21 May 2013 : Column WA39

21 May 2013 : Column WA39

Written Answers

Tuesday 21 May 2013

Apprenticeships

Question

Asked by Lord Bradley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many new apprenticeships have been created in each of the 10 districts of Greater Manchester since 2010.[HL226]

Baroness Garden of Frognal: Information on the number of apprenticeship starts by parliamentary constituency, local education authority and region are published in a supplementary table to a quarterly Statistical First Release (SFR):

http://www.thedataservice.org.uk/NR/rdonlyres/69EFC69B-C189-46C4-93C4-6B161D744073/0/March2013_Apprenticeship_Starts.xls

http://www.thedataservice.org.uk/Statistics/fe_data_library/Apprenticeships/

Arts and Culture

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which individual or body is responsible for evaluating the contribution made by the arts to the economy; according to what criteria; and with what consequences for public funding of the arts.[HL8]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport works with a range of partners, principally Arts Council England, to support the arts sector. With regard to the contribution made by the arts to the economy, the Arts Council recently published a report by the Centre for Economics and Business Research that showed that arts and culture provided £5.9 billion of gross value added to the economy in 2011.

Arts Council England makes individual funding decisions at arm’s-length of government. Decisions on overall levels of funding for the arts are a matter for Ministers.

Ascension Island

Question

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have plans to introduce a right of abode for residents of Ascension Island.[HL140]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): Ascension is a working island. There are no plans to change the Government’s policy on right of property ownership and abode on the island.

21 May 2013 : Column WA40

Asylum Seekers

Questions

Asked by Baroness Lister of Burtersett

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 12 March (WA 49), who are the “selected partners” whose views will be taken into account in the review of ongoing support.[HL229]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 12 March (WA 49), whether the review of asylum support will take evidence from families directly affected.[HL230]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 12 March (WA 49), why the review of asylum support is an internal review not leading to a formal report.[HL231]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The review of asylum support has taken into account the views and evidence from a range of sources including the “Still Human, Still Here” coalition of non-governmental organisations which represents more than 50 organisations, and from the Children’s Society. It has also taken account the evidence presented to the recent parliamentary inquiry into asylum support, which included testimony from families.

There is no statutory obligation to carry out a formal annual review of asylum support rates, or publish a report. Our current review is in line with the Government’s customary practice to conduct an annual internal review. The outcome of the review will be announced in due course.

Asylum Seekers: Children

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the report by the Children’s Society Parliamentary Inquiry into Asylum Support for Children and Young People, whether support for applicants will, in future, be increased (1) annually, and (2) in line with income support.[HL155]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The Government are in the process of completing an internal review of asylum support rates, which has taken into account the report by the parliamentary inquiry into asylum support for children and young people. Ministers have undertaken to announce the result of the review once it has been completed.

Autism

Questions

Asked by Lord Touhig

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what recent assessment they have made of the availability of autism training for (1) general practitioners, (2) nurses,

21 May 2013 : Column WA41

and (3) other clinicians, in line with the commitment in

Fulfilling

a

nd Rewarding Lives

, the strategy for adults with autism in England.[HL168]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what recent discussions they have had with (1) the Royal College of General Practitioners, (2) the Royal College of Nursing, (3) the British Psychological Society, and (4) the Royal College of Psychiatrists, about the inclusion of autism awareness as part of the core training curricula for those professions.[HL169]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they have taken in the last (1) six months, (2) 12 months, and (3) two years, to ensure that autism awareness is included in the core training curricula for (a) the Royal College of General Practitioners, (b) the Royal College of Nursing, (c) the British Psychological Society, and (d) the Royal College of Psychiatrists.[HL170]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The statutory guidance for local authorities and National Health Service organisations to support implementation of the Adult Autism Strategy was issued in December 2010. The guidance made clear to local authorities, NHS bodies and NHS foundation trusts that they should seek ways to make autism awareness training available to all staff working in health and social care. To support this, the department commissioned online resources and information about autism for those working in the health and social care sector, and funding of £500,000 was awarded to among others the Royal College of General Practitioners, the Royal College of Nursing, the British Psychological Society, and the Royal College of Psychiatrists to produce these materials.

During the review of the Autism Strategy, we will look at how local authorities and the NHS have used these materials to help develop their own training packages and assess the extent of local delivery of training. The inclusion of more autism awareness training in core training curricula has been discussed as part of the work on developing training materials.

This issue will also form part of the review of the Autism Strategy. We will be involving those organisations in discussions along with the General Medical Council and Health Education England, the new national leadership organisation responsible for ensuring that education, training and workforce development supports the highest quality patient outcomes.

Bangladesh

Question

Asked by Baroness Butler-Sloss

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have discussed with the Government of Bangladesh the reported killing of unarmed Hefajat protesters on 5 May.[HL333]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): Following reports of the incident on 5 and 6 May, our high commissioner in Dhaka

21 May 2013 : Column WA42

issued a statement on 6 May urging all parties to restrain from violence or the excessive use of force, and for dialogue to take the place of confrontation.

There remain significant differences in the estimates of those killed and injured during the incident. Whilst we have seen no credible evidence to support claims that large numbers of protestors were killed, we fully support calls for the Government of Bangladesh to conduct an impartial, transparent investigation into the allegations.

We regularly raise the issue of political violence with the Government of Bangladesh. Most recently I raised our concerns with the Bangladesh Foreign Minister, Dr Dipu Moni, on 25 April.

Banking: Bonuses

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Deighton on 10 April (WA 265) on the use of Article 53(1) of the Lisbon Treaty for the Capital Requirements Directive IV, when they plan to complete their assessment of whether Article 53(1) was a proper legal basis for the introduction of controls on bankers’ bonuses.[HL274]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): The Government have not yet concluded their assessment of the legal implications of the proposal to limit bonuses under the Capital Requirements Directive IV.

Banks: Funding for Lending Scheme

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they expect to see growth in net lending to small and medium-sized enterprises as a result of the Funding for Lending Scheme.[HL218]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): The Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS) has contributed to a transformation of the bank funding environment with banks now having access to significantly cheaper funding.

Banks are now passing these on through improved credit availability and cheaper credit to the real economy including to businesses. For example, banks are offering new and discounted businesses products. It is too early to observe the impacts on business loans in the data as yet, as unlike mortgages these are not standardised. However, the extensions to the FLS provide greater incentives for banks to lend to small and medium-sized enterprises over 2013 and 2014.

The Bank of England will publish its latest quarterly report on the scheme on 3 June.

21 May 2013 : Column WA43

Benefits

Question

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether parents of 16 to 18 year-olds on the new traineeships programme will be entitled to claim child benefit and child tax credit in line with parents of those attending full-time non-advanced further education in school sixth forms and further education colleges.[HL193]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): Child tax credit and child benefit provide financial support for families with children aged 16-19 where they are in non-advanced full time education (up to A-level/GNVQ level 3 or equivalent) or who are undertaking approved training. The Traineeship Programme is not yet counted as approved training but it is being considered with the Department for Education.

Bolivia

Question

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the statement in April 2013 by the International Young Democrat Union on the political situation in Bolivia.[HL91]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): We are aware of the statement made by the International Young Democrat Union about the political situation in Bolivia. We have not, however, seen the report mentioned in the statement.

The UK works with Bolivia on strengthening the rule of law and improving access to justice in the country. We urge Bolivia to ensure the autonomy of state institutions and to uphold international human rights standards during a period of political change, including by continued efforts to embed the new judicial system and reduce the time spent on remand for all prisoners. The UK will support Bolivia in this work, including through the EU, by helping to address socio-political conflict and improving human rights, rule of law and democracy and strengthening of the independence of the judicial system.

We work with UN representatives, including the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, the UN Development Programme and the UN High Commission for Refugees to monitor Bolivia’s adherence to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process and implementation of UPR recommendations.

