2 July 2012 : Column WA115

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Written Answers

Monday 2 July 2012

Armed Forces: 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (The Duke of Wellington’s)

Questions

Asked by Lord Dear

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to disband the 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment (Duke of Wellington’s); and, if so, why. [HL971]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they consider that the Duke of Wellington should continue to be commemorated in the Army List; and, if not, why not.[HL972]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): With regard to the future of The 3rd Battalion The Yorkshire Regiment, I refer my noble friend to the answer given by my honourable friend, the Minister for Armed Forces, in the other place on 18 April 2012 (Official Report, Commons, col. 376W).

The Army List is no longer in publication. However, my noble friend may be assured that the Government are aware of the justifiably great pride which local communities have in their units and their glorious histories; and fully recognise the strength of identity which comes from regimental cap badges and titles.

Banks: Lending

Questions

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government where responsibility will rest for determining credit risk and pricing under the “funding for lending” proposal.[HL897]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether profits accruing to banks as a result of “funding for lending” will be available for distribution as bonuses or dividends.[HL898]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what they estimate will be the increase in debt in the UK economy likely to arise as a result of “funding for lending”.[HL899]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when the conditions for the “funding for lending” proposal will be published, and whether there will be a formal consultation process.[HL900]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much more the Bank of England balance sheet or the Government will be lending as a result of “funding for lending”, and how the resulting risk will be measured and managed.[HL901]

2 July 2012 : Column WA116

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The funding for lending scheme will incentivise banks to maintain or increase their lending to UK businesses and households. The Bank of England and the Treasury are working together on the design of the funding for lending scheme and further details will be released in the coming weeks.

Benefits: Motability Schemes

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many people are currently paid the higher rate of the mobility component of disability living allowance; of this number, how many are eligible to obtain a car under the Motability schemes, and what restrictions apply; and how many of those eligible have obtained a vehicle and at what annual cost.[HL1127]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): Everyone in receipt of the higher rate mobility component of disability living allowance is eligible and can choose to exchange some or all of this benefit for a Motability vehicle. The benefit remains payable whether or not the recipient chooses to obtain a vehicle through the Motability scheme.

At November 2011, there were 1,789,970 claimants receiving the higher rate mobility component. Of these, 575,676 opted to join the Motability scheme and 565,703 obtained a Motability car.

Care Services: Social Work

Question

Asked by Lord Storey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Hill of Oareford on 23 May (WA 59–60), how they plan to improve the quality of the degree qualifications in social work. [HL763]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Government have worked with higher education institutions, the Social Work Reform Board and the College of Social Work to introduce more rigorous entry requirements to social work degrees from September 2012. These include minimum qualification thresholds in English, mathematics and IT. Candidates must also demonstrate minimum levels of competence in spoken and written English, and to perform well in an individual interview. In addition, the practical elements of the degree have been strengthened to emphasise developing professional skills such as report writing and case preparation.

Alongside this a new set of professional standards defines appropriate and relevant requirements for qualifying as a social worker. From September 2013 social work training curricula will align with these standards.

2 July 2012 : Column WA117

The Government have also introduced the step up to social work scheme—a new type of postgraduate training route led by employers. This scheme, aimed at high quality career-changers leads to an MA in 18 months. The second step up cohort started early this year.

Child Protection

Question

Asked by Lord Storey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Hill of Oareford on 23 May (WA 59–60), whether they plan to accelerate the reforms necessary to free social work professionals from unnecessary bureaucracy when assessing the safety and welfare of children and young people, and if so how.[HL762]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): On 12 June the Government announced a 12-week consultation on revised statutory guidance as part of their wider proposals to reform radically the child protection system in England

The revised guidance of Working Together to Safeguard Children; Managing Individual Cases: The Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families; and Statutory Guidance on Learning and Improvement, sets out the must dos and then allows social workers, health professionals, police and others to drive their own work based on the needs of the individual child and family without being hampered by unnecessary rules and targets.

Managing Individual Cases: The Framework for the Assessment of Children in Need and their Families proposes changes to procedures for undertaking assessments of all children in need.

