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14 Nov 2011 : Column WA97



14 Nov 2011 : Column WA97

Written Answers

Monday 14 November 2011

Adventure Activities Licensing Authority

Question

Asked by Lord Clement-Jones

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The Adventure Activities Licensing Authority (AALA) was established in 1996 under the Activity Centres (Young Persons' Safety) Act 1995. Following a tender exercise, Tourism Quality Services Ltd (TQS) was designated as the AALA on 16 April 1996. When HSE was appointed as the AALA in 2007, following the Hampton review Reducing administrative burdens: effective inspection and enforcement, it retained TQS under contract to provide the licensing service for adventure activities. HSE has not subsequently retendered for this service.

Bank of England

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The exchange of letters between the then Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Governor of the Bank of England on 29 January 2009 set out the terms on which the Bank of England was authorised to operate the asset purchase facility (APF), including authorisation to purchase up to £50 billion of eligible private sector assets.

The Chancellor's letter to the Governor of 6 October 2011 confirms that "The APF continues to include facilities for eligible private sector assets financed by the issuance of central bank reserves, Treasury Bills and the Debt Management Office's cash management operations that are authorised up to a maximum of £50 billion".

Operational information for the APF, including information on the Bank of England's purchases and holdings of eligible private sector assets, can be found on the Bank of England website.



14 Nov 2011 : Column WA98

Banking: European Central Bank

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): With regards to the European Central Bank (ECB), the 26 October 2011 European Council and euro area summit did not agree any changes to the United Kingdom's financial relationship with the ECB. For further detail on the United Kingdom's financial relationship with the ECB, I refer the noble Lord to the Answer I gave him on 29 June 2011 (Official Report, col. WA 422).

With regards to the European Investment Bank (EIB), the UK holds 16.17 per cent of its capital. As at 31 March 2011, the UK was liable for €35,699 million (£1,600 million) of callable capital to the EIB. This amount is fixed in euros and therefore changes with exchange rate movements. At the time, it was deemed unlikely that member states would be called upon to pay the remaining capital. From our monitoring of the EIB, we do not feel this assessment needs to be changed.

Benefits

Questions

Asked by Lord Greaves

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The information requested about the number of child benefit claims that took more than three months to determine and the number outstanding at the end of each week beyond three months is available only at disproportionate cost. This is in light of the work required to construct an age profile of the processing of child benefit claims.

For the period October 2010 to September 2011, 6.5 per cent of claims were paid in more than 90 calendar days and 5.8 per cent were outstanding at 97 calendar days.

Asked by Lord Greaves



14 Nov 2011 : Column WA99

Lord Sassoon: Between October 2010 and September 2011, the main reason for claims for child benefit taking more than three months to process was that further enquiries were necessary and operational delays occurred. This accounted for 63.30 per cent of cases. A further 23.20 per cent of cases involved ongoing enquiries with customers in competing claim situations.

Asked by Lord Greaves

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): When a claimant fails to attend (FTA) a work capability assessment (WCA) and the department has a record of the claimant having a mental health condition, the decision maker will first consider referring the case for a home visit. The visit will cover the conditions required for the WCA process, collect information on possible good cause for non-attendance and advise the claimant that they may be referred for further assessment. Following the visit, the decision maker will consider whether there is good cause for failing to attend the WCA. Only claimants who have not demonstrated any good cause will be disallowed ESA.

The department holds information on the number of times a person has failed to attend a WCA appointment and the number of claims that have been closed before the assessment process is complete. However, often a failure to attend a WCA is not the only reason for a claim being closed.

Table 1, below shows that, of all 659,700 new ESA claims received between March 2010 and February 2011 (the latest figures available), 242,700 or 37 per cent, have a mental health condition. However, of all claims that have failed to attend at least one WCA appointment, 69,700 or 57 per cent have a mental health condition. This shows that mental health related claims are much more likely to fail to attend a WCA than those with physical health conditions.

