12 Feb 2013 : Column WA135

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Written Answers

Tuesday 12 February 2013

Abortion

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of research by EUROCAT which found under-reporting of rates of abortion for babies with disabilities, what steps they will take to investigate any misreporting by doctors of the grounds for abortion.[HL5197]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to identify and refer to the licensing, prosecuting and ethical standards authorities any clinics or doctors whose statements of the grounds for which an abortion has been performed have been found by EUROCAT research to be incorrect.[HL5198]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): An abortion may only take place on grounds under the Abortion Act 1967, as amended. Anyone operating outside the Act is committing a criminal offence and will be reported to the appropriate authorities. Ultimately, it is for the Crown Prosecution Service to decide whether to prosecute individuals and for the courts to determine whether there has been a breach of the law on abortion.

In February 2012, the Chief Medical Officer wrote to everyone involved in providing and commissioning treatment for the termination of pregnancy about the need to comply fully with all the requirements of the Abortion Act.

We have no evidence that doctors are misreporting abortions and EUROCAT has issued a statement to say that its data have been interpreted incorrectly.

Armed Forces: Aircraft

Question

Asked by Lord Moonie

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consideration they have given to using C-130J aircraft as a maritime patrol aircraft platform, either by palletised equipment or by equipping them by means of retrofit.[HL5300]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): We will define our requirement for a future maritime patrol aircraft in the Strategic Defence and Security Review in 2015. To inform that decision the Air ISTAR Optimisation Study (AIOS) is currently considering a range of options including, among others, using the C130J aircraft.

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Armed Forces: Defence Cuts

Question

Asked by Lord Foulkes of Cumnock

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have consulted allies about where their planned cuts in defence spending will fall; and if so, what meetings have taken place to that effect, and what has been the outcome of any such meetings.[HL5068]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The UK receives information on the defence plans of our allies and partners from a wide range of sources, including regular international staff talks and through our defence attachés. Structured consultations occur between NATO allies through the NATO defence planning process (NDPP) which provides a framework within which national defence plans can be harmonised to meet agreed requirements in the most effective way. By the June 2013 defence ministerial meeting, a fuller picture of NATO allies’ defence plans will be available for future planning.

Armed Forces: Defence Estates

Question

Asked by Lord Rosser

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the value and acreage of land owned by the Ministry of Defence; and what is the value and acreage of that land which is no longer in use for operational purposes.[HL5308]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The total area of land owned by the Ministry of Defence in the UK is some 229,100 hectares, of which some 3,135 hectares is currently surplus to operational requirements.

Details of Ministry of Defence land holdings with asset valuation over £1 million can be found in chapter 7 of the National Asset Register, last published by HM Treasury in 2007, at the following link: http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/cm70/7022/7022.pdf.

The National Asset Register is on a historic replacement cost basis, not market value. Details of all property with asset valuation below £1 million could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

We do not routinely assess the current market value of all our estate because the estimated receipts will depend on market conditions and other factors at the time of sale. Where pre-sale valuations have been obtained, these are regarded as commercially confidential and are thus not released ahead of the sale in case they influence the market.

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Armed Forces: Northern Ireland

Questions

Asked by Lord Empey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they had with the Northern Ireland Executive prior to the publication of the Armed Forces covenant annual report 2012.[HL5139]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to guarantee access to cross-government services for serving and former members of the Armed Forces who reside in Northern Ireland.[HL5140]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what reasons the Northern Ireland Executive has given them for its being unable to provide preferential access to cross-government services for serving and former members of the armed forces.[HL5153]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The Armed Forces covenant applies to the whole Armed Forces community, wherever its members are located, and the Ministry of Defence is keen to see it implemented widely. We recognise that the circumstances for the Armed Forces community in Northern Ireland are different, and consider it important that the covenant proceeds on a basis that is agreed by all and within the existing law. We will seek to ensure that members of the Armed Forces community are not disadvantaged compared to other citizens in the provision of public and commercial services by working at the most appropriate level.

