12 Dec 2012 : Column WA225

Written Answers

Wednesday 12 December 2012

Afghanistan

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the risks involved in any post-operational role for United Kingdom forces in Afghanistan after the planned withdrawal.[HL3823]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Practical force protection measures are in place for all UK troops in Afghanistan and we will continue to review and employ best practice across the force. Planning for NATO's post-2014 mission is at an early stage but we will retain sufficient force numbers to ensure we can properly protect our adviser footprint. UK troops will continue to have sufficient access to enablers such as medical facilities and support helicopters. The safety of our personnel is, and will remain, a top priority.

Banking: Levy

Questions

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have estimated the impact of the establishment of the Funding for Lending Scheme on income from the bank levy.[HL3731]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have assessed the extent to which increases in the bank levy may disincentivise banks from extending credit.[HL3732]

Lord Newby: The Funding for Lending Scheme opened in August 2012 and it is, currently, too early to make an assessment of its impact.

The Government have committed to undertake a review of the bank levy in 2013.

Benefits

Question

Asked by Baroness Grey-Thompson

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many households currently have the carer's premium added to a means-tested benefit.[HL3769]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The information requested at household level is not readily available, and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

12 Dec 2012 : Column WA226

Crime: Victim Support

Question

Asked by Baroness Stern

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much money has been raised for Victim Support, net of administrative costs, during the first year of operation of the Prisoners Earnings Act 1996, brought into force in 2011.[HL3939]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): In the first year Victim Support has received £694,193 to provide direct and practical aid to victims of crime.

Disabled People: Severe Disability Premium

Questions

Asked by Baroness Grey-Thompson

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of the number of working-age households receiving the severe disability premium in (1) employment and support allowance, (2) housing and council tax benefit, (3) income support, and (4) jobseeker's allowance.[HL3741]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of (1) the number of households currently receiving the severe disability premium which have a dependent child in the household, and (2) the total number of dependent children in households in receipt of the severe disability premium. [HL3742]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The information requested is not readily available, and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Asked by Baroness Grey-Thompson

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of the number of adults under the age of 25 years who are in receipt of the severe disability premium.[HL3743]

Lord Freud: The information requested for all benefits where severe disability premium is payable is not readily available, and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

The available information is shown in the table below.

Number of income support (IS) and jobseekers allowance (JSA) recipients aged under 25, in receipt of the severe disability premium—February 2012
BenefitTotal

IS

5,060

JSA

1,000

Source: DWP Information Directorate 100% Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study (IS) and 5% sample (JSA)

3. IS figures have been rounded to the nearest 10. JSA figures are to the nearest hundred.

4. IS figures exclude residual MIG claimants.

12 Dec 2012 : Column WA227

Asked by Baroness Grey-Thompson

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what forecast they have made of the money which will be available to raise the higher disability addition for adults in universal credit, from the savings made by not having an equivalent of the severe disability premium within universal credit for working age households (1) in each of the next five years, and (2) once universal credit is fully implemented.[HL3744]

Lord Freud: The impact of the introduction of universal credit in each of the next five years is subject to the detailed approach to migration. The exact timing and sequence of the migration process will be adjusted in the light of experience, not least from operating the pathfinder service in the Greater Manchester area from April 2013.

The Government will not make any savings from the restructuring of disability premia in universal credit. The department estimates that, once universal credit is fully implemented, around £720 million per year (in current prices) will be available for disabled benefit claimants as a result of not having an equivalent of the severe disability premium within universal credit for working age households.

Asked by Baroness Grey-Thompson

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what forecast they have made of (1) the total number of households which will be eligible for the higher adult disability addition within universal credit once fully implemented because they have at least one person in the support group of employment support allowance, and (2) the number of households which will be eligible for the higher adult disability addition within universal credit which would be eligible for the severe disability premium under the current system.[HL3745]

Lord Freud: (1) The department has made the following forecast of the total number of households in receipt of the support group element of income-based ESA when universal credit is being introduced:

Year2012-132013-142014-152015-162016-17

Number of households

322,000

522,000

638,000

719,000

722,000

The equivalent element in universal credit is the limited capability for work and work-related activity element, which will apply for claimants in work as well as those out of work.

(2) It is estimated that, once universal credit is fully introduced, around 200,000 households in receipt of the limited capability for work and work related activity element would have been entitled to the severe disability premium.