Table 1. ESA new claims and FTA by health condition type
Health conditionNew ESA claimsAt least 1 failure to attend (FTA)% of all new ESA claims% of all FTA

Mental

242,700

69,700

37%

57%

Physical

416,900

52,300

63%

43%

All

659,700

122,100

100%

100%

Table 2 below presents the number of claims with a mental health condition that have failed to attend at least one WCA and whether they completed the WCA process. This shows that 17,600 claims went on to complete the WCA process despite having failed to attend at least one WCA appointment.

There were 46,000 whose claims ended before the assessment was complete. However, there are a number of reasons that a claim may be closed, so we cannot

14 Nov 2011 : Column WA100

infer that the direct reason for closure of the claim was due to the failure to attend. These figures therefore only provide a broad indication of the numbers of claims where a failure to attend may have led to the case being closed.

Table 2. FTA and completed WCA for mental health conditions
Mental Health ConditionsCompleted WCAClaim closed before WCA completeWCA in progress

1 or more FTA

17,600

46,000

6,200

All

158,100

73,100

11,600

The department regularly publishes information on ESA and the WCA. The latest report was published in October 2011 and can be found on the departmental website here: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/workingage/ index.php?page=esa_wca.

All figures have been rounded to the nearest 100 or percentage point.

Asked by Lord Greaves

Lord Sassoon: The disregard of up to eight weeks allows a child to be absent from the person with whom they are normally living for a short period without affecting entitlement to child benefit. This works well in the vast majority of cases.

The transfer may occur earlier, where the person responsible for the child changes and the person previously receiving child benefit agrees.

If there is a dispute as to who has the main responsibility for a child, it falls to the Commissioners of Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs in their discretion to determine which of them is entitled for this period. Child benefit cannot be transferred from one person to another in any circumstances until three weeks after the week in which a competing claim is received, for example following parental separation.

The rules governing the transfer of child benefit from one person to another are statutory, and are contained in the Social Security Contributions and Benefits Act 1992.

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

Lord Freud: The information requested is given below.



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Local Authorities in Wales with the highest number of benefit claimants and highest percentage of the population claiming benefits: February 2011.
Top ten Local Authorities (recipients)Total in receipt of benefitTop ten Local Authorities (% of the population)% of the population receiving benefits

Cardiff

92,370

Conwy

38.9

Rhondda, Cynon, Taff

83,350

Blaenau Gwent

38.7

Swansea

79,350

Neath Port Talbot

38.6

Carmarthenshire

65,220

Merthyr Tydfil

38.2

Caerphilly

61,440

Pembrokeshire

36.6

Neath Port Talbot

53,080

Isle of Anglesey

36.5

Bridgend

48,440

Carmarthenshire

36.1

Newport

46,390

Denbighshire

36.1

Flintshire

46,300

Bridgend

36.0

Powys

45,270

Rhondda, Cynon, Taff

35.6

Source:

DWP Information Governance and Security Directorate 100% Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study (WPLS).

ONS: England and Wales Mid-Term Population Estimates, 2010.

Notes:

1. Data are rounded to the nearest 10, percentages to one decimal place.

2. Caseload figures used for disability living allowance and carer's allowance include those cases with entitlement but where payment is currently suspended (for example, because of an extended stay in hospital or an overlapping benefit). Caseloads for incapacity benefit and employment and support allowance include 'credits only' cases.

3. The key benefits which are currently included in the All Ages Client Group data are:

attendance allowance;

bereavement benefits;

carer's allowance;

disability living allowance;

employment and support allowance;

incapacity benefit/severe disablement allowance;

income support (including pension credit for males aged 60 to 64);

jobseeker's allowance;

pension credit;

state pension; and

widow's benefits.

4. Data include those aged under 16 receiving disability benefits.

5. At present housing benefit (HB), council tax benefit (CTB), winter fuel payments, maternity allowance and industrial injuries disablement benefit are not included in WPLS. HB and CTB are expected to be added in the future. This group does not yet appear in the statistics.

7. Caseload data are available on the department's tabulation tool at: http://83.244.183.180/100pc/tabtool.html.



14 Nov 2011 : Column WA102

Burma

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge

Baroness Northover: British aid to Burma supports health services, livelihoods and education for particularly vulnerable people who cannot be reached in other ways. On current estimates Britain will provide approximately £1.8 million of cross-border assistance in Burma this financial year.

