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28 Mar 2012 : Column WA249



28 Mar 2012 : Column WA249

Written Answers

Wednesday 28 March 2012

Abortion

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government are committed to ensuring that a value for money approach is adopted covering all aspects of healthcare provision. In order to carry out abortions under National Health Service contract, independent sector places are subject to local NHS tendering processes and must demonstrate that they are able to provide a quality and cost-effective service, which meets local needs. The department has developed and issued an abortion specification for use by the NHS in support of this process.

A copy of Guidance on the Standard NHS Contract for Acute Hospital Services has been placed in the Library.

Agriculture: Sheep Carcasses

Question

Asked by Lord Vinson

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): As required by the EU Transmissible Spongiform Encephalopathies (TSE) Regulation, every year the UK tests some 20,000 healthy slaughtered and fallen sheep aged over 18 months for TSEs. Any sheep which tests positive for the initial rapid test undergoes further discriminatory testing-PrP (prion protein) immuno-histochemistry and Western blotting-to distinguish possible cases of bovine spongiform encephalopathy (BSE) in sheep from those of classical and atypical scrapie. BSE has never been found naturally occurring in sheep.

The latest Joint Scientific Opinion from the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) (http://www.efsa.europa .eu/en/efsajournal/doc/1945.pdf) concluded that BSE is the only animal TSE for which there is evidence of its being a zoonotic agent and a cause of a form of Creutzfeldt-Jacob Disease (CJD) in humans.



28 Mar 2012 : Column WA250

Armed Forces: Helicopters

Question

Asked by Lord West of Spithead

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The Merlin Mkl helicopter is currently undergoing update and conversion to the Mk2 standard. This is due to enter service progressively from autumn 2013. It will have anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface unit warfare primary roles, with search and rescue as a secondary role.

Armed Forces: Medals

Question

Asked by Lord Hennessy of Nympsfield

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The Ministry of Defence recognises that some former service personnel, including those who served during the Cold War period, feel that their service has not been appropriately recognised.

While it has been the policy of successive Governments not to award a medal simply for service, we have agreed that there should be a fresh review of the rules governing the award of military medals. This will be conducted by an independent reviewer with full consultation with interested parties. It will make use of all of the work already undertaken as a part of the Ministry of Defence's earlier review but will have a broader scope and an independent lead. The scope of the review and who is to lead it are expected to be announced shortly.

Association of Chief Police Officers

Question

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The Home Office provides an annual grant-in-aid payment to the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO). Further funding for a number of specific projects and key initiatives is strictly allocated. As a

28 Mar 2012 : Column WA251

registered company, ACPO's accounts are subject to audit, which also covers whether funds have been used for the purposes intended.

2011-12

ACPO HQ funding streams from Home Office

Grant-in-Aid funding for ACPO core functions and Office of President

£792,770

One-off payment to help meet funding shortfall from Police Authorities

£250,000

Additional Home Office grant streams to ACPO HQ

UK Disaster Victim Identification

£458,000

Total

£1,500,770

Asylum Seekers: Children

Questions

Asked by Baroness Lister of Burtersett

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The report will be considered in detail by UK Border Agency officials. Children in the asylum and immigration system are able to access adequate support. All unaccompanied children are entitled to support from their local authority under the Children Act regardless of their immigration status. Additionally, destitute asylum seekers who have children are supported by the UK Border Agency. This support lasts until they leave the United Kingdom or they are granted leave to remain and are therefore free to obtain work or access the mainstream benefits system.

The level of support provided under the Children Act is not fixed at set amounts but depends on an assessment of the child's needs. The cash payments made to asylum seekers in order to meet their essential living needs are already kept under regular review and adjusted where necessary.

Cabinet Office: Manual

Question

Asked by Lord Laird



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The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Cabinet Manual is not intended to cover every possible law, rule and convention which may affect the conduct and operation of Government, but seeks to set out in plain English those issues which the Government believe are most likely to be relevant to the operation of the executive. The content of the manual will evolve over time, and the current intention is to make periodic updates as and when appropriate.

Central and South America

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) recognises the importance of improving prison conditions throughout Central and South America to ensure that fundamental human rights are upheld. We encourage all states which have not yet done so to ratify and effectively implement the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture, which provides for international and domestic monitoring of all places of detention. A number of our posts in the region have raised the issue of prison conditions with local authorities. Posts will continue to do so where appropriate.

The FCO has supported a small number of projects this financial year that focus on or support prison reform, which are detailed in the table below:

CountryProject Details

Brazil

Combating torture and criminal justice violations to improve the treatment of prisoners according to international human rights standards.

Brazil

Developing a national preventive mechanism in line with Brazil's OPCAT obligations.

Chile

Bilateral co-operation with Chilean Ministry of Justice, including implementation of a new system to rehabilitate minor offenders.

Chile

International seminars on reoffending and resettlement of offenders.

Colombia

Project on ratification and effective implementation of OPCAT.

Ecuador

Capacity building to promote international human rights standards in visits to prisons and detention centres.

Venezuela

Human rights and due process training for inmates and prison authorities.

We work closely with our EU partners in Central and South America, including in support of EU-funded prison reform projects. The UK also raises this issue in international fora such as the United Nations Human Rights Council.

The development of non-custodial sentences in Central and South America is not a current priority for the FCO, although it has been raised in some discussions with countries in the region, including in the context of prison reform seminars in Chile. Nevertheless we would consider future small-scale interventions in support of this issue where they tally with existing priorities.



