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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): British milk producers receive a range of prices for their milk. Those aligned to individual retailers for the supply of fresh drinking milk generally receive the best prices. Non-aligned producers supplying for other markets such as dairy products generally receive lower prices.
The farmgate milk price in the UK and other countries depends on the market price transmission through the supply chains for these products in each country. Historically, UK farmers have received a lower milk price than the majority of their counterparts in Europe. This raises questions as to how the UK dairy supply chain works, the competitiveness of processing in the UK and the product mix for dairy.
The Government, through the Dairy Supply Chain Forum, are challenging senior sector representatives to discuss the health and future of the dairy sector and identify opportunities that should benefit dairy farmers. These include exploring new export markets or replacing imports with products made with British milk to improve our trade balance and therefore demand for British milk supplies.
We have encouraged and supported the industry's development of its own voluntary code of practice on contractual relations for farmers, and the Dairy 2020 project will produce an action plan to secure long-term industry sustainability.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether air passenger duty will be phased out as revenue from aviation entering the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme starts to be received by HM Treasury. [HL12893]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Air passenger duty is, fundamentally, a revenue-raising duty that makes an important contribution to the public finances. In meeting revenue requirements, the Government consider aviation taxes in the round.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The UK's proposals for creating the Green Investment Bank (GIB) are subject to approval by the European Commission, which will examine whether the proposals are compatible with the provisions of the EU treaty as it relates to state aid. The Government are in close engagement with the European Commission to obtain state aid approval for the GIB. In the period prior to obtaining state aid approval for a GIB, the Government will make appropriate financial interventions to promote the transition to a green economy. We are discussing regulatory oversight of GIB with the Financial Services Authority.
Baroness Northover: The UK is not at present providing direct funding to education in refugee camps supported by the Thailand Burma Border Consortium (TBBC). The Department for International Development (DfID) provides £1.1 million per year to TBBC, principally for food and shelter for the refugees and support for internally displaced persons (IDPs) inside Burma. The UK is also providing about £600,000 per year to the International Rescue Committee for its legal assistance centres in the camps and other donors are focused on education. DfID's programme of assistance to Burmese refugees in Thailand and IDPs in eastern Burma is about to be reviewed in order to inform decisions on future funding.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Information on the number of looked-after children who were placed in homes or hostels subject to children's homes regulations, and where the placement was provided by a local authority, is shown in the table below. Information is shown for both 2010 and for 2011 (the latest year for which figures are available).
|Children looked after at 31 March in Local Authority's Children Homes 1,2,3,4|
|Year ending 31 March 2010 and 2011|
|Children looked after at 31 March in Local Authority's Children Homes 1,2,3,4||Children looked after at 31 March in Local Authority's Children Homes 1,2,3,4|
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the estimated net benefit in a full year to (a) jobs, and (b) value added in the tourism and hospitality industries, for (1) the United Kingdom, and (2) England and Wales, from adopting the same time zone as most of western Europe.[HL12834]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): A number of claims have been made about what the possible effects upon the United Kingdom and its constituent parts might be of adopting the same time zone as most of western Europe, i.e. central European time (CET). However, the Government are unable to quantify definitively what the precise effects would be, until a comprehensive cost-benefit analysis has been completed.
The Government have announced that they are considering supporting Daylight Savings Bill, sponsored by my honourable friend the Member for Castle Point (Rebecca Harris), and that they are seeking amendments to the Bill at its forthcoming Committee stage in the House of Commons. The Bill could eventually mean the advancing of time by one hour throughout the year across the country, placing the United Kingdom on central European time.
