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To ask Her Majesty's Government what inquiries and representations they have made about Bishop James Su Zhimin of Baoding, and Bishop Cosma Shi Enxiang of Yixian, who disappeared 15 and 11 years ago respectively, and with what result. [HL1913]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Freedom of religion, including government restrictions on religious organisations and the treatment of individuals associated with these groups, was raised with the Chinese delegation at the most recent round of the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue in January 2012.
We last raised the cases of Su Zhimin and Shi Enxiang at the 14th round of UK-China Human Rights Dialogue in 2006. Due to the large number of cases of concern we are not always able to regularly raise particular individual cases but we continue to look for opportunities to do so.
At previous dialogues the Chinese side responded that the judicial authorities had taken no coercive action against them and are unaware of their whereabouts. We asked for assistance in locating the bishops and raised our concerns about their health given their advanced age. We are unaware of their current whereabouts or status.
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 Culture, Media and Sport and its agencies were made redundant, or departed early,
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Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The following table shows (1) the total number of employees who left the Department for Culture, Media and Sport under voluntary exit terms, (2) the costs under the Civil Service Compensation Scheme and (3) the average redundancy payment in the 2011 calendar year:
|Date of Leaving||Number of employees who left under early exit terms||Total cost under the Civil Service Compensation Scheme||Average payment|
Payment of annual pension amounts and lump sum are made under the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme by our administrator, My Civil Service Pension. We do not hold records centrally and to obtain these would involve disproportionate cost.
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport will no longer have a use for the premises at Cockspur Street after its move to 100 Parliament Street in March 2013 and is looking either to assign the lease or to sub-let floors. Five of the eight floors in the building are already let.
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: A long-term reorganisation is already under way. The department is currently midway through a three-year change programme to achieve 50% administrative cost reductions to meet spending review targets while building a highly motivated, diverse and talented workforce and prioritising critical deliverables, including the Olympic and Paralympic Games.
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has committed to a 50% reduction in its administration budget by 31 March 2015, which includes staffing costs. Subject to these reductions, we anticipate that the department will have around 340 full-time equivalent staff from April 2013.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): East Jerusalem, including the Haram al-Sharif/Temple Mount, is occupied territory and, therefore, as the occupying power Israel must administer this territory in accordance with occupation law, specifically the 1907 Hague Regulations and Fourth Geneva Convention.
As we have long made clear, it is vital that the parties come to an agreement whereby Jerusalem can be a shared capital both of Israel and of a Palestinian state. Any agreement should protect Jerusalem's holy sites and ensure that all people can freely access religious sites sacred to them.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the transitional costs of transferring
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The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The transitional costs of transferring the functions of the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) to other bodies, including the Home Office and the National Crime Agency, will be met from within existing NPIA budgets.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will make representations to the Government of Nigeria regarding the concerns of the Christian communities in Tafawa Belewa, Bauchi State, over the absence of action to prosecute and punish the perpetrators of violence against them.[HL2035]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We are deeply concerned by the recent violence in northern Nigeria, which has caused suffering in both Christian and Muslim communities. The UK condemns all such instances of violence. We have raised with the Nigerian Government the importance of bringing perpetrators to justice and will continue to do so. We welcome statements made by the Nigeria Government about co-operation with the International Criminal Court (ICC) following the ICC's decision to conduct a preliminary examination into Nigeria. The Government are committed to working with the Nigerian Government to tackle the threat from violent groups and to find a lasting resolution to conflict in northern Nigeria.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what have been the changes in the numbers of (1) police officers, and (2) police community support officers, in each police authority over the past three years. [HL1860]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): The latest available information shows the number of police officers and police community support officers for the three years up to 31 March 2012, by police force area (full-time equivalents) in England and Wales. Figures for Scotland and Northern Ireland are a matter for the respective Administrations.
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|Number of police officers and police community support officers for the three years up to 31 March 2012, by police force area|
|Police force||Police Officers||Police Community Support Officers|
1. This and other tables contain full-time equivalent figures that have been rounded to the nearest whole number. Because of rounding, there may be an apparent discrepancy between totals and the sums of the constituent items.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to proposals by the Royal Statistical Society and the UK Statistics Authority that registration of the fact of death should be decoupled from the cause of death.[HL1645]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Lord Henley): Civil registration is a devolved function in the UK, so is a matter for each of the Administrations. The General Register Office within the Identity and Passport Service oversees civil registration in England and Wales.
