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23 Nov 2011 : Column WA239



23 Nov 2011 : Column WA239

Written Answers

Wednesday 23 November 2011

Armed Forces: Redundancy

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): I refer the noble Lord to the answer given by my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for Defence (Philip Hammond) in the other place on 14 November 2011 (Official Report, Commons, col. 572), to the honourable Member for Bromsgrove (Mr Javid).

BBC World News

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Rawlings: The Government have not made any direct payments for the BBC World News television service. No assessment has been made of the level of coverage the service gave to the Commonwealth Heads of Government conference in Perth.

Caste Discrimination

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

Baroness Verma: The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination raised the issue of caste during the course of its examination of the United Kingdom on 23 and 24 August this year. The United Nations has not published a transcript of the proceedings but, in its reply to the committee, the UK delegation explained that the Equality Act 2010 includes a power which, if exercised by Ministers, would make caste an aspect of race for the purposes of domestic discrimination legislation. The delegation noted that the committee had received a number of reports and had heard presentations from organisations which strongly support the exercise of this power. However, the delegation also advised the committee

23 Nov 2011 : Column WA240

that in the UK Government's view there is no consensus of opinion in the UK with regards to the need for legislative protection against caste discrimination, even among those communities potentially most affected by it. The delegation advised the committee that, in order to help determine the need for that power to be exercised, in 2010 the Government commissioned an independent report into the nature, extent and severity of caste prejudice, discrimination and harassment that may occur in Great Britain.

The delegation told the committee that the report had been completed in December 2010 and Ministers have since been considering the report carefully, together with a number of representations they have received both in favour of legislation and opposing it, but have not yet made a final decision on this.

Chinese Lanterns

Question

Asked by Baroness Byford

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): We share farmers' concern about the potential risks of sky lanterns (also known as Chinese lanterns). We are continuing to work with other departments and the agricultural industry to address them.

Our current approach is to raise public awareness of the potential dangers posed by sky lanterns (and to focus on voluntary action with the aim of influencing consumer behaviour. My right honourable friend the Minister for Agriculture and Food (Jim Paice) wrote to the British Hospitality Association in the summer to advise its membership of hotels, restaurants and other venues of the problems they cause, principally the harm to livestock and litter and to ask that they discourage customers from using these lanterns. Defra also issued a press release earlier this month for bonfire night to warn people of the harm sky lanterns can cause.

We are also pursuing other voluntary options and working closely with the National Farmers' Union and the Women's Farming Union as they gather the evidence necessary to justify any potential future ban. These two organisations are doing a sterling job in raising awareness of the risks posed by sky lanterns and urging support for local farmers.

In parallel, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is raising the issue with the Commission and exploring the views of other member states.

Cohabiting Couples

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill



23 Nov 2011 : Column WA241

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): As stated in our Written Ministerial Statement on 6 September 2011, the Government do not believe there is a sufficient basis for a change in the law on cohabitation at this time. Therefore, we do not intend to take forward reform of cohabitation law in this parliamentary term.

Common Fisheries Policy

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The process to reform the common fisheries policy began in 2009 with publication of the European Commission's Green Paper. Since then, the UK Government have been working closely with the Commission, European institutions, member states, the industry and others to build support for genuine, radical reform.

Following publication in July of the Commission's proposals for reform, formal negotiations are now under way, with discussion most recently in the November Fisheries Council. We expect talks to continue for the next 12 to 18 months. The Government will continue to press for major reform and, now that the proposals are being considered by the European Parliament, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Natural Environment and Fisheries-my honourable friend the Member for Newbury (Mr Benyon)-will plan to meet MEPs as well as continuing to discuss the reforms with fellow Fisheries Ministers, the Commission, colleagues from devolved Administrations and the fishing industry and other key interests. We have welcomed the Commission's proposals as a good start, but the UK will continue to work hard to improve the proposals, to deliver the reforms we need.

Council Tax

Questions

Asked by Lord Roberts of Conwy

The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness): The Welsh Government have received a £38.9 million increase to their departmental expenditure limit in 2011-12. As is the usual practice, it will be for the Welsh Government to decide how to use this additional funding.



23 Nov 2011 : Column WA242

Devolution: Wales

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Conwy

The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness): The budget for the life of the Commission on Devolution in Wales is around £1 million, funded from existing budgets. The commissioners are unpaid. However, the Wales Office is reimbursing expenses incurred as a result of their work on the commission.

