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1 Feb 2012 : Column WA325



1 Feb 2012 : Column WA325

Written Answers

Wednesday 1 February 2012

Asylum Seekers

Questions

Asked by Baroness Goudie

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The following table contains the number of unaccompanied children who applied for asylum in each year between 2005 and 2010.

Unaccompanied Asylum Seeking Children Applications Received.
YearTotal applications

2005

2,964

2006

3,451

2007

3,645

2008

4,285

2009

3,174

2010

1,717

Data for 2010 are provisional figures.

Figures exclude cases that were age disputed at the time of extract.

An unaccompanied asylum seeking child (UASC) is a person under 18, or who, in the absence of documentary evidence establishing age, appears to be under that age, is applying for asylum on his or her own right and has no relative or guardian in the United Kingdom.

Data exclude dependants

Source: 2005: Table 2.3, Asylum Statistics United Kingdom 2007; 2006-2010: Table as 08, Immigration Statistics July-September 2011

Data on unaccompanied asylum-seeking children are available in the asylum tables of the quarterly Immigration Statistics. The latest-release Immigration Statistics July-September 2011 are available in the Library of the House and the Home Office Science website at: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/science-research/research-statistics/migration/migration-statistics1/.

Asked by Baroness Goudie

Lord Henley: The following table contains the number of children who applied for asylum as main applicants in each year between 2008 and 2010 and the initial decision on their application. Analyses by age for earlier years are not available.



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Extract of Table as 06: Outcome analysis of asylum applications, as at May 2011, aged under 18 at time of application
Year of applicationTotal Main applicants aged under 18(1) Granted asylum at initial decision(2) Granted HP at initial decision(3) Granted DL at initial decision(4) Refused asylum, HP or DL at initial decisionApplications withdrawn or decision not known as at May 2011

2008

3,842

409

19

2,088

874

452

2009

2,800

292

20

1,661

520

307

2010

1,535

222

11

777

336

189

Data exclude dependants. Data for dependants are not available as the data have not been extracted from the Case Information Database in the appropriate format.

Data are not available for years prior to 2008 as the age of the applicant at the time of the application is not available for all main applicants.

Year relates to the period in which the application was made; the initial decisions within a 'year of application' may have been made in a later year.

Data relating to applications or decisions in 2010 are provisional figures.

'Decision not known' reflect that no confirmation of an initial decision on the case had been received when the statistics were compiled on 9 May 2011.

Data on asylum applications are available in the asylum tables of the quarterly Immigration Statistics. The latest-release Immigration Statistics July-September 2011 are available in the Library of the House and the Home Office Science website at: http://www.homeoffice. gov.uk/science-research/research-statistics/migration/migration-statistics1/.

Banking

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The rehypothecation of client securities is an issue that is linked to regulatory reform efforts taking place across the EU and the work of the Financial Stability Board, including in the context of its work on shadow banking. The Government will consider this issue in the round as these efforts progress.

Barbara Hofschröer

Question

Asked by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The Home Office has received two previous Parliamentary Questions and three letters in relation to Mrs Hofschröer's case. We have also received by e-mail regular representations from the noble Lord himself. This case is an operational matter for North Yorkshire Police.

Education: Early Years Foundation Stage

Question

Asked by Lord Ouseley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Government have made clear their intention to reform the early years foundation stage for September 2012, and we will publish a new statutory framework in the spring. Our intention is that the new framework will make clear the need for all providers to promote equality of opportunity, and it will replicate the equal opportunities requirements in the existing framework.

The Department for Education is working with partners in the early years sector to identify what new supporting materials may be needed to help practitioners deliver requirements that are new or different in the new framework. Some previous guidance will become out of date due to the revisions to the framework. Much will however remain relevant and we expect practitioners to continue using it.

Education: Humanities

Question

Asked by Lord Harrison

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Government would like to see more universities following the example of Trinity College and publishing clear advice on the qualification combinations they value for admission purposes.