Asked by Baroness Grey-Thompson

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of (1) the number of couples who are currently entitled to the support component

12 Dec 2012 : Column WA228

addition in a means-tested benefit, (2) the number of couples who are currently entitled to the enhanced disability premium but not the support component in a means-tested benefit, and (3) the number of single-person households who are currently entitled to the enhanced disability premium but not the support component in a means-tested benefit. [HL3746]

Lord Freud: The information requested for couples and at household level is not readily available, and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Economy: Growth

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they will take to ensure that the United Kingdom economy does not suffer a prolonged period of slow growth, as experienced by Japan in recent decades. [HL3752]

Lord Newby: The Government's economic strategy is designed to protect the economy through this period of global uncertainty, to maintain market confidence in the UK and to lay the foundations for a stronger, more balanced economy in the future.

The Government are taking decisive action to protect the economy. They are using monetary activism and credit easing to stimulate demand by maintaining price stability and support the flow of credit in the economy. Through deficit reduction, they seek to return the public finances to a sustainable position and ensure that fiscal credibility underpins low long-term interest rates. The Government are also reforming the financial system by improving the regulatory framework to reduce risks to the taxpayer and build the resilience of the system. They are also delivering a comprehensive package of structural reforms to rebalance and strengthen the economy for the future, including an ambitious programme of infrastructure investment.

Elections: Local Elections

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to ensure that local elections in 2014 are held on the same day as any European Parliament elections scheduled for June 2014.[HL3869]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Decisions have not yet been taken on whether to consult on the date of the 2014 local government elections, and, in the light of any such consultation, whether to postpone the 2014 local government elections so that they can be held on the same day as the elections to the European Parliament.

12 Dec 2012 : Column WA229

Elections: Police and Crime Commissioners

Questions

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the voter turnout in the recent police and crime commissioner elections (1) as a percentage of the entire electorate, and (2) as a percentage of the registered electorate in each of the police authority areas concerned.[HL3558]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The Electoral Commission estimates the total ballot box turnout at the police and crime commissioner election to be 15.1%. The commission will publish more detailed figures, including local breakdowns in due course.

Asked by Lord Greaves

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will request that the Electoral Commission includes a review of the effectiveness of the supplementary voting system and its efficiency in allowing electors to express a range of preferences in its review of the police and crime commissioner elections.[HL3610]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The Electoral Commission has a legal obligation to review, and publish a report on, each election. This election is no different. It is not for the Government to seek to influence the focus of that review, and this matter should be referred directly to the commission.

Energy: Biomass

Question

Asked by Lord Willoughby de Broke

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what phytosanitary checks will be made on imports of biomass feedstock for United Kingdom generators. [HL3870]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): Biomass feedstock comprises many different forms of material. The phytosanitary checks that are made on imports of controlled wood used as feedstock are similar to those applied to other controlled wood products. These consignment checks include an examination of the accompanying phytosanitary documentation, a check on the identity of the material declared and, where required, a physical inspection to ensure that material is free from pests and diseases and complies with specific landing requirements.

Flooding

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many flood defence schemes have been cancelled or postponed since May 2010.[HL3766]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): The answer published in House of Commons

12 Dec 2012 : Column WA230

Hansard (

Official Report

, 106550: col. 320) on 11 June 2012 provided this information in full. In particular, tables B and C refer.

Flooding: Insurance

Questions

Asked by Lord Greaves

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Lord De Mauley on 29 November, whether they support, in principle and subject to the resolution of practical problems, the proposal for a non-profit-making flood insurance fund. [HL3854]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Lord De Mauley on 29 November, whether they have ruled out providing any overdraft guarantee or bridging loan to support a scheme to allow households in high flood risk-areas to access flood insurance, following the expiry at the end of June 2013 of the period covered by the statement of principles previously agreed between the Government and the Association of British Insurers.[HL3855]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): The future of flood insurance is a priority for the Government. We need a lasting solution that ensures affordable insurance bills for those at flood risk but does not place unsustainable costs on wider policyholders and the taxpayer.

A range of options are on the table; the Association of British Insurers (ABI) has a particular preferred solution that involves the taxpayer underwriting insurance losses but other options are also available. No final decisions have been taken.

The Government remain committed to ongoing discussions with the ABI, on behalf of their members, and others about what should replace the statement of principles agreement.

Fluoridation

Questions

Asked by Earl Baldwin of Bewdley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answers by Baroness Thornton on 4 March 2010 (WA 372) and by Earl Howe on 26 October 2010 (WA 257), what progress has been made in revising the guidance to the National Health Service by the chief dental officer on the scientific evidence surrounding the fluoridation of water.[HL3767]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): We have just completed a consultation on the new regulations on fluoridation, which will come into force on the 1 April 2013. The chief dental officer will then work with Public Health England on guidance on the implementation of the regulations including an update of the scientific evidence surrounding fluoridation.

