10 July 2012 : Column WA225

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Written Answers

Tuesday 10 July 2012

Agriculture: Farm Diversification

Question

Asked by Lord Rooker

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress they have made in assisting farm diversification since 2010.[HL1324]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): In the years 2010-2011 and 2011-12, Defra has spent over £29 million of Rural Development Programme England funds on farm diversification. This has directly helped nearly 900 businesses.

Airports: Crop-growing Restrictions

Question

Asked by Lord Rooker

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the current area of agricultural land around Heathrow Airport on which crop-growing restrictions apply; and by how much that area would increase with an extra runway.[HL1329]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The Plant Health (England) (Amendment) Order 2008 imposes restrictions on anyone growing maize within 2,500 metres of airports where there is a high risk of the introduction of the plant pest Diabrotica virgifera (the western corn rootworm). Heathrow Airport is deemed to be high risk and so is designated. The order states that “a designated zone shall extend to a radius of at least 2500 metres around the runways of, or around any other areas where aircraft move within, an airport”. The current area under restriction consists of 611 ha2 within the boundaries of Heathrow airport and 4,423 ha2 in the 2,500 metre zone surrounding this area. Most of the area under restriction is unlikely to be used for agricultural purposes (as it includes residential and industrial premises, reservoirs et cetera) and for the remainder the restrictions will only apply when maize is grown.

The addition of a new runway would potentially increase the area subject to these restrictions, but the exact area will depend on the size and location of any additional runway. However we are investigating the removal of these restrictions next year following a trial of increased trapping and surveillance in the 2,500 metre zone around some high risk airports during this growing season.

10 July 2012 : Column WA226

Armed Forces: Covenant

Question

Asked by Lord Empey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they will present to Parliament the first report on the implementation of the Armed Forces Covenant. [HL1387]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The Secretary of State for Defence intends to present the first report on the implementation of the Armed Forces covenant to Parliament before the end of the year.

Armed Forces: Cyprus

Question

Asked by Lord Morris of Aberavon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether improvements in the facilities for British troops at the Ledra Palace Hotel, Cyprus, have been completed; and, if so, what was the date of completion. [HL1173]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): I refer the noble Lord to the answer I gave on 22 November 2010 (Official Report, col. WA 250). Although the renovation and refurbishment of the Ledra Palace Hotel continues, all rooms occupied by British personnel are now in a suitable condition.

A total of 103 rooms have now been refurbished and ablution facilities have been added. The rate of progress remains a matter between the hotel owners, the Republic of Cyprus and the UN.

Armed Forces: Education

Question

Asked by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations the Ministry of Defence has made to the Department of Education (Northern Ireland) about educational provision and planning for families returning from Germany to or via Northern Ireland; and what are the projected numbers of children of such families at (1) primary, and (2) secondary level for each of the next 3 years.[HL1384]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The intention remains for the Army to be based in the UK by 2020. Work is currently under way on the future basing and footprint strategy, with initial announcements expected later this year. Until this sequence of work is complete it is too early to say how many families and children will be returning from Germany to Northern Ireland in the coming years, or to discuss any implications with the Department for Education (Northern Ireland).

10 July 2012 : Column WA227

Aviation: Flight Time Limitations

Questions

Asked by Baroness Doocey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they will ensure that the European Aviation Standards Agency's proposals on flight time limitations do not reduce confidence in aviation safety in the United Kingdom. [HL1357]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they will ensure that United Kingdom standards and protections for airline pilots' flying time limitations are not eroded by any European Aviation Standards Agency harmonisation proposals.[HL1358]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will take an active role in protecting and promoting United Kingdom standards on airline pilots' flying time limitations in the development of European standards; and, if so, how.[HL1359]

Earl Attlee: The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) is still considering the responses to its comment response document issued on 18 January 2012 and a final opinion is expected later this autumn. We will consider our position, taking into account advice from the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), once EASA has published its final set of draft rules. We will not support EASA’s proposals if the CAA advises that these do not provide an appropriate level of protection against fatigue.

Burma

Questions

Asked by Baroness Uddin

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the Government of Burma about Rohingya refugees seeking asylum in Bangladesh.[HL1224]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Officials from our embassy in Burma regularly raise the ongoing discrimination of the Rohingya with the Burmese Government. Most recently, they raised our concerns over the lack of regular humanitarian aid access to Rakhine State and the closure of the border with Bangladesh.

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right honourable friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) and the Prime Minister, my right honourable friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron) also raised the ongoing discrimination of the Rohingya with senior members of the Burmese Government during their respective visits in January and April and met with members of the Rohingya community to hear their concerns first hand. Ministers also raised their concerns with Aung San Siu Kyi during her recent visit to the United Kingdom.

