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Written Answers

Thursday 25 October 2012

Abortion

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have plans to enable Scotland and Wales to decide their own abortion limits.[HL2627]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Abortion Act 1967, as amended, legalises abortion provided the provisions of the Act are met in England, Scotland and Wales and is a reserved issue. The provision of abortion services is devolved to Scotland and Wales. There are no plans to change these arrangements.

Armed Forces: Aircraft

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of recent geopolitical factors, whether they will reconsider their decision to operate only one aircraft carrier.[HL2686]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): I refer the noble Lord to the Statement I made on 10 May 2012 (Official Report, col. 75).

The decision to complete both carriers in STOVL—short take-off, vertical landing—configuration will give us the ability to use both carriers to provide continuous carrier availability. A final decision on the use of the second carrier will be taken as part of the Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2015.

Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988

Questions

Asked by Lord May of Oxford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the full repeal of Section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, proposed in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill, is required by virtue of the decision of the European Court of Justice in Flos SpA v Semararo, and whether it is consistent with the freedom granted to member states by Article 17 of the directive on the legal protection of designs and Article 96(2) of the regulations on community designs to regulate the extent of protection of copyright for works of applied art and designs. [HL2706]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why, in the light of the freedom granted to member states by Article 17 of the directive on the legal protection of designs and Article 96(2) of the regulations on

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community designs, the impact assessment on the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Bill considered only the options of repeal and no change, in relation to Section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.[HL2707]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of extending the term of protection offered by copyright in mass-produced designs from 25 years to life plus 70 years upon follow-on designers who draw upon the existing body of design.[HL2708]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why there has been no consultation on options for reform of Section 52 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988, short of full repeal, with a view to ensuring that follow-on design is not impeded.[HL2709]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have considered the impact of proposed extension of the term of protection offered by copyright in mass-produced designs from 25 years to life plus 70 years upon those who use images of designs that are more than 25 years old in education and publishing.[HL2710]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Lord Marland): Member states may have some discretion to decide upon the extent of protection of copyright for works of applied art. The impact assessment “Copyright Protection for Designs” did not consider options that would require the denial of copyright protection to such works.

Not all existing designs will qualify for copyright protection. Moreover, where a design does meet the requirements for copyright protection, the implications for any designers who draw upon such a work will depend on whether they copy a substantial part of the work. As in the case of similar copyright issues in other spheres, these are matters which the courts may ultimately have to determine. In relation to the impact for educational purposes, there are exceptions in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 that allow educational establishments to copy works to a reasonable extent if it is necessary for the purpose of education or non-commercial research.

The repeal of Section 52 has been welcomed by designers as a whole. It will not preclude designers from being inspired or influenced by existing designs. The Government consider that it will encourage innovation in new designs and copyright works and discourage slavish imitations of existing works.

Energy: Prices

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by the Prime Minister on 17 October (Official Report, Commons, col. 316), what proposals they have to require all utility companies automatically to place all consumers on their cheapest tariff. [HL2677]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): Further details of the proposals announced by my right honourable friend the Prime Minister to help energy consumers get the lowest tariff will be announced shortly.

Health: Clinical Commissioning Groups

Question

Asked by Lord Warner

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many clinical commissioning groups have designated accountable officers, and how many have not done so; and how many accountable officers are (1) general practitioners, (2) managers, and (3) other health professionals.[HL2688]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): A clinical commissioning group must nominate an accountable officer at the time of applying to the NHS Commissioning Board (the board) for authorisation. The accountable officer will be confirmed during this process and formally appointed following the board’s final decision on authorisation. As these decisions have yet to be taken, the board is unable to confirm how many accountable officers have a clinical or managerial background.

Health: Physical Activity Campaigns

Question

Asked by Lord Warner

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what guidance and support they have provided to encourage walking in order to secure health benefits and reduce demands on the National Health Service.[HL2690]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department encourages walking in support of the wider United Kingdom guidelines on physical activity published in the UK Chief Medical Officers’ report Start Active, Stay Active published in 2011. Initiatives and programmes such as the Public Health Responsibility Deal and Change4Life (in particular the Walk4Life sub-brand) further promote walking. Working with Natural England, we have transferred the cross-government Walking for Health programme to the third sector and have supported the expansion of Living Streets’ Walk once a Week programme for schools. We work with the Department for Transport on active travel initiatives, such as the Local Sustainable Transport Fund, which includes walking.

