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3 Oct 2011 : Column WA95



3 Oct 2011 : Column WA95

Written Answers

Answers received between Thursday 15 September and Monday 26 September 2011

Alcohol: Labelling

Question

Asked by Lord Brooke of Alverthorpe

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government have not met the food manufacturing industry about adding information on calorie contents to the labels of alcoholic drinks.

The department last discussed the inclusion of calorie information on alcohol labels with the Portman Group early in March 2011. The Portman Group's guidelines on alcohol labelling refer (in paragraph 3.11) to the possibility that individual companies may wish to trial presentations of such information on labels.

Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement

Question

Asked by The Earl of Sandwich

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Counterfeiting and the piracy of intellectual property rights (IPRs) are recognised as a problem that requires effective action on a global scale. Anti-counterfeiting and piracy measures are not part of the Doha negotiating mandate at the World Trade Organisation (WTO), but minimum standards of IPR enforcement are set out in the WTO Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS). The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) will assist the European Union in its efforts to combat IPR infringement by building on the minimum standards set out by TRIPS, establishing common enforcement standards and practices and greater international co-operation between the signatories.

Armed Forces: Atomic Test Veterans

Question

Asked by Baroness Brinton

Lord De Mauley: Officials have received a draft of the health needs audit report, which has been produced by Miles & Green Associates. It is intended that a meeting will be held shortly with Miles & Green and the British Nuclear Test Veterans Association to present the final report. We hope to be able to publish the health needs audit report later this year.

Armed Forces: Medals

Questions

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

Lord De Mauley: No. There are no plans to replicate Australia's Defence Honours and Awards Appeal Tribunal.

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

Lord De Mauley: As part of the ongoing review of the rules governing the award of medals, consideration is being given to the campaign seeking further recognition for those who served as part of the Arctic convoys. It would be wrong for me to prejudge the final outcome of the review, and I await its final conclusions.

Armed Forces: Nuclear Tests

Question

Asked by Baroness Brinton

Lord De Mauley: The Ministry of Defence places a large number of research contracts on a variety of issues, including the effects of ionising radiation. This information is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Armed Forces: RAF Reserves

Question

Asked by Lord Smith of Finsbury



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Applicants for both the RAF and Royal Auxiliary Air Force with HIV are declined, as it is a known condition that might develop and render them unable to perform their duties and places limitations on their deployability, regardless of previous service. However, personnel with HIV who have left the RAF and have a reserve liability may be called up to serve in particular roles, as required, provided that their health permits, but could not be deployed to forward operations.

Armed Forces: Rowland Study

Question

Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Dr Rowland's study of nuclear test veterans from the Royal New Zealand Navy made a number of interesting observations. However, the study was small and the findings have not been replicated. Many causes of the type of genetic change Dr Rowland suggested have been identified, notably ageing and lifestyle issues such as smoking. The observed generic change does not indicate or predict disease, and the study itself confirms that it was not designed to make any comment on clinical outcomes.

Armed Forces: Suicide

Question

Asked by Lord Moonie

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): In order to make this comparison, a Standardised Mortality Ratio (SMR) has been calculated. An SMR compares the number of suicides in the Armed Forces to the number of civilian suicides by standardising the Armed Forces population. The SMR is then used to assess the "risk" of death for a sub-population, in this case the Armed Forces.

As part of the calculation, the civilian population is set to a value of 100. A ratio greater than 100 would indicate higher suicide rate in the UK Armed Forces than the comparable UK civilian population. Likewise, an SMR value less than 100 would indicate that the suicide rate in the UK Armed Forces is lower than the corresponding group in the UK civilian population. An SMR value of 55 would mean that the UK Armed Forces were at a 45 per cent decreased risk of suicide.



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The following table lists the number of suicides recorded in the Armed Forces in the last 10 years and the corresponding SMR.

YearNumberStandard Mortality Ratio

2001

16

37.2

2002

15

34.8

2003

25

60.8

2004

20

51.5

2005

22

63.3

2006

11

29.8

2007

10

30.8

2008

9

26.7

2009

10

30.0

2010

5

14.9

These figures indicate that, in all years, the Armed Forces were at a significantly decreased risk of suicide compared to the civilian population.

Bank of England: Financial Policy Committee

Questions

Asked by Lord Myners

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Financial Policy Committee (FPC) does not have a dedicated budget for external research. However, the committee is supported by Bank of England staff who are available to undertake research and provide advice, as required by independent members of the committee. A secretariat has been set up specifically to support the committee, including its independent members, with a budget of 6.5 full-time equivalent staff.

Independent members of the Financial Policy Committee may carry out their own research and consider research from any external source. Financial Services Authority staff also play a key role in briefing FPC members and implementing policy actions on behalf of the FPC.

Asked by Lord Myners



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Lord Sassoon: The interim Financial Policy Committee operates on a non-statutory basis, and so currently has no statutory powers. The Government have published draft legislation that will establish a permanent Financial Policy Committee (FPC). The legislation will also replace the Financial Services Authority (FSA) with the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). The Bank of England will have powers to require the PRA and FCA to gather specified information to support the FPC.

Banking

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Monitoring banks' financial strength is the responsibility of the Financial Services Authority (FSA). The FSA supervises and regulates banks incorporated in the UK which offer Sharia-compliant accounts in the same way as any other UK institution with a regulatory permission to accept deposits. These banks are required to comply with FSA rules covering capital, liquidity, complaints and other conduct of business matters and are subject to requirements to participate in the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS). For deposit claims, the FSCS can pay up to f85,000 per person per firm in default where a deposit taker fails on or after 31 December 2010.

Banking: Bonuses

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Although the Financial Services Authority (FSA) does not collect data on clawed-back bonuses, banks are now required to disclose the aggregate amount of clawed-back bonuses in their annual pillar 3 risk disclosure, which is made available to the public. This is one of a number of remuneration disclosures that were incorporated into the pillar 3 framework under FSA rules from 1 January 2011, implementing the requirements of the capital requirements directive. In line with this disclosure regime, banks' annual reports and pillar 3 disclosures for the 2010-11 financial year do not make reference to claw-backs in relation to payment protection insurance mis-selling.



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Belfast Agreement

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given by the noble Lord, Lord Shutt of Greetland, on 4 July, Official Report, col. WA3.

Benefits

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The full basic state pension is currently £102.15 per week. A pension of up to £61.20 per week can be paid for a spouse or civil partner depending on, for example, the age of the spouse or civil partner and any entitlement to pensions they may have in their own right.