In England and Wales, a death is normally registered within a few days of the occurrence. When a death is the subject of an inquest, the registration takes place after the verdict has been reached and the cause of death has been established. The coroner may issue an interim certificate, which can be used for purposes
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There is no evidence to indicate that there is a significant public health risk or that the existing registration processes cause inconvenience to the public. Accordingly, there are no plans to change the current approach, including that of separating out the processes of registration and cause of death.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have (1) to assess the impact of interference from 4G mobile broadband on digital television services in a limited geographical area, and (2) to apply any lessons from such an assessment to the roll-out of 4G services nationally.[HL1779]
Baroness Verma: Previous experiences of the 3G network rollout in the UK, and 4G rollouts in other countries, show that network operators are unlikely to roll out complete networks before switching them on. They will undertake a phased rollout. It is the role of Mitco, an organisation that has been set up to reduce the interference to mobile networks, to monitor the situation for any evidence of interference to TV reception as it develops, and act if required to do so.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made an assessment of whether any other member states of the European Union have systems of statutory press controls and of the effectiveness of those controls.[HL1985]
Baroness Verma: The Government have noted Module 4 of the Leveson inquiry on future press regulation, which has included analysis of systems of press regulation in other parts of Europe and elsewhere. The Government will respond to the Leveson inquiry in due course, once they receive recommendations for future press regulation due in Lord Justice Leveson's report this autumn.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many 16 year-olds they expect to start the 2012-13 academic year studying in (1) maintained school sixth forms, (2) academy sixth forms, (3) 16-19 free schools, (4) sixth form colleges, and (5) further education colleges.[HL1941]
Lord Hill of Oareford: A projection of the percentage of 16 year-olds participating in the 2012-13 academic year was published in the 16-19 Funding Statement by the Young People's Learning Agency (YPLA) in December 2011. The Education Funding Agency (EFA) will be updating this projection as part of the work for the next 16-19 Funding Statement.
The table below provides a more detailed breakdown of the age 16 participation rate projection for 2012-13 academic year by route. State-funded school sixth form numbers by school type have not been provided because robust estimates by individual academic age were not available when these projections were produced.
|Projected participation in education and work-based learning at academic age 16 by institution type, snapshot at end 2012 calendar year|
|Overall participation at academic age 16 in education and work-based learning, of which:||602,979||98.0|
To ask Her Majesty's Government what (1) new academy sixth forms, and (2) 16-19 free schools, will open in the 2012-13 academic year; how much funding each will receive; and how many students each expects to enrol.[HL1942]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The tables below list the new academy and free school sixth forms being established in September 2012 for which funding allocations have been finalised.
|Table 1: Funding for new academy sixth forms opening September 2012|
|School||Local Authority||Funding for Places and 16-19 Bursary Fund||Estimated Student Numbers in First Year||Planned Capacity|
|Table 2: Funding for new Free School sixth forms opening September 2012|
|School||Local Authority||Funding for Places and 16-19 Bursary Fund||Estimated Student Numbers in First Year||Planned Capacity|
In addition, there are two academy sixth forms opening in September 2012 for which funding allocations are still being finalised. They are therefore not included in the table above. They are Ash Green School and Torquay Academy. A final list can be provided in due course if desired.
