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4 Oct 2011 : Column WA199

4 Oct 2011 : Column WA199

Written Answers

Tuesday 4 October 2011



Asked by Lord Marlesford

Earl Attlee: The table below provides detail regarding which roads the Highways Agency has constructed bat bridges over in each year since 2008, the respective cost, and where further bat bridges are planned.

SchemeNo of BridgesTotal CostStatus

A38 Dobwalls Bypass




A590 High and Low Newton Bypass




A69 Haydon Bypass




A595 Parton to Lillihall Improvement




A11 Fiveways to Thetford Improvement

Not known until detailed design has been finalised




Asked by Lord Myners

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): As has been set out, this was the Prime Minister's decision alone.

Cyclists: Accidents


Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

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Earl Attlee: We take the issue of cycle safety very seriously. Everyone who uses the highway has a responsibility to behave safely and with consideration for others. In May we launched the Strategic Framework for Road Safety (, which sets out our approach to continuing to reduce killed and seriously injured casualties on Britain's roads. In addition the Government are also progressing measures with regard to improving European vehicle safety regulations, supporting Bikeability cycle training for the rest of this Parliament, raising the standard of lorry driver training, and promoting the Highway Code. There is also a range of measures that local authorities can take, for instance safer road infrastructure, cycle lanes, local safety campaigns, 20 mph zones and better traffic management. These will, however, depend on local decisions and need to reflect local priorities.

Disabled People: Cars


Asked by Lord Marlesford

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The criteria for receiving a Motability vehicle is receipt of the higher rate mobility component of disability living allowance or war pensioners mobility supplement. Provided they have at least 12 months remaining of their award, recipients may choose to exchange all or part of that component for a Motability vehicle. Motability vehicles are therefore not supplied at public expense, and Motability is largely self-financed.

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Motability is an independent charity and is wholly responsible for the policies and administration of the Motability scheme. Specific questions relating to the operation of the scheme should be directed at Motability and can be sent to: Declan O'Mahony, Director, Motability, Warwick House, Roydon Road, Harlow, Essex CM19 5PX.

The only direct funding the Department for Work and Pensions gives the scheme relates to the Specialised Vehicles Fund, which Motability administers on our behalf. The Department for Work and Pensions regularly meets Motability to discuss the performance of the Specialised Vehicles Fund. Information on the amount of funding allocated to Motability in respect of the Specialised Vehicles Fund and its administration in each of the past three years is contained in the table below.

Funding for the Specialised Vehicle Fund and its administration over the past three years
Specialised Vehicles Fund (£'000s)Administration (£'000s)










Disabled People: Harassment


Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): Disability-related harassment is unacceptable and has no place in a civilised society.

The Government are working with disabled people and their organisations to improve the recording and reporting of hate crime. Schemes such as True Vision now allow people to report hate crime online without going directly to the police, and we are publishing central statistics on hate crime for the first time. Other work under way includes considering ways to enable more reporting of hate crime to third parties, ensuring an effective response to hate crime locally, and looking at ways to improve the handling of such crimes by the criminal justice agencies.

The report of the Equality and Human Rights Commission's inquiry into disability-related harassment sets out a number of detailed recommendations. We will respond to the report in due course.

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Driving: Licences


Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

Earl Attlee: Driving licences issued by European Union (EU) member states are recognised as valid until they expire.

Holders of driving licences issued in non-EU countries may drive small vehicles (motorcycles and motorcars) for a period of 12 months.

After 12 months, holders of driving licences issued in a country that has been designated in law for exchange purposes must exchange their driving licence for a British equivalent to continue driving in GB. The list of designated countries can be found at:

To continue driving beyond 12 months, drivers from all other countries must apply for a provisional driving licence and pass the relevant driving tests.

Government Departments: Procurement


Asked by Lord Hunt of Chesterton

Baroness Garden of Frognal: The Government recognise the importance of building strong procurement capability, and the Cabinet Office has set up a Capability Improvement Programme, which aims to develop the skills of Civil Service procurement staff. The Capability Improvement Programme will raise the level of expertise across central government, ensuring that procurers have the right skills to deliver what is expected of them and are better equipped to foster innovative solutions where these deliver value for money.