The hardship allowance is not a weekly payment. If a person is in hardship because of non-payment of an income, that person may qualify for help from the social fund. Amounts paid by the social fund will vary according to circumstance. Many pensioners also receive additional state pension and/or a workplace pension. Occupational and private pension contributions are given generous tax privileges by the Government.

Some pensioners may also qualify for pension credit, which can top up income to £137.35 a week (£7,142.20 a year) for single pensioners and £209.70 a week (£10,904.40 a year) for couples. These amounts may be higher if pensioners are disabled, have caring responsibilities or certain housing costs such as mortgage interest payments. Many pensioners also receive help with housing benefit and council tax benefit.

The amounts above are exclusive of the annual worth of other pensioner benefits such as, free off-peak bus travel, free eye tests and prescriptions and from the age of 75, the free television licence scheme.

Asked by Baroness Lister of Burtersett



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Lord Freud: The information requested is not available as sample sizes are too small to yield reliable results for those who are receiving carer's allowance, and/or financial help with childcare costs and are subject to the overall benefit cap.

Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester

Lord Freud: The department has carefully considered the position of people with a range of serious and life threatening illnesses-including cancer-in relation to the benefit system. We do not aim to reduce the levels of support for the most severely ill or disabled people but it is clearly important that we ensure it is well targeted, is fair to those on low pay and that the right money goes to the right people.

Following an internal review we have recently made changes to the work capability assessment (WCA) so that more individuals undergoing certain chemotherapy treatments will automatically be placed in the support group without the need for an assessment. Those in the support group, including many cancer patients, will not be affected by the time-limiting measure.

People will still be able to claim income-related employment and support allowance (ESA) subject to meeting the conditions of entitlement. Access to income-related ESA is not affected by this measure. This measure will not leave people destitute-only those who have alternative resources will not qualify for income-related ESA. Typically they would have a partner in full-time work or have savings in excess of £16,000 in order not to qualify for income-related ESA.

Dependent on individual circumstances, a person may be able to claim a number of benefits, for example housing benefit, council tax benefit, pension credit and tax credits. Additionally, those who do not qualify for income-related ESA will still be able to claim ESA on a "credits only" basis so that they can maintain their national insurance contribution record.

A claimant will also retain any entitlement to disability living allowance, provided they continue to meet the qualifying conditions. Not all those affected with cancer will be financially worse off as a result of this measure as some will be fully or partially compensated by income-related ESA.

Additionally, Professor Harrington, as part of his second independent review, asked Macmillan Cancer Support to look in detail at how the WCA assesses people with cancer and to provide him with recommendations for further improvements. We have recently received these recommendations from Professor Harrington. We are considering them carefully to understand whether they will improve the assessment further for individuals with cancer. We will come forward with any proposals shortly.



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We are determined that the social security system should support people who are diagnosed with cancer in the most sensitive, fair and appropriate way and have been working with Macmillan Cancer Support and others to achieve this.

Churchill Medical Centre

Question

Asked by Baroness Thornton

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): I am informed that the Churchill Medical Centre gave notice on 22 June of its intention to deregister 48 residents of Kingston Care Home due to the resources required to support those patients. The National Health Service has a responsibility to ensure that all patients get the support they need and I understand that NHS Kingston has worked to ensure that all the patients affected by the centre's decision have been registered with other general practitioners' practices in the local area.

Companies House: Fraud

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Government currently have no plans to change Companies House's legal powers to verify the accuracy of information submitted by companies.

Consular Death Certificates

Question

Asked by Lord Boswell of Aynho

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Consular death registration is not a mandatory requirement, and an application for registration as well as certified copies of the entry in the form of certificates can be made at any time after the event either from the Post who registered the death or from the respective General Register Office in the UK.



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The number of consular death registrations undertaken in the years requested are as follows:

2010:

510

2009:

537

2008:

511

We do not hold records of how many certificates were issued.

Consular death registration can only be undertaken if requested and the deceased held British nationality at the time of death. Therefore we do not grant applications.

Copyright

Question

Asked by Lord Smith of Finsbury

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The evidence used to prepare Supporting Document EE, Economic Impact of Recommendations, was published alongside the Hargreaves review of IP and growth. The methodology used to assess the economic impact of the recommendations is contained within Supporting Document EE in the 64-point reference lists and the data was published alongside the Hargreaves review in Supporting Document FF.

Coroners' Inquests

Question

Asked by Lord Boswell of Aynho

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Ministry of Justice does not hold information on the completion of inquests directed by the Secretary of State for Justice in the absence of a body under Section 15 of the Coroners Act 1988. However, between 1 January 2008 and 14 September 2011 the Secretary of State made 47 such directions, and we believe that the majority of the directed inquests will have been held.

Embryology

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The meaning of an embryo is set out in Section 1(1) and a human admixed embryo in Section 4A(6) of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, as amended. The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has advised that it has nothing further to add, by way of interpretation, to the definitions contained in the Act or to the Written Answer provided by Lord Darzi of Denham on 9 March 2009, Official Report, column WA 204-05.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Earl Howe: The department has provided grants to After Adoption Yorkshire to run the UK DonorLink voluntary contact register for pre-1991 donor-conceived people and their donors since 2004. In the current economic climate, the department has to weigh carefully the pressures on and priorities for its funding against the value of the service that UK DonorLink provides.

The department agreed to provide a grant of £60,000 in 2011-12 to support the running of UK DonorLink on the basis that After Adoption Yorkshire would develop, in-year, a transition to operating the service on a self-sustaining basis. The department is disappointed that After Adoption Yorkshire declared in August that it has been unable to move the UK DonorLink service to that self-sustaining status.

The department will be considering other options over the next few months for running a voluntary contact register. In the mean time, the department has offered a further grant to After Adoption Yorkshire, until the end of March 2012, to support the UK DonorLink service while this consideration takes place.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Earl Howe: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that it holds data only on the number of incidents and near misses reported

3 Oct 2011 : Column WA105

to the authority by licensed centres. This does not represent the number of perceived mistakes in in vitro fertilisation treatment.

The HFEA has also advised that the number of reported incidents and near misses is included in its annual reports. The total number of reported incidents and near misses has increased over the years. However, the number of more serious grade A and B incidents has fallen during the last two financial years.

The HFEA encourages licensed centres to recognise and report when incidents occur and believes that an increase in the number of reported incidents reflects an increased willingness by centres to recognise and share learning from these.