Child Poverty

Questions

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): Estimates of the number and proportion of children living in poverty are published in the Households Below Average Income (HBAI) series. HBAI uses household income adjusted (or equivalised) for household size and composition, to provide a proxy for standard of living.

The sample size of this survey is not sufficient to provide estimates for small areas such as those requested. However, figures at a regional level are available. Three survey years have been combined because single year estimates are not considered to be sufficiently reliable.

Statistics covering 2007-08 to 2009-10 are the most recent available.

The table below shows the proportion and number of children living in relative poverty before housing costs (BHC) in the UK, for 2007-08 to 2009-10 in each region.



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Table: Numbers and proportions of children in households with equivalised incomes below 60 per cent of contemporary median income by region Before Housing Costs (BHC) 2007-08 to 2009-10.
Proportion of children (%)Number of children (millions)

England

21

2.3

North East

26

0.1

North West

25

0.4

Yorkshire and the Humber

26

0.3

East Midlands

23

0.2

West Midlands

29

0.3

East

16

0.2

London

20

0.3

South East

14

0.2

South West

16

0.2

Scotland

20

0.2

Wales

25

0.2

Northern Ireland

26

0.1

UK (single year 2009-10 value)

20

2.6

Source: Households Below Average Income 1994-95-2009-10, DWP

1. These statistics are based on Households Below Average Income (HBAI) data available at: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/index.php?page=hbai_arc

2. These statistics are based on Households Below Average Income (HBAI) data sourced from the Family Resources Survey (FRS). This uses disposable household income, adjusted using modified OECD equivalisation factors for household size and composition, as an income measure as a proxy for standard of living.

3. Net disposable incomes have been used to answer the question. This includes earnings from employment and self-employment, state support, income from occupational and private pensions, investment income and other sources. Income tax, payments, national insurance contributions, council tax/domestic rates and some other payments are deducted from incomes.

4. Figures have been presented on a Before Housing Cost rather than an After Housing Cost basis. For Before Housing Costs, housing costs are not deducted from income, while for After Housing Costs they are.

5. All estimates are based on survey data and are therefore subject to a degree of uncertainty. Small differences should be treated with caution as these will be affected by sampling error and variability in non-response.

6. The reference period for these HBAI figures is three financial years.

7. Numbers of children have been rounded to the nearest hundred thousand children.

8. Proportions of children in low-income households have been rounded to the nearest percentage point.

9. This measure is defined as:

Relative poverty: children living in households with equivalised incomes below 60 per cent of contemporary median household income.

10. The Child Poverty Act 2010 sets three further income-based UK-wide targets to be met by 2020. The targets are based on the proportion of children living in households with combined low income and material deprivation, absolute low income and persistent poverty.

Measures of income poverty at constituency level are approximated by the revised local child poverty measure (formerly known as NI 116). This measure shows the proportion of children living in families in receipt of means-tested out of work benefits, or tax credits where their reported income is less than 60 per cent of median income. Due to methodological differences to the HBAI publication, these small area estimates are not directly comparable with national or regional figures. The revised local child poverty measure does not necessarily capture all those, or only those, children living in households below the 60 per cent of median threshold.

Revised local child poverty measure statistics for UK parliamentary constituencies for August 2006, August 2007, August 2008 and August 2009 are published at: http://www.hmrc. gov.uk/stats/personal-tax-credits/child_poverty.htm.



14 Nov 2011 : Column WA104

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

Question

Asked by The Countess of Mar

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The Government's contract with Atos Healthcare requires that doctors are used to assess claimants with conditions that are likely to have complex central nervous system examination findings.

The majority of claimants with CFS/ME do not exhibit such signs and therefore CFS/ME is not on the list of conditions that are required to be assessed by a doctor. However, if a claimant with CFS/ME has neurological signs, they will be passed to a healthcare professional with the requisite expertise.