The Russell Group's "Informed Choices" guide sets out a list of facilitating subjects-those most commonly required for entry on to specific courses. This correlates

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closely with the subjects that count towards the English Baccalaureate. The guide rightly states, however, that there are other subjects that provide suitable preparation for university but are not often a requirement for entry. It also makes clear that many institutions have their own individual requirements, which students should check carefully as their plans develop.

Equality Act 2010

Question

Asked by Lord Ouseley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): As required by the Equality Act 2010 public sector equality duty, the Department for Education published on 31 January 2012 information showing how the activities of the department comply with the duty.

Export Control

Questions

Asked by Lord Avebury

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Government publish information on export licences in the annual and quarterly reports on strategic export controls. These reports contain detailed information on export licences issued, refused or revoked, by destination, including the overall value, type (e.g. military, other) and a summary of the items covered by these licences. They are available to view on the Strategic Export Controls: Reports and Statistics website at https://www.exportcontroldb.bis.gov.uk.

As an export licence is required to export arms and other military equipment from the United Kingdom, details about what items were licensed for export to Bahrain will be contained within these reports. However, the fact that a licence has been issued does not mean that an export has necessarily taken place.

These reports do not contain names of applicants or details of whether specific conditions have been imposed. Disclosure of the names of companies would not be in the public interest because this information is provided in confidence to the Government along with other details (such as names of end-users and third parties) that are not published in the reports. The release of information would prejudice commercial interests and would reveal information that has been provided to the Government in confidence.



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Lastly, all export licence applications are rigorously assessed on a case-by-case basis against the consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria, taking account of all prevailing circumstances at the time of application. A licence will not be issued where to do so would be inconsistent with the criteria or other relevant announced commitments. In particular, criterion two concerns the "respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms in the country of final destination", and states that the Government will not issue an export licence if there is a clear risk that the proposed export might be used for internal repression. If the situation in the country changes or new information comes to light that causes us to have concerns, we can and do revoke export licences where we consider that the proposed export would, in light of the changing situation, contravene the criteria.

Asked by Lord Avebury

Baroness Wilcox: Because Defense Technology is an overseas company, the Government do not hold any information about sales or exports made by that company to Bahrain or any other destination.

Falkland Islands

Question

Asked by Lord Moonie

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): There has, to date, been no harassment of Spanish-owned vessels within Falkland Islands territorial waters. Our embassy in Madrid has discussed the Argentine harassment of Spanish-owned vessels in River Plate waters with the outgoing Spanish authorities, and we will raise this with the new Spanish Government. These vessels were exercising their right of innocent passage when travelling to/from the Falkland Islands and the port of Montevideo. The Government of Uruguay and the Spanish embassy in Montevideo have also made statements criticising Argentina's attempts to infringe on the right of innocent passage in River Plate waters.

Freedom of Information

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): First, I would like to offer my apologies to the noble Lord for not making the reasons clear in my previous Answer to him on this issue. I will now answer as fully as I can to explain the reasons why such information is not normally disclosed.

The decision not to disclose information, whether in full or in part, which is requested in a Parliamentary Question, is in accordance with Minister's obligations to Parliament, which are set out in the Ministerial Code. The relevant extract from the code states: "Ministers should be as open as possible with Parliament and the public, refusing to provide information only when disclosure would not be in the public interest".

The Ministerial Code also states that, "Collective responsibility requires that Ministers should be able to express their views frankly in the expectation that they can argue freely in private while maintaining a united front when decisions have been reached. This in turn requires that the privacy of opinions expressed in Cabinet and Ministerial Committees, including in correspondence, should be maintained".

Guidance concerning access to government information (including that issued by the Cabinet Office, the Ministry of Justice and the Information Commissioner's Office) states that ministerial communications in general and proceedings of the Cabinet and its committees in particular are explicitly identified as deserving of protection from disclosure, subject to the operation of the public interest test.

