22 May 2013 : Column WA77

22 May 2013 : Column WA77

Written Answers

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Alcohol: Licensing

Question

Asked by Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many local authorities have implemented a late night levy, or an early morning restriction order, as provided for under the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Act 2011.[HL14]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): No licensing authorities have yet introduced a late night levy or an early morning restriction order. These measures were introduced in October last year and many licensing authorities are considering how they could benefit their areas. Newcastle and Milton Keynes have started consulting on whether to introduce a late night levy, while several licensing authorities, including Blackpool and Northampton, are actively considering whether to propose an early morning restriction order.

Armed Forces: Afghanistan

Questions

Asked by Lord Empey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what equipment they intend to donate to the Government of Afghanistan upon withdrawing combat troops from that jurisdiction in 2014.[HL96]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): As UK operations in Afghanistan draw down, operational commanders are identifying on a case-by-case basis the equipment and materiel that is no longer required. Once identified as surplus, a decision is made on whether to gift, sell, destroy or redeploy the equipment. In some cases we will not redeploy equipment or materiel because it is beyond economic repair or does not represent good value for money to return it to the UK.

Any gifting of equipment or materiel that takes place will be co-ordinated with the NATO Training Mission—Afghanistan (NTM-A) to ensure that it can be sustained by the Afghan National Security Forces (ANSF) in terms of cost of ownership, support and enduring training.

All proposals for gifting equipment will also of course follow parliamentary, HM Treasury and National Audit Office rules and will be assessed against the consolidated EU and national arms export licensing criteria. Any proposed gifting packages to the ANSF over £250,000 will be laid before Parliament at the appropriate time.

22 May 2013 : Column WA78

Asked by Lord Dykes

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have any plans to bring forward the withdrawal of United Kingdom military forces from Afghanistan. [HL321]

Lord Astor of Hever: In accordance with the strategy agreed at the NATO Lisbon summit in 2010, UK and ISAF forces will continue to operate in a combat role, albeit a reducing one, until the end of 2014. We remain firmly committed to the strategy and timescales agreed at Lisbon and to the principle of “in together, out together”.

As the Prime Minister stated during the Queen’s Speech, troop levels will have reduced to 7,900 by the end of May and will have reduced to around 5,200 by the end of 2013. Our drawdown will continue to be managed in line with the steady progress of the Afghan National Security Forces taking the lead for security across Afghanistan.

Armed Forces: Aircraft

Question

Asked by Lord Trefgarne

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the oversight of the airworthiness of military-registered contractor-owned aircraft on Ministry of Defence operations.[HL143]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Robust arrangements, as set out in the Military Aviation Authority (MAA) Regulatory Publications Framework, exist for the oversight of the airworthiness of military registered contractor owned aircraft (MRCOA).

Benefits

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government in each year between 2002 and 2012 how many of those granted (1) refugee, and (2) humanitarian protection status were (a) successful, and (b) unsuccessful in finding employment; and, of those, how many (i) applied for, and (ii) were awarded, welfare benefits.[HL313]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The DWP does not hold a central record of the information requested and estimates that to gather the information would incur disproportionate costs.

Commonwealth: Membership

Question

Asked by The Earl of Sandwich

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assistance they are giving to the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Government of South Sudan to facilitate South Sudan’s application for membership of the Commonwealth; and what progress is being made. [HL367]

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The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): We welcome South Sudan’s application to join the Commonwealth. UK programmes supporting good governance, human rights and rule of law in South Sudan are helping the country make progress towards meeting the criteria for membership. From 2011-15, the UK will provide approximately £100 million per year in aid to South Sudan. Ultimately, the decision on whether South Sudan satisfies the criteria for admission will be for the Commonwealth as a whole. We understand the Commonwealth Secretariat continues to liaise closely with the Government of South Sudan on this issue. We will continue to follow it closely.