Duchy of Cornwall

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Duchy of Cornwall is a private estate, the funds from which are used to support the public, charitable and private activities of the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry. The Duchy is reviewing the First-tier Tribunal's reasons for its decision under the environmental information regulations, with a view to establishing whether it would be appropriate to appeal the ruling. Until then, it would be premature for HM Government to attempt to examine the potential consequences of the ruling.

Energy: Disconnections

Question

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

Baroness Stowell of Beeston: Ofgem monitors and publishes information about the disconnection of domestic gas and electricity supplies (in its social obligations annual reports). Although the disconnection data are not published for each month, the Domestic Suppliers' Social Obligations: 2010 Annual Report (www.ofgem.gov.uk/sustainability) provides annual data for the number of disconnections relating to debt undertaken by each supplier for 2006-10. The tables below show the number of disconnections due to debt for electricity and gas supplies by each of the big six suppliers.



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Disconnection of electricity supplies
Supplier20062007200820092010

British Gas

1

0

3

17

2

E.ON

233

476

337

1

1

Edf Energy

313

494

1,138

1,588

1,341

Npower

380

861

295

163

253

SSE

97

178

175

156

82

Scottish Power

234

648

885

418

230

Total

1,258

2,657

2,833

2,343

1,909

Disconnection of gas supplies
Supplier20062007200820092010

British Gas

2

0

8

37

0

E.ON

644

928

445

0

0

Edf Energy

526

878

975

474

234

Npower

1,637

1,343

360

61

81

SSE

593

728

335

98

66

Scottish Power

454

848

799

1,013

407

Total

3,856

4,725

2,922

1,683

788

Existing supply licence obligations and an industry code of practice provide protection for consumers in debt; for example, suppliers must not disconnect a domestic premises during October to March if they know or have reason to believe that the customer is of pensionable age and lives alone, or only lives with other pensioners or children under the age of 18.

Environment: Aarhus Convention

Question

Asked by Baroness Worthington

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The UK uses a number of administrative and judicial procedures to comply with the Aarhus Convention, in relation to environmental nuisance and similar cases. These include: reporting potential breaches of environmental legislation to the appropriate regulators; making a complaint to the local authority regarding a statutory nuisance; submitting a complaint to the Parliamentary Ombudsman; instituting criminal proceedings under Section 82 of the Environmental Protection Act; pressing relevant authorities to initiate criminal proceedings under various environmental legislative acts; and bringing a claim in the civil courts for private or public nuisance for breach of specific statutory provisions, or a claim for negligence. In addition, the Government are a strong supporter of alternative dispute resolution and have introduced initiatives to encourage and promote its use in all civil disputes.



23 Nov 2011 : Column WA244

The Government have published the Aarhus Convention implementation report, which was subject to an informal two-month public consultation on the draft version. This is available at: http://archive.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/aarhus/101015-aarhus-condoc.pdf.

EU: Luxembourg Compromise

Questions

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Luxembourg compromise is a convention that the Council will not force through an act by qualified majority vote against the will of a member state which believes its vital national interests to be at stake. The Council statement, which dates back to 1966 and enshrines the compromise, states:

"Where, in the case of decisions which may be taken by majority vote on a proposal of the Commission, very important interests of one or more partners are at stake, the Members of the Council will endeavour, within a reasonable time, to reach solutions which can be adopted by all the Members of the Council while respecting their mutual interest and those of the Community, in accordance with Article 2 of the Treaty".

The Luxembourg compromise remains in place following the entry into force of the Lisbon treaty.

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch

Lord Howell of Guildford: The Luxembourg compromise, which is a political convention, may be invoked by a member state to request the Council to delay voting on the adoption of a European Union measure which is subject to qualified majority voting where it believes its vital national interests to be at stake.

Export Control

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool



23 Nov 2011 : Column WA245

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Regular discussions are held between member states on Council Regulation (EC) 1236/2005 (known as the torture regulation) that controls trade in certain goods which could be used for capital punishment, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The re-export from the European Union of all controlled military goods and technologies irrespective of their origin would require an export licence and be subject to Common Position 2008/944/CFSP defining common rules governing the control of exports of military technology and equipment that includes the consideration of human rights violations. For dual-use items covered by Council Regulation (EC) 428/2009, exports to third countries irrespective of their origin would generally require an export licence that would also be judged against the common position. This regulation does allow the free movement of items covered by the regulation to other member states in most circumstances. The obligation to meet USA re-export conditions would be the responsibility of the companies concerned. Enforcement of those controls would be the responsibility of the USA Government.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Baroness Wilcox: The Government take their export responsibilities very seriously, and operate one of the most rigorous arms export control regimes in the world. This regime applies to military and dual-use goods which have been designated by one of the international export control regimes. The system is designed to prevent the export of goods which could be used for undesirable end use, including internal repression and external aggression. Respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms are already a mandatory criterion for all export licence decisions.