The Bill would require the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills to consult the devolved Administrations in Scotland and Wales and to obtain the agreement of the devolved Administration in Northern Ireland to any proposed three-year trial. A review of the potential costs and benefits of advancing time in this way would also be required. Such a review would cover, among other things, an analysis of the effect on jobs and the tourism and hospitality industries.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what legal arrangements they have with the Government of the United States regarding applications for extradition where, on conviction, the death penalty could be imposed.[HL12913]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The United States of America has been designated as a category 2 territory under the Extradition Act 2003 (the Act). Section 94 of the Act states that "the Secretary of State must not order a person's extradition
7 Nov 2011 : Column WA7
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many drivers are currently listed on the Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency database who have more than 12 points on their licence and whose licences have not been removed due to a successful plea of personal hardship resulting from the loss of a driving licence. [HL12173]
Earl Attlee: This information is not held on the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency's database as the courts do not notify why someone with more than 12 penalty points is not disqualified. On 21 September 2011, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency's records showed that 9,747 drivers in Great Britain have 12 points or more without disqualification.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the light of proposals for individual electoral registration, whether they will review relevant procedures to ensure that non-British nationals who apply to register to vote are dealt with in a standardised manner; and whether they plan to make it a statutory duty that the necessary steps to check such applicants' immigration status are taken in all cases.[HL12721]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): An electoral registration officer's (ERO) current statutory duty is governed by the Representation of the People (England and Wales) Regulations 2001. Under Regulation 24, if the ERO has any doubts about the eligibility of any application it has the power to require the applicant or elector to provide specified documentary evidence confirming their nationality, which would determine whether they are eligible to register. Under Regulation 23, EROs also have the power to require any other person to provide information about any aspect of a person's eligibility to be an elector. Provision of false information to a registration officer for any purpose connected with the registration of electors is an offence.
The Government's proposals for individual electoral registration were set out in a White Paper and draft Bill published on 30 June 2011. Under these proposals electors will be required, as now, to provide their nationality and immigration status where relevant in their application so that the ERO can determine
7 Nov 2011 : Column WA8
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Earl Howe on 19 October (WA 71-2), on what date did the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority first notify gamete providers that their resulting embryos were used in research without their consent under Research Licence R0075 at Centre 0102; and at which other licensed centres this is known to have occurred.[HL12716]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that it has not notified gamete providers in the circumstances described by the noble Lord. The authority considers this to be the role of licensed centres. If the noble Lord has a specific case in mind, if he will provide the details to the HFEA, the authority has undertaken to look into the matter.
The HFEA has also advised that for it to provide the requested information about any licence under which embryos may have been used in research without the gamete providers' consent, a manual search would be required of inspection reports and reported incidents, relating to all current and expired licences. This could be provided only at disproportionate cost.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the basis for the statement by the Prime Minister on 19 October (Official Report, Commons, col. 889) that "there are 500,000 more private sector jobs-new jobs-compared with the time of the last election". [HL12681]
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): Public sector employment, and from it private employment, is measured by the Office for National Statistics on a quarterly basis. As public sector employment is measured in the last month of each calendar quarter, private sector employment is arrived at by deducing this figure from the labour force survey centred on that month. The statement uses the labour force survey for the February to April quarter. This follows the approach used by the previous Government, who also used an even earlier period, January to March 1997, as the baseline for economic calculations. To use the following quarter would imply that the previous Administration was still in government during the May to July quarter of 2010.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have plans to supply funding or guarantees to the European Financial Stability Fund (EFSF); and whether they will allow United Kingdom banks to benefit from the EFSF, either directly or indirectly. [HL12712]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what decisions or negotiations are taking place between the Government and European Union institutions and other member states in pursuit of the Government's stated intention of securing the repatriation of powers to the United Kingdom.[HL12813]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Government's stated intention is to examine the balance of the EU's existing competences. The work on examining the balance of competences is in its early stages, because in our first year in office we gave priority to implementing the referendum lock, so we have not yet had discussions with EU institutions and other member states. We are however in regular contact with both over our views on specific dossiers such as the working time directive and other dossiers where we think legislation needs to be amended or repealed in the interests of EU reform and modernisation.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of the United Kingdom's exports have a final destination within the European Union; and what proportion is transhipped to other destinations through European Union ports.[HL12827]
|Proportion of UK exports with final destination in the EU: 2008-10|
|Total UK Exports||UK Exports to EU||Proportion of Total UK Exports sent to EU|
|Year||(£ Billions)||(£ Billions)||(percentage)|
1 Source: HM Revenue and Customs-Overseas Trade Statistics, published on the HMRC trade data website: www.uktradeinfo.com
2. UK international trade data on www.uktradeinfo.com are available from 1996 onwards.
Full data are not available on the proportion of the UK's non-EU exports that transit through other EU ports or airports. Where there is a single transport contract by sea or air from the point of export from the UK to the final destination country, this is treated, for customs control purposes, as a direct export from the UK.