Development Aid

Question

Asked by The Earl of Sandwich

Baroness Northover: The Department for International Development (DfID) supports civil society organisations (CSOs) through a range of centrally managed funds and through country programmes. Details of the funding provided to UK-based CSOs in 2010-11 can be found in table 19 of Statistics on International Development (SID) 2011, which is available on the DfID website (www.dfid.gov.uk).

Information about funding UK CSOs since April 2011 will be provided in the next SID 2011-12.

DfID provides relatively small amounts of funding to a wide range of in-country civil society organisations in most DfID programme countries. DfID's central records system does not enable analysis of funding to indigenous and in-country non-governmental organisations. Collecting this information from all country programmes would entail incurring disproportionate costs.



14 Nov 2011 : Column WA105

DfID's funding for civil society organisations is dependent on the outcomes and results that organisations achieve. DfID does not have any plans to increase or decrease funding for CSOs in the next year.

Embryology

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that it has nothing further to add to the Answer I gave the noble Lord on 31 October 2011 (Official Report, col. WA 199), concerning the creation of embryos under research licence R0122. The HFEA has also advised that a search of readily available records shows no embryos were created for research purposes under this research licence.

Energy: Nuclear Waste

Question

Asked by Lord Inglewood

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The Government are not seeking any particular type of geology for the disposal of radioactive waste but have adopted a site selection process based initially on engagement and partnership working with communities that express an interest in participating in the disposal programme. The Government take expert advice on geology from the British Geological Survey (BGS) and no site will be developed unless it can meet the requirements of the independent regulators.

Within the areas currently participating in West Cumbria, the BGS has already applied the high-level sub-surface screening criteria (as set out in Annexe B of the Managing Radioactive Waste Safely White Paper 2008) in order to eliminate from the process any areas that are obviously unsuitable. A more rigorous geological assessment, based on a comprehensive range of criteria will only be undertaken if a decision to participate in further stages of site selection process is taken by the west Cumbria community. Full details of the initial screening carried out by BGS is available in its report, Managing Radioactive Waste Safely: Initial Geological Unsuitability Screening of West Cumbria (2010) and on the internet at http://mrws.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/mrws/741-west-cumbria-main-report.pdf.



14 Nov 2011 : Column WA106

EU: Finance

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): President of the European Commission, Jose Manuel Barroso, announced on 27 October 2011 the reinforcement of the role of the Commissioner competent for economic and monetary affairs by elevating the post to that of Vice-President. Commissioner Olli Rehn will have responsibility for economic and monetary affairs and the euro. He will continue to exercise the Commission's responsibility for co-ordination, surveillance and enforcement in the area of economic governance of the Union and of the euro area in particular. President Barroso's decisions are in line with the president's responsibilities under Article 17(6) of the Treaty on European Union and do not require treaty change. There is therefore no requirement for a referendum under the European Union Act 2011.

Financial Services Authority

Questions

Asked by Lord Stevens of Ludgate

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): These matters are for the Financial Services Authority (FSA), whose day-to-day operations are independent from government control and influence. These questions have been passed on to the FSA, which will reply to you directly by letter. A copy of the response will be deposited in the Library of the House.

Gendercide

Question

Asked by Lord Patten



14 Nov 2011 : Column WA107

Baroness Northover: The UK strongly opposes infanticide. We support partner governments' efforts to prevent it wherever it occurs. We recognise that there is not always an easy solution. However, our work on girls' education, women's empowerment, skills and work and jobs aims to increase the value of girls and women in society and therefore tackle the pressure and incentives that drive preferences for male children.

The Government strengthened their approach to direct support to governments in July this year. We only provide aid directly to governments once we are satisfied, based on robust assessments, that they share our own commitment to these four partnership principles:

poverty reduction and the millennium development goals;respecting human rights and other international obligations;improving public financial management, promoting good governance and transparency and fighting corruption;being more accountable to their citizens;

and that providing aid directly to the government represents the best way of delivering results and value for money compared to other options for spending aid.

Genetically Modified Organisms

Question

Asked by The Countess of Mar

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): I shall place in the Library a copy of the risk assessment provided by Oxitec. Where appropriate some material has been redacted for reasons of commercial confidentiality.