British Citizenship

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 6 February (WA 58), what assessment they have made of Dr Thom Brooks’ recent evaluation of the Life in the UK Test being “unfit for purpose”. [HL156]

21 May 2013 : Column WA44

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): Revised Life in the UK tests based on the new Life in the UK handbook, began on 25 March. The majority of feedback received has been positive. The Government do not share Dr Brooks’ view that the handbook goes too far by including information about British culture and history at the expense of practical knowledge.

The test is one of the ways in which those applying for permanent residence or naturalisation as British citizens can demonstrate the required knowledge of language and life in the UK. The majority of those applying will have been in the UK for at least five years and should therefore be aware of practical matters, such as how to contact the emergency services. The Government therefore consider that it is right for the Life in the UK test to concentrate on British history, culture and democracy and that the handbook succeeds in providing information on these topics in an interesting and accessible way.

Children: Sexual Abuse and Exploitation

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will include child protection issues, and in particular sexual exploitation and abuse, in all consultations with foreign Governments on human rights and international development.[HL82]

Baroness Northover: DfID works closely with the FCO to support partner countries towards meeting their international commitments on human rights, including child rights, and when required applies pressure, including by raising concerns at the highest levels of government.

Before providing direct aid to foreign Governments, DfID assesses the Government’s commitment to four partnership principles, one of which is human rights. The department also regularly assesses continuing commitment to each of these principles.

Climate Change

Question

Asked by Lord Donoughue

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answers by Baroness Verma on 14 January (WA 110), 5 February (WA 31–2), 21 March (WA 170–1), and by Lord Newby on 23 April (WA 359), whether they will give their numerical assessment of the probability in relation to global temperatures of a linear trend with first-order autoregressive noise, as used by the Met Office, compared with a driftless third-order autoregressive integrated model and ensure that that numerical assessment is published in the Official Report; and if not, why not.[HL62]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): There are many ways to analyse time series, including the use

21 May 2013 : Column WA45

of physical and statistical models. The relevance of any technique depends on the question asked about the data. The Met Office has compared the likelihood

1

of the two specified models for fitting the three main independent global near-surface temperature time series (originating from UK Met Office and NASA and NOAA in the US), using a standard approach

2

.

The statistical comparison of the model fits shows the likelihood of a linear trend model with first-order autoregressive noise in representing the evolution of global annual average surface temperature anomalies since 1900, ranges from 0.08 (Met Office data) to 0.32 (NOAA data), relative to the fit for a driftless third-order autoregressive integrated model. The likelihood is 0.001 if the start date is extended back for example to 1850 (Met Office data). These findings demonstrate that this parameter is very sensitive to the data period chosen and to the dataset chosen for a given time period, for such a statistical model.

A high value of relative likelihood does not necessarily mean that a model is useful or relevant. The climate is a highly complex physical system; to model it requires an understanding of physical and chemical processes in the atmosphere and oceans, natural variability and external forcings, i.e. with physically-based models. Work undertaken at the Met Office on the detection of climate change from temperature observations is based on formal detection and attribution methods, using physical climate models and not purely statistical models, as discussed in Chapter 9 of the Contribution of Working Group I to the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report, 2007.

1

Likelihood is a measure describing how likely a chosen statistical model and set of model parameters is to have produced a series of values identical to the observed data using that model. It can be thought of as a measure of how well a statistical model fits the observed data.

2

Zheng, Xiaogu, Reid E. Basher, 1999: Structural Time Series Models and Trend Detection in Global and Regional Temperature Series. J. Climate, 12, 2347-2358.

Crown Estate

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have discussed with the Crown Estates Commission its plans to fund changes to road and footpath allocations in Westminster; whether they have ascertained the reasons for those changes; and what assessment they have made of the impact of those plans on the space available for buses and cyclists. [HL15]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): This is a matter within the competence of the Crown Estate in which the Government do not propose to intervene. I have asked the chief executive of the Crown Estate to write to the noble Lord to explain the proposed changes. A copy of the reply will be placed in the Library of the House.

21 May 2013 : Column WA46

Economy: Deficit Reduction

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to assess the United Kingdom’s deficit reduction programme in the light of the European Central Bank’s reduction of interest rates and extension of deadlines for reaching deficit targets in the Eurozone.[HL45]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): The Government remain committed to reducing the deficit and addressing the permanent structural deterioration in the public finances caused by the lasting impact of the financial crisis. Budget 2013 set out the Government’s assessment of the UK’s medium-term economic and budgetary position and reinforced the Government’s commitment to deficit reduction, primarily through spending consolidation.

Education: History

Question

Asked by Lord Ouseley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have received from education experts about the representation in their proposals for a new history curriculum in England of the contributions of black British people to the history of the country.[HL191]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash): During the course of the national curriculum review we have received many representations about the content of the new programmes of study for history from a number of education experts, and others.

We are currently considering responses to the recent consultation on our curriculum proposals, and further announcements will be made in due course.

Education: Personal, Social and Health and Economic Education

Question

Asked by Lord Northbourne

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of Ofsted’s recent research project Not Yet Good Enough: Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education in Schools, published in May 2013; and in particular of its statistical relevance to all schools in the primary, secondary, and special categories.[HL311]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash): The Government are grateful for Ofsted’s report which provides an important and valuable analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of PSHE provision in this country. We encourage all schools to focus on the areas for improvement outlined in the report, and to access best practice identified by Ofsted in doing so.

21 May 2013 : Column WA47

The survey report is statistically relevant to all schools insofar as the sample of schools included all types of maintained schools across all English regions. The overall effectiveness grades at the selected schools’ last Section 5 inspection represented the national picture for grades 1, 2 and 3. However, no grade 4 schools were included in the sample.

Egypt

Questions

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what value of assets associated with former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime and family has been frozen by the United Kingdom since 2011.[HL350]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): Council Regulation (EU) No 270/2011 of 21 March 2011 imposed an asset freeze on 19 persons identified as being responsible for the misappropriation of Egyptian state funds under the Mubarak regime.

The EU regulation requires that all assets owned or controlled by designated persons are frozen.

For reasons of confidentiality, the Treasury is unable to disclose the information requested about individual assets frozen in the UK under this EU regulation.

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether property in the Knightsbridge district of London and a company of which an Egyptian Minister’s wife was a director are assets that have been frozen in association with sanctions against former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime.[HL351]

Lord Deighton: Council Regulation (EU) No 270/2011 of 21 March 2011 imposed an asset freeze on 19 persons identified as being responsible for the misappropriation of Egyptian State funds under the Mubarak regime.

The EU regulation requires that all assets owned or controlled by designated persons are frozen. The Treasury is committed to taking a robust approach to the implementation of financial sanctions and acts accordingly.

For reasons of confidentiality, the Treasury is unable to disclose information relating to individual assets frozen in the UK under this EU regulation.

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what contact they have had with the authorities in the British Virgin Islands to ascertain whether assets associated with former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s regime and family are likely to be frozen.[HL352]

Lord Deighton: Council Regulation (EU) No 270/2011 of 21 March 2011 imposed an asset freeze across EU member states on 19 persons identified as being responsible for the misappropriation of Egyptian State funds under the Mubarak regime. These measures are mirrored in

21 May 2013 : Column WA48

the Overseas Territories by fhe Egypt (Restrictive Measures) (Overseas Territories) Order 2011, with responsibility for domestic implementation falling to each territory individually.

Article 12 (1)(d) of the Egypt (Restrictive Measures) (Overseas Territories) Order 2011 provides for the sharing of information between the Governor and the UK (and others), as appropriate, in co-operation with any domestic or international investigations relating to the funds, economic resources or financial transactions of a listed person.

For reasons of confidentiality, the Treasury is unable to disclose information relating to individuals assets frozen in the UK or any other jurisdiction, under this or associated regulations.

Employment

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many people are currently registered as in part-time employment in the United Kingdom; and how many of those they expect to be in full-time employment in (1) 2013-14, and (2) 2014-15.[HL324]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Glen Watson, Director General for ONS, to Lord Dykes, dated May 2013.

