25 Jun 2012 : Column WA1

Written Answers

Monday 25 June 2012

Abortion

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 11 June (WA 139), what assessment they have made of (1) the principle of, and (2) the physical and psychological health impacts of, women having multiple abortions.[HL832]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): An abortion is legal only if carried out under the terms of the Abortion Act 1967; this does not limit the number of abortions a woman may have. Women have more than one abortion for a wide variety of, often complex, reasons. Every woman who has an abortion is offered information about, and access to, contraception to reduce the risk of future unintended pregnancies. There are many types of contraception available to suit all health and lifestyle needs.

In its clinical guideline The Care of Women Requesting Induced Abortion (November 2011), the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists states that there are no proven associations between induced abortion and future pregnancy complications.

In 2011, the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health published Induced Abortion and Mental Health: A Systematic Review of the Mental Health Outcomes of Induced Abortion, Including their Prevalence and Associated Factors. This concluded that having an abortion does not increase the risk of mental health problems, and that the rates of mental health problems for women with an unwanted pregnancy are the same, whether they have an abortion or have given birth. Some of the studies included women having repeat abortions.

Armed Forces: Aircraft

Questions

Asked by Lord West of Spithead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, further to the response by Lord Astor of Hever on 31 May to the Freedom of Information Act request by Lord West of Spithead (MSU/01/02/01/01/DH), the “unacceptable material damage” that was apparently being inflicted on the Harrier force, leading in part to the decision to replace Harrier planes with Tornado in Afghanistan, was related to direct airframe or engine damage or related to shortage of spares.[HL817]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The unacceptable material damage referred to in the document does not relate to any direct physical airframe or engine damage or shortage of spares. It relates to the damage incurred

25 Jun 2012 : Column WA2

in the ability of the Harrier force to undertake wider Harrier capabilities, beyond those which were being undertaken on Op Herrick. This included skill fade and the need to regenerate wider contingent capability, including complex multinational formation operations in a contested air environment and for utilisation of Harrier weapons systems that were not deployed in Herrick. In 2008, there was also material damage to the provision of a robust Harrier carrier operating capability and the ability to generate additional Harrier force elements at readiness to undertake a small-scale focused intervention.

Asked by Lord West of Spithead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, further to the response by Lord Astor of Hever on 31 May to the Freedom of Information Act request by Lord West of Spithead (MSU/01/02/01/01/DH), the Harmony guidelines referred to as being broken in the Harrier force, at the time the decision to deploy Tornado planes in place of Harriers to Afghanistan in July 2008 was made, were those that applied to Royal Navy or Royal Air Force personnel.[HL818]

Lord Astor of Hever: Joint Force Harrier was formed of Royal Navy and Royal Air Force squadrons. The Harmony guidelines referred to as being broken in the document were Joint Force Harrier Unit Operational Harmony Guidelines. These Harmony guidelines applied to the Harrier force as a whole, irrespective of service. A unit was considered to be achieving Operational Harmony if it achieved “4 in 20” (for every four months away, 16 months should be spent at home), if the separation was for operational reasons.

Armed Forces: Commemoration

Question

Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assistance they are providing for the ceremony to mark the unveiling of the Bomber Command Memorial on 28 June; and what discussions they have had with the Bomber Command Association about whether they are content with the level of help they are providing.[HL794]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Approximately 200 Royal Air Force personnel will be providing support and assistance at the unveiling ceremony for the Bomber Command Memorial on 28 June 2012. These personnel will carry out a number of different roles including ceremonial and ushering duties. A fly-past is also scheduled for the event.

A continuous dialogue has been held between officials from the Air Staff and the Bomber Command Association since the inception of the memorial. The level of support being provided has been under constant review and the Bomber Command Association has expressed nothing but gratitude for that support.

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Asylum Seekers

Questions

Asked by Baroness Lister of Burtersett

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in each of the past five years, how many families with dependent children (1) applied for Section 4 asylum support, (2) were granted the support, and (3) were refused support.[HL696]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The information requested is shown in the following table. Please note that the information is derived from local management information and has not been subject to National Statistics protocols.

Outcome2006200720082009201020112012

Undecided

-

-

*

*

*

-

-

Refused

-

5

16

26

23

19

*

Grants

898

581

1045

987

495

262

63

Total

898

586

1062

1015

519

281

67

(1) All figures quoted are management information which has been subject to internal quality checks.

(2) Figures below 5 are indicated with an “*”; zero is indicated with an “ – ”.

Asked by Baroness Lister of Burtersett

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many asylum-seeking children in receipt of Section 4 asylum support lived in hostel accommodation in the past five years; and for what average length of time.[HL697]

Lord Henley: The information requested on the number of asylum-seeking children in receipt of Section 4 support is shown in the following table. Please note that the information is derived from local management information and has not been subject to National Statistics protocols. Figures below five are not released, as it may be possible to identify individuals. The policy of the Home Office is not to disclose, to a third party, personal information about another person, as the department has obligations under the Data Protection Act and in law generally to protect this information.

It is not possible to determine the average length of time asylum-seeking children in receipt of Section 4 support lived in hostel accommodation in the past five years without a manual search of individual cases, which would incur disproportionate costs.

Children receiving Section 4 support and accommodated in hostels
YearChildren in Hostels

2012

*

2011

*

2010

*

2009

5

2008

5

Asked by Baroness Lister of Burtersett

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many individuals, including dependants, who had a disability were in receipt of Section 95 asylum support in each of the last five years, broken down by age. [HL699]

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Lord Henley: The information requested is shown in the following table.

Cases in receipt of Section 95 asylum support that had a disability recorded against them in March of each of the past five years
DateDisability cases

March 2008

164

March 2009

174

March 2010

130

March 2011

93

March 2012

72

(1) All figures quoted are management information which has been subject to internal quality checks.

(2) The figures refer to a snapshot of a single day in March of each of the past five years.

(3) Disability figures refer to the number of applications with someone having disability, and the applications may correspond to one or more individuals.

Please note that the information is derived from local management information and has not been subject to National Statistics protocols. The figures refer to a snapshot of a single day in March of each of the past five years. Disability figures refer to the number of applications with someone having a disability and the applications may correspond to one or more individuals.

Data broken down by age are not available.

Bank of England

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the identification and selection of the three independent reviewers commissioned by the Court of the Bank of England and announced by the Bank on 21 May was made under the advice of the Governor or his officials; and whether the reviewers were approached by, or discussed their terms of reference with, the Chairman of the Court or the Governor and his officials prior to their appointment.[HL674]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The decision to set these terms of reference and appoint these reviewers was taken by Court. The identification and selection of the three independent reviewers and their terms of reference were discussed by the Chairman of Court with the Governor prior to their appointment by Court at its meeting on 17 May. The Chairman of Court has held separate meetings in person and, in one case, by telephone with the reviewers.