Copyright

Question

Asked by Lord Clement-Jones

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the proposed exception to copyright for private copying will be accompanied by compensation for creators and rights holders.[HL248]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie): The exception for private copying will only allow an individual to reproduce copyright materials they already own. The rights holder will have been compensated at the point of sale. As the exception will not allow an individual to make copies for other people, and hence will not enable any individual to obtain copies for free, no additional compensation will be necessary.

Courts: High-value Civil Claims

Questions

Asked by Lord Beecham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their estimate of (1) the cost to the court system, and (2) the fee income generated, in conducting high-value civil claims involving foreign litigants in courts in England and Wales.[HL30]

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: Data available through administrative systems do not readily support the calculation of the cost to the court system or the fee income generated in conducting high value claims involving foreign litigants. HMCTS Annual Report and Accounts 2011-12 showed that the total fee recovery rate for civil and family court business was 85%. The department’s aim is that by March 2015 there will be full cost recovery for civil and family business.

Asked by Lord Beecham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of (1) the likely impact on the number of high-value civil claims, and (2) the consequential impact on court costs and income, as a result of their efforts to attract foreign litigants to courts in England and Wales.[HL31]

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Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The Ministry of Justice’s action plan: “UK Legal Services on the International Stage; Underpinning growth and Stability” outlines the Government’s next steps to promote this important part of the economy, including encouraging foreign litigants to come to the UK. We are now exploring how we can further enhance the position of the UK at the centre of the international legal market and the revenue it can generate. While there has been no assessment of the exact impact this will have on demand, we want to ensure that those who litigate in our courts pay their fair share, and that it is possible to raise the revenue and investment necessary to deliver an efficient and flexible service to court users.

Asked by Lord Beecham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the fee structure charged by courts for high-value civil claims involving foreign litigants.[HL32]

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: A range of fees are charged for court services as set out in fees orders. Differential fees for money claims are not charged based on the nationality or residence of the litigants.

Courts: Magistrates’ Courts

Questions

Asked by Lord Beecham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many district and deputy district judges have sat in magistrates' courts in each year from 2006 to 2012. [HL28]

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The number of district judges and deputy district judges who sat in the magistrates’ court in the years 2006 to 2012 are set out in the table below.

YearNumber of District JudgesNumber of Deputy District Judges

2006

141

137

2007

142

131

2008

137

127

2009

143

142

2010

142

141

2011

149

144

2012

142

173

Asked by Lord Beecham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what proportion of magistrates' courts hearings have been have been presided over by district judges in each year from 2006 to 2012.[HL29]

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: Data on the proportion of magistrates’ courts hearings presided over by district judges in each year from 2006 to 2012 are not available centrally. In order to identify this information, it would require a manual trawl of all cases in the magistrates’ court for the relevant period and could be obtained only at a disproportionate cost.

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Employment: Work Capability Assessments

Questions

Asked by The Countess of Mar

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many appeals against initial work capability assessments to either Jobcentre Plus decision-makers or the First Tier Tribunal have been successful; what percentage of total appeals have been successful; how many successful appeals were attributed to errors in assessments conducted by Atos Healthcare between March 2012 and March 2013; and what percentage of successful appeals in period those appeals represent.[HL115]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many work capability assessments have either not been challenged or have been appealed unsuccessfully; and what proportion of such assessments made between March 2012 and March 2013 those cases represent.[HL116]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The department regularly publishes official statistics on the outcomes of employment and support allowance (ESA) work capability assessments (WCAs) for new claims made to ESA and for incapacity benefits claimants being reassessed for ESA. The latest statistics include outcomes of appeals heard up to the end of February 2013 against Fit for Work decisions at initial WCAs (for new ESA claims that started between October 2008 and February 2012) and can be found on the internet at the link below (table 3).

Employment and Support Allowance: Outcomes of Work Capability Assessments, Great Britain: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/workingage/esa_wca/esa_ wca_20130430.xls.

Information on how many successful appeals were attributed to errors in assessments conducted by Atos Healthcare is not available.

