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To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 16 January (WA 111-2), what is the nature of the loophole in the egg marketing regulations that prevents prohibition of the marketing of any eggs produced in conventional cages which are sent to processing (whether sent as ungraded or class B); whether these are European Union regulations; and what proposals they have tabled to close this loophole. [HL16435]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): Under the EU egg marketing regulations, class A eggs are required to be marketed with an indication that shows they have been produced in a production system that is compliant with the EU-wide ban on the keeping of laying hens in conventional cages. The ban came into force on 1 January 2012 and as of this date it is unlawful to market an egg that has been produced under a non-compliant system as class A. However, the regulations do not provide any basis for a prohibition on the marketing of class B eggs not produced in a compliant system or products derived from such eggs. This is because class B eggs and egg products are not required to make any claim as to their having been produced in a compliant system.
We will be discussing this further with representative bodies involved in the egg supply chain shortly. In the meantime, our enforcement strategy is designed to be as robust as possible within the legal constraints that are available.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 16 January (WA 111-2), why the breach by other European Union member countries of the European Union welfare of laying hens directive ban on battery cages (1999/74/EC) is not a permissible relevant animal health exception allowing quantitative restrictions on imports between member states that constitute non-arbitrary discrimination; and whether they will test the matter by banning egg imports from non-compliant producers in other European Union countries.[HL16500]
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The Treaty on the Functioning of the EU prohibits quantitative restrictions on imports between member states and all measures that have a similar effect. There are limited exceptions to that general rule, including where they are justified on animal health or human health grounds. The Treaty on the Functioning of the EU does not provide an exception for animal welfare grounds.
The UK Government do not believe that a ban on egg imports from non-compliant producers in other European Union countries complies with the law and we do not therefore consider that it is appropriate to impose such a ban.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they have taken to inform sheep and cattle farmers about the Schmallenberg virus and about whether it may have any effect on pregnant women during the lambing and calving season.[HL16469]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): We understand the concern of farmers about this disease. We have therefore provided guidance about the Schmallenberg virus (SBV) which is available on the Defra website http://www.defra.gov.uk/animal-diseases/a-z/schmallenberg-virus/ with links to leaflets that can be printed. This information is regularly updated.
Risk assessments conducted by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control and the UK Human Animal Infections and Risk Surveillance Group (HAIRS) suggest that there is a very low likelihood of any risk to public health from exposure to this virus. In Europe, there is no evidence of any clinical signs in people working with infected animals. The Health Protection Agency has provided information for distribution to all farms identified with SBV.
Every year we recommend that animal keepers and veterinarians handling animal material, particularly material associated with abortions and still births take sensible precautions to avoid infection. This is particularly important for pregnant women who may be at risk from other diseases of sheep and cattle that are already present in the UK.
Additionally, we recommend farmers contact their veterinary surgeon if they encounter cases of ruminant neonates or foetuses which are stillborn, show malformations or are showing nervous disease. We are closely tracking the disease and will continue to work with partners across Europe and the UK to develop our knowledge of the disease.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the reason for the delay in publishing the daily particulate emission PM10 values in London for 2011; what were these values for Neasden Lane in London; and whether those values breached the legal limits triggering a need for a further air quality plan.[HL16560]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): There is no delay in publishing the UK air quality compliance assessment for 2011. The UK publishes this assessment every September for the previous calendar year in accordance with the Commission's
26 Mar 2012 : Column WA197
Defra does not hold monitoring data from the Neasden Lane air quality monitoring station. Neasden Lane is a local authority monitoring station owned and operated by the London Borough of Brent to support targeted local action to tackle air pollution. It is not part of the Automatic Urban and Rural Network, the national monitoring network used by Defra to report UK compliance with EU air quality limits.
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The Government are committed to working towards the European Union's air quality standards and work closely with the Mayor of London to improve air quality in London. The Mayor has introduced a number of measures that were set out in his Air Quality Strategy for London, published in December 2010. During 2011 the Government awarded additional funding of £10 million to help the Mayor tackle some of London's worst pollution hotspots and to support the retrofitment of pollution abatement equipment to older London buses.
During the Olympic Games, the Government and the London Organising Committee for the Olympic Games aim that spectators travel to London's venues by public transport, cycling or on foot, with parking at the Olympic Park only available to blue badge holders. Transport for London will also work with businesses to consider alternative ways of working and travelling, including home and flexible working, travelling into work at different times and encouraging their staff to walk or cycle into work. These and other measures will help to improve air quality in London for the Games.