Banking: Quantitative Easing

Question

Asked by Lord Barnett

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their latest estimate of how the £325 billion of quantitative easing has been spent by the recipient banks. [HL722]

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The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Monetary Policy Committee’s (MPC) policy tools, including bank rate and quantitative easing (QE), are macroeconomic policy tools designed to affect the economy as a whole, in order to meet the 2% inflation target over the medium term.

The Bank of England’s asset purchases during QE have largely been from non-bank financial institutions, including insurance companies and pension funds, which use the money received to purchase other assets such as corporate bonds and equities. MPC members have stated that QE has been designed to work through channels other than the impaired banking system, by stimulating activity in the capital markets.

Business Rates

Question

Asked by Lord Wigley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have received from the Welsh Government for matters relating to the legislation for, and the administration of, business rates to be fully devolved to the National Assembly for Wales. [HL771]

The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness): Her Majesty’s Government have not received any representations from the Welsh Government on this issue.

Care Homes

Questions

Asked by Lord Warner

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many (1) residential care homes, (2) nursing homes, and (3) dual-registered care homes were registered with the Care Quality Commission as at 31 March in each of 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012; how many homes in each category were deregulated in each of those years ending on 31 March; and what was the total registered capacity (measured by places) in each category of home on 31 March in each of those years.[HL624]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): We are informed by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) that, under the Health and Social Care Act 2008, CQC registers providers to perform particular regulated activities. It registers providers according to these activities, rather than by service type, such as nursing and residential homes. Nursing and residential homes are registered to provide the regulated activity “accommodation with nursing and

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personal care”. Although services are not registered by type, the CQC will agree with the provider of a service the category it falls into upon registration. The CQC is confident this allows it to report information by type of service.

Table 1 shows numbers of registered residential homes and nursing homes and places at the end of each financial year. There is no dual registration of homes under current legislation. Dual registration applied under the Registered Homes Act 1984; care homes were regulated by local authorities, whereas nursing homes were regulated by health authorities. Dual registration referred to homes that were regulated by both authorities. It ceased with the introduction of the Care Standards Act 2000, although establishments could be registered to provide both residential and nursing care.

Table 2 shows numbers of services that deregistered during each financial year. It should be noted that deregistration of homes is not necessarily indicative of permanent closure or of enforcement activity by the CQC. For example, a home may have temporarily deregistered (and subsequently re-registered) while undergoing refurbishment, or due to its having been taken over by a different provider.

Table 1: Trends in Registered1 Care Homes
Registered under Care Standards Act 20001
As at:31 March 2008231 March 2009231 March 20103
ServicesPlacesServicesPlacesServicesPlaces

Residential Homes1

14,388

262,949

14,145

260,791

13,903

256,794

Nursing Homes1

4,153

185,116

4,233

192,681

4,352

202,654

Totals

18,541

448,065

18,378

453,472

18,255

459,448

Registered under Health and Social Care Act 20081
As at:31 March 2011331 March 2012
ServicesPlacesServicesPlaces

Residential Homes1

12,794

234,584

13,134

247,878

Nursing Homes1

4,458

202,040

4,674

215,524

Totals

17,252

436,624

17,808

463,402

Notes:

1

Methods of ascribing registration categories differ between the two Acts. Caution should be exercised when comparing Care Standards Act data with Health and Social Care Act data.

2

Until 31 March 2009, care home services were regulated by the Commission for Social Care Inspection.

3

Until 30 September 2010, care homes were regulated under the Care Standards Act 2000. From 1 October 2010, all providers were required to register under the Health and Social Care Act 2008.

Source:

CQC database at 12 June 2012

Table 2: Trends in Deregistered1 Care Homes
Registered under Care Standards Act 2000
Year2007-0822008-0922009-102010-113
ServicesPlacesServicesPlacesServicesPlacesServicesPlaces

Residential Homes

1,195

21,084

893

14,363

809

12,084

519

8,742

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25 Jun 2012 : Column WA8

Nursing Homes

257

10,103

164

6,521

154

6,198

92

3,812

Totals

1,452

31,187

1,057

20,884

963

18,282

611

12,554

Registered under Health and Social Care Act 2008
Year2010-1132011-12
ServicesPlacesServicesPlaces

Residential Homes

28

293

1,481

23,636

Nursing Homes

10

40

692

32,758

Totals

38

333

2,173

56,394

Notes:

1

Deregistration of homes is not necessarily indicative of permanent closure.

2

Until 31 March 2009, care home services were regulated by the Commission for Social Care Inspection.

3

Until 30 September 2010, care homes were regulated under Care Standards Act 2000. From 1 October 2010, all providers were required to register under the Health and Social Care Act 2008.

Source:

CQC database at 7 June 2012.

Asked by Lord Warner

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many staff were employed in (1) residential care homes, (2) nursing homes, (3) dual-registered homes, and (4) home care organised homes registered with the Care Quality Commission at the most appropriate date in 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11 and 2011–12. [HL625]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what information is available to them on (1) the levels of occupancy in residential care and nursing homes registered with the Care Quality Commission; (2) the incidence of local authorities embargoing the use of such homes for publicly funded residents in cases where there are no care quality concerns; and (3) the level of subsidy provided by privately paying residents in such homes to the costs charged for publicly funded residents.[HL628]

Earl Howe: We are informed by the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and the National Health Service Information Centre that information on numbers of staff employed in care and nursing homes, occupancy levels, fees and which care providers are used by councils is not available.

Under both the Care Standards Act 2000 and the Health and Social Care Act 2008, standards require CQC inspectors to look at the suitability and appropriateness of staffing levels, qualification and supervision. However, the CQC is not required to record staff numbers centrally and does not do so.

Local councils are free to decide how best to contract with providers of residential care to meet the needs of their populations. The Government do not set or recommend the fee rates which local councils negotiate with care providers.

Commonwealth: Heads of Government Meeting

Question

Asked by Lord Wills

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have considered not attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Sri Lanka. [HL733]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): It is too early to talk about attendance at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM). We have made clear to the Sri Lankans that we want to see a successful CHOGM in 2013. We will look to Sri Lanka as host to demonstrate its commitment to upholding the Commonwealth values of good governance and human rights. A key part of this will be to address longstanding issues around accountability and reconciliation after the war.