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Questions asking how many people are currently registered as in part-time employment in the United Kingdom; and how many of those they expect to be in full-time employment in (1) 2013-14, and (2) 2014-15. HL324

Estimates regarding people in part-time employment are available from the Labour Force Survey (LFS). For the period January to March 2013 it was estimated that there were 8.028 million people reporting they were in part-time employment. Part-time employment is self-classified by the responder on the LFS.

The ONS does not produce forecasts estimating levels of full or part-time employment. However, the LFS collects information on how many people took a part-time job because they could not find full-time employment. For the period January to March 2013 it was estimated that 1.408 million people were currently working part-time because they could not find a full-time job.

Estimates of part-time employment are published monthly in the Labour Market Statistical Bulletin (Table EMP01), via the following link: http://www.ons. gov.uk/ons/rel/lms/labour-market-statistics/may-2013/table-emp01.xls.

Employment: Public Sector

Question

Asked by Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what were the numbers of (1) women, and (2) men, employed in (a) central government, (b) local government, (c) the

21 May 2013 : Column WA49

National Health Service, and (d) the police, (i) in June 2010, and (ii) at the latest date for which data are available; and what is their forecast of those figures for 2015.[HL42]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Glen Watson, Director General for ONS, to Lord Oakeshott, dated May 2013.

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question concerning, what were the numbers of (1) women, and (2) men, employed in (a) central government, (b) local government, (c) the National Health Service, and (d) the police, (i) in June 2010, and (ii) at the latest date for which data are available; and what is their forecast of those figures for 2015. (HL42)

The Office for National Statistics is not able to produce numbers of women and men employed in central government, local government, the National Health Service and the police.

Figures for total employment in (a) central government, (b) local government, (c) the National Health Service, and (d) the police, (i) in June 2010, and (ii) at the latest date for which data are available, December 2012, can be found in the table below. Forecast figures are not available.

Public sector employment (a) Central Government (b) Local Government (c) National Health Service (d) Police; Headcount
United Kingdom (Thousands), seasonally adjusted
Central government1Local government1National Health Service2Police (including civilians)3

Jun-10

2,833

2,931

1,596

292

Dec-12

2,719

2,524

1,560

261

1

. English further education colleges and English sixth form college corporations classified to public sector from 1993 to 31 March 2012. They are therefore included in public sector estimates from 1993 to Ql 2012.

2

. Data for the NHS are subject to revisions.

3

. Police (England and Wales) are based on projections and subject to revision.

Energy: Biofuels

Questions

Asked by Lord Chidgey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their estimate of (1) the number of jobs created to date, and (2) the total number of jobs that will be created, as a result of the requirement under the European Union Renewable Energy Directive to obtain 10% of the United Kingdom’s transport energy from renewable energy.[HL181]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the impact that the biofuels industry has had on United Kingdom economic growth to date; and what impact they forecast it will have over the next decade.[HL182]

21 May 2013 : Column WA50

Earl Attlee: Consideration of the impact on growth and employment of the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation will be included in an assessment of the obligation which we will conduct later this year.

Advanced Biofuels: The Potential for a UK Industry, NNFCC 11-011 was published in November 2011. The study, commissioned by the Department of Energy and Climate Change and the Department for Transport, estimated that strong development of advanced biofuels could create up to 6,000 full-time construction jobs and over 2,000 permanent jobs supplying and operating the plants by 2020.

The potential for future growth in the supply of sustainable biofuels, and its effect on UK employment directly and indirectly, will continue to be considered in future decisions on what additional measures will be required to ensure that the UK delivers the requirements of the renewable energy and fuel quality directives in the period 2014 to 2020.

Asked by Lord Chidgey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will publish detailed plans for implementing the 10% target for renewable energy as required under the European Union renewable energy directive, including details of the types of renewable energy, the infrastructure, and whether they were sourced domestically or imported.[HL183]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what measures they plan in the current negotiations regarding amending the European Union renewable energy directive to ensure a transition towards more sustainable biofuels.[HL184]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with European Union counterparts regarding the European Commission proposal to cap the amount of biofuels produced from food crops within the European Union at 5%.[HL185]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they are having across Government departments to co-ordinate their assessment of the impact that current European biofuels mandates are having on food prices; and whether they have considered the preparation of a mitigation plan.[HL186]

Earl Attlee: The Government are committed to meeting their obligations under the renewable energy directive, including the 10% target for renewable energy in transport by 2020, and the requirement to report to the European Commission under Article 22 on progress in the promotion and use of energy from renewable sources.

Good progress has been made in ensuring that only sustainable biofuels can be counted towards the target, and we amended the Renewable Transport Fuel Obligation in December 2011 to implement the mandatory sustainability criteria required by the directive. The level of the obligation was raised to 4.75% from April 2013. However, the Government remain concerned that studies have demonstrated that some biofuels can produce greater carbon emissions than fossil fuels, particularly when indirect land use change (or ILUC) is factored in.

21 May 2013 : Column WA51

We are actively engaged in negotiation in the Council and European Parliament on the Commission’s proposed amendments on ILUC. The Government believe that there should be a robust and proportionate resolution to ILUC and considers introducing ILUC factors to be the most appropriate solution. ILUC factors would prevent feedstocks that have the worst indirect impacts on land use from meeting mandatory sustainability criteria. We are also of the view that additional incentives should be provided for advanced biofuels from non land-using feedstocks and wastes.

We have consulted, and will continue to consult, representatives of the European Commission, other member states, MEPs, industry and non-governmental organisations, to develop the UK position, including on the proposed cap.

European analysis presented by the Commission in its renewable energy progress and biofuels sustainability report, published on 27 March, concluded that the exact extent of the impact of biofuel policies on food prices is not clear. It is therefore important that we continue to work with other government departments to monitor the situation.

Given the complexity of this issue it is also important that any plan in respect of mitigation is adopted at an international level. Our efforts to extend the multiple counting of non-food and waste feedstocks, and to introduce ILUC factors, have the potential to reduce competition between biofuel and food.

Energy: Nuclear Waste

Question

Asked by Lord Judd

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress they have made in preparing a prioritised assessment of locations for the storage of future nuclear waste; and what arrangements they have made to improve the security of existing and currently produced nuclear waste.[HL125]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): As part of its agreed strategy, the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority is investigating options for waste storage, including whether to consolidate the wastes that it owns to reduce the number of existing storage locations. Other waste owners are also being considered. This work has already resulted in the publication of several studies.

In respect of the waste from any new nuclear power stations, it is currently anticipated that this waste will be held in safe and secure interim storage on the power station site until it can be disposed of. The Nuclear National Policy Statement, published in June 2011, set out the results of a strategic siting assessment designed to identify sites in England and Wales that are potentially suitable for the deployment of new nuclear power stations by the end of 2025.

A robust security regulatory framework is in place across the industry, with compliance and enforcement overseen by the independent Office for Nuclear Regulation (ONR), which operates under the established principle of continuous improvement.

21 May 2013 : Column WA52

Energy: Renewable Energy

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have any plans to support GDF SUEZ Energy UK to increase energy creation activities and employment in the United Kingdom, especially in tidal and biomass projects.[HL319]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): The department has put in place a range of incentives and other measures, such as the Renewables Obligation, to support deployment of renewable technologies, including tidal and biomass projects. Our electricity market reforms will introduce contracts for difference (CfDs): long-term contracts for low-carbon electricity generation that ensure that generators that are successful in being allocated a CfD receive in effect a guaranteed price for their electricity, thereby reducing exposure to market volatility. In addition to the EMR, the UK Green Investment Bank (GIB) will be a key tool to accelerate additional capital into green infrastructure projects.

Any decisions by GDF SUEZ Energy UK to deploy such technologies and to apply for support will be a matter for them.