Provision for 16 to 19 year-olds in academies and free schools is funded on the same per-learner basis as that for maintained school sixth forms, sixth-form colleges and general further education colleges using the national funding formula for 16-19 provision. We are introducing a new fairer, simpler and more transparent funding formula for 2013-14 to support the raising of the participation age. The 16-19 Bursary Fund is provided to enable institutions to help young people meet the costs of participating in education and training.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Hill of Oareford on 13 June (WA 257-8), how many academies no longer include the history of the Holocaust in their curricula; whether all history programmes will include the history of the holocaust as part of a new national curriculum; and whether academies will be obliged to teach about the holocaust regardless of whether they depart from a new national curriculum. [HL1832]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The department does not collect information about whether academies include the history of the Holocaust in their curricula. While publicly funded independent schools (academies) will continue to have the freedom to depart from the new national curriculum, where they consider that to be in the best interests of their students, they are required by law to teach a broad and balanced curriculum. As is the case now, we envisage that many such schools will, in practice, continue to offer the national curriculum, and they will be accountable to parents and their local communities for any decisions they take.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (1) complaints, and (2) appeals, against gradings Ofsted have received from (a) further education colleges, and (b) sixth form colleges, in the past two academic years; and how many have been upheld. [HL1788]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): This question is a matter for Ofsted. HM Chief Inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has written to my noble friend, and a copy of his response has been placed in the House Libraries.
PARLIAMENTARY QUESTION NUMBER HL1788: To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (1) complaints, and (2) appeals, against gradings Ofsted have received from (a) further education colleges, and (b) sixth form colleges, in the past two academic years; and how many have been upheld.
The information you have requested is in the tables below, which are divided between stage one and stage two complaints. A stage one complaint investigation includes challenges to judgements (gradings) as well as concerns about inspector conduct, administration, or information. The stage two complaint investigation is Ofsted's equivalent of an appeal against the investigation completed at stage one.
|Sixth Form College||FE College||Sixth Form College||FE College|
|Sixth Form College||FE College||Sixth Form College||FE College|
*A total of nine stage 1 complaints from FE colleges were received in the academic year 2011-12, Of these, five complaints involved challenges to judgements (gradings). Three of these complaints have been investigated with no complaint aspect upheld. Two investigations have not yet concluded. The remaining four complaints concerned issues about inspector conduct, administration or information aspects of the inspection. No aspect of these four complaints was upheld.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the terms of reference of the Schools Commissioner for England in relation to the promotion of academies, and for her other work; and what proportion of her work consists of promoting academies.[HL1884]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The terms of reference for the schools commissioner defines Dr Sidwell's role as to champion the growth of academies and raise the profile of free schools among school leaders, local authorities, parent groups and community organisations. Advocating academies, and the freedoms that becoming an academy brings, is an integral part of all of the schools commissioner's work, and accordingly it is not possible to specify the proportion of Dr Sidwell's work that involves promoting academies.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Free schools are not permitted to teach creationism as a valid scientific theory in any subject and the Government would not approve any school that intended to do so. The model
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Lord Hill of Oareford: The Government have made it clear that creationism has no place in the science curriculum of any state-funded school. The model funding agreement prohibits free schools from teaching creationism as a valid scientific theory in any subject.
Lord Hill of Oareford: The teaching of creationism as a valid scientific theory, whether in an assembly or as part of the teaching of science or any other subject, has no place in any state-funded school. Free schools are specifically prohibited from teaching it through their funding agreements. Schools may, however, cover the biblical creation story; for example, as part of religious education.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proportion of pupils in the schools in each London borough and the City of London were in receipt of free school meals for each year from 1997 to the last year for which figures are available.[HL1604]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Information on the number and percentage of pupils known to be eligible for and claiming free school meals in each local authority in London from 2002 to 2012 has been placed in the House Libraries. Information is not available on the same basis prior to 2002. The latest information on free school meal eligibility was published on 21 June 2012 in the Schools, Pupils and their Characteristics:
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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): All free school applications are subject to a rigorous assessment and a thorough interview process that draws on the advice of a range of education experts and advisers.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the change in the allocation of capital funding for publicly funded schools between 2010-11 and 2011-12 across local authorities in (1) England, (2) the North West, and (3) Merseyside.[HL1833]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Capital allocations made to local authorities and schools in England, the north-west, and Merseyside, in 2010-11 and 2011-12, together with the change between these two years, are set out in the following table:
|Capital allocations for schools|
|2010-11 £m||2011-12 £m||Change from 2010-11 to 2011-12 £m|
The allocations shown cover all capital allocations to schools and local authorities and include supported borrowing allocations in 2010-11. The figures exclude investment through the private finance initiative.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The department does not hold employment information for overseas-trained teachers currently working in England and Wales, or details of the countries in which they first qualified.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in making projections about levels of registration under the system of individual electoral registration proposed in the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill, what assumptions they have made about the level of local authority spending on electoral registration in (1) 2012, (2) 2013, (3) 2014, and (4) 2015.[HL2040]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on levels of electoral registration if local authorities do not spend the funds allocated to them for electoral registration to that end in (1) 2012, (2) 2013, (3) 2014, and (4) 2015. [HL2041]
Lord Newby: Funding to meet the cost of the transition to IER was allocated in the 2010 comprehensive spending review with £108 million allocated over the spending review period. The Government are committed to funding the full cost of the transition to IER, over and above the current cost of electoral registration. Local authorities will continue to fund electoral registration from their formula grant and the Government will ensure that there is sufficient funding for transition by making specific payments under Section 31 of the Local Government Act. This funding will be supplied for specific transition activities (such as digital changes, training and transitional canvass arrangements) through upfront or retrospective grants, depending on which activity is being funded. The Government propose that these funds will also be supplied to local authorities on the basis of local needs in terms of population turnover or other factors.