Democratic Republic of Congo

Question

Asked by The Lord Bishop of Bath and Wells

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the current United Nations Stabilisation Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the ability of that mission to meet its core mandate of stabilisation and protection of civilians.[HL893]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We fully support the role the UN Stabilisation and Peacekeeping Mission in the Democratic Republic of Congo (MONUSCO) plays in protecting civilians and continue to encourage

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the mission to prioritise its efforts. MONUSCO supports the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) in tackling armed groups and peacefully removing militia fighters from the battlefield through the disarmament, demobilisation, repatriation, resettlement and reintegration (DDRRR) programme. MONUSCO also conducts joint operational planning with the Military of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (FARDC) allowing them to ensure that humanitarian concerns are taken into account and that support is not provided to those accused of serious human rights abuses. But we must also acknowledge that MONUSCO cannot be everywhere, not least given the difficult terrain in which they operate, and that the primary responsibility for protection of civilians lies with the Government of the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The MONUSCO mandate is due to be renewed at the end of June and negotiations in the United Nations are ongoing. We continue to push for the mandate to reflect the situation on the ground, retaining protection of civilians as its first priority and to have a greater emphasis on stabilisation activity and other longer-term objectives such as security sector reform and helping to enforce the arms embargo.

Disabled People: Children

Question

Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the report of the Newlife Foundation for Disabled Children, From the Front Line, on equipment provision for disabled and terminally ill children; and what action they are taking to respond to its findings.[HL730]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): We are very clear that there should be prompt access to appropriate specialist equipment to ensure children and young people’s needs are met, and to support them in living as independently as possible. There are a number of initiatives to support this aim.

The Government’s Green Paper, Support and Aspiration—A New Approach to Special Educational Needs and Disability, was published in March 2011 and the Next Steps document published in May 2012. These include a new single assessment process with a single education, health and care plan, and the option of a personal budget for children and families that will give families more control over the services they receive, including the ability to purchase specialist equipment.

In January, the Secretary of State launched a Children and Young People’s Health Outcomes Forum to identify the outcomes that matter most for children and young people and set out how the new health system will deliver these outcomes. The forum has a group looking specifically at the needs of children with disabilities and those requiring palliative care, and it will be presenting its report to the Secretary of State in July.

One of the high-impact innovations of the NHS chief executive’s review of innovation, Innovation Health and Wealth: Adoption and Diffusion of Innovation, is

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the launch of a “Child in a Chair in a day” programme to transform the delivery of wheelchair services throughout the National Health Service. This, together with the introduction of “Any Qualified Provider” in wheelchair services will increase choice and control for patients. Both these initiatives should improve the quality of wheelchair services offered.

Disabled People: Transport

Question

Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many severely disabled students, eligible for a Freedom Pass, have had their disabled students’ allowance reduced by the nominal cost of bus fares, but are unable for reasons of disability to use public transport; why such students are treated in the same way as less disabled students who are able to access public transport; and what would be the cost of removing this provision in respect of severely disabled students.[HL903]

Baroness Verma: Unfortunately, we do not record this information. If a student is eligible for DSA travel allowance, our guidance states that we must take off the cost of public transport so we do not advantage a disabled student.

Elections: Overseas Electors

Questions

Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to increase the number of overseas electors; and whether they will make it their policy to publish the number of overseas electors by constituency.[HL795]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Government are committed to maximising registration rates. However, there are difficulties with contacting British expatriates as their whereabouts are simply not known and they are not required to inform the UK authorities where they intend to reside, if they emigrate. Those expatriates who have registered receive an annual reminder from their electoral registration officer to update their registration, but there is no way of making contact with those who fail to register or to re-register when they change address.

The Government are considering whether there are any changes that can be made to the registration process for overseas electors—for example, enabling online registration. The Electoral Registration and Administration Bill, currently before Parliament, also includes provisions to support the participation of overseas and service voters by extending the timetable for parliamentary elections from 17 to 25 days.

Statistics detailing the number of electors registered to vote in parliamentary elections are produced by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). ONS publishes annual statistics for the number of people registered to

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vote by parliamentary constituency. Electors who are resident overseas form part of the total number of parliamentary electors but the published figures do not provide information on residence. ONS does not currently have plans to publish figures for the number of overseas electors. The House of Commons, however, publishes information on overseas electors for the UK, but does not publish this information by parliamentary constituency.

Asked by Lord Lexden

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have any plans to extend the existing 15-year period during which British citizens living abroad can vote in UK elections.[HL884]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Government are considering whether the 15-year time limit on voting rights for British citizens overseas remains appropriate, but have no immediate plans to alter the legislation.

In the mean time, the Government have taken steps to improve the overseas voting process by introducing proposals in the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill, currently before Parliament, to extend the electoral timetable for UK parliamentary elections from 17 to 25 working days. This will facilitate greater voter participation, making it easier for postal voters and, in particular, overseas and service voters. The Government are also considering what more can be done to improve the registration process in the context of the move to individual electoral registration.

Employment: Under-25s

Questions

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, since the start of the youth contract in April, how many of the 160,000 wage-subsidised jobs promised in the contract have been made available to under-24 year-olds on the Work Programme.[HL881]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many employers have offered under-24 year-olds on the Work Programme subsidised jobs since the launch of the youth contract in April.[HL882]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The department is working to guidelines set by the UK Statistics Authority to ensure we are able to publish accurate high-quality statistics at the earliest opportunity.

Official statistics on subsidised jobs under the youth contract are not currently available. The exact details of what we will publish have still to be decided as that is dependent on the availability and quality of the data in line with the code of practice on official statistics.

The department is currently commissioning an evaluation strategy for the youth contract. Information from the evaluation will be available in 2013.

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Energy: UK-Norway Partnership

Question

Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many jobs they estimate will be created in the United Kingdom following the Prime Minister’s recent discussions in Norway regarding joint venture energy deals, research and programmes.[HL894]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): During a visit to Oslo on 6 and 7 June, the Prime Minister announced a UK-Norway energy partnership and billions of pounds of new investment by UK and Norwegian companies. The announcement can be found at: http://www.decc.gov.uk/en/content/cms/news/pn12_072/pn12_072.aspx.

These investments have the potential to create thousands of jobs in the UK. Details include:

Statoil’s further £12 billion investment developing Mariner-Bressay North Sea oil fields creating 800 to 1,000 new jobs, including 200 to 300 jobs at a new operations centre in Aberdeen;Aker Solutions creating 1,300 jobs in London; andForewind Consortium’s development of Dogger Bank offshore wind farm, which could create many thousands of jobs.

Equines: Hot Branding

Question

Asked by Baroness Mallalieu

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will review the operation of the provisions which permit the hot-branding of equines.[HL861]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): I have asked the Chief Veterinary Officer to provide me with a report into this practice. It will be with me shortly.

EU: Access to Documents

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they support changes to European Union Regulation 1049 on public access to European Parliament, Council and Commission documents so as to (1) extend the institutional scope of the Regulation to all EU bodies, (2) ensure legislative transparency, (3) align the Regulation with the Aarhus Convention on environmental information, and (4) balance the right to public access to EU documents with the right to personal privacy.[HL860]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Government have been fully engaged in the discussions on the recast of the access to documents regulation and are committed to the principle of transparency within EU institutions.

