25 Feb 2013 : Column WA216

Employment: Work Capability Assessment

Question

Asked by The Countess of Mar

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord McNally on 4 February (WA 6), what feedback has been received during the first six months of the new arrangements; whether a report of the feedback has been published, and if so where; and what is proposed for the future distribution of written determinations by the First-tier Tribunal Social Security and Child Support. [HL5232]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): An ad hoc statistical analysis of the feedback provided through the new arrangements was published by the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) in November 2012 and can be found on the DWP website using the following link: http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/adhoc_analysis/2012/sscs_appeals.pdf.

The analysis identified that feedback was provided in 64% of those appeals where DWP’s decision was overturned by the tribunal. Of these appeals, 41% cited the main reason for an overturned decision as cogent oral evidence provided by the appellant at the hearing.

HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) is working closely with DWP to further analyse the data and identify ongoing actions to improve the decision-making and appeals process. The First-tier Tribunal, Social Security and Child Support, will continue to issue written decisions to the appellant, the appellant’s representative, if represented, and the first-tier agency which made the original decision, either on the day of the hearing or shortly afterwards.

Energy: Biomass Fuel

Question

Asked by Lord Jenkin of Roding

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord De Mauley on 1 February (WA 361–2), who is responsible for conducting the phytosanitary checks that are made on imports of controlled wood used as biofuel; and who conducts the physical inspection to ensure that the material is free from pests and diseases.[HL5446]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): Within the European Community, the responsibility for the phytosanitary checks on the imports of controlled wood used as biofuel rests with the individual member state where the material is landed. Responsibility for control of intra-community movement rests with the registered traders in the relevant member states. The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs is responsible for co-ordination of plant health policy for the UK. In Great Britain, the Forestry Commission is responsible for implementing the plant health controls relating to import and movement of controlled wood used as biofuel. In Northern Ireland, the Department

25 Feb 2013 : Column WA217

of Agriculture and Rural Development Forest Service undertakes the same responsibility. Where physical inspection is required in Great Britain this is carried out by inspectors authorised by the Forestry Commission under the Plant Health (Forestry) Order 2005.

Energy: Smart Meters

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Verma on 5 February (WA 34) concerning smart meters, whether those meters will be installed in homes on a voluntary basis; and what information, from which organisations, will be given to householders about the implications for their privacy and control of their usage of energy in their homes.[HL5530]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): The Government’s vision is for every home in Great Britain to have smart electricity and gas meters and for smaller business and public sector premises to have smart or advanced metering suited to their needs. Smart meters will be rolled out as standard, but there will not be a legal obligation on individuals to have one.

The Government’s consumer engagement strategy describes the approach to raising levels of awareness about smart metering and providing reassurance to consumers about potential areas of concern. From June 2013, energy suppliers’ engagement with consumers will be supported by a programme of centralised engagement undertaken by a central delivery body.

In addition, the Government are looking to suppliers to develop a privacy charter to provide clear reassurance to consumers about the ways in which their personal data will be used, and the choices they have about this.

EU: Aid

Questions

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that decision-makers at all levels in the Middle East and North Africa are aware of the loans and technical assistance available through the European Union.[HL5405]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): A key part of the EU’s response to the Arab Spring has been in trying to build deeper political relationships with the countries of the southern neighbourhood to improve understanding of the assistance on offer from the EU. One of the primary vehicles for achieving this is through high-level “Task Forces” led by the EU High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Baroness Ashton on behalf of the EU and typically at prime ministerial/ministerial level in the host country.

25 Feb 2013 : Column WA218

The UK continues to work closely with the European External Action Service and specifically with EU Special Representative Bernardino Leon to encourage clearer communication of the EU’s offer to the region. Three task forces have taken place since the Arab Spring in Tunisia, Jordan and Egypt. The UK from London, our posts in the region and in Brussels has worked hard to influence the substance and delivery of messages at these meetings, and stress the importance of the EU demonstrating its added value through its breadth of support and technical assistance. We take all bilateral opportunities available to reinforce this message.

Working jointly with France, in January the UK instigated a joint ministerial letter to Baroness Ashton in order to drive greater progress and better communication of the EU’s offer on trade and Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreements.

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government in what ways they expect that European Union funds will assist reforms in the administration of justice to the benefit of defendants and litigants in the Middle East and North Africa.[HL5553]

Baroness Northover: European Union support to the Middle East and north Africa is provided under the European Neighbourhood and Partnership Instrument. Support is conditional on progress by beneficiary countries towards political reform, upholding human rights and building deep and sustainable democracy and is measured against criteria including the rule of law administered by an independent judiciary.

Alongside this the EU Strategy for Security and Development in the Sahel sets out how the EU intends to encourage easier access to a strengthened justice system for the local population of a number of countries in and around the Sahel including Mauritania, Libya, Algeria and Morocco.

EU: Higher Education

Question

Asked by Baroness Coussins

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the funding for the Erasmus for All programme for 2014–2020, outlined in their May 2012 response to the 27th Report of the European Union Committee of 2010–12 The Modernisation of Higher Education in Europe (HL Paper 275), has been affected by the recent agreement on the overall European Union budget reduction for that period; and, if so, how. [HL5485]

Baroness Garden of Frognal: Agreement was reached on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF) on 8 February at the European Council meeting. Although 2014-2020 budget ceilings were reduced in the Council agreement compared to 2007-13 ceilings, Heading 1A, which includes Erasmus for All, increased by over 30%.

Council conclusions do not fix allocations for most individual programmes and it will take some time to secure agreement to the specific budget for the Erasmus

25 Feb 2013 : Column WA219

for All programme. However, they do state that the funding for Erasmus for all will “represent real growth compared to 2013 level.”

The agreement on the MFF reached by Council now needs consent from the European Parliament, as will the agreement on the Erasmus for All budgetary allocation.

EU: Proposed Financial Transaction Tax

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they will take to ensure that the European Commission’s proposals to introduce a financial transaction levy do not apply to transactions made in the United Kingdom or to transactions to which United Kingdom entities are a party; and what powers they have to ensure that the levy cannot be applied to such transactions.[HL5179]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): The European Commission’s proposal, published on 14 February, for a Financial Transaction Tax (FTT) under enhanced co-operation risks doing real harm to EU competitiveness at a time of fragile economic recovery across the continent, which is why the UK was right not to participate in such a measure. The Government are examining the proposal carefully in order to assess its impact on non-participating EU member states and the single market.

The Government will continue to fully and proactively engage in discussions with other member states and the European Commission on the final design of the enhanced co-operation FTT.

EU: Single Market

Question

Asked by Lord Harrison

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the recommendation in the latest British Chambers of Commerce Trade Confidence Index report that the Government should take the lead in the creation of a genuine single market for all services across the European Union.[HL5321]

The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint): The Government are strongly committed to further implementation of the single market and in particular the single market for services in the EU. While services account for over 70% of the UK economy, there are still many regulatory barriers preventing UK consumers and services providers from fully benefiting from it. The Government have and continue to lobby the EU institutions and other member states to ensure improvements in single market governance and full implementation and effective enforcement of the EU services directive.

25 Feb 2013 : Column WA220

EU: UK Membership

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Chesterton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to consult the European Parliament during the renegotiation of the United Kingdom's relationship with the European Union.[HL5210]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): The Government are committed to positive reform of the EU and is in regular contact with a wide variety of partners to advance that agenda.

Finance: Contactless Payments

Questions

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the robustness of the security surrounding contactless payments.[HL5657]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to ensure British companies are at the forefront of technology developments in the contactless and mobile payments industry.[HL5660]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): The security of contactless payment technology is a matter for the payments industry and for the retailers that accept contactless payments. These industries have every incentive to promote their security and acceptance by the paying public.

The Treasury welcomes the UK Cards Association's Near-Field Communication (NFC) Steering Board initiative to improve payment infrastructure. Identifying and removing the barriers to the widespread deployment of an NFC acceptance infrastructure throughout the UK can widen consumer choice on payments and provide a stimulus to the high street. The success of this initiative is dependent on the market participants and their representative bodies working together and delivering an open, innovative NFC acceptance infrastructure.