Cabinet government, and the confidential nature of Cabinet proceedings, are long-standing and fundamental conventions of the United Kingdom's constitution. Protecting collective responsibility is in the public interest as it allows for the maintenance of space to formulate, develop and refine policy. This space also allows for all options to be considered.

If Ministers thought that their policy discussions in Cabinet, with colleagues or with officials, would be revealed publicly, the nature of those discussions would be very different. It might deter Ministers and officials from raising radical or controversial options and having free and frank discussions about all available possibilities in relation to a given policy or idea. This would have a detrimental effect on both the process of collective government and the quality of the decisions made at the highest level, undermining good government.

If policy disagreements within government were to be revealed, the Government would be unable convincingly to put forward a united front and properly accept collective responsibility for their decisions.

Inappropriate disclosure has the potential not only to limit discussion of policy between Ministers, but may also distort public perceptions of the advice provided by officials. The prospect of early disclosure

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could affect the impartiality of advice provided by leading to less candid and robust discussions and provision of advice about policy. Ultimately, the quality of government policy-making could be undermined.

Many of the public interest considerations outlined here were deemed by the High Court to be at the heart of public interest considerations surrounding this class of information. It found that cases in which it will, "not be appropriate to give any weight to [such] considerations will, if they exist at all, be few and far between".

The Government have considered the provisions of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 in accordance with Cabinet Office guidance on answering PQs, which states that:

"If [government departments] conclude that material information must be withheld and the PQ cannot be fully answered as a result, the answer should make this clear and should explain in terms similar to those in the Freedom of Information Act (without resorting to explicit reference to the Act itself or to section numbers) the reason for the refusal".

Lastly, the Government's definition of "internal discussion and advice" is in line with freedom of information guidance issued by the Ministry of Justice which covers Section 35 (Formulation of Government Policy) and I refer the noble Lord to this guidance, particularly the section that covers, "The general definition of 'Ministerial communications'" and that which covers "Cabinet proceedings", which is available to view at http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/guidance/freedom-and-rights/foi-exemption-s35.pdf.

Government Departments: Accountancy

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): None.

Government Departments: Bonuses

Question

Asked by Lord Laird



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): I will respond to the noble Lord with the information requested as soon as possible. Collecting the information relevant to this Answer has proved to be quite complex and has taken longer than expected.

Government Departments: Publications

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The department does not separately identify the amount spent on newspapers as this is included in the overall spend on publications, which includes legal, research, educational and scientific-based materials that are required as part of the department's operating function. However, financial records show that the department spent £65,832 between May 2010 and December 2011 (inclusive) with the primary supplier of newspapers, magazines and legal journals.

The forecasts for each of the next 12 months are not available, but future departmental expenditure on all administration costs is subject to business need and is closely monitored as part of the department's 2010 spending review target to deliver a 25 per cent real-terms reduction in our budgets by 2014-15.

Government Departments: Refreshments

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): From May 2010 to December 2011 (inclusive), the department has spent £41,728 on hospitality-this includes the costs of providing catering and refreshments for departmental events and meetings involving external visitors.

The forecasts for each of the next 12 months are not available, but future departmental expenditure on all administration costs is subject to business need and is closely monitored as part of the department's 2010 spending review target to deliver a 25 per cent real-terms reduction in our budgets by 2014-15.



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Government Departments: Running Costs

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The cost of running the Home Office can be found in the department's annual report and accounts for 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11, available from the Vote Office, or the Home Office website at http://www.homeoffice. gov.uk/publications/about-us/corporate-publications/annual-report-201011 and http://www.homeoffice.gov. uk/publications/about-us/corporate-publications/resource-accounts/.

Government Departments: Travel

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): From May 2010 to December 2011 (inclusive) the department has spent the following amounts on travel:

rail-£2,650,926;

air-£2,937,850;

hotels-£1,444,341; and

car hire-£79,013.