12 Dec 2012 : Column WA231

Asked by Earl Baldwin of Bewdley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answers by Earl Howe on 25 June (WA 17) and 16 July (WA 4), whether members of the bodies listed on the website of the British Fluoridation Society as campaigners for water fluoridation under the National Alliance for Equity in Dental Health will be required to declare their affiliations when participating in decisions about fluoridation schemes.[HL3768]

Earl Howe: We agree that decision-making on fluoridation should be reached through a transparent process which commands public confidence. We are sympathetic to this suggestion, and will consider it in preparing guidance on implementation of the regulations on consultations about fluoridation schemes. We will consult interested parties, including the noble Earl, on a draft of the guidance.

Gangmasters

Question

Asked by The Duke of Montrose

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Henley on 15 June 2011 (WA 194), when they expect to announce the conclusions of their pilot of a light-touch inspection regime for gangmaster licences.[HL3962]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): The Gangmasters Licensing Authority (GLA) expects to issue a public consultation on proposals for administrative changes to their licensing regime around the turn of the year. This will run in parallel with a consultation by Defra on proposed legislative changes which will include the exclusion of low-risk sectors, including forestry, from the scope of GLA licensing.

In the mean time, the GLA published a briefing paper on Friday 7 December confirming that the pilot that has been operating in the forestry sector since August 2011 will continue and be extended. That briefing explains that pending the outcome of consultation the GLA would cease to charge fees for any forestry-only licence applications, applications inspections or licence renewals.

Gaza

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government who is responsible for monitoring the ceasefire in Gaza to ensure farmers have access to their land and fishermen to fish within the six-mile limit without harassment. [HL3942]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): Under the Gaza ceasefire agreement of 21 November, Egypt as sponsor is responsible for following up on the parties' adherence to their commitments.

12 Dec 2012 : Column WA232

We welcome Israel's decision to increase the fishing limits to six miles for Gazans following the recent ceasefire agreement but would like to see this expanded further.

Government: Official Photographs

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many official photographs have been taken of the Prime Minister in the past 12 months; and how many of them have been used to date on (1) websites, (2), press releases, and (3) government publications. [HL3912]

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): Official photographs are published on the No. 10 flickr stream http://www.flickr.com/photos/numberl0gov and indicated with a Crown Copyright inscription. Information on their subsequent use by medium is not held.

Health: Pathology

Question

Asked by Baroness Masham of Ilton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the extent of in-house pathology testing in the National Health Service.[HL3780]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department collects no data centrally on the extent of in-house pathology testing in the National Health Service. Options appraisals and decisions are made locally.

Health: Patient Transfer Services

Questions

Asked by Lord Greaves

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which body or bodies will be responsible for commissioning emergency ambulance and patient transfer services in the North West region following the disbandment of primary care trusts; and to what extent those bodies are involved in the current commissioning process for patient transfer services.[HL3975]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): From 1 April 2013, clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), including those in the North West, will be responsible for commissioning emergency ambulance and patient transport services for their local populations.

Currently, primary care trusts are responsible for the commissioning of these services. Management of the process for identifying the best providers is a matter for the local National Health Service.

Information on the locally led procurement process for the provision of non-emergency patient transport services in the North West, and the involvement of local CCGs, can be obtained from NHS Blackpool, as lead commissioner for ambulance services across the North West and the body that managed the procurement process.

12 Dec 2012 : Column WA233

Asked by Lord Greaves

To ask Her Majesty’s Government in which areas in England the patient transfer service and accident and emergency ambulance service are operated by separate organisations or companies; and what are those bodies.[HL3988]

Earl Howe: This information is not collected centrally.

It is for the National Health Service locally to identify the best provider of local services, ensuring they commission the best quality service at the best price.

A range of providers may provide patient transport services. This might include the local ambulance service, private or voluntary sector providers, or a combination of these organisations.

Health: Self-monitoring Technology

Questions

Asked by Lord Colwyn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether there are any legal considerations that deter general practitioners from supporting patients using self-monitoring technology.[HL3901]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department has not received any representations from general practitioners or their representatives of any perceived legal deterrents to supporting patients using self-monitoring technology under their contracts for services with the National Health Service.

Asked by Lord Colwyn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether there is a specific role for primary care trusts in relation to supporting patients who are self-monitoring their conditions.[HL3903]

Earl Howe: Primary care trusts (PCTs) have a duty to involve their local population in decisions about the planning and delivery of National Health Service services, including self-care support services, so they can source and promote the best possible services tailored to the needs of their local community.