We regularly speak to Rohingya groups, and non-governmental organisations monitoring the situation, both inside and outside the country. At the Human

10 July 2012 : Column WA228

Rights Council in March we secured a resolution which expressed the need to recognise the Rohingya’s right to nationality, and the urgent need to respect their human rights as long as these issues remained unresolved. We will continue to raise this issue with the Burmese Government, with international partners and in international organisations.

Asked by Baroness Goudie

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what reports they have received of the Burmese Army raping women in Kachin State, Burma.[HL1280]

Lord Howell of Guildford: In Burma we continue to receive reports of gender-based violence by the military in conflict areas. The Burmese Government have done little to investigate these cases. During Burma’s Universal Periodic Review session at the United Nations (UN) in 2011 we urged the Government to prosecute human rights violations. At the UN Human Rights Council in March we strongly supported a resolution which called on the Burmese Government to take urgent measures to end the targeting of civilians in military operations, and end the use of rape and other forms of sexual violence.

Through its project programme our embassy in Rangoon supports several groups and projects that encourage respect for women’s rights, and supports their participation in peace negotiations and post-conflict reconstruction.

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right honourable friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) recently announced a new initiative on preventing sexual violence in conflicts. The initiative forms part of the UK’s forthcoming presidency of the G8 (the Group of Eight) in 2013. It includes the establishment of a dedicated UK team devoted to combating and preventing sexual violence in conflict.

We continue to raise the issue of human rights abuses at every opportunity with the Burmese Government, the UN and international partners.

Asked by Baroness Goudie

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what reports they have received regarding the recruitment of child soldiers by the Burmese Army.[HL1281]

Lord Howell of Guildford: Our embassy in Rangoon continues to receive reports about the recruitment of child soldiers in Burma. On 27 June 2012 the United Nations (UN) signed a landmark plan of action with the Burmese military authorities to release children from armed conflict.

The UN does not underestimate the scale of the problem in Burma. The action plan took five years of negotiation and commits all state and non-state actors in Burma to several key actions including:

cease recruitment of child soldiers;strengthen vetting during recruitment;identify and release underage conscripts;

10 July 2012 : Column WA229

undertake advocacy to reinforce the policy of not recruiting child soldiers;discipline offenders in Army service who continue to recruit;provide access for verification mission to military installations and prisons; andensure that ceasefire agreements between government and ethnic minority militias refer to ending recruitment of children.

The UN Secretary-General has listed a number of Burmese parties in his annual report to the Security Council that continue to commit grave violations against children.

We hope this action plan marks the beginning of a process that could see Burma delisted and an end to the practice of the recruitment of child soldiers.

Asked by Baroness Goudie

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the Government of Burma regarding communal violence in Rakhine State.[HL1282]

Lord Howell of Guildford: The recent inter-communal violence in Rakhine State in western Burma has highlighted both the fragility of the situation in Burma, and has drawn further and much needed attention to the plight of the Rohingya. The Minister of State responsible for our relations with Burma, my honourable friend the Member for Taunton Deane (Mr Browne) issued a statement on 10 June, which expressed concern about the violence.

On 12 June our ambassador in Rangoon met Burmese President Thein Sein. The ambassador informed the president of our concern over the hostilities in Rakhine State, and made clear that we stood ready to support all efforts—including the President’s—to end the violence.

The president emphasised his commitment to the peace process, and to resolving ethnic conflict. He said that the success of this process was essential to the sustainability of ongoing reforms.

On 22 June officials from our embassy in Rangoon raised our concerns over the lack of regular humanitarian aid access to Rakhine State and the closure of the border with Bangladesh with the Burmese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The ambassador also discussed the ongoing peace negotiations with ethnic groups.

We remain concerned about the humanitarian situation in Rakhine State which we continue to monitor very closely.

Children: Pre-school

Questions

Asked by Lord Rooker

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they have taken to ensure that health authorities share information with local authorities about the numbers of newborn to 3 year-olds in their area. [HL1304]

10 July 2012 : Column WA230

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): In the joint publication Supporting Families in the Foundation Years published in July 2011, the Department for Education (DfE) and the Department of Health committed to working with sector partners to promote good practice and overcome lingering barriers to effective sharing of data and information among the early years workforce. A working group of experts and local practitioners has been established to explore how effective information-sharing practices already in place in many local areas can be more widely promoted, to identify any ongoing barriers which different local partners experience and to make recommendations about how these barriers might be overcome. The working group is expected to report to Ministers in the Department and DfE in the autumn.

The Government's information strategy for health and social care in England, The Power of Information published 21 May 2012 can be found at the following website: www.informationstrategy.dh.gov.uk. A copy has already been placed in the Library:

The strategy sets out measures that will enable health and care services and systems, including services for children and young people, to share information and provide better outcomes overall.