The HFEA incident reporting system, which focuses on causal analysis and lessons to be learnt, is not designed to account for the number of embryos that might have been affected by reported incidents.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Earl Howe: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that it has nothing further to add to the Written Answer I gave on 23 June 2010 (Official Report, col. WA 182-83). The HFEA has also advised that if a patient were to report to the authority such a case as described by the noble Lord, the matter would be investigated in accordance with its complaints procedure.

The HFEA has advised that research approved by its Licence Committee is, on each occasion, considered against the criteria prescribed in paragraph 3A of Schedule 2 to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, as amended. The HFEA is not in a position to add to that consideration.



3 Oct 2011 : Column WA106

The HFEA's statutory responsibility with regard to research is also set out in the Act. The HFEA has advised that as this covers only the use of human embryos in research, in no circumstance would a centre be expected to report to the authority research that did not involve human embryos.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Earl Howe: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that the answer to the noble Lord's Questions are in the minutes of the Authority's Research Licence Committee of 18 November 2009 and 18 May 2011, which can be found on the authority's website.

Employment: Agency Workers

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The UK is implementing the directive through legislation, on the basis of an agreement between the CBI and the TUC that was reached in May 2008, that there should be a 12-week qualifying period. Formal consultation with other member states happens during negotiation rather than implementation, but I understand that many other EU countries will implement equal treatment from day one of an assignment

Energy: Biofuels

Question

Asked by Lord Bradshaw



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): We recognise that there are valuable uses of biodiesel in the bioenergy sectors, including those developed from wastes such as used cooking oil.

We stated in the renewable heat incentive document published in March this year that we would consider bioliquids for introduction in 2012. In the renewables obligation (RO), FAME biodiesel that passes the mandatory sustainability criteria is currently eligible for 1 ROC for every megawatt of electricity generated. We expect to publish a consultation shortly that sets the support for all renewable technologies in the RO from 2013, including support for biodiesel.

Subject to the outcome of a recent consultation on proposals to implement the renewable energy directive (RED), we expect to introduce twice the financial support to waste-derived biofuels as will be provided to conventional biofuels, through the award of two renewable transport certificates (RTFCs) per litre of waste derived biofuel. Crop-derived biofuels will continue to receive one certificate per litre, and no support will be awarded to biofuels that do not meet required sustainability standards.

Energy: Renewables

Questions

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Government do not hold information on the number and percentage of schools that have renewable energy generated on site, by type and by county. Display energy certificates show the amount of energy used by buildings and the percentage of energy from renewables. However, only school buildings over 1,000 square metres are required to maintain and display an energy certificate, and information from these is not analysed centrally.

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The information is not available in the format requested because the department does not hold data on the number of hospital sites that have renewable energy generated on site. However, the department does collect data, through estates returns information collection (ERIC), on the amounts of renewable fossil and non-fossil energy consumed annually by each National Health Service organisation.



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The latest ERIC data available relates to 2009-10, when the NHS reported that the total annual amount of electrical energy that it consumed that was supplied from an eligible renewable energy supply source was 665,017 gigajoules. Over the same period, the amount of non-fossil energy supplied from an eligible renewable energy supply source was 226,616 gigajoules. All ERIC data are publicly available and are published at: www.hefs.ic.nhs.uk. Data relating to the 2010-11 period will be available after 25 October 2011. The information provided has been supplied by the NHS and has not been amended centrally. The accuracy and completeness of the information is the responsibility of the provider organisation.

Female Genital Mutilation

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Schools have a key role in helping girls and future generations of young women avoid becoming victims of the appalling crime of female genital mutilation. I am aware of the good work done by Kids Taskforce, with government support, in developing a short film and accompanying teachers' resource pack on the subject for use in secondary schools. Schools and local authorities are free to decide on their own policies relating to the production by pupils of films to raise awareness of subjects in schools.

Finance: Clearing Houses

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government welcome market developments that will increase efficiency, improve innovation and lower the cost of economic activity. The Government believe that it is important to look at the potential benefits to the market of any deal.

As with any such corporate transaction, the Financial Services Authority will ensure that the owners of the clearing house are fit and proper persons; and that the clearing house continues to meet its recognition requirements as set out in the Recognised Investment Exchanges and Recognised Clearing Houses handbook. These requirements include the corporate governance arrangements and the financial resources, the management and controls of the clearing house.



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Gaza

Questions

Asked by Baroness Tonge

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Our policy on Hamas is clear; the quartet has set out clearly that Hamas must renounce violence, recognise Israel and accept previously signed agreements. Hamas must make credible movement towards these conditions, which remain the benchmark against which its intentions should be judged. The clear focus for now must be a return to direct negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians as soon as possible.

Hamas continues to pursue an ideology of violence and directly to undermine prospects for peace in the region. It is part of the problem. It has yet to provide evidence that it can also be part of the solution, and this must clearly be the case if we are to review our position.

We have no plans to talk to Hamas at present. We are therefore not in a position to assess the extent of Hamas's control in Gaza or to work with it to tackle militancy. We do however raise these issues in our regular dialogue and co-operation on security issues with the Palestinian Authority. We will continue to call on all sides to act with restraint and avoid civilian casualties.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

Lord Howell of Guildford: Our policy on Hamas is clear; the quartet has set out clearly that Hamas must renounce violence, recognise Israel and accept previously signed agreements. Hamas must make credible movement towards these conditions, which remain the benchmark against which its intentions should be judged. The clear focus for now must be a return to direct negotiations between the Israelis and Palestinians as soon as possible.

Hamas continues to pursue an ideology of violence and directly to undermine prospects for peace in the region. It is part of the problem. It has yet to provide evidence that it can also be part of the solution, and this must clearly be the case if we are to review our position.

We have no plans to talk to Hamas at present. We are therefore not in a position to assess the extent of Hamas's control in Gaza or to work with it to tackle militancy. We do however raise these issues in our regular dialogue and co-operation on security issues with the Palestinian Authority. We will continue to call on all sides to act with restraint and avoid civilian casualties.



3 Oct 2011 : Column WA110

Asked by Baroness Tonge

Lord Howell of Guildford: The UK frequently raises with the Israeli authorities the issue of easing restrictions on Gaza, but we have not made specific representations concerning fishing limits off the coast of Gaza. There has been no fundamental change in the crossings regime, and economic stagnation and de-development in Gaza remain the norm, although Israel's decision to move from a list of 120 permitted goods to a list of specific prohibited items was a positive step. We are clear that more needs to be done, including on easing restrictions on exports, construction material imports and the movement of people.