The forecasts for each of the next 12 months are not available, but future departmental expenditure on all administration costs is subject to business need and is closely monitored as part of the department's 2010 spending review target to deliver a 25 per cent real-terms reduction in our budgets by 2014-15.

Government: Ministerial Responsibilities

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint): As Minister of State for Trade and Investment I am responsible for the development and implementation of the cross-government strategy for trade and inward investment.

I am responsible for UK Trade and Investment, UK Export Finance, the Foreign and Commonwealth

1 Feb 2012 : Column WA334

Office's Prosperity Directorate, and I am a member of both the BIS and FCO ministerial teams providing advice to the Business Secretary, Foreign Secretary, Chancellor and Prime Minister on trade and investment policy. I chair the Trade and Investment sub-committee of the Cabinet Economic Affairs Committee.

I am spokesman for the Government on trade and investment matters in the House of Lords.

Gypsies and Travellers

Questions

Asked by Baroness Whitaker

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): I refer the noble Baroness to the Answers I gave to Lord Avebury on 14 June 2011 (Official Report, col. WA 177) and 24 October 2011 (Official Report, col. WA 116), where I explained that the Council conclusions agreed by member states on 19 May 2011 provide latitude to member states to tailor their approaches to national needs by developing sets of policy measures within broader social inclusion policies, as an alternative to producing national Roma integration strategies. There is no obligation on the UK to produce a national Roma integration strategy.

The noble Baroness may be interested to know that the European Commission has been publishing responses from member states, including the UK, to their request for information about their Roma inclusion policies. These can be found on their website at: http://ec.europa.eu/justice/discrimination/roma/national-strategies/index_en.htm.

Health: Cancer

Question

Asked by Baroness Finlay of Llandaff

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The National Cancer Intelligence Network (NCIN) is supporting improved outcomes for people with cancer by providing commissioners, providers, clinicians, stakeholders and patients with data about cancer services and outcomes. It is for the

1 Feb 2012 : Column WA335

National Health Service to use these data to drive improvement locally, identifying gaps in service provision and eliminating unacceptable variation in access, treatment and outcomes.

In April 2013, it is anticipated that responsibility for the NCIN will pass to Public Health England.

Higher Education: Quality Assurance Agency

Question

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

Baroness Verma: Higher education institutions have academic autonomy over their curricula and skills taught. There are many examples of employment-related skills development. As mentioned in the higher education White Paper Students at the Heart of the System, Professor Sir Tim Wilson has been looking at university-industry collaboration, including graduate recruitment, and his report will be published soon. Information on graduate employment destinations will be included in the key information set that is being introduced from September 2012 as part of our improvements to student information. It is not the responsibility of the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education to determine which skills individual institutions should teach, but to review the quality and standards of their higher education provision.

Immigration

Questions

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The UK Border Agency exempts spouses or civil partners from the requirement to take a secure English language test only where there are no providers operating in a given country. The UK Border Agency has two providers currently operating in the Yemen.

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath



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Lord Henley: The UK Border Agency does not hold a list of all centres operated by its providers. However, the agency can say that there are many thousands of test centres. Two of our providers operate in the Yemen and others have said that they may be able to offer new centres if there is sufficient demand. This is currently being assessed.

Institutional Investors: Voting Records

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Government have no current plans to review the efficacy of the vote transmission and counting process at public company shareholders' meetings.

International Monetary Fund

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The International Monetary Fund (IMF) lends money to countries based on their individual needs. The IMF currently has over 50 lending programmes in place around the world. Any requests from member countries for IMF assistance are considered by the IMF Executive Board, of which the UK is a member, on a case-by-case basis.

Further details of IMF lending and conditionality policy can be found at: http://www.imf.org/external/about/lending.htm.