Health: Sexual Health

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they will publish their sexual health policy strategy framework.[HL2672]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The sexual health policy document will be published later this year.

House of Lords: Appointments

Questions

Asked by Baroness Hayman

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 9 October (Official Report, col. 921) confirming the Government’s policy that appointments to the House of Lords should “reflect the share of the votes secured by the political parties at the most recent general election”, to which of the political parties that contested the 2010 election the policy applies.[HL2494]

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): It is for the Prime Minister of the day to determine the number of nominations to be made by individual political parties for life peerages.

Asked by Lord Grocott

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 9 October (Official Report, col. 921), how many (1) Conservative, (2) Liberal Democrat, (3) Labour, (4) Scottish National Party, (5) Plaid Cymru, and (6) UK Independence Party, peers will need to be appointed to ensure that the composition of the House of Lords reflects the share of votes secured by the political parties at the most recent general election.[HL2507]

Lord Strathclyde: It is for the Prime Minister of the day to determine the number of nominations to be made by individual political parties for life peerages.

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 9 October (Official Report, col. 921) that they are "not proposing to increase the size of this House", whether they plan to restrict the number of new appointments to ensure that the total number of members of the House of Lords does not increase above its current level.[HL2508]

Lord Strathclyde: It is for the Prime Minister of the day to determine the number of nominations to be made by individual political parties for life peerages. In terms of Cross-Bench Peers, the current advice from the Prime Minister to the Chairman of the House of Lords Appointment Commission is for no more than two peers a year.

Asked by The Earl of Sandwich

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to establish a new statutory appointments commission for the appointment of new peers to the House of Lords.[HL2555]

Lord Strathclyde: The Government have no plans to establish a statutory appointments commission.

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NHS: Clinical Commissioning Groups

Questions

Asked by Lord Bradley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many clinical commissioning groups have been established in Greater Manchester; and how many of those have appointed a general practitioner as the chief accountable officer.[HL2663]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): No clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) have yet been established in Greater Manchester. As such, none of the proposed CCGs in Greater Manchester have formally appointed their accountable officer, whether clinical or non-clinical. The authorisation process is still underway for all 211 applicant CCGs and the results will not be known until the NHS Commissioning Board takes its final decisions.

Asked by Lord Warner

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether accountable officers of clinical commissioning groups will be able to authorise the expenditure of NHS funding on adult social care purposes that are of benefit to patients and secure NHS objectives. [HL2689]

Earl Howe: Yes. Clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) will work with elected councillors, local authority commissioners and representatives of patients and the public through health and well-being boards to develop a comprehensive analysis of health and social care needs in each local area, and translate these into action in joint health and well-being strategies and their own commissioning plans. Section 75 of the National Health Service Act 2006 enables CCGs and local authorities to enter into partnership arrangements, for example, through pooling funds.

NHS: GP Practice Registration

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will require all people registering with general practitioners to prove their nationality, and, if not British, their immigration status, in order that the information can be utilised for charging when appropriate.[HL2573]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Currently there are no formal requirements for a person to provide identity or proof of nationality or immigration status when applying to join a general practitioner (GP) practice’s list of National Health Service patients.

Whilst the care provided by GP practices to their registered patients in England is free of charge, entitlement to free NHS hospital treatment in England is based on ordinary residence in the United Kingdom, or exemption

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from charges under regulations, which usually cannot be determined from nationality or immigration status alone.

The department is currently considering a review of charging overseas visitors for NHS care, including how to establish more effective and efficient processes across the NHS to screen for eligibility and to make and recover charges.

North Korea

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the United Nations special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in North Korea regarding food insecurity in North Korea.[HL2579]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): During the UN General Assembly, Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials in New York will meet the special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in North Korea to discuss the issues raised in his most recent report to the UN. They will also discuss food insecurity in North Korea.