Informed by evidence from eight trial local authorities, it proposes replacing nationally prescribed timetables with a more flexible approach. That approach is focused as it should be on putting the child’s needs rather than compliance with inflexible timescales and recording processes at the centre of assessment.

Feedback from the eight trials has been encouraging. Social workers are telling us that greater flexibility leads to more quality time with children and families, and better assessments, particularly for families with the most complex needs. Many also feel an enhanced sense of ownership over their work.

The Government have commissioned an independent evaluation of the trials. This will be considered alongside consultation responses before any final decision is made on the proposed approach to replace nationally prescribed timetables with a more flexible approach.

We believe that together the revised documents will help lead to a change in culture within the child protection system by putting the needs of children and families back at the centre.

This will give greater scope to professionals to exercise their professional judgment and greater confidence to the public in a reformed child protection system. The closing date for the consultation is 4 September.

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Civil Service: Redundancy

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 14 June (WA 265), how many staff working for the Department for Work and Pensions were made redundant or departed early last year; what were the costs under the Civil Service Compensation Scheme in (1) redundancy payments, (2) annual pension amounts payable immediately, (3) any lump sum retiring allowances; and what was the average redundancy payment.[HL890]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): 1,435 employees departed the Department for Work and Pensions early via exit schemes with a last day of service between 1 April 2011 and 31 March 2012. The total cost to DWP under the Civil Service Compensation Scheme was £71.2 million, with an average exit cost of £49.6k.

The cost is made up of lump sum compensation payments paid to exiting staff, and the cost to DWP of buying out any actuarial reduction in pension, should an employee choose this option.

The costs of annual pension amounts and lump sum pension payments are not borne by the department, but are drawn from the Principal Civil Service Pension scheme. As such the department does not have this information available

Climate Change

Question

Asked by Lord Donoughue

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many Foreign and Commonwealth Office staff throughout the world are employed to provide advice on matters related to climate change.[HL880]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): As stated in the answer I gave in PQ HL878, the figure is approximately 100. I cannot be more precise due to the overlap and sharing of duties, other roles and priorities.

Crime: Gun Grime

Question

Asked by Lord Storey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will bring forward legislation to create an offence of possession of a firearm with intent to supply.[HL975]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The Home Office Consultation on Legislative Changes to Firearms Control, published in February, sought views on the need for a new offence of possession of illegal firearms with intent to supply.

2 July 2012 : Column WA119

We are currently assessing the responses, and will publish a Government response in the next few months.

Disabled People: Access to Work

Question

Asked by Baroness Thomas of Winchester

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have for involving deafblind people and their representative organisations in co-production activities as they develop the Access to Work programme. [HL984]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): In the Government response to the consultation on the recommendations in Liz Sayce’s review “Getting in, staying in and getting on”, the Government undertook to work with disabled people to establish how to make some of the improvements recommended for Access to Work. The Government want to be sure that these recommendations are implemented in the most cost effective way. The Government will be discussing developments to Access to Work with the Equality 2025 advisory group. Further co-production with disabled people, including deafblind people, will be announced in the summer.

Education: Biometric Recognition Systems

Question

Asked by Lord Storey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Hill of Oareford on 11 June (WA 157), (1) why they do not centrally record the use of automated biometric recognition systems in schools and colleges; and (2) what options are currently available to pupils and teachers should they wish to abstain from providing their biometric details.[HL766]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): We do not centrally record the use of automated biometric recognition systems in schools because we do not consider it essential information for collection. We are reducing data collections imposed on schools in order to relieve burdens so would not wish to impose another collection.

At present, schools and colleges using these systems must comply with the data protection principles set out in the Data Protection Act 1998 and this includes securing the consent of the data subject, in this case the pupil. Pupils and teachers can refuse to participate. The new duties in the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 apply to children under 18 and require schools and colleges to notify all parents that they intend to take and process their child’s biometric information and, as long as no parent objects in writing, the written consent of only one parent will be required. In addition, a pupil can object or refuse to participate in the processing of his or her biometric information and schools and colleges are under a legal obligation to provide alternative arrangements for the pupil. The options open to pupils and teachers as alternative arrangements

2 July 2012 : Column WA120

can take many forms depending on what the biometric system is delivering but, for example, if it is cashless catering a school might provide a card for use instead.