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Children: Parenting

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Government's view is that, following relationship breakdown, it is beneficial for both parents to continue to be involved in a child's upbringing and to have regular contact with the child, provided this is safe and in the best interests of the child concerned.

Civil Partnerships

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill



28 Mar 2012 : Column WA254

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, Director General for ONS, to Lord Lester of Herne Hill, dated March 2012.

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking, further to the Written Answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 19 March, whether the available statistics indicate that civil partnerships are less likely to be dissolved than civil marriages.

The Civil Partnership Act 2004 came into force on 5 December 2005. The percentage of civil partnership formations which end in dissolution by a given anniversary can be compared with the percentage of marriages which end in divorce by a given anniversary. This analysis is limited because only five years of civil partnership dissolution data are available. Also it does not include marriages and civil partnerships that end by the death of a partner. In addition, this analysis is only available for all marriages, and not separately for civil and religious marriages.

Tables 1 and 2 show that civil partnerships are less likely to end in dissolution than marriages are to end in divorce and that the difference increases as the number of years since marriage or civil partnership formation increases to five years. For example, 3.3% of civil partnerships formed in 2006 had ended in dissolution by the fourth anniversary whereas 5.3% of marriages in 2006 had ended by the same anniversary. However it is too early to say whether this trend will continue beyond the fifth anniversary.

Table 1: Percentage of civil partnerships dissolved by year of formation
Year of civil partnershipNumber of civil partnerships in England and WalesPercentage dissolved by anniversary (years)
12345

2005

1,857

0.0

0.6

1.2

2.5

3.8

2006

14,943

0.0

0.5

1.7

3.3

2007

7,929

0.0

0.7

2.2

2008

6,558

0.0

0.5

2009

5,687

0.0

Table 2: Percentage of marriages ending in divorce by year of marriage
Year of marriageNumber of marriages in England and WalesPercentage divorced by anniversary (years)
12345

2005

247,805

0.0

1.1

3.1

5.5

8.3

2006

239,454

0.0

0.9

2.7

5.3

2007

235,367

0.0

0.8

2.7

2008

235,794

0.0

0.9

2009

232,443

0.0

Many people formed a civil partnership soon after the legislation came into effect in December 2005; some of them had been in a relationship for some time and would have formed a civil partnership earlier, had that been possible. The impact of this phenomenon on the percentage of civil partnerships dissolved could distort the comparison with marriages ending in divorce in the short term, so a longer time series of civil partnership statistics is required for a fuller comparison.



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Communities: Integration

Question

Asked by Baroness Whitaker

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The projects detailed in Creating the Conditions deliver on a variety of timetables. Many, such as the Big Lunch and Inter Faith Week, are bound by time specific events, whereas work to improve the recording of hate crime, for instance, is ongoing.

Integration must be understood locally, because challenges, tensions and missed opportunities vary enormously between places. Central government will take action where we can genuinely help. We will provide national leadership by working across government to create the conditions for integration and ensure that the integration benefits of programmes and projects are recognised and supported. Where there is a clear case to do so, we are kick-starting local action in partnership with communities and businesses, as in the support we are giving to Luton Borough Council and Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council to counter the problems caused by the English Defence League.

Community Organisers

Questions

Asked by Lord Greaves

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: As part of Locality's tender to deliver the community organisers programme, Locality included Re:generate as a training partner. As Locality were appointed through the Official Journal of the European Union's (OJEU) procurement processes, it was not necessary to procure Re:generate separately.

Asked by Lord Greaves

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Root Solution Listening Matters is copyrighted by Kearney and Olsen 2009. The Government have used their description of RSLM. This is summarised below:



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The Root Solution Listening Matters process is built around a conversation which sparks people's interest and stimulates ideas, gets to the root causes of issues, identifies leaders who will reflect on the problems and find ways of tackling them. Senior and volunteer community organisers are taught listening techniques to explore things that people love about their area, things that concern them most-their motivations for action-and their ideas for action, focusing on drawing out solutions.

Community organisers will listen to hundreds and sometimes thousands of people, starting with those they know well, progressing to knocking on doors and continuing in homes, on the streets and groups. Action teams form around the project ideas to address local issues. Project leaders come together to form a wider network of local people, and develop a strategy for the community based on all the listening.

Gathering this kind of rich community and market intelligence in a systematic way, if handled with respect and negotiated sensitively, will establish a community vision, bring resources into the areas, inform public services, deliver the localism agenda and create a vibrant network of activity that will promote business, enterprise, social projects and campaigns.

Asked by Lord Greaves

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The code of conduct which governs the behaviour of community organisers was developed and agreed by the national partner, Locality; the training partner, Re:generate; kickstarter host organisations; senior community organisers from the first cohort; and officials in the Office for Civil Society.

The code of conduct is available to all community organisers.

Asked by Lord Greaves

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Locality has encouraged host organisations to engage with local authorities to make them aware of the programme aims and alert them when a community organiser is operating in their area.

There are no expectations for community organisers to have a relationship with government, local authorities or charities, as their focus is to listen to local people and allow them to set the priorities and take their own projects forward. This is better achieved by allowing community organisers to be independent of established processes and structures.



28 Mar 2012 : Column WA257

Asked by Lord Greaves

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: There is no requirement to consult with local authorities before a community organiser begins work in an area.