Finance: Investment Schemes

Question

Asked by Lord Harrison

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether venture capital trusts are to be included in the category of restricted products currently being consulted on by the Financial Services Authority in consultation document CP12/19.[HL5323]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): Consultation CP 12/19, “Restrictions on the retail distribution of unregulated collective investment schemes and close substitutes”, was developed and published entirely by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) in its role as independent regulator. The Government

25 Feb 2013 : Column WA221

cannot provide specific guidance on the application of the proposed changes to FSA rules included in the consultation. The FSA will provide a written response on this matter in due course.

Food: Labelling

Question

Asked by Lord Rennard

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are on target to meet their Spring 2013 target of a fully developed front-of-pack nutrition labelling scheme based on (1) guideline daily amounts, and (2) colour- coding.[HL5453]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Officials in the department and the devolved Administrations have had constructive discussions over the detail of a future front-of-pack nutritional labelling scheme with business, charities and other partners. We hope to complete this work in the next few months.

Food: Production and Consumption

Question

Asked by Lord McColl of Dulwich

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what method they use to calculate (1) the level of domestic self-sufficiency in food production, and (2) domestic food consumption; and what was the level of each in each of the past 25 years.[HL5291]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): I refer my noble friend to the answer I gave on the 10 October 2012 (Official Report, cols. WA421 and WA422).

Provisional figures for 2012 will be available this summer.

Food: Security and Nutrition

Questions

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will encourage G8 leaders to provide support for the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement and the costed country plans developed by that organisation at the G8 summit in June.[HL5592]

Baroness Northover: The UK Government will be hosting a hunger event in the run up to the G8 Summit in June. This event aims to secure increased commitments to tackle hunger and undernutrition by a wide range of stakeholders including governments of countries with high levels of hunger and undernutrition, bilateral donors, philanthropic foundations, private sector companies, United Nations agencies and civil society organisations. The UK Government will work closely with the Scaling Up Nutrition movement in the preparation and delivery of this event and in follow up on the commitments made.

25 Feb 2013 : Column WA222

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that investments in the costed plans developed as part of the Scaling Up Nutrition Movement are adequate.[HL5593]

Baroness Northover: The UK Government are providing technical and financial assistance to the secretariat of the Scaling Up Nutrition movement to support the development of costed national plans to tackle undernutrition. The UK is also working very closely with governments in Zambia, Nigeria and Ethiopia to help co-ordinate international donors and align their investments behind the governments’ plans, and where possible address critical funding gaps.

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to build on the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition programme at this year’s G8 summit.[HL5594]

Baroness Northover: The UK Government are committed to driving forward progress on the New Alliance in 2013 in order to maintain momentum towards its goal of lifting 50 million out of poverty through agriculture sector growth. As one of the co-chairs of the Leadership Council for the New Alliance, the Secretary of State for International Development will work closely with the Africa Union Commission, African Governments, other G8 members and the private sector to ensure the New Alliance adds value to existing efforts to mobilise responsible private sector investment in agriculture. UK priorities for the New Alliance in 2013 include expanding the number of partner countries and establishing a system to track progress and results.

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to address any potential negative impacts of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition programme, and in particular competition between large-scale private investments and smallholder farms. [HL5595]

Baroness Northover: The UK Government believe that promoting growth of small and large-scale commercial agriculture is key to food security and economic growth in Africa. The goal of the New Alliance for Food Security and Nutrition is to lift 50 million people out of poverty over 10 years. It aims to raise the incomes of men and women smallholder farmers and the rural poor and generate positive nutrition impacts by accelerating inclusive agricultural sector growth and development.

The UK Government are committed to ensuring commercial investments in agriculture are socially, economically and environmentally responsible. New Alliance country partnership agreements (co-operation frameworks), agreed mutually between African governments, local and international private companies and G8 members, commit all participants to take forward the implementation of the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests. In 2013, the

25 Feb 2013 : Column WA223

UK Government will work closely with other members of the New Alliance to develop effective mechanisms to track progress and ensure private sector investments in agriculture deliver positive outcomes for the rural poor.

Gambia

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking following the decision by the President of The Gambia to withdraw from participation in talks with the European Union under Article 8 of the Cotonou agreement.[HL5393]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): Following the withdrawal of The Gambia on 11 January from the Article 8 political dialogue with the EU, our High Commissioner in Banjul has met the Gambian Foreign Minister and has urged the Gambian government to re-engage with the EU.

We are also working within the EU to encourage The Gambia to return to dialogue. On 11 January, a spokesman for the EU High Commissioner for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Baroness Ashton, issued a statement saying that the EU remained committed to dialogue with The Gambia. With other EU member states, we are also exploring other options available to the EU under the Cotonou agreement.

Gaza

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have received information about the restoration of the water supply to Al-Bureij Camp in the Gaza Strip; and, if not, whether they will make representations to the Government of Israel about the supply of water filters for the damaged desalinator.[HL5555]

Baroness Northover: We have received confirmation from the United Nations Relief and Works Agency that the water supply to Al-Bureij Camp in the Gaza Strip has been restored by the Coastal Municipal Water Utility.

Genetically Modified Organisms

Question

Asked by The Countess of Mar

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of the transboundary notification and accompanying documents as specified in Annex 1 of Regulation (EC) 1946/2003, for the shipment of genetically modified mosquito eggs by the United Kingdom company Oxitec to Panama, approved in Panama on 15 January. [HL5454]

25 Feb 2013 : Column WA224

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): The authorisation given by Panama in January is for the import of GM mosquito eggs for contained use purposes, not deliberate release into the environment. As such the shipment of the eggs does not require notification under Regulation (EC) 1946/2003.

Georgia

Questions

Asked by The Lord Bishop of Wakefield

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of human rights in Georgia.[HL5199]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): We assess the human rights situation in Georgia to be moving in a broadly positive direction. The October 2012 elections were judged to be largely free and fair by international observers. Georgia’s ranking in both the 2013 Freedom House and Reporters Without Borders reports has improved and the Government have prioritised action to address problems of prison overcrowding, alleged prisoner abuse, and lack of judicial independence. We also welcome the Georgian Prime Minister’s recent appointment of a special adviser on human rights.

However, it is important that Georgia continues to focus on issues such as minority and gender rights. We have made clear that it is important for the Georgian Government to ensure that all prosecutions are based on evidence and respect the rule of law. Where we have concerns, we raise these bilaterally and multilaterally, including through the EU, Council of Europe (CoE) and Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe. We welcomed the visit Thomas Hammerberg (former CoE Human Rights Commissioner) made to Georgia in January 2013 on behalf of the EU to assess the human rights situation.

Asked by The Lord Bishop of Wakefield

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the Government of Georgia about its position on the rights of religious minorities.[HL5200]

Baroness Warsi The UK raises human rights issues on a regular basis with the Georgian Government at all levels both bilaterally and through multilateral institutions such as the EU, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the Council of Europe.

While the UK has not yet had specific discussions with the new Government on the rights of religious minorities, we continue to follow this issue closely including through our Embassy's work in Tbilisi and its regional travel. Georgia has a developing relationship with the EU through the Eastern Partnership. Respect for minority rights is included in the Association Agreement that Georgia is currently negotiating with the EU.

25 Feb 2013 : Column WA225

Asked by The Lord Bishop of Wakefield

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consideration have they given to supporting the work of the Office of Public Defender in Georgia.[HL5201]

Baroness Warsi: We believe that the Public Defender plays an important and independent role in championing human rights in Georgia. The UK supports the work of the Public Defender through the EU's €1.2 million project “Support to Public Defender's Office”. Our Embassy officials regularly meet the Public Defender and his staff to discuss human rights issues, most recently on 5 February.

Government Departments: Arm’s-length Bodies

Question

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which non-departmental public bodies and arm’s-length bodies are directly responsible to the Department of Health; and what was the total cost of (1) the finance, (2) media and communications, and (3) non-executive board member functions, in those bodies in each of the past three years.[HL5443]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The following is a list of the department’s current arm’s-length bodies (ALBs). This includes its executive agencies, executive non-departmental public bodies and special health authorities.