London complies with the vast majority of European air quality standards, and the European Commission has granted additional time to comply with standards for particulate matter (PM10), recognising the efforts made to improve compliance with this standard. Achieving compliance with EU limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) is very challenging and, in common with the experience of many other member states, the UK has submitted plans to the European Commission setting out the action being taken at national, regional and local level in London and elsewhere to achieve NO2 limit values as quickly as possible.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how airborne early warning will be provided to the fleet following the retirement of Sea King 7s in the early 2020s, and throughout the 50-plus years of the new aircraft carriers' service.[HL16215]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 10 November 2011 (WA 75), whether the Department for Transport or Ministry of Defence have written supporting the request for the Merchant Navy Medal to have a place in the order of wear.[HL16557]
Earl Attlee: Further to my Written Answer to Lord Alton of Liverpool on 7 February (WA32), the Department for Transport has written to the Committee on the Grant of Honours, Decorations and Medals supporting the request which the Merchant Navy Medal Fund has made for the Merchant Navy Medal to be granted a place in the order of wear.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (1) members of the Parachute Regiment, and (2) Royal Marines, are qualified to undertake parachute jumps; and how many of each are currently undergoing parachute training.[HL16428]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): 1,651 members of the Parachute Regiment are qualified to undertake parachute jumps, of which 831 are "in date". Once qualified, an individual must jump at least once every two years to keep their qualification up to date. A further 220 personnel are awaiting or have yet to complete their parachute training.
The Bank of England has contributed substantially to the analysis of the lessons from the financial crisis, both for the regulators and for central banks, in speeches and in public evidence to parliamentary committees from the start of the crisis. It also contributed to the previous Government's review during 2008.
The Bank highlighted, in particular, the need for a resolution regime for banks, better regulation of bank liquidity and revised liquidity insurance arrangements that could be drawn without risk of stigmatising the beneficiaries. The Banking Act 2009 gave the Bank responsibility for bank resolution. Temporary arrangements for liquidity insurance, introduced in 2008, were replaced by a permanent liquidity insurance facility in the Bank's 2010 sterling market framework (the Red Book).
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they propose to review the operation of securities lending and any risks that it represents to systemic financial stability; and whether they will ask the Financial Services Authority and the Bank of England's Financial Policy Committee to review the governance and regulation of securities lending.[HL16449]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government recognise that securities lending is integral to the efficient operation of capital markets but agrees that the risks posed by investment firms should continue to be subject to scrutiny by the authorities. The Government, the Bank of England and the Financial Services Authority will continue to work on this issue. There is also a role for the interim Financial Policy Committee, which has a mandate to advise the Government on issues relating to financial stability and the regulatory perimeter.
Lord Sassoon: The Government recognise that securities lending is integral to the efficient operation of capital markets and that it may also enable the temporary transfer of liquid assets to firms that need them, while at the same time providing the lending firm with secured exposures along with an enhanced investment return. The Government see a role for these transactions, provided the risks are properly identified and managed by both parties.
The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has recently issued guidance to both banks and insurers on long-term securities lending, which reinforces the message that insurers should: have adequate systems and controls to appropriately value and manage collateral; have appropriate limit structures in place; conduct a thorough analysis of their ongoing liquidity requirements; and hold sufficient capital to take account of all the risks that may be associated with these transactions.
In addition, there is a requirement for firms to notify the FSA of transactions with potentially risky features. This will enable the FSA to scrutinise these transactions more closely, stopping or mitigating the effect of transactions that pose unacceptable risks to the FSA's objectives, including any risks to financial stability.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 8 March (WA 434-5), what was the cost last year of paying child benefit and child tax credit to non-United Kingdom nationals with children living in other European Union countries; and how continuing payment of national insurance contributions by a parent is cross-checked against such claims. [HL16406]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Information about the cost of paying child benefit and child tax credit to non-United Kingdom nationals with children living in other European Union countries is only available at disproportionate cost. This is because not all such awards are made at the full UK rate.
All claims for child benefit and child tax credit made under the EU social security co-ordinating regulations are subject to a wide range of checks on entitlement and an annual review. These checks include confirmation of a claimant's liability to national insurance contributions.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 8 March (WA 434-5), whether those claiming child benefit and child tax credit for children living in the Republic of Ireland, Slovakia and Poland are permitted also to claim the equivalent benefit in those European Union countries; if not, whether those countries are advised of the United Kingdom payments; and whether they assessed the reasons for the 1,077 Slovakians claiming such benefits in this way and how many Slovakian claims were turned down in 2011.[HL16407]
Lord Sassoon: Child benefit and child tax credit are classed as family benefits under the EU social security co-ordinating regulations. These regulations have detailed rules that determine to which national social security scheme a worker should pay contributions and which member state is responsible for paying benefits. Where entitlement to family benefits exists in more than one member state, the regulations contain priority rules to determine which member state is responsible for paying the benefits.