Gypsies and Travellers: Dale Farm

Question

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Further to my answer of 21 October 2011 (Official Report, col. WA 108), I can confirm that given the exceptional circumstances of the case, the Department

14 Nov 2011 : Column WA108

for Communities and Local Government agreed to provide a one-off grant of up to £1.2 million towards the clear-up costs incurred by Basildon Council, following appropriate discussions and due consideration of the matter. The grant will be made after the clearance operation has been completed and upon receipt of a statement of expenditure on costs incurred.

Health and Social Care Bill [HL]

Question

Asked by Lord Browne of Belmont

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Health and Social Care Bill contains a number of provisions which apply or extend to Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, largely as a consequence of changes to bodies which have functions in relation to those countries, such as the Health Protection Agency. The explanatory notes (pages 6-7) provide a list of the provisions in the Bill which extend or apply to Northern Ireland.

Where the Bill affects the devolved Administrations, they have been consulted, and in the case of the provisions in the Bill relating to matters that are devolved in Northern Ireland, the consent of the Northern Ireland Assembly has been granted through a legislative consent motion.

Homelessness

Question

Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Government are committed to tackling rough sleeping and preventing homelessness. We have maintained the level of Homelessness Grant, with £400 million for local authorities and the voluntary sector over the next four years. A cross-departmental Ministerial Working Group has been set up to address the complex causes of homelessness and improve support for homeless people. We also recently announced £42.5 million for the Homelessness Change Programme which will provide in excess of 1,500 new and improved bed spaces to improve hostels for rough sleepers and ensure that those coming off the streets get the support they need.

On rough sleeping we will continue to work with the mayor to deliver No Second Night Out in London and to roll out the principles of No Second Night Out nationally. We have already provided an additional £20 million to Homeless Link for a new Homelessness Transition Fund to help delivery.



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House of Lords: Fire Safety

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The House uses a combination of automated and manual fire systems to detect fire, raise the alarm, limit fire spread or damage and aid evacuation. The bicameral Fire Risk Management Team also enforces fire safety processes and procedures.

All House of Lords outbuildings have fully automated fire protection systems. The fire alarm system in the Palace utilises a separate network to connect, on a zone by zone basis, approximately 6,500 automatic fire detection devices (including smoke and heat detectors, beacons, aspirators and fire door releases) and approximately 4,000 voice alarm system speakers to a graphics display screen in the fire control room in 1 Canon Row. When a device activates, the fire control officer is alerted via the graphics display screen and deploys the fire section to the scene to investigate the incident. If the fire section confirms a false alarm then the system is reset. If the fire section confirms a fire incident, the fire control officer activates the voice alarm system speakers to raise the evacuation alert.

To supplement these arrangements, across the Parliamentary Estate there are approximately 3,500 emergency lights, 855 fire doors, 1,350 dampers, five evacuation lifts, 5,000 fire signs, 750 fire extinguishers, 145 hose reels, 55 fire blankets, 25 evacuation chairs and 70 chemical suppression systems (for use in the kitchens).

House of Lords: Staff

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The principal factors behind the increase are:

pay settlements, which for Bands A-D came cumulatively over the period to 22.3 per cent;inclusion of the Lords share (20 per cent) of PICT staff costs from January 2006. Before that the figure included the small Lords Computer Office, which became part of PICT. This accounts for a 12 per cent increase in costs as compared to 2004-05;Net rise in full-time equivalent headcount from 412 (average 2004-05) to 441 (average 2010-11), ie 7.0 per cent. These figures include the Computer Office but not PICT;

14 Nov 2011 : Column WA110

the rising cost of accruing superannuation liability charges, which are included in the figures. These consist of employer pension contributions accrued at actuarially determined rates. Over the period they grew by 115 per cent, accounting for 16 per cent of the total in 2004-05 but 22 per cent by 2010-11.