The customs export control system controls indirect exports by road, sea and air where a single transport contract is not used and where the point of final exit from the EU is in another member state. In 2010, £5.88 billion of exports to non-EU destinations were exported via other member states using the export control system.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the potential psychological impact on Gary McKinnon, who has autism spectrum disorder, of the length of the uncertainty about his potential extradition to the United States.[HL12911]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The Home Secretary has received a number of medical reports regarding Mr McKinnon's case and is in the process of obtaining a further medical report from experts recommended by the chief medical officer. Once this report is received a decision will then be made as to whether the medical evidence establishes that extradition to the US would be compatible with Mr McKinnon's convention rights.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the reason for the further delay in the publication of the 2011 Pink Book (the United Kingdom Balance of Payments); and when they now expect it to be published.[HL13062]
As Director-General for the Office for National Statistics (ONS), I have been asked to reply to your recent question asking what is the reason for the further delay in the publication of the 2011 Pink Book (the United Kingdom balance of payments); and when they now expect it to be published. (HL13062)
The 2011 Pink Book was initially scheduled for publication on 1 November 2011. On 29 September, after consultation with key users, the ONS announced a modification to the timetable for various publications, including the Pink Book. The ONS announced that the Pink Book would be delayed until 23 November. The full announcement can be read at: http://www.ons. gov.uk/ons/media-centre/statements/national-accounts-publication-timetable.html.
The delay to the timetable was announced to ensure that the ONS could fully implement significant changes in the 2011 edition of the UK national accounts-the Blue Book. The changes included the introduction of a new industrial and product classification required by European Regulations SIC07 and CPA08 respectively, improved methods of deflation and some additional improvement in the financial services area. Because the balance of payments estimates for the UK are produced as an integrated part of the whole national accounts, these changes had an impact on the Pink Book timetable.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what financial as well as technical and diplomatic resources the Department for International Development offers national Governments in East Africa and elsewhere in Africa to implement the African Union Pastoral Policy Framework.[HL12804]
Under the Comprehensive African Agriculture Development Programme, the UK will support the development of a strategy for agricultural development
7 Nov 2011 : Column WA12
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 25 October (WA 130) concerning revenue lost due to fuel smuggling, whether they will publish in the Official Report their latest estimate of the total amount lost through such activities in each of the last five years. [HL12905]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The latest estimates of the non-UK duty paid consumption are available to 2009-10 and are reported in the official statistics publication Measuring Tax Gaps 2011, which is published on the HMRC website.
|NI diesel non-UK-duty paid market share and associated revenue not collected 1,4|
|NI petrol non-UK-duty paid market share and associated revenue not collected 1,5|
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the light of the Prime Minister's decision to instruct the Cabinet Secretary to investigate the position of the former Secretary of State for Defence, Dr Liam Fox, in relation to the Ministerial Code, what role they envisage in any similar circumstances for Sir Philip Mawer, former Independent Adviser on Ministers' Interests, and his successors.[HL12785]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Official photographs of the Deputy Prime Minister are published on the Cabinet Office flickr stream (http://www.flickr.com/cabinetoffice). They are indicated with a Crown Copyright inscription.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether Autism Spectrum Disorder is regarded by the Department of Health as a lifelong condition irrespective of when the diagnosis is obtained or when that diagnosis comes into the public domain.[HL12935]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Autism is universally recognised as a lifelong condition. The Government subscribe to the definition of autism set out in Fulfilling and Rewarding Lives, the Strategy for Adults with Autism in England (2010), which follows the World Health Organisation's international statistical classification of diseases-10 criteria that define autism as a lifelong condition that affects how a person communicates with, and relates to, other people, and how a person makes sense of the world around them.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): NHS Improvement is working with the National Health Service to improve care for patients with atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common form of arrhythmia, and to improve the level of AF information available to the medical community. This work includes:raising awareness of AF both in the general public and health professionals. They are working closely with the Stroke Association on its "Ask first-to help prevent stroke later" campaign and the Atrial Fibrillation Association on developing a national general practitioner (GP) questionnaire on AF, which will be posted to every GP practice in England;promoting the use of the Guidance on Risk Assessment and Stroke Prevention in Atrial Fibrillation (GRASP-AF) tool, which is designed to aid the identification of patients already known to have AF who are at increased risk of stroke and not on warfarin. This includes summarising and disseminating the latest guidance on stroke risk management in AF and developing new promotional material specifically aimed at GPs;publication, in association with the National Patient Safety Agency, of a guide for commissioners on anticoagulation services; andworking with the cardiac and stroke networks to support local and regional education events for healthcare professionals to promote the increased use of oral anticoagulation in those with AF, and discuss the latest evidence supporting the use of warfarin in preference to aspirin for the management of stroke risk in AF.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the operation of the voluntary register for clinical physiologists; and whether they have plans to introduce a mandatory register. [HL12825]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Command Paper, Enabling Excellence: Autonomy and Accountability for Health and Social Care Staff (Cm. 8008), makes clear that for those professions that are not yet subject to statutory regulation, assured voluntary registration will be the preferred option including for clinical physiologists. The extension of statutory regulation to currently unregulated professional groups, such as some groups in the healthcare science workforce, will be considered only where there is a compelling case on the basis of public safety risk and where assured voluntary registers are not considered sufficient to manage that risk.
