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To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to enhance the regulatory oversight of the charges levied on trains passing through the Channel Tunnel, as required in European legislation. [HL925]
Earl Attlee: Regulation of access charges through the Channel Tunnel is undertaken by the Channel Tunnel Intergovernmental Commission (IGC) through its joint-economic committee. The Government have no current plans to change these arrangements.
The joint economic committee is investigating the charging regime in the tunnel to establish its level of consistency with European legislation. The report of the first stage of the committee's work was published in October 2011. A further report is planned to be published this autumn.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): Most of the Department of Energy and Climate Change's expenditure contributes to some extent to mitigating the impact of climate change. The department's published annual accounts record which of DECC's strategic objectives expenditure primarily relates to. This information can be found at the links below for 2009-10 and 2010-11. The 2011-12 accounts are currently being audited and will be published on DECC's website shortly before the Summer Parliamentary Recess. The 2011-12 information will be contained in note 2 to the accounts.
2009-10 accounts: http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/ Annual%20Reports%20Accounts%20and%20 Business%20Plans/2010/218-decc-resource-2009-10.pdf
2010/11 accounts: http://www.decc.gov.uk/assets/decc/ 11/about-us/goals-commitments/2212-decc-annual-report-20102011.pdf.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the cost of an unsuccessful extradition request made under Part II of the Extradition Act 2003, including any costs incurred by (1) the Crown Prosecution Service, (2) the Legal Services Commission, (3) the Home Office, (4) HM Court Service and the Administration Court, (5) the police, (6) the Serious Organised Crime Agency, and (7) the Prison Service.[HL987]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Government are committed both to curbing unsustainable lending and to strengthening consumer protections, particularly for the most vulnerable in society. Our vision is to empower consumers to make better choices for themselves so that they are free to borrow if that is what they decide is in their best interest, as well as to have in place a safe and fair regulatory framework for credit.
That is why we have been working with the four main trade associations to strengthen the payday lending industry codes of practice to deliver real enhanced consumer protections and to provide greater transparency about how these loans work. We also anticipate that the outcome of the OFT's compliance review currently in progress will require the industry to deliver further measures to address consumer detriment in this market. In addition, the Government are considering giving
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To inform future policy decisions, the Government have commissioned research to gather robust evidence on the impact of introducing a cap on the total cost of credit that can be charged across a range of high cost credit products in the market. A report on this is expected this summer.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The Government introduced a government buying standard (GBS) for food and catering services on 16 June 2011, which came into force in September 2011. More sustainable food sourcing, healthier food choices, and resource efficiency and waste reduction in catering operations are all covered in this sustainable procurement standard.
This standard is a credible and workable example of sustainable catering criteria that can deliver what many people look for from their public bodies. To help those that want to apply the standard, we have developed a sustainable food procurement training module aimed at procurers in local authorities and other public bodies.
However, rather than requiring every school, hospital and care home to provide food that meets this standard, we want to give them the discretion to innovate and adapt the suggested standard to their own circumstances. Each of these organisations will have a different set of requirements and the people concerned with them (parents, patients, governors) will have different priorities, making them best placed to decide how to achieve the objectives we are aiming for.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many apprentices (1) under the age of 21, and (2) over the age of 21, were employed within the Department
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To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in the light of the decision of both Houses of Parliament to sign up to the WRAP Hospitality and Food Service Voluntary Agreement to reduce food waste, the Department of Health will sign up to that agreement; and whether they will encourage catering contractors employed by the department to do the same.[HL977]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department has signed up to the Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) Hospitality and Food Service Voluntary Agreement to reduce food waste. The department is about to go out to tender for a new contract and this will be a requirement of the new contract.
The department's current catering suppliers are already committed to sustainable sourcing, which includes providing full traceability of products and suppliers within their supply chain to ensure that sustainability, ethical and safety standards are built into their requirements.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what payments were made by the Home Office 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.[HL915]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The payments made by the Home Department to Clifford Chance, Freshfields, Slaughter and May, Allen and Ovary, and Linklaters, in the past four financial years and what they related to are as follows:
|Company Name||Payments in2008-09 (£s)||Payments in 2009-10 (£s)||Payments in 2010-11 (£s)||Payments in 2011-12 (£s)||Services Provided|
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that the appointment of non-executive directors to the Health Research Authority includes representation of health care professionals other than doctors.[HL800]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The appointment of non-executive directors to the Health Research Authority will be through open competition and assessment of all candidates against published criteria by a selection panel. This will ensure that the process is fair, open and transparent and appointments are made on merit. The Commissioner for Public Appointments regulates and monitors appointments to public bodies to ensure procedures are fair. The criteria do not seek representation from any particular health care professional group.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Under the National Health Service Act 2006, every NHS foundation trust (NHSFT) is required to have a registered nurse or registered midwife on the board. We are informed by the chairman of Monitor (the statutory name of which is the Independent Regulator of NHS Foundation Trusts) that all NHSFTs are compliant with the legislation in this respect.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their estimate of the number of (1) registered nurses, and (2) health care assistants currently working in settings inspected by the Nursing and Midwifery Council and the Care Quality Commission.[HL949]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): As at 30 September 2011, the Health and Social Care Information Centre annual workforce census shows that there were 306,346 full-time equivalent qualified nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff and 44,787 full-time equivalent health care assistants employed by the National Health Service.