EU: Trade Agreements

Question

Asked by Lord Harrison

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what meetings Ministers have had with their European counterparts on the subject of agricultural subsidies in the context of the European Union-United States trade agreement. [HL308]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): Discussions on the European Union-United States Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) are at an early stage. This potentially has considerable benefits for the UK, as the TTIP could add around £l0 billion annually to the UK GDP. The TTIP is the top trade priority of the Government and the Secretary of State will be discussing, in due course, this agreement with other EU member states.

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G8

Questions

Asked by Lord Harrison

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the issue of affordable access to medicines for the poorest countries will be included in the agenda for the G8 summit in 2013.[HL306]

Baroness Northover: The Prime Minister (PM) outlined his agenda for the UK’s G8 presidency in a speech to the World Economic Forum at Davos in January. The PM wants to use the UK’s G8 presidency to push for fairer taxes, greater transparency and freer trade and the G8 summit will focus on these issues. These are critical issues for sustainable development and addressing them will help to unlock resources in developing countries for tackling issues that affect the poorest people. Improving affordable access to medicines continues to be a high priority for the UK. We support the provision of health commodities through global partnerships, in addition to funding research and development into new vaccines, medicines and diagnostics for conditions that affect millions of poor people.

Asked by Lord Harrison

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the elimination of agricultural subsidies in developed countries will be included in the agenda for the G8 summit in 2013.[HL307]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): The G8 summit 2013 discussions will offer an important opportunity to affirm our shared commitment to trade liberalisation and give political endorsement to progress on the international trade agenda, which will help to promote growth and jobs.

Government Departments: Meetings

Question

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government on what dates the Prime Minister’s Business Advisory Group met in (1) 2010, (2) 2011, (3) 2012, and (4) 2013 to date; and what were the names of the attendees at each meeting.[HL289]

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Hill of Oareford): Details of ministerial meetings with external organisations are published on a quarterly basis. Details can be accessed on the Cabinet Office website at: https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/ cabinet-office/series/ministers-transparency-publications.

Government Departments: Staff

Questions

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many staff are currently directly employed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.[HL194]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie): The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills currently employs 3,080 staff. To note this figure is at 30 April 2013 and is based on staff on payroll and includes UK Trade and Investment (UKTI).

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many staff were directly employed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in May 2010. [HL195]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills employed 3607 staff in May 2010. This figure is based on staff on payroll and includes UK Trade and Investment (UKTI).

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many staff are currently located at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in (1) London, (2) Manchester, (3) Leeds, (4) Gateshead, (5) Birmingham, (6) Nottingham, (7) Cambridge, (8) Guildford, and (9) Bristol.[HL196]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: The table below shows how many staff are currently located at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills in (1) London, (2) Manchester, (3) Leeds, (4) Gateshead, (5) Birmingham, (6) Nottingham, (7) Cambridge, (8) Guildford, and (9) Bristol. To note these figures are at 30 April 2013 and are based on staff on payroll and includes UKTI.

LocationNumber of BIS Staff

London

2473

Manchester

23

Leeds

16

Gateshead

17

Birmingham

87

Nottingham

28

Cambridge

0

Guildford

9

Bristol

0

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many staff were employed by each of the regional development agencies in May 2010.[HL198]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: The number of staff in post in each of the regional development agencies (RDAs) outside London in May 2010 was as follows:

Advantage West Midlands

330

East of England Development Agency

241

East Midlands Development Agency

274

North West Development Agency

503

One North East

419

South East of England Development Agency

257

South West of England Regional Development Agency

346

Yorkshire Forward

455

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The number of staff in post at the London Development Agency (LDA) in May 2010 is not available. On 1 April 2010 the number of staff in post at the LDA was 430.

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many staff directly employed by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills have the qualifications of (1) Master of Business Administration, (2) Chartered Accountant, or (3) Chartered Financial Analyst. [HL292]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills does not hold this information and it could be obtained only with disproportionate costs.

