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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 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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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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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.
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.
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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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.
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]
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).
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]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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]
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.
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]
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.
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 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.
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.
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]
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.
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.
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they are giving to altering the practice
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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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]
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.
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]
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
12 Feb 2013 : Column WA152
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