All registered nurses will have completed a pre-registration nursing education programme. These programmes take place in approved higher education institutions. Only students who have successfully completed an approved nursing or midwifery programme, and who have met the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC) requirements of good health and good character, can apply to join the register.
Registration is renewed every three years, and registrants must be able to demonstrate that they meet NMC required standards for continuing professional development and practice. In order to meet these standards, nurses must demonstrate that they have undertaken 35 hours of learning activity relevant to their practice and completed 450 hours of practice during the three years prior to the renewal of registration.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the potential effects of advertising on obesity levels among children; and whether consideration will be given to extending the ban on the advertising of food with high levels of fat, salt and sugar to adult programmes watched by large numbers of children.[HL980]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Obesity is caused by many contributing factors. While the research shows that advertising foods high in fat, salt, sugar can influence children's food choices, the magnitude of this effect and the degree to which it contributes to childhood obesity is less well understood. The department will continue to keep this area under review.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Henley on 11 June (WA 195), how many ministers have specific security protection allowing them to use priority channels at UK Border Agency checkpoints.[HL982]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): We are unable to provide detailed information on the security arrangements for protected individuals, including whether they use the priority channels at UK Border Agency checkpoints. To do so would compromise the integrity of the security arrangements of the individuals concerned.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Lord Henley on 11 June (WA 197), whether they will publish (1) figures for self-harm during immigration detention, (2) the UK Border Agency's standard specifications on construction of holding room facilities for airport operators and advice on accommodation and security requirements for holding rooms, (3) the written instructions on the application of Rule 35 of the Detention Centre Rules 2001, (4) the revised asylum casework instruction on Rule 35 of the Detention Centre Rules 2001, (5) the detention services order on Rule 35 of the Detention Centre Rules 2001, (6) the manual and materials used for training medical practitioners, other healthcare staff working in immigration removal centres and case owners on Rule 35 of the Detention Centre Rules 2001, and (7) the internal audit of compliance, quality and performance on Rule 35 decisions, once completed; and, if so, where they will be published.[HL836]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The UK Border Agency does not record centrally every incident of self-harm by detained persons, only those where some form of medical treatment was required. Figures for incidents of self-harm requiring medical assistance in each of the past three calendar years are:
Data on self-harm requiring medical assistance are normally used for management information only and are not subject to the detailed checks that apply for National Statistics publications. They are provisional and subject to change.
The UK Border Agency's standard specifications on the construction of holding rooms were not prepared with the intention for publication as they contain certain security considerations not suitable for the public domain.
A revised Detention Services Order on Rule 35 of the Detention Centre Rules 2001 is under development and will be published when ready. The existing Detention Services Order (3/2008 Special Illnesses and Conditions) is available on the UK Border Agency website at: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/policyandlaw/detention-services-orders/.
The UK Border Agency will publish the revised asylum casework instruction on Rule 35 once the responses to the consultation exercise on the revisions, which closed on 18 May, have been considered. Until then, the existing Rule 35 Asylum Instruction is available on the UK Border Agency website at: http://www.ukba. homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/policyandlaw/asylumprocessguidance/detention.
There is at present no single manual or standardised material used for training medical practitioners or other healthcare staff in immigration removal centres on the application of Rule 35. Case owners are trained to consider all material facts on a case by case basis. The instructions available to assist case owner decision-making are grouped under "Policy and Law" on the UK Border Agency website, including guidance on how to assess Rule 35 reports and the required actions.
