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Question

Asked by Lord Tebbit

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The formal review started following approval at the Civil Service Capability Board in October 2011.

Coastal Communities Fund

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Coastal Communities Fund will provide money for projects which support economic development in our coastal communities. These could include projects which improve skills within the community, projects related to protecting the coastal environment or economic development programmes delivered by charitable, benevolent or philanthropic institutions. More examples can be found in the prospectus my department launched on 9 February giving further details of the fund. The Big Lottery Fund will invite expressions of interest from potential grant applicants from 5 March.

Commercial Diplomacy Programme

Questions

Asked by Viscount Waverley

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Commercial diplomacy is an important component of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) wider prosperity agenda, which brings together all the actions that the FCO takes internationally to support the UK economy.



27 Feb 2012 : Column WA221

Our Charter for Business (http://www.fco.gov.uk/resources/en/pdf/global-issues/prosperity/business-charter) states that our entire overseas network will do all it can to support British business success overseas, and will work globally to attract quality inward investment through: direct support for business; or action to improve the prospects for UK business across the world.

Our embassies and high commissions are the essential infrastructure of our country's influence overseas, and of our economic recovery, so we are working to transform Britain's relationship in the fastest growing cities and regions-for example by significantly increasing our presence in India and China, the world's two emerging superpowers.

Priority markets for UKTI are highlighted in their five-year strategy-Britain Open for Business (http://www.ukti.gov.uk/uktihome/item/148300.html)

Asked by Viscount Waverley

Lord Howell of Guildford: There is no priority list for commercial diplomacy as the whole of the overseas network is expected to play its part fully, but we will work tirelessly to exploit the business opportunities that exist in the Central Asian region.

Priority markets for UKTI are highlighted in their five-year strategy-Britain Open for Business (http://www.ukti.gov.uk/uktihome/item/148300.html)

Copyright

Questions

Asked by Lord Quirk

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The initial impact assessments published with the current consultation on copyright provided an initial assessment of potential costs and benefits of different policy options under consideration. The Government are now seeking more detailed evidence on the costs and benefits to all parties who could be affected by the proposals, through public consultation.

Asked by Lord Quirk



27 Feb 2012 : Column WA222

Baroness Wilcox: The Government's proposals on copyright aim to deliver greater clarity for teachers by ensuring that all reasonable uses of copyright materials in the classroom are permitted, either under licence or an exception, without undermining incentives to authors. The Government, through their current consultation on copyright, are seeking further evidence of the potential impact of various implementation options on authors and other affected parties. The consultation document and accompanying initial impacts assessments are available in the Library of the House and are published on the Intellectual Property Office website.

Counterterrorism

Question

Asked by Lord West of Spithead

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): In July 2011, Her Majesty's Government published the United Kingdom's counter-terrorism strategy (CONTEST) which sets out the objectives for protecting crowded places, that:

the Government will ensure businesses owning crowded places and local authorities continue to have access to high quality protective security advice so they know what steps to take to reduce vulnerability to terrorist attack;the Government will also promote security at sites at higher risk; andthat existing guidance will be reviewed and updated.

In January 2012, the Government published two revised crowded places guidance documents Protecting Crowded Places: Design and TechnicalIssues and Crowded Places: The planning system and counter terrorism, both with revisions to reflect the contribution that protective security can make to mitigating the impact of a firearms attack.

The Government will continue to explore ways in which reducing the vulnerability of crowded places, especially higher risk sites, can be developed and promoted, including through the revision and updating of guidance documents whenever it is appropriate to do so.

Courts: Witness Care Units

Question

Asked by Lord Goldsmith



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The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness): There are 80 Witness Care Units (WCUs) currently operating in England and Wales. The WCUs are distributed geographically across the 13 CPS areas and provide full coverage across the country. A review of witness care was conducted in 2009 aimed at ensuring greater consistency and efficiency in the service delivered to victims and witnesses. In 2011, the CPS commissioned a project to review its victim and witness commitments with a view to taking a fresh look at the service it delivers to them. As part of this review, the CPS is working with the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) to pilot a revised delivery model within WCUs, targeting resources to those victims and witnesses who are in most need of support.

Cyprus

Question

Asked by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Government are aware of the allegations of violence between the two communities on the island since the 1960s, and continue to work towards building confidence between them, including through contributions to the Committee on Missing Persons. The Government are in constant dialogue with the Republic of Cyprus on how to try and encourage progress in the ongoing discussions to reach a comprehensive settlement.

Defence: Contracts

Questions

Asked by Lord Touhig

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The Ministry of Defence holds regular discussions with our US and French counterparts on current and potential bilateral co-operative projects and programmes. When co-operation is agreed it is usual practice for a contract to be awarded by one country on behalf of one or more partner nations or in some cases by an international project management organisation such as the Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation. Joint defence contracts are not usually awarded.



27 Feb 2012 : Column WA224

Asked by Lord Touhig

Lord Astor of Hever: The information is not held centrally and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Over the past five years, the UK has been a partner in between 50 and 60 co-operative equipment programmes at any one time, all of which have involved either NATO or other key allies. In some cases, contracts have been placed by the UK, but in others they have been placed by our partners, or by international organisations such as NETMA(1), NAMSA(2) or OCCAR(31).

Notes:

(1) NATO Eurofighter and Tornado Management Agency

(2) NATO Maintenance and Supply Agency

(3) The Organisation for Joint Armament Co-operation

Asked by Lord Touhig

Lord Astor of Hever: Defence contracts generally do not require suppliers to undertake production in the UK. The Ministry of Defence has placed contracts with specific suppliers in the past, and will continue to do so, where we judge this is essential to protect the UK's operational advantage or freedom of action.