All claims made under the EU regulations are subject to a wide range of checks on entitlement, including requests to the authorities of the member state where the children reside, to verify details of the claim and establish whether family benefits are in payment there. Member states, therefore, have well established processes in place to ensure that benefits go only to those who are entitled.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they intend to ensure that the allocation of future local funding for the replacement for the discretionary social fund takes account of changing patterns of demand across all local authorities in England and the devolved Administrations, in addition to the ones included in the 2014-15 review of local authorities referred to during the report stage of the Welfare Reform Bill on 25 January (Official Report, col. 1073). [HL16552]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The allocation of future funding for local authorities to administer the scheme will be assessed and reviewed as part of the next Comprehensive Spending Review settlement. The findings of the 2014-15 review will form a part of that assessment process.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the estimated funding that will be provided to local authorities to set up replacements for the discretionary social fund; and, if this information is not yet available, when they expect it will become available. [HL16553]
Lord Freud: We are working with local authorities, the Local Government Association and the Department for Communities and Local Government to finalise funding levels for set up costs and expect this information to be available by June. The current discretionary Social Fund scheme is cash-limited. The new arrangements will also be cash-limited. For the current spending review period the Department for Work and Pensions has been allocated £178 million per annum for the discretionary Social Fund. From 2013-14, taking into account the impact of the crisis loan reduction measures this funding will form the programme funding for the new local provision.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the total administrative costs that will be incurred by local authorities in running replacements for the discretionary social fund; and, if this information is not yet available, when they expect it will become available.[HL16554]
Lord Freud: The funding will continue to be transferred through a specific revenue grant during the current Comprehensive Spending Review period. The allocation of future funding for local authorities to administer the scheme will be assessed and reviewed as part of the next Comprehensive Spending Review settlement. The findings of the 2014-15 review will be incorporated into the assessment process.
Lord Freud: Whilst the 2014-15 review will provide some overview of the efficiency of the scheme, it will be for local authorities to ensure that day-to-day services provided for their communities are effective, efficient and offer good value for money.
Local authorities' local knowledge, broad responsibilities and experience of benefits administration put them in an ideal position to design and deliver the new support in a way that best fits local circumstances and needs and aligns with existing welfare services in a cost effective manner.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 7 March (WA 421-2), in the light of the lack of suppliers of white diesel for marine use in the United Kingdom, and since owners of pleasure craft risk arrest in certain other European Union member states if they are found to be using red diesel, whether they will arrange for other European Union member states to accept as a defence receipts for the full duty paid at the rate for white diesel on red diesel purchased in the United Kingdom.[HL16349]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Private pleasure craft users are currently advised to retain evidence that they have made a declaration and paid duty on the fuel used for propulsion in order to facilitate any checks that Her Majesty's
26 Mar 2012 : Column WA203
Member states have been informed of the changes being brought in from 1 April 2012 and that there will be a transition period. The supply of white diesel is a commercial issue into which HMRC has no power to intervene.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 7 March (WA 421-2), which organisations representing pleasure craft users they consulted, either in the United Kingdom or in other European Union member states.[HL16567]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs informally consulted the Royal Yachting Association, the British Marine Federation and the Inland Waterways Association.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have discussed with the European Commission whether the establishment of a National Investment Bank or similar government-owned entity would contravene European Union state aid restrictions.[HL16303]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government have not had any discussions with the European Commission regarding the establishment of a National Investment Bank. However, officials are in detailed discussions with the European Commission on the establishment of the Green Investment Bank and the Government hope to obtain state aid approval later this year.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 14 February (WA 150), whether pensioner healthcare and similar or related social security costs for United Kingdom citizens resident in the European Union that are paid by the United Kingdom to other European Union countries are included in government accounts on the cost of European Union membership. [HL16499]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the value of the goods exported by the United Kingdom to the Republic of Ireland in each year from 1992 until the past year for which records are available. [HL16481]
As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking what was the value of goods exported by the United Kingdom to the Republic of Ireland in each year from 1992 until the last year for which records are available. HL16481
The annual trade data are published in our UK Balance of Payments Pink Book available on the National Statistics web site at: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/bop/united-kingdom-balance-of-payments/2011/bod-pink-book-2011.pdf.
|Table showing UK exports of goods to the Republic of Ireland [HL16481]|
|UK Trade in goods exports£ million|
To ask Her Majesty's Government to which 10 countries the United Kingdom exported the most goods by value in each year from 1992 until the last year for which figures are available; and what was the value in each case.[HL16483]
As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking which 10 countries the United Kingdom exported the most goods by value in each year from 1992 until the last year for which figures are available: and what was the value in each case. HL16483
Tables showing the top 10 export destinations for United Kingdom exports of goods in each of the years 1998 to 2011, along with the respective £million value of these exports, are attached. 1998 is the earliest year for which comparable data are currently available.
The annual trade data are published in our UK Balance of Payments Pink Book available on the National Statistics web site at: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/bop/united-kingdom-balance-of-payments/2011/bod-pink-book-2011.pdf.