Existing procedures and safeguards are being further improved by a range of measures including: improved written instructions, with a revised Asylum Casework Instruction and Detention Services Order, and training for medical practitioners and healthcare staff working in immigration removal centres and case owners. After full implementation of these revised measures, the UK Border Agency will review compliance, quality and performance through an internal audit. The results of the audit, once carried out, will be published on the UK Border Agency website.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they fulfil their investigative obligations under Articles 2 and 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights in relation to services contracted out by the UK Border Agency; and how they ensure that the internal review mechanisms of the contractors used by the UK Border Agency and their subcontractors fulfil the requirement of independent and impartial investigation under Articles 2 and 3 of the Convention.[HL858]
Lord Henley: Section 156 of the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 provides for the Secretary of State to make arrangements for, among other things, the delivery
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In the unfortunate event of a death in immigration custody or while under escort, separate independent investigations are carried out by the police, and the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman. There will also be a coroner's inquest (or, in Scotland, a procurator fiscal's investigation). The combination of these investigations meets the investigative obligation arising from Article 2 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
The UK Border Agency operates a comprehensive complaints system as part of its contract monitoring arrangements. All detainees are told how to complain on arrival at a removal centre and upon escort, and complaints forms are widely available in a range of different languages. Complaints about the use of force are referred to the UK Border Agency's Professional Standards Unit for investigation and are also referred automatically to the police for their own parallel investigation. The Professional Standards Unit uses a team of dedicated investigators, who are all professionally trained to police standards. Where detainees are not satisfied with the outcome of their complaints, they may refer the matter to the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman and are told at the time how to do so.
The UK Border Agency contract monitor will consider whether an allegation is such that it is appropriate to suspend the certification of any officers involved in that incident pending its investigation. The management of the escorting service will also commission an internal investigation.
Any allegation substantiated by the UK Border Agency will lead to some form of disciplinary action against the person(s) concerned. This ultimately includes the revocation of an individual's accreditation to work as a detainee custody officer. The individual may also face criminal charges if the police and Crown Prosecution Service (or, in Scotland, the procurator fiscal) decides there is evidence that an offence may have been committed.
Baroness Garden of Frognal: Daily running costs for the Leveson inquiry are not kept. However, details of the inquiry's expenditure by quarter are published
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To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions the Secretary of State for Education has had with the Secretary of State for Health about the role schools should play in Health and Wellbeing Boards. [HL709]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): There have been discussions at ministerial and official level between the Department for Education and the Department for Health about the health reforms in general.
Schools understand the importance of good health to effective learning and the local health and wellbeing boards will be free to expand their membership to include a wide range of perspectives and expertise, including from schools. The local authority director of children's services will be a statutory member of the board and is well placed to ensure the views and needs of schools are fully represented in ways that best suit local circumstances.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have sought or received any assurances from FIFA that the presence of any Welsh, Scottish or Northern Irish soccer players in the Great Britain Olympic soccer team will not undermine the continued separate participation of Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland in competitions organised by FIFA.[HL770]
Baroness Garden of Frognal: The Government have received a copy of FIFA's letter to the national associations, confirming that their team's international status will not be affected by their players appearing for a Great Britain Olympic football team.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Government have a vision for the populated territories as vibrant and flourishing communities, proudly retaining aspects
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To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they have given to proscribing the organisation known as Hizb ut-Tahrir; and whether ministers or officials have met representatives, members or known supporters of the organisation during the past two years.[HL965]
Hizb ut-Tahrir (HuT) is an organisation about which the Government have significant concerns and as such there have been no official meetings between Home Office Ministers and officials and their members or supporters during the past two years.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they have taken to consult the sport and recreation sector about the implementation of reforms of the vetting and barring framework as set out in the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.[HL911]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The Government plan to commence various aspects of Part five of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 in
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Draft statutory guidance on supervision, which includes some material relating to sport, was issued for public consultation on 6 June, and comments from the sports and recreation sector would be welcome.
The Government are currently holding 11 road shows around the country to present the changes to interested parties, and it is envisaged that a representative of the sport and recreation sector will sit on the stakeholder advisory group related to these changes, which will be established soon.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they pay for the installation of gates at railway ticket barriers, either directly or by making allowance in franchise agreements with train operating companies. [HL721]
Earl Attlee: The Government do not generally specify ticket barrier installation in franchise contracts. However, in circumstances where revenue support is provided as part of a franchise agreement and the franchisee's bid includes for the installation of ticket barriers, we may require that there is a commitment to install them by a certain date. This approach has been taken in some franchises as a means to reduce the risk of government exposure to revenue support payments.
Earl Attlee: The Highways Agency is responsible for the strategic road network in England, which includes motorways and some major A roads. The following web link provides information on current and future events on the strategic road network, as well as how to obtain information with respect to significant scheduled closures: http://www.highways.gov.uk/traffic/7936.aspx.
While every effort is made to ensure that this information is up-to-date, unscheduled works may need to be undertaken urgently and occasionally planned works may need to be rescheduled at very short notice.
In addition, Traffic England provides live traffic information covering England's motorways and major A roads, available at: http://www.trafficengland.com/index.aspx.
For local roads in England, the department does not hold information centrally on road closures as this is a matter for each individual local highway authority.
