food items and guarding water tanks.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many applications for decrees of presumed deaths and consequent dissolution of marriage or civil partnerships have been made under Section 19 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 or Section 37 of the Civil Partnership Act 2004 over the past three years.[HL11644]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Ministry of Justice does not hold centrally information on the number of applications made to the High Court for orders relating to presumed deaths. Similarly, for the number of applications for decrees of presumed deaths and consequent dissolution of marriage or civil partnerships made under Section 19 of the Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 or Section 37 of the Civil Partnership Act 2004.
This information is either not recorded, or recorded to an insufficient level of detail, on the administrative computer systems used in the county courts and High Court. As such, the information requested can only be obtained through the manual inspection of individual case files held by the courts at disproportionate cost.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many applications were made for a leave to swear death order pursuant to Rule 53 of the Non-Contentious Probate Rules 1987, in each of the past three years; and, of those, how many were successful.[HL11706]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The number of leave to swear death orders made between April and March in each of the past three years were 17 in 2008-09, 16 in 2009-10, and 14 in 2010-11.
Information about the number of applications made is not recorded on the administrative computer systems used by the Probate Service, a part of the Family Division of the High Court and Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunals Service. As such, the information requested can only be obtained through the manual inspection of individual case files held at disproportionate cost.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what charges are made for (a) rescuing non-British nationals from the seas inside United Kingdom territorial waters, and (b) rescuing British nationals outside United Kingdom territorial waters.[HL11598]
Earl Attlee: The Government have made it clear that megatrucks (ie those typically 25.25 metres long or greater) will not be allowed on the UK's roads for the foreseeable future. This includes trialling such vehicles.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what additional personnel and finance resources they will allocate to priority markets identified in UK Trade and Investment's five-year strategy Britain Open for Business: Growth Through International Trade and Investment.[HL11557]
The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint): Britain Open for Business, UK Trade and Investment's (UKTI) five-year strategy, published in May 2011, states that UKTI will increase the proportion of its overseas resources in 20 priority high-growth and emerging markets, where the opportunities for UK companies and potential for foreign investment to the UK are greatest. These markets are Brazil, China, Colombia, Egypt, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mexico, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Africa, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, UAE and Vietnam.
UKTI has a well established set of criteria for allocating resource overseas to markets and will move more resources to high growth and emerging markets over the lifetime of its strategy to match both the growth in opportunities and the demands from our customers.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many students who graduated from university in 2010 remained unemployed in June 2011 despite having sought work; and what are the projections for the success of this year's graduates in the labour market. [HL11672]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) collects data on the destinations of graduates six months after qualifying through their Destinations of Leavers from Higher Education (DLHE) survey.
The latest data relating to graduates from the 2009-10 academic year show 27,975 (7 per cent) graduates were unemployed six months after qualifying. This covers graduates from postgraduate and undergraduate courses. However, it cannot be assumed that the graduates who reported themselves as unemployed had actively sought work. The dates for this survey were April 2010 and January 2011 depending on when the graduate qualified. More detailed findings from the DLHE survey can be found on the HESA website: http://www.hesa.ac.uk/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=2150& Itemid=161.
The department does not calculate projections of labour market success for future cohorts of graduates. The unemployment rate from the 2009-10 DLHE survey has decreased from 8 per cent in the previous year. Although findings from the DLHE survey are useful, six months is often too early to judge the extent to which graduates have integrated into the labour market. HESA also collect data on graduates three and a half years after graduation, and the most recent survey related to the 2006-07 cohort. When the 2006-07 cohort was surveyed at six months, the unemployment
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The recruitment market is still not easy for graduates, but in recent months it has been showing signs of improvement for the first time since the recession. For example, a recent survey by the Association of Graduate Recruiters (AGR), published in July, found that both vacancy numbers and graduate starting salaries are expected to rise during 2010-11 compared to 2009-10.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the difference between the amount of public expenditure in Wales in 2009-10, and the amount raised by taxation on the Principality in the same year.[HL11697]
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