EU Organisations: Salaries

Question

Asked by Lord Jopling

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what financial support they provided to (1) the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, (2) NATO, and (3) the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe; and what are the annual salaries currently paid to the Senior Executive Officer of each organisation.[HL83]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): Figures for UK contributions to the named institutions in the latest period for which data are available are given in the table below:

OrganisationYearUK Contribution (€s unless stated)

Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

2012 (Calendar)

£1,904,441(approx)

NATO Parliamentary Assembly

2012-13 (Financial)

€367,708

OSCE Parliamentary Assembly

2012 (Calendar)

€267,035

The Government do not hold information on staff salaries in the named institutions, which are matters for the organisations themselves.

21 May 2013 : Column WA53

EU: Biofuels

Question

Asked by Lord Chidgey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to work with their European Union counterparts to ensure that the European Union does not increase biofuel production that competes with food production.[HL228]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): The Government believe that food production must remain the primary goal of agriculture and that the production of biofuel must not undermine food security, in the UK or internationally. Modelling analysis published as part of the Bioenergy Strategy suggests that increased EU demand for biofuels has led to global crop prices being around 3% to 5% higher than they would otherwise have been and that this would correspond to only a modest rise in food prices, since crops represent a small share of the cost of food production. As set out in that strategy, it is nevertheless essential that we continue to monitor the volume and all types of bioenergy demand and their links with food prices and production. To this end we will continue to work with the European Commission in its ongoing evaluation of the economic, social and environmental impacts of the EU’s biofuels policies.

EU: Court of Justice

Question

Asked by Lord Bowness

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they expect the European Union Council of Ministers

21 May 2013 : Column WA54

to agree the appointment of an additional Advocate-General from Poland to the Court of Justice of the European Union pursuant to Declaration 38 on Article 252 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union annexed to the Treaty of Lisbon.[HL95]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): The Government hope that the proposal for the appointment of three additional Advocates-General to the European Court of Justice, including the Polish Advocate-General, can be agreed by the Council of Ministers during the current Irish presidency. Parliamentary approval under the European Union Act 2011 is required before the UK can support a decision at the Council of Ministers. Debates to secure parliamentary approval will be arranged when Parliamentary time allows. The timing for the appointment of the Polish Advocate-General will then depend on when the Polish nomination is made.

EU: UK Contribution

Question

Asked by Lord Kilclooney

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the total financial contribution by the United Kingdom to the European Union for each of the past three years for which figures are available.[HL242]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): The value of the UK’s contributions to the EU Budget over the period 2006-07 to 2011-12 are published in Table 3c (page 17) of the European Union Finances 2012 (Cm 8405)1. A copy of which can be found in Library of the House.

1

http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/d/eu_finances_2012.pdf

2006-072007-082008-092009-102010-112011-12
OutturnEstimated outturn

Gross Payments1

12,245

13,746

13,155

13,733

15,593

15,700

Less: UK Abatement

-3,560

-3,960

-5,595

-4,218

-2,678

-3,516

Less: Public sector receipts

-5,164

-5,601

-4,558

-4,791

-3,996

-4,755

Net contributions to EU Budget2

3,521

4,185

3,002

4,724

8,918

7,429

Payments to EU Budget attributed to the aid programme3

-709

-715

-751

-830

-856

-856

Other attributed costs

0

0

0

-69

-43

-163

Net payments to EU institutions (excluding Overseas Aid)2

2,812

3,470

2,252

3,825

8,019

6,410

1

. Gross payment figures include traditional own resources payments at 75%. The remaining 25% is retained by the UK to cover the costs of administering collection on behalf of the EU.

2

. Due to rounding, totals may not exactly correspond to the sum of individual items.

3

. For domestic/public expenditure planning purposes, part of the UK’s contribution to the EU Budget is attributed to the overseas aid programme. The aid programme also includes payments to the EDF, not included here.

Finance: Investment

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Deighton on 11 March (WA 17) about public investment forecasts, whether they will arrange for the information requested to be published in the Official Report.[HL151]

21 May 2013 : Column WA55

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): The outturn data and forecasts for public sector net investment, as a percentage of GDP, are set out in the table below. The figure for 2012-13 reflects the transfer of the Royal Mail Pension Plan (which accounts for around 1.8% of GDP), while the figure for 2000-01 reflects receipts related to the 3G spectrum auction.

Public sector net investment as a percentage of GDP

2000-01

-1.8

2001-02

1.2

2002-03

1.3

2003-04

1.4

2004-05

1.7

2005-06

1.8

2006-07

1.9

2007-08

2.0

2008-09

3.3

2009-10

3.4

2010-11

2.6

2011-12

1.9

2012-13

-0.4

2013-14

1.5

2014-15

1.6

2015-16

1.5

2016-17

1.4

2017-18

1.4

Source

: Office for National Statistics and Office for Budget Responsibility

Finance: Savings

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what changes in the household net aggregate savings ratio they estimate for 2013-14.[HL255]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): The Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) is responsible for producing independent economic and fiscal forecasts. In their latest economic and fiscal outlook, published on 20 March 2013, the OBR forecast the household saving ratio to be 6.6% in 2013 and 5.8% in 2014.

Gaza

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the Government of Israel concerning their investigation into the death of Hamid Abu Karim Dagga in Gaza.[HL33]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): Officials from our embassy in Tel Aviv have not made representations on this specific investigation, but regularly raise concerns about use by

21 May 2013 : Column WA56

the Israeli Defence Force of live fire in both Gaza and the West Bank, as well as about the process for investigating such incidents.

General Court of the European Union

Question

Asked by Lord Pannick

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the proposal by the General Court of the European Union to amend its Rules of Procedure to allow for a party to be denied information relevant to the case against them; and whether they will ensure public consultation on the proposal, given its potential impact on rights of defence and the rule of law.[HL27]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): The Court has not yet published its proposals for revisions to the General Court’s Rules of Procedure, although the Government are aware that these are currently being considered.

The Government anticipate that proposals for revised Rules of Procedure will be published later in the year and will scrutinise the proposals in detail once circulated.

Government: Ministerial Code

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which Ministers have provided written directions to departmental accounting officers under the Ministerial Code to take a certain action; and what matters were covered by each such direction since the 2010 general election.[HL103]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): No written directions to departmental accounting officers have been issued since the general election in 2010.

Health: Patient Hotels

Questions

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their estimate of the start-up costs of establishing patient hotels.[HL65]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of the projected savings of operating a system of patient hotels; and whether those savings will be reinvested into the budget of the Department of Health.[HL66]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government who will manage patient hotels; to whom hotel managers will be accountable; and what avenues for redress will be available should patient hotels not meet expected standards.[HL67]

21 May 2013 : Column WA57

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The mandate for NHS England sets out the improvements in health and healthcare outcomes that the National Health Service is expected to deliver, including helping people to recover from episodes of ill health or following injury and ensuring people have a positive experience of care.

NHS England is responsible for providing leadership on clinical commissioning to improve quality, outcomes and value for money in the NHS. It is for local commissioners to work with their providers to develop innovative ways to ensure rapid recovery from an acute episode and to reduce people’s dependency on health and social care services following discharge.

NHS England will consider patient hotel models alongside a range of other tools, evidence and support to help clinical commissioners to commission best practice care.

House of Lords: Membership

Question

Asked by Lord Stevens of Ludgate

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they have taken to rebalance the membership of the House of Lords in line with the share of the vote secured by the political parties in the last general election.[HL171]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: It remains the Government’s intention that appointments to the House of Lords will be made with the objective of creating a second Chamber that is reflective of the share of the vote secured by the political parties in the last general election.

The Prime Minister exercises his powers in relation to appointments to the House of Lords in order to deliver this coalition commitment and will continue to keep numbers under review.