In 2009-10, the Ministry of Defence spent over £20 billion with UK industry, just over half of which was in the UK manufacturing sector.

Asked by Lord Touhig

Lord Astor of Hever: The number of contracts placed with defence equipment manufacturing companies is not captured separately. As at 24 January 2012, the Defence Business Services database showed that, in the five-year period between 2006-07 and 2010-11, the Ministry of Defence awarded nearly 40,000 new contracts with an approximate total value of £67.7 billion. Employment implications are a matter for the companies concerned. However, during this period, the number of new contracts placed where the majority of work occurred within the UK remained consistent at around 85 to 89 per cent.



27 Feb 2012 : Column WA225

Asked by Lord Touhig

Lord Astor of Hever: Maintaining operational advantage and freedom of action is vital to our national security. The precise circumstances in which action might be needed will vary depending on the nature of the threats we face. These concepts are applicable throughout the acquisition cycle and the operational life of a capability.

In 2005, the previous Government published the Defence Industrial Strategy (Cm 6697), which included appropriate sovereignty as one of its guiding principles and made a number of references to sovereign capabilities. In 2009 the Armoured Fighting Vehicle Sector Strategy included an explanation of the concept of operational sovereignty. The most recent consideration of sovereignty requirements for defence equipment and support took place as part of the development of the White Paper National Security Through Technology (Cm 8278).

Asked by Lord Touhig

Lord Astor of Hever: In July 2010 the Government announced their intention to publish a new defence industrial policy and strategy. The Strategic Defence and Security Review reaffirmed this commitment, which led to a Green Paper Technology, Equipment and Support for UK Defence and Security (Cm 7794) in December 2010 and a subsequent White Paper National Security Through Technology: Technology, Equipment and Support (CM 8278) in February 2012.

Defence: Industrial Strategy

Questions

Asked by Lord Touhig



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): In July 2010 the Government announced their intention to publish a new defence industrial policy and strategy. The Strategic Defence and Security Review reaffirmed this commitment, which led to a Green Paper Technology, Equipment and Support for UK Defence and Security (Cm 7794) in December 2010 and a subsequent White Paper National Security Through Technology: Technology, Equipment and Support (Cm 8278) in February 2012.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Questions

Asked by Viscount Waverley

Baroness Northover: So far, the Department for International Development has provided £26.8 million bilaterally to the 2007-13 electoral cycle (which includes presidential, legislative, provincial and local elections) through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and International Foundation for Elections Service (IFES). The bulk of this funding was to the UNDP elections basket fund, where the UK bilateral share is almost 30 per cent of the total US$167 million fund. As a total of the overall cost of the electoral cycle, the UK bilateral contribution represents around 3.1 per cent.

Asked by Viscount Waverley

Baroness Northover: The UK does not provide budgetary support to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Instead, all UK development assistance in DRC is channelled outside government systems, through non-governmental organisations, United Nations agencies and other multilateral organisations. The Department for International Development has provided £26.8 million to the 2007-13 electoral cycle through the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and International Foundation for Elections Service (IFES).



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Asked by Viscount Waverley

Baroness Northover: The UK's bilateral support for elections covers the whole 2008-13 electoral cycle, including presidential and parliamentary elections, provincial elections and local elections. Our support is aimed primarily at ensuring that everyone has the right to vote, and encouraging as much participation as possible. It is focused on voter registration; building the capacity of the new electoral commission; improving public understanding of the electoral process, particularly among women and first-time voters; and helping the Congolese police to keep the peace before, during and after elections. In addition, our media project promoted more open debate in advance of the presidential and parliamentary elections through support for independent Congolese media, and we have provided funding to build the capacity of civil society organisations and to strengthen protection for human rights defenders.

We are not in a position to make an independent assessment of the accuracy of the electoral roll. We were deeply concerned with allegations that double entries in the voter register outnumbered the official tally. The UK pushed the DRC's electoral commission to ensure all parties had scrutiny of the electoral roll and to publish full voter lists on its website and in registration centres to enable all double entries, whether added through human error or otherwise, to be scrutinised locally and amended. We were disappointed when CENI and political parties were unable to agree a modality that would have enabled a cross-party audit of the electoral roll server to go forward. We are awaiting the final report of the EU observation mission which will give further details of their assessment of the elections.

We do share the concerns raised by the mission about reported irregularities in the process, and are aware of the electoral commission's decision to allow "omitted voters" to vote in their voting site if their name was not on the voter's list.

Asked by Viscount Waverley

Baroness Northover: We estimate that the unit cost for the presidential and legislative elections, including voter registration, was US$11.2 per voter, which compares favourably with elections in other post-conflict countries.



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However, we are disappointed that mismanagement of the results compilation process, and the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the results without fully evaluating reports of irregularities, compromised the credibility of the 28 November elections. This was not the result the UK was hoping for, and did not measure up to the democratic gains we have seen in other recent African elections. However, unlike 2006 where the international community funded 90 per cent of the cost of the elections, in 2011 the process was led, managed and largely financed by the Congolese, who bore about 80 per cent of the cost of the latest elections.

The UK's support to elections is part of a long-term strategy to help sustain the 2003 peace settlement (enshrined in the 2005 constitution) and includes support to democratic institutions, to the creation of legitimate political space for interaction between state and society, and to a more equitable sharing of resources. The risks are high, and our ability to influence the outcome limited, but as in other fragile and conflict-affected states, we consider these goals to be an important foundation to enable progress towards the millennium development goals.