Houses of Parliament: Legislation

Questions

Asked by Lord Berkeley

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): It is a long-established convention that, where Bills are due to affect the Crown, formal prior consent is sought from the Queen for the way in which that Bill will affect the Crown. By convention, when there is a Duke of Cornwall of age, similar formal consent is sought from the Duke of Cornwall. Parliamentary procedure in both Houses requires Queen's consent to be given to a Bill if it affects the royal prerogative or the interests (hereditary revenues, personal property or other interests) of the Crown, the Duchy of Lancaster or the Duchy of Cornwall. In the case of the Duchy of Cornwall, the consent is needed because of the sovereign's reversionary interest in the Duchy; and currently, while there is a Duke of Cornwall of full age, it falls to be given by the Prince of Wales. Although the Prince of Wales' consent is expressed to the Bill itself, it relates only to the aspects of it that affect the interests of the Duchy.

Asked by Lord Berkeley

Lord Strathclyde: The published records of the two Houses show that, in the past five years, the Prince of Wales' consent has been signified to the following Bills:

2010-11

Localism

Wreck Removal Convention

Energy

Sovereign Grant

2009-10

Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies and Credit Unions

2008-09

Marine and Coastal Access

Coroners and Justice

Co-operative and Community Benefit Societies and Credit Unions

Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction

2007-08

Planning

Energy

Housing and Regeneration

2006-07

Access to Inland Waterways



14 Nov 2011 : Column WA111

In relation to the basis on which consent was sought, departmental Bill teams are expected, in the first instance, to establish, in consultation with parliamentary counsel and the House authorities, whether any particular Bill affects the interests of the Crown or the Duchies. In practice, the Duchies tend to be approached if prospective legislation is likely to change how they should administer their property.

Asked by Lord Berkeley

Lord Strathclyde: By long-standing convention, communication between the Royal Family and the Government is not disclosed. It is subject to exemption under Section 37 of the Freedom of Information Act. However, in modern times, formal consent has never been refused, other than on the advice of Government Ministers.

Asked by Lord Berkeley

Lord Strathclyde: By long-standing convention, communication between the Royal Family and the Government is not disclosed. There are no plans to publish any future correspondence between the Government, the Queen or the Prince of Wales in relation to their consent for Bills.

Housing

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Figures for the proportion of the population, or of the dwelling stock, which is in the owner-occupied tenure are not available at the local authority level except from the census, which only provides figures for 1991 and 2001. These figures are shown in the table below. Data from the 2011 census will be published from summer 2012.



14 Nov 2011 : Column WA112

Percentage of population in owner-occupied tenure
19912001

Camden

35

35

City of London

46

47

Hackney

31

33

Hammersmith and Fulham

43

42

Haringey

53

46

Islington

29

32

Kensington and Chelsea

41

42

Lambeth

38

38

Lewisham

51

51

Newham

54

46

Southwark

29

31

Tower Hamlets

22

26

Wandsworth

56

53

Westminster

36

36

Barking and Dagenham

56

58

Barnet

72

69

Bexley

81

81

Brent

62

58

Bromley

81

78

Croydon

75

70

Ealing

68

64

Enfield

76

72

Greenwich

49

52

Harrow

81

77

Havering

82

82

Hillingdon

75

74

Hounslow

64

63

Kingston upon Thames

77

73

Merton

73

69

Redbridge

82

78

Richmond upon Thames

73

72

Sutton

78

77

Waltham Forest

65

61

London

61

58

Source: Census 1991, 2001

Annual figures for the proportion of the dwelling stock which is owner-occupied are available at the regional level from 1991 to 2010, and are published in live table 109 on the Department for Communities and Local Government website at the following link: http://www.communities.gov.uk/housing/housingresearch/housingstatistics/housingstatisticsby/stockincludingvacants/livetables/.

Housing: Fire Safety

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Provisions for fire protection in new buildings are made in Part B (Fire safety) of the Building Regulations. Following a review of these regulations last year, we have concluded that there is not any significant new evidence to support introducing any new provisions. Details of the findings of this review were published in December and are available on the internet at: www.communities.gov.uk/ publications/planningandbuilding/buildingregsnextsteps.



14 Nov 2011 : Column WA113

Human Rights

Questions

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): As set out in my right honourable friend the Prime Minister's Written Ministerial Statement of 31 October about the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, a copy of the Eminent Persons Group report A Commonwealth of the People: Time for Urgent Reform has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses. It is also available publicly on the Commonwealth Secretariat website.