|Country of destination of UK exports of goods 2011||(£ million)|
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Henley on 8 March (WA 439) regarding the extradition of Mr Tappin to the United States, whether, as reported, he is being held in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day with permanent artificial light; and, if so, whether they will make representations to the Government of the United States to obtain improved conditions while he is held on remand.[HL16371]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Because of our obligations under the Data Protection Act, we cannot comment on the specific details of Mr Tappin's detention. However, we understand that it is standard procedure
26 Mar 2012 : Column WA206
Consular staff have visited Mr Tappin and are in regular contact with his family. Details of the assistance we provide to British nationals detained in the United States of America are available on our website http://ukinusa.fco.gov.uk/arrested. We will consider approaching local authorities if a detainee is not being treated in line with internationally accepted standards.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (1) firearms, and (2) shotgun, certificates were renewed after the expiry date of the existing certificate in each of the last 24 months in each police force area; and what was the average period between expiry and renewal, according to the information held on the National Firearms Licensing Management system computer.[HL16201]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The National Firearms Licensing Management System is managed by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA). The NPIA has informed the Home Office that information as requested can only be provided at disproportionate cost.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what payments from public funds have been made to Goldman Sachs in each of the past five years for which figures are available; for what services; and by which government departments or other publicly funded bodies.[HL16464]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many Goldman Sachs employees were seconded to each government department or other publicly funded body at the latest date for which information is available; and in each of the past five years. [HL16465]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The National Audit Office report Maintaining Financial Stability Across The United Kingdom's Banking System published in December 2009 set out all advisers' fees on page 24: http://www.nao.org.uk/publications/0910/uk_banking_system.aspx.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Debt Management Office will review the authorisation of Goldman Sachs as a gilt-edged market maker, with privileged access to auctions of United Kingdom Government bonds.[HL16468]
Lord Sassoon: As set out in the Debt Management Office's (DMO) Executive Agency framework document, operational decisions on debt management, including the selection of, and the management of, the bilateral relationship with the gilt-edged market makers (GEMMs), are delegated to the chief executive of the DMO.
The essential criteria and obligations for all GEMMs are set out in the DMO's GEMM GUIDEBOOK, published on the DMO's website. The DMO believes that liquidity in the gilt market, which helps support demand for gilts and reduce the Government's financing costs, is best maintained by the presence of competing market-makers.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Marland on 20 March (WA 156), what is the practice in respect of use of lights in the Department of Energy and Climate Change; and what is the estimated cost of lights left on overnight in the premises it occupies.[HL16671]
Baroness Stowell of Beeston: As part of a programme of measures that has reduced overall energy use by half and carbon emissions by over 40%, DECC has modified the lighting control system on its London estate. These modifications save at least 70 tonnes of carbon a year and include installing additional movement sensors, reducing the time that lights stay on without movement being detected and installing efficient LED lighting. Low energy light bulbs have also been fitted in our Aberdeen office. The use of sensors and a nightly switch-off routine means that lights are not left on unnecessarily, though some lighting is required in buildings that remain open overnight. It is estimated that the cost of essential overnight lighting is under 60 pence per night
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Government are committed to publishing, on a quarterly basis, details of special advisers and their cost. This information is available in the Library of the House and can also be accessed on the Cabinet Office website at: http://www. cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/special-adviser-data-releases.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the use of in-vitro diagnostic tests in the National Health Service has led to any serious issues or problems; and, if so, to which regulatory authority any such incidents have been reported.[HL16571]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) is the executive agency of the department charged with protecting and promoting public health and patient safety by ensuring that medicines, healthcare products and medical devices meet appropriate standards of safety, quality, performance and effectiveness, and that they are used safely.
In 2011, the MHRA received 740 reports of adverse incidents related to in-vitro diagnostic medical devices (IVDs). Of these, 510 were received from manufacturers, 105 from medical device users (including National Health Service laboratories) and 125 from other sources (eg other organisations and members of the public). Four deaths and 41 serious injuries related to IVDs were reported to the MHRA.
There is an exemption in the IVD Directive (98/79/EC) for health institutions, which means that they are not obliged to report adverse incidents with IVDs that are manufactured in-house. The MHRA has not received any reports on in house manufactured IVDs.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Service provision for people with sexual dysfunction is varied and involves practitioners from different specialties, disciplines and sectors. It is planned that clinical commissioning groups will commission these services from 1 April 2013. However, as part of their planned responsibilities for commissioning sexual health services, from 1 April 2013, local authorities will be responsible for commissioning sexual health aspects of psycho-sexual counselling.
To ask the Chairman of Committees what is the estimated annual cost of providing support for (1) the domestic committees of the House of Lords, and (2) the other Select Committees of the House of Lords, including all staff and administrative costs. [HL16443]
The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The majority of Select Committees are supported by the Committee Office. The Committee Office forecast outturn for 2011-12 was £3.56 million. The 1st report of the Liaison Committee 2010-12 estimated the additional marginal cost of a new unit of Select Committee activity as £225,000. This includes the cost of staffing, travel and all administrative costs, including printing.
In addition, certain other Select Committees are staffed outside the Committee Office. For example, the Legislation Office supports the Merits of Statutory Instruments Committee, the Delegated Powers and Regulatory Reform Committee and the Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments, as well as other legislative committees.
The domestic committees are served by staff with other primary duties, and do not generally take evidence in public, travel, appoint specialist advisers or incur any other discretely attributable administrative costs, apart from printing.
Between April 2011 and February 2012, the total cost of printing reports from Select Committees supported outside the Committee Office, and domestic committees, was £57,244 plus a small cost for electronic publishing.