Developing Countries: Education

Questions

Asked by Lord German

Baroness Northover: The Global School Partnerships Programme (GSP) will award final grants to schools in March 2012, but will continue to provide support and advice to schools that have been awarded grants until March 2013. The Department for International Development (DfID) is committed to continuing support for school linking beyond the closure of GSP and is currently looking at how this can be done to ensure a high quality service to schools that also represents value for money for the UK taxpayer. DfID will be making further announcements about the continuation of school linking and the countries that will be supported shortly.

Disabled People: Abuse

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): We are working with the police and other partners to encourage more victims to come forward and report hate crime. We seconded a member of the Office for Disability Issues staff to Disability Rights UK to help take forward, the Let's Stop Hate Crime Project. We are considering the recommendations made by the Equality and Human Rights Commission inquiry into disability related harassment and continue to work with them on their Manifesto for Change. We have amended the legal aid and sentencing Bill to raise the minimum sentence length for murders motivated by hatred of disabled people to 30 years.

The Government are committed to ensuring that all disabled people are able to live their lives free from fear of targeted hostility or harassment, regardless of whether they are in receipt of benefit or not. We are determined to tackle negative attitudes and to improve opportunities for disabled people to fulfil their potential.

We are working in partnership with disabled people to develop a new cross-government disability strategy. We published a discussion document Fulfilling Potential on 1 December 2011, which seeks practical suggestions in three main areas: realising aspirations, individual control and changing attitudes and behaviours. The latter area is particularly important as promoting positive attitudes and behaviours towards disabled people is fundamental to achieving the full participation of disabled people in society. We aim to publish the final strategy in the spring.

We are also developing a new Hate Crime Action Plan that will aim to capture the current and emerging issues across all forms of hate crime, including disability hate crime, and set out actions focused on prevention, support and improving the response to hate crime.

The Government are also taking a range of other actions to encourage positive images of disabled people. For example, we are maximising the opportunities given by the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Disabled People: Holiday Schemes

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Representations have been received from several Members of Parliament on behalf of the Heswall Disabled Children's Holiday Fund, of which Sir Bert Massie is the patron. Registration and annual fees for holiday schemes that accommodate

27 Feb 2012 : Column WA230

children who are wholly or mainly disabled are currently set within the framework of regulation for children's homes. This framework helps to protect vulnerable children and ensure that providers meet relevant standards as set out in the national minimum standards for children's homes. It is important however to strike the right balance between the safeguards necessary to protect vulnerable children and the burdens on providers. The department is currently reviewing the regulatory framework as it relates to specialist providers such as the Heswall Fund.

Divorce (Religious Marriages) Act 2002

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): It is for a religious community itself to decide to make use of the provisions of the Act and then ask the Lord Chancellor to prescribe the religious group for that purpose.

Dodd-Frank Financial Reform Bill

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We are watching closely how the United States Government implement the Dodd-Frank law on conflict minerals, and are awaiting the United States Securities Exchange Commission's publication of the rules by which regulated companies will have to abide under this legislation. However, we have no current plans to adopt similar legislation in the UK: we believe that a combination of voluntary approaches, by businesses, and existing legal and regulatory measures will provide sufficient incentives to achieve greater transparency in the trade in conflict minerals.

Duchy of Cornwall

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley



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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.

Economy

Questions

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Local Data Company report End of Year Vacancy Report 2011 is an independent survey of vacancy rates in the United Kingdom and some European cities. We have not made an assessment of the report, but we will make use of all relevant data when developing our response to the Mary Portas review into the future of our high streets and our work on regeneration and economic growth.

Asked by Lord Myners

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The independent Monetary Policy Committee's (MPC) policy tools, including Bank Rate and Quantitative Easing, are macroeconomic policy tools designed to affect the economy as a whole, in order to meet the 2 per cent inflation target over the medium term. At its February meeting, the committee judged that, without further monetary stimulus, it was more likely than not that inflation would undershoot the target in the medium term. The committee therefore voted to increase the size of its asset purchase programme by £50 billion to £325 billion.

The MPC takes into account many factors in its policy decisions, including the prospects for households, assessments of which can be found in the Bank of England's quarterly Inflation Reports, in its press conferences and in the MPC's monthly meeting minutes.

Education Maintenance Allowance

Question

Asked by Baroness Jones of Whitchurch



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Barnardo's report reinforces the importance of the most vulnerable young people being able to participate in further education and training. Our new post-16 financial support arrangements have ensured that those who need the most support can claim £1,200 a year-more than they would have received under the education maintenance allowance (EMA). We have also provided sufficient funding for schools and colleges to give discretionary bursaries of £800 a year to over 15 per cent of the 16 to 19 year-olds in full-time education.

Under the EMA, 45 per cent of all 16 to 19 year- olds received it, yet only one in 10 of those receiving it said that it was necessary for their continued participation. We are now taking a much more targeted approach. As well as providing £1,200 to the most vulnerable young people, we have ensured that schools and colleges are better able to respond to local circumstances and individual barriers to participation when deciding how they will support the young people who face the greatest challenges.

Education: 16-19 Bursary Fund

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Secretary of State has written to Barnardo's chief executive to thank her for this very valuable report, which reinforces the importance of the most vulnerable young people being able to participate in further education and training. He has invited her to meet senior officials from the department to discuss the report's findings and recommendations in detail.