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Shutt of Greetland: I have nothing to add to the answer I gave on 31 October (Official Report, col. WA 193).

International Development

Question

Asked by The Earl of Sandwich

Baroness Northover: The Government, through their bilateral and multilateral aid reviews and their aid transparency guarantee, have identified and published the key results that the Department for International Development (DfID) expects to deliver, and have made greater detail on aid delivery more accessible to the public. The overall results are set out in DfID's business plan. The principles of aid effectiveness under the Paris declaration remain the foundation of its efforts and DfID was the first aid provider to publish information according to the new International Aid Transparency Initiative standard. The Secretary of State will shortly be attending the High Level Forum on aid effectiveness in Busan, where he will push for greater focus by all international development co-operation partners on delivering better results and more transparency.

The main vehicle for reporting DfID results will continue to be the annual report in which the department reports on the effectiveness of its aid programmes in its partner countries. In addition, data on individual projects, business cases and subsequent reviews of progress are now available through the project database on DfID's website, together with details of all transactions

14 Nov 2011 : Column WA114

over £500. The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) was established in May 2011 to independently evaluate aid and to hold DfID to account for aid spending. We are also undertaking major reform programmes to enable evaluation in all new programmes.

Israel and Palestine

Question

Asked by Lord Janner of Braunstone

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The content of all Palestinian Authority textbooks is approved by the United Nations (UN). Textbooks used in Palestinian Authority schools have also been approved by the Israeli Ministry of Education for use in Palestinian schools in East Jerusalem.

Credible studies from the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation, the Congressional Research Service and the United States State Department, which have all investigated the issue, show no evidence of incitement or hatred against Israel. However, it is clear that both Israeli and Palestinian textbooks could include more positive and balanced messages. We support that approach.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) runs a human rights programme in all the schools it administers. This emphasises the importance of tolerance and good citizenship and teaches children about the lessons of the Holocaust. Full details of UNRWA's human rights programme and materials can be found on the UNRWA website www.unrwa.org.

The Department for International Development will support 35,000 children to go to primary school over the next four years, as part of its Palestinian programme. DfID and colleagues at the British Consulate General in Jerusalem will continue to monitor the situation.

Northern Ireland Office: Budget

Question

Asked by Lord Browne of Belmont

Lord Shutt of Greetland: The Northern Ireland Office has put in place a strategy to deliver savings in line with the spending review settlement and progress against this is regularly reviewed by the departmental management board.



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Northern Ireland Office: Staff

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Shutt of Greetland: The Northern Ireland Office keeps its staffing levels under regular review. Vacancies are only filled when there is judged to remain a business case to do so.

Pensions

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): HM Treasury has overall responsibility for public service pensions policy, but not for the administration of individual public service pension schemes.

HM Treasury collates relevant data to fulfil its role. For example, it collates data on scheme liabilities, deficits and assets for the whole of Government accounts, due to be published in full later in the autumn. An unaudited summary of these accounts was published on 13 July 2011 (Cm 8127). Individual departments are responsible for the administration of their specific public service pension schemes.

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government agreed to the introduction of a registration scheme for determining healthcare costs of state pensioners following negotiations between senior officials from the United Kingdom and Republic of Ireland (RoI) in March 2011. Final details of the scheme are in the process of being finalised with the intention of having all new state pensioners registered

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from January 2012, with existing pensioners joining the scheme from 2013-14. The Government will look to publish details of the scheme once it is finalised. The new system will be reflected in payments made from 2014.

The net figure, paid to RoI by the UK is shown as follows.

2010-11

£239,600,000

2009-10

£301,300,000

2008-09

£69,500,000

Notes

£ Equivalent totals based on exchange rates at the time of the payment.

Totals are rounded to the nearest £100,000.

Planning: National Planning Policy Framework

Question

Asked by Lord Christopher

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): We will publish the final text taking into account representations that have been made and a summary of responses to the consultation, which will include a summary of views expressed to each question. We are committed to the publication of this final version of the framework by 31 March 2012, but intend to do so well ahead of that time.