Local authorities are under a statutory duty (Section 54 of the Representation of the People Act 1983) to pay an electoral registration officer's expenses properly incurred in the performance of their functions. Electoral registration officers will be under specific legal obligations to carry out responsibilities agreed by Parliament during the transition. Those who fail to do so will be in breach of their duties, which (in the absence of reasonable cause) is an offence under Section 63 of the 1983 Act. Local authorities presently allocate funding from their area-based grant for registration activities to comply with their present statutory duties and we expect that they will continue to do so.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of their proposals in the Electoral Registration and Administration Bill on levels of electoral registration (1) among young people aged between 18 and 25, (2) among students, (3) among people with learning disabilities, (4) among
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Lord Newby: The Government have carried out a detailed programme of research to inform their decision making on the implementation of individual electoral registration. They have funded the Electoral Commission to publish an updated study on the completeness and accuracy of the electoral register to understand the scale of the challenge; they have funded an independent academic to carry out a literature review of all available research into electoral registration; and they have commissioned a qualitative study which explored the barriers to registration for those groups missing from the register under the current system, and those most at risk during the transition to IER. All of this information has been made publicly available to inform parliamentary scrutiny and debates (which is available on the Cabinet Office website).
To ask Her Majesty's Government what arrangements they have made to ensure that Ministers with responsibilities in the Cabinet Office comply with clauses 1.2(b) and 1.2(d) of the Ministerial Code.[HL2039]
As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent parliamentary Question to ask Her Majesty's Government
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The Office for National Statistics publishes an annual United Kingdom National Accounts: The Blue Book which presents a full set of economic accounts, or National Accounts, for the United Kingdom. Chapters 3 and 4 of the Blue Book comprise the fullest available set of accounts showing transactions by the private non-financial and financial sectors of the economy respectively. The Blue Book 2012 was published on 31 July 2012 and is available on the National Statistics web site at:
Blue Book 2012 shows that total currency and deposits held by private non-financial corporations has increased annually since 2009 (shown in table 3.3.9 within the financial balance sheet for private non-financial corporations).
Blue Book 2012 shows that total currency and deposits held by financial corporations has increased annually since 2009 (shown in table 4.1.9 within the financial balance sheet for financial corporations).
The Blue Book also provides information on the net lending/borrowing position of private companies, which is the financial balance between their income and expenditure. If the financial balance of private companies is positive, they are net lenders and if it is negative, net borrowers.
Blue Book 2012 shows, for private non-financial corporations, an annually increasing positive financial balance since 2008 (shown in table 3.3.8 within the financial account for private non-financial corporations).
Blue Book 2012 shows that although since 2008 financial corporations have had a positive financial balance, this has subsequently decreased each year (shown in table 4.1.8 within the financial account for financial corporations).
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many training courses for civil servants were scheduled to be delivered by Civil Service Learning for April-June 2012; and how many were actually delivered. [HL2056]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: April to June 2012 was Civil Service Learning's first quarter of delivery of training provision. Civil Service Learning gives civil servants access to both e-learning and face-to-face training as well as thousands of learning resources.