25 Jun 2012 : Column WA13

The Government support an enhancement of transparency and therefore strongly oppose any restriction on what constitutes a document for the purposes of the regulation.

Specifically, the Government support an extension of the institutional scope of the regulation in accordance with the Lisbon treaty and an alignment of the regulation with the Aarhus convention. We support the extension of legislative transparency, although this must be balanced against the importance of protecting important and sensitive information, such as legal advice. We also strongly oppose any proposals to weaken the protection afforded to personal privacy and remain of the view that the right to information must be appropriately balanced with the right to privacy.

EU: Economic Partnership Agreements

Question

Asked by The Earl of Sandwich

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are in favour of the European Union’s support for regional economic partnership agreements (EPAs) in Africa; and what assessment they have made of the potential impact of EPAs on export duties and African economies.[HL849]

The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint): The UK has been a consistent supporter of development-friendly economic partnership agreements between the European Union and the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries, which it sees as the best available means to allow ACP countries to continue to benefit from preferential market access to the EU. These agreements differ from standard free trade agreements (FTAs) in a number of ways intended to account for the development needs of the ACP countries:

they are asymmetrical, with the ACP country gaining immediate 100% duty-free, quota-free access to the EU in return for opening 80% of its market over an extended period (between 15 and 25 years);the ACP country can make use of a wide range of safeguards, anti-dumping duties and infant industry protection;they are negotiated in regional blocs to facilitate regional integration; andthe EU provides accompanying development assistance to help ACP countries make the most of EPA opportunities.

All ACP countries which implement an EPA will get 100% access to the EU market. The impact of the opening of the ACP country market will vary according to the deal negotiated, but the need to ensure compliance with World Trade Organisation rules means that the ACP country is likely to be required to eliminate tariffs on approximately 80% of its imports. However, impacts will be mitigated through the staged opening over 15 to 25 years and through the possibility of deploying safeguards, infant industry protection and anti-dumping provisions.

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Extradition

Questions

Asked by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether there have been any substantive alterations made to the United Kingdom’s extradition arrangements with the United States in the past two years; whether terms for extradition are reciprocal; and whether any new safeguards have been implemented since June 2010.[HL644]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): There have been no substantial alterations made to the UK’s extradition arrangements with the US and no new safeguards have been implemented since 2010. The terms for extradition are as broadly reciprocal as can be between two countries given that they are based on different legal systems.

The UK-US extradition treaty was also considered by the independent review of the UK’s extradition arrangements led by Sir Scott Baker. The panel found that the treaty does not operate in an unbalanced manner. The Home Secretary is considering the review panel’s findings and will announce the Government’s response shortly.

Asked by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many United States citizens were extradited to the United Kingdom between January 2004 and April 2012 for crimes allegedly committed whilst the person was in the United States; and how many such applications for extradition are pending.[HL646]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many United Kingdom citizens were extradited to the United States between January 2004 and April 2012 for crimes allegedly committed whilst the person was in the United Kingdom; and how many such applications for extradition are pending.[HL647]

Lord Henley: As a person’s nationality has never been a bar to extradition between the UK and the US, the nationality of the person whose extradition was sought was not, before 2010, always recorded. Information about where the alleged offence was committed in each case is not held centrally; however, in every case the alleged offence would have to come within the jurisdiction of the requesting state. The answer reflects these qualifications.

Between 2010 and April 2012, 10 people were extradited from the US to the UK, of whom two were US nationals. Neither has been identified as being accused of a crime which was committed while the person was in the US. Currently, there is one outstanding request from the UK to the US for a US citizen. This has not been identified as involving a crime which was committed while the person was in the US.

In the same timeframe, 23 people were extradited from the UK to the US. Fifteen were UK nationals, of whom three were dual nationals (of the UK and a third state). None has been identified as being accused solely of a crime committed whilst the person was in

25 Jun 2012 : Column WA15

the UK. There are currently 17 outstanding requests from the US to the UK for UK citizens. Of these 17, there are five cases where I can confirm that the alleged offences were committed whilst the person was in the UK.

The figures given in this reply do not include requests between the US and Scotland.

Extradition: Gary McKinnon

Questions

Asked by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, in dealing with the extradition case involving Gary McKinnon, they have given consideration to the comments made by the New Zealand judge David Harvey, in the Megaupload case, that in considering extradition to the United States he recognised “the need not only for a fair hearing but a fair hearing properly informed”.[HL642]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Henley on 7 November 2011 (WA 10), what further medical reports they have received regarding Gary McKinnon; what assessment they have made of the potential psychological impact on Gary McKinnon due to the uncertainty about his potential extradition to the United States; and for how long they believe it would be acceptable for that uncertainty to continue.[HL645]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The sole issue for my right honourable friend the Home Secretary to consider is whether Mr McKinnon's extradition would contravene his human rights. She is currently reviewing all the relevant material, including extensive representations provided by Mr McKinnon’s solicitors covering all aspects of his case.

It would not be appropriate for me to comment on a case being considered in another jurisdiction. I would, however, note that Mr McKinnon’s case has been exhaustively considered in the UK courts.

Families: Troubled Families

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have sought approval from the Information Commissioner for the identification of “troubled families”, including access by local authorities to data on the Police National Computer.[HL777]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): All agencies that are sharing data for the identification of troubled families need to satisfy themselves of the legality of their processes. The financial framework for the troubled families programme (a copy of which has been placed in the Library) sets out a process for identification of such families and includes, at Annexe A, the legal basis on which this process may be undertaken.

25 Jun 2012 : Column WA16

The approval of the Information Commissioner to this process is not required and was not sought, as such sharing of data is permissible within existing legislation. The Department for Work and Pensions did, however, consult the Information Commissioner about the proposal to share social security data with local authorities for purposes connected with the troubled families programme.

Fishing: Stock

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Chesterton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimates they have on the predicted decline of stocks of white fish in the waters around the United Kingdom, in the light of current European Union policies and policies under negotiation.[HL838]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The European Commission’s assessment for this year of the state of fish stocks in the Atlantic and nearby seas indicates the proportion of overfished stocks fell from 32 out of 34 stocks in 2004 to 18 out of 38 stocks in 2011.

Although improvements are gradually being made under the current Common Fisheries Policy (CFP), the UK Government believe radical reform of this broken policy is needed to help achieve the maximum sustainable yield (MSY), something which the Commission agrees is a realistic and achievable goal. We have therefore pressed strongly for a reformed CFP to contain a clear legal commitment, with deadlines, to achieve MSY as soon as possible. Reform negotiations continue, but last week the council agreed an approach in principle that includes legally binding limits on fishing levels to ensure scientific advice on MSY is taken into account when agreeing annual quotas.