Gulf War Illnesses

Questions

Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The War Pensions Scheme (WPS) provides no-fault compensation for all ex-Service personnel where illness, injury or death is caused by service before 6 April 2005.

As at 31 March 2011, some 4,930 Gulf veterans were in receipt of disablement pensions, but these are not necessarily for anything that relates to Gulf service, as our statistics do not enable us to distinguish the origin of the disablement. Research conducted in the UK and the US has indicated that there is no illness that is specific to Gulf veterans.

Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester

Lord Astor of Hever: It is not possible to verify how many of the 53,409 Gulf veterans self-administered Pyridostigmine Bromide, nor in what dose or duration individuals took the pre-treatment regime of nerve agent pre-treatment sets (NAPs). The uptake of NAPs was addressed in the Ministry of Defence paper Implementation of the Immunisation Programme against Biological Warfare Agents for UK Forces during the Gulf Conflict 1990-1991, published in January 2000, copies of which are available in the Library of the House.



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Health Professions Council

Questions

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Health Professions Council (HPC) is independent of the department. Ministers have therefore not been asked to approve its decisions in recruiting social workers to its employment before the enactment of the Health and Social Care Bill 2011. However, the department would expect the Health Professions Council to take steps to ensure that it is prepared to take on the function of regulating social workers.

The department's understanding is that the HPC is in the process of recruiting up to 100 partners in advance of the enactment of the Health and Social Care Bill 2011. This is intended to ensure that it has access to the necessary expertise to support the transfer.

The HPC's advertisements make it clear that any appointments made are subject to parliamentary approval of the proposals in the Health and Social Care Bill 2011.

The department provided £0.24 million in the year 2010-11 to the HPC to help it to prepare its systems and processes ahead of the proposed transfer of functions from the General Social Care Council. A similar sum is expected to be allocated to the HPC in the year 2011-12, and a sum of £0.6 million in the first quarter of the year 2012-13. The department is monitoring this expenditure on a regular basis.

Health Protection Agency

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Chesterton

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Health Protection Agency will continue in its current role and retain its functions until April 2013 when, subject to Parliament, it will be abolished. The Health and Social Care Bill 2011 confers equivalent functions upon the Secretary

3 Oct 2011 : Column WA112

of State. Subject to the normal government approval processes for establishing new bodies, we expect those functions to be discharged through Public Health England, an executive agency of the department.

Health: Alcoholism

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The term "chronic alcoholics" is not one that is used by the department, although we recognise that there are varying levels of alcohol dependence.

The Adult Psychiatric Morbidity Survey 2007 indicated that in 2006-07 there were around 1.6 million adults showing symptoms of moderate or severe alcohol dependence. Of those, 111,381 people are estimated to have received treatment as indicated in the National Alcohol Treatment Monitoring System Annual Report 2009-10. This shows that 7 per cent of adults showing signs of dependence accessed treatment in that year. This compares to international models of good practice that suggest between 10 per cent and 20 per cent of the dependent population should be able to access treatment in any one year.

The Review of the Effectiveness of Treatment for Alcohol Problems, published by the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse on November 2006, indicated that over 25 per cent of clients who participated in the United Kingdom Alcohol Treatment Trials, one of the largest treatment trials conducted in the UK, showed a successful outcome with no alcohol-related problems at follow-up. All the treatments studied produced significant improvements in alcohol consumption, alcohol dependence, alcohol-related problems and aspects of general functioning. It is highly unlikely that in most cases such changes would have occurred as a result of natural recovery processes.

While a person's dependence may have led to unemployment or may have caused or exacerbated a medical condition, benefit payments are never made, or paid at an increased rate, solely because a person is dependent on drugs or alcohol.

Where additional disability benefits are paid, this is in recognition of the fact that there are often additional costs associated with disability such as transport or care costs. The Government do not monitor what individuals spend their benefits on.

The Government are reviewing the general policy towards the prevention and treatment of alcohol misuse in this country, and we will publish the Government's alcohol strategy towards the end of this year.



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Health: Contaminated Blood Products

Questions

Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): I refer the noble Lord to my Written Answer on 26 April 2011, Official Report, col. WA 62.

Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester

Earl Howe: There are no plans to conduct another review. However, we will consider potential changes to the Skipton Fund stage 2 eligibility criteria, in the light of new and emerging scientific evidence.

Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester

To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements are in place for the individuals infected with hepatitis C by contaminated blood products and their families living in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to receive payments through the Skipton Fund and the Caxton Foundation. [HL11918]

Earl Howe: The Skipton Fund is currently making payments in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. The Caxton Foundation has been set up on an England-only basis, but we are currently working with the devolved Administrations to expand its scope to cover the whole of the United Kingdom, when it becomes operational in October 2011.

Health: HIV

Question

Asked by Baroness Masham of Ilton

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): We have employed a set of criteria for selection of indicators for the public health outcomes framework. These criteria were published in the consultation on the public health outcomes framework. They have been further refined by feedback from the consultation and engagement

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exercises with key stakeholders. In the light of these criteria, Ministers will decide which indicators are included in the final outcomes framework to be published in the autumn.

The department will publish its response to the report of the Select Committee on HIV and AIDS in the United Kingdom, No Vaccine, No Cure: HIV and AIDS in the United Kingdom,in due course. A copy of the Select Committee's report has already been placed in the Library.

Health: Medical Research

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): In 2007, the Medical Research Council (MRC) awarded funding to Professor Mary Herbert at the University of Newcastle for the research project "Improving the efficiency of human somatic cell nuclear transfer" (SCNT). The project involved the MRC reimbursing part of the treatment costs of women undergoing IVF at the Newcastle Fertility Centre at Life who chose to donate some of the surplus eggs produced to be used in the research.

Due to the exceptional nature of this research project the MRC also funded an independent social science study to be undertaken alongside the research project to learn from women's experiences and to inform future research involving egg donation and payment of IVF treatment costs. The social science study, "An investigation of the experiences of potential in vitro fertilisation (IVF) donors in egg sharing for SCNT", was undertaken by Professor Erica Haimes, also at the University of Newcastle.