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To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with UK-based banks in which the taxpayer has a shareholding about protecting those institutions from private-, terrorist- or foreign government-sponsored cyberattacks.[HL1989]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Government take the threat of cyberattacks very seriously which is why we have committed £650 million over the next four years to respond effectively to threats from cyberspace through the National Cyber Security Programme, and the Cyber Security Strategy published in November 2011 has a wide-ranging set of measures in place to protect businesses and individuals from cyberattacks and sets out our plans for how we will improve the UK's cybersecurity and build confidence by creating a more secure and resilient cyberspace.
The Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure provides advice on electronic and cyberprotective security measures to the businesses and organisations that comprise the UK's critical national infrastructure, including financial centres.
We have also established a joint public/private sector cybersecurity "hub" which includes organisations from defence, telecoms, finance, pharmaceuticals and energy. This allows the Government and the private sector to exchange information on cyberthreats and manage the response to cyberattacks.
To ask Her Majesty's Government by what methodology the Pink Book figures are compiled by the Office for National Statistics; and whether this differs from the methodology used by HM Treasury for producing figures for the balance of payments.[HL2022]
As Director-General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question To ask Her Majesty's Government by what methodology the Pink Book figures are compiled by the Office for National Statistics; and whether this differs from the methodology used by HM Treasury for producing figures for the balance of payments. [HL2022]
The UK Balance of Payments (Pink Book) is produced annually by the Office for National Statistics, using data from a wide range of sources, including HM Treasury. The data published in Pink Book are consistent with the concepts and definitions in the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Balance of Payments Manual Version 5 (BPM5), which is the internationally agreed framework for the compilation and presentation of Balance of Payments data.
Some of the data provided by HM Treasury are directly incorporated into Pink Book; some of the data are subject to further processing. Additional data from other sources, including the HM Treasury Combined Online Information System (COINS), and adjustments, are used so that the published data, including their presentation, are consistent with the international standards specified in the IMF BPM5. Pink Book contains a detailed 'Methodological Notes' section, which outlines the methodology used for the compilation of the data:
HM Treasury do not directly produce or publish Balance of Payments data, and therefore, there is no requirement for HM Treasury data to comply with the IMF BPM5. In summary, the data which are published by ONS and HM Treasury, are produced and published for different purposes, and hence in accordance with different specifications, and this explains the methodological differences between them. For example, BPM5 states that data must be on an accruals rather than a cash basis, and this is one of the methodological differences between the data published by the two sources. Another difference is that Balance of Payments data are based on calendar years, whereas HM Treasury data tend to be based on financial accounting years.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the light of the recent difficulties with G4S's contract to provide security for the Olympics, what assessment they have made of the guidance provided to government departments on entering into contracts with private sector organisations.[HL1751]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Back in June the Government announced that we were stepping up the formal performance management of large, strategic suppliers. This will include formal reporting on performance and the identification of any high-risk suppliers so that past performance issues are properly taken into account before any new contracts are given.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 2 July (WA 128), which non-public sector organisations, companies, or charities have been permitted to enrol their staff as members of the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme; under what criteria; and how many individuals are involved for each permitted organisation. [HL2016]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Freud on 2 July (WA 118), whether the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme maintained figures on the number of members made redundant annually or leaving under exit schemes and the cost of pension enhancements; and, if so, what were the numbers for each of the last five years in total and by department.[HL2018]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Cabinet Office does not hold the figures requested. The matter of early departures is delegated to individual departments, as are decisions on redundancies and other early exits.
To ask her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the 4 September decision of a Bahraini appeals court to uphold the conviction of opposition figures for allegedly plotting to overthrow the state. [HL2202]
The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): We were very disappointed by the Bahrain civilian court's decision to uphold all the sentences of 13 political activists in Bahrain on 4 September. Reports at the time these individuals were sentenced, acknowledged by the Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry, suggested that some had been abused in detention, denied access to legal counsel and were coerced into confessing.