Health: Chlamydia

Questions

Asked by Lord Patel of Bradford

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many men and women were screened by each local chlamydia screening programme in (1) 2010, (2) 2011, and (3) 2012; and what steps are being taken to increase the uptake of chlamydia screening among men.[HL187]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many black, Asian and minority ethnic men and women were screened by each local chlamydia screening programme in (1) 2010, (2) 2011, and (3) 2012; and what steps they are taking to increase the uptake of chlamydia screening among black, Asian and minority ethnic men.[HL188]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The numbers of chlamydia screening tests undertaken on 15-24 year-olds (the age range covered by the National Chlamydia Screening Programme) in the past three years are: (1) in 2009, 609,954 men and 1,253,640 women; (2) in 2010, 832,690 men and 1,460,136 women; and (3) in 2011, 701,869 men and 1,378,406 women.

The number of chlamydia screening tests undertaken on black, Asian and minority ethnic young adults aged 15-24 in past three years are as follows: (1) in 2009, 56,182 males and 79,803 females; (2) in 2010, 73,464 males and 90,748 females; and (3) in 2011, 62,705 males and 83,876 females.

Steps taken to increase chlamydia screening among young men including black, Asian and minority ethnic young men include the provision of guidance to local areas by the National Chlamydia Screening Programme, along with detailed data to show which groups have low uptake. These support local commissioners in ensuring all sections of the community have good access to chlamydia screening. With regard to young men for whom English is not their first language, steps include provision of patient information in a variety of languages and translation services. Other steps include working with educational providers (predominantly sixth form and colleges, including particularly male dominated courses such as engineering and building); undertaking

22 May 2013 : Column WA85

targeted media campaigns, social marketing campaigns, mail and web campaigns; and introducing or increasing online and postal access to screening. Data show that young men are more likely to access chlamydia screening through internet-based services than through sexual health or primary care services.

House of Lords: Staff

Questions

Asked by Lord Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay

To ask the Chairman of Committees how many people work in the House of Lords on zero-hours contacts, and in which areas; when the practice started; and what consideration was given to standards of service and commitment from employees employed under those contracts.[HL39]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Sewel): Zero-hours contracts were introduced in Hansard (currently 19 contracts) in 2010 and in Catering and Retail Services (currently 26 contracts) in 2011. Zero-hours contracts were introduced in both Hansard and CRS to replace existing “casual” contracts. The zero-hours contracts, when compared to the previous casual contracts, give zero-hours staff the same employment rights enjoyed by permanent staff with the exception that those on zero-hours contracts can turn down work. These rights include access to pensions, annual leave accrued at higher than the statutory rate and occupational sick pay, which staff on the casual contracts did not previously receive. The standards of service and commitment expected from zero-hours staff are the same as those expected of permanent staff.

Asked by Lord Greaves

To ask the Chairman of Committees whether the House of Lords pays its staff at least the London Living Wage; and whether it requires its contractors to do the same.[HL131]

The Chairman of Committees: The House of Lords Management Board agreed in February 20I13 that, with effect from 1 February 2013, all the staff of the House of Lords Administration should be paid at least the London Living Wage (LLW).

With regard to contractors, the House Administration has been advised that it is not legally permissible to require them to pay the LLW. However, the following bicameral policy was agreed in February 2013:

“The Houses of Parliament will consider on a case by case basis whether it is appropriate to hold discussions with a supplier to encourage the payment of the London Living Wage to staff routinely employed on the Parliamentary Estate, as one way for good employers to maintain skilled and stable teams. We will have regard to the nature of the contract in question; and balance the need to find efficiencies and achieve value for money from our procurement process with the potential benefits that may be derived from payment of the LLW. Parliament will require that contractors' staff are paid the statutory minimum wage and will through its terms and conditions of contract ensure the wellbeing of the workforce is protected and diversity promoted”.

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Intestate Estates

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how long property forming estates of intestate deceased persons may be held before being disposed of; and what criteria are used in deciding whether such properties are disposed of at an earlier point.[HL128]

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: There is no time limit specified by which assets must be disposed of by the personal representatives of a deceased person’s estate. The personal representatives of a person who died intestate are responsible for the proper administration and distribution of the deceased's estate. In particular they are responsible for the collection and where appropriate realisation of the assets of the deceased, for the payment of the expenses of the administration, the deceased’s debts and any inheritance tax liability in respect of the estate, and for the distribution of the assets to the persons entitled to them. The time necessary to carry out these responsibilities, including disposing of real property, will vary from case to case depending on the circumstances.

Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002

Questions

Asked by Lord Empey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government who selected the organisations listed in Section 46(1) of the Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002; and why those organisations were selected.[HL245]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why the Central Investigation Service within the Northern Ireland Department of Agriculture and Rural Development was not specified in Section 46 of the Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002.[HL246]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Wales Office (Baroness Randerson): Section 46 of the Justice (Northern Ireland) Act 2002 was enacted by the previous Administration so I am not able to comment on why particular organisations were or were not included in Section 46(1) of the Act.

The content of Section 46, including the power to make amendments to the list of bodies subject to it, was devolved by the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (Devolution of Policing and Justice Functions) Order 2010 and is now a matter for the Northern Ireland Minister for Justice.

Local Authorities: Assets of Community Value

Question

Asked by Lord Storey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many nominations for inclusion on each local authority's list of assets of community value in (1) Merseyside,

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(2) the North West of England, and (3) England, have been (a) accepted, and (b) rejected; and how many assets have been removed from each authority’s list to date.[HL201]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): As part of the Government’s policy to shift power away from central departments to local people and their elected representatives, the department does not formally collect information on the number of nominations made to local authorities under the assets of community value scheme. Local authorities are responsible for keeping and managing a list of these assets themselves.

National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence

Question

Asked by Baroness Masham of Ilton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government who is responsible for ensuring that the 2011 National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidance on the management of low-risk basal cell carcinomas in the community is implemented safely.[HL104]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence’s cancer service guidance is not mandatory. It represents evidence-based best practice and we would expect National Health Service organisations to take it fully into account as they design services to meet the needs of patients. It is for NHS organisations to consider how best to implement the guidance safely.

Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether clause 7 of the Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill extends the life of the present Northern Ireland Assembly; and whether the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland is content that the provisions of that clause are compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights.[HL262]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Wales Office (Baroness Randerson): Clause 7 of the Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill would extend the life of the present Northern Ireland Assembly by one year. This will create consistency in the current electoral cycle for each of the devolved legislatures across the United Kingdom. The Secretary of State is content that this provision is compatible with the European Convention on Human Rights and has signed a statement to that effect.

22 May 2013 : Column WA88

Northern Ireland Parades Commission

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which commissioners have attended meetings of the Northern Ireland Parades Commission at which determinations were made since 1 January 2010; when those meetings took place; what determinations were made; and which way the individual commissioners voted. [HL330]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much each Commissioner of the Northern Ireland Parades Commission has been paid by the commission in total since 1 January 2010.[HL331]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many disputes about employment at the Northern Ireland Parades Commission required (1) dismissal of an employee, and (2) the case going to a tribunal, since 1 January 2010; and how much each case cost. [HL332]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Wales Office (Baroness Randerson): These are operational matters for the Parades Commission for Northern Ireland, which operates independently of Government. The noble Lord may wish to write to the commission directly on these matters.

Northern Ireland: Legislation

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Randerson on 23 April (WA 418), whether they will maintain and publish a list on the Cabinet Office website of Legislative Consent Motions (LCM) sought of the devolved Assemblies in Northern Ireland and Wales and the Scottish Parliament by Whitehall departments in each parliamentary session, and the results of the request; and what were the LCM requests made in the past two years to the Northern Ireland Executive that were refused or not proceeded with.[HL263]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which of the Bills announced in the Queen's speech will extend to Northern Ireland; which Bills require the consent of the Northern Ireland Assembly in relation to provisions in the devolved field; what proportion of each Bill might require consent; and what are the particular aspects involved in each case if not the whole of the bill.[HL264]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Wales Office (Baroness Randerson): Legislative consent Motions (LCMs) are drafted and taken forward in the devolved legislatures by the devolved Administrations. Details of the LCMs passed in each parliamentary Session can be found on the websites of the three legislatures in question as follows:

http://www.niassembly.gov.uk (LCM information can be found through the “aims” portal)