Egypt

Questions

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We hold Israel, as the occupying power, responsible for ensuring Gaza's basic needs are met, and this includes the provision of fuel. Israel continues to provide 120 megawatts (MW) of electricity per day directly to Gaza, which meets approximately 43 per cent of Gaza's power needs and is paid for by the Palestinian Authority. Egypt provides a further 17MW and the balance of Gaza's power needs (approximately 140MW) should be met by the

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Gaza power plant. The Gaza Electricity Distribution Company (GEDCO) is now buying diesel fuel, which is sourced via tunnels between Egypt and Gaza, to operate two turbines in the power station to produce 60MW, and has not requested any industrial fuel from Israel since 5 January 2011. The majority of the population still experiences power cuts, but these are now shorter in duration and less frequent than in late 2010.

Asked by Lord Hylton

Lord Howell of Guildford: The UK has not made representations to the Government of the United States (US) about use of US military aid to Egypt for economic development purposes. We are in close contact with the US and other international partners about the provision of economic and development assistance to Egypt.

Asked by Lord Hylton



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Lord Howell of Guildford: We have not made representations to the Government of Egypt on behalf of the International Committee of the Red Cross (1CRC) to facilitate their access to detainees in Egypt, and we have not been approached by the 1CRC to do so. However, during and since the January/February uprising of 2011, we have expressed our strong concerns to the authorities about the mistreatment of peaceful protesters, journalists and human rights defenders and called on the Egyptian Government to release all political prisoners and end the state of emergency.

Elected Mayors

Question

Asked by Lord Grocott

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The table below shows the dates on which referendums were held to establish or remove directly elected mayors in local government, the local authorities concerned, the total votes cast, the percentages for and against and the turnout.



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27 Feb 2012 : Column WA236

DateCouncilResult
Total votesYesNoTurnout

7 June 2001

Berwick-upon Tweed

13,929

26%

74%

64%

28 June 2001

Cheltenham

24,685

33%

67%

31%

28 June 2001

Gloucester

24.048

32%

68%

31%

12 July 2001

Watford

14,776

52%

48%

25%

20 September 2001

Doncaster

54,851

65%

35%

25%

4 October 2001

Kirklees

38,146

27%

73%

13%

11 October 2001

Sunderland

21,584

43%

57%

10%

18 October 2001

Brighton & Hove

59,938

38%

62%

32%

18 October 2001

Hartlepool

20,961

51%

49%

31%

18 October 2001

Lewisham

32,736

51%

49%

18%

18 October 2001

Middlesbrough

34,489

84%

16%

34%

18 October 2001

North Tyneside

52,558

58%

42%

36%

18 October 2001

Sedgefield

22,497

47%

53%

33%

8 November 2001

Redditch

16,448

44%

56%

28%

20 November 2001

Durham (City)

20,301

41%

59%

29%

6 December 2001

Harrow

41,056

43%

58%

26%

24 Jan 2002

Plymouth

72,370

41%

59%

40%

24 Jan 2002

Harlow

20,786

25%

75%

35%

31 Jan 2002

Newham

39,850

68%

32%

26%

31 Jan 2002

Southwark

19,271

31%

69%

11%

31 Jan 2002

West Devon

15,745

23%

77%

42%

31 Jan 2002

Shepway

25,795

44%

56%

36%

21 Feb 2002

Bedford

16,853

67%

33%

16%

2 May 2002

Hackney

35,244

59%

41%

32%

2 May 2002

Mansfield

16,323

55%

45%

21%

2 May 2002

Newcastle-under-Lyme

29,380

44%

56%

31.5%

2 May 2002

Oxford

33,378

44%

56%

34%

2 May 2002

Stoke-on-Trent

49,179

58%

42%

28%

16 September 2002

Corby

11,590

46%

53%

31%

12 December 2002

Ealing

21,109

45%

55%

10%

5 May 2005

Isle of Wight

65,883

44%

56%

60%

14 July 2005

Fenland

22,805

24%

76%

34%

14 July 2005

Torbay

32,756

55%

45%

32%

4 May 2006

Crewe and Nantwich

30,576

38.2%

60.8%

35.3%

27 September 2007

Darlington

19,207

41.6%

58.4%

24.65%

3 July 2008

Bury

25,813

40.1%

59.9%

18.3%

23 October 2008

Stoke-on-Trent

35,830

41%

59%

19%

6 May 2010

Tower Hamlets

100,615

60%

40%

62%

5 May 2011

Great Yarmouth

25,646

39%

61%

36%

26 January 2012

Salford

30,997

56%

44%

18.1%

Unless otherwise stated, all the referendums listed above were held to establish a directly elected mayor.

The 2008 referendum held in Stoke-on-Trent was on whether to move to the leader and cabinet executive or operate the mayor and cabinet executive required by Local Government and Public Involvement in Health Act 2007 which abolished the mayor and council manager model that Stoke had operated.

In addition a referendum was held on 7 May 1998 on the London Mayor, the result was 72 per cent in favour with 28 per cent against with a turnout of 34 per cent.

Elections: Overseas

Question

Asked by Viscount Waverley

Baroness Northover: The Department for International Development has supported at least 49 elections in 27 countries since 2002. These include important elections to consolidate peace in Sierra Leone, Democratic Republic of Congo, Nepal and the referendum on independence for South Sudan. Our overall judgment is that improvements have been seen in the conduct of elections in these countries, often in challenging circumstances. Between 2004-05 and 2008-09, expenditure on projects to strengthen political systems, including support to elections and parliaments was £215 million. We have recently contributed £1.6 million to support the presidential elections set for 21 February 2012 in Yemen.