We urge the Bahraini Government to ensure the human rights and freedoms of their citizens are fully upheld at all times. We are aware that the defendants can now appeal to the Cassation Court. We expect this process to be conducted thoroughly and with urgency, while ensuring due legal process is followed. We will continue to monitor the appeal process very closely.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): There are a number of products on the market which claim to contain nicotine, such as electronic cigarettes, which are widely available but are not licensed medicines. Currently, any nicotine-containing product (NCP) which claims or implies that it can treat nicotine addiction is considered to be a medicinal product. This approach has allowed NCPs which do not make such claims to be used and sold without the safeguards built into the regulation of medicinal products.
Electronic cigarettes are caught by the provisions of the General Product Safety Directive and associated regulations. Some electronic cigarettes have been tested by local authority trading standards departments and have been found to pose a potential danger to consumers. The available data suggest that there can be great variability in the content of electronic cigarettes, both in the amount of nicotine present and also in relation to other potentially toxic substances.
Electronic cigarettes are not currently regulated as medicines, which are required to meet appropriate standards of safety, quality and efficacy. In March 2011, the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) published the outcome of a public consultation on whether to bring all nicotine-containing products within the medicines licensing regime. The response to consultation suggested there was strong support for MHRA regulation. The response to consultation also highlighted the need for further information to inform a decision and the MHRA is co-ordinating further scientific and market research with a view to a final decision on the application of medicines regulation in spring 2013.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made a submission to the Liikanen High-level Expert Group on structural aspects of the European Union banking sector; and, if so, whether they will place a copy of the response in the Library of the House. [HL2228]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government have not made a submission to the Liikanen High-level Expert Group but look forward to reviewing its conclusions once the group's final report is published. The recent financial crisis demonstrated that structural reform of banks is a necessary step towards increasing their resilience and resolvability. To this end, the Government are pushing forward with their own structural reforms based on the recommendations of the Independent Commission on Banking.
To ask the Leader of the House why Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint answers only questions relating to UK Trade & Investment and not questions on other matters for which the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills is responsible. [HL2208]
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): My remarks on 23 July (HL Deb, cols. 481-84) were in response to a Question specifically asking about questions that relate to Lord Green's ministerial responsibilities. As the Ministerial Code makes clear, it is for the Prime Minister to decide on the allocation of Ministers' functions and responsibilities.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): The UK, through its membership of the Board of Governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has strongly supported all recent steps to provide assurances of supply (of nuclear fuel) that help build confidence for
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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government Response to the Office of Fair Trading Market Study into Dentistry was published on the department's website on 24 August 2012. This was within the 90-day limit in which the Government have to respond to Office of Fair Trading market studies.
This document has been placed in the Library and is available on the department's website at: www.dh.gov. uk/health/2012/08/market-study-into-dentistry.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many phases of negotiations between G4S and the Home Office were necessary in order to determine the final number of security staff needed for the 2012 Olympic Games; on how many occasions the (1) numbers of such staff, and (2) contract price, were adjusted and by what percentage on each occasion; and what were the exact dates on which (a) the necessity for each increase was notified by G4S, and (b) each was agreed by the Home Office.[HL1637]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The contract to provide security staff for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games is between the London Organising Committee, LOCOG, and G4S. The Government have not changed the basic requirement since the Olympic Security Strategy was first published in 2009: all LOCOG competition venues have always been intended to be island sites with 100% search and screening of pedestrians and vehicles.
LOCOG awarded the contract to G4S on 24 December 2010 to provide 2,000 guards. In August 2011, LOCOG began to discuss with G4S an increase in numbers under the contract. The exact number required had been refined as security planning necessarily had to follow preparations of the detailed Games competition schedule and finalising all venue plans. The deed of variation to the contract, signed by LOCOG and G4S on 15 December 2011, changed the specification so
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To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of when the population of London will reach 8.6 million people, its former peak, and what assessment they have made of the implications of such a size for the rest of the United Kingdom. [HL2008]
As Director General for the Office for National Statistics I have been asked to reply to your question to Her Majesty's Government asking what estimate they have made of when the population of London will reach 8.6 million people. its former peak, and what assessment they have made of the implications of such a size for the rest of the United Kingdom. [HL2008]
Estimates of future population are available as population projections. The most recent sub-national population projections are based on mid-year population estimates for 2010 and they project the population of London to reach 8.6 million by mid-2016.