Electrocution and Electric Shock

Question

Asked by Lord Harrison

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 17 May (WA 12–5), what discussions the Department of Health has held with the Department for Communities and Local Government on reducing the number of hospital admissions for electric shock; and whether there are any plans currently to change the accident and emergency admissions reporting system.[HL997]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department is in regular contact with the Department for Communities and Local Government on a range of issues. There are currently no plans to change the accident and emergency admissions reporting system.

EU: Bulgaria and Romania

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government under what circumstances the transitional restrictions currently applied to Bulgarian and Romanian nationals can be extended beyond 2013; and whether they will propose within the European Union that the transitional rules be reviewed and time extended.[HL1128]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The Protocol to the Treaty on the Accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the European Union provides that transitional measures on the freedom of movement of persons may be applied for a maximum period of seven years. The existing restrictions cannot, therefore, be extended beyond the end of 2013 under the terms of the treaty.

Gaza

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the threat posed to the health of children and pregnant mothers in Gaza by the contamination of the water supply with nitrate, due to restrictions on the import of sanitation equipment caused by the ongoing blockade by Israel, in the light of the recent report by Medical Aid to Palestinians and Save the Children Fund.[HL1005]

Baroness Northover: We are aware of the recent report by Medical Aid to Palestinians and Save the Children Fund and are considering its findings carefully. The UK has for some time been very concerned about

2 July 2012 : Column WA121

the humanitarian impact of movement and access restrictions on the people of Gaza, which is clearly unacceptable. UK officials regularly discuss the issue of access to water with Israeli counterparts, and have repeatedly called on Israel to allow entry of essential items on the dual-use list to allow for rehabilitation of the water network.

Government Departments: Apprentices

Questions

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 of Health 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.[HL1013]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): On 1 June 2012 there were 37 civil servants working in the ministerial and Permanent Secretary’s private offices. None were under 21. None were apprentices.

Asked by Lord Adonis

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 of Health on 1 June, excluding agencies and non-departmental public bodies.[HL1014]

Earl Howe: No apprentices, either under or over the age of 21 years, were in employment with the department on 1 June 2012.

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 Work and Pensions 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.[HL1112]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): On 1 June, there were no members of staff under the age of 21 or apprentices employed within the private offices of Departmental Ministers or the Permanent Secretary.

Asked by Lord Adonis

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 for Work and Pensions on 1 June, excluding agencies and non-departmental public bodies.[HL1113]

Lord Freud: As of 1 June 2012 there were no apprentices employed in the Department for Work and Pensions. During 2011-12 the department employed 108 apprentices whose apprenticeship ended on 31 March

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2011 and there will be a further 238 going through the apprenticeship programme this financial year but they will not be starting until July 2012.

Government Departments: Overseas Visits

Question

Asked by Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many overseas missions and visits Department for International Development staff have made in each of the last ten years; and to which countries.[HL1055]

Baroness Northover: Travel to overseas locations is managed by individual departments across DfID.

No central records are held on the numbers of trips made by staff on a year-by-year basis. This information could only be obtained at a disproportionate cost.

Health: Accredited Voluntary Registers

Question

Asked by Baroness Masham of Ilton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the number of healthcare professionals that will be registered with assured voluntary registers accredited by the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence in each of the next three years.[HL1091]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE) has been working with over 40 organisations, including existing voluntary registers of healthcare professionals, to develop its accreditation scheme.

We expect the CHRE’s accreditation scheme to be operational and in a position to begin to accredit voluntary registers of healthcare professionals by the end of 2012.

Many existing voluntary registers have expressed an interest in applying for accreditation from the CHRE and a list of interested organisations can be found on CHRE’s website at the following link: www.chre. org.uk/voluntaryregisters/421/.

The department has not made an assessment of the number of healthcare professionals that will be registered with an assured voluntary register at any particular time.