The Health and Social Care Bill currently before Parliament provides for the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence, which is to be renamed the
7 Nov 2011 : Column WA16
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that manufacturers of herbal medicines register with the Traditional Herbal Medicines Registration Scheme, where appropriate for their products.[HL13021]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Medicine and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency concerning the enforcement of Directive 2004/24/EC as it applies to the Traditional Herbal Medicines Registration Scheme.[HL13022]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is responsible for enforcing medicines legislation in the United Kingdom. The MHRA will investigate any report of a company making medicinal products without the appropriate authorisation. One company received formal cautions in October 2011 for manufacturing and distributing by way of wholesale dealing herbal medicines that did not have the appropriate authorisations. The MHRA is aware of some companies labelling products as food supplements that might be medicinal products and is investigating those companies. The MHRA is considering the wider issues arising and how effective, proportionate enforcement action can best ensure that the intended benefits of the legislation for consumers and for companies compliant with the legislation are achieved.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, prior to, at, or subsequent to the meeting of United Nations member states held at the World Health Organisation headquarters in Geneva on 7 September they submitted any amendments to the draft text of the Political Declaration on Social Determinants of Health.[HL12980]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Her Majesty's Government played a full part in the negotiations that developed the Political Declaration on the Social Determinants of Health. This included contributing amendments to successive draft texts.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): During the 2005-10 Parliament, 20 Acts of Parliament were passed for which the Ministry of Justice is responsible, either in whole or in part. Of these Acts one is unimplemented in its entirety; 10 have been fully commenced and nine have been commenced in part.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they have taken, having regard to the aims expressed by the previous Government, to establish in the United Nations new principles governing humanitarian intervention.[HL12798]
Baroness Northover: In its recently published humanitarian policy, the Government reiterated their commitment to the internationally accepted principles of humanity, impartiality, neutrality and independence. The Government have pledged to work first and foremost through the United Nations, which shares these principles. The Government will lend their full support to the
7 Nov 2011 : Column WA18
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The UK strongly believes the IMF must have adequate resources to fulfil its systemic responsibilities. This is particularly important given the current vulnerabilities in the global economy.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The position is unchanged. The deadline for responses to the Commission's Green Paper on detention issues is 30 November. The Ministry of Justice is co-ordinating a Government response to the consultation and will respond within the deadline.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord McNally on 4 July (WA 17-8) concerning the celebration of the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta, whether they will ensure that Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are included fully in the celebrations.[HL12908]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The 800th anniversary of the sealing of the Magna Carta in 2015 will be an excellent opportunity to celebrate the enduring principles of individual freedom, democracy and the rule of law that bind together all the nations of the United Kingdom. I am working closely with Sir Robert Worcester and the Magna Carta Trust to ensure that as many people as possible have an opportunity to join in the many commemorative activities and events that are planned in the charter towns and across the UK in the run up to 2015 and on the anniversary itself.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 20 October (Official Report, col. 375), what were the full conclusions of the Major Projects Review Group's examination of progress on the universal credit programme. [HL12780]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Major Projects Review Group (MPRG) acts as part of the assurance process co-ordinated by the Major Projects Authority, and was initially established in January 2007 to improve the performance of major projects.