21 May 2013 : Column WA58

Houses of Parliament: Scrutiny Override

Question

Asked by Lord Boswell of Aynho

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, for each government department, from July to December 2012, (1) on how many occasions the scrutiny reserve resolution in the House of Lords was overridden, (2) on how many occasions the scrutiny reserve resolution in the House of Commons was overridden, and (3) in respect of how many documents an override occurred in (a) both Houses or (b) either House.[HL173]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): The Government work closely with the EU Committee in the House of Lords and the European Scrutiny Committee in the House of Commons to avoid breaching the Scrutiny Reserve Resolutions. Ministers will continue to write to the Chairmen of the Scrutiny Committees to account for their actions when an override occurs.

Between July-December 2012 a total of 498 Explanatory Memorandums (EMs) were deposited for scrutiny, with only 29 overrides, a significant reduction on the 56 overrides between January-June 2012. Fast-moving Common Foreign and Security Policy sanctions and restrictive measures were the single largest category of override, accounting for 15 of the 29. In these instances it was important to agree proposals urgently so that measures could be implemented quickly and effectively. Regrettably, this meant that on these occasions, the Government agreed proposals before the committee had been able to clear the documents from scrutiny.

The figures requested are set out in the table below:

Department(1). House of Lords override(2). House of Commons override(a). No. of overrides in both Houses(b). Total no. of overrides

Department of Business, Innovation and Skills

1

5

0

6

Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

0

3

0

3

Foreign and Commonwealth Office

15

16

15

16

HM Treasury

3

3

3

3

Department for Work and Pensions

0

1

0

1

Totals

19

28

18

29

The Written Answer I gave to my noble friend on the 20 November 2012 (Official Report, col. WA350), recorded a total of 57 overrides, including one override attributed to HM Treasury incorrectly. This was in respect of European Union Document 10435/12 on the council regulation adjusting the correction coefficients applicable to the remuneration and pensions of officials and other servants of the EU. This figure was incorrectly included as an override. The total override figure for the last period reduces from 57 to 56. The figure for House of Commons overrides reduces from 50 to 49. All other information in my previous answer remains unaffected.

Houses of Parliament: State Opening

Question

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch

To ask the Chairman of Committees how long it took for streets surrounding the Palace of Westminster to be opened to traffic following the State Opening of Parliament.[HL47]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Sewel): The State Opening of Parliament finished at approximately 12 noon on Wednesday 8 May. Work to reopen the

21 May 2013 : Column WA59

roads began immediately and the roads were fully open to traffic at 6.30 am on Friday 10 May.

Immigration: Unaccompanied Children

Question

Asked by Baroness Doocey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many unaccompanied children were intercepted or detained at Greater London and south-east regional ports in 2012.[HL266]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): We do not hold data on the number of unaccompanied children who were intercepted at Greater London and south-east regional ports in 2012. We have taken this to include the following ports—Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted, Luton, London City, Southend and St Pancras International.

We know the number of non-British children who were intercepted and subject to further examination at the border. However, determining how many were unaccompanied children could be obtained only at disproportionate cost

Intestate Estates

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many empty domestic properties are held by the Bona Vacantia Division of HM Treasury; what is the average length of time that such properties are held before being disposed of; and what is the target length of time for such disposals.[HL127]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): Properties from unclaimed estates are sold as quickly as possible after determining the estate does fall to the Crown.

The Bona Vacantia Division of the Treasury Solicitor is currently processing cases involving 140 domestic properties, of which a total of 131 are from unclaimed estates and from nine dissolved companies. The Bona Vacantia Division does not hold records on the number of these properties that are empty.

In 2012-13, the average length of time to close a case where an unclaimed estate involved domestic property (including cases where kin or a will was located or the property sold) was 747 calendar days. For cases concerning dissolved companies that owned land, which may include domestic property, the average processing time was 688 days.

Iran

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the prospects of the release from imprisonment in Iran of the seven former leaders of the Baha’i faith, known collectively as the Yaran. [HL21]

21 May 2013 : Column WA60

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): The seven leaders of the Baha’i faith have now served almost five years of their 20-year sentences. Regrettably, there have been no signs to date that the Iranian authorities intend to release them.

On 14 May after officially receiving a letter from 50 UK faith leaders about the seven leaders, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my honourable friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Mr Burt), called again for their release; for Iran to cease its persecution of the Baha’i; and for Iran to respect all its citizens’ rights to freedom of religion and belief.

Israel and Palestine

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have held with the Government of Israel about Palestinians in the Occupied Territories having effective access to justice in seeking compensation for death, injury, and destruction of property.[HL234]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): Ministers and our embassy in Tel Aviv have repeatedly raised our concerns with the Government of Israel about incidents of Palestinian deaths, injury and destruction of property, whether in the context of actions by the Israeli Defence Forces or by extremist settlers. We have also stressed the importance of bringing those responsible to justice and of the Israel security forces providing appropriate protection to the Palestinian civilian population.

We are also supporting the Norwegian Refugee Council to provide legal assistance to Palestinians facing demolition or eviction to enable them to challenge these decisions in the Israeli Legal System.

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 reports that the Israeli military destroyed olive trees in Hebron in April.[HL237]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): We have expressed our serious concerns to the Israeli authorities about a recent increase in the number of demolitions carried out, including the destruction of olive trees and Palestinian homes and infrastructure, in East Jerusalem and Area C. We view these demolitions as causing unnecessary suffering to ordinary Palestinians; as harmful to the peace process; and as contrary to international humanitarian law.

21 May 2013 : Column WA61

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the Government of Israel concerning the health and environmental implications of sewage from the Barkan and Ariel settlements contaminating Salfit district in the West Bank.[HL238]

Baroness Warsi: As well as being illegal under international law and having a severe, harmful impact on the prospects for negotiations, Israeli settlements have a negative impact on the daily lives of Palestinian people living nearby. Sewage from settlements affecting neighbouring villages is one particularly troubling problem amongst many, with the situation in Salfit a prime example. Officials from our embassy in Tel Aviv raised this with the Office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) on 5 February.

Legislation

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Office of the Parliamentary Counsel will include taxation law in its review of complexity in legislation.[HL276]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble: The report of the review conducted by the Office of Parliamentary Counsel into the causes of complexity in legislation was published in April 2013 (and can be found at www.gov.uk/government/publications/when-laws-become-too-complex). The review did not focus on any particular subject area and is relevant to legislation generally, including tax legislation.

In the area of tax legislation, the Office of Tax Simplification has responsibility for providing the Government with independent advice on where there are areas of complexity in the United Kingdom tax system that could be simplified, and for conducting inquiries into complex areas of the tax system, to collect evidence and advise the Government on options for reform.

Migrant Domestic Workers

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their response to the Kalayaan report Slavery by Another Name: the Tied Migrant Domestic Worker Visa. [HL159]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): Kalayaan’s report is based on the experiences of 29 overseas domestic workers who have approached them for advice and support and who have come to the UK since the route was reformed in April 2012. In 2012, 15,553 visas were issued to overseas domestic workers coming to work

21 May 2013 : Column WA62

in private households. Therefore the individuals approaching Kalayaan represent only a very small proportion of the total.

The Government recognise that overseas domestic workers can be vulnerable and that there is a risk that abusive employer/employee relationships are imported to the UK. The April 2012 reforms address that risk by ensuring those entering the UK to be overseas domestic workers in a private household do so only for a short time (up to six months) and to accompany an employer who is visiting the UK and with whom they have a pre-existing relationship. To be granted a visa, they must show that they have worked for the employer for 12 months before accompanying him to the UK, and must have signed terms and conditions that certify that the individual will be paid in line with the National Minimum Wage Act. As part of the visa-issuing process, domestic workers are informed of their rights in the UK and where to get help if needed. The Government do not agree with Kalayaan’s view that the experiences of the 29 workers who have approached Kalayaan demonstrate that the Government’s reforms are not working.

National Health Service (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) (No. 2) Regulations 2013

Questions

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the remarks by Earl Howe on 24 April (Official Report, col. 1508), whether NHS commissioners have general discretion in deciding “whether, where and how competition in service provision should be introduced”, notwithstanding Regulation 5 of the National Health Service (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) (No. 2) Regulations 2013.[HL250]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): It is entirely for commissioners to decide whether, where and how to introduce competition by enabling the conditions needed to stimulate or create a market for services. In particular, there is no requirement under the regulations to unbundle services in order to facilitate competition.