My honourable friend the Minister of State at the Northern Ireland Office (Mike Penning) is currently meeting Northern Ireland Ministers and the parties to discuss how the covenant can be more fully extended to Northern Ireland and my right honourable friend the Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans (Mark Francois) plans to visit Northern Ireland to see how the covenant principles are being applied.

The views of the Northern Ireland Executive were sought prior to the publication of the Armed Forces covenant annual report 2012, but were not obtained.

Armed Forces: Redundancy

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they will take to support soldiers who will be made redundant following army job cuts.[HL4900]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): All soldiers selected for redundancy will receive financial compensation and a comprehensive resettlement package to help them find a job and transition to life outside the Army. Historically, 93% of those who look for work are in full-time employment within six months of leaving,

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rising to 97% after 12 months. 91% of tranche 1 applicants, who left the service in March or April 2012, had found alternative employment after six months.

Soldiers being made redundant will qualify for the normal resettlement package available to all Army personnel. The number of Army resettlement staff has been increased across the UK and Germany in order to provide all resettlement support in a timely manner to those leaving during the redundancy programme. In addition, as part of the special arrangements for redundancy all Army personnel will receive the same level of graduated resettlement time (GRT) and training to which they would have been entitled had they completed their full commission or engagement. GRT is flexible time which may be used by personnel to complete resettlement activities such as training courses, civilian work attachments and resettlement activities such as job and house hunting. Also, to help families find accommodation, they may retain their service families’ accommodation for up to 93 days after their discharge.

The resettlement package includes financial-related briefings covering budget and debt management, specialist housing advice and advice on the importance of seeking medical help, including the ability to access mental health services should they feel it necessary. In addition, the UK Border Agency has agreed that non-British personnel can have their settlement applications to remain and work in the UK processed under special arrangements.

Further support is also available through the Career Transition Partnership, a partnership between the Ministry of Defence and Right Management through training courses; career transition workshops; employment and future career advice; assistance with curriculum vitae writing and job preparation; vocational training; and a job-search and recruitment facility.

Asylum Seekers

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the recent all-party report on asylum support, whether they will end the system of voucher cards and instead provide cash support for asylum applicants; and whether they will enable applicants to take up employment after their cases have been pending for a reasonable number of months.[HL5226]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): Destitute asylum applicants already receive a weekly cash allowance to meet their essential living needs. The Government will consider the findings of the all-party report as part of their ongoing review of asylum support but there are currently no plans to end the system of voucher cards for failed asylum seekers.

Asylum seekers who have a claim outstanding for at least 12 months may apply for permission to work. This is in line with our obligations under the EU reception conditions directive.

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Banks: Cyprus

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many banks based in Cyprus take deposits through branches in the United Kingdom.[HL5045]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): There is one Cypriot bank that takes deposits and operates as a branch in the United Kingdom. In addition, there is one UK subsidiary of a Cypriot bank which accepts deposits in the UK. The Financial Services Authority has a detailed list of all non-UK banks with operations in the UK on its website1.

1

www.fsa.gov.uk

Criminal Justice: Reoffenders

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when, and for what reason, they changed their publication data on offenders given community sentences to show a three-month reoffending rate rather than a two-year reconviction rate; how they define reoffending as opposed to reconviction; and what such rates they have published in the past five years.[HL5054]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Ministry of Justice publishes reoffending statistics in accordance to National Statistic guidelines. These guidelines require the Ministry to consult users and preannounce any proposed changes to a National Statistic.

The Ministry moved from a headline two-year reconviction rate to a one-year reconviction rate in 2009 in response to user demands for more timely reconviction rates. The series was backdated to 2000 and published alongside two year reconviction rates in order to ensure comparisons over time could still be made.

Subsequently, in 2010, the MoJ launched a statistical consultation on improvements to the transparency and accessibility of our information, including the measurement of reoffending. A response to the consultation was published in March 2011 at the link below: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20111121205348/http://www.justice.gov.uk/consultations/565.htm.