Fluoridation

Questions

Asked by Earl Baldwin of Bewdley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 1 May (WA 448–9) where they cited the 2004 Newcastle fluoride bioavailability study as showing “no statistically significant difference” between two types of fluoridated water for plasma fluoride concentration following water ingestion in healthy young adults, to what they were referring in the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 27 February (WA 253) where they stated that “the researchers concluded that the findings were still statistically significant”.[HL801]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): There is no inconsistency. The School of Dental Sciences at Newcastle University found statistically significant results from its research into the bioavailability of fluoride. One of the findings was that there were no (statistically significant) differences

25 Jun 2012 : Column WA17

in plasma fluoride concentration following ingestion in healthy young adults of water in which fluoride occurs naturally and water to which fluoride has been added.

Asked by Earl Baldwin of Bewdley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath on 31 January 2001 (WA 66) in which the British Fluoridation Society was stated to have a promotional role, whether it is the case that present and past officers and members of the society should formally register an interest when sitting on bodies which deliberate on aspects of fluoridation policy; and, if not, whether they will issue advice to that effect. [HL802]

Earl Howe: This is a helpful suggestion, which we will bear in mind if we set up an expert advisory group on research or policy development on fluoridation.

Asked by Earl Baldwin of Bewdley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the article “Weeping and Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth: The Legal Fiction of Water Fluoridation” in the journal Medical Law International 2012 in respect of the medicinal status of fluoridation.[HL803]

Earl Howe: Our views remain the same as that of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, that fluoride added to drinking water is not a medical product.

Food: Food Security Summit

Question

Asked by The Lord Bishop of Wakefield

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which government department has lead responsibility for organising the food security summit during the 2012 Olympic Games.[HL650]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The Department for International Development will have lead responsibility for organising a major event on hunger during the 2012 Olympic Games.

Gaza

Questions

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the statement by the International Committee of the Red Cross on 14 June 2010 on the closure of the Gaza Strip; and what measures they are taking to support the lifting of the blockade.[HL742]

25 Jun 2012 : Column WA18

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The UK frequently raises with the Israeli authorities our concerns on the impact of restrictions on Gaza, urging Israel to comply with her international obligations. In close co-ordination with our European Union partners and the Office of the Quartet Representative, we continue to press the Israeli Government at ministerial and official level to ease access restrictions.

While we welcome the steps that have been taken, including the first exports of textiles goods from Gaza to the UK, a normalisation of Israeli trade relationship with Gaza would make the greatest contribution to economic development.

Asked by The Lord Bishop of Exeter

To ask Her Majesty’s Government (1) what discussions they have had with, and (2) what representations they will make to, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees regarding its decision to stop funding the Ali Ahli Hospital in Gaza.[HL843]

Lord Howell of Guildford: We understand that the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) is currently re-tendering the contract to provide secondary healthcare for the refugee community in Gaza, which was previously held by the Al Ahli Hospital. As a major donor to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), the UK—through the Department for International Development—liaises closely with UNRWA to ensure that essential services to Palestinian refugees are delivered effectively and provide good value for money for the UK taxpayer. However, it would not be appropriate for us to intervene in individual procurement decisions or offer additional funding to an unsuccessful bidder.

Government Departments: Apprentices

Question

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the total number of staff employed within the private offices of Ministers and the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Transport on 1 June; and how many of them were (1) under the age of 21, (2) apprentices under the age of 21, and (3) apprentices over the age of 21.[HL909]

Earl Attlee: As of 1 June 2012, there is a total of 21 staff employed in the private offices of Ministers and the Permanent Secretary. None was either an apprentice or under the age of 21.

Government Departments: Communication

Question

Asked by Lord Shutt of Greetland

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the National Audit Office’s report Central governments communications and engagement with local government, how the sending of 744,115 e-mails by central government departments to local authorities in March 2012 sits with their localism aims.[HL829]

25 Jun 2012 : Column WA19

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): We welcome this report and are pleased to have been recognised for our communication and engagement with local authorities. It is reassuring to learn that channels such as our website, info4local, and our local authority chief executive newsletter are regarded as best practice and we will continue to build on these successes.

Inevitably even in a localist world, central and local government need to work together and it is right that we maintain communications and be transparent. However, it is not DCLG’s position to try to monitor communication standards and levels across government. According to the National Audit Office’s report, it is the Department for Work and Pensions and its agencies and other bodies, and the Ministry of Justice and its agencies and other bodies, that send the greatest volume of e-mails to local authorities. DCLG will aim to engage with Whitehall departments on a periodic basis to assess respective progress on the National Audit Office’s recommendations.

The Government are committed to decentralisation, devolving power, money and knowledge to those best placed to find the best solutions to local needs.

Lifting the burden of centrally imposed bureaucracy is a central plank of our approach—since the summer of 2010, the Government have ended over a quarter of all data collections from local authorities, in addition to ending comprehensive area assessment, the national indicator set and local area agreements.

Government Departments: Legal Payments

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what payments were made by the Department for Communities and Local Government to (1) Clifford Chance, (2) Freshfields, (3) Slaughter and May, (4) Allen and Overy, and (5) Linklaters, in (a) 2008–09, (b) 2009–10, (c) 2010–11, and (d) 2011–12; and to what those payments related.[HL916]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): (1) Clifford Chance—Supplier Reference 401460: No payment records reported in the time periods specified.

(2) Freshfields: No supplier record found.

(3) Slaughter and May—Supplier Reference 406425: See table below for payments made for legal services:

Financial YearValue (£)

2008-09

207,478.37

2009-10

399,685.15

2010-11

8,159.86

2011-12

None to date

(4) Allen and Overy—Supplier Reference 400225: No payment records reported in the time periods specified.

(5) Linklaters—Supplier Reference 413248: No payment records reported in the time periods specified.

25 Jun 2012 : Column WA20

Health: Diabetes

Questions

Asked by Lord Morris of Aberavon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the difficulties in disaggregating expenditure on type 1 diabetes from type 2; and whether, in the light of the report of the National Audit Office that the number of people with diabetes in England is projected to increase to 3.8 million people by 2020, they will give further consideration to providing sufficient financial information so as to make adequate provision for the future treatment of type 1 diabetes patients. [HL786]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Estimating expenditure on healthcare conditions such as diabetes is a complex process. National Health Service commissioners need to compile information from a wide range of service areas, such as hospital admissions, community care and drugs prescribed in primary care. Based on existing information systems it is not always possible to identify whether a particular admission or treatment is for type 1 or type 2 diabetes. For example, drugs prescribed in primary care are recorded using British National Formulary codes, but this may be prescribed for type 1 or type 2 diabetes patients.