Population

Question

Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham

Baroness Northover: The UK has no plans to promote a limit on the growth of the world's population. However, we do recognise that a major cause of poverty and a contributor to rapid population growth is the lack of choice for women and girls about when and whether to have children. Some 215 million women around the world who want to delay or avoid pregnancy are not able to access a modern method of contraception. The Government have committed to enabling an additional 10 million women in the developing world to use modern methods of family planning by 2015 in order to support women around the world to exercise control over their own fertility. We recognise that rapid population growth will place a significant strain on the ability of governments to deliver basic services such as health and education, and increase economic growth and development.



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I recently met with Dr Babatunde Osotemehin, executive director of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) on the launch of its annual report, State of the world population 2011-People and possibilities in a world of 7 billion.

Ports

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Neither the Homes and Communities Agency nor its predecessor bodies (English Partnerships and Housing Corporation) have conducted a financial review into the performance of the port of Great Yarmouth, in terms of state aids and revenue from tonnage through the port. The agency's involvement in this project began on 19 September, when it became responsible for the ongoing monitoring of the project.

The public funders do have a financial performance arrangement in place but this is based on turnover and the return on capital employed-not on any tonnage through the port. Monitoring of this project by the public funders will continue until 2032.

The European Commission has determined that funding for this project does not constitute state aid.

Public Disorder

Question

Asked by Lord Ouseley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Deputy Prime Minister announced on 31 August the membership of the Communities and Victims Panel that will be responsible for talking to communities affected by the disorder, including residents, shopkeepers, parents and young people. Chaired by Darra Singh, chief executive of Jobcentre Plus, the panel will be responsible for talking to communities affected by the riots in August.

The panel will look at:

the motivation for a small minority of people to take part in riots;why the riots happened in some areas and not others;

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how key public services engaged with communities before, during and after the riots;what motivated local people to come together to take civic action to resist riots in their area or to clean up after riots had taken place;how communities can be made more socially and economically resilient in the future, in order to prevent future problems; andwhat they think could have been done differently to prevent or manage the riots.

Further, the National Risk Assessment captures the consequences of public disorder.

Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust

Question

Asked by Lord Luce

Baroness Northover: We welcome the establishment of the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Trust. This is a fitting way to honour 60 years of public service by Her Majesty the Queen, as head of the organisation, by supporting charitable projects and organisations across the Commonwealth. At the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Perth last month, the Prime Minister announced that the UK would be making a multimillion pound donation to the trust.

State Recognition

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): In considering whether to recognise a state, the Government take note of relevant Security Council resolutions, if any.

Sudan

Question

Asked by The Earl of Sandwich



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Baroness Northover: We welcome the report from the International Crisis Group. We continue to urge both parties to resolve their remaining areas of difference, particularly on oil, citizenship and border demarcation and the status of the disputed region of Abyei. We fully support the efforts of President Mbeki, Prime Minister Meles and the AU High Level Implementation Panel in working with both countries on bringing about a solution to these issues, and agree that they should continue to be at the centre of any international peace efforts, with the full support and engagement of the wider international community.

Taxation: Isle of Man

Question

Asked by Baroness Harris of Richmond

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Under the terms of the European Union Code of Conduct for Business Taxation, the Government are committed, within their constitutional arrangements, to ensuring that the principles of the code are applied in their dependent and overseas territories, including the Isle of Man.

On 18 October, Tynwald approved an order repealing the attribution regime for individuals and applying to the Income Tax Act (1970), in order to bring its business taxation system into line with those principles.



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Turkey

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The UK Government do not plan to make specific representations to the Government of Turkey about the recent arrest and detention of Rayip Zarakolu and others. It is not general UK Government practice to comment on individual judicial processes, but we expect high legal and judicial standards to be observed. Our embassy in Ankara will continue to monitor the situation closely.

Zimbabwe

Question

Asked by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We have been concerned by allegations made in the South African press of rendition of Zimbabweans by the Government of South Africa. We have been in contact with leading non-governmental organisations but as yet they have uncovered no evidence to substantiate these claims. We continue to monitor the situation in both South Africa and Zimbabwe.


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