Export licence applications are already considered on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and UK Export Licensing Criteria, in the light of prevailing circumstances and paying particular attention to allegations of human right abuses. The UK will not issue licences where we judge there is a clear risk that the proposed export might be used to facilitate internal repression.

Council Regulation (EC) 1236/2005 (known as the torture regulation) is also in operation and this controls trade in certain goods which could be used for capital punishment, torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.

The Government keep the export control regime under review to take account of changed circumstances.

Fishing

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark



23 Nov 2011 : Column WA246

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): We support the Commission's ambition to deliver a more rational and economically efficient fleet, and to manage quota rights so that fishermen are able to plan for the long term. That does not mean, however, that the common fisheries policy should impose the same system for all. Member states must be able: to make their own decisions on the allocation of quota and trading of it within their own fleets, and to provide safeguards, for example to take account of the particular needs of small-scale fishing. It is also important that member states can manage their own fleets and fishing rights in line with relative stability of shares of joint stocks. We will therefore work with other member states to improve these proposals, in the interests of UK fisheries.

Gendercide

Questions

Asked by Lord Patten

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Further to the Answer given on 3 November, the Government condemn all instances of sex-selective abortion and infanticide. Our high commissioner in Delhi and ambassador in Beijing will look for suitable opportunities to raise this matter with the Indian and Chinese Governments.

Asked by Lord Patten

Lord Howell of Guildford: Further to the Answer given on 3 November, the Government condemn all instances of sex-selective abortion and infanticide. Our permanent representative to the United Nations (UN) has not raised specific concerns this year, but we will continue to emphasise this in relevant UN discussions.

Government Departments: Official Meetings

Question

Asked by Lord Laird



23 Nov 2011 : Column WA247

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Our ambassador attends functions in Northern Ireland on occasion, in particular for events or activities reflecting the UK's relations with the Republic of Ireland.

Housing

Questions

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Overall, the Government are investing £4.5 billion in the provision of new affordable housing over the four years of the spending review, 2011-15, which we expect to deliver up to 170,000 new affordable homes for affordable rent and affordable home ownership. This is more than the 150,000 originally estimated and means the Government will be able to deliver more homes for every pound of taxpayer subsidy.

The Government are also investing £2.1 billion to improve the quality of housing through the decent homes programme and large-scale voluntary transfer gap funding. This will be used to help bring over 200,000 homes up to at least the decent homes standard.

The department has set out its thinking on the future of social housing in the housing strategy which

23 Nov 2011 : Column WA248

was published on 21 November 2011. We will listen to views across the housing sector to ensure that new and existing social housing is affordable, well resourced and maintained.

Asked by Baroness King of Bow

Baroness Hanham: The Homes and Communities Agency remains in contract negotiations with registered providers on delivery of the affordable homes programme so the total allocations may increase as further final contractual offers are agreed. Details about homes to be delivered and funding through the affordable homes programme by local authority area are not yet available and the tables below cover more than one London borough.

The Homes and Communities Agency has information on schemes in the North East London area, which includes the London Borough of Tower Hamlets, as shown below, based on the providers who have agreed their final contractual offers.



23 Nov 2011 : Column WA249



23 Nov 2011 : Column WA250

North East London area
Lead ProviderOffer NameEstimate No. Affordable Rent HomesEstimate No. Affordable Home Ownership homes£m