Locality has encouraged host organisations to engage with local authorities to make them aware of the programme aims and alert them when a community organiser is operating in their area.

Asked by Lord Greaves

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Volunteer community organisers are volunteers and are not required to make a specific time commitment to qualify as a volunteer organiser. Therefore people who work full-time, part-time, or do not work at all, would all be eligible to volunteer as a community organiser in the time that they have available.

Courts: Magistrates' Courts

Questions

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The report in question was commissioned by the Ministry of Justice to inform the deployment of judges in the magistrates' courts. In order to make a comprehensive assessment of the relative costs of using magistrates and district judges, the report took account of a range of factors including the wider cost to the economy of magistrates sitting in court.

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

Lord McNally: The Government place great value on the lay magistracy. As well as playing a vital role in ensuring that justice is done swiftly and effectively, magistrates provide an important link between the justice system and the communities it serves.



28 Mar 2012 : Column WA258

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

Lord McNally: The Government have not undertaken any detailed assessment of the contribution made by magistrates to their employers.

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

Lord McNally By volunteering to dispense local justice, lay magistrates embody the principles of the big society and serve as an excellent example of the contribution individuals can make to their communities.

Crime: Non-molestation Orders

Questions

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The number of offenders cautioned, the number of defendants proceeded against at magistrates' courts and found guilty at all courts for breach of a non-molestation order in England and Wales in 2009 and 2010 (latest currently available) together with the sentence received can be viewed in the table.

It is known that there were issues in the central recording of offences resulting from a breach of a previously imposed court order. These issues were subsequently resolved allowing information on prosecutions and convictions for breach of a non-molestation order to be collated from 2009 onwards.

Police recorded crime data are the responsibility of the Home Office. It has advised that information on breaches of non-molestation orders are included within the over-arching classification of Other Offences Against the State and Public Order and that it is not possible separately to identify such offences from these centrally held data.

Annual court proceedings data for 2011 are planned for publication in May 2012.



28 Mar 2012 : Column WA259

Offenders cautioned(1) defendants proceeded against(2) at magistrates' courts and found guilty at all courts, for breach of a non-molestation order(3), by final outcome, England and Wales, 2009 and 2010(4)
OutcomeYear
20092010

Cautioned

131

124

Proceeded against

1,933

2,257

Found guilty(5)

2,279

2,626

Sentenced(6)

2,174

2,550

Of which:

Immediate custody

457

493

Suspended sentence

249

285

Community sentence

741

851

Fine

337

409

Absolute discharge

6

11

Conditional discharge

321

353

Otherwise dealt with(7)

63

148



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Crime: Violence

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The number and proportion of violent offences dealt with by means of out of court disposals in England and Wales during 2010 is shown in the table.

Penalty notices for disorder may be issued for the offence under Section 5 of the Public Order Act 1986 of "using words, conduct likely to cause harassment, alarm or distress". However, a penalty notice will not be appropriate where there has been any injury to any person or any realistic threat or risk of injury to any person.

Annual court proceedings data for 2011 are planned for publication in May 2012.

Number and proportion of offenders cautioned(1) and defendants proceeded against(2) at magistrates' courts for violent offences(3), England and Wales, 2010(4)
England and Wales

Year

2010

Offenders cautioned

23,442

Defendants proceeded against

34,330

Total

57,772

Percentages

Offenders cautioned

41

Defendants proceeded against

59

Total

100



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Cultural Property: Protection

Question

Asked by The Earl of Clancarty

Baroness Rawlings: The Government are committed to introducing legislation to ratify the 1954 Hague Convention on the Protection of Cultural Property and accede to its two protocols as soon as parliamentary time allows, taking account of all our legislative priorities.

David Livingstone

Question

Asked by Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale

Baroness Rawlings: There are currently no plans for Government formally to mark the bicentenary of the birth of David Livingstone in March 2013, although it is possible that some museums sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport may consider related exhibitions closer to the event.

Elections: Mailings

Question

Asked by Lord Rennard

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The Government estimate the cost of producing and paying for postage of election mailings from each candidate to each elector to be in the region of £25 million to £35 million. This is based on previous large-scale polls and depends on the number of candidates that stand. We estimate that the postage and printing costs of a booklet to every elector would be approximately £12 million, not including the administrative costs of compilation.

Equality and Human Rights Commission

Questions

Asked by Lord Dholakia



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Baroness Verma: The current chair's term comes to an end in September. We will make an announcement on the arrangements in due course.

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

Baroness Verma: The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is an arm's-length body; the following is based on information it has provided.

As at 20 March 2012 the EHRC employed 36 fully or partly qualified lawyers. The EHRC also had a further 14 staff employed as caseworkers.

All of these staff are employed as legal advisers in relation to the discharge of the EHRC's functions in relation to both alleged unlawful discrimination and human rights, so it is not possible to give a breakdown of staff working on (1) alleged unlawful discrimination, or (2) human rights.

Ethiopia and Eritrea

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Government continue to be concerned by the unresolved dispute between Ethiopia and Eritrea, and its destabilising effect on the wider Horn of Africa region.

We regularly encourage both Governments to resolve their differences and comply with the agreement laid out by the Boundary Commission in 2002 over their border.