The UK monitors the food situation in North Korea through the World Food Programme and other non-governmental organisations operating in North Korea.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what contribution the United Kingdom is making to international humanitarian assistance to people in North Korea suffering food insecurity.[HL2580]

Baroness Northover: DfID provides core funding to various multilateral organisations, such as the UN Central Emergency Response Fund and the World Food Programme, working on food security in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK). Some of the British embassy Pyongyang's local projects have also been focused on food security, particularly for vulnerable groups.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the remarks by the United Nations special rapporteur on the situation of human rights in North Korea that a human rights-based approach to development and humanitarian action should be adopted to tackle discrimination and exclusion in that country, as a means to reduce impoverishment.[HL2584]

Baroness Warsi: The British Government agree that a human rights based approach to tackling discrimination and exclusion in North Korea can play a role in reducing impoverishment. Our embassy in Pyongyang currently supports a number of small-scale humanitarian projects which are intended to support vulnerable groups in North Korean society. In the last year we

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have provided support for additional training at a deaf school, materials for a blind school, helped North Korea send its first participant to the Paralympics, provided training on the rehabilitation of spinal injury patients, delivered a project to improve food security at two children's institutions and sponsored a project which provides a more secure supply of soybean milk for kindergarten children.

The Department for International Development (DfID) does not have a bilateral aid programme in North Korea, but does provide core funding through multilateral organisations working there—including the World Food Programme (WFP) and the UN Central Emergency Response Fund. Between 2011-14, DflD will have contributed £100 million of unearmarked core funding to the WFP.

Pensions: Britons Living Abroad

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many retired citizens in receipt of a United Kingdom old age pension are resident outside the European Economic Area or a country with a social security agreement with the United Kingdom.[HL2641]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): Statistics on state pension recipients residing outside the European Economic Area or, in a country with a social security agreement with the United Kingdom, are available on the department's website at: http://83.244.183.180/100pc/ sp/cccountry/ccsex/a_carate_r_cccountry_c_ccsex_ feb12.html.

The asterisk indicates where UK state pension is uprated.

Where no asterisk is shown UK state pension is not uprated.

Questions for Written Answer

Questions

Asked by Lord Jopling

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 30 January (WA 294), why four Questions for Written Answer tabled on 19 July remain unanswered by the Cabinet Office; and why an earlier answer has not been possible.[HL2509]

To ask the Leader of the House , further to his Written Answer on 17 October (WA 471), what explanations have been given by the Cabinet Office concerning the four Questions for Written Answer to the Cabinet Office tabled on 19 July and remaining unanswered on 19 October; and what progress his office has made as it continues to work with the Cabinet Office to resolve the delay.[HL2769]

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): This was the result of an administrative oversight. The questions have now been answered and I refer the noble Lord to my Written Answer on 24 October (WA 67).

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Regional Growth Fund

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Conwy

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether Regional Development Fund grants are available to companies in the devolved nations; and, if not, what similar funds exist in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales to assist development.[HL2613]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Lord Marland): The regional growth fund (RGF) is a £2.4 billion fund operating across England from 2011 to 2015.

The provision of financial support to business is a fully devolved matter and regional growth fund grants are not therefore available to companies in the devolved nations. However, the devolved Administrations run similar schemes. For example:

http://www.scottish-enterprise.com/fund-your-business/rsa.aspx

http ://wales.gov.uk/funding/fundgrantareas/?lang=en

http://www.investni.com/guide_to_investni_ support_ccmu_may-2011.pdf

Rwanda

Question

Asked by Baroness Nicholson of Winterbourne

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Northover on 24 September (WA 384), why the Department for International Development has decided to disburse general budget support to Rwanda when other donors have continued to delay doing so.[HL2543]

Baroness Northover: I refer the noble Baroness to the previous Secretary of State for International Development, Andrew Mitchell's Written Ministerial Statement of 4 September 2012 (Official Report, col. 22WS) on this matter.

Steel Industry

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with stakeholders on the steel industry in the United Kingdom.[HL2642]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Lord Marland): We have held regular discussions with steel producers in the UK on a range of issues of importance to the competitiveness of the domestic steel sector. These include the state of the steel market and the impact of the eurozone crisis; high energy prices and their effect on energy intensive industries; and opportunities for government support, taking into account our obligations under the EU rules on state aid to the steel industry.