Guildhouse UK Limited

Spindrift Ave

48

9

2.2

Newlon Housing Trust

NEWLON

320

80

9.1

Metropolitan Housing Trust Limited

London NE

165

41

6.3

Poplar Harca

Poplar Harca

253

34

6.4

London and Quadrant Housing Trust

NE

269

378

8.1

Swan Housing Group

London

989

297

34.7

Circle Anglia Limited

Circle-AHP2011-15-NE-New

407

113

15.8

Circle Anglia Limited

Spitalfields - New

40

2.1

Peabody

London North East

233

117

6.3

Islington & Shoreditch Housing Association Ltd

NRA - North East

417

128

13.0

Octavia Housing

Origin NE

44

48

2.1

Notting Hill Housing Trust

NHHT North East

507

285

20.1

Genesis Housing Association

Genesis London NE

89

40

4.4

Affinity Sutton Group Ltd

AS London NE

92

53

3.8

Telford Homes plc

Holland E1 6DH

68

13

2.4

Telford Homes plc

Island E14 3DJ

19

5

0.7

Telford Homes plc

Glamis E1W 3EB

30

19

1.4

Agudas Israel HA

AIHA.1

64

32

5.1

One Housing Group

Ladderswood Phase 1a

38

9

1.4

One Housing Group

Ladderswood Phase 2a

42

22

1.8

One Housing Group

Kingsland Road

12

7

0.5

One Housing Group

Upper Clapton Road

24

19

0.0

One Housing Group

Haringey Tottenham High Road

14

4

0.6

One Housing Group

Canning Town Phase 1

51

49

1.8

One Housing Group

Royal Albert Basin

26

0

0.9

One Housing Group

Wick Lane

36

15

1.5

One Housing Group

Quadrant Arcade

0

12

0.0

London Borough of Hackney

Colville -Phase 2

32

8

0.7

London Borough of Hackney

Colville - Phase 3

39

12

2.3

London Borough of Hackney

Marian Court

22

18

1.2

Estuary Housing Association Limited

London

144

42

5.1

Hanover Housing Association

Buccleuch Hackney

46

0

1.5

Hanover Housing Association

Bayton Hackney

15

0

0.5

Viridian Housing

Viridian NE London

36

25

1.1

Sanctuary Housing Association

North East

294

61

10.7

Centrepoint

Redbridge Street Properties

13

0.9

Centrepoint

Redbridge Supported Lodgings

3

0.4

Family Mosaic Housing

London North East

212

72

7.2

Paradigm Housing Group

North East London

15

5

0.7

Network Housing Group

North East London

425

28

10.6

East Thames Group

ETG London

255

102

13.3

Galliford Try Homes Limited

NE London - SE

10

0.3

Total

5848

2212

209.1

For the North West London area, which includes the London Borough of Islington, a list of schemes is provided below, based on the providers who have agreed their final contractual offers.



23 Nov 2011 : Column WA251



23 Nov 2011 : Column WA252

North West London area
Lead ProviderOffer NameEstimate No. Affordable Rent HomesEstimate No. Affordable Home Ownership homes£m

Guildhouse UK Limited

Southall

99

12

4.1

Metropolitan Housing Trust Limited

London NW

165

41

6.3

London and Quadrant Housing Trust

NW

134

34

4.0

Circle Anglia Ltd

Circle-AHP2011-15-NW-New

101

64

4.2

Peabody

London North West

115

35

1.7

Islington & Shoreditch Housing Association Ltd

NRA - North West

17

16

0.8

Paragon Community Housing Group

Lon NW New Supp (RUTCHT)

56

14

0.1

Paragon Community Housing Group

Lon NW New Supp (EHT)

34

16

0.5

Octavia Housing

Connected (Octavia)

135

50

7.9

Octavia Housing

SBHG

70

0

0.0

Octavia Housing

Origin NW

99

35

4.0

Octavia Housing

SMALL

72

5

4.1

Thames Valley Housing Group

TVH - Elmtree Road

19

11

0.0

Thames Valley Housing Group

TVH - Twickenham Stadium

33

0

0.0

Thames Valley Housing Group

TVH - Cross Lances

9

0

0.2

Thames Valley Housing Group

TVH - Hanworth Road

35

13

0.7

Notting Hill Housing Trust

NNHT NORTH WEST

252

277

14.3

Keniston Housing Association

Keniston HA

14

0.5

Hyde Housing Association

London NW

32

12

1.4

Hyde Housing Association

Hillside Equity Loan

15

0.3

Genesis Housing Association

Genesis London NW

90

38

4.4

Affinity Sutton Group Ltd.