Health: Diabetes

Question

Asked by Lord Morris of Aberavon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in view of the rate of increase in the diagnosis of type 1 diabetes, whether they will consult over a period of six months on the views of researchers and the medical profession on the adequacy of expenditure on research in this area.[HL1171]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department has no plans for a consultation on the adequacy of expenditure on research on type 1 diabetes.

The department’s National Institute for Health Research (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.

Health: Medical Research

Question

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans are currently in place to reduce significantly the time taken for medical research teams to access NHS patient data; and what is the timetable for implementation.[HL1139]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government in the Plan for Growth, the Strategy for UK Life Sciences and the NHS chief executive’s report on innovation, place an emphasis on the development of a secure e-health research data service to be made available to researchers. This service, known as the Clinical Practice Research Datalink, came into operation on 29 March 2012. The service is operated by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency and has service links to the Health and Social Care Information Centre, which enables protection of patient confidentiality while granting access for researchers to relevant research information.

Health: Professional Standards

Question

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many (1) registered clinicians, and (2) registered nurses, have been removed from their professional registers for failing to meet professional standards in each of the past 10 years.[HL1142]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Regulation of the health professions is performed by the nine independent health regulators (including the General Medical Council as regulator for doctors, and the Nursing and Midwifery Council as the regulator for nurses and midwives).

These health regulators have core statutory duties that include the investigation of concerns about the performance and conduct of those whom they regulate. They also have powers to remove health professionals from their register should it be concluded, after investigation, that they are not fit to practise.

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As the regulators conduct their duties independently from Government, statistics relating to the performance of their statutory duties (including the taking of fitness to practise action) are held by them, and not the department.

House of Lords: Electric Vehicles

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask the Chairman of Committees whether he will take to the Administration and Works Committee a proposal for placing a charging point for electric powered vehicles in the Peers’ car park.[HL969]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Sewel): As space in the Peers’ car park is at a premium, and I am not aware of a great demand for such facilities, I do not intend to take such a proposal to the Administration and Works Committee at the present time. However, Chancellor’s Court already contains facilities for charging electric powered motorcycles and scooters, which are available for Members and staff to use. Furthermore, Members who belong to the Source London network may use the charging facilities provided by Source London in Abingdon Car Park, situated underneath Abingdon Green. Members may obtain passes for Abingdon Car Park by contacting Black Rod’s Office (x3100).

Immigration

Question

Asked by Lord Morrow

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the UK Border Agency is monitored to ensure compliance with all statutory rules when interviewing potential illegal immigrants, particularly with regard to interviews of children and vulnerable adults, when a social worker or person of similar standing is required to be present.[HL1029]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): Oversight of the UK Border Agency’s compliance with all statutory duties and operational policy, including those relating to children and vulnerable adults, is governed on various levels throughout the business. The Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration works to ensure independent scrutiny of the work of the UK Border Agency and the Border Force, providing confidence and assurance as to their effectiveness and efficiency.

The chief inspector is completely independent of the UK Border Agency and Border Force and reports directly to the Home Secretary. Full detail on the role of the chief inspector can be found at: http://icinspector. independent.gov.uk/.

Within the UK Border Agency there are various mechanisms for monitoring compliance. Both the UK Border Agency and Border Force conduct national assurance programmes, to ensure compliance with policies and processes against comprehensive quality

2 July 2012 : Column WA125

assurance frameworks and operational guidance. Management assurance measures are also in place to check whether the standards are met.

Expert advice and quality assurance on any case involving children, including those cases where vulnerable adults form part of a family unit is available through the safeguarding co-ordinators network and the Office of the Children’s Champion within the UK Border Agency.

Local Authorities: Public Health

Questions

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they will ensure that in local authorities without a chief executive there is direct accountability of the Director of Public Health to the council leadership.[HL1061]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they will ensure that local authorities follow Government guidance so that there is (1) direct accountability of the director of public health to the chief executive of the council, and (2) direct access for the Director of Public Health to elected members.[HL1062]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The organisation and structures of individual local authorities are matters for local leadership. However, later this summer we will publish guidance that local authorities must have regard to on the role and responsibilities of directors of public health. This will state that all directors of public health should have a direct line of accountability to their chief executive (or if their local authority has no chief executive, to the head of paid service) for the exercise of the local authority’s public health function. It will also state that all directors of public health should have direct access to elected members of the authority.

