|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many times the Health and Safety Executive has re-tendered the contract for the Adventurous Activities Licensing Authority since the authority's creation in 1996. [HL13168]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 26 October (WA 154), whether HM Treasury has asked the Bank of England why it did not purchase eligible private sector assets under quantitative easing as it agreed to do in response to the letter sent by the previous Chancellor of the Exchequer to the Governor of the Bank on 29 January 2009; if so, what answer it received; and when.[HL12915]
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".
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the most recent announcements from the European Union and others on resolving the European financial crisis will lead to any increase in the United Kingdom's revenue or capital exposures, direct or indirect, including guarantees and uncalled capital, to the European Central Bank or the European Investment Bank.[HL12916]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, for the latest period of 12 months for which they possess the information, how many claims for child benefit took more than three months to determine; how many were outstanding at the end of each week beyond three months; and what proportion of the total number of claims these figures represent. [HL12918]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, for the latest period of 12 months for which they possess the information, what were the main reasons for claims for child benefit taking longer than three months to process.[HL12919]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, for the latest period of 12 months for which they possess the information, how many claimants with mental health conditions had their employment and support allowance stopped as a result of failing to attend assessments.[HL12920]
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 condition||New ESA claims||At least 1 failure to attend (FTA)||% of all new ESA claims||% of all FTA|
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
|Table 2. FTA and completed WCA for mental health conditions|
|Mental Health Conditions||Completed WCA||Claim closed before WCA complete||WCA in progress|
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the fairness and efficacy of the eight week extension for child benefit when the main carer for a child changes; and what are the reasons for this rule.[HL12921]
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.
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government which ten local authority areas in Wales have the highest number of people in receipt of social security payments; and which 10 have the highest percentage of the population in receipt of social security payments. [HL13016]
|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 benefit||Top ten Local Authorities (% of the population)||% of the population receiving benefits|
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.
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://18.104.22.168/100pc/tabtool.html.
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.
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.
|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)|
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.
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in view of the fact that Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (CFS/ME) is classified by the World Health Organisation's mandatory International Categorisation of Diseases as a neurological disease, and that the Government's contract with Atos Healthcare requires a qualified doctor to assess employment and support allowance claimants for CFS/ME, why the Department for Work and Pensions stated, in response to a Freedom of Information request of 23 March 2011, that any healthcare professional can undertake such assessments. [HL13265]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much development aid they have given to (a) British non-governmental organisations, and (b) indigenous and in-country non-governmental organisations in the last financial year for which records are available; whether they plan to increase this development aid next year; and, if so, by how much.[HL13157]
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).
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.
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 31 October (WA 199), whether research licence R0122 specifically permitted bringing about the creation of human embryos for research on 21 June 2000; and how many embryos were created for research under the duration of the research licence R0122.[HL12993]
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.
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the additional powers to be given to Commissioner Olli Rehn to supervise national fiscal policies, designed to centralise economic governance powers in Europe; whether they will apply to the United Kingdom; and, if so, whether they will be subject to approval by both Houses of Parliament and in a referendum. [HL12947]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how long, on average, is the time taken for the Financial Services Authority to approve a non-executive director appointment for an authorised firm (a) between the receipt of the application and the granting of an interview, and (b) between the granting of an interview and the date of final approval.[HL12991]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have discussed with the Financial Standards Authority whether they ever advise candidates for non-executive director appointments for authorised firms to withdraw their candidatures.[HL13012]
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.
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;
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of the documents provided by Oxitec to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs under EC Regulation 1946/2003 to accompany the notification of its transboundary shipment of genetically modified mosquito eggs to Malaysia.[HL13108]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Hanham on 21 October (WA 108), what discussions they have had with Basildon District Council regarding the clear-up costs relating to the eviction of travellers from Dale Farm; and whether the Government's definition of clear-up costs includes the costs of eviction. [HL13044]
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
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the report Battered, broken, bereft: Why people still end up sleeping rough published by St Mungo's; and what are their plans to reduce and eventually eliminate homelessness.[HL13096]
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.
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).
To ask the Chairman of Committees, further to the Written Answer of 26 October (WA 158) concerning the total cost of staff in the House of Lords, why the cost of staff has increased by 50 per cent in the past seven years.[HL13006]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government which Bills in the past five years they have submitted for the Prince of Wales's or Queen's consent, or both; and, in each case, what was the prerogative or interest affected on the basis of which consent was sought. [HL12962]
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.
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will, in future, publish all correspondence between Ministers and the Prince of Wales and the Queen in connection with Bills for which their consent is sought.[HL12964]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what percentage of the population in each of the London Boroughs and the City of London have owned their home in each year from 1990 to the last year for which records are available.[HL13175]
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.
|Percentage of population in owner-occupied tenure|
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/.
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.
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Shutt of Greetland on 31 October (WA 193) concerning the Irish Human Rights Commission, on what basis they consider that the Commission has played a significant role in promoting and protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms.[HL13102]
To ask Her Majesty's Government by what national and international standards they intend to measure the transparency, accountability and effectiveness of their international development programme as outlined in the 2011 aid reviews; and when they will publish the results.[HL13154]
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
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Shutt of Greetland on 6 June (WA 51), what measures the Northern Ireland Office has introduced to reduce its baseline budget by 25 per cent during the spending review period. [HL13127]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Lord Shutt of Greetland on 6 June (WA 51) and 7 July (WA 105-6) concerning staffing in the Northern Ireland Office, on what date they expect to commence the reduction of staff numbers.[HL13284]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Freud on 10 October (WA 217), whether they will review the current position whereby HM Treasury has overall responsibility for public service pensions policy, but no government department collects or collates details on the liabilities, deficits, assets and membership of such schemes.[HL12418]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 1 November (WA 249), whether they will publish (a) details of the new pensioner registration arrangement for determining healthcare costs under European Union Regulation 883/2004 between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom that is taking effect in January 2012, and (b) the inter-state agreement where this was decided; when such payments will start to be based on pensioner registration; and what were the net amounts paid in the last three years to the Republic of Ireland under that regulation.[HL13135]
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
14 Nov 2011 : Column WA116
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will publish an analysis of the responses to the consultation on the draft National Planning Policy Framework showing, inter alia, how much support was expressed for each proposal made.[HL13087]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to promote a limit on the growth of the world's population; and what discussions they have had within the European Union and the United Nations on global population trends.[HL13095]
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.
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Homes and Communities Agency, its predecessors, or the European Commission conducted any financial review into the performance of the port of Great Yarmouth, in terms of state aids and revenue from the tonnage through the port.[HL13111]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking to identify neighbourhoods with a high risk of social disturbances similar to those which occurred in August 2011; and what measures are in place or being prepared to deal with identified risks.[HL12969]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will be making a voluntary contribution to the Diamond Jubilee Trust established by the Commonwealth Heads of Government; and, if so, how much they will contribute.[HL13089]
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.
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to the International Crisis Group's call for a new international framework to succeed the peace agreement in Sudan, and for new partners to help end hostilities and seek a political solution in Abyei, Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile.[HL13155]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they are giving to the Government of the Isle of Man in aligning their business tax system with the European Union Code of Conduct for Business Taxation.[HL12966]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the Government of Turkey about the arrest and detention of Ragip Zarakolu and others, who have been imprisoned in Turkey after exercising free speech.[HL13055]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have had discussions with the Government of South Africa concerning the rendition of Zimbabwean nationals who seek asylum in South Africa; and what information they have received about alleged deaths in police custody in Zimbabwe of those rendered.[HL12936]
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.
|Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|