PCTs have a role in developing appropriate self-care skills training for the workforce so they understand why and how to enable people to self care. Self-care management programmes such as the Expert Patients Programme and other approaches to educate patients to care for their specific conditions, including programmes such as Dose Adjustment for Normal Eating (DAFNE) and Diabetes Education and Self-Management for Ongoing and Newly Diagnosed (DESMOND) for diabetes, apply the principles of peer support, but focus on enhancing the patient's skills and confidence in managing their symptoms and medication.

To empower patients to better manage their condition, PCTs also have a responsibility to make available devices necessary to help people with diagnosis, treatment and self-monitoring of their condition at home—for

12 Dec 2012 : Column WA234

example, providing supporting prompts and reminders for patients to identify when they should be doing something and attending for care.

Asked by Baroness Gardner of Parkes

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that patients are given choice in the management of their condition. [HL3906]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effect of self-monitoring technologies in saving money in the National Health Service; and whether it accords with their policy of encouraging greater involvement by patients in their treatment.[HL3908]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The generic long-term conditions (LTC) model aims to ensure that all people living with LTCs are involved in decisions about their care and treatment and have access to all the information they need to help them make those decisions through personalised care planning, support for self care, and the use of assistive technology.

Support for self care is integral to the personalised care planning process. Through personalised care planning, people can set their own goals for how they want to live their lives, and are offered real choices for self management of their condition, as well as treatment options in partnership with their healthcare professional.

Support for self care underpins the role of assistive technology and is integral to the delivery of the “3millionlives” initiative. Technology can also play a crucial role in empowering patients to maximise choice and control and fully supports the LTC model of care. Through the Whole System Demonstrator Programme, the largest randomised control trial of telecare and telehealth in the world, we have a robust evidence base to show that using telehealth as an integral part of health and social care services can support independence and lead to significant reductions in secondary care activity and overall cost reductions for the National Health Service.

Health: Warfarin

Question

Asked by Lord Colwyn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many patients on Warfarin have been admitted to hospital since 2009 as a result of variations in their international normalised ratio levels.[HL3902]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): These data are not available.

Isles of Scilly

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many (1) medical clinics on the Isles of Scilly, and (2) medical appointments at the Royal Cornwall Hospital Trust's hospitals for residents of the Isles of Scilly, have been cancelled in November following the closure of the helicopter service to the mainland.[HL3765]

12 Dec 2012 : Column WA235

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The information is not held centrally. The noble Lord may wish to contact Cornwall and Isles of Scilly Primary Care Trust who commission services for those who live on the Isles of Scilly.

Israel

Questions

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the Government of Israel concerning the targeting of media facilities and individual journalists during operation “Pillar of Cloud”.[HL3941]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): Throughout the recent Gaza conflict, we emphasised to the Israeli Government the importance of abiding by international humanitarian law and minimising civilian casualties. We did not specifically make representations on the subject mentioned.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to impose sanctions against Israel in order to discourage plans for new settlement building to link Ma’ale Adumim to East Jerusalem.[HL3943]

Baroness Warsi: The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my honourable friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Mr Burt), formally summoned Israel's ambassador to the UK on 3 December to underline our deep concern at Israel's decision to build 3,000 new housing units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, to unfreeze planning in the area known as El—which includes the area between Ma'ale Adumim and East Jerusalem—and to withhold tax revenues from the Palestinian Authority. We have called on Israel to reverse these decisions.

Any decision about any other measure the UK might take will depend on the outcome of our discussions with the Israeli government and with international partners. However we do not believe that imposing sanctions on Israel would advance our goal of securing a two-state solution.

Lead Shot

Question

Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord De Mauley on 31 October (WA 134) and comments by the Minister of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Mr David Heath, on 23 October (Official Report, col. 901–4), what reviews they have made of the Lead Ammunition Group’s progress; and when they expect to receive the Group’s report on the impacts of lead ammunition on wildlife and human health. [HL3716]

12 Dec 2012 : Column WA236

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): In response to concerns, both in the UK and internationally, over the level of toxic effects of lead from ammunition, Defra and the Food Standards Agency convened an independent group—the Lead Ammunition Group—to look at the issues. The group is considering the evidence to assess what risks may exist to human health and wildlife from lead ammunition.

The group provided a written progress report to Defra and the Food Standards Agency on 28 June 2011. This report and other relevant documents are published on the Lead Ammunition Group's website.

The group has agreed to provide a report to Ministers in April 2013 and Defra will review the progress of the group at this stage.