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DirectGov does provide a search engine for users to search for information about road closures and diversions by individual local authority. This is available at the following web link: http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/homeand community/whereyoulive/streetsparkingcleaningand lighting/dg_10028508.
In addition, there are commercial organisations which provide information on closures and roadworks around the country via websites combining data from different sources, including the Highways Agency, Transport for London and many local highways authorities.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 19 June (WA 290), whether they will clarify the guidance on signage about parking for blue badge holders in red route parking bays to ensure that signs state clearly that blue badge holders are only entitled to park for up to three hours between the hours of 10am and 4pm.[HL983]
Earl Attlee: Section 10 of Chapter 3 of the Traffic Signs Manual details upright signs for disabled badge holder parking in red route bays. The guidance shows an example sign (Figure 10-9) that illustrates provision for disabled badge holders to park in a red route bay for up to three hours during the times of 10 am and 4 pm. The length of time parking is permitted and times of operation signed may vary to reflect the provisions of the underlying traffic regulation order. I am not aware of any concerns that this guidance is unclear.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the revised school premises regulations will be published; and whether the supplementary information accompanying the regulations will clarify what constitutes a suitable standard for toilets and washing facilities.[HL866]
The supplementary information referred to is guidance on how to meet the requirements of the new school premises regulations. It will, for example, advise on how the new standard of toilet and washing facilities can be satisfied.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Department for Education consulted the Department for Health over plans to reduce regulation of toilets and washing facilities in schools, in the light of the possible health implications.[HL867]
While the new regulation on toilet and washing facilities will represent a reduction in length compared to the existing one, the only aspect which is likely to have been removed is the setting out of a ratio of fittings to numbers of pupils. Unlike the existing regulation it is also likely to allow for the provision of unisex toilets, provided specified requirements for privacy and security are met. We do not believe that either of these changes will have any health implications.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Hill of Oareford on 23 April (WA 371), how the new school premises regulations will define what constitutes a suitable standard for toilet and washing facilities, so that schools are able to determine whether they meet requirements.[HL868]
Lord Hill of Oareford: The new school premises regulations will require that schools provide toilets and washing facilities for the sole use of pupils and that they are suitable, having regard to their ages, numbers, sex and any special requirements they may have. They will also require that separate toilet facilities are provided for boys and girls aged eight years or over, except where the facility is provided in a room that is intended for use by one pupil at a time and that can be secured from the inside.
As stated in my previous answer, we believe that the new school premises regulations will be much clearer than the present ones and that schools will find it much easier to assess whether their toilet and washing facilities meet requirements.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Hill of Oareford on 23 April (WA 372), how their proposed standards for school toilets and washing facilities will be modified in the light of concerns raised during the consultation regarding the consequences for children's health.[HL870]
Lord Hill of Oareford: Most of the concerns raised during the consultation about the possible consequences for children's health related to how school toilets and washing facilities would be looked after and maintained. We do not believe that regulation can cover all eventualities and do not intend to expand the regulation on toilet and washing facilities to include further details of what must be provided in them.
There will be other safeguards within the new school premises regulations affecting toilet and washing facilities provision. They will include a general requirement that school facilities are maintained to a standard that will, so far as is reasonably practicable, ensure the health, safety and welfare of pupils. They will also require that washing facilities have an adequate supply of hot and cold water.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Scottish Government about the possibility of a lower level of value added tax being applied to the tourism industry in Scotland.[HL769]
The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness): Under EU VAT law, it is not possible to apply VAT relief on a regional basis. Any reliefs for tourism would have to be applied UK-wide and would involve a cost of at least £9 billion a year. However, the noble Lord will be aware that we have announced, subject to consultation, a reduced rate for cable transportation. This relief will apply to the ski lifts operated by Scottish resorts.
In addition to the Scottish Government's work in support of the Scottish tourism industry, the industry
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To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (1) visa applications to enter the United Kingdom, and (2) applications for permanent residency, were made last year by Algerian and Nigerian nationals; and how many, and what percentage, were refused.[HL889]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): In 2011, a total of 15,241 applications for entry clearance visas were made by Algerian nationals. Of the 15,448 decisions made in 2011 on such applications, there were 3,813 (25%) refusals. Correspondingly in 2011 Nigerian nationals made 191,261 applications for entry clearance visas, and of the 188,993 decisions, there were 50,368 (27%) refusals.
In 2010 there were, respectively, 1,527 and 10,031 grants of settlement, for Algerian and Nigerian nationals. Data for 2011 will be published in August. Figures on applications for settlement are not published.
A copy of the latest release, Immigration Statistics January-March 2012, is available from the Library of the House and from the Home Office Science, research and statistics web pages at: http://www.homeoffice.gov. uk/publications/science-research-statistics/research-statistics/immigration-asylum-research/immigration-q1-2012/.
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