On 17 March, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my honourable friend the Member for North West Norfolk (Mr Bellingham) expressed concern about Ethiopia's incursion into Eritrea on 15 March, in response to alleged Eritrean-backed armed attacks into Ethiopia. Mr Bellingham said that conflict is in neither country's interest and called on both countries to avoid all actions that could create tensions and lead to an escalation in violence. In the same vein the UK supported United Nations Security Council Resolution 2023 in December 2011, which extended sanctions on the Eritrean Government in response to concerns about their regional activities reported by the Somalia-Eritrea Monitoring Group in July 2011.



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The UK has drawn attention to the potential for instability arising from this issue in discussions about the Horn of Africa at the United Nations Security Council. We have also supported agreement of a new European Union (EU) strategic framework for the Horn of Africa, and the appointment of a new EU special representative to the region, to further EU objectives, including in relation to the Ethiopia and Eritrea border issue.

Fraud

Questions

Asked by Baroness Thomas of Winchester

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): A number of steps are being taken to share intelligence across the public and private sectors, in particular by the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, HMRC, DWP and the National Fraud Initiative. More information on these efforts is set out in the Government's report Tackling Fraud and Error in the Public Sector.

The national fraud strategy, Fighting Fraud Together, sets out the Government's commitment to enhance these arrangements. The National Fraud Authority is working with public and private stakeholders to develop a systematic approach to sharing fraud intelligence as part of the work to design the National Crime Agency.

Asked by Baroness Thomas of Winchester

Lord Henley: The periods of validity for the passport and the driving licence prevent a reliable estimate being made of the number of fraudulently obtained documents that may be in circulation. That is because there are a number of circumstances over the lifetime of the documents which may impact on their validity.

The Identity and Passport Service (IPS) undertakes sampling and testing to determine the nature and volume of passport fraud. Small sampling exercises between 2005 and 2011 indicated that between 0.25% and 0.39% of applications for UK passports contain evidence of fraud. In 2010-11, the IPS detected a total of 7,870 suspected frauds out of a total of 5.384 million passport applications.

In 2011, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) carried out investigations and identified 1,000 fraudulently obtained driving licences. The DVLA processed 9.3 million driving licence applications in 2011.

Asked by Baroness Thomas of Winchester



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Lord Henley: The Identity and Passport Service (IFS) uses data from confirmed incidents of fraud to enhance further its counterfraud measures. The data are used to develop further IFS knowledge of the nature and pattern of fraud within passport applications, and to inform decisions on checks and interventions which contribute to the prevention and detection of fraud.

Government Departments: Accountancy

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Earl Attlee: No written instructions have been provided by Ministers in the Department for Transport to the accounting officer for the department in the past two years.

Government Departments: Energy Bills

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): This information is not held and could be provided only at disproportionate cost. Overnight lighting in unoccupied parts of 2 Marsham Street is kept to an essential minimum through a combination of manual and automatic lighting controls.

Government Departments: Opinion Polls

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird

Earl Attlee: Since March 2010, the Department for Transport has undertaken 10 surveys which asked the general public about their opinions. The total cost of these was £745,201. The issues covered and the number of respondents for each survey are listed in the following table:



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Title of researchFieldwork datesCostNumber of responses

Road safety omnibus (note 1)

Feb-Apr 10

£131,504

1,538

Mobility Scooters omnibus (note 1)

Apr-10

No Charge

1,049

Climate Change omnibus

Aug-10

£63,091

1,011

(two annual waves) (note 1)

Aug-11

£62,410

1,137

British Social Attitudes survey

Jun-Sep 10

£120,785

3,297

(two years)

Jun-Sep 11

£137,025

3,311

THINK! Annual road safety

Feb-11

£85,320

2,003

survey (two years)

Nov-11

£85,320

2,000

HS2 omnibus survey

Feb-11

£39,059

2,037

Buses omnibus (note 1)

Mar-11

£20,687

1,139

Substantial steps have been taken to reduce the cost of departmental opinion polls. For example, the total spend on the random probability omnibus call-off contract in the two years from March 2008 to February 2010 was £683,267. Over a similar time period, March 2010 to February 2012, the spend-as indicated in the table-was only £277,692, a reduction of 59%.

Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Rawlings: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has not conducted any opinion polls in the past two years

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): Between March 2010 and March 2012 the Home Office and its agencies have completed three public opinion polls. Details of these polls are shown in the attached table.



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IssuesDateSample sizeCost (exc VAT)

Identity and Passport Service-understanding preferred methods of reporting passports lost or stolen to IPS

July 2010

1,001

£5,728

Research, Information and Communications Unit (RICU)-public awareness and understanding of the terror threat rating system

Jan 2011

2,116

£10,915

RICU-UK attitudes to UK involvement in Libya

April 2011

1,147

£10,092.50

Government Departments: Public Private Partnership

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Whole of Government Accounts for the financial year to 31 March 2010, published on 29 November 2011, disclosed a total outstanding liability figure for private finance initiative schemes of £28.1 billion. This liability is made up as follows:

£ million

The Ministry of Defence

3,497

Department of Health

1,803

Department for Transport

1,254

Scottish Government

1,070

Ministry of Justice

595

Home Office

283

Northern Ireland Departments

280

Welsh Assembly Government

269

Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs

199

Her Majesty's Treasury

132

Department for Work and Pensions

109

Crown Prosecution Service

48

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

40

Northern Ireland Court Service

21

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

8

The following amounts were also included in the accounts:

£ million

Local Authorities

11,180

National Health Foundation Trusts and Non-Foundation Trusts in England and the Northern Ireland Health and Social Services Trusts

6,635

Public Corporations

606



28 Mar 2012 : Column WA267

Government Departments: Websites

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: There is no dedicated community organisers page on the Cabinet Office website as this is an arm's-length programme to Government. There have been some news releases, the last being on 5 October 2011. Information relating to the programme can be found at the following website: www.cocollaborative.org.uk.