Both studies have now ended and a report from Professor Haimes's social science study will be considered by the MRC's Ethics, Regulation and Public Involvement Committee at its next meeting. The findings from both studies will be reported in published research papers and presented at scientific conferences and meetings. Research papers relating to Professor Herbert's study are currently in preparation, and two papers relating to Professor Haimes's study have been published:

Haimes, E. and Taylor, K., 2011: Researching the Relationships between Tissue Providers, Clinicians, and Stem Cell Scientists, Cell Stem Cell, 8(6) pp. 613-615.Haimes, E. and Taylor, K., 2011: The Contributions of Empirical Evidence to Socio-ethical Debates on Fresh Embryo Donation for Human Embryonic Stem Cell Research. Bioethics, 25 (6) pp 334-341.

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The MRC will continue to support research into all approaches to harness the potential of stem cells to treat human disease as it is not evident at present which area of stem cell research may deliver the most effective treatments for particular conditions. More research is needed on all types of stem cells to determine which routes should be pursued in the development of cell-based therapies.

Health: Obesity

Questions

Asked by Lord Marlesford

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): We want people to know that they can change their own and their families' lifestyle and in doing so they can make a difference to their health. What the Government can do is give the public clear, consistent messages on why they should change their lifestyle, how to do so, and put in place ways to make this easier.

Later this year we will be publishing a document on obesity that will set out how obesity will be tackled in the new public health and National Health Service systems, and the role of key partners. This will also set out the action that the Government will take to help people make healthier choices and improve their lifestyles.

Asked by Lord Marlesford

Earl Howe: We encourage general practitioners to implement guidance from the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) on the prevention, identification, assessment and management of overweight and obesity in adults and children and, where appropriate, implement their local obesity care pathway to ensure that patients receive the support they need to manage their weight. GPs are currently encouraged through the Quality and Outcomes Framework to identify patients who are obese.

The NICE guidance, available at www.nice.org.uk/CG43, recommends that "Healthcare professionals should use their clinical judgement to decide when to measure a person's height and weight. Opportunities include registration with a general practice, consultation for related conditions (such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease) and other routine health checks".

Asked by Lord Marlesford

Earl Howe: The NHS Information Centre (NHS IC) currently collects data on obesity in England. The NHS IC surveys on obesity do not cover Wales. This is the responsibility of the Welsh Government.

The Health Survey for England-2009: Health and Lifestyles report-includes tables showing body mass index (BMI) by age, sex, spearhead primary care trust status and equivalised household income for adults and children. This information is available on the NHS IC website at: www.ic.nhs.uk/statistics-and-data-collections/health-and-lifestyles-related-surveys/health-survey-for-england/health-survey-for-england-2009-health-and-lifestyles. This document has already been placed in the Library.

Data are also available in the UK Data Archive on obesity; this includes information on sex, age, socio-economic grouping, strategic health authority (SHA), government office region (GOR) and occupation classification. The data in the archive can be accessed at: www.data-archive.ac.uk/.

In addition, the NHS IC collects information from the National Child Measurement Programme (NCMP). Information is available for children in reception (4-5 years) and year six (10-11 years). The National Child Measurement Programme: England, 2009/10 school year report provides high-level analysis of the prevalence of obese children, by school year, sex, SHA, ethnic category and by GOR, local authority county/unitary authority and local authority district/former district. This information is available on the NHS IC website at: www.ic.nhs.uk/ncmp. This document has already been placed in the Library.

The National Obesity Observatory (NOO) has undertaken a further analysis of the data from the NCMP. NCMP analysis using the ONS area classification is available on the NOO website and can be accessed at: www.noo.org.uk/. This document has been placed in the Library.

Higher Education

Question

Asked by Baroness Brinton

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The following table shows the number of learners in further education (learner responsive) aged 24 years and over participating on a government-funded level 3 or level 4 and above qualification by mode of attendance in 2009-10, the latest year for which final data are available.



3 Oct 2011 : Column WA117

Further education (learner responsive) participation for learners aged 24 years and over by level and mode of attendance, 2009-10
Full-timePart-timeTotal

Level 3

30,640

158,810

189,400

Level 4 and above

980

29,540

30,500

Total learners

77,500

1,004,400

1,081,900

Source:

individualised learner record.

Information on further education and skills participation and achievement and by level and mode of attendance is published in a supplementary table of a quarterly statistical first release (SFR). The latest SFR was published on 23 June 2011: http://www. thedataservice.org.uk/statistics/statisticalfirstrelease/sfr_supplementary_tables/.

Higher Education: Student Loans

Question

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): Full-time new entrants for courses beginning in 2012-13 will be able to apply for a non-means-tested tuition loan of up to £9,000 for each year of their course, making a total of £27,000 for a three-year course at a university charging the maximum level of tuition fees.



3 Oct 2011 : Column WA118

Students can also apply for a maintenance loan for each year of their course. Students with the lowest household incomes (up to £25,000) will be entitled to the maximum non-repayable maintenance grant of £3,250. Their maintenance loan entitlement will be reduced as a result, by comparison with the entitlement of students from higher-income households. Assuming that a student is entitled to the maximum maintenance grant, the maximum amount that the student can borrow is set out below:

Living at the parental homeLiving away from parental home and studying in LondonLiving away from parental home and studying elsewhere

Total tuition fee loan

£27,000

£27,000

£27,000

Maintenance loan year 1

£2,750

£6,050

£3,875

Maintenance loan year 2

£2,750

£6,050

£3,875

Maintenance loan final year

£2,395

£5,365

£3,490

Maximum loan available for a 3-year course

£34,895

£44,465

£38,240

The above figures assume that the institution is charging the maximum tuition level of £9,000 a year and the student has applied for the maximum amount of maintenance loan available to them. They do not take into account any support available from HEIs for students at the lowest incomes, eg tuition charge waivers or bursaries. Based on these figures, the balance five years after the statutory repayment due date (SRDD), assuming that inflation remains at 5 per cent and no repayments are made, would be:

Students living at the parental home: £52,000.

Students living away from the parental home and studying in London: £66,500.

Students living away from the parental home and studying elsewhere: £57,000.

Homes and Communities Agency

Questions

Asked by Lord Hoyle

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The following sites were sold or disposed by the Homes and Communities Agency in Lancashire in the financial year 2010-11:



3 Oct 2011 : Column WA119



3 Oct 2011 : Column WA120

AddressTownArea disposed (hectares)Net price (£)Exchanged dateCompletion date

Preston East Sector A3

Preston

2.48

1,220,500

01/02/2011

01/02/2011

Preston East Sector C

Preston

2.96

53,850

12/08/2010

12/08/2010

Walton Park 10D

South Ribble

0.281

0

23/04/2010

23/04/2010

Broughton Business Park

Preston

0.403

4,000

05/07/2010

05/07/2010

Ajd East of 78 Longmeanygate

South Ribble

0.0642

1

11/08/2010

11/08/2010

6.1882

1,278,351

Furthermore, a land package of amenity land in Preston totalling nearly 133 hectares was transferred by the agency on 31 March 2010, just prior to the start of 2010-11.