AS London NW

125

55

4.8

LHA-ASRA Group Limited

London North West

157

20

5.7

National Association of Almshouses

Ealing and Brentford

6

0

0.1

One Housing Group

Grays Inn Kings Mews

5

2

0.0

One Housing Group

Kings Cross T1

34

0

0.0

One Housing Group

HCS Scheme

37

0

1.7

One Housing Group

London North West

33

0

1.4

Hanover Housing Association

Barnet

9

3

0.3

Viridian Housing

Viridian NW London

28

4

0.5

Sanctuary Housing Association

North West

88

24

4.3

The Guinness Trust

EL - London North West

36

0

0.5

Family Mosaic Housing

London North West

228

150

6.2

Paradigm Housing Group

North West London

95

45

4.5

Network Housing Group

North West London

470

288

16.4

The Abbeyfield Society

Farm Road

27

9

0.9

The Places for People Group Limited

Chincilla Drive Phase 1

16

0.0

The Places for People Group Limited

Chincilla Drive Phase 2

10

0.0

The Places for People Group Limited

Chincilla Drive Phase 3

6

0.0

Total

2,991

1,288

106.8

In addition to the above schemes through the affordable homes programme there will also be completions through existing commitments under the 2008-11 national affordable housing programme.

Justice: Legal Fees

Question

Asked by Baroness Worthington

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Government are implementing recommendations contained in Lord Justice Jackson's review of civil litigation costs, which includes a fundamental reform of no-win no-fee conditional fee agreements (CFAs). This reform is being taken forward in Part 2 of the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill. Some of the recommendations do not require primary legislation and will be taken forward in changes to the Civil Procedure Rules (CPR) (Clause 25 of the Bill concerns legal aid and is not relevant to this issue).

The recoverability of CFA success fees and "after the event" (ATE) insurance premiums will be abolished on all cases, except for the ATE premium in respect of expert reports in clinical negligence cases. It is intended that the relevant primary and secondary legislation and the relevant CPR changes will be implemented at the same time.

In response to Questions 13326 and 13327, the Government are introducing a regime of qualified one-way costs shifting (QOCS) through the CPR. The department has been working with the Civil Justice

23 Nov 2011 : Column WA253

Council (CJC) and others on the detailed policy which will inform the rules. Emerging conclusions were discussed by an expert workshop organised by the CJC at the end of October. That work is ongoing, including the financial implications for claimants. To answer Question 13325, the rules will be published in due course. The reforms are intended to address the high costs of civil litigation; in relation to Question 13330, we are mindful of the need for greater certainty for both claimants and defendants of the costs for which they may be liable and our reforms are intended to provide this.

In answer to Questions 13328 and 13329, QOCS will only be available for personal injury claims (including clinical negligence). The availability of QOCS in these cases is intended as an alternative to taking out "after the event" (ATE) insurance. If claimants wish to take out ATE insurance they will pay the premium themselves. Although Lord Justice Jackson suggested that QOCS might be considered for use in some non-personal injury claims, the Government are not persuaded that the case for this has been made at this stage. The Government will examine the effect of QOCS in personal injury claims before considering whether it should be extended further.

Another benefit for claimants is that the general damages for non-pecuniary loss such as pain, suffering and loss of amenity will be increased by 10 per cent. Incentives to settle early will be improved, which will mean access to justice at proportionate costs overall.

In response to Question 13367, own-side expert reports in CFA cases will be funded as in other cases. However, particular concerns have been raised about clinical negligence cases. The Bill includes a tightly drawn power to allow the recoverability of ATE insurance premiums in clinical negligence cases only. In addition, we are discussing with the Association of Personal Injury Lawyers (APIL), the NHS Litigation Authority and other stakeholders how the commissioning of expert reports in clinical negligence cases can be improved.

Landmines and Cluster Munitions

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The UK is committed to ridding the world of all cluster munitions and anti-personnel mines. We are a state party to both the Convention on Cluster Munitions (CCM or Oslo) and the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention (Ottawa) which ban states parties from manufacturing cluster munitions and anti-personnel mines. Promoting the universalisation of both conventions is paramount to globalising the ban on the manufacture of these munitions

23 Nov 2011 : Column WA254

and is a UK priority. We will not sign up to any additional United Nations convention that would undermine either convention or dilute our obligations under them.

Regular review conferences for both conventions provide the opportunity to review all aspects of the convention including definitions.

Olympic Games

Questions

Asked by Lord Wigley

Baroness Garden of Frognal: The Government have made no representations to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to have England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales recognised as separate nations for the purposes of participation in the Olympic Games from 2012 onwards. Recognition of national Olympic committees is purely a matter for the IOC, and under its charter, it recognises the British Olympic Association as the Olympic committee for the UK.