At the time there were six different measures of reoffending/reconvictions and in response to the consultation the MoJ introduced a new approach to measuring proven reoffending which integrates these approaches into a single framework. The one-year proven reoffending rate is now the headline measure of reoffending and it allows users to:

form a clear picture of proven reoffending at national and local levels; andcompare adult and youth results, and enable other work on transition between the youth and adult criminal justice systems.

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The proven reoffending measure includes all adult offenders who received a caution, fine or discharge, whereas the previous reconviction rate only included those who commenced a court order or who were discharged from custody.

The proven reoffending measure is also broader than the previous measures, since it is based on all offenders released from custody, receiving a non-custodial conviction at court, a caution, reprimand, warning or testing positive for opiates or cocaine over a 12-month period. The previous reconviction measure, by contrast, only included offenders released from custody or commencing a court order in the first three months of the year. Using a three-month sample over-represents prolific offenders in comparison to a full year’s worth of data.

The new measure of proven reoffending was published for the first time in the Proven Reoffending Statistics bulletin in October 2011 and has been published quarterly thereafter at the link below: http://www.justice.gov.uk/statistics/reoffending/proven-re-offending.

This new one-year proven reoffending measure was backdated to 2000 in order to provide users with complete trends of reoffending.

The consultation response also recognised the desire for reoffending rates with longer follow-up periods to be made available in order to capture the more serious offences that take time to work their way through the courts. To address this, the Ministry has also published reoffending rates with two and five-year follow-up periods in the Compendium of Reoffending which is available at the link below: http://www.justice.gov.uk/statistics/reoffending/compendium-of-reoffending-statistics-and-analysis.

Three-month proven reoffending rates are published as early estimates management information alongside the Proven Reoffending Statistics bulletin. Additionally, the local adult reoffending measure (a three-month reoffending rate) remains a National Offender Management Service (NOMS) performance indicator for probation trusts. Therefore we continue to publish this legacy measure to support probation trusts in assessing their performance. The one year proven reoffending rate remains the headline measure.

Deposit Guarantee Scheme

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the decision by the court of the European Free Trade Association in the matter of Iceland on 28 January, what action they will take to determine whether the European Union and European Economic Area will stand behind national deposit guarantee scheme commitments.[HL5044]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): The EU deposit compensation arrangements have been amended and strengthened since the events to which the judgment relates in 2008. Both the Court in its judgment and statements from the European

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Commission confirm that the new arrangements strengthen the obligations of member states to ensure compensation is paid up to the insured amounts.

The Government will consider, with the European Commission and other member states, if further strengthening of the EU compensation arrangements is necessary.

Drugs: Orphan Medicines

Questions

Asked by Lord Walton of Detchant

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why they have decided, against the recommendation of Advisory Group for National Specialised Services, not to commission the use of eculizumab for the treatment of atypical haemolytic uraemic syndrome.[HL5333]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Ministers accepted the view of the Advisory Group for National Specialised Services on the clinical effectiveness of eculizumab for the treatment of atypical haemolytic uraemic syndrome (aHUS) but wanted further advice on its suitability for direct commissioning taking account of its cost, benefit and affordability.

The department has asked the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to develop guidance on the use of eculizumab for aHUS as the first topic to be evaluated through its highly specialised technologies programme.

Asked by Lord Walton of Detchant

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why eculizumab has been referred to the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) for review when NICE does not yet have available processes to consider orphan and ultra-orphan drugs.[HL5334]

Earl Howe: As I announced on 18 July 2012 (Official Report, col. 307) from April 2013 the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) will be responsible for the evaluation of selected highly specialised health technologies. The institute has already begun work on developing its processes and methods and held an external stakeholder event on 11 February. The department has asked NICE to evaluate eculizumab for atypical haemolytic uraemic syndrome as the first topic to be considered through this programme.