Further details of this programme can be found in the Government's response to the House of Lords Science and Technology Select Committee's report, Public Procurement as a Tool to Stimulate Innovation, which can be found at: committees/science-technology/publicprocurement/GovermentResponseAugust2011.pdf.

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Government Departments: Staff


Asked by Lord Marlesford

Baroness Garden of Frognal: The Government are fully committed to developing a representative workforce in all areas of the Civil Service. Respecting and valuing differences will help ensure that government policies and services reflect the needs and experiences of the people we serve.

In 2005, the Government launched "Delivering a Diverse Civil Service: A 10-Point Plan" to drive forward the commitment to diversity over the three years to 2008. This was an ambitious plan at the centre of Civil Service reform aimed at helping to achieve a more diverse workforce to make the Civil Service better equipped to deliver, adapt and innovate.

In 2008 "Promoting Equality, Valuing Diversity-A Strategy for the Civil Service" was launched. This strategy built on the 10-point plan and earlier achievements and reflected the drive to mainstream equality and diversity further into every aspect of government business. This strategy also enables the Civil Service to fulfil its data transparency requirements under the Equality Act 2010-including monitoring of age, sexual orientation and religion or belief; as well as race, disability, gender and gender reassignment.

The Civil Service is committed to various initiatives to address under representation issues, for example:

Leaders UnLtd launched in 2007. This is a Civil Service talent development programme aimed at women and black, asian and minority ethnic (BAME) staff at grades 6 and 7 with the potential to progress to the senior Civil Service; andWhitehall Internship Programme launched in 2011. This comprises three complementary internship schemes designed for graduates, undergraduates, college students and secondary school students from under-represented groups, including BAME communities and people from socially disadvantaged backgrounds. These programmes offered a variety of work placements including opportunities in Ministers' private offices.

There are also departmental specific initiatives such as private office roadshows. These have been delivered in geographical areas with a high proportion of BAME staff and are intended to encourage staff from more diverse backgrounds to consider a career in private office.

To provide a full breakdown of all diversity initiatives across the Civil Service over the past 10 years could not be done without exceeding the disproportionate cost threshold.

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Government: Agencies


Asked by Lord Hunt of Chesterton

Baroness Garden of Frognal: Since May 2010, three executive agencies have been reorganised and absorbed into government departments. Specifically, these are: the Defence Storage and Distribution Agency; the Service Personnel and Veterans Agency; and the People, Pay and Pensions Agency; all of which have been absorbed into the Ministry of Defence. No trading funds have been reorganised and absorbed into government departments.

On 3 October 2011, JobCentre Plus and the Pensions, Disability and Carers Service will formally have their agency status removed, and be absorbed into the work of the Department for Work and Pensions. There are a number of executive agencies whose status is currently under review, and which may be absorbed into departments in the future.

Arrangements for chief executives and senior managers, websites and performance reporting are a matter for individual departments. It will also be for departments to inform the public of the changes.



Asked by Lord Ahmed

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The British High Commission conducts a wide-ranging dialogue with the Pakistani Government, including issues pertaining to British security interests in Pakistan and the role of International Security Assistance Force operations in Afghanistan.

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News International


Asked by Lord Donoughue

Baroness Garden of Frognal: News International acquired The Times and the Sunday Times in 1981. Under the previous merger regime provided for by the Fair Trading Act 1973, consent was given by the then Secretary of State to the merger subject to certain conditions. The conditions, which remain in force, related to the tenure of the independent national directors, editorial independence and future ownership structure of the Times Newspapers. These conditions, which are backed by criminal sanction for breach, were set out in the Secretary of State's letter of consent published on 27 January 1981. I am arranging for copies to be placed in the House Libraries. Any proposed changes by News International require the prior consent of the Secretary of State.

Asked by Lord Donoughue

Baroness Garden of Frognal: The conditions relate only to The Times and Sunday Times newspapers. No formal allegations of breach of the conditions of consent have been made to the department that would require investigation.

Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012


Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Baroness Garden of Frognal: The Government have bid for 1,150 Paralympic Games tickets in total, around half of which will be used to support the new School Games programme which is a key part of London 2012's sporting legacy. The Government will use their allocation for liaison with international and domestic political and business leaders, dignitaries and others with a close connection to the Games.

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Parliamentary Constituencies


Asked by Lord Kilclooney

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): The independent Boundary Commission for England published initial proposals for new parliamentary constituency boundaries in England on 13 September. Those proposals are now subject to extensive consultation. Once the commission presents final proposals to Her Majesty's Government, we will seek to give effect to them through a draft order subject to approval by resolution of each House. This will give the House the opportunity to consider the final proposed constituency boundaries, based on the draft order and its supporting documentation.

Population Growth


Asked by Baroness Tonge

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The UN's 2010 projections estimate that the global population will pass the 7 billion mark on 31 October 2011. Under a medium growth scenario, the global population will continue to rise throughout the 21st century, passing 9.3 billion in 2050 and 10.1 billion in 2100. Rapid population growth will mostly take place in the poorest countries where current fertility rates, if not reduced, will mean that populations in some countries are expected to double or triple by 2050.

In the absence of commensurate economic growth, this will place a significant strain on the ability of Governments to deliver basic services such as health and education. Even with economic growth, this increase in global population is likely to build additional pressure on natural resources with some regions of the world experiencing increasing water scarcity, food shortages and new challenges for sustainable energy supplies and land availability. Rapid population growth, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa, could also have an important role in shaping mitigation and adaptation responses to climate change, migration patterns and successful urbanisation policies.

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The UK Government are working closely with others to advance a comprehensive understanding of the role of population dynamics (specifically the demographic dividend associated with declining fertility) in helping achieve increased economic productivity and rising per capita income in developing economies.

Public Procurement


Asked by Lord Chidgey

Baroness Garden of Frognal: The Government of course want UK companies, including our small businesses, to be successful in public procurement. The best way to bring this about is for them to offer the goods and services we need at quality levels and whole-life costs representing value for money.

Through our membership of the European Union and as a signatory to international agreements, our contracting authorities are required to treat suppliers from Europe and various other countries on an equal footing with UK suppliers.

However, a review of public procurement is currently under way that is examining UK application of EU procurement rules. The review will consider any actions the Government need to take to help ensure that UK businesses can compete for Government work on an equal footing with their competitors.

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Earl Attlee: All consultants who have been employed on the Thameslink rolling stock project were appointed through competitive tender.

Railways: Intercity Express and Electrification


Asked by Lord Bradshaw

Earl Attlee: Seven of the bi-mode trains could be electric only if the route between Cardiff and Swansea were to be electrified, and a further three could be electric only if the route between Bristol and Weston Super Mare were electrified.

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A small number of services between Bristol Parkway and Weston Super Mare and between Cardiff and Swansea could be operated by electric multiple units in place of diesel multiple units if electrification were to be extended.

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

Earl Attlee: It is currently envisaged that rolling stock will be deployed as follows:

a mixture of electric Intercity Express Programme (IEP) and electric multiple unit trains for services between Paddington and Newbury and Paddington and Oxford; new IEP bi-mode trains for services beyond Oxford, and those running via Cheltenham; andlife-extended vehicles from the current high speed train fleet for services to the West of England, via Newbury.

St Helena: Airport


Asked by Lord Ashcroft

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Department for International Development is currently negotiating with a South African contractor on the basis of their tender for the airport submitted on 10 June 2011 to determine whether we can agree acceptable contract terms.

Transport: Heavy Goods Vehicles


Asked by Lord Bradshaw

Earl Attlee: The Government will shortly be publishing their response to the consultation on the case for an increase in the overall length of articulated lorries. That response will, in the light of the research and the

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consultation contributions received, address the issues of infrastructure costs and accidents, and contain a revised impact assessment.

Treasure Act 1996


Asked by Lord Hall of Birkenhead

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Preparations continue. Work to date includes some pre-consultation and preliminary drafting for the consultation document.

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