Asked by Lord Wigley

Baroness Garden of Frognal: The Government have not taken part in any direct discussions with the football associations on this matter.

The English Football Association is the designated national governing body for Olympic football within the National Olympic Committee, where it represents the interests of the football associations from England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. In March of this year, FIFA reassured the national associations that their team's international status would not be affected by their players potentially appearing for a Great Britain Olympic football team.

Omagh Bombing

Question

Asked by Lord Laird



23 Nov 2011 : Column WA255

Lord Shutt of Greetland: The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland met with the Omagh Support and Self Help Group (OSSHG) last September. He also met with family members who are against the establishment of a public inquiry. The Secretary of State has made it clear to all the families that he is open to receiving any representations from them on the issue. The OSSHG has recently advised the Secretary of State that it wishes to submit further representations on this matter and has asked him to refrain from making any decision on the issue until these have been received.

Patrick Finucane

Question

Asked by Lord Empey

Lord Shutt of Greetland: As set out in the review's terms of reference, Sir Desmond de Silva will have full access to the Stevens archive and all government papers, including any Ministry of Defence, Security Service, Home Office, Cabinet Office or Northern Ireland Office files that he believes are relevant. Sir Desmond is supported by a small team of staff for his work on the Finucane review, which includes staff seconded from the Civil Service. My department will assist him as required.

Pensions

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): Some public sector pension schemes do not have to pay the pension protection levy because they are not eligible to receive compensation from the Pension Protection Fund. These include unfunded public service pension schemes with no requirement for assets to be set aside in advance and with payments of pensions that are underwritten by Government, a public sector pension scheme that guarantees the benefits of its members by legislation and schemes which a Minister of the Crown has given a Crown guarantee or made other arrangements to secure that assets will be sufficient to meet the liabilities. The overall rationale is that schemes which are protected by provisions such as Crown guarantees do not need to pay for further protection by the PPF.



23 Nov 2011 : Column WA256

As at 31 October 2011, the PPF estimated that 6,533 ongoing pension schemes were protected by the PPF. Three hundred and fifty occupational schemes had transferred into the Pension Protection Fund and are listed on its website at: http://www.pensionprotectionfund.org.uk/TransferredSchemes/pages/Transferred-Schemes.aspx.

Piracy

Question

Asked by Lord Marlesford

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): In the past two years 21 pirates in total have been transferred to other states by the Royal Navy for prosecution. In April 2010, six suspected pirates were transferred to the Kenyan authorities and they are currently on trial for piracy; a further 15 suspected pirates were transferred to Italian authorities for prosecution in October 2011.

In addition between April 2010 and 11 November 2011, a total of 60 further suspected pirates were encountered during boarding operations. Following detailed analysis of all physical evidence and witness statements, these suspects were released as it was assessed that a successful prosecution was unlikely. The subsequent destruction of any pirate equipment and weapons found serves as a disruption measure and prevents their future use. Prior to April 2010, information on the number of individuals encountered who were suspected pirates was not held centrally.

Planning

Question

Asked by Baroness King of Bow

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Localism Act has just received Royal Assent. Under the Act, the mayor is required to consult with and respond to various statutory consultees. Among those consultees, there are two groups who, if they object to the mayor's proposals and the mayor disagrees, have the right to have their comments responded

23 Nov 2011 : Column WA257

to publicly. These consultees are (i) those boroughs whose area is affected by the designation of the mayoral development area concerned and (ii) the London Assembly. It is for the mayor to decide whether to publish details of individual responses from residents who are affected by the designation of a mayoral development area.

Prisons

Questions

Asked by Baroness Stern

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): All use of force paperwork is scrutinised by the Control and Restraint Committee to ensure it completely complies with Prison Service orders and standards. Any incident resulting in the use of control and restraint which is captured on the prison's CCTV system is downloaded and reviewed to ensure compliance.

New profiles and shift patterns have been introduced, which should assist in providing more and regular access to showers. Progress will be monitored and reviewed.

A bid for funding to provide privacy screens in the cells has been submitted.

The quality of adjudications is reviewed and assessed at a monthly adjudications meeting and the governing governor carries out sample quality checks personally.