Asked by Lord Turnberg

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will approve the use of eculizumab for the treatment of atypical haemolytic uraemic syndrome.[HL5361]

Earl Howe: The Advisory Group for National Specialised Services (AGNSS) undertook an assessment of the drug eculizumab for the treatment of atypical haemolytic uraemic syndrome (aHUS) for possible inclusion in national specialised commissioning arrangements. The Government accepted the advice of AGNSS on the clinical effectiveness of the drug in

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treating aHUS but wanted further advice on its suitability for direct commissioning taking account of its cost, benefit and affordability.

The Government have asked the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence to develop guidance on the use of eculizumab in its treatment of aHUS as the first topic in its new highly specialised technologies programme.

Asked by Lord Black of Brentwood

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of the cost of the Advisory Group for National Specialised Services’ appraisal of eculizumab for the treatment of atypical haemolytic uraemic syndrome.[HL5370]

Earl Howe: The cost of the Health Technology Appraisal of eculizumab for the treatment of atypical haemolytic uraemic syndrome was approximately £175,000.

EU: Free Movement of Labour

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment have they made of the free movement of labour within the European Economic Area and the European Union.[HL4944]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The Government support free movement, which is a long-standing principle of the European Union and brings practical benefits for our citizens. However we are clear that the right is not unlimited and we do not tolerate abuse.

In 2010 2.8% of working-age European citizens lived in another member state than their own. This included over 2 million EU nationals who lived in the UK, and 1.4 million UK nationals who lived in other member states, though not all of these were workers (Sources: Eurostat, World Bank).

The scope and consequences of the free movement of persons, including workers, will be examined this year as part of the Government's Balance of Competences Review.

EU: UK Membership

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will ensure that measures are in place to prevent the CIA or any other United States Government organisations, or any other foreign country organisations including the institutions of the European Union, from financing or otherwise assisting organisations or individuals campaigning in the debate on the United Kingdom's position in the European Union prior to any referendum being held on the subject.[HL5217]

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Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Measures are already in place. In a referendum campaign, Section 119 of the Political Parties, Elections and Referendums Act 2000 regulates donations to permitted participants. A donation is money, goods or services which is given:

towards campaign spending; orwithout charge or on non-commercial terms, andhas a value over £500.

Examples of donations may include a gift of money or other property, sponsorship of an event or publication or free/specially discounted use of an office.

Donations may only be accepted from permissible donors. Permissible donors are:

an individual registered in a UK electoral register;a UK-registered company which is incorporated within the European Union and carries on business in the UK;a Great Britain-registered political party;a UK-registered trade union;a UK-registered building society;a UK-registered limited liability partnership that carries on business in the UK;a UK-registered friendly society; anda UK-based incorporated association that carries on business or other activities in the UK.a UK-registered friendly society; anda UK-based incorporated association that carries on business or other activities in the UK.

Finance: Currency Devaluation

Question

Asked by Lord Barnett

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the existence of competitive currency devaluation among major countries. [HL5051]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): The Government remain vigilant to the risk of excessive volatility and disorderly movements in exchange rates, which can have adverse implications for economic and financial stability. At the G20 summit at Los Cabos in June 2012, leaders reaffirmed their long-standing commitment to refrain from competitive devaluation of currencies and to move more rapidly toward market-determined exchange rate systems and exchange rate flexibility) to reflect underlying fundamentals.

Finance: Quantitative Easing

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the impact of quantitative easing on transfers of wealth between (1) the young and the old, and (2) the poor and the rich.[HL4963]

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Lord Newby: The independent Monetary Policy Committee’s (MPC) policy tools, including bank rate and quantitative easing (QE), are macroeconomic policy tools designed to affect the economy as a whole, in order to meet the 2% inflation target over the medium term.

The Bank of England paper titled, The Distributional Effects of Asset Purchases published on 23 August 2012, considers the impact of QE across different groups in society. The paper concludes that:

“Without the Bank's asset purchases ... [there] would have [been a] significant detrimental impact on savers and pensioners along with every other group in society”.