Libya

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Astor of Hever on 18 October (WA 481), in what towns and areas, and in what numbers, the 900 Paveway IV munitions were employed in the 2011 Libyan campaign; and what were the estimated casualty numbers.[HL2802]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Disclosing precise information on the number of weapons used in each town and area is likely to prejudice the capability, effectiveness or security of the Armed Forces.

The Ministry of Defence does not hold any estimates of casualties caused by the NATO operations in Libya. There have been a number of allegations of civilian casualties which NATO has investigated, but none have been independently verified and contemporaneous investigation by NATO personnel on the ground was clearly not possible during the operation. Since the conclusion of military operations, the Libyan authorities have not invited NATO or the UK Government to investigate specific instances.

Malaysia

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what conclusions were reached at the recent meeting between the Malaysian Home Minister, Mr Hishammuddin Hussein and Ministers from the Home Office and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office about arrangements for holders of British Overseas Citizen passports to resume formerly held Malaysian citizenship.[HL3984]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The recent meeting was an opportunity to discuss a wide range of issues of common interest to the UK and Malaysia. Ministers reaffirmed their commitment to resolving the remaining issues affecting British Overseas Citizens who formerly held Malaysian citizenship.

12 Dec 2012 : Column WA237

NHS: Nursing Care

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to improve the quality of nursing care in NHS hospitals.[HL3966]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government recognise that the quality of nursing care in National Health Service hospitals is of concern, and we are aware that this has been highlighted by reports from the Patients Association, the Health Service Ombudsman, the Care Quality Commission (CQC) and others.

To help address this, Jane Cummings, Chief Nursing Officer for England on the NHS Commissioning Board has recently published Compassion in Practice. This is a three-year vision and strategy for nurses, midwives and care staff, which examines care, compassion, competence, communication, courage and commitment. It has a series of areas for action which emphasise the quality of care is as important as the quality of treatment. They encompass:

working with people to provide a positive experience of care;delivering high quality care and measuring the impact;building and strengthening leadership;ensuring we have the right staff, with the right skills, in the right place; andsupporting a positive staff experience.

Each of these areas help address the quality of care and is accompanied by recommendations for national and local bodies and a call to action for individual nurses.

Compassion in Practice was launched at the Chief Nursing Officer's conference on 4 December 2012, where senior leaders discussed how to take a lead in driving the required changes in their organisations and in their role.

Moving forward, the NHS Commissioning Board will work with key partners on nursing quality in hospitals; these include Health Education England, the NHS Trust Development Authority, the CQC, Monitor, the Nursing and Midwifery Council and other professional bodies.

Detailed plans to deliver the vision and strategy will be in place by 31 March 2013.

Northern Ireland Office: Staff

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the most recent year for which records are available, what was the average amount of sick leave taken by staff in the Northern Ireland Office, as a percentage of total working days.[HL3960]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Wales Office (Baroness Randerson): Between July 2011 and June 2012, the latest 12 month period for which figures are available, the average amount of sick leave taken by staff in the Northern Ireland Office was 9.6 days which equates to 2.6% of total working days.

12 Dec 2012 : Column WA238

Nuclear Weapons

Question

Asked by Lord Judd

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what actions they are taking to ensure an early date for reconvening the postponed Helsinki conference on a nuclear- and other weapons of mass destruction-free Middle East; and what is their current policy on that objective.[HL3783]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): The Government support the objective of a weapons of mass destruction-free zone in the Middle East. We regret that it will not be possible to convene a conference in 2012 to be attended by all states of the region.

We will continue to work with our fellow conveners (the US, Russia and the UN), with Jaakko Laajava, the facilitator for the conference, and with countries in the region to convene a conference as soon as possible. We welcome the facilitator's proposal to hold further consultations in early 2013.

Palestine

Question

Asked by Baroness Uddin

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of delaying a vote on Palestinian United Nations observer status on the achievement of a sovereign and viable Palestinian state.[HL3579]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): I refer the noble Baroness to my Statement of Monday 3 December during the short debate on Palestine (Official Report, col. 510).

Police: Tasers

Question

Asked by Baroness Stern

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many times tasers were used on children by police forces in each region of England during the latest 12-month period for which figures are available, and during the three preceding 12-month periods.[HL3531]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): Taser is only deployed where there is a serious threat of violence and by officers who have been carefully selected and trained in its use.

The attached table sets out the number of times taser was used by the police on under 18s with comparative figures for all uses alongside. The information requested is not routinely collated by force region These are the latest data currently available.