Asked by Lord Rooker

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will take steps to ensure that local authorities are informed by health visitors and health authorities about all pre-school children in their area irrespective of the home circumstances of the children.[HL1309]

Earl Howe: The Government are committed to transferring the commissioning of all early years public health services to local authorities and believe that this will effectively resolve this particular issue. However, this will not happen for a number of years as we believe that our commitments to raise the number of health visitors, strengthen the Healthy Child Programme and expand the Family Nurse Partnership are best led by the NHS Commissioning Board. A working group has been established to explore issues relating to the effective sharing of data and information between health services and staff in the early years workforce and is expected to make recommendations in the autumn. The working group will look at how we might improve practice prior to transferring commissioning responsibilities to local authorities.

Companies: Directors

Question

Asked by Lord Morris of Aberavon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many persons have been deemed to be unfit to be directors of a public company in the past three years; and whether they have any proposals to strengthen the present arrangements.[HL1297]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Insolvency Service, which is responsible for the majority of disqualifications under the Company

10 July 2012 : Column WA231

Directors Disqualification Act 1986, does not maintain separate statistics of disqualifications against directors of public companies. There are disqualifications under Section 2 of the Company Directors Disqualification Act 1986 for which the Insolvency Service is not responsible but, again, there is no information that separates disqualifications of directors of public companies. The total disqualifications for the past three years handled by the Insolvency Service are as follows:

09-10

1388

10-11

1437

11-12

1151

There are no proposals to strengthen the present arrangements.

Creative Industries: Loans

Question

Asked by Lord Cotter

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will support the provision in the European Union’s Creative Europe proposal for a loan guarantee scheme for the creative industries; and what representations they have received from creative industries about this proposal.[HL937]

Baroness Garden of Frognal: The Government are giving this proposal careful consideration, in the context of the proposals for other European Union financial instruments and the negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework for 2014-20. The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has received a number of representations from creative industries, particularly in response to its consultation on the Creative Europe proposal earlier this year. The consultation report and responses are available on the DCMS website at: http://www.culture.gov.uk/consultations/9132.aspx.

Drone Strikes

Questions

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the legality of targeted assassinations by drones.[HL1254]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The Ministry of Defence has not made an assessment of the legality of targeted assassinations by remotely piloted air systems.

Weapons released by remotely piloted air systems are done so under the command of a pilot who uses rules of engagement (ROE) that are no different to those used for manned UK combat aircraft. The targets are always positively identified as legitimate military objectives, and attacks are prosecuted in strict accordance with the law of armed conflict and UK ROE. Attacks may not be directed against civilians.

UK forces operate in accordance with International Humanitarian Law (also referred to as the law of

10 July 2012 : Column WA232

armed conflict). These include the requirement as set out in Article 36 of Additional Protocol 1 to the Geneva Conventions, to review all new weapons, and means and methods of warfare. That process applies to unmanned capabilities as well as to other manned weapon systems.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many people have been killed by United Kingdom drone strikes in Afghanistan.[HL1255]

Lord Astor of Hever: I refer the noble Baroness to the answer given by my right honourable friend, the Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans (Andrew Robathan), in the other place on 11 July 2011 (Official Report, col. 52W) to the hon. Member for Brighton Pavilion (Dr Caroline Lucas).

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they confirm that targets of United Kingdom drone strikes are not civilians.[HL1256]

Lord Astor of Hever: I refer the noble Baroness to the answer given by my honourable friend, the Minister for the Armed Forces (Nick Harvey), in the other place on 13 September 2011 (Official Report, col. 1153W) to the honourable Member for Brighton Pavilion (Dr Caroline Lucas).

Energy: Nuclear Reactors

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of the proposal made by GE Hitachi to the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority for construction of sodium-cooled fast breeder reactors at Sellafield to deal with the United Kingdom’s 100 tonnes of plutonium.[HL1277]

Baroness Stowell of Beeston: Following the announcement by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority that it was seeking alternative approaches to be considered alongside the preferred option of converting plutonium into mixed oxide fuel, GE Hitachi and others expressed an interest in submitting proposals in the future. Work is currently ongoing between GE Hitachi and the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority to help determine whether a sodium-cooled fast breeder reactor could be a credible option to deal with the UK plutonium stockpile. A copy of this proposal has already been published on the Business Link Public Procurement Portal (Contracts Finder) available at httpl/www.contractsfinder.businesslink. gov.uk/Common/View°%20Notice.aspx?site=1000& 1ang =en&noticeid=480416&fs=true.

A further copy of the proposal will be placed in the Libraries of the House.