Asked by Lord Hoyle

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): While the Homes and Community Agency's analysis of the trust's position has largely been completed, further work continues on finalising the drafting, and departmental officials have seen and commented on this. The aim is to have the report finalised in preparation for an intended meeting between the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State (Andrew Stunell MP), Lindsay Hoyle MP and the trust in October.

House of Lords Reform Bill [HL]

Question

Asked by Lord Grocott

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Government will carefully consider the costs of elections to the reformed House of Lords. The Government consider that these elections should take place at the same time as elections to the House of Commons. This will result in savings compared with two separate elections.

House of Lords: Reform

Question

Asked by Lord Grocott

To ask Her Majesty's Government which Ministers in the House of Commons and the House of Lords are responsible for House of Lords reform; and which Minister has overall responsibility.[HL11831]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Deputy Prime Minister, the right honourable Nick Clegg, has responsibility for House of Lords reform in the House of Commons, and overall responsibility. Lord Strathclyde has responsibility in the House of Lords.

Identity Security: Iris Recognition

Question

Asked by Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): IRIS has proven to be a valuable test bed for the next generation of automation. We are currently considering the future of IRIS in the context of our operating model of the future and our wider automation at the border strategy. As of April 2011 the department had allocated £4.9 million in capital costs and £4.2 million in running costs in respect of the Iris Recognition Immigration System.

Immigration

Questions

Asked by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): It is not possible to state the overall cost to public funds of supporting illegal immigrants in the United Kingdom. This is because the Government are unable to quantify accurately the number of illegal immigrants in the UK as some deliberately evade immigration control in order to remain in the country illegally. It follows that the Government are unable to provide any information on per capita costs of such support.



3 Oct 2011 : Column WA121

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Henley: It is not possible to state the overall cost to public funds of supporting illegal immigrants in the United Kingdom. This is because the Government are unable to quantify accurately the number of illegal immigrants in the UK as some deliberately evade immigration control in order to remain in the country illegally. It follows that the Government are unable to provide any information on per capita costs of such support.

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

Lord Henley: The UK Border Agency has a team of eight contract monitors who monitor and report on the performance of the escorting service provider. In addition, all service provider vehicles have CCTV fitted with audio capability. Members of the Independent Monitoring Board regularly report to the contract monitors and the Chief Inspector of Prisons also carries out announced and unannounced inspections. We expect the highest standards from our staff and contractors and will take appropriate robust action against those who fail to adhere to them.

Indonesia

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We are aware of the case of the GKI Yasmin Church in Bogor and of attacks on members of the Ahmadiyya community in Indonesia. On 4 August 2011 our embassy in Jakarta raised our concerns at the current freedom of religion situation in Indonesia with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. On the same day Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials raised the same concerns with the Indonesian embassy in London.

The European Union has a regular dialogue with Indonesia on human rights and at the last meeting on 29 June in Jakarta, the EU raised freedom of religion and concerns over attacks on Ahmadis in Banten and Christian churches in central Java. On 28 July the EU

3 Oct 2011 : Column WA122

released a statement on the sentencing of those convicted in attacks on Ahmadis recalling the need to ensure that religious and other minorities are adequately protected by the justice and law enforcement systems.

We will continue to monitor the Indonesian authorities' policies towards freedom of religion and to stress to the Indonesian Government that hate crimes must be robustly investigated and that those found guilty of involvement should receive sentences commensurate with the severity of the crimes. We will also continue to work through the European Union to raise our concerns with Indonesia.

Iraq

Question

Asked by Lord Clement-Jones

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Government take all attacks across borders seriously and pay close attention to the circumstances in which they occur. We call on all parties to co-operate with the Government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government over the threat in the border areas, and have expressed our concern about indiscriminate Iranian shelling.

Israel

Questions

Asked by Baroness Tonge

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The UK attaches the highest importance to the values set out in Israel's declaration of independence and basic laws guaranteeing equal treatment to all its citizens, regardless of religion or background.

Our ambassador to Tel Aviv, Matthew Gould, is committed to being an ambassador to all Israelis, including the country's Arab citizens. He regularly raises our concerns about unequal treatment and potentially discriminatory legislation. He recently lobbied the Israeli Minister of Trade and Labour over the affirmative action Bill/military service and its impact on Israeli Arabs, the ultra-orthodox and the disabled.

One of our embassy's strategic goals is to help Israel become more inclusive, in particular through ensuring equal treatment for Israeli Arabs. Visiting UK Ministers routinely meet the Israeli Arab community, most recently the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my honourable friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Mr Burt), in June 2011 and the Minister

3 Oct 2011 : Column WA123

of State for International Development, my right honourable friend the Member for Rutland & Melton (Mr Duncan), in July 2011, as well as having frequent contact with visiting officials and Embassy staff. This year the UK has allocated £225,000 of conflict pool funding to Israeli Arab projects. A "high tech hub" will shortly be launched to help the Israeli Arab community become part of the Israeli economic mainstream through improved opportunities in the high-tech industry.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

Lord Howell of Guildford: We are aware that three Palestinian MPs continue to shelter at the International Committee of the Red Cross office in Jerusalem. The three Members are still present and say they will remain there until Israel changes the decision to revoke their Jerusalem residency status.

The UK remains of the view that forcible transfer of people out of the city for political reasons is illegal under international humanitarian law. We regularly raise such practices with the Israeli authorities. However, we have not made representations on these specific cases.

Asked by Lord Hylton

Lord Howell of Guildford: The UN Palmer report into the Gaza flotilla in 2010 was published on 2 September. The UK supported the UN Secretary-General's establishment of an independent panel of inquiry. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right honourable friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) stated at the time that the UK deeply deplored the loss of life and urged strenuous efforts to prevent the recurrence of such incidents in future.

The report makes clear that the events of 31 May should never have taken place. Turkey and Israel have made public statements on the report. We regret the breakdown in relationships between them and we continue to urge both sides to renew their efforts to find a way forward that will promote reconciliation and enhance regional stability.