Questions for Written Answer

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird



23 Nov 2011 : Column WA258

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): Decisions as to whether to refer to websites in answers are taken on the basis of how readily available the information is and the form that the information takes. For example, it may not be desirable to include very long and detailed tables within an answer to a Question for Written Answer. Ultimately however, the Guide to Parliamentary Work, produced by the Office of the Leader of the House of Commons, does specify that "it may not be appropriate to simply give the web address in the answer ... departments should be helpful to MPs and peers, particularly where the fact or figure requested is contained in a much larger set of information".

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Strathclyde: Answers to Questions for Written Answers should be readily comprehensible. I have asked my office to remind colleagues in other government departments that care should be taken to spell out the meaning of any acronyms used.

Schools: Funding

Question

Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The department has made £2.7 billion of capital allocations in 2011-12 on top of expected payments of up to £1.9 billion this year for BSF and academies legacy projects. Our priorities are to address the school buildings in the very worst condition and provide new school places in areas that are experiencing severe demographic pressures.

On 3 November, the Secretary of State announced additional allocations, totalling £500 million, to those local authorities which are experiencing the greatest pressure on school places, secured through savings elsewhere across the capital programme.

We have also announced the establishment of a new, privately-financed programme of school building (the Priority School Building Programme) which will address between 100 and 300 of the schools in the worst condition-depending on the mix of applicants.

The schools prioritised for this programme and other capital allocations for 2012-13 will be announced in due course.



23 Nov 2011 : Column WA259

Schools: Transport

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): For children of compulsory school age, local authorities are provided with Home to School Travel and Transport Guidance. Authorities must provide free transport for children to the nearest school that is further than the statutory walking distances of two miles for pupils below the age of eight and three miles for those aged eight and over. There is additional help for pupils aged 11 to 16, from low-income families, attending a school on the grounds of religion or belief between two and 15 miles from home. Transport to a school outside these arrangements is at the discretion of the local authority.

Equality legislation places a duty on authorities not to discriminate on the grounds of religion or belief; however the provisions do not apply in relation to the provision of transport, although authorities need to be aware of their obligations under human rights legislation.

There are no plans to review the current home to school transport legislation.

The £180 million bursary fund for 16 to 19 year-olds introduced in September 2011 allows schools and colleges to target support to students' individual needs. Individual transport costs can be met by the fund, where the costs are a barrier to participation. Following appropriate consultation, local authorities are under a duty to publish a statement each year, setting out travel arrangements they consider necessary to enable young people to attend post-16 education.

Sport: Competitive Climbing

Question

Asked by Lord Smith of Finsbury

Baroness Garden of Frognal: UK Sport's funding is focused on current Olympic and Paralympic sports. UK Sport will consider providing funding to climbing if the outcome of the sport's submission to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) for inclusion in the 2020 Games is positive.



23 Nov 2011 : Column WA260

State Recognition

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The 1929 Lateran treaty between Italy and Holy See established the Vatican City State as the area of Rome constituting the territorial extent of the temporal sovereignty of the Holy See. Formal diplomatic links between the Crown and the Holy See were first established in 1479. However, they were interrupted in the 16th century, and only restored in 1914 and raised to full ambassadorial status in 1982.

Sudan

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We welcome the statement by the Roman Catholic bishops of Sudan and South Sudan. We welcome the role of the churches in the two countries in promoting peaceful dialogue and reconciliation. We share the concern of the bishops at the ongoing conflicts in Southern Kordofan, Blue Nile State, Abyei and Darfur. We urge the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People's Liberation Movement (North) to allow immediate and full humanitarian access to all areas and to negotiate for a lasting settlement and peace. We also urge the Governments in Sudan and South Sudan to negotiate seriously in addressing their outstanding areas of difference, through the good offices of the African Union.

Surveillance: Telecommunications

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Government keep records of neither the visits made by British engineers and technicians to Iran nor the value of service contracts.



23 Nov 2011 : Column WA261

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Baroness Wilcox: The UK's export control regime does not generally control intercept software and equipment in view of the legitimate commercial applications for which it can be used.

The Government are committed to supporting freedom of expression on the internet and continue to encourage states that restrict access to the internet to uphold their international human rights commitments. One of the seven principles set out by the Foreign Secretary for the London cyber conference was "the need for

23 Nov 2011 : Column WA262

governments to act proportionately in cyberspace and in accordance with national and international law".