Embryology

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The National Patient Safety Agency (NPSA) was not previously aware of the recent article.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) advises that the main point of the paper referred to in the question is that expanding the number of cells through repeated growth cycles, or passaging greater than 34 times from the original stem cells, can lead to spontaneous loss of evolution and introduce defects. The dossier supporting the trial approved using embryonic stem cells at Moorfields Hospital indicates that this level of "over passaging" is not reached and there are sufficient control steps and sampling procedures in place to ensure the integrity of the final product.

The MHRA does not consider that these new data impact on the original decision to approve the trial or on the information needing to be provided to trial participants.

The Gene Therapy Advisory Committee (GTAC) provides ethical review of clinical trials involving medicinal products for gene therapy, including stem cell trials. GTAC is an independent ethics committee with appointments made by Secretary of State. The National Research Ethics Service (NRES) at the

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Health Research Authority provides Secretariat support to GTAC. NRES will bring the article to the attention of GTAC.

NRES was formerly a directorate of the NPSA.

Employment: Agency Workers

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): I refer my noble friend to the answer I gave on 12 Dec 2011 (WA210). While implementation of European directives is a matter for individual member states, the Government intend to use the FCO network to gain an understanding of how the directive has been implemented in EU member states.

Energy: Co-generation

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Chesterton

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): Around 7 per cent of the electricity generated in the United Kingdom is through combined heat and power systems.

The Government will set out their long-term vision for CHP in the heat strategy to be published shortly. As announced in Budget 2011, further details about the treatment of CHP under the carbon price floor will be set out in Budget 2012.

Energy: Energy Company Obligation

Question

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon



27 Feb 2012 : Column WA238

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The eligibility criteria for ECO affordable warmth were recently consulted on and the Government's response will be published in due course. The proposed eligibility criteria for ECO affordable warmth were designed to target support to those most in need, by focusing on low income and vulnerable private tenure households, where energy efficiency standards are low compared to social housing and where alternative means of support will not exist when Warm Front draws to a close in March 2013.

Energy: Feed-in Tariffs

Question

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): No specific assessment has been made of the financial impact on local authorities of reforms to the feed-in tariffs scheme. However, impacts on potential FITs claimants in general have been taken into account at every stage of FITs policy development.

Energy: Fracking

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): Hydraulic fracturing operations for shale gas, in the UK are currently suspended pending consideration of the implications of the two small earthquakes in the Blackpool area last year. A geomechanical study has been undertaken for Cuadrilla, the operator in that area, and was submitted to DECC in November 2011. It is being reviewed by DECC, in consultation with the British Geological Survey and other independent experts.

No decision on the resumption of these hydraulic fracturing operations will be made until the implications of this report, and of any further analysis which may prove necessary, has been fully considered, and appropriate practical measures have been approved by Ministers to minimise the risk of such events occurring again. Other key regulators will be consulted before any such decision is taken.



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We already have in place a robust regulatory regime to ensure that oil and gas operations will be safely conducted and that protection of the environment will be assured. However, we are not taking it for granted that the regime already in place will remain effective for the future. We are monitoring developments in shale gas elsewhere, principally in the US, for any useful lessons we can learn, and the regulatory bodies principally concerned are liaising regularly to ensure effective coordination of their actions and that any emerging issues are effectively addressed. In these circumstances, we see no need for any general deferral of or moratorium on hydraulic fracturing activities other than for shale gas.

Energy: Green Deal

Questions

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): Green Deal assessors' core role will be to provide an impartial assessment of the property, the potential energy savings from measures and likely eligibility for Green Deal finance. The recent Green Deal consultation sought views on whether further protections were needed to retain impartiality and transparency in the process and we are currently analysing responses on this issue.

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

Lord Marland: The occupancy assessment will provide householders with information about their actual use of energy and the impact on likely savings from the installation of measures. This will enable them to make an informed choice about whether the Green Deal and Green Deal finance is right for their circumstances.

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

Lord Marland: The methodology for the occupancy assessment for the Green Deal is being developed with input from a wide range of expert stakeholders. We will be providing more information on the methodology, including a version of the assessment tool for wider testing and feedback, on the BRE website shortly.



27 Feb 2012 : Column WA240

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

Lord Marland: We received over 600 responses to consultation, which we are currently considering. We will publish our response as soon as possible once this process is completed.

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

Lord Marland: My honourable friend the Minister of State for Climate Change met with the larger energy suppliers (British Gas, EDF, E.On, Npower, Scottish Power and SSE) to discuss the Green Deal in January 2012. The timetable for the introduction of the Green Deal was one of the items on the agenda.

Officials continue to liaise with energy suppliers frequently regarding the programme plan for the introduction of the Green Deal payment collection mechanism.

The framework for the Green Deal is due to be in place in October 2012.

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

Lord Marland: The Department of Energy and Climate Change has been involved in regular meetings at official level with stakeholders connected to the development of national occupational standards and training for Green Deal assessors. This has included working with asset skills to communicate the opportunities for training providers through workshops and roadshows throughout the United Kingdom.

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

Lord Marland: There have been no recent discussions with trade unions in relation to the training of installers and assessors for the Green Deal.

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

Lord Marland: The Government published draft legislation alongside its consultation on 23 November 2011. It is available here: http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/

27 Feb 2012 : Column WA241

content/cros/consultations/-greendeal/greendeal.aspx. Subject to Parliament, we expect to have the final legislation on the statute book by the Summer Recess.