Further information on the Major Projects Review Group process is available in Annex C of the Major Projects Approvals and Assurance Guidance available at: http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/sites/default/files/resources/major-project-approvals-assurance-guidance.pdf.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many NHS service reconfigurations have been referred to the Independent Reconfiguration Panel since May 2010; how many of those reconfigurations have been referred back to the Secretary of State for Health for final decisions; on how many occasions his decision has disagreed with the panel's recommendation; and how many decisions he has made on service reconfigurations without reference to the panel.[HL12960]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Secretary of State has referred eight formal referrals from local
7 Nov 2011 : Column WA20
Following advice from the IRP, it is the Secretary of State who may make a final decision on the proposals and require the local National Health Service to take such action, or desist from taking such action, as he may direct.
|Scheme||Initial assessment or full review||Date published|
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): It is not expected that Public Health England will, itself, directly hold funds to commission research. The Government's public
7 Nov 2011 : Column WA21
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The purpose of quantitative easing (QE) is to provide the independent Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) with an additional tool to lower interest rates, which can be used to support nominal demand in the economy in order to meet the inflation target in the medium term.
In its Quarterly Bulletin published in September 2011, the Bank of England estimated that QE, carried out between March 2009 and January 2010, raised UK inflation by around 0.75 to 1.5 percentage points and increased real GDP by around 1.5 to 2 per cent.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in their consideration of longer railway franchises lasting for up to 15 years, how much flexibility there will be for the franchisee in organising train services to keep them relevant to changing demand.[HL12953]
Providing flexibility to allow operators to respond to changing demand is a key aim of the Government. This must also be balanced with protecting passengers. This is especially the case for those who rely on train services that have social and economic benefits but may not be operated by a commercial operator unless they are contractually required to.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are taking steps to halt expansion to other business users of the services provided by Research Councils United Kingdom Shared Services Centre Limited until the issues raised in the National Audit Office report on shared services in the research councils have been fully addressed.[HL12862]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The department and RCUK are addressing the issues raised in the NAO report, and are closely monitoring progress. Any decision to take on further users will be subject to full evaluation and business case, taking account of the NAO's recommendations.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the initial budget for setting up the Research Councils United Kingdom Shared Service Centre; what were the forecast savings over a 10 year period; and what is the revised estimate for savings following the recent National Audit Office report on shared services in the research councils.[HL12863]
Baroness Wilcox: The initial budget for setting up the Research Councils UK Shared Services Centre was £78.9 million, and the original business plan projected gross savings (cash and non-cash) over a 10-year period (2007-08 to 2017-18) of £473.9 million. The research councils now forecast that gross savings achieved from the Shared Services Centre in this period will be £330.5 million (figures deflated back into 2007-08 terms using the GDP deflator).
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the statement in The Allocation of Science and Research Funding 2011/12 to 2014/15, published by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in December 2010, that "It is important that Ministers, where they are involved in making strategic decisions on the funding of research, take account of advice from a wide variety of expert sources including academia and industry, both nationally and internationally", what is the role that Ministers have to play in that process.[HL12816]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Every Government will have some key national strategic priorities. The research base has an important role to play in addressing such priorities and the research councils, with the support of independent
7 Nov 2011 : Column WA23
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much the Corporation of Trinity House spent on hosting table 30 at the Lloyd's List Awards, Global 2011, held on 20 September; how many members of staff attended; how much Trinity House spent on subsistence at the event; and whether this was sanctioned by the Government.[HL12708]
Earl Attlee: The Corporation of Trinity House paid for the table as a private corporation. No costs were placed on the General Lighthouse Fund, thus no sanction was required from Government, and no information is held on the cost or numbers of staff attending.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): My Lords, the Government have retained statutory duties requiring local authorities to provide sufficient children's centres, and the department is monitoring the situation with local authorities.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The level of tax haven secrecy has reduced significantly as the number of tax information exchange agreements has increased. The Global Forum on Transparency and Exchange of Information for Tax Purposes is carrying out an intensive programme of peer reviews to ensure compliance with international standards. The Government strongly support this process and encourage all jurisdictions to meet international standards of tax transparency.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The detailed tax treatment of discretionary gratuities will depend on the specific facts of each case. In general, such gratuities will be taxable on an individual where they are part of their employment income or their trading receipts.
Gratuities that are freely given and are not part of the price charged for a service are free of VAT. Conversely, where a contract requires the customer to pay a service charge, this becomes a part of the price charged for the service and is taxed at the same VAT rate as that service.
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