It is also for commissioners to decide where to introduce, competition within a market, for example, by extending patient choice of any qualified provider to a particular service.

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the remarks by Earl Howe on 24 April (Official Report, col. 1509), whether Monitor has the power under the National Health Service (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) (No. 2) Regulations 2013 to act as a “firewall between the commissioners and the courts”; whether, in accordance with Regulation 76(7), failure to comply with Regulation 75 is “actionable”; and whether a clinical commissioning group acting in breach of its duties under Regulation 5 will be exposed to the possibility of a legal challenge in court.[HL251]

21 May 2013 : Column WA63

Earl Howe: The Government cannot remove the possibility of legal challenge to commissioners’ decisions whether under the National Health Service (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) (No. 2) Regulations 2013, the Public Contract Regulations 2006 or through judicial review. However, the regulations provide an accessible and effective alternative to challenging decisions in the courts by providing for Monitor, a specialist health regulator, to consider unfair procurement decisions.

In this regard, the regulations continue the approach of having sector-specific arrangements for the NHS. Historically complaints have been raised through these sector-specific arrangements in preference to the courts. There would be no reason for this to change so long as the regulations are in place.

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the remarks by Earl Howe on 24 April (Official Report, col. 1510) that elective care services are not relevant to the National Health Service (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) (No. 2) Regulations 2013, what effect those regulations will have on the tendering of elective care services.[HL253]

Earl Howe: It is the policy of the Government, and the previous Administration, for commissioners to secure acute elective services through the any qualified provider model rather than through a competitive tender. The regulations do nothing to change this approach.

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the remarks by Earl Howe on 24 April (Official Report, col. 1508), what evidence they have to support the statement that the National Health Service (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) (No. 2) Regulations 2013 do not change the law governing competitive tendering of health services.[HL249]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the basis of the statement by Earl Howe on 24 April (Official Report, col. 1512), that “these regulations are declaratory of the existing legal position”; and what will be the effect of the National Health Service (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) (No. 2) Regulations 2013 on those areas of commissioning where there are presently no legally enforceable rules.[HL252]

Earl Howe: The National Health Service (Procurement, Patient Choice and Competition) (No. 2) Regulations 2013 are entirely consistent with the existing Public Contracts Regulations 2006, which transpose European Union procurement law to the United Kingdom. The Public Contracts Regulations apply to all procurement by NHS commissioners and are legally enforceable. The regulations go no further than existing requirements.

NHS: Tenders

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the remarks by Earl Howe on 24 April (Official

  21 May 2013 : Column WA64 

Report

, col. 1510), what is the lowest value at which “it would be disproportionate for the commissioner to hold a tendering exercise”; and whether, should this value be met, “there is no requirement under the regulations of the law to do so”.[HL254]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Commissioners’ procurement activity must always be proportionate. There is no de minimis threshold in the regulations because the circumstances in which the benefits of a competitive tender would be outweighed by the costs of running such a process will vary from case to case depending on, for example, the nature of the services being commissioned and the complexity of the tendering process chosen by the commissioner.

North Korea

Questions

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the resolution of the International Democrat Union Executive at its Helsinki meeting on 14 April 2013 regarding North Korea’s nuclear test.[HL89]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): The International Democrat Union’s statement on North Korea of 14 April condemned in the strongest terms the nuclear test conducted on 12 February 2013 and urged North Korea to stop any further military threats. We have been clear to the North Korean Government that they have a choice to make: either continue with this provocative path and face further isolation, or engage constructively with the rest of the world. The US and South Korea in particular have been clear that they will engage with North Korea if it ceases its irresponsible behaviour.

Asked by Lord Patten

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 25 April (WA 459), what help is given for resettlement purposes to North Koreans granted asylum in the United Kingdom.[HL204]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The Home Office does not have any specific policies to promote the integration of refugees, and no longer funds any standalone refugee integration activity. However, all individuals granted refugee status have full entitlement to access public funds and services.

In partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the Home Office operates the Gateway resettlement programme providing some of the most vulnerable refugees in the world with a new life in the UK. There are no plans to resettle North Koreans.

21 May 2013 : Column WA65

Pakistan

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will hold discussions with the incoming Government of Pakistan about that country’s blasphemy law. [HL296]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): It is vital that Pakistan guarantees the rights of all its citizens, regardless of their faith, gender or ethnicity. On 22 January, I hosted a global ministerial conference on Freedom of Religion and Belief in London and I was able to discuss these issues in detail with the human rights adviser to the then Pakistani Prime Minister.

Once a new Government have been established in Pakistan, we will raise human rights issues, including blasphemy laws, with them.

Ports

Questions

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government in what circumstances they award state aid to ports to fund dredging; and whether those decisions take account of the competition between ports.[HL165]

Earl Attlee: The Government do not normally intervene to fund ports, including for dredging. They expect them to compete with each other on a commercial basis. Where, exceptionally, such funding is considered in order to address specific issues such as geographic imbalances, decisions take account of the interests of fair competition and of securing good value for public money.

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much state-aided funding is under consideration or in process for the ports of Liverpool and Falmouth; from what source; and for whose benefit.[HL166]

Earl Attlee: Her Majesty’s Government have awarded a capital grant of up to £35 million from the Regional Growth Fund for a capital dredge in the Mersey and Liverpool Bay. This dredge, which will be conducted by the Mersey Docks and Harbour Company in its capacity as the statutory harbour operator, will benefit a range of Mersey River system users, for example broadening the tidal window for cruise ships and allowing post-Panamax container vessels to access to the freight terminal.

On careful and extensive consideration of the facts, the UK authorities are confident this award would not be considered a state aid. The offer of grant was made on an exceptional basis, recognising that port development

21 May 2013 : Column WA66

in the UK is normally unsubsidised but taking into account exceptional national and regional economic circumstances.

I understand that Cornwall Council is considering the possibility of making a grant in the order of £20 million to Falmouth Harbour Commissioners for dredging there, subject to the project satisfying environmental requirements including the habitats directive. Such a grant would also be subject to state aid criteria and, if made without prior clearance, would be liable for repayment in the event of a subsequent finding of illegality.

Public Sector: Spending

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to increase investment spending in the public sector.[HL256]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): At Budget, the Government increased their capital expenditure plans by £3 billion per annum from 2015-16. The Government will set out detailed plans at the Spending Round in June.

The Government have previously increased capital spending by £2.3 billion per annum by 2014-15 at the Spending Review in 2010, £3.8 billion at Autumn Statement 2011 and £5.5 billion at Autumn Statement 2012. As a result, public sector gross investment (PSGI) as a share of GDP will be higher on average between 2010-11 and 2020-21 than under the previous Government.

Railways: Network Rail

Question

Asked by Viscount Astor

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether Network Rail borrowing is considered to be government debt.[HL110]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): The independent Office for National Statistics (ONS) produces the UK National Accounts according to the European Commission’s legally binding framework: the European System of Accounts 1995. Under this framework, the ONS has classified Network Rail as a private, non-financial corporation, and its debt, therefore, cannot be considered to be government debt.

Roads: Roundabouts

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have any plans for the models of the United Kingdom’s roundabouts, tested in the Transport Research Laboratory in Bracknell, to be trialled on public roads.[HL325]

21 May 2013 : Column WA67

Earl Attlee: The Government are committed to improving cycling safety and have provided extra funding through the Cycling Safety Fund for local authorities to tackle the most dangerous junctions on their networks.

We are pleased Transport for London (TfL) has chosen to carry out off-street trials and DfT officials are working closely with TfL and the Transport Research Laboratory on this project. New ideas need to be properly tested to identify any potential problems, and establish what the benefits are likely to be.

Subject to the results of the trials we will consider approving a wider trial at a limited number of sites on public roads.