The department works closely with a range of NHS organisations to improve the estimates of expenditure and makes improvements to the guidance, systems and processes of the collection each year. The department will review the National Audit Office report and consult with the relevant experts in order to determine what improvements can be made to the estimates of diabetes expenditure in future years.

Asked by Lord Morris of Aberavon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the current expenditure on research for type 1 diabetes treatment; and what consultation they have carried out with researchers and the medical profession as to its adequacy.[HL787]

Earl Howe: The department spent £1.8 million in 2011-12 on research on type 1 diabetes treatment through research programmes, research centres and units, and research training awards.

The department’s total spend on research on type 1 diabetes treatment is higher because expenditure by the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network (CRN) on this topic cannot be disaggregated from total CRN spend.

The CRN currently has 211 studies in diabetes that are in set-up or recruiting patients. The breakdown is as follows:

TypeNumber of Studies

1

44

2

108

1 and 2

58

Other diabetes-related

14

25 Jun 2012 : Column WA21

The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including type 1 diabetes. These applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the scientific quality of the proposals made. In all disease areas, the amount of NIHR funding depends on the volume and quality of scientific activity.

The department has not consulted with researchers and the medical profession specifically on the adequacy of current expenditure on research for type 1 diabetes treatment.

Health: Lyme Disease

Question

Asked by The Countess of Mar

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many United Kingdom residents received (1) a positive serology test result, (2) an equivocal test result, and (3) a negative test result, for Lyme borreliosis from tests carried out by all National Health Service microbiology laboratories using ELISA or C6 ELISA test kits, including Primary Care Trust laboratories, Health Protection Agency collaborating laboratories and Health Protection Scotland laboratories, for the years 2005 to 2010 inclusive.[HL685]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Health Protection Agency (HPA) until 2010 received data voluntarily supplied by National Health Service institutions in England and Wales on the number of positive Lyme cases they have identified, but this information does not include the analytical method used. The HPA cannot answer on behalf of Health Protection Scotland.

Within the HPA, confirmatory Lyme testing between 2005 and 2010 was carried out by the HPA Lyme Borreliosis Unit at Southampton. During this period, the Southampton unit has used three different enzyme linked immuno sorbent assay (ELISA) types, including the C6 ELISA.

In addition, the number of samples undergoing confirmatory testing at the Southampton unit by the various different ELISA tests showing as equivocal, negative and reactive from referring laboratories (which are NHS, HPA and private laboratories) are shown in the following tables.

IgG EIA
EquivocalNegativeReactiveTotal TestedEquivocal or Reactive

2005

Test unavailable prior to 2006

2006

6

126

25

157

31

2007

85

1,448

289

1,822

374

2008

74

1,007

269

1,350

343

2009

96

1,030

288

1,414

384

2010

85

816

206

1,107

291

25 Jun 2012 : Column WA22

IgM EIA
EquivocalNegativeReactiveTotal TestedEquivocal or Reactive

2005

Test unavailable prior to 2006

2006

1

147

9

157

10

2007

42

1,644

132

1,818

174

2008

66

982

245

1,293

311

2009

87

876

398

1,361

485

2010

90

674

296

1,060

386

Combined IgG & IgM EIA
EquivocalNegativeNot detectedReactiveTotal TestedEquivocal or Reactive

2005

280

3,654

376

4,310

656

2006

250

2,929

442

3,621

692

2007

157

1,635

135

1,927

292

2008

145

2,371

137

2,653

282

2009

298

2,664

19

182

3,163

480

2010

363

2,732


195

3,290

558

Combined IgG & IgM using Synthetic Peptide (C6)
EquivocalNegativeNot detectedReactiveGrand TotalEquivocal or Reactive

2005

23

4,700

932

5,655

955

2006

39

6,889

910

7,838

949

2007

206

8,875

1,216

10,297

1,422

2008

158

10,463

1

1,397

12,019

1,555

2009

184

11,622

1,426

13,232

1,610

2010

276

11,707


1,241

13,224

1,517

Notes:

1. ELISA: Acronym for Enzyme Linked Immuno Sorbent Assay: method used to capture either specific target antigen or antibody, either in a liquid or solid phase assay, to detect the presence of these targets in clinical and other samples.

2. IgG EIA: ELISA detecting specifically the immunoglobulin class IgG.

3. IgM EIA: ELISA detecting specifically the immunoglobulin class IgM.

4. C6 ELISA: A commercial ELISA utilising a synthetic peptide (a component part of a protein designed to enhance specificity).

5. Reactive: where there is a signal, either as a colour generation in a liquid system or as line of staining on a solid phase indicating the presence of a target, eg antigen or antibody. Depending on the assay, this reactivity may require further analysis to determine its significance in terms of specificity. Reactive is the equivalent to a positive result.

6. Equivocal: where an assay signal or reaction has not met a complete set of preset criteria (possibly defined by the kit manufacturer or by laboratory validation methods) to satisfy an interpretation of positive, but is demonstrating sufficient reactivity that requires further investigation, perhaps by alternative assay or by repeat specimen.

Health: Mitochondrial Disease

Question

Asked by The Countess of Mar

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why mitochondrial function testing is not generally available through the National Health Service.[HL684]

25 Jun 2012 : Column WA23

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): We understand that mitochondrial function testing as a possible diagnostic test for chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis is not yet accepted as part of normal clinical practice. It is for local commissioners to determine what services they should commission to meet the needs of their populations, within available resources and local priorities.

Health: Multiple Sclerosis

Questions

Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many people have been diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in (1) each primary care trust, (2) England, and (3) each parliamentary constituency in each of the past five years for which data are available.[HL688]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many people with symptoms of multiple sclerosis have been diagnosed with (1) relapsing remitting, (2) secondary progressive, and (3) primary progressive multiple sclerosis, in (a) each primary care trust, (b) England, and (c) each parliamentary constituency, in each of the past five years for which data are available.[HL689]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many people died as a result of multiple sclerosis in (1) each primary care trust, and (2) England, in each of the past five years for which data are available. [HL690]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will introduce a new national clinical audit to collect data about the quality of care provided to people with multiple sclerosis.[HL692]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to collect data on patient report outcome measures for people with multiple sclerosis.[HL693]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Information on the number of people diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) is not available centrally.

The UK Statistics Authority collects mortality numbers and rates for England and Wales, including all-cause and specific causes as defined by the International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision (ICD-10).

The department currently has no formal plans to introduce a central collection of patient reported outcome measures with multiple sclerosis, or to introduce a clinical audit.

The NHS Outcomes Framework sets the national outcomes that the National Health Service should be aiming to improve. Domains two, three and four of the NHS Outcomes Framework relate to neurological conditions, in terms of enhancing the quality of life for people with long-term conditions, helping people to recover from episodes of ill health and injury and ensuring that people have a positive experience of care. The following indicators from the NHS Outcomes Framework are particularly relevant:

25 Jun 2012 : Column WA24

2. Health related quality of life for people with long-term conditions; and2.1 Proportion of people feeling supported to manage their condition.