10 July 2012 : Column WA233

Energy: Wind Power

Question

Asked by Lord Walton of Detchant

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will withdraw or reduce subsidy payments for wind power.[HL1344]

Baroness Stowell of Beeston: Renewable generation is currently supported through the Renewables Obligation (RO). RO bands are currently being reviewed and we expect to announce the outcomes shortly.

Ethiopia

Question

Asked by Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their current assessment of their results-based aid pilot in Ethiopia.[HL1301]

Baroness Northover: The Department for International Development has recently reviewed the results-based aid pilot in Ethiopia and found that it is meeting expectations. The first payment, which will be based on this year’s verified grade 10 examination results (the equivalent of GCSE), is expected to be made in November 2012.

EU: e-identity

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the EU Commission's proposal to encourage the use of e-identities throughout the European Union, and whether any such proposal would need to be approved by both Houses of Parliament.[HL1098]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: An assessment of the proposal is under way. The draft regulation will be subject to parliamentary scrutiny in the usual way.

Fashion Industry

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to encourage new designers into the fashion industry.[HL1074]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: UK Trade and Investment, British Fashion Council and Topshop support NewGen which helps to promote the younger generation of designers coming out of the colleges. The UK has some of the very best art and design schools in the world with many of the top designers based in London providing the opportunity for young designers to hone their skills through working with them as trainees and interns.

10 July 2012 : Column WA234

The British Fashion Council recently published its Future of Fashion Strategic Considerations for Growth report. The document sets out the British Fashion Council’s vision for the sector, identifying five areas which it believes have great potential, including skills, training, job creation, talent creation and development. The report highlights the action required to ensure this potential is met.

Further information and an online copy of the report can be found on the British Fashion Council's website: http://www.britishfashioncouncil.com/content /1890/Future-of-Fashion.

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what schemes they operate to promote the United Kingdom fashion industry.[HL1075]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: The Government engage with the Creative Industries Council to set priorities for action on issues such as growth and competitiveness. Creative Skillset, the sector skills council for the creative industries covering the fashion and textile industries, leads the council’s skills group which includes employers such as Mulberry and the British Fashion Council.

Supported in part by funding from UK Trade and Investment (UKTI), the British Fashion Council promotes London Fashion Week and the London Showrooms which take place in major cities around the world. UKTI has fashion specialists based in overseas embassies and consulates to advise companies on their markets and promote UK business overseas.

Creative Skillset has been successful in securing—through competitive bidding process—public and private sector co-investment to undertake in partnership with industry and trade bodies such as UKTI, a range of activities that address education and skills issues, including the development of national occupational standards, qualifications and apprenticeship frameworks; kite-marking industry-approved courses; and promoting relevant careers information, advice and guidance and high-quality internships.

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much the fashion industry is worth to the United Kingdom economy.[HL1076]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: The latest data from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport Creative Industries Economic Estimates show that gross added value (GVA) for designer fashion in 2009 was £120 million (0.01% of total UK GVA). The definition of designer fashion is intended to represent the creative element in the fashion industry and does not include retail or other supply chain effects.

The British Fashion Council (BFC) provides higher GVA estimates for fashion. The BFC uses a much broader definition of the fashion industry, including retail fashion. It estimates the direct contribution of fashion to the UK economy in 2009 was £20.9 billion.

10 July 2012 : Column WA235

Further information and an online copy of the report can be found on the British Fashion Council website: http://www.britishfashioncouncil.co.uk/content/ 1745/Value-of-Fashion.

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many people are employed in the United Kingdom fashion industry.[HL1077]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: The latest data from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport Creative Industries Economic Estimates show that employment in designer fashion in 2010 was 25,583 (or less than 1% of total UK employment). The definition of designer fashion is intended to represent the creative element in the fashion industry and does not include retail or other supply chain effects.

Forced Marriage

Questions

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the (1) estimated, and (2) reported, number of forced marriages in England in (a) 2007, (b) 2008, (c) 2009, (d) 2010, (e) 2011, and (f) to 1 June 2012.[HL1018]

The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): It is very difficult to estimate the scale of forced marriage in England. The very nature of this abhorrent practice means it is likely that many cases go unreported.

The Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) captures information about contacts, requests for advice and assistance in relation to possible cases of forced marriage.

The following is a breakdown of reported cases from 2007 to 2012:

in 2007, data were not collected on the number of reported cases of forced marriage;in 2008, a total of 1,618 reports relating to possible forced marriage were received by the FMU;in 2009, a total of 1,682 reports relating to possible forced marriage were received by the FMU;in 2010, a total of 1,735 reports relating to possible forced marriage were received by the FMU;in 2011, a total of 1,468 reports relating to possible forced marriage were received by the FMU;up to 1 June 2012, a total of 611 reports relating to a possible forced marriage were received by the FMU.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the (1) estimated, and (2) reported, number of child marriages in England in (a) 2007, (b) 2008, (c) 2009, (d) 2010, (e) 2011, and (f) to 1 June 2012.[HL1019]

Lord Henley: It is very difficult to estimate the scale of child forced marriage in England. The very nature of this abhorrent practice means it is likely that many cases go unreported.

The Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) does not hold any data on the number of child marriages in England.

10 July 2012 : Column WA236

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many pregnant girls below 18 years old in England were forced into marriage in (1) 2007, (2) 2008, (3) 2009, (4) 2010, (5) 2011, and (6) to 1 June 2012.[HL1022]

Lord Henley: The Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) does not hold any data on the number of pregnant girls below 18 years old in England, forced into marriage.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the number of deliveries to girls below 18 years old in England, where forced marriage had occurred, in (1) 2007, (2) 2008, (3) 2009, (4) 2010, (5) 2011, and (6) to 1 June 2012.[HL1023]

Lord Henley: The Forced Marriage Unit (FMU) does not hold any data on the number of deliveries to girls below 18 years old in England, where forced marriage occurred.

Government Departments: Apprentices

Question

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 Foreign and Commonwealth Office on 1 June, excluding agencies and non-departmental public bodies.[HL1111]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) does not employ apprentices.

However, in 2012, we expect to provide over 50 paid, work experience placements in the FCO under a variety of schemes run by the Cabinet Office, the Department for Work and Pensions and the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, as well as our own scheme. We expect the majority of the applicants for these schemes to be under 21.

FCO Services, the agency trading arm of the FCO, has a well established apprenticeship programme and is currently providing 30 technical apprenticeships, with an additional 11 starting in September. Eight of the current apprentices are under 21 and seven are aged 21.

Government Departments: Food Waste

Question

Asked by Baroness Jones of Whitchurch

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 Ministry of Defence will sign up to that agreement; and whether they will encourage catering contractors employed by the Ministry to do the same.[HL979]

10 July 2012 : Column WA237

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has signed up to the WRAP Hospitality and Food Service Voluntary Agreement as part of its drive to meet the Greening Government commitments. The department recently wrote to Dr Liz Goodwin, chief executive officer of WRAP, to confirm this.

The MoD will support WRAP in engaging with its relevant soft facilities management suppliers.

Government Departments: Procurement

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many government procurement cards were issued to staff employed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs in each year since 2007–08. [HL1341]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): For the period 2011-12, 739 full-time and 67 part-time employees of Core Defra held government procurement cards

For the period 2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10 and 2010-11 the information requested is not held centrally and could not be obtained without incurring disproportionate costs.

Government Departments: Staff

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many (1) men, and (2) women, broken down by age group, are currently employed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and each of its agencies.[HL1339]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The table below shows the number of staff in Defra and each of the agencies broken down by gender and 10-year age bands.

Age BandMaleFemaleTotal

Defra

20-29

62

87

149

30-39

291

403

694

40-49

361

353

714

50-59

285

198

483

60+

67

36

103

Total

1066

1077

2143

AHVLA

20-29

51

116

167

30-39

253

421

674

40-49

309

454

763

50-59

284

360

644

60+

110

83

193

Total

1007

1434

2441

CEFAS

16-19

5

0

5

20-29

39

37

76

10 July 2012 : Column WA238

30-39

85

89

174

40-49

107

71

178

50-59

71

31

102

60+

19

3

22

Total

326

231

557

FERA

16-19

6

8

14

20-29

51

53

104

30-39

95

121

216

40-49

162

142

304

50-59

143

80

223

60+

48

21

69

Total

505

425

930

RPA

20-29

122

162

284

30-39

341

479

820

40-49

333

362

695

50-59

250

312

562

60+

86

66

152

Total

1132

1381

2513

VMD

20-29

4

5

9

30-39

16

32

48

40-49

21

21

42

50-59

18

23

41

60+

7

7

14

Total

66

88

154

Total

4102

4636

8738

Figures are a headcount as at 30 June 2012.

Government Departments: Stationery

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what restrictions are placed by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on the ordering of stationery items.[HL1264]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): Defra orders standard stationery items using the Government Procurement Service (GPS) Framework RM917A and a catalogue also managed by GPS.

Further restrictions have been placed on the range of such stationery (excluding access to some items in the catalogue) following an internal review.

Non-standard stationery items (those that are not contained within the catalogue) need to go through a further approval process with full justification provided as to the specific need before purchases are approved.