The situation in Gaza is of serious concern to the Government. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my honourable friend the Member for North East

3 Oct 2011 : Column WA124

Bedfordshire (Mr Burt) visited Gaza during his visit in June and raised this issue. He saw for himself a United Nations Relief and Works Agency school. Our ambassador in Tel Aviv and other officials regularly discuss the situation in Gaza with Israeli interlocutors, most recently with the Finance Ministry.

While there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza, there is an enduring need for humanitarian aid. We have also been clear that actions by both Israel and Hamas have contributed to this status quo. Working closely with the EU and the quartet, we will continue to call on Israel to ease restrictions on access and enable a return to economic normality.

Israel and Palestine

Questions

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The best way to resolve this long-standing conflict is through direct negotiations. The UK is working with our European partners to find a way forward that increases the prospects of the Israelis and Palestinians returning to negotiations with the aim of achieving a final settlement. We wish to avoid confrontation at the UN but also to find a way to recognise the progress the Palestinians have made at their state-building efforts.

The UK set out in February, in its explanation of vote on the UN Security Council resolution on settlements, the parameters within which negotiations should be conducted:

An agreement on the borders of the two states, based on 4 June 1967 lines with equivalent land swaps as may be agreed between the parties;Security arrangements that, for Palestinians, respect their sovereignty and show that the occupation is over; and, for Israelis, that protect their security, prevent the resurgence of terrorism and deal effectively with new and emerging threats;A just, fair and agreed solution to the refugee question; and Fulfilment of the aspirations of both parties for Jerusalem. A way must be found through negotiations to resolve the status of Jerusalem as the future capital of both states.

The UK will continue to encourage the parties to reach an agreement along these lines. Whatever action is taken in New York, it is important that this increases the prospects for a return to negotiations.

Asked by Lord Hylton



3 Oct 2011 : Column WA125

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The UK believes that the best way to resolve this long-standing conflict is through direct negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians, with the aim of giving the Palestinian people the state that they need and deserve and the Israeli people long-term security and peace.

So our focus remains on continuing to push hard for a return to negotiations on the basis agreed by my right honourable friend the Prime Minister and President Obama. That is, borders based on 1967 lines with mutually agreed swaps; security for Israel; and the right for Palestinians to govern themselves in a sovereign and contiguous state. We are working hard with our international partners for a return to negotiations on this basis. Failure to return to negotiations now puts at risk the long-term prospects for a solution. Neither Israel nor the Palestinians can afford to let the opportunity for peace slip further from their grasp.

Along with our European Union partners, we are working to build consensus on a way forward that recognises the progress the Palestinians have made on their state-building efforts, that meets Israel's legitimate security concerns and that avoids confrontation in the UN. We continue to stress that whatever action is taken, including in New York, it is important that this increases the prospects for a return to negotiations.

Asked by Lord Hylton

Lord Howell of Guildford: My right honourable friend the Prime Minister made the UK's position on recognition of a Palestinian state clear during the visit of President Obama. He agreed with the President that a Palestinian state was a legitimate goal, and the best way of achieving this was through a comprehensive agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

Palestinian action at the UN this month is now looking increasingly likely but it is not yet clear exactly what they are proposing. We are working with partners to build consensus on a way forward that recognises the progress the Palestinians have made on their state-building efforts, that meets Israel's legitimate security concerns, and that avoids confrontation in the UN. Whatever action is taken in New York, it is important that this increases the prospects for a return to negotiations.

We have reserved our position on the question of recognition of a Palestinian state while we continue to urge all parties back to talks. Recognition is a matter for each Government to decide bilaterally, and if needed, we will take a decision nearer to the time, in consultation with EU and other partners.

Justice: Legal Services

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Government do not intend to opt into the European Union Directive on Access to a Lawyer in Criminal Proceedings and on the Right to Communicate upon Arrest at the initial stage of the negotiations because they are of the view that the directive as published by the Commission would have an adverse effect on our ability to investigate and prosecute offences effectively. However, the Government intend to work together with other member states to improve the directive and if our concerns are taken into account during the process of negotiation, the Government will consider opting in once the instrument has been adopted.

Kenya

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): I can confirm that records relating to the number of people hung in Kenya during the Mau Mau uprising are available in the National Archives. Some further records are contained within the Kenya files that are being transferred to the National Archives, from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has undertaken to release every part of every document relevant to the Mau Mau uprising, subject only to legal exemptions.

Libya

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The UK continues to work with partners at the UN to unfreeze Libyan assets for the benefit of the Libyan people. On 29 August 2011, the UN approved the release of 1.86 billion Libya dinars' worth of bank notes that had been frozen in the UK under the UN asset freeze. Within the existing UN sanctions regimes, there are several exemptions which enable member states, either by notifying or seeking the approval of the UN Sanctions Committee, to release frozen assets for the purchase of food and other necessities. Over the past six months, many requests of this nature have been agreed. There is no food security crisis in Libya but we continue to

3 Oct 2011 : Column WA127

liaise closely with the World Food Programme, which is leading the UN food security response in Libya, to monitor the situation on the ground and respond appropriately.

Middle East Peace Process

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The EU and EU member states as a collective are the biggest financial supporters of the Palestinian Authority. In 2010 the EU gave a total of €377.9 million to the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) and to Palestinian refugees in the region. The Department for International Development imputed share was €1.79 million. This is in addition to DfID's bilateral support, which totalled £73.1 million.

The EU development programme for the OPTs is supporting a successful Middle East peace process by helping build Palestinian institutions, improving security and promoting economic growth, so that any future state will be stable, prosperous, well run and an effective partner for peace with Israel.

NHS: Clinical Indemnity

Question

Asked by Baroness Cumberlege

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): We intend to publish the outcome of the National Health Service litigation authority industry review, alongside a "next steps" document, in the coming months. This will set out broadly how we intend to explore reform of the NHS clinical indemnity arrangements, the detail of which will be subject to further engagement with stakeholders.

NHS: Independent Providers

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill



3 Oct 2011 : Column WA128

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Independent sector providers of public services are not public authorities for the purposes of paragraphs 43A and 44 of Schedule 1 to the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FOIA).

However, where National Health Service commissioners, as public authorities, contract with independent sector providers for the provision of healthcare services, the NHS standard contract requires that the provider shall assist and co-operate with each commissioner, in complying with its FOIA obligations, by providing the type of information as regards the provision of those services, which would be disclosable under the FOIA.

NHS: Peterborough Primary Care Trust

Questions

Asked by Lord Mawhinney

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The table below shows the number of learners in further education (learner responsive) aged 24 years and over participating on a government-funded Level 3 or Level 4 and above qualification by mode of attendance in 2009-10, the latest year for which final data are available.