22 May 2013 : Column WA89

http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/parliamentarybusiness/Bills/31313.aspxhttp://www.assemblywales.org/bus-home/research/bus-assembly-publications-monitoring-services/bus-lcm_monitor.htm

Whitehall departments have many discussions with Northern Ireland departments about the benefit of extending legislation to Northern Ireland. No central records are kept by the Northern Ireland Office of requests made by the NI Executive over the past two years for legislative consents for the extension of provisions in Westminster Bills to Northern Ireland that were refused and not proceeded with.

As the recent Written Ministerial Statement on the application of the Government’s legislative programme to Northern Ireland stated (Official Report, col. 10WS) discussions are ongoing between the Government and the Northern Ireland Executive on Bills that might include provisions that require the consent of the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Nuclear Disarmament

Question

Asked by Lord Judd

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the likely outcome of the second session of the United Nations Conference on Disarmament; what are their objectives for the session; and what contribution they have made to the call for reports on the proposal for a Group of Government Experts.[HL363]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): The UK wishes to see the conference on disarmament agree a comprehensive and balanced programme of work, and begin immediately the negotiation of a treaty banning the production of fissile material for use in nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices in accordance with the report of the Special Co-ordinator of 1995 (CD/1299) and the mandate contained therein. No programme of work has been agreed since 1996 and we remain disappointed that Pakistan has continued to block proposals. We continue to work with partners to consider potential solutions that will allow us to make progress.

The UK supported the resolution at last year’s United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) First Committee to create a Group of Government Experts (GGE) to discuss the issues surrounding a fissile material cut-off treaty and, although its membership is still being considered by the UN, we expect to take an active part in the GGE. We hope that it will prove to be a useful mechanism to kick-start negotiations within the conference on disarmament. The UN Office for Disarmament Affairs requested that member states submit their views to inform preparations for this GGE, and a copy of our submission will shortly be placed in the Library of the House.

22 May 2013 : Column WA90

Pensions

Question

Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much British citizens who qualify for the full state pension, and who have lived since reaching retirement age in countries or territories where the pension is not uprated each year, are eligible to receive if they are (1) 65 when they begin drawing the pension, (2) 75 and began drawing the pension at age 65, (3) 85 and began drawing the pension at age 65, and (4) 95 and began drawing the pension at age 65; and what is the reason for any distinction in eligibility.[HL111]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): A British citizen who has lived since retirement in a country or territory where the UK state pension is not uprated each year will receive their pension at the rate at which they were entitled when they first claimed their state pension or, if they move to the country or territory once their pension is in payment, at the rate in payment when they move.

A man who claims his pension at age 65 in 2013-14 and who is eligible for a full rate basic state pension will receive £110.15. He may also be entitled to an amount of additional pension.

The document in the link below (pages 14–15) sets out the rates of full basic state pension for each year from 1948-2011. This shows the rates payable to a man in an equivalent position who claimed his pension at age 65 in an earlier year: http://statistics.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd1/abstract/abstract2011.pdf.

Poverty

Question

Asked by Lord Ouseley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they will take to minimise disadvantages for the 3.4 million children in the United Kingdom projected to be in relative poverty in 2020 by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.[HL192]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): It is not possible accurately to predict income and poverty rates in 2020 and the Government believe it unwise to assume the figures forecast by the Institute for Fiscal Studies will reflect the full picture of what will happen in 2020.

The coalition Government remain committed to ending child poverty and the Child Poverty Act 2010. They also understand that poverty is about more than income alone and that is why we need to focus on the root causes

The Government are taking action on child poverty and believe that work remains the best way out of poverty. The introduction of universal credit will simplify the benefit system and ensure that work is always the best option. In March we announced additional

22 May 2013 : Column WA91

childcare support of £200 million within universal credit, to be phased in from 2016. Raising the tax threshold will lift 2.7 million people out of paying income tax altogether.