Gibraltar

Question

Asked by Lord Kilclooney

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many incursions were made by the Spanish Civil Guard into the territorial waters of Gibraltar in January 2013; and how many times the Navy took action to stop any such incursions in that month.[HL5224]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): Guardia Civil vessels made a total of 28 unlawful incursions within British Gibraltar Territorial Waters in January 2013. The Royal Navy has continued to challenge Spanish vessels illegally entering British Gibraltarian Territorial Waters during this time. All unlawful incursions are subsequently followed up with formal diplomatic protests.

Government Departments: Catering Facilities

Question

Asked by Lord Campbell-Savours

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the cost of the subsidy for catering facilities in the Whitehall offices of the Ministry of Justice.[HL5014]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Compass Contract Services (UK) Ltd trading as Eurest Services (Compass) is the supplier for Catering Services for the Whitehall offices of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ).

The cost of the subsidy for catering services by the contracted provider Compass Catering UK Ltd in the Ministry of Justice Whitehall Offices from June 2012 to December 2012 is £66,892.

Government Departments: e-mail

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Information Commissioner’s guidance relating to private email accounts has been applied at the Cabinet Office; and, if so, whether they will publish their policy on the use of private email for public business.[HL5011]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The Strategic Defence and Security Review made clear the long-term importance the Government attach to the special forces. The Ministry of Defence's future plans reflect that importance. In keeping with the long-standing policy of this and previous Governments I will not provide further detail on special forces funding.

Government Departments: Staff

Questions

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government following the appointment of Pete Wilkinson as Interim Franchise Director at the department for Transport, what are the terms and conditions of his appointment; what is his expected remuneration; and what arrangements are in place to separate his activities at the Department for Transport from his other business interests.[HL5186]

Earl Attlee: Mr Wilkinson has been appointed on the terms and conditions of an interim member of staff. He has been appointed initially for a period of six months at a daily rate.

He has declared his interests in any actual or potential businesses to the Permanent Secretary and appropriate measures have been taken in accordance with the Civil Service rules and the terms of his appointment to address any potential conflicts of interest.

Asked by Lord Rennard

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have any plans to reduce the number of (1) Secretaries of State, (2) Ministers of State, (3) Parliamentary Under-Secretaries of State, and (4) Parliamentary Private Secretaries.[HL5194]

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Hill of Oareford): There are no plans to do this.

Health: Obesity

Question

Asked by Baroness Armstrong of Hill Top

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will meet representatives of the National Obesity Forum to discuss plans to tackle obesity problems in the United Kingdom.[HL5109]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department recently held a meeting of the Obesity Review Group, which includes a representative from the National Obesity Forum, to discuss plans to tackle obesity in England. This group is chaired by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Anna Soubry.

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Health: Sexual Health

Question

Asked by Baroness Gould of Potternewton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the NHS Constitution will apply to sexual health services after 2013.[HL5208]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): After April 2013, sexual health services will be commissioned by local authorities, clinical commissioning groups or the NHS Commissioning Board. These bodies, including local authorities in the exercise of their public health functions, will be required by law to have regard to the NHS constitution in their decisions and actions, including those in relation to sexual health services. The constitution also applies to providers of sexual health services, whether National Health Service trusts, foundation trusts, general practitioners or other primary care providers, or private providers.

House of Lords: Appointments

Question

Asked by Lord Tebbit

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Strathclyde on 8 January (WA 55) stating that it was the continued intention of the Government of making Lords appointments “with the objective of creating a second chamber that is reflective of the share of the vote taken by the political parties in the last general election” and that it is taken into account by the Prime Minister when making appointments, which appointments since May 2010 have been made in order to achieve that outcome.[HL5244]

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Hill of Oareford): Details of appointments to the House of Lords are available in the Libraries of the House.

Houses of Parliament: Police and Security

Questions

Asked by Lord Campbell-Savours

To ask the Chairman of Committees whether the contract with the Metropolitan Police for the provision of security and policing services to the Palace of Westminster provides for the sub-contracting of policing and security services.[HL5121]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Sewel): Under the special services agreement the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) is required to provide appropriately trained staff with a view to ensuring the security of the Parliamentary Estate. The MPS directly employs the police officers and security staff who perform this service. Neither party to the agreement is entitled to sub-contract its obligations without the prior written consent of the other party.