Energy: Smart Meters

Questions

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The Government will set the framework for the rollout of smart meters across Great Britain, and energy suppliers will then be responsible for planning the installation of smart meters for their customers. This year, the Government will define the technical specifications for smart metering equipment, and will place regulatory obligations on suppliers to complete the rollout of smart meters by 2019. The mass rollout of smart meters is expected to start in late 2014, although some suppliers will be installing meters that comply with the technical specification before that date. The Government are working with energy suppliers as they develop their detailed plans for installing smart meters.

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

Lord Marland: The Smart Meters Implementation Programme has been working during foundation stage on the development of a strategy for consumer engagement. This has involved an extensive programme of research and stakeholder consultation, through which we have sought to deepen our understanding of how consumers might respond to smart meters, and the types of activities that might be necessary to encourage consumer engagement. This builds on work carried out in phase 1 of the programme, such as Ofgem's Consumer First Panel workshops, which involved primary research with energy consumers.

We are aware of a number of assessments of awareness of, and support for, smart metering. They vary, but typically the assessments suggest that awareness is fairly low whereas support for smart metering among those who are aware is higher.

The programme has commissioned both quantitative and qualitative research to help us assess consumer awareness and support for smart metering, the results of which are expected this spring. We expect to carry out further research over the coming year to track awareness and explore particular aspects in more depth. We also continue to learn from suppliers' early rollout and stakeholder research where possible.



27 Feb 2012 : Column WA242

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

Lord Marland: The Smart Meters Implementation Programme has been working on the development of a strategy for consumer engagement. We will be publishing a consultation on the strategy soon, which will include proposals regarding building consumer awareness and confidence in smart metering.

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

Lord Marland: The Smart Meter Implementation Programme continues to explore with interested parties-including the smart meters' consumer advisory group-the needs of vulnerable consumers to ensure they benefit from the installation of smart meters.

Suppliers have primary responsibility for delivering the rollout. The Government consulted last summer on licence conditions, which will be finalised this year and which will require suppliers to develop an installation code of practice for smart meters. The code will oblige suppliers to identify vulnerable consumers and meet their needs, and it will supplement existing provisions under the Equality Act 2010 and the electricity and gas supply licence conditions.

In developing the specification for the metering equipment, the Government have taken account of research by Consumer Focus and Ricability and are seeking to ensure that the design of the in-home display is accessible to as many consumers as possible, including those with impairments.

DECC has jointly funded with Consumer Focus research by National Energy Action to develop a better understanding of the needs of vulnerable consumers. The department is looking at what further research and piloting may be needed to explore the implications of smart metering for vulnerable customers and how any additional support is best delivered.

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

Lord Marland: The Government are developing minimum technical specifications for the smart metering equipment to ensure technical interoperability and promote effective operation of the end-to-end system. We intend to publish this in March 2012. The Government will also undertake additional work this year on other technical issues including an evaluation of home area

27 Feb 2012 : Column WA243

network technologies. This will be assessed against defined criteria and informed by a series of radio frequency propagation trials.

In relation to the data and communication services to support the smart meters system, proposed solutions will be evaluated against a range of criteria including cost, technical suitability, reliability, deliverability, coverage and flexibility.

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

Lord Marland: We will require energy suppliers to install smart meters for their customers and to take all reasonable steps to reach everyone, including making arrangements with individual customers for the necessary access to their property. However, there will not be a legal obligation on individuals to have a smart meter and we do not expect energy suppliers to take legal action to fit a smart meter if they cannot get the householder's co-operation.

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

Lord Marland: The Government are currently developing specifications for smart metering equipment which it intends to publish shortly. These are based on an agreed set of minimum functional requirements, and will be important in helping to ensure that meters rolled out are interoperable and deliver the required functionality. It is also undertaking other work during 2012 to examine whether further specifications might

27 Feb 2012 : Column WA244

help support interoperability in the future. This includes a review of the performance of different Home Area Network solutions.

Energy: Wind Farms

Question

Asked by Lord Donoughue

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The Renewables Obligation (RO) is currently the main financial mechanism by which the Government incentivises the deployment of large-scale renewable electricity generation. It is a market based subsidy; Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROC) are issued in respect of generation, and are trade-able commodities which have no fixed price. Electricity suppliers purchase ROCs, but the amount a supplier pays for a ROC is dependent on bilateral commercially confidential negotiations between the supplier and generator.

The RO is administered by Ofgem, who do not hold information on whether the operator of a generating station is a public limited company. The table below lists for the period December 2010 to November 2011, the top 15 wind generating stations (both onshore and offshore), the operator of the station, and an estimate of the value of ROCs received based on the provisional data from Ofgem. The total estimate for these 15 stations is £387 million out of total RO support in 2010-11 of £1285 million [1].

Generating StationOrganisation listed as operator of stationNumber of ROCs issued to date for generation that took place between Dec 2010 and Nov 2011Estimate of RO support (£m) (Nos of ROCs x ROC value for 2010-11 of £51.48)

Thanet Offshore Wind Farm

Vattenfall Wind Power Ltd

1615892

£83m

Walney Offshore Wind Phase I

Walney (UK) Offshore Windfarms Ltd

771861

£40m

Whitelee Windfarm

ScottishPower Renewables (UK)

606033

£31m

Robin Rigg Offshore Wind Farm (East)

EON UK plc

502059

£26m

Gunfleet Sands I

SeaScape Energy Ltd

472978

£24m.