To ask the Chairman of Committees whether a brass commemorative plaque can be placed in Westminster Hall in recognition of the lying in state of the 48 passengers and crew of the R101 on 10 October 1930, as was anticipated at the time. [HL16364]
The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): There have been eight known Lyings in State in Westminster Hall. A House of Commons Library
26 Mar 2012 : Column WA210
The seven other Lyings in State have been commemorated with a brass plaque in Westminster Hall, but these have all marked the Lying in State of Royalty or former Prime Ministers. The Lying in State of the passengers and crew of the R101 was of a different nature, and the House does not have any records to indicate whether a plaque was originally planned, or why one was not installed.
The installation of any such plaque would need to be agreed by the three keyholders for Westminster Hall (the Lord Great Chamberlain, the Lord Speaker and Mr Speaker) and I understand that they do not currently have any plans to do this.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the United Kingdom allows foreign nationals denied entry to the Republic of Ireland, who have opted voluntarily to leave that country rather than be deported, to return to their home countries through the United Kingdom; and whether they are advised of and monitor such travel arrangements.[HL16501]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The UK Border Agency works in partnership with their counterparts in the Garda National Immigration Bureau (GNIB) in Ireland to strengthen border security whilst preserving the right of free movement within the Common Travel Area for those who are lawfully present. Foreign nationals refused entry to Ireland and who opt to leave voluntarily may return via a UK airport if they had originally travelled to Ireland by that route, or if there is no direct flight from Ireland to their final destination.
They may enter the UK if they had previously been in the UK lawfully and their leave was still extant. In other cases, GNIB officials will either notify the UK Border Agency of the intended travel arrangements so that UK Border Agency officials can ensure that they board their onward flight or escort the foreign national onto the aircraft at the UK port of departure for their final destination.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the value of the goods imported from the Republic of Ireland to the United Kingdom in each year from 1992 until the last year for which records are available.[HL16482]
As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question to asking what was the value of goods imported from the Republic of Ireland to the United Kingdom in each year from 1992 until the last year for which records are available. HL16482
The annual trade data are published in our UK Balance of Payments Pink Book available on the National Statistics web site at: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/bop/united-kingdom-balance-of-payments/2011/bod-pink-book-2011.pdf.
|Table showing UK imports of goods from the Republic of Ireland [HL16482]|
|UK Trade in goods imports£ million|
To ask Her Majesty's Government from which 10 countries the United Kingdom imported the most goods by value in each year from 1992 until the last year for which records are available; and what was the value in each case.[HL16484]
As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking which 10 countries the United Kingdom imported the most goods by value in each year from 1992 until the last year for which figures are available; and what was the value in each case. HL16484
Tables showing the top 10 countries of origin for United Kingdom imports of goods in each of the years 1998 to 2011, along with the respective £million value of these imports, are attached. 1998 is the earliest year for which comparable data are currently available.
|Country of origin of UK imports of goods 1998||(million)|
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether their plans to extend fast mobile broadband coverage to 98% of the United Kingdom contain any special incentives to reach communities in the Highlands and Islands.[HL16376]
Baroness Garden of Frognal: This is the subject of a current Ofcom consultation which closed on 22 March. Ofcom has proposed to impose a coverage obligation on one 800MHz licensee extending to 98% of the UK population (and potentially 95% of the population of each nation), or requiring one 800MHz licensee to provide 4G coverage that not only matches existing combined 2G voice coverage but also extends into existing "not spot" areas due to be covered by the Government's £150 million investment in new mobile network infrastructure (to the extent that that infrastructure can accommodate 4G equipment). Ofcom has proposed that this obligation be imposed on a single 800MHz licensee to ensure that consumers in rural areas, and those that visit those areas and require good coverage, are able to get good 4G coverage from the same operator in all areas. Ofcom is also consulting on the option of imposing this same obligation on all 800MHz licensees.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have current information regarding the medical treatment available to residents of Camp Ashraf; whether they monitor that treatment through the United Nations or otherwise; and what information
26 Mar 2012 : Column WA213
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The United Nations (UN) has confirmed that medical facilities at both Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty fully meet humanitarian and international standards, but some residents remain suspicious of the Iraqi doctors working there. The UN has also told us that a number of residents have been offered medical treatment at nearby Iraqi hospitals.
We are not aware of the case of Nour Mohammad Biranvand. The UN has experienced difficulties in verifying facts of specific cases, but will continue to monitor the treatment of residents at both Camp Ashraf and Camp Liberty.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many of the interpreters registered with Applied Language Solutions to provide services under the framework agreement for the criminal justice system are unqualified or unvetted.[HL16358]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of representations from the Association of Police and Court Interpreters and the Society for Public Service Interpreting that they could achieve savings in expenditure by the criminal justice system on interpreting and translating of 40% per annum. [HL16359]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): (1) We have seen no evidence of unqualified or unvetted interpreters being assigned by ALS to provide services under the framework. The contractor is obliged to ensure that the interpreters it uses have appropriate qualifications, skills, experience and are appropriately vetted. Should any concerns or complaints arise about the quality, qualifications or background of individual interpreters there is a robust complaints mechanism.