Executive agency

Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency

25 Feb 2013 : Column WA226

Executive non-departmental public bodies

Care Quality Commission

Health Protection Agency

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority

Human Tissue Authority

Monitor

NHS Commissioning Board

Special health authorities

Health and Social Care Information Centre

Health Education England

Health Research Authority

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse

NHS Blood and Transplant

NHS Business Services Authority

NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement

NHS Litigation Authority

NHS Trust Development Authority

As a function, finance is generally organised into central teams and also devolved into many wider roles to best suit the organisation. As a result, there is significant difficulty in producing a common definition of “finance” for this question. Producing an appropriate definition and collecting the information would result in disproportionate cost.

The following table shows the total cost of paid-for communications (as defined by the Cabinet Office) in each of the past three financial years, as reported by each arm’s-length body:

2009-102010-20112011-2012
ALBTotal cost of (2) media & communicationTotal cost of (2) media & communicationTotal cost of (2) media & communication

NHS Commissioning Board

Not in existence

Not in existence

£4,000

Monitor

£412,807

£82,971

£51,729

Care Quality Commission

Nil

Nil

Nil

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

£806,482

£297,874

£184,507

Health and Social Care Information Centre

£855,114

£202,478

£126,379

Health Research Authority

Not in existence

Not in existence

£10,252

NHS Blood and Transplant

£14,800,000

£7,400,000

£7,300,000

Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency

£1,323,764

£1,232,519

£1,458,240

NHS Business Services Authority

£73,390

£29,083

£8,805

NHS Litigation Authority

£10,408

£7,602

£4,468

Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority

£78,080

Nil

Nil

Human Tissue Authority

£11,932

£39,936

Nil

Health Protection Agency

£698,900

£199,000

£268,700

National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse

£56,094

£13,232

£ 2,219

NHS Institute for Innovation and Improvement

£2,226,831

£452,397

£146,575

The department does not collect information on the cost of non-executive board members (their remuneration and expenses). While the remuneration of non-executive directors is set by the Secretary of State, the costs of board member functions are met by the individual ALBs. Arm’s-length bodies are required to publish this information as part of their annual reports, which are available on their websites.

25 Feb 2013 : Column WA227

Government Departments: e-mail

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will standardise the format of Ministers’ Government e-mail addresses, including the names of ministers in the House of Lords.[HL5395]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Departmental e-mail addresses are a matter for individual departments. Details of e-mail addresses for ministerial private offices are set out in the List of Ministerial Responsibilities, which is available in the Libraries of the House and can also be accessed on the Cabinet Office website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/government-ministers-and-responsibilities

25 Feb 2013 : Column WA228

Government Departments: Staff

Questions

Asked by Lord Moonie

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the expenditure of the Department for International Development on permanent staff, temporary staff, consultants and air freight in each of the past three years.[HL5299]

Baroness Northover: Details of DfID expenditure on permanent staff, temporary staff, self-employed consultants and air freight for the financial years 2010-11 2011-12 and 2012-13 (to date) are shown in the table below.

Financial YearPermanent StaffTemporary StaffConsultantsAir Freight

2010-11

£93,437,541.38

£1,363,023.61

£494,290.40

£767,180.42

2011-12

£97,862,799.94

£1,196,234.12

£175,089.96

£2,113,425.72

2112-13 (April 2012 to December 2012 inclusive)

£78,099,488.33

£621,259.12

£790,530.81

£1,716,187.33

The category “self-employed consultants” includes people contracted to support the delivery of development projects or activities.

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, in the light of the reduction in the size of the armed forces and reduction in military expenditure, they have plans to reduce the number of Ministers in the Ministry of Defence.[HL5575]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Decisions on ministerial appointments are a matter for the Prime Minister, taking account of the requirements of the Ministerial and other Salaries Act 1975 and the House of Commons Disqualification Act 1975.

Health and Social Care Act 2012

Question

Asked by Baroness Quin

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their most recent estimate of the cost of the NHS reorganisation implemented under the terms of the Health and Social Care Act 2012.[HL5540]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Secretary of State issued a Written Ministerial Statement in October 2012 outlining the estimated cost of implementing the reforms set out in the Health and Social Care Act 2012. This statement predicted a total cost of £1.5-£1.6 billion in 2010-11 prices, equating to £1.6-£1.7 billion in cash terms. The department's most recent estimate of transition costs is consistent with this range. Annual savings arising from the reforms are expected to be £1.5 billion from 2014-15. Cumulative savings over this Parliament are forecast to be around £5.5 billion.

Health: Access to Medicines

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they plan to publish their response to the proposed Earlier Access to Medicines Scheme consultation; and what arrangements they are making to ensure early access to drugs in areas of serious unmet medical need for medicines that have successfully completed phase II trials and are currently in phase III trials.[HL5545]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Discussions are continuing across Government following the consultation on “an early access to medicines scheme in the United Kingdom” and the Government expect to make an announcement as soon as these discussions have concluded. As outlined in the consultation, the Government have considered carefully the stage of development at which new medicines might be considered and proposed that the scheme could focus initially on widening access to particularly promising medicines, with a clear positive benefit/risk balance, between the end of phase III trials and licensing. This could avoid any potential difficulties of recruiting patients into clinical trials if these were still ongoing in the UK. The Government have not ruled out a review at an earlier stage (for example based on phase II data) in exceptional circumstances where the information available merits it. The scheme could therefore provide an early access opinion on a new medicine around a year before the regulatory process delivers a marketing authorisation.

25 Feb 2013 : Column WA229

Health: Cancer

Question

Asked by Lord Walton of Detchant

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they propose that the Cancer Drugs Fund will operate when it becomes the responsibility of the NHS Commissioning Board; and what will happen in 2014 to treatments currently supported by that fund. [HL5559]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): From April 2013, the NHS Commissioning Board will take on oversight of the Cancer Drugs Fund. The detailed arrangements that will be put in place are a matter for the board as an independent body, but access to specific cancer drugs through the fund will continue to be based on the principle of clinically led decision-making that has guided the fund since it was created.

We will ensure that there are arrangements in place to protect individual patients who are receiving treatment with drugs funded by the Cancer Drugs Fund as the end of the fund approaches.

We want to find a way in which patients who would benefit from drugs provided through the Cancer Drugs Fund can continue to do so, at a cost that represents value to the National Health Service, from 2014.

Health: Drugs

Question

Asked by Lord Walton of Detchant

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they propose to assess the effects of the new system of value-based pricing; and what assessment they made of its impact on access to treatment for cancer patients.[HL5560]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The consultation document, A New Value-Based Approach to the Pricing of Branded Medicines set out our proposals for value-based pricing. The consultation ran from 16 December 2010 to 17 March 2011 and the Government's response to the consultation was published on 18 July 2011, A New Value-Based Approach to the Pricing of Branded Medicines: Government Response to Consultation.

The impact assessment accompanying the consultation document set out an evaluation of the effects of our proposals including an assessment of the possible impact on National Health Service patients, including cancer patients. Copies of the consultation document, the Government's response and the impact assessment have already been placed in the Library.

The impact assessment will be updated in due course as the new pricing arrangements for branded medicines, including value-based pricing, are finalised.

25 Feb 2013 : Column WA230

Health: General Healthcare Group

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have assessed the financial viability of General Healthcare Group, which trades as BMI Hospitals, and its ability to fulfil its obligations as an owner and operator of 72 hospitals.[HL5408]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): It is for commissioners to award contracts to the providers who will provide the best service for patients locally. Commissioners will be expected to have undertaken due diligence on the providers with whom they contract.

Monitor, the independent healthcare regulator, will use licensing conditions to protect and promote the interests of patients. Licensing conditions will enable Monitor to identify, at an early stage, if a provider is at risk of financial distress, and it can then support the provider to take action.

Health: Neurology

Questions

Asked by Lord Walton of Detchant

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the report of the Sue Ryder Foundation The Forgotten Millions: reforming social care services for people living with neurological conditions, and whether they plan to take any action as a result of its findings.[HL5335]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of a Sue Ryder Foundation report which found that 5% of local authorities know how many individuals with a chronic or disabling neurological condition they care for and 10% have an agreed commissioning strategy for people with neurological conditions, what action they will take to enable local authorities to identify and care for such individuals.[HL5336]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): We have made no assessment. The availability of services to meet the needs of individuals living with a neurological condition is an issue that is best addressed locally.