Sub-national population projections are not forecasts and do not attempt to predict the impact of future government policies, changing economic circumstances or the capacity of an area to accommodate a change in population. They provide an indication of the future size and age structure of the population if recent demographic trends continued.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether their decision to restore some budget support to Rwanda that they suspended following the publication of a United Nations report accusing Rwanda of sponsoring rebels in the Democratic Republic of the Congo means they are now satisfied that Rwanda has played no part in the conflict in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo. [FCO] [HL2155]
The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): We believe the UN Sanctions Group of Experts report to be credible. The decision for the UK to disburse half of its delayed General Budget Support (GBS) to Rwanda, while reprogramming the balance through targeted Department for International Development (DFID) programmes, was not taken lightly. It reflects the UK's responsibility to protect the poor and was taken on a basis of the constructive role Rwanda has played in recent International Conference on Great Lake Region (ICGLR) peace talks chaired by President Museveni of Uganda. The Government of Rwanda have also continued to demonstrate their strong commitment to reducing poverty and improving their financial management. Concerns remain over Rwandan involvement with the M23 rebels. The next disbursement of GBS is scheduled for December, and the final Group of Experts report will help inform our disbursement decision.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are considering selling Admiralty Arch; and, if so, whether they have had any discussions with potential purchasers, and if so whom; and whether a decision has been made, and, if not, when a decision is expected.[HL1820]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Cabinet Office is seeking an alternative use of Admiralty Arch due to the difficulty of providing modern, cost-effective and flexible office space within the constraints of a grade 1 listed building that is not currently suitable for office use. To that end a process to grant a long lease is currently under way. The principal objectives are to protect and reinstate the building's heritage and to enable greater public access than has been the case for the decades it has been in use as a government office, as well as achieving best value for money and addressing security considerations. The Government intend to retain the freehold of the building in perpetuity for the nation.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Regular Armed Forces Defence Medical Services (DMS) personnel who undertake placements within the NHS remain
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The Defence Medical Group oversees placements for DMS personnel within NHS trusts under a business agreement, in accordance with the health service guidance covering arrangements between the MoD and the NHS.
The latest DMS biannual manning report shows that, as at 1 April 2012, out of 223 DMS secondary healthcare consultants, 196 were placed within the NHS. The remaining 27 consultants were employed in various other military posts, including operational deployments.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many former interpreters with United Kingdom forces in Iraq have been granted asylum in the United Kingdom; how many former interpreters with United Kingdom forces in Afghanistan have been granted asylum in the United Kingdom; and in both cases, how many applicants are awaiting decisions. [HL2183]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The data requested are not held in a format compatible with National Statistics protocols, or produced as part of the UK Border Agency's standard reports.