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Asked by Lord Campbell-Savours

To ask the Chairman of Committees whether the House of Lords directly employs security or policing staff for policing and security duties on the parliamentary estate; and whether any such expenditure falls outside expenditure on the current contract with the Metropolitan Police.[HL5122]

The Chairman of Committees: Police officers and security staff working on the Parliamentary Estate are not directly employed by the House of Lords. The tasks of some Lords staff, such as the doorkeepers and attendants, contain a limited security element. The costs of employing these staff are not included within the expenditure on the special services agreement with the Metropolitan Police Service.

Isles of Scilly

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether any legislation is required to enable them to provide or approve a public service obligation or public service contract in connection with a passenger or freight transport service to the Isles of Scilly.[HL5189]

Earl Attlee: Whether any proposal for a public service obligation or public service contract was covered by existing legislative powers would depend upon the details of that proposal and the circumstances in which it was made. Relevant existing legislation includes Council Regulation (EEC) No 3577/92 and Section 34 of the Transport Act 1968 in relation to ferries, and EC Regulation 1008/2008 in relation to air travel. Any such proposal would also have to comply with EU state aid rules.

Justice: Third Party Litigation

Question

Asked by Lord Beecham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will consider the statutory regulation of for-profit third party litigation funders.[HL5094]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): I refer the noble Lord to my reply of 1 February 2012 (Official Report, col. 1 February 2012, WA337).

The Government’s position remains that we are not persuaded of the need for statutory regulation in this area, but will keep the situation under review.

Legal Aid

Question

Asked by Lord Morris of Aberavon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consideration they are giving to altering the practice

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of freezing defendants’ assets in criminal cases to enable such assets to be used towards legal fees rather than legal aid.[HL5069]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): We are actively working with the Home Office and the Attorney-General’s Office to explore options that might allow the Government to recover legal aid costs wherever possible. We expect that this work will conclude shortly.

Parking and Traffic Appeals Service

Questions

Asked by Baroness Walmsley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 28 January (WA 287-8), what is the relationship between Parking and Traffic Appeals Service adjudicators, the Lord Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Transport under Regulations 3 and 8 respectively of the Road User Charging (Enforcement and Adjudication) (London) Regulations 2001, as amended.[HL5312]

Earl Attlee: The Parking and Traffic Appeals Service adjudicators are independent of Government. The relationship between Parking and Traffic Appeals Service adjudicators and the Lord Chancellor and the Secretary of State for Transport is explained in Regulations 3 and 8, respectively, of the Road User Charging (Enforcement and Adjudication) (London) Regulations 2001, as amended.

The Lord Chancellor shall appoint persons with a five-year general qualification (within the meaning of Section 71 of the Courts and Legal Services Act 1990), for such period as the Lord Chancellor may specify and each adjudicator shall hold and vacate office in accordance with the terms of his appointment.

Each adjudicator shall make an annual report to the Secretary of State for Transport on the discharge of his functions; these can be found on the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service website.

Asked by Baroness Walmsley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government under what legislation the discharge of the functions of the Parking and Traffic Appeals Service adjudicators is regulated by the Mayor of London or Transport for London.[HL5313]

Earl Attlee: The Parking and Traffic Appeals Service adjudicators provide an independent appeals service for individuals who have been issued with a penalty charge; for example, for a parking, bus lane or moving traffic offence, issued by a London local authority. The Parking and Traffic Appeals Service adjudicators are not regulated by the Mayor of London or Transport for London.

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Planning

Question

Asked by Lord Beecham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what guidance notes have been issued to the Planning Inspectorate since the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework.[HL4970]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): No guidance notes have been issued to the Planning Inspectorate since the publication of the National Planning Policy Framework.

The Planning Inspectorate published transition advice to inspectors which is publicly available on the portal website: http://www.planningportal.gov.ukluploads/pins/advice_for_inspectors/nppf.pdf.