Government: Air Travel

Question

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): As set out in the Ministerial Code, details of ministerial overseas travel are published quarterly, covering date, destination, purpose of trip, type of transport (ie scheduled, RAF, chartered or Eurostar), the number of officials accompanying the Minister for non-scheduled travel, and the cost. You can access this information at: www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/ministerial-gifts-hospitality-travel-and-meetings-external-organisations.

Information covering the period January-March 2012 is expected to be published by the summer.

Government: Cars

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

Earl Attlee: The amounts invoiced by the Government Car and Despatch Agency to each Department of State for the use of cars by Ministers for each month since May 2010 were announced by way of a Written Ministerial Statement on 16 January and have been placed in the Libraries of the House.



28 Mar 2012 : Column WA268

The amounts invoiced include both allocated cars which cover a set number of hours and the ministerial car pool service which is an on-demand service and therefore the information on hours covered is not available.

Gypsies and Travellers

Questions

Asked by Baroness Whitaker

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Traveller Pitch Funding programme is currently at the contracting stage. Programme management and monitoring including quarterly contract review meetings will begin with individual providers once they are in contract. We expect this to be within the first quarter of 2012-13.

Asked by Baroness Whitaker

Earl Attlee: I raised the issue of Travellers' economic activity with the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government. The ministerial working group on tackling inequalities experienced by Gypsies and Travellers, which is chaired by the Secretary of State, has looked at access by Travellers to Department for Work and Pension employment services. The group will be publishing a progress report shortly.

Health: In-vitro Diagnostic Tests

Question

Asked by Lord Walton of Detchant

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): In-vitro diagnostic tests play a key role in the National Health Service and a wide range of tests and equipment is available to allow rapid diagnosis, screening for disease, identifying, monitoring and managing treatment and ensure the safety of blood supplies for transfusion.



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In-vitro diagnostic testing should be quality assured by a range of internal and external quality assurance procedures within all laboratories and this also forms part of the external laboratory accreditation system which operates within the United Kingdom. Medically qualified pathologists are registered with the General Medical Council and non-medical clinical scientists with the Health Professions Council. Pathology services in general also form part of the Care Quality Commission's assessment of hospitals.

Homeless People

Question

Asked by Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Section 191 of the Housing Act 1996 provides that a person becomes homeless intentionally if this is a consequence of something that he or she has deliberately done or failed to do. The accommodation he or she has left must have been available for their occupation and reasonable for them to continue to occupy. It is for local authorities to make decisions in individual cases. However, it would be unlikely that a squat being occupied illegally could be considered as accommodation that is available to be occupied and reasonable for a person to continue to occupy.

The Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill creates a new criminal offence where a person is in a residential building as a trespasser having entered it as a trespasser, knows or ought to know that he or she is a trespasser and is living in the building or intends to live there for any period.

Immigration: Sham Marriages

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The UK Border Agency is notified by registration officers where they have grounds to suspect that a marriage is being entered into solely for immigration purposes. These reports are made under Section 24 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999, All Section 24 reports are investigated by the agency and where appropriate action is taken. The agency received 384 reports in 2007; 344 reports in 2008; 561 in 2009; 926 in 2010; and 1741 in 2011.



28 Mar 2012 : Column WA270

The Marriage Act 1949 and Matrimonial Causes Act 1973 set out the circumstances under which marriages could be void. A sham marriage is not considered as void under the provisions of these Acts.

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Henley: The total cost per year of sham marriages to public funds is not known. A marriage certificate alone does not give foreign nationals the right to live and work in the United Kingdom. Applications based on marriage or civil partnership where there is evidence of sham behaviour will be refused and action will be taken to remove the applicant from the United Kingdom. There will be no impact on public funds in these cases because no leave or residence will have been granted on the basis of the marriage or civil partnership.

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): A couple whose marriage is legally valid in the country where it took place should be recognised as legally married in England and Wales. In such cases the couple will remain legally married to each other until the marriage is ended though divorce, annulment or the death of either party. This includes legally valid marriages which are declared "bogus" and/or were only entered into for immigration purposes. The couple will remain unable legally to remarry someone else until they are legally free to marry again.

India

Question

Asked by Lord Singh of Wimbledon

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): It is the long-standing policy of successive Governments to oppose the death penalty, in all circumstances, as a matter of principle. We are deeply concerned by reports that India intends to execute Mr Balwant Singh Rajoana, thereby ending India's seven year de facto moratorium on the death penalty. However, we understand there are some questions over whether or not the execution will take place on the date set by the court. We are therefore following developments closely.



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We have made clear our position on the death penalty to the Indian Government, both bilaterally and through the European Union. My honourable friend the Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my honourable friend the Member for Taunton Deane (Mr Browne), wrote to the Indian high commissioner about this issue in November 2011. He also raised this issue with the then Indian Foreign Secretary, Nirupama Rao, when they met on 28 June 2011, and with Minister of State for External Affairs, Preneet Kaur, on 5 July 2011. We will continue to press for the universal abolition of the death penalty.

Insurance: Travel

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings with a wide variety of organisations and individuals in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such meetings.