Joint strategic needs assessments (JSNAs) and joint health and well-being strategies (JHWSs) will, from 1 April 2013, be an integral part of local health and care commissioning processes. Health and well-being boards will develop a comprehensive analysis of the current and future health and social care needs in each local area through JSNAs and translate these into action in the JHWSs. Health and well-being boards will be under a statutory duty to involve the community and key partners in developing their JSNA and JHWSs to ensure that local services are shaped and influenced by the people who use them. JSNAs and JHWSs will therefore be inclusive of the health and care needs of the whole local population as an objective, comprehensive and—most importantly—a locally owned process of developing evidence-based priorities for commissioning.

25 Feb 2013 : Column WA231

Health: Private Healthcare Companies

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proposals they have to change employment law to strengthen fitness-to-practise tests for people setting up and running private healthcare companies.[HL5392]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Providers of health and adult social care in England are required to meet a set of registration requirements that set the essential levels of safety and quality. If a new provider cannot meet these essential levels, it will not be registered and will not be able to carry on a regulated activity.

The department is reviewing how corporate bodies that provide health and adult social care services are held to account for the provision of poor and harmful care. The department aims to complete this review and to bring forward any proposals to improve the arrangements for corporate accountability in the spring. The review is considering both regulatory sanctions available to the Care Quality Commission and criminal sanctions. The department is also assessing whether a fit person test should be introduced for directors of providers of health and adult social care services.

Health: Research

Questions

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what allocation of time is made available in the new NHS consultant contract to further the legal requirement in the Health and Social Care Act 2012 to promote research. [HL5440]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The current version of the National Health Service consultant contract incorporates all amendments, as at 1 September 2009. In the contract, no time is made specifically available to promote research, but supporting professional activities that underpin direct clinical care may include participation in research. The allocation of time in consultant job plans is a matter for local agreement between individual consultants and their employers.

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which NHS contracts issued by organisations for which the National Commissioning Board is responsible have included a requirement to promote research, as legally required under the Health and Social Care Act 2012.[HL5441]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what instructions have been given to commissioning authorities by the Chief Executive of the National Commissioning Board to further the legal requirement in the Health and Social Care Act 2012 to promote research. [HL5442]

25 Feb 2013 : Column WA232

Earl Howe: The NHS Commissioning Board informs us that no contracts have yet been issued as they are currently being negotiated. The standard terms developed by the board do not place a requirement on providers to promote research.

The technical guidance to the 2013-14 NHS standard contract includes a list of non-mandatory quality measures that commissioners may wish to use where appropriate. One of these measures is the number of patients recruited to participate in research.

The board also informs us that it will be ensuring that clinical commissioning groups are aware of their statutory duties (through writing to them outlining these), including the duty to promote research.

Health: Respiratory Disease

Question

Asked by Baroness Thornton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to support research into idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis.[HL5578]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department's National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is currently funding a range of research relating to idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). The NIHR Health Technology Assessment programme is funding a systematic review of evidence on the benefits, harms and costs of treatments for IPF. The review began in May 2012 and is expected to report in mid 2014. Results will be helpful to patients and carers and also to health care professionals treating IPF. In addition, the NIHR is funding three biomedical research fellowships studying IPF.

Health: Urology

Questions

Asked by Baroness Wilkins

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the commencement of clinical commissioning groups on stoma and continence patients.[HL5365]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the commencement of clinical commissioning groups on arrangements under Part IX of the Drug Tariff.[HL5366]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Specialist stoma nurses and other community nursing staff are trained to advise on the most appropriate products for individual patients. Clinical commissioning groups will be responsible for commissioning hospital and community services and will work with local clinicians to draw on their expertise when designing care for patients. For access to products in primary care, the existing Part IX of the drug tariff arrangements will continue and prescribers can prescribe any products listed in Part IX of the drug tariff as they consider appropriate.

25 Feb 2013 : Column WA233

Hedgehogs

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the reported decline of a third in the numbers of hedgehogs in the past 10 years; what are the reasons for the decline; and whether they will take any steps to reverse it.[HL5144]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): Since the 1990s, the British Trust for Ornithology, the Joint Nature Conservation Committee, the Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust and other organisations have provided evidence of continued decline in hedgehog numbers and that the population may have decreased by approximately 25% over the past 10 years.

Under the work to develop the implementation plan for Biodiversity 2020, the Government's strategy for England's wildlife and ecosystem services, Natural England has commissioned work to review all species classified in accordance with Section 41 of the Natural Environment and Rural Communities Act 2006 to identify the causes of the decline and priorities for action. The hedgehog is being considered within this context by the Mammal Taxon Group which comprises specialist organisations, led by Natural England.

Higher Education: Funding

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they are supporting poorer students wishing to undertake postgraduate study.[HL5516]

Baroness Garden of Frognal: The Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) has maintained the main funding streams for postgraduate students in 2012-13. The higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) has maintained the allocation for taught postgraduate provision at £135 million, similar to levels for 2011-12. HEFCE has also increased support for postgraduate research degree supervision to £240 million and research councils will invest £340 million in postgraduate research provision.

BIS additionally supports Professional and Career Development Loans (PDLs) provided by Barclays and the Co-operative Bank. PCDLs are deferred-repayment bank loans of up to £10k for up to two years study, usually repaid over period of 1 to 5 years. Postgraduate Taught courses account for almost 90% of the 8,000 loans offered each year. BIS currently contribute, around £l5 million per annum towards interest costs during the period of study, defaults and some programme costs.

In addition, eligible graduates who choose to enter postgraduate initial teacher training courses can apply for the same package of support as new undergraduate, provided through student finance England. The Teaching Agency also funds a number of schemes for teacher training.

25 Feb 2013 : Column WA234

Students studying on a higher education course who have a disability (including a long-term health condition. mental health condition or specific learning difficulty such as dyslexia) can apply for a Disabled Student Allowance (DSA). DSAs are non means-tested. non-repayable grants awarded in addition to the standard package of student support. DSAs are available to disabled postgraduate students undertaking a designated postgraduate course.

Homelessness

Questions

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their current strategy for assisting (1) economic, and (2) Roma, migrants who are destitute in the United Kingdom.[HL5268]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): We are stepping up on international action to tackle rough sleeping. We have provided funding to the Passage Day centre in London to develop a Before You Go campaign dealing with the problems faced by destitute economic migrants from Poland.

We are developing a further homelessness prevention campaign including work with embassies and churches in the home countries in the expanded EU.

We are promoting the national roll-out of the No Second Night Out model which was launched in London. This aims to get new rough sleepers off the streets quickly and in many areas it links economic migrants, including Roma who do not have recourse to public funds, with reconnection services.

It is not acceptable to come to England to sleep rough. Quite rightly any country would expect people to be able to support themselves and to accept the help that is available to return home if they became destitute.

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their strategy for dealing with anti-social behaviour and low-level criminal activity among the homeless population in the United Kingdom.[HL5526]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): Dealing with anti-social behaviour and low-level crime is primarily a matter for police forces and their local partners. Police and crime commissioners will hold chief constables to account for the way they tackle local crime and policing priorities, including those related to homelessness where that is an issue. The Government are also reforming the powers available to deal with anti-social behaviour, giving front-line professionals faster, more effective means of protecting victims and communities.

25 Feb 2013 : Column WA235

House of Lords: Savings Strategy and Financial Plan

Questions

Asked by Lord Campbell-Savours

To ask the Chairman of Committees what is the projected saving from the reorganisation of mail delivery services arising out of the House of Lords savings strategy and financial plan approved in 2010.[HL5294]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Sewel): In 2011 the House of Lords Administration entered into an agreement with Royal Mail whereby Royal Mail staff would undertake final desk deliveries in Millbank House at no extra cost to the Administration. This saved an estimated £141,000 per annum by comparison with the cost of the additional five attendants who would otherwise have been needed.

Asked by Lord Campbell-Savours

To ask the Chairman of Committees what is the projected saving in the estate cleaning contract costs arising out of the House of Lords savings strategy and financial plan approved in 2010.[HL5295]

The Chairman of Committees: When Millbank House opened in September 2011, the House of Lords Administration outsourced the cleaning of the building to an external contractor. This saved an estimated £84,700 per annum by comparison with the cost of the additional 21 in-house housekeepers who would otherwise have been needed.