This may or may not mean that the director is a standing member of their local authority’s most senior corporate management team. That decision is for local authorities themselves and will be influenced by a number of factors. For example, the scope of the role of directors of public health may vary locally if an authority decides to extend their director’s role beyond its core statutory responsibilities.

From April 2013 directors of public health will be appointed jointly by local authorities and the Secretary of State. The Secretary of State will have a general statutory duty to promote local autonomy in so far as that is consistent with the interests of the comprehensive health service. This means that he may not intervene unnecessarily in decisions about matters such as the role or position within local authorities of directors of public health, but may intervene—and ultimately may refuse to agree a joint appointment—if he has reason to believe that an authority’s proposals for the appointment would be detrimental to the interests of the local health service.

2 July 2012 : Column WA126

Local Enterprise Partnerships

Question

Asked by Baroness Scott of Needham Market

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have evaluated the regulated pathfinders in Leicestershire and Greater Birmingham on the delivery of local regulations; and what their conclusions are. [HL1000]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Government do not intend to formerly evaluate any of the local enterprise partnership pathfinder projects but are looking with interest at the progress both Leicester and Leicestershire and Birmingham and Solihull have made and what the growth impact of the projects will be.

Migrant Workers: Romanians and Bulgarians

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether self-employed Romanian and Bulgarian nationals who are unemployed and who have consequently lost the right to reside in the United Kingdom, as they are no longer self-sufficient, continue to be eligible for housing benefit.[HL1078]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): Self-employed Romanian and Bulgarian nationals who no longer have the right to reside as a self-employed person and are unemployed are not eligible for housing benefit or any other income-related benefits.

NHS Commissioning Board

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many local arms of the NHS Commissioning Board will be established.[HL1066]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The 31 May board meeting of the NHS Commissioning Board Authority agreed upon a local structure of 27 local area teams for the NHS Commissioning Board. In addition, there will be four sector teams of the NHS Commissioning Board to support the 27 local area teams.

NHS: Clinical Research Trials

Question

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in each of the past five years, how many clinical research trials commenced in the United Kingdom which involved NHS patients.[HL1141]

2 July 2012 : Column WA127

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Data are not available on the total number of clinical trials in which National Health Service patients have participated in the United Kingdom. The total number of trials (phases I to IV) hosted by the UK Clinical Research Network that commenced in each of the past five years is shown in the following table:

2007-082008-092009-102010-112011-12

231

245

316

407

409*

Notes:

*

provisional figure

NHS: Walk-in Centres

Questions

Asked by Baroness Masham of Ilton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many NHS walk-in centres were closed in the last year for which information is available.[HL1174]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the average waiting time in NHS walk-in centres.[HL1175]

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

Olympic and Paralympic Games 2012

Question

Asked by Lord Janner of Braunstone

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they support the suggestion by Ankie Spitzer, the widow of the athlete Andrei Spitzer who was murdered at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games, that a minute’s silence should be held at this year’s London Olympic Games to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the killings.[HL825]

Baroness Garden of Frognal: The decision as to whether a minute’s silence is held during the Games lies with the International Olympic Committee (IOC). At every Games since 1972, the Israeli National Olympic Committee (NOC) traditionally hosts a reception in memory of the victims of this tragic event and the IOC is always strongly represented. For the London 2012 Games, tributes will be paid to the victims at a ceremony being held at the Guildhall—a joint initiative between the Israeli Embassy, Israeli National Olympic Committee (NOC) and Jewish Community.

Along with the Israeli NOC, the London 2012 Organising Committee (LOCOG) will pay tribute during the ceremony where the IOC president (who competed in Munich) will make a speech and pay his respects. The ceremony will also be attended by the Rt. Hon Jeremy Hunt MP, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, and John Penrose MP, Minister for Tourism. We believe this is the most appropriate way to pay tribute to the athletes during the Games in London.