The Home Office publishes immigration statistics annually and quarterly, which are available from the Home Office Research and Statistics website. This includes information on asylum applications by nationality. The latest statistics can be found in the Library of the House as well as on the following website: www. homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/science-research-statistics/research-statistics/immigration-asylum-research/immigration-q2-2012/.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how long it is currently taking for military personnel on patrol and serving on front-line positions in Afghanistan to receive parcels and letters sent from the United Kingdom.[HL2227]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The air bridge from the UK to Afghanistan regularly handles up to seven and a half tonnes of mail a day which is usually delivered to theatre within four to seven days. The mail is then delivered to deployed personnel through local distribution arrangements normally within two days. However, higher priority has to be placed on supplying
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To ask Her Majesty's Government how many staff were employed by the Audit Commission, including auditors, on 31 March 2010, 31 March 2011, and 31 March 2012; and what was the cost of any changes in the staff complement. [HL2174]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): This in an operational matter for the Audit Commission and I have asked the Controller of Audit at the Audit Commission to write to the noble Lord direct. I would add that the programme to end routine inspection and assessment, disband the Audit Commission and introduce a new local audit framework will save £650 million of taxpayers' money over the next five years.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Her Majesty's Government have not been approached by the Government of Belize or other parties to assist Belize in rescheduling its debts. We continue to have a dialogue with the Government of Belize on a wide range of issues.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the redesign of the Corporation of Trinity House website was sanctioned by the Government; and if so, what were the costs placed on the General Lighthouse Fund. [HL2135]
Lord Newby: The redesign of Trinity House's website in respect of its activities as the General Lighthouse Authority for England and Wales cost £27,730. This cost was met from the annual budget sanctioned by Her Majesty's Government to cover all operating costs.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord McNally on 17 July (WA 26-7), why the impact assessment on the provisions in clause 20 of the Crime and Courts Bill [HL] does not specifically address the potential impact on the housing security of offenders. [HL2156]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord McNally on 17 July (WA 26-7), why the impact assessment on the provisions in clause 20 of the Crime and Courts Bill [HL] does not specifically address the potential impact on child poverty levels. [HL2157]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord McNally on 17 July (WA 26-7), why the impact assessment on the provisions in clause 20 of the Crime and Courts Bill [HL] does not address the potential impact on the number of appeals to magistrates' courts and the associated costs. [HL2158]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord McNally on 17 July (WA 26-7), whether any discussions have been held by the Ministry of Justice with (1) the Department for Work and Pensions, (2) the Department for Education, or (3) the Office of the Children's Commissioner, regarding the impact on dependent children of proposed charges to recover the costs of collecting fines from offenders. [HL2159]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): An equality impact assessment is designed to ensure that our policies and services are aligned to deliver our public sector equality duties. An equality impact assessment has been made with regard to provisions in Clause 20 which identifies all likely impacts across a range of groups. An impact assessment on the provisions in Clause 20 of the Crime and Courts Bill has been published alongside the Bill and is available at: www.homeoffice.gov.uk/publications/about-us/ legislation/crime-courts-part2/
A fine is means tested and is based on the seriousness of the offence and the individual's ability to pay. Individuals are encouraged to complete their means form to ensure that the level of fine is set accordingly given their circumstances and if arrangements need to be made to assist payment.
Our aim has always been to increase the number of people who comply with their order and support individuals to pay in the compliance stage, thereby reducing the need for courts to use enforcement action. If offenders, particularly those that could be considered vulnerable, find themselves in hardship it is vitally important that they contact the court before going into default.
There are a variety of tools to help individuals to meet the order of the court and ensure that they do not default. Payment plans can be varied in their favour; money can be automatically deducted from benefits or earnings and individuals are sign posted to debt advice services. However this can only be done if the individual gets in contact with the court before going into default on their fine. In such circumstances offenders will not be subject to any collection costs or charges.
To ask Her Majesty's Government why new United Kingdom dental graduates have to complete Dental Foundation year 1 training before they are allocated an NHS performer number; and why graduates from the rest of the European Economic Area and other overseas graduates from non-United Kingdom universities are not subject to the same requirement. [HL2179]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Thirty-five dental graduates from dental schools in England and Wales were unsuccessful in obtaining a dental foundation training (DFT1) place out of an overall total of 1,145 eligible applicants. The Postgraduate Dental Deans are seeking to make arrangements whereby these dentists can maintain their skills pending the 2013 DFT1 recruitment exercise, in which some training places will be available from February 2013.
Dentists from the European Economic Area, with a recognised dental diploma, are exempt from dental foundation training in keeping with European wide legislation on mutual recognition of qualifications, which generally prohibits imposition of additional training requirements, or eligibility tests, which obstruct free movement to gain employment.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have issued any guidance to departments regarding the use of departmental notepaper in reply to mail from the general public; and, if so, whether that guidance gives advice as to the inclusion on notepaper of the postal address of the official responding. [HL2124]
Baroness Northover: There are six DFID operational plans that have not yet published an annual update for 2012. Of these, three have been finalised and will be published by the end of September 2012. The remaining three (Southern Africa, Democratic Republic of Congo and Indonesia (UK Climate Change Unit)) are dependent on the outcome of further work with partner Governments and the interdepartmental UK Climate Change Unit. Operational plans will be published as soon as this work is complete.
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