Education is the most effective way of ensuring poor children do not become poor adults so we have increased nursery and pre-school provision. 260,000 disadvantaged two year-olds will receive 15 hours per week and three and four year-olds benefit from 20% more hours free pre-school education.

The Government are absolutely determined to close the attainment gap between disadvantaged pupils and their peers because it is unacceptable for children’s achievement at school and success in life to be constrained by economic disadvantage. We are investing £2.5 billion in the pupil premium and £1.2 billion for capital investments in schools. The pupil premium, which is additional to main school funding, is the best way to address the current underlying inequalities between disadvantaged children and their peers by ensuring that funding to tackle disadvantage reaches the pupils who need it most.

It is also important that local authorities play their part, as required by the Child Poverty Act. Their needs assessments should identify problems particular to their areas and their strategies should address these. We believe that local people understand the issues in their area best, and local authorities are therefore best placed to tackle them, and we have published guidance and offered support to them in doing this.

Prisoners and Young Offenders

Question

Asked by Lord Beecham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many (1) adult prisoners, and (2) young offenders, in custodial institutions in the North East of England were resident in each other region of the United Kingdom before transfer to the North East of England. [HL227]

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon: The following table shows, as at 31 March 2013, the number of male and female adult prisoners and young offenders (aged 18-20 years old) held in prisons in the NOMS north-east region first held in a prison outside the NOMS north-east region.

The following table excludes 209 young offenders (18 to 20 years old) and 3,265 adult prisoners who have been held in a prison in the north-east NOMS region throughout their period in custody.

Male and Female Prisoners (as at 31 March 2013) held in prisons in the NOMS North East region that were first held in a prison outside the NOMS North East region.
AreaYoung offenders (aged 18 - 20)Adult Prisoners (aged 21 and over)

East Midlands

5

63

East of England

1

54

London

1

117

North West

66

403

South East

61

22 May 2013 : Column WA92

South West

31

Wales

1

22

West Midlands

63

Yorkshire & Humberside

205

467

Information on offenders’ residences is provided by offenders on reception into prison and recorded on a central IT system. Addresses can include a home address, an address to which offenders intend to return on discharge or next of kin address and these figures are included in the table.

If no address is given, an offender’s committal court address is used as a proxy for the area in which they are resident. No address has been recorded and no court information is available for around 3% of all offenders. These figures are excluded from the table.

These figures have been drawn from administrative IT systems, which, as with any large-scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing.

The Ministry of Justice published Transforming Rehabilitation: A Strategy for Reform on 9 May setting out the reforms for how offenders will be rehabilitated in the community in the future. Under our proposals, we expect that the vast majority of offenders will be returned to a “resettlement prison” designated to their home area for at least the final three months of their time in custody so that offenders receive a continuous “though the gate” package of effective support delivered by the same provider in custody and the community.

Public Sector

Question

Asked by Lord Dykes

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have plans to increase longer-term public sector infrastructure outlays for the purpose of increasing total overall non-inflationary demand.[HL43]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): At Budget, the Government announced that they will increase their capital expenditure plans by £3 billion per annum from 2015-16. Detailed plans will be announced at the spending review. This will include long-term plans for most economically valuable areas of spend.

As a result of this change and previous increases to capital spending plans, 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.

The Office for Budget Responsibility’s estimated fiscal multipliers suggest that infrastructure investment has a larger effect on the economy than other forms of government spending.

22 May 2013 : Column WA93

Royal Mail

Questions

Asked by Lord Dykes

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to retain Royal Mail as a public sector company able to make profits and subject to HM Treasury control.[HL258]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie): It is the Government’s intention to conduct a sale of Royal Mail shares this financial year (2013-14) to give it future access to private capital and the accompanying commercial disciplines needed to secure the future of business and the universal service.

This is in line with the recommendations of the Independent Review of the Postal Service, led by Richard Hooper, in its report in 2008 and its updated report in 2010, which were accepted by Government and enabled by Parliament through the Postal Services Act 2011.