These indicators will be measured through the GP Patient Survey and, while these are generic measures, it should be possible to break down the responses into patients with various specific long-term conditions, including neurological conditions.

The Government want to make more use of information generated by patients themselves by making wider use of tools such as patient reported outcome measures (PROMS). In the White Paper Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS, the Government made a commitment to expand, wherever practicable, the collection of PROMS to a wider range of patients.

Health: Neurology

Questions

Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will develop a national patient experience survey for neurological conditions, and if so, how.[HL691]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department currently has no plans to introduce a national patient experience survey for neurological conditions.

There are a number of drivers that require and support healthcare organisations to continually measure and improve the patient experience.

The NHS Outcomes Framework sets the national outcomes that the National Health Service should be aiming to improve. Domains two, three and four of the NHS Outcomes Framework relate to neurological conditions, in terms of enhancing the quality of life for people with long-term conditions, helping people to recover from episodes of ill health and injury and ensuring that people have a positive experience of care. The following indicators from the NHS Outcomes Framework are particularly relevant:

2. Health related quality of life for people with long-term conditions; and2.1 Proportion of people feeling supported to manage their condition.

These indictors will be measured through the GP Patient Survey and, while these are generic measures, it should be possible to break down the responses into patients with various specific long-term conditions, including neurological conditions.

In the White Paper Equity and Excellence:Liberating the NHS, the Government made a commitment to expand the collection of patient reported outcome measures (PROMS) wherever practicable. The department has commissioned a number of pilots to meet this commitment. This includes a pilot that covers six conditions in primary care, including epilepsy. Patients were sent a questionnaire to collect baseline data in 2011 and the follow-up will take place this year. From these it will be possible to work out the changes to patient reported health. The pilot is expected to report later this year.

25 Jun 2012 : Column WA25

Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will take steps to increase data collection on neurological conditions at general practice, clinical commissioning group, primary care trust and provider level.[HL759]

Earl Howe: The Government’s overall policy on data collections aims to ensure that proposals for new or continued data collections reduce the burden on local bodies by ensuring that wherever possible all data collected nationally are of value locally.

The NHS Outcomes Framework already defines and enables measurement of the key outcomes that matter to patients. All five domains within the framework have relevance to long-term neurological conditions, while domain two, enhancing the quality of life for people with long-term neurological conditions, seeks to capture specific information on how successfully the National Health Service is supporting people with long-term conditions to live as normal a life as possible.

Health: Rare Diseases

Question

Asked by Baroness Masham of Ilton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the suitability for use of the process of assessment of treatments for rare diseases developed by the Advisory Group on National Specialised Services.[HL945]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Advisory Group for National Specialised Services (AGNSS) is an independent stakeholder advisory group, which advises Ministers on the highly specialised services and technologies which should be commissioned nationally. In making its recommendations to Ministers, AGNSS is guided by a decision-making framework which was developed through wide-ranging consultation. The department has made no separate assessment of the processes used by AGNSS.

Healthcare: Costs

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, since European Union Regulation 883/2004 entered into force on 1 May 2010, (1) which countries are charging healthcare cost on an actual basis for United Kingdom pensioners residing in those countries; (2) how many pensioners were involved in the most recent year; (3) what were the total (a) actual, and (b) average pensioner charges per country respectively; and (4) what were the actual payments to those countries charging on an average costs basis.[HL793]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The following countries charge actual costs for state-funded healthcare under 883/2004: Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus (after two years),

25 Jun 2012 : Column WA26

Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia. The number of United Kingdom state pensioners registered in these countries is shown in the following table:

Number of registered UK state pensioners residing in another EEA member state

Austria

557

Belgium

521

Bulgaria

363

Czech Republic

81

France

41,444

Germany

2,729

Greece

2,690

Italy

2,881

Latvia

36

Lithuania

17

Luxembourg

51

Poland

413

Romania

11

Slovakia

14

Slovenia

54

Republic of Cyprus

11,029

Total

62,891

Claims for payments for pensioners under European Union Regulation 883/2004 have only recently started to be received, and so no payments have yet been made against such claims. The 18-month deadline under the new regulations refers to the date the claim is submitted to the UK, not the date of treatment. The processing of all claims by the UK and against the UK under the new regulations is within the above 18-month deadline. We anticipate that the first payments under Regulation 883/2004 will be made in late July 2012.

Higher Education: English Students

Question

Asked by Lord Janner of Braunstone

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the 10% drop in English students applying for September 2012 university places compared to 2011.[HL854]

Baroness Verma: Application rates for 18 year-olds are an important guide to demand for higher education as they have generally not previously had the opportunity to apply. The application rate is down 0.9% from 32.4% to 31.5%. This is still higher than the 2010 rate of 31.4%—so the application rate for 18 year-olds, which allows for the decline in the total population of 18 year-olds, has remained strong. The proportion of English school leavers applying to university is the second highest on record.

It is encouraging that applications from people from some of the most disadvantaged backgrounds remain strong. The independent information provided by UCAS shows that the application rate for people

25 Jun 2012 : Column WA27

from the most disadvantaged backgrounds is holding up with only a 0.2% drop for those applying by the January 15 deadline.

Even with a small reduction in applications, there have already been more applicants than there will be places. This will still be a competitive year like any other as applicants appreciate that university remains a good long-term investment in their future.

Houses of Parliament: Scrutiny Override

Question

Asked by Lord Boswell of Aynho

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, for each Department, from July to December 2011, (1) on how many occasions the scrutiny reserve resolution in the House of Lords was overridden, (2) on how many occasions the scrutiny reserve resolution in the House of Commons was overridden, and (3) in respect of how many documents an override occurred in (a) both Houses or (b) either House.[HL687]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Government will always seek to avoid breaching the scrutiny reserve resolutions of either House of Parliament. We will continue to account for their actions in writing to the Chairmen of the scrutiny committees in each House when this happens.

Due to the parliamentary recess, the second half of the year always presents more of a challenge for the scrutiny process; 25 of the overrides occurred when Parliament was in recess. Thirty-five of the overrides involved fast-moving sanctions and restrictive measures proposals in relation to countries such as Libya, Syria, and Iran. It was important that proposals were agreed urgently so that measures were implemented quickly. Regrettably, this meant that on several occasions the Government had to agree proposals before the committee had the opportunity to scrutinise the documents. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office ensured that the committee was notified in writing of each of these overrides and that the committee was subsequently given the opportunity to consider each of these documents.