Inner Dowsing Offshore Wind Farm

Inner Dowsing Wind Farm Ltd

453663

£23m

Lynn Offshore Wind Farm

Lynn Wind Farm Ltd

445637

£23m

Robin Rigg Offshore Wind Farm (West)

EON UK plc

411494

£21m

Burbo Offshore Windfarm - A

SeaScape Energy Ltd

407483

£21m

Rhyl Flats Wind Farm

Npower Renewables Ltd (Wind)

377794

£19m

Crystal Rig II Wind Farm

Fred Olsen Renewables Ltd

356238

£18m

Gunfleet Sands II

SeaScape Energy Ltd

297801

£15m

Barrow Offshore Windfarm - A

Barrow Offshore Wind Limited

293555

£15m

Kentish Flats Ltd- A,C

Vattenfall Wind Power Ltd

254817

£13m

Hadyard Hill Windfarm - A,C

SSE Generation Ltd

240767

£12m



27 Feb 2012 : Column WA245

[1] These estimates use the HMT/DECC definition of RO support cost, where the total RO support cost in a given year equals the Obligation level for the year in ROCS times the buyout price. This is also equal to the ROC value times ROCs submitted for compliance.

Energy: Wind Turbines

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Chesterton

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): The Government continue to monitor how various renewable energy issues are tackled in other countries, including the process for allowing onshore wind-turbine development, and to keep abreast of relevant research on the potential impact of noise.

Ethiopia

Questions

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

Baroness Rawlings: The Department for International Development became aware of allegations surrounding the villagisation programme in late 2010 and immediately took steps to investigate them. Assessments into the impact of the villagisation programme were commissioned by the Development Assistance Group (a group of 26 donors, including the UK, who provide aid to Ethiopia). The UK led multi-donor missions to Gambella and the Somali Region.

The UK has asked other donors involved in the villagisation assessments for their approval to release these reports but we do not yet have permission from all the agencies concerned. However, we have provided the Ethiopian Government with guidelines on resettlement best practice and these have been placed in the House of Commons Library.

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead



27 Feb 2012 : Column WA246

Baroness Rawlings: My right honourable Friend, the Secretary of State for International Development, raised our concerns about human rights and implementation of the villagisation programme when he visited Ethiopia between 28 to 30 January.

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

Baroness Rawlings: The UK Government led an independent multi-agency mission to Gambella in February 2011. The UK government continues to track developments with the villagisation programme and will continue to raise any concerns with the Ethiopian Government.

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

Baroness Northover: The UK Government do not provide direct support for villagisation despite requests from the Ethiopian Government to do so. It is possible that a small proportion of UK support to the Protection of Basic Services (PBS) programme is being used to provide services for poor people at resettlement sites. PBS has very robust monitoring and audit arrangements and we are confident that these systems will prevent any misuse of UK aid funds.

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

Baroness Rawlings: The UK took immediate steps to investigate these allegations when first made aware in 2010. The UK led a donor mission to Gambella in early 2011.

The January 2012 multi-agency food security assessment for Ethiopia was conducted at villagisation sites, as well as in other parts of the country. This assessment found that, in Gambella, 48,100 people would be in need of food aid between now and June 2012. This does not suggest a significant increase in numbers of people requiring assistance in that region, compared to previous assessments.



27 Feb 2012 : Column WA247

EU: Finance

Question

Asked by The Earl of Sandwich

Baroness Northover: The European Development Fund (EDF) provides development assistance to 78 African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) States that are signatories to the Cotonou Agreement. The 10th EDF provides €22.682 billion for the period 2008-2013, of which €1.1 billion is allocated to the Caribbean.

Timing of disbursements depends on implementation of individual projects. Latest annual disbursement figures available for the Windward Islands are*:

Dominica €12.72 million;Saint Lucia €8.59 million;Saint Vincent and the Grenadines €2.94 million; andGrenada €8.67 million.

(*2010 figures according to the EuropeAid 2011 Annual Report)

A key focus of the DfID programme to the Caribbean is support for economic diversification, given the loss of historic trade preferences and an increasingly competitive global economy.

For example, DfID provides £10 million to the "COMPETE Caribbean" programme to support private sector development and competitiveness in the region. So far seven firms have been shortlisted for funding to help develop new products and export opportunities. DfID also provides £10 million to support the implementation of the EU-CARIFORUM Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA).

EU: Gambling

Question

Asked by Lord Moynihan

Baroness Rawlings: The Government's response to the European Commission's green paper on Online Gambling in the Internal Market can be found on the Commission's website at https://circabc.europa.eu/faces/jsp/extension/wai/navigation/container.jsp? FormPrincipal:_idcl=FormPrincipal:libraryContentList: pager&page=l&FormPrincipal_SUBMIT=1.

The Government believe there is scope for practical co-operation to take place between member states, whilst ensuring that unnecessary duplication and

27 Feb 2012 : Column WA248

bureaucracy are avoided, and that mechanisms are put in place to allow providers based anywhere in Europe to have access to each member state's gambling market.

The Government will be considering the new Communication on Online Gambling in the Internal Market in due course.

EU: Israel Association Agreement

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The UK is clear that the human rights clauses of the European Union (EU)-Israel Association Agreement are an important part of the framework governing co-operation between the EU and Israel.

Human rights discussions formed significant parts of the last meetings of both the EU-Israel Association Council (the ministerial-level body overseeing the Association Agreement) in February 2011 and the EU-Israel Association Committee (the senior official body) in September 2011. Human rights will again be raised by the EU at the next meetings of these bodies. These human rights discussions take into account the situations in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza. The EU will continue to raise on a routine basis any concerns it has over human rights in these areas (and elsewhere) within the relevant structures of the EU-Israel Association Agreement.