2 July 2012 : Column WA128

Pensions

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will take action to prevent the practice of public sector pension schemes which contribute to the net public service pension liability admitting private sector employees working in non-state companies or charities to membership and benefits, or whether they will propose legislation to narrow the eligibility criteria for such schemes.[HL888]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): While the Treasury has responsibility for setting overarching public service pensions policy, individual public service schemes are the responsibility of the relevant Secretaries of State. There are very strict eligibility criteria covering membership of public service pension schemes. These are set out in regulations covering the relevant scheme. Where appropriate, regulations may allow for non-public servants to be members of public service pension schemes, but only where it is clearly in the public interest, because such individuals and organisations are providing a contribution to the relevant sector.

Police: Risk Assessments

Question

Asked by Lord Clement-Jones

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will issue guidance to police forces (including the Metropolitan Police) and licensing authorities, regarding the removal of ethnicity audience-profiling and music genre questions from promotion event risk assessment form 696 for music events.[HL273]

Baroness Garden of Frognal: The Secretary of State is required to issue guidance to licensing authorities under Section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003. The guidance offers assistance to such authorities as to how to discharge their functions in connection with a wide range of issues relevant to the licensing regime, and is regularly reviewed. Form 696 is not part of the regulated entertainment regime under the Licensing Act, and has been developed separately by the police, who remain responsible for the issue.

Public Libraries

Questions

Asked by The Earl of Clancarty

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many public libraries have been closed since the formation of the coalition Government, including those now run on a volunteer basis; and how many have been opened.[HL874]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many public libraries were closed in each year since 1980, including those now run on a volunteer basis, and how many have been opened.[HL875]

2 July 2012 : Column WA129

Viscount Younger of Leckie: Central government do not produce data on the number of public libraries that have been closed or opened each year. Data about the public library sector are published annually by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA). Their annual statistics do not provide the number of openings or closures, or the number of libraries that have transferred from the public library service to community-management; but instead show the net figure of public libraries open in each year.

Data showing the number of public library service points in England, in each available year since 1979-80, are set out in the table below.

Financial yearLibraries open 10+ hrs per week (incl. mobiles)Libraries open <10 hrs per week (incl. mobiles)Total Libraries

1979-80

3,646

265

3,911

1980-81

3,578

252

3,830

1981-82

3,584

235

3,819

1982-83

3,598

241

3,839

1983-84

3,603

207

3,810

1984-85

3,526

212

3,738

1985-86

3,572

190

3,762

1986-87

3,429

203

3,632

1987-88

3,500

220

3,720

1988-89

3,416

178

3,594

1989-90

4,161

417

4,578

1990-91

3,660

161

3,821

1991-92

3,650

154

3,804

1992-93

3,640

142

3,782

1993-94

3,630

144

3,774

1994-95

3,628

145

3,773

1995-96

3,609

124

3,733

1996-97

3,572

120

3,692

1997-98

3,532

121

3,653

1998-99

3,504

150

3,654

1999-00

3,501

132

3,633

2000-01

3,497

130

3,627

2001-02

3,504

115

3,619

2002-03

3,510

91

3,601

2003-04

3,524

80

3,604

2004-05

3,474

96

3,570

2005-06

3,500

73

3,573

2006-07

3,494

86

3,580

2007-08

3,469

96

3,565

2008-09

3,451

91

3,542

2009-10

3,428

73

3,501

2010-11

3,393

76

3,469

Where information has not been supplied by authorities for CIPFA’s Public Library Statistics, the figures have been grossed by CIPFA to account for missing data and-or non-responding authorities.

Religious Groups: Discrimination

Question

Asked by Lord Janner of Braunstone

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to ensure that minority faiths in the United Kingdom are protected against discrimination, especially by radical groups.[HL1050]

2 July 2012 : Column WA130

Baroness Verma: Under the Equality Act 2010, which this Government brought into force, there is protection against discrimination, harassment and victimisation for a range of characteristics, including religion or belief. These provisions apply equally to all religions and beliefs; there is no difference in the way that they protect those of minority faiths or those with no religion or belief.

Specific criminal offences exist under Part 3 and Part 3A of the Public Order Act 1986 with regard to stirring up hatred on the grounds of race or religion.