Table 1: Further Education (Learner Responsive) participation for learners aged 24 years and over by level and mode of attendance, 2009-10
Full-timePart-timeTotal

Level 3

30,640

158,810

189,400

Level 4 and above

980

29,540

30,500

Total Learners

77,500

1,004,400

1,081,900



3 Oct 2011 : Column WA129

Information on further education and skills participation and achievement by level and mode of attendance is published in a supplementary table of a quarterly statistical first release (SFR). The latest SFR was published on 23rd June 2011: http://www.thedata service.org.uk/statistics/statisticalfirstrelease/sfr_supplementary_tables/.

Asked by Lord Mawhinney

Earl Howe: Peterborough Primary Care Trust (PCT) has not had any transfer of funds authorised by the East of England Strategic Health Authority in each of the past five years in order to prevent the PCT from breaching its statutory financial responsibilities.

In relation to how much money the PCT contracted to pay Peterborough NHS Hospital Trust, this is a matter for the local National Health Service and information is not collected centrally.

In relation to how much had been paid at the end of each financial year, information is not available in the format requested. The following table shows Peterborough PCT's reported view of its expenditure in each of the past five financial years.

Peterborough Primary Care Trust - Expenditure with Peterborough & Stamford Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust (£,000)

2009-10

91,152

2008-09

77,817

2007-08

76,177

2006-07

81,771

2005-06

90,125



3 Oct 2011 : Column WA130

Asked by Lord Mawhinney:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): This information is not held centrally. This is a matter for the local National Health Service. The noble Lord may wish to raise any further concerns with, Sir Neil McKay, Chief Executive, NHS East of England Strategic Health Authority.

NHS: Reorganisation

Question

Asked by Lord Judd

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department does hold cost information on the amount spent with external consultants. However, the information captured by this central record does not enable us to readily identify the expenditure that relates specifically to the Health and Social Care Bill and the current reforms to the National Health Service. In order to gather all possible relevant information, we would need to contact each business area and directorate in the department, requiring them to check their records. This undertaking would amount to a substantial effort across the department and could be obtained only at disproportionate cost.

Northern Ireland Office: Consultants

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord De Mauley: Comparable figures for the department as it is now configured are not available before 12 April 2010, following the completion of devolution of policing and justice functions. Since that time the department has not employed any consultants.



3 Oct 2011 : Column WA131

Northern Ireland Office: Staff

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord De Mauley: Following the devolution of policing and justice and the successful establishment of the Northern Ireland Office in its current form, the director-general indicated her intention to move on after six years in the department. She will leave once her successor has been identified. Her departure terms will then be finalised. Her pension arrangements are determined by the principal civil service pension scheme.

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord De Mauley: I refer the noble Lord to the Answer given by Lord Shutt of Greetland on 12 September, Official Report, col. WA 45.

Northern Ireland Office: Taxis

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord De Mauley: Taxis were used on four occasions on 15 July 2011 by staff of the Northern Ireland Office. The taxis were used for the purposes of official business. The total cost of these taxis amounted to £85.60.

Northern Ireland: Human Rights Commission

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird



3 Oct 2011 : Column WA132

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The appointment of Professor O'Flaherty was announced by way of a press release that included the key points of his terms and conditions of appointment including length of appointment, remuneration and a list of all other ministerial public appointments held. His appointment is also subject to the provisions of Schedule 7 to the Northern Ireland Act 1998.

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Appointment to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission is regulated by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments (OCPA) which requires all stages of a public appointments process to be undertaken by a selection panel that includes a senior official from the sponsor department, a representative from the public body or other interested group, an Independent Public Appointments Assessor and, where appropriate, a technical expert.

A selection panel for the position of Chief Commissioner of the NIHRC was approved by the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland in advance of the launch of the appointments process. The panel was chaired by Hilary Jackson, Director General of the Northern Ireland Office, and included a senior official from OFMdFM, an independent expert in the field of human rights and equality and an Independent Public Appointments Assessor. The selection panel interviewed six individuals for the position.

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord De Mauley: As previously stated in the Answer given by the Lord Shutt of Greetland, on 7 September, col. WA 32, Professor Michael O'Flaherty's terms and conditions of appointment require him to work such hours as are reasonably necessary to fulfill his role as chief commissioner. How the new chief commissioner chooses to allocate his time in fulfilling his responsibilities is a matter for him.

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord De Mauley: The Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission operates independently of government. Decisions about how it carries out its

3 Oct 2011 : Column WA133

functions as defined in legislation are a matter for the commission. The noble Lord may wish to contact the commission directly should he wish to pursue this matter further.

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord De Mauley: The organisational structure of the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission is an operational matter for the commission, which operates independently of government. However, the NIHRC is required to seek departmental approval when it wishes to increase staff numbers above the agreed headcount. On this occasion, approval was not required as the headcount was reduced.

Parliamentary Constituencies

Question

Asked by Lord Kilclooney

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Boundary Commission for Northern Ireland published initial proposals for new parliamentary constituency boundaries in Northern Ireland on 13 September. In making their proposals, each of the four independent boundary commissions must comply with the legal duties imposed on them, including the requirement in Section 5 of the amended Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986 to take such steps as they think fit to inform people in each proposed constituency of the proposed boundary changes. Additionally, Section 5 requires the boundary commissions to make a copy of these proposals available for inspection at a specified place within each newly proposed constituency. It is a matter for the boundary commissions to judge how to fulfil their statutory obligations most appropriately.

Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011

Question

Asked by Lord Lipsey

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Section 10(6) of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011 modifies an existing

3 Oct 2011 : Column WA134

power in the Parliamentary Constituencies Act 1986 to make delegated legislation, but does not confer a new power. It provides that the Secretary of State must lay before Parliament the draft of an Order in Council giving effect to the final recommendations of the boundary commissions on redrawing the parliamentary constituency boundaries of the UK. This order can take effect only if approved by resolution of each House of Parliament.

The Act contained three more powers under which any orders made would need to be approved by resolution of each House. One of those powers was repealed in July 2011 and the remaining two cannot be exercised after 5 May 2011.

A table summarising orders subject to the affirmative procedure in the 2011 Act has been placed in the Library of both Houses.

Passports

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): For the period January 2011 until June 2011, the Identity and Passport Service issued 239,958 passports in the Belfast office.


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