(2) It was open to any organisation to express an interest in taking part in the procurement exercise for language services in the justice sector. The procurement exercise was well publicised but no formal expression was received from the Association of Police and Court Interpreters (APCI) or Society for Public Service Interpreting. APCI did, however, present an alternative strategy in December 2011 outside of the procurement process which did not indicate any set level of savings. The Ministry of Justice remains determined to ensure that taxpayers get value for money and this new contract will save the MoJ at least £12 million a year on the cost of interpretation and translation, a saving of 40% on current expenditure in this area, but will ensure that high quality interpreters and translators are still available to those in need.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether legal aid is available to the crews of ships detained in British ports who wish to sue their employers for unpaid wages and for the costs of repatriation; and whether they have any duty of care towards seamen in such circumstances.[HL16377]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Legal aid is available for employment claims, subject to the action being brought in a court or tribunal in England or Wales, and the claimant satisfying eligibility requirements.
The primary duty of care towards seafarers detained in British ports rests with the shipowner or employer. The flag state for the ship is responsible for ensuring the shipowner fulfils that duty of care, and, if the shipowner fails to do so, for repatriating the seafarers.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many clinical commissioning groups have identified (1) their board chairs, and (2) their accountable officers; and what proportion of each of those are general practitioners.[HL16590]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, when general practitioners refer patients to hospital, their referrals have to go through a referral management centre; and, if so, whether the final decision for making a referral rests with the referral management centre.[HL16434]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Under current arrangements, it is the responsibility of primary care trusts to agree with general practices any local arrangements for reviewing referrals. Under the proposed commissioning reforms, in future it will be clinical commissioning groups that work with general practitioners (GPs) to determine the best arrangements for ensuring high quality referral decisions.
Israel is not a member of the Non-Proliferation Treaty. We are in regular dialogue with the Israeli Government on nuclear issues, and call upon Israel to sign up to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty as a non-nuclear weapon state.
While Iran is a state party to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, we have grave concerns about Iran's track record of developing covert nuclear facilities, and the military dimensions to the programme. These concerns are shared by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and the vast majority of states around the world. Iran continues to violate numerous United Nations Security Council and IAEA Board of Governor Resolutions. The UK maintains a dual track approach of pressure and engagement, and is working closely with E3+3 partners (UK, France, Germany and the United States, Russia and China) to bring Iran back into compliance with its international obligations.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government are working with the Campaign to End Loneliness (CEL) to raise awareness of the problem of loneliness and tackle the factors that cause loneliness and isolation in older people. The department recently co-hosted a social isolation and loneliness summit with CEL to gain a commitment to tackle loneliness and isolation through health and well-being boards, commissioners, local communities, businesses, statutory and voluntary sector organisations. It has also commissioned CEL to produce a digital toolkit for health and care commissioners to combat loneliness and isolation.
CEL and the Ageing Well programme, funded by the Department for Work and Pensions, have produced a guide for councils on combating loneliness. Representatives from CEL play a key role in the Age Action Alliance. This is a partnership of private, voluntary and public sector organisations jointly led by the Department for Work and Pensions and Age UK.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 25 October 2011 (WA 141-2), what further discussions the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has had with the Iranian chargé d'affaires in London regarding the welfare of Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani, the charges against him and the nature of his sentence; and whether an update on his case was received in writing by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office either prior to, or pursuant to, recent comments by Mohammad Javad Larijani of Iran's High Council for Human Rights, in response to Ahmed Shaheed's report that was presented to United Nations representatives at the Human Rights Council in Geneva.[HL16547]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The UK remains very concerned for the fate of Pastor Nadarkhani. Following the attack on our embassy in Tehran on 29 November 2011, and the consequent expulsion of all Iranian diplomatic personnel from the UK, there has been no Iranian chargé d'affaires in London. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has yet to receive a response from the Iranian Government to our multiple requests, in Tehran and in London, for a written update on Pastor Nadarkhani's case. Nevertheless, the UK has continued to raise the case of Pastor Nadarkhani publicly and in the United Nations.
On 23 February 2012, following reports that Pastor Nadarkhani's execution was imminent, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my honourable friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Mr Burt), again called on Iran to overturn his sentence. We shall continue to voice our concern about Pastor Nadarkhani until we are completely sure that he is safe from persecution.
To ask Her Majesty's Government in 2010-11 in each of the private and public sectors, (1) how much income tax relief was given to staff contributing to company or personal pension schemes, (2) how much tax income was foregone because employer pension contributions to such schemes are not liable for taxation, (3) how much tax income was foregone because employers are exempt from paying national insurance on pension contributions, (4) how much tax income was foregone because employees are exempt from paying national insurance on pension contributions, and (5) how much tax income was foregone because such schemes are exempt from tax on investment income.[HL16388]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Estimates of tax relief on pension contributions, pension investment returns and national insurance relief on employer contributions are contained in table
26 Mar 2012 : Column WA217
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the South Wales Police Authority or any officers of the South Wales Police have in any cases requested an additional fee of £10 for the renewal of coterminous firearm and shotgun certificates where the applicant had submitted an application to renew in good time prior to the date of expiry of the existing certificate; and if so, on what basis.[HL16528]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The issue or renewal of firearm and shotgun certificates under the provisions of the Firearms Acts are matters for the chief officer of police for the area in which the applicant resides.