There are separate racially and religiously aggravated offences under Sections 28-32 of the Crime and Disorder Act 1998 and Section 39 of the Anti-terrorism, Crime and Security Act 2001.

There are also powers to increase the sentence for any offence aggravated by hostility towards race and religion under Sections 145 and 146 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003. The courts have not hesitated to use their general powers to reflect aggravating and mitigating factors to increase or decrease the minimum term in individual cases.

Schools: Free Schools

Question

Asked by Lord Hoyle

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the minimum requirements with regard to the ratio between the numbers of pupils at a free school and the space available per pupil.[HL594]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Education (Independent School Standards) (England) Regulations 2010, which apply to all academies, including free schools, require that classrooms are appropriate in size to allow effective teaching and that no area of the school compromises the health and safety of pupils. In making this assessment, regard must be had to their number, age and needs (including any special educational needs and disabilities).

The department provides guidelines on spaces in schools, contained within Building Bulletin 98 (secondary schools) and Building Bulletin 99 (primary schools). These bulletins are for guidance only and are not statutory requirements. Both of these bulletins are under review and will be revised later this year.

Sport: Euro 2012

Question

Asked by Lord Janner of Braunstone

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they have taken to ensure that racism occurring during the Euro 2012 competition in Poland and Ukraine is being investigated and stopped.[HL853]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Although the Government have not received any reports of racial abuse against British nationals attending the Euro 2012 competition so far, this is not to deny the threat of racism in the

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region. More work is needed to promote tolerance, something on which we are actively engaging in the region. For example, we are working with the London Jewish Cultural Centre (LJCC) on a series of seminars to bring together journalists from Central and Eastern Europe and the UK to raise awareness of the rise of anti-Semitism and racism and discuss strategies for countering it.

There has also been good co-operation between the UK, Polish and Ukrainian police throughout the Euro 2012 tournament. The Football Association and the UK Football Policing Unit said they had been confident that if any racist incident had occurred, police from both Poland and Ukraine would have dealt with it robustly and quickly.

Turkey

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they support the appeal by the European Union–Turkey Civic Commission against the detention of Members of Parliament, mayors, and members of the Peace and Democracy Party; and what assessment they have made of the length of sentences imposed in recent cases concerning the dissemination of propaganda, and education reform, in Turkey.[HL864]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Government share the concern expressed by our European partners over the detention of a number of Peace and Democracy (BDP) politicians, mayors and others. We are aware of the recent appeal by the European Union-Turkey Civic Commission on 13 June.

The Turkish Government have introduced various judicial reforms, including measures to tackle detention periods, which we welcome. However, we endorse comments by the Head of the European Union Delegation in Turkey, Jean Maurice Ripert, that reforms do not

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deal effectively with some of the issues, including independence of the judiciary and crimes under the anti-terror act. We urge the Turkish Government to pursue a comprehensive reform strategy that fulfils their international commitments on human rights and freedom of expression.

We are encouraged that Prime Minister Erdogan and the main opposition CHP party (Republican People’s Party) recently met to discuss a peaceful solution to the Kurdish issue and by the recent announcement on 12 June that Kurdish language teaching would be allowed in Turkish middle schools. We encourage further progress on this.

UK Honours

Question

Asked by Lord Lexden

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many people were awarded the MBE in the most recent New Year Honours list; how many were awarded (1) the MBE, and (2) the BEM, in the most recent Queen’s Birthday Honours list; what criteria are used to determine which of the two honours should be awarded to recipients; and why both are needed.[HL885]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Five hundred and eighty-seven people were awarded the MBE at the most recent New Year’s Honours List. Five hundred and thirty-two people were awarded the MBE and 293 people were awarded the BEM in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list.

The criteria used by independent honours committees to determine which level of award to recommend are given in more detail on the Direct Gov website at www.direct.gov.uk/honours. At all levels, awards illuminate areas of dedicated service which merit public recognition.

The Government have reintroduced the BEM as part of the celebrations to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and to ensure that those who are engaged in activities which build stronger, more integrated communities receive due recognition.