12 Dec 2012 : Column WA239

Summary taser uses* by year: under 18 and All Uses

12 Dec 2012 : Column WA240

Period: 1.4.2009 to 1.4.2010
DrawnAimedRed DotArcedD-StunFiredTotal

Under 18

18

3

79

3

9

31

144

All Uses

367

125

1706

82

144

645

3,070

Proportion

5%

2%

5%

4%

6%

5%

5%

Period: 1.4.2008 to 1.4.2009
DrawnAimedRed DotArcedD-StunFiredTotal

Under 18

13

5

56

6

3

19

102

All Uses

222

101

1126

100

80

596

2,225

Proportion

6%

5%

5%

6%

4%

3%

5%

Period: 1.4.2007 to 1.4.2008
DrawnAimedRed DotArcedD-StunFiredTotal

Under 18

6

1

25

4

4

14

54

All Uses

124

43

584

48

55

371

1,225

Proportion

5%

l%

4%

8%

7%

4%

4%

Period: 1.4.2006 to 1.4.2007
DrawnAimedRed DotArcedD-StunFiredTotal

Under 18

0

2

7

1

0

11

21

All Uses

11

9

148

10

19

163

360

Proportion

22%

6%

10%

7%

6%

*

The term use of the taser will include any of the following actions carried out in an operational setting:

drawing of a taser in circumstances where any person perceives the action as a use of force;

sparking of the taser commonly known as “arcing”;

aiming of the taser or placing the laser sight red dot onto a subject;

firing of a taser so that the barbs are discharged at a subject; and

application and discharge of a taser in “drive stun mode” to a subject.

This is taken from ACPO Armed Policing AFO Taser Guidance in Section 10 “Use”:

http://ripassetseu.s3.amazonaws.com/www. westmercia.police.uk/_files/documents/mar_10/wmp__1267715407_ACPO_Policy_&_Operational _Use_.pdf

Protection of Freedoms Act 2012

Question

Asked by Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have plans to include disabled parking places on private land within the class of places exempted from the prohibition on vehicle clamping under Section 54(1) of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.[HL3873]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): Section 54 of the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012 came into force on 1 October 2012. This contains provisions which have made it an offence to clamp, tow, block in or otherwise immobilise a vehicle without lawful authority if the intention is to prevent the motorist from moving that vehicle. There are no plans to change the existing law in respect of disabled parking bays on private land.

We believe that allowing clamping or towing for vehicles parked in disabled parking places might, inadvertently, impact negatively on disabled motorists.

Public Bodies: Appointments

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 28 November (WA 67) regarding the appointments of candidates from a Chinese background to public bodies, whether that information is collected; and, if so, where the information is held.[HL3866]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Commissioner for Public Appointments does not hold information on appointments broken down by ethnic group.

Research: Data Sharing

Questions

Asked by The Countess of Mar

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their policy on access to research data from trials, including past trials, funded by them and the Medical Research Council.[HL3816]

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To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in cases where the results of medical trials funded by them or the Medical Research Council or both are published with only selected data, what mechanism is in place for independent scrutiny of the trial data and assessment of the quality of the publication; and, if there is no such mechanism, whether they will propose one.[HL3817]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, in the light of their commitment to open up publicly funded research, they plan to alter the remit of the Medical Research Council to make publicly funded data available for scrutiny; and if not, why not. [HL3818]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Lord Marland): Publicly funded research is already made available by the Research Councils in conformity with the Research Councils UK (RCUK) Common Principles on Data Policy. This policy can be viewed at this website: htttp://www.rcuk.ac.uk/research/Pages/ DataPolicy.aspx .

RCUK's policy on the release of data recognises that there are legal, ethical and commercial constraints on its release and which need to be considered at all stages in the research process to avoid an inappropriate release of data.

Within this data policy framework and the Research Councils' open access policy for publicly funded research, the Medical Research Council (MRC) considers publicly funded research data a public good, produced in the public interest, to be made openly available with as few restrictions as possible in a timely and responsible manner. To maximise the benefit and impact of MRC-funded research, responsible sharing of pre-publication data to support new research is also encouraged.

To support the sharing of research data from population and patient studies, including clinical trials, the MRC has developed additional guidance to illustrate some of the issues investigators should take into account when assessing requests to access research data for new research. Research data should be shared responsibly and ethically to maximise both their value and the benefits for research and health.

Any further opening up of access to data, in the context of the wider open data agenda, would be the subject of future discussions with the research councils and other parties including the Data Strategy Board and representative university bodies. These policy issues would also be considered as appropriate by the Research Sector Transparency Board which is chaired by David Willetts. There are no proposals to change the research councils' policy on access to data at this time.