Asked by Lord Campbell-Savours

To ask the Chairman of Committees what has been the saving due to the reorganisation of library services arising out of the House of Lords savings strategy and financial plan approved in 2010. [HL5296]

The Chairman of Committees: The House of Lords Library’s outturn expenditure has been reduced from £2.6 million in 2009-10 to £2.1 million in 2011-12. The figure for 2009-10 has been adjusted to remove costs related to the Law Lords’ collection, which moved to the Supreme Court in 2010-11.

Asked by Lord Campbell-Savours

To ask the Chairman of Committees what has been the saving in the budget for Information Office printing and publicity arising out of the House of Lords savings strategy and financial plan approved in 2010.[HL5297]

The Chairman of Committees: The House of Lords Information Office’s outturn expenditure on printing and publicity has been reduced from £120,395 in 2009-10 to £100,115 in 2011-12.

25 Feb 2013 : Column WA236

Houses of Parliament: Police and Security

Questions

Asked by Lord Campbell-Savours

To ask the Chairman of Committees what market testing has taken place on the provision of policing and security services to the Palace of Westminster. [HL5351]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Sewel): To date, the Metropolitan Police Service has been assessed as the only provider able to meet the established requirements for policing and security on the parliamentary estate. Market testing for the provision of security personnel will be considered as part of the review of our future requirement and of the contractual arrangements currently being undertaken by the Office of the Parliamentary Security Director.

Asked by Lord Campbell-Savours

To ask the Chairman of Committees to what extent members of the Joint Committee on Security were involved in the process of approving the terms of the most recent contract for the provision of policing and security services in the Palace of Westminster.[HL5352]

The Chairman of Committees: The terms of the special services agreement (SSA) with the Metropolitan Police Service were subject to a two-year period of review and negotiation leading up to the commencement of the current SSA in April 2010. JCOS was regularly consulted on the security aspects of the review and recommended the renewal of the SSA on the terms proposed.

Asked by Lord Campbell-Savours

To ask the Chairman of Committees whether the contract for the provision of policing and security services to the Palace of Westminster involves the provision of services exclusively within the precincts of the Palace of Westminster or for areas outside the parliamentary estate.[HL5353]

The Chairman of Committees: The special services agreement (SSA) between the parliamentary authorities and the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) provides for policing and security services across the parliamentary estate; this includes ensuring the security of the perimeter of the estate. The policing of areas outside the parliamentary estate is a matter for the MPS and not covered by the terms of the SSA.

Asked by Lord Campbell-Savours

To ask the Chairman of Committees whether the contract for the provision for police and security services to the Palace of Westminster includes measures of (1) man hour contribution, (2) numbers of personnel, (3) administrative contribution, (4) availability of equipment, and (5) other measures of contribution. [HL5354]

25 Feb 2013 : Column WA237

The Chairman of Committees: Under the special services agreement between the parliamentary authorities and the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), the MPS provides the parliamentary authorities with management information against which the performance of the MPS is measured. This information includes (1) hours worked by police officers and security staff, including hours worked on overtime; (2) numbers of personnel employed, vacancy rates and absence levels due to sickness; (3) a breakdown of charges for relevant administration costs incurred by the MPS; (4) availability of the critical equipment provided by Parliament; (5) MPS performance relating to specified security processes; (6) levels of police officer and security staff training; (7) supervisory ratios; and (8) achievement of MPS fitness standards. 

Asked by Lord Campbell-Savours

To ask the Chairman of Committees on what basis the division of costs for policing the Palace of Westminster is divided between the House of Commons and the House of Lords; and what contract governs the division of costs between the two Houses. [HL5355]

The Chairman of Committees: The cost of policing and security on the parliamentary estate is shared between the House of Lords and the House of Commons and is charged to each House directly by the Metropolitan Police Service using a 31:69 share ratio. This ratio was agreed in 1999 and reflects the respective security requirements of the two Houses. It is subject to periodic review.

Asked by Lord Campbell-Savours

To ask the Chairman of Committees what contracts exist for the provision of security and policing services to the Palace of Westminster by contractors others than the Metropolitan Police.[HL5356]

The Chairman of Committees: No contract, other than the special services agreement between the parliamentary authorities and the Metropolitan Police Service, provides for security and policing services on the parliamentary estate.

Immigration

Questions

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what evidence they have as to the effect of frequent changes to the Immigration Rules on charities and lawyers that help with immigration applications.[HL5230]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The Government are aware of the cumulative impact on charities and lawyers which frequent changes in the Immigration Rules may have. Over the past two years, the Government have made major reforms to the work, study and family immigration routes to bring net migration to the UK back towards sustainable levels and restore public confidence in the immigration system. While

25 Feb 2013 : Column WA238

we will make further adjustments where these are needed to achieve the Government’s objectives, we anticipate that, with the principal measures now in place, there should be a period of relative stability in policy and therefore in the Immigration Rules. However, we will need to make rules changes where policy change is desired, where legal judgments require or where stakeholders have raised practical issues. The Government will endeavour to ensure this is done in an orderly manner.

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what provisions are in place to assist destitute migrants residing in the United Kingdom who are not entitled to access to public funds.[HL5264]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): There are strict legal controls on foreign nationals’ entitlement to claim specified income-related and disability benefits and social housing (public funds). These are necessary to protect the taxpayer from additional burdens arising from migration. Controls also apply to the eligibility of non-EEA and EEA nationals with community care needs to receive safety net national assistance support from local authorities in cases of destitution. Such support is only available in limited circumstances, where children are involved or where human rights would otherwise be breached. In other cases, migrants are expected to avoid the consequences of destitution by returning to their own countries. The UK Border Agency is working with local authorities to produce a comprehensive record of all migrants in receipt of local authority support so these cases can be dealt with more effectively.

Inflation

Questions

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government on how many occasions since May 2010 the annual rate of inflation has been at or below the target set for the Monetary Policy Committee by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. [HL4962]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): The Chancellor set the remit of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) at Budget 2012, to target 2% inflation, as measured by the 12-month increase in the Consumer Prices Index.

The Office for National Statistics is responsible for producing and publishing inflation data, which can be found on its website1.

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/cpi/consumer-price-indices/january-2013/cpi-and-rpi-reference-tables.xls

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when reported annual inflation was last on or below the target set by the Chancellor of the Exchequer.[HL5410]

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Lord Deighton: The Chancellor set the remit of the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) at Budget 2012 to target 2% inflation, as measured by the 12-month increase in the consumer prices index. The independent Office for National Statistics is responsible for producing and publishing inflation data, which can be found on its website1.

1 http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/datasets-and-tables/index. html?pageSize=50&sortBy=none&sortDirection= none&newquery=inflation&content-type=Reference +table&content-type=Dataset

Insolvency

Question

Asked by Lord Kilclooney

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have received from European Union institutions to bring about changes in insolvency laws in the United Kingdom; and which member states of the European Union have made representations in the past three years to have those insolvency laws changed.[HL5223]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie): The European Commission published proposals in December 2012 to amend the EC regulation on insolvency proceedings. The proposed amendments are currently under consideration. No other representations for changes to our insolvency laws have been received from either the European Union institutions or other member states.

Iran

Question

Asked by Lord Wigley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the Government of Iran regarding the number and circumstances of executions taking place in Iran.[HL5368]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): Following the closure of our embassy in Tehran in 2011, we have had very limited contact with Iranian officials. However, the UK frequently condemns publicly, and in international fora, Iran’s excessive use of the death penalty and the way in which it is applied. We supported an EU demarche last autumn raising our concerns about Iran’s death penalty use.

Israel

Questions

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will make representations to the Government of Israel about the proposed position of the wall near Bethlehem, once this ceases to be the subject of litigation.[HL5227]

25 Feb 2013 : Column WA240

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): The UK position on the separation barrier is clear: if Israel wished to build the barrier, it should have been built on the 1967 border. Where it is constructed on the Palestinian side of that border, it is illegal under international law. The construction of the barrier and illegal settlements have led to the confiscation of land and places increasing restrictions on movement and access throughout the West Bank, as well as threatening prospects for a two-state solution. This is in addition to issues caused by the routing of the separation barrier through Palestinian agricultural land, often preventing communities from pursuing their traditional livelihoods.

We will continue to argue for a just outcome for all the people affected by illegal settlement construction and the confiscation of land due to the separation barrier. This includes funding from the Department for International Development for the Norwegian Refugee Council to provide legal support to communities affected by the occupation. We regularly make representations on these issues to the Government of Israel and will continue to do so.