Royal Charter

Question

Asked by Lord Soley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how the order of precedence of business before the Privy Council is determined when two applications for a Royal Charter on the same subject are made.[HL241]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Queen grants Royal Charters based on advice from the Privy Council. Only one recommendation for the grant of a Royal Charter would be made to Her Majesty, based on the Privy Council’s assessment of an application. The Privy Council would consider each application separately and on its own merits, drawing in views from other government departments as required.

Royal Family: Travel

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which members of the Royal Family are currently eligible for the Royal Travel grant in aid; and whether the recent visit of Prince Harry to the United States was funded under that grant.[HL164]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): It is for Her Majesty the Queen to decide which members of the Royal Family receive support from the Sovereign Grant to meet travel costs. The grant in aid for royal travel was incorporated into the Sovereign Grant with effect from 1 April 2012.

The cost of Prince Harry’s flights for his recent trip to the United States was met by the Sovereign Grant and various charities, which also benefited from the visit and with which His Royal Highness has a close connection.

Schools: Free Schools

Questions

Asked by Baroness Jones of Whitchurch

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Department for Education can overrule the decision of local councils in determining the sites to be allocated for new free schools.[HL3]

21 May 2013 : Column WA68

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash): The Education Funding Agency works with free school proposers to secure a suitable site for each free school. In some cases, free schools are located on sites owned by local authorities, often through the agreement of a long-term lease for a nominal rental sum.

Where a site has been used for a school within the previous eight years and is no longer being so used or is about to cease being so used, then the Secretary of State has powers to make a scheme to transfer land held by a local authority to a person concerned with running an academy or free school.

The department does not have a role or any powers in determining the outcome of planning applications for free schools: this role falls to the local planning authority.

Regarding the proposed site for the King’s Church of England Free School in Brighton and Hove, no decision has yet been taken by Ministers. The plans under discussion mean that just 3.6 acres will be used for a much needed new school, out of a total site of 22 acres. The amount of open space that will still be available to the local community is equal to around 17 full-size football pitches.

Brighton and Hove is seeing heavy pressure on school places. Any decision to use some of this site will be subject to consultation with the community.

Asked by Baroness Jones of Whitchurch

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consultation is required to take place with local parents before the site of any new free school is approved; and whether parents would be normally consulted before final approval of a site is given.[HL4]

Lord Nash: Section 10 of the Academies Act 2010 requires the Academy Trust, the group setting up a free school, to consult on whether or not to enter into funding arrangements with the Secretary of State. As part of this consultation process, the group provides information about its school, including its planned site. If a free school needs planning permission, there is a further opportunity for local people to give their views as part of this process.

Regarding the proposed site for the King’s Church of England Free School in Brighton and Hove, no decision has yet been taken by Ministers. The plans under discussion mean that just 3.6 acres will be used for a much needed new school, out of a total site of 22 acres. The amount of open space that will still be available to the local community is equal to around 17 full-size football pitches.

Brighton and Hove is seeing heavy pressure on school places. Any decision to use some of this site will be subject to consultation with the community.

Asked by Baroness Jones of Whitchurch

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which body was responsible for identifying the school playing fields used by Brighton, Hove and Sussex Sixth Form College, and other local schools, as a suitable site for a new free school in the Brighton area. [HL5]

21 May 2013 : Column WA69

Lord Nash: The Education Funding Agency (EFA), an executive agency of the Department for Education, identified the site as an option shortly after the application to establish the King’s Church of England Free School was approved in July 2012 to open this September. Using part of the playing fields on Old Shoreham Road became the preferred option only in March. At this point it was discussed with Brighton and Hove City Council.

No decision has yet been taken by Ministers. The plans under discussion mean that just 3.6 acres will be used for a much needed new school, out of a total site of 22 acres. The amount of open space that will still be available to the local community is equal to around 17 full-size football pitches.

Brighton and Hove is seeing heavy pressure on school places. Any decision to use some of this site will be subject to consultation with the community.

Schools: Playing Fields

Question

Asked by Baroness Jones of Whitchurch

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps the Department for Education is taking to preserve school playing fields for school sports activities. [HL1]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash): The protection of school playing fields continues to be a priority. Section 77 of the School Standards and Framework Act 1998 provides that publicly funded playing fields at maintained schools may not be disposed of without the consent of the Secretary of State. Schedule 14 to the Education Act 2011 strengthened this protection by providing that a change of use to other educational or recreational uses would also require the consent of the Secretary of State.

Additionally, Schedule 1 to the Academies Act 2010 provides that no publicly funded playing field land at an academy may be disposed of without the consent of the Secretary of State.

All applications to dispose of, or change, the use of playing field land are considered on their individual merits, including consideration of whether the sports and curricular needs of the school and neighbouring schools would continue to be met.

Search and Rescue Service

Question

Asked by Lord Stevens of Ludgate

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what checks they carried out as to the suitability of Bristow Helicopter Transportation Services to take on the contract for search and rescue services.[HL172]

Earl Attlee: The Department for Transport conducted the UK Search and Rescue Helicopter Services procurement using competitive dialogue. Extensive scrutiny of bidders’ submissions was undertaken during the tendering process.

21 May 2013 : Column WA70

Bristow Helicopters Ltd has 36 years experience of providing search and rescue services in the UK, including 24 years with the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (and its predecessor bodies). The company has received numerous awards for search and rescue missions it has undertaken, including Chief Coastguard’s Commendations, Coastguard Rescue Shields, the Prince Phillip Helicopter Award and the Queen’s Commendation for a mission in which 60 seamen were rescued.

Sudan

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the number of displaced Sudanese people resident in Yida refugee camp; whether the camp is refusing to register new occupants; what happens to those who are not registered; and whether they have access to food, clean water and health treatment.[HL144]

Baroness Northover: The UK monitors the refugee situation in South Sudan closely. UK officials visited both the Yida settlement and the new Adjoung Thok camp in April. At the last count by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) there were approximately 71,000 registered refugees in the Yida settlement. Around 1,000 new arrivals were recorded in April 2013. Yida is currently stable with rates of acute malnutrition reported to be in decline. The location of the Yida settlement, very close to the border between Sudan and South Sudan, continues to raise serious protection concerns.

In order to reduce congestion and encourage refugees to settle in a safer location, registration modalities have been modified in Yida and a new settlement, Adjoung Thok, has been established. It is in a safer location, 70 kilometres by road from the disputed border zone of Jaw, and fully operational. All new arrivals to Yida are registered and screened. In line with Government of South Sudan policy, newly arrived refugees are not receiving assistance in Yida. Following initial registration they are offered voluntary relocation to Adjoung Thok where they are given a full ration card, with access to food, water and healthcare. However, those who qualify for family reunion or who are severely malnourished do receive assistance and protection services in Yida, before voluntarily relocating to Adjoung Thok. There are currently 938 refugees, who were initially registered in Yida but have not relocated to Adjoung Thok. We are encouraging UNHCR and partners to strengthen nutrition screening and monitoring to capture any deterioration resulting from sharing of food.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have collected evidence from refugees in Yida refugee camp about the aerial bombardment of civilians living in Blue Nile and South Kordofan; and, if so, whether they intend to make such evidence available to the International Criminal Court.[HL145]

21 May 2013 : Column WA71

Baroness Warsi: We have not collected any evidence from refugees. As we made clear to the noble Lord in our previous response by the then Minister of State, the noble Lord Howell of Guildford, on 23 July 2012, Official Report, col. WAl22, any gathering of evidence should be carefully carried out by appropriate experts, ensuring the safety of those providing evidence and meeting the criteria for admissible evidence of relevance and reliability.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when the World Health Organisation and UNICEF were last able to deliver vaccines and medicines, under the auspices of the Government of Sudan, to combat and treat leprosy and tuberculosis in South Kordofan and the Blue Nile region of Sudan; and what are the implications of a failure to continue immunisation programmes in those areas.[HL146]