Police: River Police

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans there are to close the Thames River Police station at Wapping; what reduction in the police force is envisaged; whether the river will be policed at night; and what plans are there to maintain the museum of the river police at Wapping.[HL5188]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): Decisions about the most effective use of available resources, including numbers of officers and patrols by Thames River Police and the Museum of the River Police, are a matter for the Mayor of London, the Mayor’s Office for Policing and Crime and the Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis.

Railways: High Speed 2

Questions

Asked by Lord Birt

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will investigate whether the construction of all current High Speed Rail plans could be accelerated and completed within 10 years.[HL5173]

Earl Attlee: The Government are keen to make progress with the project to deliver high speed rail in the UK and are looking to speed up the timetable wherever possible. Delivering in two phases is intended to ensure rapid and early progress. By the end of this year we plan to submit the hybrid Bill for phase one and to commence consultation for phase two, earlier than previously planned. The parliamentary processes for securing powers for the construction are likely to be complex and lengthy and seeking powers at a later stage for phase two is likely to help reduce the scale of the task and speed up the commencement of construction. The Government will continue to look for opportunities to speed up the process.

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Asked by Lord Birt

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what will be the fastest journey times by rail between London and (1) Leeds, (2) Manchester, and (3) Liverpool, once HS2 is completed.[HL5318]

Earl Attlee: The current published estimated journey times for HS2 between London:

(1) Leeds—1 hour 22 minutes;

(2) Manchester—1 hour 8 minutes; and

(3) Liverpool—1 hour 36 minutes.

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the remarks by Earl Attlee on 28 January concerning the HS2 project (Official Report, col. 1342), what is their best forecast of the final cost of the project in cash terms in 2033.[HL5320]

Earl Attlee: The Department for Transport has published the cost of HS2 in real terms, as it would be premature to set out a firm view in outturn/cash terms at this stage of development.

Railways: Rolling Stock

Question

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether any cost comparisons have been carried out between the options available for rolling stock for the next franchise for the East Coast Railway Line, including (1) the proposed InterCity Express Train, (2) the train built by Alstrom as used on the West Coast Mainline, and (3) the existing MK4 trains using the East Coast Mainline refurbished at the expense of Eversholt (Rolling Stock Company) with upgraded class 91 locomotives; and, if so, whether those comparisons will be made public.[HL5316]

Earl Attlee: The Department for Transport has already committed to replacing the existing HST Intercity 125 fleets on the Great Western and East Coast Main Lines. The Intercity Express Programme (IEP) contract includes an option to extend the order to include East Coast phase 2, which, if taken up, would replace the electric Intercity 225 stock on East Coast. The department is looking in detail at this follow-on order and an announcement will be made in the spring.

Sudan

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what measures they will propose to the international community to assist persons from Blue Nile state who have been displaced or made refugees as a result of military attacks by Sudanese armed forces.[HL5185]

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Baroness Northover: The UK remains deeply concerned at the plight of civilians caught up in fighting in Blue Nile. In line with the African Union Peace and Security Council communiqué of 25 January, we continue to press the Government of Sudan and Sudan People's Liberation Movement-North to start negotiations toward a cessation of hostilities. Until this happens the UK will do what it can to support those affected by the conflict, including those who have been displaced. The UK has contributed £4.8 million to the World Food Programme's efforts to provide assistance to 146,000 people in the Government-held areas of Blue Nile and Southern Kordofan, and has funded national partners with £1.8 million to distribute humanitarian assistance in these areas. We are also ready to make further

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funding available to meet the needs of people in rebel-held territory as soon as access is possible. We have given our strong support for the UN's response to the refugee situation in South Sudan. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for International Development, Lynne Featherstone MP, saw conditions in the Jusuf Batil refugee camp first hand during her visit in October 2012. Total UK support for the humanitarian situation in South Sudan stands at £48 million for 2012, which includes funds for the refugee crisis channelled through the Common Humanitarian Fund, World Food Programme and a £5 million contribution to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees to help, in part, to prepare for additional refugees in 2013.