Asked by The Lord Bishop of Exeter

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the Government of Israel regarding plans to construct a barrier through the Cremisan Valley in Bethlehem.[HL5400]

Baroness Warsi: In our conversations on this issue with the Israeli Government, the Government continue to express their position that the barrier, if built, should only be constructed on the Green Line. We will continue to press this point with the Israeli authorities.

Asked by The Lord Bishop of Exeter

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact on the local community in the Cremisan Valley in Bethlehem of the Government of Israel’s proposal to construct a barrier through the valley.[HL5401]

Baroness Warsi: The proposed route of the separation barrier near to the Cremisan Monastery will have a serious impact on the communities in the area. This includes the Palestinian village of Al Walajah which will lose direct access to its agricultural lands. The barrier will also obstruct movement and access for communities in the vicinity, affecting their ability to access schooling and healthcare facilities.

Our Consulate-General in Jerusalem has supported this community by organising a summer sports camp for children paid for from our Bilateral Fund. The Department for International Development also provides funding for the Norwegian Refugee Council to provide legal support for the communities affected. In our conversations on this issue with the Israeli Government, the Government continue to express their position that the barrier, if built, should only be constructed on the Green Line.

25 Feb 2013 : Column WA241

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the Government of Israel about the killing in November by Israeli security forces of Ahmad Jabari.[HL5414]

Baroness Warsi: Officials from our embassy in Tel Aviv discussed the death of Ahmed al-Jabari with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defence and National Security Council in the context of wider discussions over the Gaza crisis of November 2012.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had regarding a ban on the import of goods from Israeli settlements in the light of the report by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees published in January.[HL5415]

Baroness Warsi: We are considering this report and its recommendations in detail prior to discussions with the Fact Finding Mission during the 22nd Session of the Human Rights Council.

It is the Government’s long-standing view that settlements are illegal under international law and Israel’s presence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories is governed by the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention, to which Israel is a state party. We repeatedly call on Israel to abide by its obligations under international law and regularly raise our profound concerns over Israel’s settlement policy, including its impact on the rights of Palestinian people across the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We will continue to press the next Israeli Government to cease all settlement activity.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they will make to the Government of Israel concerning their refusal to take part in the January 2013 Universal Periodic Review session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva.[HL5418]

Baroness Warsi: We have been in regular contact with the Government of Israel regarding the Universal Periodic Review. We note that the Government of Israel have now formally asked for the review to be postponed. We support the efforts of the president of the Human Rights Council to urge Israel to re-engage with the review process. We value the universality of the Universal Periodic Review and will continue to urge Israel to re-engage throughout our contacts with Israel in the UK, Geneva and Israel.

Israel and Palestine

Questions

Asked by Baroness Deech

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the comments by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 7 February (Official Report, col. 445), for how many refugees the United Nations Relief and Works Agency had responsibility in (1) 1950, (2) 2003, and (3) currently.[HL5427]

25 Feb 2013 : Column WA242

Baroness Northover: Further to the comments by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 7 February (Official Report, col. 445), the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) had responsibility for the following numbers of refugees in the years specified: (1) 876,000 in 1950, (2) 4,082,300 in 2003, (3) As of July 2012, the latest date for which figures are available, UNRWA has responsibility for approximately 4,871,341 registered refugees.

Asked by Baroness Deech

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the comments by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 7 February (Official Report, col. 445), how many of the refugees for which the United Nations Relief and Works Agency has responsibility are nationals of the countries in which they are situated.[HL5428]

Baroness Northover: Palestine refugees in Jordan have full Jordanian citizenship with the exception of approximately 140,000 refugees originally from the Gaza Strip.

The legal status of Palestinian refugees in the Syrian Arab Republic, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip remains substantially the same as that described in the 2008 report of the Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, paragraphs 52-55. The full report can be accessed at the following link: Report of the Commissioner-General of the United Nations.

Palestine refugees in Lebanon are not nationals of Lebanon and have very limited rights.

Asked by Baroness Deech

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the comments by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 7 February (Official Report, col. 445), what financial contribution has been made by (1) the United Kingdom, (2) the European Union, and (3) the Gulf States, to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in the last ten years.[HL5429]

Baroness Northover: Further to the comments by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 7 February (Official Report, col. 445), the following financial contributions have been made by (1) the United Kingdom, (2) the European Union, and (3) the Gulf States, to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency in the past 10 years.

(1) $439,278,286 made by the United Kingdom;

(2) $1,587,661,683 made by the European Union; and

(3) $225,717,722 made by the Gulf States.

Gulf States have also made substantial contributions by hosting Palestine refugees.

Asked by Baroness Deech

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the comments by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 7 February (Official Report, col. 445), what plans they have to initiate or fund reports on children in military captivity.[HL5430]

25 Feb 2013 : Column WA243

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is the lead government department on issues of children and armed conflict, working closely with the Department for International Development and the Ministry of Defence. The Government continue to play an active role on this policy agenda, including working through the UN and through direct support to projects aimed at protecting and empowering children affected by armed conflict. There are no plans, however, to initiate or fund reports on children in military captivity.

Asked by Lord Warner

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their response to the proposal of the Government of Israel to resume its policy of not transferring tax revenues to the Palestinian Authority if the Authority agrees to form a Palestinian unity government with Hamas.[HL5510]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Israel has a responsibility to collect tax revenues on behalf of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and to transfer them to the PA at regular intervals. We have repeatedly raised this issue with the Government of Israel and made the UK position clear, including with the Israeli ambassador to London, the acting Israeli Foreign Minister and in the meetings our officials from the Embassy in Tel Aviv have with senior interlocutors. We will continue to do so.

Our policy on Hamas is also clear. Hamas must renounce violence, recognise Israel and accept previously signed agreements. The Government will engage with any Palestinian Government who show through their words and actions that they are committed to the principles set out by President Abbas in Cairo in May 2011. We support the calls for free and fair Palestinian elections.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees regarding recompense from the Government of Israel for the destruction of Paralympic training facilities built by the Agency in Gaza.[HL5518]

Baroness Northover: United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) officials from the Gaza office have confirmed that UNRWA did not build the Paralympic training facilities in Gaza to which this question refers.

We are aware of the destruction and damage sustained to a number of buildings during the recent Gaza conflict and are addressing the highest priority needs for humanitarian assistance and reconstruction in Gaza, in co-ordination with other donors and humanitarian agencies.

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Israel and Palestine: West Bank

Questions

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the Government of Israel concerning their refusal to allow holders of United Kingdom passports who are of Palestinian origin to enter the West Bank.[HL5416]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: As the occupying power of the West Bank, Israel is responsible for the crossing points. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is unable to interfere in the immigration policies or procedures of another country and for this reason we are not able to approach the Israel authorities to request that they do not hinder the passage of the British nationals wishing to travel on to the Occupied Palestinian Territories. It is within the remit of the Israeli immigration officials to decide who they allow to enter.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the Government of Israel concerning their renaming of the West Bank as Judea and Samaria.[HL5417]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): We have not made any representations to the Israeli authorities on this issue.

The Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs), including the West Bank, encompass parts of the historical British mandate of Palestine, which included the areas of Judea and Samaria. When dealing with the Israeli Government, the UK always refers to the area as the West Bank.

It has long been the Government’s view that Israel’s presence in the OPTs is governed by the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949, to which Israel is a state party. The OPTs were not lawfully part of the state of Israel at its creation or at any point thereafter, and we consider that the level of control that Israel retains over the territories amounts to occupation under international law.

Kenya

Question

Asked by Lord Patten

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the risks posed to Christians in the north-eastern province of Kenya from the Somali-based Islamist group al-Shabaab.[HL5521]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): We have had reports of two attacks against Christian places of worship in Kenya’s North East Province in recent months. This is part of a wider increase in terrorist attacks by domestic and

25 Feb 2013 : Column WA245

Somali extremist groups against a range of Kenyan targets. We assess these attacks are linked to Kenya’s military intervention in Somalia and that the risk is unlikely to diminish in the immediate future.