Baroness Northover: Vaccines and drugs continue to be delivered through government programmes in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile. However, vaccines and drugs are not being delivered in parts of these states that are outside government control.  A large number of children particularly will not have been vaccinated in the past two years, and this increases the risk of outbreaks of vaccine preventable disease.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what reports they have received about aerial bombardment of Blue Nile region and South Kordofan by the Government of Sudan, including any attempts to bomb trucks taking food into the areas.[HL147]

Baroness Warsi: We are deeply concerned by the ongoing conflict between the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (North) and the Government of Sudan, which includes reporting of bombardments and shelling of towns by both sides, and by the impact this has on civilians. We are not aware of food trucks being specifically targeted. We continue to urge both sides to negotiate in good faith at the talks in Addis Ababa, which are due to resume under African Union auspices in coming weeks. The ongoing violence, as well as restrictions by both sides, prevents access to conflict-affected areas.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the numbers of people (1) killed, (2) paralysed, or (3) in need of prosthesis as a result of losing limbs, following aerial bombardment of villages in South Kordofan and Blue Nile region; and what assistance is being provided to those people.[HL148]

Baroness Warsi: Without full access to both states, it is not possible to assess the full scale of those killed, paralysed or in need of prosthetics. The UK has consistently made it clear to the Government of Sudan and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement-North that they should negotiate a full ceasefire that leads to full humanitarian access. This will allow us to better

21 May 2013 : Column WA72

understand what help is needed, and to ensure that independent humanitarian agencies can start to provide the assistance required to all those in need.

The UK will provide approximately £1.3 million to the World Food Programme to support about 5,700 people in Blue Nile State with food assistance until December 2013. We are planning to undertake a monitoring visit by officials soon.

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what sources they use when making their assessment of the situation in Darfur.[HL160]

Baroness Warsi: The UK uses a wide range of sources to assess the situation in Darfur. This includes reporting from the African Union UN Mission in Darfur (UNAMID), UN development and humanitarian agencies, the UN Panel of Experts and non-governmental organisations working in Darfur. We also discuss the situation directly with the Government of Sudan, the Darfur Regional Authority, opposition political parties, representatives of the rebel armed groups, diaspora with contacts in Darfur, academics and civil society. We exchange information with the African Union, the US, the EU and other international partners. Our officials regularly visit Darfur to meet a range of contacts including ordinary Darfuris, and carry out our own assessment of the situation.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will publish their assessment of the outcomes and effectiveness of the United Kingdom Government-funded programme for the Sudanese National Police force aimed at developing a concept of community policing, including measurement, monitoring and evaluation criteria applied in their assessment. [HL222]

Baroness Northover: DfID publishes annual reviews, project completion reports and evaluation reports.

An annual review for DfID support to community policing interventions under the Safety and Access to Justice Programme is available on DfID’s website. This includes information on how the review was carried out and the indicators used. We are continuing to assess the effectiveness of our support to community policing in Sudan through independent reviews.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the Amnesty International report Sudan: Civilians Caught in Unending Crisis In Southern Khordofan, and in particular its criticism of conditions at the Yida refugee camp; and what assessment they have made of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees recommendation that refugees should relocate from Yida to other camps at Jam Jang. [HL224]

Baroness Northover: We are aware of theAmnesty International report and the recommendations made concerning UN High Commissioner for Refugee’s (UNHCR) management of the Yida settlement. We are

21 May 2013 : Column WA73

concerned about the proximity of the Yida settlement to the Sudan-South Sudan border and the risk that it will become increasingly overcrowded.  We support the decision of the Government of South Sudan and UNHCR to encourage relocation away from Yida and to open a new camp at Adjoung Thok, which UNHCR sees as a safer location, given its increased distance, particularly by road, from the insecure border region. We support UNHCR’s focus on the provision of life-saving assistance and protection at Yida, but welcome the fact that the full package of refugee services will be available at Adjoung Thok.   

Taxation: VAT

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what additional measures they are considering to counter VAT carousel fraud.[HL322]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): Current measures continue to be successful in reducing this highly organised criminal attack on the VAT system. The latest estimate for Missing Trader Intra-Community VAT fraud (which includes carousel fraud) is down from a £3 billion-£4 billion peak in 2005/06 to £0.5 billion-£1 billion in 2010/11.

HM Revenue & Customs remains vigilant and acts quickly to address any new and emerging fraud threats. With the support of extra investment from the Government, it continues to develop innovative ways to tackle this fraud operationally as well as seeking appropriate action at a European level.

Teachers: Training

Questions

Asked by Lord Quirk

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Nash on 25 April (WA 468), why, in the light of the Government’s responsibility for the content of curricula, accredited providers are responsible for ensuring that teachers are trained to teach those curricula.[HL54]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash): Initial teacher training (ITT) providers deliver training on behalf of the Secretary of State (in line with the ITT criteria). Accredited providers use their expertise to develop training courses in partnership with schools, which ensures that trainee teachers meet the teachers’ standards (which includes the curriculum).

Ofsted’s judgment of teacher performance relates directly to the teachers’ standards, which state that “a teacher must demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge”. In order for a provider to be judged to have outstanding quality of training across the partnership, trainees must demonstrate strong subject and curriculum knowledge.

21 May 2013 : Column WA74

Asked by Baroness Sharp of Guildford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many chemistry graduates entered initial teacher training in the past three years for which figures are available.[HL328]

Lord Nash: The following table shows the number of chemistry graduates entering initial teacher training in England (numbers are rounded to the nearest 10 and are collected in the annual initial teacher training performance profiles).

Other entrants may hold degrees that include an element of chemistry.

Academic yearUK degreenon-UK degree

2009-10

510

30

2010-11

430

30

2011-12

490

20

Asked by Baroness Sharp of Guildford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will consider extending the chemistry initial teacher training scholarship beyond the current year. [HL329]

Lord Nash: We are pleased with the success of the chemistry scholarships to date. We will publish our plans for next year in due course, building on the progress that we have made this year in chemistry and the other subjects where scholarships have made a valuable contribution to initial teacher training recruitment.

Transport: Disabled People

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what new measures they are considering to increase overall access by disabled people to public transport facilities and vehicles.[HL320]

Earl Attlee: The Department for Transport published its accessibility action plan in December 2012. “Transport for Everyone: an action plan to improve accessibility for all” seeks to address the remaining challenges faced by disabled people by improving physical accessibility, and attitudes and behaviour of others towards disabled passengers.

Specific new measures in the plan include developing a signage scheme outlining the rules around the use of the wheelchair space and priority seating on buses, improving the collection and sharing of data on harassment and making people feel more confident about reporting incidents. We also plan to build on the success of the Olympic Games Spectator Journey Planner by developing new characteristics for Transport Direct and extending coverage into more locations. Another priority is to improve equality awareness training packages for frontline staff.

21 May 2013 : Column WA75

The accessibility action plan is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/accessibility-action-plan.

Venezuela

Question

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the resolution of the International Democrat Union Executive at its Helsinki meeting on 14 April 2013 regarding the Venezuelan presidential elections.[HL88]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): We have been following the situation in Venezuela closely and took note of the

21 May 2013 : Column WA76

result of the presidential election announced on 14 April by the National Electoral Commission. We are aware of the resolution of the International Democrat Union (IDU) and Nicolas Maduro Moros was proclaimed winner and inaugurated as President on 19 April. The result was close, with just less than 1.5% between Nicolas Maduro and Henrique Capriles, including the votes from abroad, and Mr Capriles has subsequently lodged a formal legal challenge with the Venezuelan Supreme Court. It will now be for the court to look at these complaints, in line with the procedures set down in relevant legislation. In the meantime the Venezuelan electoral authorities have begun an audit of the votes, which is due to be completed by 4 June. As the IDU resolution points out, it is important that there is full confidence in the electoral system and the results.

The British Government look forward to working with the Government and people of Venezuela to strengthen our relationship and deepen co-operation in areas of mutual interest.