Israel

Question

Asked by Lord Warner

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): Israeli citizens who hold a valid travel document and meet the requirements of the Immigration Rules are allowed to enter the UK regardless of their area of residence.

Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Bill [HL]

Question

Asked by Lord Beecham

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Ministry of Justice officials are in ongoing contact with officials at HMRC regarding the impact of the reforms on insolvency proceedings.



28 Mar 2012 : Column WA272

Asked by Lord Beecham

Lord McNally: The published impact assessment, available on the Ministry of Justice website, sets out the expected impacts of changes to civil litigation costs and funding on the relevant affected groups. Consistent with the assessment made in the impact assessment, the financial impact on HM Revenue and Customs will depend on a number of unknown factors including the volume of cases it chooses to pursue in future, the number of cases that it wins, the success fees and ATE premiums negotiated, and the tax recovered in those cases.

Migrant Workers: Romanians and Bulgarians

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Stephen Penneck, Director General for ONS, to Lord Laird, dated March 2012.

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking, further to the Written Answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 19 March (WA 142-3), whether (1) in ONS calculations for overall Long-Term International Migration figures we have used International Passenger Survey figures whose standard error percentages mean that they are not considered reliable for practical purposes; if so, why we did so; and (2) what are the Annual Population Survey figures for Romanian population stocks resident in the United Kingdom since 1 January 2007. (HL16655).

In response to the first question, published estimates of long-term international migration (LTIM) are calculated from international passenger survey (IPS) data with adjustments for asylum seekers, people whose intentions change and migration to and from Northern Ireland. The IPS estimates that are incorporated in the published estimates of LTIM are considered reliable according to their standard error (SE) percentages. At

28 Mar 2012 : Column WA273

the national level, IPS estimates are considered very reliable (SE 3%), but this reliability decreases as estimates are calculated for lower levels of detail, for example by geography, age, sex or nationality. An IPS estimate is not considered reliable for practical purposes when it has a standard error of larger than 25%. This applies when IPS data are used to calculate estimates of small groups of migrants.

In response to the second question, Table 1 below shows the estimated Romanian population living in the UK from 2007 to the most recent year available from the annual population survey.

Table 1-Romanians resident in the UK by year since 2007
thousands
Romanian Country of birthRomanian Nationality
YearEstimateCI+/-EstimateCI +/-

January - December 2007

23

6

19

6

January - December 2008

41

8

36

8

January - December 2009

56

10

53

10

January - December 2010

79

12

74

12

July 2010 - June 2011

87

13

84

13

NHS: Advertising and Marketing

Question

Asked by Lord Clement-Jones

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Authorised marketing means marketing which is approved by the board of the National Health Service organisation concerned to take place in its premises. There are no statutory regulations in place in this area, and no directions have been issued from the Secretary of State to NHS trusts and primary care trusts on these matters. The Secretary of State has no powers to direct foundation trusts.



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Guidance has recently been issued by the NHS chief executive to NHS organisations, copied for information only to foundation trusts. A copy of this letter has been placed in the Library.

Information about income from such sources is not available centrally.

NHS: Bullying

Questions

Asked by Lord Teverson

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Data on staff experience of bullying, harassment and abuse is gathered via the annual National Health Service staff survey. The 2011 NHS staff survey was published on 20 March 2012 and involved more than 250,000 staff across all NHS trusts and social enterprises of which around 135,000 or 54% responded. The 2011 NHS staff survey found that 15% of NHS staff experienced harassment, bullying or abuse from patients, relatives and the public and that 15% experienced harassment, bullying and abuse from other staff in 2011, the same as in 2010.

There is no place for bullying, harassment or abuse in the NHS. It contradicts the basic value of equity that is the cornerstone of the NHS. The NHS has taken strong steps to eliminate bullying and harassment in the workplace and the NHS constitution reinforces the need for continued action from NHS organisations.

The Social Partnership Forum has recognised tackling bullying and harassment as a priority for partnership working at national, regional and local level.

NHS Employers also produces a range of guidance and advice for the NHS since it was founded in 2005 and has run a very successful anti-bullying campaign across the NHS in England. NHS Employers' advice stresses that bullying by patients, their relatives or by colleagues is unacceptable and should be dealt with immediately. It also advocates a number of ways in which this problem may be dealt with.

A range of support services are currently provided by NHS organisations for their employees. These vary between organisations but include:

counselling-the NHS has provided counselling services to NHS staff since April 2000. Counselling often allows the concerns about bullying to be resolved without the need to take formal action;trained staff acting as support workers-as part of their role they provide empathetic assistance to employees with complaints of bullying and harassment,

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explain how the procedures for making a complaint operate both informally and formally, and help establish and provide support for both alleged harassers and complainants through the process;bullying and harassment hotline-hotlines provide staff with a confidential service to discuss their problems and access support;external agencies-employees may be referred to external agencies for support where the employer feels that they are not adequately equipped to provide support; andmediation-mediators are specially trained to facilitate informal outcomes where possible. Both parties must agree to the use of a mediator.

It is also important to note that evidence suggests that bullying is one indicator that is expected to rise in times of volatility such as reorganisation and change. In this respect, it is important to note that despite several years of change in the service the level of reported bullying reported in the NHS staff survey this year has seen very little change since that in 2008.

As a minimum, all NHS organisations should have in place bullying and harassment policies and procedures that are easily accessible to staff and managers alike, and provide support for employees which is monitored on a regular basis by senior managers.