Government Departments: Theft

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and its predecessor departments have (1) taken,

10 July 2012 : Column WA239

and (2) plan to take in each of the next two years, to reduce the number of computers stolen from premises (a) occupied, and (b) leased by that department. [HL1261]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): Measures to deter, prevent and detect theft are an essential feature of core Defra’s protective security controls. These controls reflect the standards set out in the HMG Security Policy Framework (SPF) issued by the Cabinet Office and available at http://www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/resource-library/security-policy-framework.

Core Defra implements controls in line with the SPF, and reviews these annually across all Defra premises. To maintain effective security controls, it would not be appropriate to provide more specific details.

Health Act 2006 and Health Act 2009

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have published guidance as required under Section 65 of the Health Act 2006, as amended by Section 16 of the Health Act 2009.[HL1273]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government did not publish the guidance for trust special administrators under Section 65N of the NHS Act 2006 and the legislation has now been superseded.

The Health and Social Care Act 2012 amended the requirement to publish guidance for trust special administrators. Under the revised legislation, the department is responsible for publishing guidance for trust special administrators appointed to National Health Service trusts, while Monitor is responsible for publishing guidance for trust special administrators appointed to NHS foundation trusts.

The department published the guidance for trust special administrators appointed to NHS trusts on 5 July 2012: www.wp.dh.gov.uk/publications/files/2012/07/statutory-guidance-trust-special-administrators.pdf.

A copy of the guidance has been placed in the Library.

Health and Social Care Act 2012

Question

Asked by Lord Bradley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they will issue guidelines on the definition of “significant transactions” that are required to be scrutinised by the council of governors under the provisions of the Health and Social Care Act 2012.[HL1355]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): We have no plans to issue guidance. This would be a matter for each National Health Service foundation trust to agree with its council of governors. Under Sections 161 and 167 of the Act,

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the governors of NHS foundation trusts will have the power to decide how to define a significant transaction, and whether to include such a transaction in the trust’s constitution. The Health and Social Care Act 2012 places a duty on an NHS foundation trust to secure that its governors have the skills and knowledge they need to fulfil their responsibilities. The department is sponsoring the NHS leadership academy to produce a programme to develop governors.

Monitor will continue to regulate NHS foundation trusts. We are advised by Monitor that it is likely to use its powers to mitigate the risk that a transaction has on an NHS foundation trust’s ability to provide sustainable high-quality NHS care. Monitor will consult on its oversight regime for foundation trusts post-licensing later in the year.

Health: Diabetes

Question

Asked by Lord Morris of Aberavon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what figures are available for each of the past 10 years on the identification of patients suffering from type 1 diabetes. [HL1172]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): A full data set identifying the number of patients with type 1 diabetes is not available.

We can provide data on the number of registrations by diabetes type for patients present in the National Diabetes Audit (NDA) for each year from 2003-04 to 2010-11. Participation in the NDA, which audits diabetes registrations in primary and secondary care, is not mandatory—so the NDA will not have 100% coverage or participation. It therefore cannot be taken as an accurate indication of the number of patients suffering from type 1 diabetes. Please see the following table.

Registrations by Diabetes Type

Practices included

All practices

Registrations

All sources

Diabetes Type

Type 1

Audit year

2010-11, 2009-10, 2008-09, 2007-08, 2006-07, 2005-06, 2004-05, 2003-04

Audit YearRegistrations from Primary CareRegistrations from Secondary CareTotal RegistrationsPractice Participation Rate

2010-11*

186,009

8,451

194,460

82.8%

2009-10

173,354

10,420

183,774

77.9%

2008-09

154,990

9,600

164,590

71.9%

2007-08

139,873

9,927

149,800

64.6%

2006-07

122,132

11,860

133,992

58.5%

2005-06

53,800

24,703

78,503

28.7%

2004-05

30,001

18,382

48,383

22.0%

2003-04

8,550

11,895

20,445

Approx 20%

Notes:

*

Please note that the NDA 2010-11 uses a different methodology to previous years which may cause a slight impact on the number of diabetes patients registered.

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Horses

Questions

Asked by Lord Harrison

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the report from the British Horseracing Authority on the effect of the recession on the welfare of British thoroughbred horses. [HL1223]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): We are grateful for sight of the report. Defra considers that it is essential for the authority to continue to monitor the number of thoroughbred horses entering racing and, where appropriate, takes action to see that welfare concerns are met.

Asked by Viscount Astor

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many horse passport-issuing organisations are currently approved to issue horse passports.[HL1346]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: There are 75 approved horse passport-issuing organisations operating in the United Kingdom.

Asked by Viscount Astor

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many horse passports were issued in (1) 2010, and (2) 2011. [HL1347]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The National Equine Database records the number of passports issued by UK passport-issuing organisations as follows:

Calendar yearNumber of UK Passports issued

2010

63,196

2011

64,233

Asked by Viscount Astor

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many horses and ponies are currently in the United Kingdom.[HL1348]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The latest estimate of the horse population is taken from the British Equestrian Trade Association National Equestrian Survey 2011. This survey estimated the horse population of Great Britain to be 988,000.