Justice: Third-Party Litigation

Questions

Asked by Lord Boswell of Aynho



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The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): I refer the noble Lord to my reply of 26 October 2011 (Official Report, col. 26 October 2011, c160W). Lord Justice Jackson recommended that that a voluntary code of conduct be drawn up for third-party litigation funders and the question of whether there should be statutory regulation ought to be revisited, "if and when the third party funding market expands". The Civil Justice Council published a code of conduct for litigation funders on 23 November 2011.

The Government have not had any formal contact with legal practitioners or the Association of Litigation Funders on this issue, nor has it held any discussions with other countries.

However, we have received correspondence from the US Chamber Institute for Legal Reform (ILR) and my officials met representatives from the ILR, in September 2011.

Northern Ireland: Security

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Shutt of Greetland: The Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service made arrangements to assess the security of the judicial estate in that part of Belfast. This assessment led them to make this request in April 2010 for closure to the then Minister of State in the Northern Ireland Office.

The closure of other roads did not form part of the request by the Northern Ireland Courts and Tribunals Service.

Questions for Written Answer

Questions

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Cabinet Office guidance relating to answering parliamentary questions is quite clear that departments should release the same information

1 Feb 2012 : Column WA338

in a PQ Answer as they would in a related FOI request, bearing in mind differences in the disproportionate cost threshold.

In addition, the Ministerial Code states that: "Ministers should be as open as possible with Parliament and the public, refusing to provide information only when disclosure would not be in the public interest".

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: It is existing government best practice that a hard copy of any document placed in the Library should be sent to the Member who tabled the Question. The Government will seek to remind departments of this expectation.

Republic of Ireland: Financial Support

Question

Asked by Lord Kilclooney

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The UK has agreed to provide a bilateral loan of £3.2 billion, as part of an €85 billion international assistance package, for Ireland.

The bilateral loan to Ireland is drawn in eight tranches, each with a 7.5-year term. The Treasury has disbursed two tranches of the loan, each for £403.37 million, following successful completion of the third and fourth EU/IMF reviews of Ireland's programme respectively. The first tranche of the loan was disbursed on 14 October 2011, with a maturity date of 15 April 2019; the second on 30 January 2012, with a maturity date of 30 July 2019.

Following the disbursement of the first tranche of the loan, the first interest payment was on 15 December 2011. Thereafter, interest on each disbursed tranche of the loan is payable every six months until the maturity date of each tranche.

Under the terms of the Loans to Ireland Act, the Treasury is required to report periodically on the bilateral loan, including on loan payments made, interest received and amounts outstanding. The end of the current reporting period is 31 March 2012. The Treasury will provide a full report at that time.



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Royal Yacht "Britannia"

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): As the Royal Yacht "Britannia" was decommissioned in 1997 the department no longer has records related to her associated costs.

Statutory Instruments

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The table shows the numbers of statutory instruments laid by the Department for Education and its predecessors (the Department for Children, Schools and Families, the Department for Education and Skills, and the Department for Education and Employment) that were reprinted in the years 2001 to 2012, and the cost of each reprinting. We hold the information only for calendar years and not for parliamentary Sessions.



1 Feb 2012 : Column WA340

YearNumber of statutory instruments reprinted due to defective draftingNumber of statutory instruments reprinted due to other errorsCost of each reprinting

2001

Nil

Nil

Not applicable

2002

5

1

Nil

£18.53

£160.00

£160.00

£349.00

£53.40

2003

4

Nil

£409.00

£78.70

£171.00

£152.00

2004

6

Nil

£138.00

£176.00

£176.00

£176.00

£155.00

£180.00

2005

2

Nil

£349.00

£752.00

2006

3

1

£243.00

£206.77

£70.00

£433.84

2007

2

Nil

£347.31

£280.00

2008

Nil

Nil

Not applicable

2009

1

Nil

£452.23

2010

2

Nil

£442.76

£333.80

2011

1

Nil

£191.20

2012

1

Nil

£160.00


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