The UK has been clear that it is not in favour of upgrading the EU-Israel Association Agreement until there has been substantial progress towards a two-state solution. Improvements in the human rights situations in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories will form an essential part of this.

European Single Market

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): On 20 July 2011, the European Commission adopted legislative proposals for the Capital Requirements Directive (CRD) 4. These proposals are currently being

27 Feb 2012 : Column WA249

negotiated by the European Council and the European Parliament. As the explanatory memorandum on the Commission's proposals (EM 13284/11) sets out, the proposal for a regulation has its legal basis in Article 114(1) of the Treaty on the Functioning of the EU, which aims to ensure the functioning of the internal market.

The Government support the completion of the single rule book on EU banking through harmonised definitions and minimum prudential requirements. It is important, however, that member states remain ultimately responsible for financial stability in their respective jurisdictions. The Government are, therefore, very concerned that this approach may constrain the ability of member states to respond flexibly and in a timely manner to systemic risks in their respective jurisdictions, or to mitigate fiscal risk, through macro-prudential policy or implementing higher prudential standards on a permanent basis, that is consistent with the single rule book.

European Year for Active Ageing 2012

Question

Asked by Lord Harrison

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government are considering plans to promote active ageing in all settings to mark the 2012 European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations.

Extended Warranties

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark



27 Feb 2012 : Column WA250

The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint): None. As an independent authority, the OFT has discretion to investigate cases based on the evidence and according to its prioritisation principles.

I note that the OFT has been given undertakings in lieu by extended warranty providers and, before taking a final decision on whether to accept these and not make a market investigation reference to the Competition Commission, is inviting comments (by 7 March) on the likely effectiveness of the undertakings.

Firearms: Licensing

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The latest available information shows the full-time equivalent number of police officers and staff with the function of firearms/explosives licensing in each police force area in England and Wales, as at 31 March in each of the years 2008 to 2011. Figures are not available centrally broken down into full-time and part-time staff, nor broken down by specific role within this function.



27 Feb 2012 : Column WA251



27 Feb 2012 : Column WA252

Number of police officers and police staff within the function firearms/explosives1 in each police force area in England and Wales, as at 31 March 2008 to 31 March 20112, 3
Police OfficersPolice Staff
31-Mar-200831-Mar-200931-Mar-201031-Mar-201131-Mar-200831-Mar-200931-Mar-201031-Mar-2011

Avon & Somerset

0

0

0

0

32

27

18

15

Bedfordshire

1

1

1

0

4

4

5

4

Cambridgeshire

1

0

0

0

10

11

15

t4

Cheshire

1

0

0

0

13

12

13

10

Cleveland

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Cumbria

0

0

0

0

11

11

12

10

Derbyshire

0

0

0

0

12

12

14

13

Devon & Cornwall

0

0

1

0

19

17

41

22

Dorset

0

0

0

0

11

11

11

10

Durham

3

0

0

0

4

4

4

6

Dyfed-Powys

0

0

0

0

19

18

20

19

Essex

0

0

0

0

17

19

20

20

Gloucestershire

8

6

6

5

3

6

6

6

Greater Manchester

0

0

0

0

7

12

16

16

Gwent

0

0

0

0

11

8

5

5

Hampshire

0

0

0

0

19

16

19

17

Hertfordshire

0

0

0

0

15

15

13

10

Humberside

0

0

0

0

6

5

6

6

Kent

0

0

0

0

19

18

18

19

Lancashire

0

0

0

0

10

12

12

12

Leicestershire

0

0

0

0

12

12

10

10

Lincolnshire

1

1

1

1

15

12

19

16

London, City of

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

Merseyside

0

0

4

4

6

6

6

6

Metropolitan Police

30

26

29

24

75

51

53

55

Norfolk

0

0

0

0

17

12

21

18

Northamptonshire

0

0

0

0

10

9

11

11

Northumbria

0

0

0

0

1

11

15

16

North Wales

2

0

1

1

7

0

13

15

North Yorkshire

3

2

0

0

17

15

20

0

Nottinghamshire

0

0

0

0

0

0

8

9

South Wales

0

0

0

1

11

12

12

10

South Yorkshire

2

2

3

2

4

4

10

9

Staffordshire

0

0

0

3

8

8

12

6

Suffolk

0

0

0

0

15

14

16

15

Surrey

0

0

0

0

16

15

14

13

Sussex

3

2

2

2

21

24

27

27

Thames Valley

1

0

0

0

10

13

12

25

Warwickshire

6

1

0

0

12

10

10

9

West Mercia

0

0

0

0

24

23

24

22

West Midlands

0

0

0

0

18

19

20

13

West Yorkshire

0

2

1

1

14

17

16

17

Wiltshire

0

0

6

1

10

12

10

12

Sum

61

43

55

45

562

538

626

568

1 Firearms/explosives function is defined as staff who are predominantly employed in the processing of applications and in making inquiries for firearm and shotgun certificates, renewals, rejections, appeal and firearms surrendered to police custody, or in connection with the licensing and security of explosives and explosives stores.

2 Staff with multiple responsibilities (or designations) are recorded under their primary role or function. The deployment of police officers is an operational matter for individual chief constables.

3 This table contains full-time equivalent figures that have been rounded to the nearest whole number. Because of rounding, there may be an apparent discrepancy between the totals in this table and totals in similar published tables.

Fluoridation


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