King Richard III

Question

Asked by Lord Birt

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they will take to promote the re-interment of the remains of King Richard III.[HL5319]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): It is not for the Government or the Ministry of Justice to decide where the remains of Richard III will be re-interred. The licence issued by the Ministry of Justice includes conditions on where the remains should be re-interred, as well as stating that the remains should be treated with due care and attention to decency. It is for the University of Leicester as the licensee to determine where the remains should be laid to rest. They have indicated that they intend to re-inter the remains in Leicester Cathedral, which is one of the possible locations referred to in the licence.

Legal Aid

Question

Asked by Lord Beecham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they propose in the forthcoming Legal Aid Eligibility Criteria Regulations to require means-tested benefit recipients to be subject to an assessment of capital including their homes; and, if so, why it was not mentioned in the impact assessment and what assessment they have made of the impact of any policy change.[HL5128]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Currently, a person receiving certain passporting benefits may have up to £16,000 disposable capital but is automatically deemed eligible for civil legal aid on both income and capital. However, a person who does not receive these passporting benefits and who has more than £8,000 in disposable capital is ineligible for civil legal aid. The Government believe that this is inequitable and intend that all applicants should be subject to the same disposable capital test. This will mean that any applicant who has disposable capital above £8,000 will be ineligible for legal aid.

This proposed change to eligibility rules was specifically consulted upon as part of the consultation Proposals for the Reform of Legal Aid in England and Wales. The Government’s June 2011 response to that consultation confirmed that they would take forward the proposal. The impact of the proposal was specifically assessed in the impact assessments produced in relation to the proposals in that consultation. The savings as a result of this change are estimated to be around £10 million in steady state. The Government intend to include this proposed change in the regulations regarding financial eligibility for civil legal aid to be made under the Legal

25 Feb 2013 : Column WA246

Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012. These regulations will be laid in time to come into force for 1 April 2013.

Lithuania

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Warsi on 4 February (WA 15–6), what were the results of the inquiries about general conditions in Lithuanian prisons, including Lukiskes; and whether those have affected their determination of Lithuania’s readiness to receive transfers under the European Union prisoner transfer agreement.[HL5331]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): Lithuanian officials have stated that Lithuanian prison capacity is 9,499 places. On 17 December 2012, there were 9,662 prisoners—just under 3% above the capacity. Lithuania hopes, its officials believe, that its recent probation law will reduce the size of its prison population, with a resulting improvement in general conditions. UK officials have not determined Lithuania’s readiness to receive transfers under the EU prisoner transfer agreement as Lithuania has yet to implement the agreement.

Met Office

Question

Asked by Lord Donoughue

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Marland on 29 November 2012 (WA 79) and the letter of 7 December 2012 from the Chief Executive of the Met Office to Lord Donoughue which recognised the importance of the statistical study of autocorrelation and time dependency, what statistical analysis supported the news release issued by the Met Office on 3 January 2013, which warned of a possible increase in United Kingdom precipitation.[HL5360]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: I have asked the Chief Executive Officer of the Met Office to respond direct to the noble Lord.

Letter from John Hirst, Chief Executive of the Met Office, to Lord Donoughue dated 13 February 2013.

I am replying on behalf of the Met Office to your Parliamentary Question tabled on 11 January 2013, HL5360, to Her Majesty’s Government.

The news release issued by the Met Office on 3 January 2013 did not include statistical analysis of the magnitude or significance of trends in rainfall. We reported basic conclusions on observed rainfall amounts from the UK national record dating back to 1910, with provisional figures showing 2012 was the second wettest year in the record and four of the top five wettest years occurring since 2000. We also reported on long-term averages of 30-year periods, which show an increase in annual rainfall of about 5% from 1961-1990 to 1981-2010.

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In addition, we announced results from preliminary research by the Met Office which suggests there has been an increase in the frequency of very wet days in the last 50 years. This was based on an analysis of the frequency of daily rainfall amounts since 1960 exceeding the 99th percentile, which is equivalent to events that would occur roughly 1 in 100 days on average.

Research continues at the Met Office to better understand the physical processes that contribute to such changes in rainfall and how this may affect rainfall patterns and the resilience of the UK to changes in climate in the future.

I hope this helps.

Migration

Questions

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they are currently undertaking with the Governments of (1) Romania, and (2) Bulgaria, with regard to the perception of life in the United Kingdom in those countries; and if they are not holding such discussions, whether they intend to do so.[HL5269]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): No such discussions have taken place and there are no current plans to do so. The Government are, however, considering ways to reduce the pull factors for migration to the UK.

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of studies conducted in Bulgaria suggesting large numbers of the population of that country are planning to emigrate to the United Kingdom after 1 January 2014.[HL5505]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: Her Majesty's Government are not aware of any such studies.

The Government accept the view of the independent Migration Advisory Committee that to produce estimates of the number of Romanians or Bulgarians planning to emigrate to the UK after January 2014 “would not be sensible, or helpful, to policymakers”. The Government’s priority is to cut out abuse of free movement and to address pull factors such as access to benefits and public services. The Home Office is working closely with other government departments on these issues.

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

Questions

Asked by Lord McColl of Dulwich

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the cost in each of the past 10 years of running the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence; and how many people are employed by that organisation.[HL5290]

25 Feb 2013 : Column WA248

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Information on the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence’s (NICE) net expenditure and staff in post for the past 10 years is included in the following table.

YearNet expenditure 1 £ millionsAverage number of persons employed 2

2002-03

14.143

48

2003-04

16.602

81

2004-05

18.217

111

2005-063

25.992

185

2006-07

27.679

221

2007-08

32.578

261

2008-09

34.010

279

2009-10

55.613

390

2010-11

59.046

451

2011-124

59.176

508

Source: National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

1 Figures for 2002-03-2008-09 represent NICE’s operating cost statement. Figures for 2009-10 onwards represent NICE’s comprehensive net expenditure.

2 The average number of whole-time equivalent persons employed (excluding non-executive directors).

3 Includes the impact of the transfer to NICE of functions and staff of the Health Development Agency.

4 Includes the impact of the transfer to NICE of functions and staff of the National Prescribing Centre.

Asked by Lord Black of Brentwood

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of the average cost of the conduct of a technology appraisal by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence.[HL5371]

Earl Howe: We have made no such estimate. Based on its 2011-15 business plan, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) estimates the average cost for producing a piece of technology appraisal guidance to be £103,075. This is based on a budget allocation for its technology appraisals programme of £4,123,000 and the projected publication of 40 technology appraisals in 2011-12. NICE has not produced figures based on actual spend and outputs. In addition, academic support for the NICE appraisal programme is commissioned separately by the National Institute for Health Research.

Nepal

Question

Asked by The Earl of Sandwich

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what changes have taken place following the last annual review of the Multi-Stakeholder Forestry Programme in Nepal; whether the objectives have changed; whether any part of the programme has been suspended or deferred; and whether the Department for International Development will be reimbursed for any misuse of aid funds.[HL5612]

Baroness Northover: Nepal’s Multi-Stakeholder Forestry Programme, which is funded by the Department for International Development (DfID), is now back on track. DfID’s most senior forestry expert visited

25 Feb 2013 : Column WA249

Nepal in December 2012 and concluded that good progress has been made since the annual review was undertaken in August 2012. No part of the new programme has been suspended or deferred.

DfID has rigorous methods in place to make sure no UK funds are misused or lost. DfID only recently disbursed its first tranche of funds to the programme in December 2012 following the formal launch of the programme by the Government of Nepal. DfID delayed its first payment until it was satisfied that the Government had taken full ownership, that programme management was robust and that the necessary safeguards were in place. Future tranches will be made based on progress of the programme.

NHS: Commissioning Support Units

Questions

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how commissioning support units will be held accountable for their actions.[HL5465]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they intend to ensure transparency in decisions made by Commissioning Support Units.[HL5466]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): NHS commissioning support units are currently hosted by primary care trusts (PCTs) and are held to account for their actions through the formal governance arrangements of the PCT. Responsibility for the oversight of their development rests with strategic health authorities up to April 2013.

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From April 2013, NHS commissioning support units will become hosted by the NHS Commissioning Board (NHS CB) and will be held to account through a formal sub-committee of the NHS CB Board. However, they will also be held accountable for their actions by their customers, including clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), who have responsibility for ensuring that commissioning support units deliver high-quality and responsive services in accordance with their service level agreements and contractual obligations.