To ask the Leader of the House, further to the Written Answers by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 6 March (WA 400 and WA 416) regarding metrication of distances, whether he will ensure that, in future, equivalent distances in imperial units are always indicated in Answers to Written Questions and that such equivalence is adopted by all government departments.[HL16373]
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): This is a matter for individual government departments and one on which there is no central guidance. While I sympathise with the preference for imperial measures, I have no plans to issue guidance.
Earl Attlee: Since April 2011, Access for All Small Schemes grant funding has been offered directly to train operators by the Department for Transport to deliver small scale access improvements at stations. The budget is allocated according to the number of stations each operator has and how busy those stations are. Budget allocations for 2012-13 were notified to operators on 16 March, with a request to submit their proposed schemes to the department by 31 March 2012.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): This Government are committed to increasing the number of disabled people in work. We want to give disabled people the opportunity to realise their aspirations, and to get into, stay and progress in work.
Around 2,200 disabled people are supported by Remploy's Enterprise Businesses, at a cost each year of around a fifth of the budget for specialist disability employment programmes. It costs the Government and taxpayer £25,000 each year to support each disabled employee working in a Remploy factory yet the average Access to Work award to support a disabled person in mainstream employment is £2,900.
We have therefore decided that it is important to accept and implement the Sayce review recommendations on Remploy so that more disabled people can be supported into work within our available resources.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, regarding the part of the A1 which runs from Alconbury to north of Peterborough, (1) which private company designed, built, financed and maintains that stretch of road; (2) in which year that stretch of road was brought into use in its present form; (3) what was the value of the original contract; and (4) how much they have paid to the private contractor in each of the past five years.[HL16541]
Earl Attlee: The 13 mile section of the Al(M) from Alconbury to Peterborough was designed, built, financed and is operated by Road Management Services (Peterborough) Ltd (RMS). It was opened to traffic on 31 October 1998.
At the time of award in February 1996, the net present value of the contract was £154 million (net present value is used to describe the difference between the present value of a stream of costs and a stream of benefits). The amount paid to RMS in the past five financial years is contained in the table below:
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in each year from 2005 to 2011, what was (1) the total number of primary school days lost due to absences in England and Wales, and (2) the average number of days lost per pupil.[HL16390]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Information on the number of primary school days lost due to overall absence in England and the average number of days lost per pupil is shown in the table below for 2006-07 to 2009-10. Information on pupil absence was not collected from primary schools in 2005-06.
|Maintained primary schools(1) Number of days lost due to overall absence(2)|
|Academic Year||Total days lost(3)(4)||Average number of days lost per pupil(5)|
(5) Average number of days lost per pupil is calculated by dividing the total number of sessions missed due to overall absence by the number of pupil enrolments to get average number of sessions missed per pupil, and dividing this number by two to get the average number of days lost.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have plans to legislate to ensure that planning permission for new free schools is withheld unless they are accessible to disabled young people and children.[HL16452]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Free Schools are bound by the statutory Independent School Standards (on which we have recently consulted) and the Equalities Act 2010. Taken together, the Government believe this legislation adequately protects the interests of disabled pupils in free schools. Any building work completed for the school is also bound by building regulations. This requires new buildings to be accessible and that development of existing buildings includes reasonable steps to make them accessible.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many complaints about non-payment of wages to ships' crews visiting or remaining in the United Kingdom they have received in each of the past three years. [HL16543]
Since March 2011 the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) has received five complaints from individual seafarers on UK registered ships regarding non-payment of wages, but none of those ships were operating in the UK at the time.