The department is not presently undertaking any studies specifically aimed at bullying.

NHS: Private Sector

Question

Asked by Baroness Barker

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): This information is not centrally collected.

NHS: Targets

Question

Asked by Lord Warner

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The number of acute trusts and foundation trusts not meeting the four hour target quarterly is displayed in the following table. The information is provided for each quarter of both periods stated in the question. It is not possible to provide information

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on the total number of trusts and foundation trusts not meeting target within the periods requested as some trusts have changed status during those periods.

Number of acute trusts not achieving Accident and Emergency waiting times standard since April 2010
Foundation Trusts:Non Foundation Trusts
QuarterNo of trustsOf these, number not achieving standardNo of trustsOf these, number not achieving standard

Q1 2010-11

81

24

71

34

Q2 2010-11

81

2

71

3

Q3 2010-11

83

17

69

24

Q4 2010-11

84

20

68

24

Q1 2011-12

84

14

68

15

Q22011-12

84

7

68

11

Q3 2011-12

86

19

65

25

North Korea

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Baroness Northover: We believe that the Department for International Development's investment in the various multilateral organisations-for example, the World Health Organisation and UNICEF-working in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) represents the best way for the UK to assist the people of the DPRK.

Olympic Games 2012

Question

Asked by Lord Hoyle

Baroness Garden of Frognal: No. The International Olympic Committee appointed Dow Chemical as a global sponsor of the International Olympic Committee in July 2010. As a result, Dow Chemical has the right

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to associate with every summer and winter Games from 2010 through until 2020, including London 2012. This is not a matter for Government.

The Olympic Stadium wrap was removed from the public sector funding package for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games as part of the November 2010 comprehensive spending review. The London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG), a private company operating independently of Government, tendered in February 2011 for a private supplier of the wrap. LOCOG announced Dow Chemical as the chosen supplier of the wrap in August 2011, as Dow had provided the most sustainable solution. The Government were kept informed of this procurement process, and the Commission for a Sustainable London 2012 published an independent report which confirmed the competitive tender process and that the most sustainable solution was chosen.

Olympic Games 2012: Tickets

Questions

Asked by Lord Hoyle

Baroness Garden of Frognal: Ticketing for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games is a matter for the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG), a private company operating independent of Government. There are 8.8 million Olympic tickets and 2.2 million Paralympic tickets available, with 75% of both put on sale through the UK application process.

Around 7 million of the 11 million tickets have so far been purchased, some 5 million of which have been sold through the UK application process. The remainder of the 7 million have been purchased through National Olympic Committees (primarily for them to sell to international sports fans), the International Olympic Committee, international federations, broadcast rights holders, prestige ticketing partners and Thomas Cook for domestic break packages. The remaining 4 million tickets available for both Games will go on sale from April until the Games start.

Asked by Lord Hoyle

Baroness Garden of Frognal: Ticketing for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games is a matter for the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG), a private company operating independent of Government. 75% of tickets for the Games are sold through the public application process. Sponsors and stakeholders, including corporate organisations, are allowed to purchase 8% of tickets to the Games, with domestic sponsors alone providing £700 million towards LOCOG's c£2 billion privately-financed budget to stage the Games.

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12% are purchased by participating National Olympic Committees, primarily for them to sell to international sports fans. The remaining 5% are purchased by the International Olympic Committee, international federations, broadcast rights holders, prestige ticketing partners and Thomas Cook for domestic break packages.

Asked by Lord Hoyle

Baroness Garden of Frognal: The main contract to print and fulfil the majority of tickets for London 2012 was awarded by the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) following a thorough, competitive and open procurement process in 2010. The company which won the bid met all of LOCOG's criteria around security, scale and budget and-having worked on several previous Games-has specialist systems in place to manage the complex process of personalising, printing, packaging tickets and integrating security aspects to the scale it requires. LOCOG has spent more than £3 million with UK print companies on other contracts, with a further £2 million of business in the pipeline over the remaining months of the Games. Tickets sold after May will be printed in the UK-the printing and fulfilment of these tickets is on a smaller scale, and will be managed in a different way.

Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Garden of Frognal: Ticketing for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games is a matter for the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG), a private company operating independent of Government. The ticketing system has been developed by LOCOG in collaboration with its Tier 3 Partner Ticketmaster. Operational details are a matter for LOCOG, and the software will be proprietary to Ticketmaster.

Due to the unprecedented demand, with 11 million tickets at a range of price categories and with discounts for young people and seniors at over 1,000 sessions of sport, the scale and complexity of the ticketing process presents unparalleled challenges. LOCOG and Ticketmaster are testing the systems now for the final sales process from April, to ensure that they are accessible and resilient.

Pensions

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Royal Mail Holdings plc (RMH plc) operates three pension schemes (the Royal Mail Pension Plan, Royal Mail Senior Executive Pension Plan, and Royal Mail Retirement Savings Plan) and various other small scale schemes for overseas subsidiaries. The Whole of Government Accounts for 2009-10 reflects the £8,041 million net pension liability of the pension schemes. Details of the assets and liabilities of the schemes are included in the accounts of RMH plc. In the RMH plc accounts to 31 March 2010, the fair value of pension assets disclosed was £25,814 million and the present value of liabilities was £33,855 million.

The current rates of employer and employee contributions to the Royal Mail Pension Plan are 17.1% and 6.0% respectively.