In relation to scrutiny the scientific journal in which the research is published is responsible for the independent scrutiny of the data included in the paper and assessment of the quality of the publication. Journals use peer-review to assure quality and reviewers can and do ask to see more data if they consider those presented are insufficient. These policies are consistent with those of leading funders in the UK and elsewhere. The policy and guidance are available from the MRC's website.

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Asked by The Countess of Mar

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Marland on 26 November (WA 15), whether the refusal of Queen Mary, University of London to publish the analyses complies with the policy of Research Councils UK to make publicly funded research data openly available. [HL3825]

Lord Marland: The Research Councils UK (RCUK) Common Principles on Data Policy provide an overarching framework for individual research council policies on data sharing and access. The RCUK principles recognise that publicly funded research data are a public good, produced in the public interest, and should be made openly available with as few restrictions as possible in a timely and responsible manner. The principles also recognise that there are legal, ethical and commercial constraints relating to the release of research data, either through data sharing for new research or publication.

The Medical Research Council (MRC) policies on data sharing and data management are entirely consistent with the RCUK principles. The MRC strongly encourages the publication and dissemination of the findings of all MRC-funded research. To maximise the benefit and impact of MRC-funded research, responsible sharing of pre-publication data to support new research is also encouraged. To support the sharing of research data from population and patient studies, including clinical trials, the MRC has developed guidance which specifically addresses this type of research. The guidance aims to illustrate some of the issues investigators should take into account when assessing requests to access research data for new research to ensure research data are shared responsibly and ethically so as to maximise both their value and the benefits for research and health. The guidance also recognises there is a balance to be struck between the interests of researchers undertaking the research and who manage the data and those who wish to access the data.

In her Question, the noble Countess refers to a study which was funded by the Medical Research Council through a grant to Queen Mary, University of London and the university's response to a request for research data made under the Freedom of Information Act. The response to the Freedom of Information request is a matter for the university.

St Helena: Airport

Question

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the progress to date with the construction of St Helena airport.[HL3993]

Baroness Northover: Work on the St Helena Airport project is progressing well with the project on schedule and on budget. Initial work by the contractor to set up the logistics to support a major construction project on a remote island, to transport major construction equipment to the island, and then to transfer this to

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the airport site on Prosperous Bay Plain, is now complete. The contractor has constructed a temporary wharf in Rupert's Bay, established a regular shipping service from Walvis Bay in Namibia, constructed five temporary fuel tanks to provide 900,000 litres of storage and completed a 14 km-haul road to the airport site. Work is now under way on the permanent works with commencement of the major rock-fill embankment in Dry Gut.

Sudan and South Sudan

Question

Asked by Lord Chidgey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of progress in implementing the nine agreements reached in Addis Ababa in September between South Sudan and Sudan; what they assess to be the most critical outstanding issues; and what support they will offer in their resolution.[HL3950]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): It is disappointing that progress has been slow since the signing of the 27 September agreements.

We continue to press both Sudan and South Sudan to implement the Addis agreements, and to resolve outstanding areas of disagreement in line with the African Union Peace and Security Council's communiqué of 24 October. The immediate priorities should be the establishment of a joint border verification and monitoring mechanism operating in a safe demilitarized border zone, and the resumption of oil production for the benefit of both countries' economies. Progress also needs to be made towards a resolution of the final status of Abyei on the basis of the proposal put forward by President Mbeki.

It is important that the international community, including the UN, African Union, EU, Arab League and others, remain ready to support deals that have been reached and maintain pressure on areas of non-agreement. The UK remains fully committed to seeing long-term peace between both countries.

Taxation: Corporation Tax

Question

Asked by Baroness Miller of Hendon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their estimate of the reduction in corporation tax received for the fiscal year which ended on 5 April 2012 due to deductions from profits for refunds made during that period by banks, building societies, insurance companies, retailers and financial institutions in respect of historically mis-sold personal protection insurance policies.[HL3832]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): HM Revenue and Customs' (HMRC) administrative systems record the overall profit or loss position of a company in an accounting period, but

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do not identify the many individual elements such as income, deductions, reliefs, allowances and others, which give rise to the overall tax position. Companies do provide greater detail of these elements as part of their annual return to HMRC but separating the tax effect of one element, compensation for mis-sold payment protection insurance (PPI), from a wide range of other, often inter-related, elements could only be completed on a company by company basis.

An estimate of the effect on corporation tax receipts of deductions for compensation for mis-sold PPI could, therefore, only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Statistics on corporation tax are published on HMRC's website at: http://www.hmrc.gov.uk/statistics/ct- receipts.htm.