Tourism

Question

Asked by Baroness Gibson of Market Rasen

Baroness Garden of Frognal: The Office for National Statistics, in its annual publication Travel Trends presents the main annual results from the International Passenger Survey (IPS), which collects information from passengers as they enter or leave the UK by the principal air, sea and tunnel routes (pg 45).

The 2010 publication is available at: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/ott/travel-trends/2010/index.html.



23 Nov 2011 : Column WA263



23 Nov 2011 : Column WA264

Section 2: Overseas residents' visits to the UK 2006 to 2010Travel Trends 2010
2.07Number of visits to UK: by mode of travel and purpose of visit 2006 to 2010
Visits (thousands)Change 2009-10Growth 2009-10Average Annual Growth 2006-10
20062007200820092010(000s)(%)(%)

Air

Holiday

7,259

7,613

7,380

7,685

7,575

-110

-1.4

1.1

of which inclusive tour

781

990

708

659

756

97

14.7

-0.8

Business

6,571

6,510

5,989

4,753

4,872

119

2.5

-7.2

Visiting friends or relatives

7,849

8,208

8,127

7,203

6,718

-485

-6.7

-3.8

Miscellaneous

2,910

2,758

2,528

2,439

2,265

-174

-7.1

-6.1

All visits

24,588

25,089

24,024

22,080

21,430

-650

-2.9

-3.4

Sea

Holiday

2,001

1,882

1,982

2,083

2,162

79

3.8

1.9

of which inclusive tour

712

808

800

834

813

-21

-2.5

3.4

Business

1,464

1,310

1,202

1,055

1,011

-44

-4.2

-8.8

Visiting friends or relatives

892

876

973

911

956

44

4.9

1.7

Miscellaneous

501

392

339

413

402

-11

-2.6

-5.3

All visits

4,858

4,459

4,495

4,462

4,531

68

1.5

-1.7

Tunnel

Holiday

1,306

1,263

1,562

1,656

1,931

275

16.6

10.3

of which inclusive tour

396

427

377

391

449

58

14.7

3.2

Business

984

1,025

934

770

910

140

18.1

-1.9

Visiting friends or relatives

665

636

627

669

734

65

9.7

2.5

Miscellaneous

311

306

247

252

268

16

6.4

-3.7

All visits

3,267

3,230

3,369

3,347

3,842

496

14.8

4.1

Total

Holiday

10,566

10,758

10,923

11,424

11,668

244

2.1

2.5

of which inclusive tour

1,890

2,225

1,886

1,884

2,018

134

7.1

1.7

Business

9,019

8.845

8,124

6,579

6,793

214

3.3

-6.8

Visiting friends or relatives

9,406

9,720

9,727

8,783

8,408

-375

-4.3

-2.8

Miscellaneous

3,722

3,456

3,113

3,103

2,935

-168

-5.4

-5.8

All visits

32,713

32,778

31,888

29,889

29,803

-86

-0.3

-2.3

Section 2: Overseas residents' visits to the UK 2006 to 2010Travel Trends 2010
2.08Number of visits to UK: by mode of travel and quarter of the year 2006 to 2010
Visits (thousands)
QuarterAirper cent change from year earlierSeaper cent change from year earlierTunnelper cent change from year earlier

2006

1

4,925

6.2

725

-13.5

701

0.4

2

6,153

11.0

1,457

7.6

866

-10.8

3

7,575

16.6

1,776

18.2

944

10.1

4

5,935

10.6

901

-8.2

755

4.3

2007

1

5,300

7.6

683

-5.8

755

7.6

2

6,307

2.5

1,368

-6.1

835

-3.5

3

7,231

-4.5

1,453

-18.2

881

-6.7

4

6,250

5.3

956

6.2

759

0.5

2008

1

5,442

2.7

985

44.3

768

1.7

2

6,208

-1.6

1,180

-13.7

1,017

21.8

3

6,970

-3.6

1,441

-08

946

7.4

4

5,404

-13.5

889

-7.1

638

-16.0

2009

1

4,725

-13.2

806

-18.2

682

-11.2

2

5,631

-9.3

1,382

17.1

929

-8.7

3

6,495

-6.8

1,406

-2.5

880

-7.0

4

5,229

-3.2

868

-2.3

856

34.3

2010

1

4,390

-7.1

779

-3.4

735

7.9

2

5,130

-8.9

1,493

8.1

1,130

21.6

3

6,535

0.6

1,426

1.4

1,024

16.4

4

5.374

2.8

833

-4.1

954

11.4


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