Asked by Viscount Astor

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many horse passports have been issued since the scheme was introduced.[HL1349]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The National Equine Database (NED) holds records of 1,286,503 horse passports. This total comprises horse passports issued by UK passport-issuing organisations, and passports issued in other member states that owners have voluntarily registered on NED.

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House of Lords: Baroness Warsi

Questions

Asked by Lord Foulkes of Cumnock

To ask Her Majesty’s Government for which departments Baroness Warsi speaks and answers Questions in the House of Lords.[HL1199]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government on how many occasions since her appointment to the Government Baroness Warsi has (1) answered oral parliamentary Questions, and (2) taken part in debates.[HL1200]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The List of Ministerial Responsibilities is publicly available and published on the Cabinet Office website at http://www.cabinet office. gov.uk/sites/default/files/resources/LMR-2012-april. pdf. Copies are available in the Library of the House.

Information on oral Questions and debates is publicly available and published in Lords Hansard.

House of Lords: Parliamentary Questions

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask the Leader of the House whether, and to what extent, Ministers are required to answer parliamentary Questions on the activities or responsibilities of government agencies sponsored by or accountable to government departments, including HM Treasury. [HL1370]

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): The Guide to Parliamentary Work produced by the Office of the Leader of the House of Commons provides the following guidance:

“Letters from Executive Agencies and NDPBs

7.49 It is normal practice for a Department receiving a PQ relating entirely to the day-to-day operations of an Executive Agency to reply:

This is a matter for ……, the Chief Executive of the …… Agency, who will write to the hon. Member.

7.50 The subsequent letter from the Chief Executive should be sent to the official report for printing, unless it contains personal or confidential information. If the letter is longer than the Official Report would normally publish, notification will be printed that the response is available in the library of the House. Ministers remain responsible for the answer in its entirety.

7.51 Since November 2007, it has also been possible for this approach to be taken with letters from the heads of NDPBs. In doing so, however, Ministers are accepting that they are taking responsibility for the answer and are accountable to Parliament for it. The decision is one for Ministers on a case by-case basis”.

Israel and Palestine

Question

Asked by The Lord Bishop of Exeter

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel and the work it undertakes to accompany Palestinians and Israelis in non-violent action. [HL1176]

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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The British Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) is in regular contact with the British Consulate-General in Jerusalem. The EAPPI provides a useful independent monitoring service in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. It issues reports on the situation on the ground in the West Bank, for example, on impending demolitions. It also provides statistics on movement and access through checkpoints around Jerusalem, which help the international community to monitor the impact of restrictions on the lives of ordinary Palestinians.

Justice: Closed Material Procedures

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will introduce measures to ensure that judgments made by courts and tribunals under the closed material procedure are made public when the reasons for maintaining their secrecy no longer obtain. [HL953]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Closed judgments contain highly sensitive material. For this reason they are not suitable for publication by law-reporting organisations which are not security cleared. Closed judgments are usually handed down in tandem with an open judgment, and most judges state in their open judgment that a closed judgment has also been handed down.

Judges will put as much of their reasoning into open as possible, including statements of legal principle that are most likely to have cross-case relevance. It is open to special advocates and counsel for the Government to make submissions about moving material from the closed judgment to the open judgment. If the court is persuaded that it would not harm the public interest to do so, then material will be moved to the open judgment

The Lord Chancellor’s code of practice on the management of records issued under Section 46 of the Freedom of Information Act 2000 provides the guidance on the management of records held by bodies subject to the Public Records Act 1958.

Lobbying

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have assessed the provision to restrict former United States Members of Congress, ambassadors and high- ranking Government officials from lobbying on behalf of designated foreign Governments for 10 years after relinquishing their posts, recently approved by the House of Representatives Appropriations Committee; and whether they intend to introduce similar provisions in the United Kingdom. [HL1162]

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Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The rules for Ministers on the acceptance of appointments after leaving ministerial office are set out in the Ministerial Code. The rules for civil servants on the acceptance of an outside appointment or employment after leaving the Civil Service are set out in the Civil Service Management Code, and in departmental staff handbooks.

NHS: Clinical Research Trials

Question

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress is being made to create an automatic opt-in for NHS patients for access to clinical trials; and what safeguards will be put in place to protect patients. [HL1140]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The NHS Constitution notes that by default a patient’s data may be used for research purposes. However, where identifiable information is concerned the patient will always have the right to opt out of their data being used in compliance with the principles of the Data Protection Act. The Government support the rights patients have to choice in accessing clinical trials and have also developed a UK clinical trials gateway launched in 2011. This enables patients and clinicians to search internationally recognised clinical trial registries for ongoing studies that may be of interest and relevance to them. Should a patient wish to join a study then they should do so in consultation with their clinician or care team.