UK Border Agency: Custody

Question

Asked by Lord Marlesford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, in view of the 16th Report by the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee (HL Paper 77), they will redraft Statutory Instrument 2012/2840 to limit to HM Inspectorate of Constabulary, HM Inspectorate of Prisons and the Scottish Inspectors powers of entry for the inspection of the treatment and conditions of persons detained in Border Force customs custody. [HL3864]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): Her Majesty's Government will consider carefully whether amendment of the statutory instrument is necessary or desirable in light of the 16th Report by the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee. In the mean time, though, there are no proposals for Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Constabulary to delegate any of its functions under these regulations to any public authority other than HM Inspectorate of Prisons, either now or in the foreseeable future.

Universal Credit

Questions

Asked by Baroness Grey-Thompson

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what forecast they have made of the number of households which will be entitled to the carer's addition in universal credit, taking into account the removal of the limit on earnings.[HL3770]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The department estimates there will be around 200,000 households on universal credit entitled to the carer’s addition.

Asked by Baroness Grey-Thompson

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what forecast they have made of the number of households which will be entitled to receive universal credit and which have an adult member of the household who would

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be eligible to have someone claim carer's allowance for caring for them, but who do not have a carer and will not have someone claiming the carer's addition in universal credit.[HL3771]

Lord Freud: The department estimates that there will be around 400,000 households on universal credit who, under the current benefit system will have an adult member of the household eligible to have someone claim carer’s allowance for caring for them, but who do not have a carer.

Asked by Baroness Grey-Thompson

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what forecast they have made of the number of lone parents who will be eligible to claim universal credit who have a disabled child receiving any rate of disability living allowance, apart from the high rate of the care component, or who have children who are registered as blind.[HL3772]

Lord Freud: It is estimated that fewer than 50,000 lone parents on universal credit will have a child receiving any rate of disability living allowance, apart from the high rate of the care component, or who have children who are registered as blind.

Asked by Baroness Grey-Thompson

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what forecast they have made of the numbers of lone parents who will be eligible to claim universal credit who have a disabled child receiving the middle rate of the care component of disability living allowance, apart from those children who are registered as blind.[HL3773]

Lord Freud: It is estimated that fewer than 50,000 lone parents on universal credit will have a child receiving the middle rate of the care component of disability living allowance, apart from those children who are registered as blind.

Asked by Baroness Grey-Thompson

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what forecast they have made of the savings from the reduction in the disability addition for children within universal credit (1) in each of the next five years, and (2) once universal credit is fully implemented.[HL3774]

Lord Freud: The impact of the introduction of universal credit in each of the next five years is subject to the detailed approach to migration. The exact timing and sequence of the migration process will be adjusted in the light of experience, not least from operating the pathfinder service in the Greater Manchester area from April 2013.

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The Government will not make any savings from the restructuring of disability premia in universal credit. The department estimates that, once universal credit is fully implemented, around £160 million per year (in current prices) will be available for investment elsewhere as a result of setting the disabled child lower rate addition at the same level as the limited capability for work element for adults.

Water Supply: Thames Water

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the sufficiency of Thames Water's financial resources to carry out its regulated activities, including its investment programme.[HL3916]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): All water companies, including Thames Water, are required by their licence conditions to maintain an investment grade credit rating and to certify annually that they have sufficient financial resources and facilities to carry out their responsibilities.

The credit ratings assigned to Thames Water by Moody's and Standard and Poor's are currently well within the investment grade category. Thames Water certified in its regulatory accounts for 2011-12 that it has adequate financial resources and facilities to enable it to meet its regulatory obligations.

In the event that a water company's credit rating is at the minimum level of the investment grade category (BBB-) and on designation for further downgrade, the company's licence prevents it from making any transfers or distributions out of the regulated business without regulatory consent. If any company fails to comply with their licence conditions, Ofwat, the industry regulator, will take appropriate action.

Where companies are required to invest in new assets as part of the price review settlement, they raise the finance to pay for those assets from the capital markets. The financing of that investment is funded by customer bills, so increased capital investment leads to increased bills. Ofwat ensures that companies only undertake capital projects where they are necessary and the investment is economic and efficient.

Where investment is required within an asset management plan period but has not been agreed as part of the price review, then if it meets certain criteria (for example, if it was to meet a new legal requirement) water companies may apply to Ofwat for an “Interim Determination of K” that will enable it to increase its customer bills beyond the level agreed at the review and so fund the unanticipated capital expenditure.