In the past five years, Royal Mail Holdings plc has made the following additional contributions to reduce the Royal Mail Pension Plan deficit:

2010-11-£299 million;

2009-10-£291 million;

2008-09-£290 million;

2007-08-£284 million; and

2006-07-£243 million.

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The similar median and mean between recipients in Bangladesh, Pakistan and the United States is not seen as significant. The age distribution of populations of UK pensioners in other countries may not conform with the UK norm or with the norm of the country of residence for a number of reasons, primarily linked to migration patterns.

There is no reason to suggest that the observation is indicative of greater fraud. We are currently setting up the Integrated Risk Intelligence Service (IRIS) which we will be incorporating within it advanced analytics which could help identify whether any such correlations exist.

With regards to investigative measures that we have in place, in Bangladesh and Pakistan we currently have international pension service assistants who help

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to prevent and detect fraudulent claims at the gateway. This local presence helps to manage the risk of evidence fraud.

We also conduct a life certificate exercise. The current strategy is to life-certificate everyone aged 80 and above every two years. This year we have re-evaluated the current system and it has been agreed that we will introduce life certificates for all those aged 75.

Customers issued with a life certificate are given instructions to get this independently witnessed and returned to the department. If the department does not receive a reply within specified timeframes, benefit is terminated. If a customer later returns a fully completed life certificate, benefit is put back into payment.

Customers in countries covered by data matching agreements are not issued with a life certificate but this does not currently apply to Bangladesh and Pakistan.

In the USA we have a data matching agreement to share death index data. This aids the prevention and identification of fraudulent claims.

Police: South Wales

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The Police Reform Act 2002 established a system for handling complaints against the police. Chief officers are obliged to record complaints about the conduct of a person under their direction and control.

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Henley: This is a matter for South Wales Police Authority.

Ports

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): Under the Great Yarmouth Port Authority Harbour Revision Order 1989, the Great Yarmouth Port Authority currently operates as the harbour authority.



28 Mar 2012 : Column WA281

Under Section 75 (as amended) of the Marine and Coastal Access Act 2009, a harbour authority, such as the Great Yarmouth Port Authority, is exempt from requiring a marine licence for dredging or spoil disposal activity if the conditions as set out in Section 75 of the Act are met.

Due to the scope and scale of the works, the Marine Management Organisation would require specific details of which works are to be exempt.

Quad Bikes

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

Earl Attlee: Quad bikes registered for general road use must be approved under EU type approval or the motorcycle single vehicle approval to demonstrate legal compliance. This includes noise and emissions requirements, which are applicable to that category of vehicle.

The Metropolitan Police may be able to advise on the specifics of the quad bikes they use.

Railways: Eurostar

Questions

Asked by Lord Berkeley

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The Home Office and Border Force have worked closely with Eurostar to ensure that only those correctly ticketed for an international journey remain on board as the service leaves the Schengen zone for onward travel to the United Kingdom. The present arrangement, whereby a full service between Brussels and Lille continues to be provided for holders of season tickets, is the preferred Eurostar response to that challenge.

The UK and Eurostar recognise the value of the existing juxtaposed arrangements both in terms of passenger experience and in controlling the numbers

28 Mar 2012 : Column WA282

of inadequately documented passengers seeking to travel to the UK by this route. There are no current plans to replace juxtaposed controls with full on-board controls on all Eurostar services to the United Kingdom. However, both Eurostar and Border Force target resources on the three services a day for which Brussels-Lille tickets are available to ensure that abuses do not occur. All passengers travelling on Eurostar services between Brussels and London now have their documentation checked by Border Force officers at St Pancras (and Ebbsfleet/Ashford).

Senior Home Office officials continue to work closely with Belgian and French counterparts and with Eurostar to deliver a solution that minimises the impact on genuine travellers while maintaining the integrity of the UK border and which is acceptable to each country through which the service passes.

Railways: Infrastructure

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

Earl Attlee: Since the 17 October 2011 exchanges during the passage of the Localism Bill, the Government have continued to work with Network Rail to examine the need for changes to the current planning regime to enable the timely delivery of major and minor infrastructure works to support sustainable growth. These include the option of introducing secondary legislation.

Railways: Procurement

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

Earl Attlee: Crossrail Ltd is delivering the procurement of Crossrail rolling stock and depot on behalf of Rail for London-the future operator of Crossrail services.

As with all its procurements, Crossrail Ltd is required to procure the rolling stock and depot contract in a fair, objective and transparent manner, and in full compliance with the regulatory framework. Copies of the Instructions for Tenderers and the Rolling Stock Provision Agreement, which were released to shortlisted bidders on 28 February 2012, have been placed in the Libraries of the House.



28 Mar 2012 : Column WA283

Railways: Revenue

Question

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

Earl Attlee: I refer the noble Lord to my Answer of 21 March 2012 (WA 177) which set out the balance of revenue risk between the Government and a franchised train operating company when that company qualifies for revenue support. As stated in that Answer, the Department for Transport does not have details of the costs of employing revenue protection staff as this is an operational matter for individual train operators. Therefore, the Government do not have details of the balance between employment costs of these staff and revenue collected by them.

Railways: Rolling Stock

Question

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

Earl Attlee: The new Class 350/4 units are expected to become operational between December 2013 and April 2014, ahead of full fleet operation from the May 2014 timetable change. This will release Class 185 units for internal cascade within the TransPennine franchise.


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