However the International Labour Organisation Maritime Labour Convention 2006, when it comes into force internationally, will require all ratifying states to have in place procedures to deal with complaints received from seafarers in respect of breaches of the convention including non-payment of wages, irrespective of the Flag State of the ship.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made or will make any representation to the Government of Ireland about the objection of Ireland's Attorney General to the submission of evidence from witness 68 to the Smithwick inquiry into the Narrow Water bomb attack.[HL16526]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what they estimate to be the loss of revenue, including from VAT, excise duty and taxes paid by tobacco manufacturers, distributors and retailers, arising from a ban on smoking tobacco; and what would be the cost of enforcement.[HL16374]
|Total Tobacco Receipts, £ billion|
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Lord De Mauley on 25 January (Official Report, col. 1073), when they will publish on the Department for Work and Pensions website the outcomes of the workshops conducted with local authorities about the funds transferred from the Social Fund to local provision.[HL16574]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The last of the local authority workshops will take place on Monday 26 March. We intend to publish the outcomes from these workshops by the end of April on our dedicated Social Fund reform webpage hosted on the DWP website.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the commitment to distribute the funds transferred from the Social Fund to local authorities through a specific revenue grant will extend beyond the year of transfer.[HL16575]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, as requested by Baroness Hollis of Heigham on 11 January (Official Report, col. 215), they will circulate to the Members of the House taking part in that debate a draft of the settlement letter which will accompany the transfer of funds from the Social Fund to local authorities.[HL16576]
Lord Freud: A draft settlement letter will shortly appear on the Social Fund reform webpage hosted on Department for Work and Pensions' website. Further iterations of the draft and the final version will be subject to discussions with the Local Government
26 Mar 2012 : Column WA222
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to place in the Library of the House the outcome of the review of local authorities' use of the funds transferred from the Social Fund, due to take place in 2014-15.[HL16577]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the total annual value of imports into the United Kingdom from South Korea; and what is the total annual value of the United Kingdom's exports to South Korea.[HL16461]
As Director General for the Office for National Statistics. I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question to asking what is the total annual value of imports into the United Kingdom from South Korea and what is the total annual value of the United Kingdom's exports to South Korea. HL16461
For 2011. total United Kingdom imports of goods from South Korea totalled £2.6 billion. Total United Kingdom exports of goods to South Korea totalled £2.7 billion. This means that in 2011, the United Kingdom held a slight trade in goods surplus with South Korea of £0.1 billion. Figures for trade in services with South Korea for 2011 are not yet available
Attached is a table showing imports and exports of i) trade in goods ii) trade in services iii) total trade in goods and services with South Korea in each of the years 1998 to 2010. The table also includes trade in goods data for 2011.
The annual trade data are published in the UK Balance of Payments Pink Book available on the National Statistics web site at: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/bop/united-kingdom-balance-of-payments/2011/bod-pink-book-2011.pdf.
|Table showing UK trade with South Korea [HL16461]|
|£ million||UK Trade in goods imports||UK Trade in services imports||UK Total trade imports||UK Trade in goods exports||UK Trade in services exports||UK Total trade exports|
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 8 March (WA 447), whether automatic number plate recognition cameras may be used by local authorities, police and local communities to enforce 20 miles per hour speed limits, or whether this requires permission from central government.[HL16413]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): Use of cameras to assist enforcement of any speed limit does not require central government permission. Evidence from the cameras is only admissible in court if the device is of a type approved for that purpose by the Secretary of State.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 8 June 2010 (WA 33), how the new measures on lorry mirrors to improve the visibility of cyclists and pedestrians have been implemented.[HL16588]
All new lorries over 3500kg were required to comply with Directive 2003/97/EC from 26 January 2007 and this was implemented by SI 2005 No. 3165: The Road Vehicles (Construction and Use) Amendment)(No.4) Regulations 2005.
Subsequently, additional requirements for mirrors were introduced for existing lorries registered from 1 January 2000. These requirements were contained in Directive 2007/38/EC and implemented into UK law
26 Mar 2012 : Column WA224
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether visa applications for non-European Economic Area intra-company staff transfers to the United Kingdom permit allowances to be counted towards the national minimum wage; if so, whether there are any limits to the allowances so counted; whether those allowances are exempt from income tax; and whether any such HM Revenue and Customs rules apply to all workers in the United Kingdom.[HL16497]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Under National Minimum Wage (NMW) legislation, allowances only contribute towards NMW pay if they have been consolidated into standard pay or are related to the worker's performance. This applies to all workers in the UK.
NMW Regulations and Income Tax legislation are entirely separate. An inwardly migrant intra-company transfer would be entitled to relief from tax for the costs of travel and subsistence of getting to and staying in the UK as long as he can demonstrate that the Temporary Workplace Rules of S338-9 ITEPA 2003 apply; i.e. he can demonstrate that he is here for a task of limited duration or some other temporary purpose and anticipates that it will not last more than 24 months or for the duration of a fixed-term contract. There is no restriction on the quantum of the relief unless HMRC can demonstrate that the expenses incurred are unduly lavish. These rules apply equally to all workers in the UK. Additionally, an inwardly migrant intra-company transfer may be entitled to relief under S373 ITEPA for the costs of travelling to and from the UK.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the immigration rule reintroducing visas for spouses under the age of 21 following the Supreme Court ruling in the case of Quila and Bibi v Secretary of State for the Home Department was made; how many applications for such visas have since been lodged in total, and how many refused; and how many appeals have been lodged in relation to previously refused visa applications.[HL16498]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): Following the Supreme Court's ruling in R(on the application of Quila and another) (FC) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  UKSC 45 on 12 October 2011, the Immigration Rules reinstating
26 Mar 2012 : Column WA225
For the period 12 October 2011 to 31 December 2011, applications for entry clearance for visa applicants aged 18 to 20 years are included in the following table.
26 Mar 2012 : Column WA226
|Period: 12 October 2011-31 December 2011|
|Spouse/CP EC Visas|
|Applications Received||Refused||Appeals Received|
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