Commissioning support units are not statutory bodies or commissioners and therefore do not make commissioning decisions. They will support the NHS Commissioning Board, CCGs and other commissioners to carry out their commissioning duties and responsibilities. CCGs cannot delegate or subcontract their commissioning decisions, which they will always remain accountable for.

NHS: Complaints

Question

Asked by Lord Black of Brentwood

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many complaints Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust has received in each year since 2008; and how much compensation it has paid in settlements.[HL5374]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Information about the number of written complaints received by Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is shown in the following table.

Hospital and community health services—written complaints by organisation, 2008-09 to 2011-12
2008-092009-102010-112011-12

Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

268

404

476

489

Source: Health and Social Care Information Centre, workforce and community datasets

Note: Data as at 1 April-31 March each year.

The NHS Litigation Authority (NHSLA) collects information about the number of compensation claims reported to it by National Health Service bodies in England, together with the amounts it disburses on behalf of NHS bodies to handle and settle claims. However, the NHSLA deals only with claims relating to clinical negligence and to public and employer’s liability claims. All other types of claim, such as employment claims relating to equal pay or age discrimination, are dealt with by the trust concerned. The department does not hold data on these types of claim.

The noble Lord may therefore wish to contact Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust directly for a comprehensive answer on the amount of compensation it has paid in settlements.

NHS: End-of-life Care

Question

Asked by Lord Clement-Jones

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to meet the objective of the NHS mandate that the NHS be recognised globally as having the highest standards of care at the end of people’s lives.[HL5435]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government’s mandate to the NHS Commissioning Board for April 2013 to March 2015 includes an objective for the board to improve the experience of care for people at the end of their lives. This will provide an incentive for the National Health Service continuously to improve care for people at the end of their lives. It will be monitored through an indicator in the NHS Outcomes Framework, based on the VOICES survey of bereaved relatives. Implementation

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of the End of Life Care Strategy moves to the NHS Commissioning Board, supported by the new improvement body.

NHS: National Clinical Directors

Questions

Asked by Baroness Masham of Ilton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what criteria are used in determining whether a National Clinical Director role should be established for a particular condition or group of conditions.[HL5305]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why the NHS Commissioning Board has not established a National Clinical Director for Ophthalmology.[HL5306]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The approach to recruiting National Clinical Directors is a matter for the NHS Commissioning Board. However, the board has advised that its approach to determining which areas to recruit National Clinical Directors has been guided by the objectives set for it in the Mandate and a desire to provide clinical leadership across a broad range of fronts, focusing more on people and patient pathways than specific conditions.

The board has also advised that its approach recognised that there are some conditions which contribute to premature mortality and where the burden of disease is high and that these are reflected in the portfolio of National Clinical Director posts being recruited to at this particular point in time.

NHS: Patient Care

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they will take to improve patient care in response to the findings of the public inquiry into Stafford Hospital.[HL5338]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): We are extremely grateful to Robert Francis QC for publishing his report of the public inquiry into the serious failings at Mid Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust. We are considering the detail of the report and the 290 recommendations and will be responding soon.

Nuclear Weapons

Questions

Asked by Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which departments will send representatives to the conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons in Oslo on 4 and 5 March.[HL5362]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): The Government are considering their position on the conference on the humanitarian impact of nuclear weapons in Oslo. We believe that our focus should be on making progress

25 Feb 2013 : Column WA252

against the tangible issues set out in the 2010 Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Action Plan, which was agreed by consensus by all NPT signatories. To this end, the UK continues to work closely with our P5 and non-nuclear weapon state partners to make progress against our NPT Action Plan commitments. We would be cautious about parallel processes that could distract attention away from this.

Asked by Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the outcome document of the last Review Conference on the implementation of the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, what assessment they have made of the extent of their preparedness, including emergency plans and existing capacity, to respond to a major nuclear incident.[HL5364]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): Her Majesty’s Government take nuclear emergency preparedness extremely seriously. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) and Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) continually assess the UK’s preparedness in terms of planning for and being able to respond to nuclear incidents. For example, following the events at Fukushima in Japan in 2011, ONR carried out a detailed assessment of the implications of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami for the UK (the Weightman Report), which included assessments and recommendations concerning emergency preparedness arrangements. The 2011 report and the recent assessment of progress against the report can be found here: http://www.hse.gov.uk/nuclear/fukushima/.

The outcome document of the review conference in 2010 on the implementation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty included two specific actions concerning nuclear emergency preparedness arrangements.

The first of these actions asked states to consider becoming party, if they have not yet done so, to the Convention on Early Notification of a Nuclear Accident and the Convention on Assistance in the Case of a Nuclear Accident or Radiological Emergency. HM Government have signed and ratified these IAEA conventions and implemented them within the UK legal framework for response. The national arrangements for responding to nuclear emergencies include provision for fulfilling the requirements of these conventions and other international treaties. Furthermore, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has implemented bilateral arrangements with a number of other States for notifying and informing them of the current situation either in the UK or abroad.

The outcome document also included an action on states to ensure that the transportation of radioactive materials was consistent with relevant international standards of safety, security and environmental protection, and to continue communication between shipping and coastal states for the purpose of confidence-building and addressing concerns regarding transport safety, security and emergency preparedness.

In the UK, there are legal requirements for consignors of radioactive material to have arrangements to cover emergencies. The Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR) is responsible for regulating the land transport of

25 Feb 2013 : Column WA253

radioactive material on behalf of DECC and part of this work involves ensuring that suitable emergency preparedness plans are in place, that they are adequate for foreseeable accidents involving the material being transported and that these plans are exercised.

The Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) regulates the sea transport of radioactive material. The MCA has special arrangements in place to cover the notification process for shipments of nuclear waste and maintain up-to-date copies of all the ship emergency plans. The National Contingency Plan for Marine Pollution from Shipping and Offshore Installations (NCP), which is reviewed regularly, also covers the preparedness for such events.

Offenders: Outsourcing Probation

Questions

Asked by Lord Sharkey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how, in the event of the outsourcing of probation tasks, they will ensure continuity of supervision for cases initially deemed medium risk and supervised by the private sector which are upgraded to high risk and transferred to public sector supervision.[HL5458]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Under our proposals set out in Transforming Rehabilitation—A Revolution in the way we Manage Offenders, published on 9 January, the public sector will manage directly those offenders who pose the highest risk of serious harm to the public and those falling under Multi-Agency Public Protection Arrangements (MAPPA). All other offenders will be managed by a private or voluntary sector provider and there will need to be close working between the public sector and private and voluntary sector probation professionals.

We will put arrangements in place so that in cases where the risk of serious harm escalates, providers will notify the public sector probation service and take appropriate further action to safeguard the public. The consultation document seeks views on how best to specify public sector oversight requirements in contracts, to avoid bureaucracy but ensure effective public protection arrangements.

The consultation closed on 22 February 2013 and we will set out further details of how we will reform the way we manage offenders once we have considered responses.

Asked by Lord Sharkey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how private sector providers will address the drug addictions of offenders in the event of outsourcing of probation tasks.[HL5460]

Lord McNally: The Ministry of Justice has recently published the consultation paper Transforming Rehabilitation —A Revolution in the Way We Manage Offenders, which sets out proposals for driving down reoffending by extending rehabilitative provision, opening up service delivery and paying by results.

25 Feb 2013 : Column WA254

Our consultation sets out a clear aim for providers of rehabilitative services to tackle offenders’ broader life management issues—including by connecting them to drug and alcohol treatment programmes. We intend to build on existing collaboration between departments and to explore how to align incentives for the new rehabilitation providers to support the delivery of or access to provision across a range of public services.

The consultation closed on 22 February 2013 and we will set out further details of how we will reform the way we manage offenders once we have considered responses.

Offenders: Rehabilitation

Question

Asked by Lord Sharkey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether restorative justice is central to their transforming rehabilitation plans.[HL5457]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): We are committed to ensuring that restorative justice is embedded into and established across all stages of the criminal justice system so that more victims and offenders have access to this process as it has been shown to have benefits for both victims and offenders. We are currently considering how restorative justice fits with Transforming Rehabilitation—A Revolution in the way we Manage Offenders which sets out proposals for driving down reoffending by extending rehabilitative provision, opening up service delivery and paying by results.