With regard to those scrutiny overrides that did not relate to fast-moving sanctions and restrictive measures proposals or did not fall over parliamentary recess, six overrides related to fast-moving discussions in the World Trade Organisation where there was not enough time to seek scrutiny clearance between the Commission proposal and the date for Council agreement for these discussions and regrettably the Government had to override scrutiny. Similarly, three scrutiny overrides related to programmes on financial assistance to Portugal and Ireland where there was not enough time to seek scrutiny clearance between the Commission proposal and the date for Council agreement for these discussions. In these cases Her Majesty’s Treasury wrote to the scrutiny committees to flag the tight timetable and committed to provide the scrutiny committees with the Explanatory Memoranda within five days rather than 10 and highlighted that the Government would vote in favour. Two other scrutiny overrides related to

25 Jun 2012 : Column WA28

fast-moving negotiations on European market infrastructure regulation and the annual budget and, again, scrutiny was overridden in both these cases because negotiations were moving so quickly. In both these cases the final compromise reached was acceptable to the committees.

There were a further two scrutiny overrides so that the UK could adopt the UK’s opt-in as a justice and home affairs obligation.

The figures requested are set out in the table below:

Department(1) House of Lords override(2) House of Commons override(a) No. of overrides in both Houses(b) Total no. of overrides

Department for Business, Innovation and Skills

0

7

0

7

Department for Culture, Media and Sport

0

1

0

1

Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

0

2

0

2

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

36

40

36

40

HM Treasury

4

2

1

5

Department for Transport

1

0

0

1

41

52

37

56

Immigration: Children

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Henley on 11 June (WA 196), how many children under 18 have been placed in immigration detention at Heathrow Airport since 16 December 2010; and whether they will in future collect statistics on the number of children placed in immigration detention at airports.[HL753]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): We are unable to provide any statistics for the number of children under 18 who have been placed in immigration detention at airports since 16 December 2010.

The Home Office does publish statistics on children in detention but this excludes short-term holding rooms at ports and airports (for less than 24 hours). These data on children in detention can be found on the Home Office website. I have placed a copy of the latest figures (relating to April 2012) in the Library of the House and these are also available at: http://www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/science-research-statistics/research-statistics/immigration-asylum-research/child-detention-apr2012.

There has been a previous request under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 asking for information on children held at ports. Please find the information

25 Jun 2012 : Column WA29

relating to children held at Heathrow that was released under this request in the table below.

Breakdown of the number of children held at Heathrow Airport between May 2011 and the end of August 2011

May-11

Unaccompanied

In Family

Heathrow Terminal 1

3

5

Heathrow Terminal 3

1

8

Heathrow Terminal 4

4

28

Heathrow Terminal 5

4

0

Jun-11

Unaccompanied

In Family

Heathrow Terminal 1

1

14

Heathrow Terminal 3

2

44

Heathrow Terminal 4

11

30

Heathrow Terminal 5

4

8

Jul-12

Unaccompanied

In Family

Heathrow Terminal 1

11

16

Heathrow Terminal 3

2

43

Heathrow Terminal 4

13

51

Heathrow Terminal 5

13

18

Aug-11

Unaccompanied

In Family

Heathrow Terminal 1

6

14

Heathrow Terminal 3

11

52

Heathrow Terminal 4

1

55

Heathrow Terminal 5

3

14

These data are based on management information only and have not been subject to the detailed checks that apply for national statistics publications. These figures are provisional and are subject to change.

Immigration: Deportation

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

To ask Her Majesty’s Government by what process the UK Border Agency deported a Turkish national in March 2012, despite the existence of a court order prohibiting deportation; what steps they are taking to comply with Mr Justice Singh’s order that they find the individual and bring him back to the United Kingdom; and what steps they are taking to prevent further breaches of court orders prohibiting the removal of asylum seekers.[HL776]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): We cannot comment on individual cases. However, whenever we are notified of a barrier to removal, including a claim for asylum, we will take all the necessary steps to halt removal directions.

25 Jun 2012 : Column WA30

Immigration: Detention

Questions

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the level of (1) mental illness, and (2) HIV infection among (a) African, and (b) other women in United Kingdom detention and removal centres, and of the adequacy of treatment available in those centres for such conditions.[HL656]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Information about the level of mental illness and human immunodeficiency virus infection among African women and other women who are held in immigration and removal centres (IRCs) is not collected centrally.

Although the United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) operating standards require that all detainees must have available to them the same range and quality of health services as the public receives from the National Health Service, both the Department of Health and Home Office agreed that the necessary level of clinical expertise to inform commissioning of healthcare or standard-setting rests firmly with NHS organisations.

Currently, the majority of IRC healthcare facilities are provided by private providers who are contracted by the UKBA. The department is now working with the UKBA on a phased programme to transfer commissioning and funding responsibility for healthcare provision within IRCs fully to the NHS from April 2014.

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Henley on 11 June (WA 196), why the UK Border Agency does not maintain central records of the number of individuals placed in immigration detention who claim to have been tortured, claim to have mental health problems or about whom mental health problems have been observed; and whether they will do so in future. [HL833]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The UK Border Agency has no plans to create a central record of the number of individuals placed in immigration detention who claim to have been tortured, claim to have mental health problems or about whom mental health problems have been observed.

Case owners take a number of factors into consideration, including any claim to have been tortured and reported or observed mental health issues, in order to reach a decision on whether detention or continuing detention is appropriate.

There are processes to inform the ongoing individual risk assessment for each case. A centralised record of torture claims and mental health issues would not alter the decisions made in each individual case but would result in resource implications to capture, monitor and maintain the record across a number of directorates and immigration removal centres.

25 Jun 2012 : Column WA31

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Henley on 11 June (WA 196), what information is known by immigration detention centre managers and the UK Border Agency about the mental health status of individual detainees.[HL834]

Lord Henley: Medical records for detainees are confidential. Medical information is not shared with UK Border Agency staff unless the detained person has given explicit consent.

Where a medical practitioner believes that a detainee’s health is likely to be injuriously affected by continued detention or suspects a detained person of having suicidal intentions, he or she is required to inform the UK Border Agency.

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Henley on 11 June (WA 197), what measures they (1) have taken, (2) are taking, and (3) will take, to avoid any and all further deaths during enforced returns.[HL835]

Lord Henley: The UK Border Agency paused the use of restraint techniques on scheduled removal flights for 10 days following the death of Mr Jimmy Mubenga in October 2010. Restraint techniques for all escorted scheduled removal flights were reinstated on 25 October, when the UK Border Agency was satisfied that restraint techniques were not inherently dangerous.

While the UK Border Agency is satisfied that techniques are safe, no use of restraint can be totally risk-free, which is one of the reasons why it is used only as a last resort. Professionals in the use of restraint from the National Offender Management Service are reviewing the techniques used on aircraft in order to see if they can be made even safer.