NHS: Reform

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the National Health Service reforms will cause hospital ward closures and a reduction in the number of hospital beds.[HL1365]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Decisions about the numbers of hospital wards and beds are for individual provider organisations, responding to the needs of their patients and their commissioners. The Government's reforms to the National Health Service will hand more power to front-line professionals to decide how services should be commissioned and provided. Our focus is on improving the outcomes that the NHS achieves rather than on the precise way that services are delivered.

Overseas Aid

Question

Asked by Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will publish the “results offers” they requested from relevant department for International Development country teams, the assessments by the Department

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for International Development’s technical advisers of those offers, and the scrutiny panel’s reflections to ministers once the Department for International Development’s priority countries had been chosen as part of the Bilateral Aid Review process.[HL1300]

Baroness Northover: DfID published a full technical report on the bilateral aid review on 1 March 2011. The technical report gives assessments of results, offers and the conclusions of the review.

DfID’s annual report, published on 25 June 2012, sets out the results that have been achieved since the announcement of the bilateral aid review, and shows good progress against the commitments in the review. DfID has also published updated operational plans which set out in greater detail the results we are planning to achieve in each of our focus countries.

Railways: Crossrail

Questions

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the proposal for an additional Crossrail station to be built in the Portobello Road area.[HL1214]

Earl Attlee: Network Rail undertook an operational study of the proposal in 2010. Around the same time the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) commissioned consultants to produce demand forecasts for the proposed station.

While neither study was commissioned by the Government, the results were shared with the Crossrail Joint Sponsors (Department for Transport and Transport for London), and comments were provided on the RBKC study.

A further operational assessment will be completed in 2013 and will take on board the planned service levels once Crossrail, the Great Western route electrification, the Intercity Express Programme and any plans put forward by bidders for the new Great Western franchise have all been implemented.

The Crossrail Joint Sponsors have undertaken to reassess the merits of the proposed station once the results of this modelling are available.

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with Kensington and Chelsea Council about the proposal for an additional Crossrail station to be built in the Portobello Road area.[HL1215]

Earl Attlee: Members of the Crossrail Joint Sponsor Team (which represents the interests of both project sponsors—Department for Transport and Transport for London) have met with Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC) officers on various occasions over the last few years to discuss the proposal, and various letters have been exchanged at both official and political level.

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The former Permanent Secretary for the Department for Transport, Lin Homer, met with the chief executive of RBKC last autumn, also to discuss the proposal, and sponsors have offered a further meeting to RBKC officers.

My right honourable friend, the Minister of State for Transport has also taken part in discussions about this issue, for example at the Crossrail High Level Forum in November 2010.

Roads: A1

Question

Asked by Baroness Harris of Richmond

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the new road layout on the southbound A1 trunk road leading to Leeming and Bedale.[HL1191]

Earl Attlee: A number of assessments have been made during the delivery of the Al Dishforth to Leeming improvement project which encompasses the southbound section of the Al leading to Leeming and Bedale. The assessments are:

a Stage 1 Road Safety Audit (RSA) was carried out after the preliminary design work has been carried out;a Stage 2 RSA was carried out upon completion of the detailed design; and a Stage 3 RSA was carried out upon completion of the construction (site visits at both day and night).

No exceptions were raised as a result of these audits.

A Stage 4 RSA will be carried out 12 months and 36 months after scheme completion. Any problems identified will be assessed and remedial work arranged if required.

A post-opening project evaluation report (POPE) will also be carried out one year and five years after opening. These will consider whether the project benefits have been met. The reports will be posted on the HA website.

Scheme signing was also considered to ensure it complied with current Department for Transport policy.

Social Care: Reform

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their response to the Nuffield Trust Report Reforming Social Care: Options for Funding.[HL1168]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government agree with the Nuffield Trust’s conclusion that the social care funding system is in need of reform. This is why we set out in The Coalition: Our Programme for Government a clear commitment to reforming the system to provide much more control to individuals and their carers, and to ease the cost burden that they and their families face.

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We also acted quickly to establish the Commission on Funding of Care and Support, which published its report in July 2011. The Government welcomed the report, and have since been analysing its recommendations and engaging widely with the social care sector to establish the priorities for reform—of the funding system and more broadly.

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We welcome the Nuffield Trust’s report as a valuable and timely contribution to this debate. We will shortly be publishing a care and support White Paper and a progress report on funding reform, which will set out our response to the Commission’s recommendations and our plans for the future of the social care system in England.