We have not made a decision on the precise form a transaction will take. Once we have made a decision to undertake a sale we will report the details to Parliament as required by the Postal Services Act. However, it is not our intention to retain a stake in the longer term.

Asked by Lord Dykes

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, in their planned flotation of shares in Royal Mail, they will ensure that priority is given to employees of Royal Mail to buy shares in addition to the 10% already reserved for them.[HL323]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: It is too early to confirm any details regarding the sale or the options for share ownership for employees, beyond our obligation to make available at least 10% of the shares in Royal Mail for an employee share scheme by the time the Government have sold their last share. However, it is very much the Government’s intention that the offer will be attractive to Royal Mail’s employees. The success of any company is dependent on its employees and they should be able to have a real stake in the business.

Sudan

Questions

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 training programme for the Government of Sudan National Human Rights Commission, including measurement, monitoring and evaluation criteria applied in their assessment.[HL220]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): Our embassy in Khartoum, through its bilateral programme fund, funded a joint

22 May 2013 : Column WA94

project by the Nottingham Human Rights Law Centre, the Cairo Institute for Human Rights and the Palestinian Human Rights Commission to provide training and supporting literature on international human rights law to the Sudanese National Human Rights Commission. Establishing a national Human Rights Commission was a key recommendation from the consideration of Sudan under the UN Human Rights Council’s Universal Periodic Review in September 2011.

This project took place during the 2012-13 financial year, which has only just closed. Therefore the final evaluation of the project is still under way. Our early assessment is that the project was effective in assisting the commission to define its role and begin its work, and helped to build links with other more established human rights bodies in the region. The full evaluation will assess the project’s impact, effectiveness and efficiency in achieving the project goals. Once this has been completed, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will share the results of the assessment with the noble Lord.

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 training members of the Sudanese Armed Forces managing defence in the wider security context, including measurement, monitoring and evaluation criteria applied in assessing progress made in reducing the incidence of human rights abuses and atrocities in that country.[HL221]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Managing defence in the wider security context (MDWSC) is a seven week course aimed at middle-ranking officers and officials. It examines approaches to the governance and management of defence in developed and transitional democracies and addresses issues such as policy development, leadership, governance, international law, and change management.

Like all UK military education and training for overseas nations, it presents the same foundations of rule of law, democratic control of armed forces, and respect for human rights as underpin training to our own Armed Forces. Since 2010, three Sudanese officers have attended the MDWSC in the UK. Three short courses providing a condensed version of the MDWSC have also been delivered at the Higher Military Academy in Khartoum, attended by approximately 75 Sudanese officers.

The MDWSC has provided a platform for the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) Sudan country team to present, for the first time, to the Sudanese military on the role of the ICRC within Sudan, thereby supporting wider international efforts to encourage respect for international humanitarian law.

Defence education in Sudan targets potential future leaders within the Sudanese military and is intended to inculcate a mind set of change, encouraging acceptance of the need for greater accountability, improved respect for human rights, and a longer term process of reform.

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The Sudanese military recognises the need for such education and appreciates its delivery. Since we have begun delivering education in Khartoum, Sudan has introduced a junior staff course, taught in English and open to an international audience, that reflects some of the principles taught on courses such as MDWSC and should contribute to the longer term process of reform of the Sudanese armed forces.

UK Trade

Questions

Asked by Lord Dykes

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what policy options they are studying to overcome the long-term inability of the United Kingdom to generate a trade surplus.[HL257]

The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint): The Government are taking co-ordinated and targeted policy action that will lead to an improvement in the UK’s balance of payments. The Government are working hard to provide support and tools to help increase UK exports, working to liberalise trade with emerging and established markets, and with the Government's industrial strategy setting out a long-term, whole of government approach to supporting business in order to give confidence now for investment and growth.

Key elements of this work include increasing capacity to support companies—for example, via British chambers of commerce overseas—increasing the number of international trade advisers in the English regions, increasing the funding available to support companies exhibiting at their first overseas trade shows, and pursuing EU free trade agreements with the USA, Japan, and many high-growth emerging markets.

Asked by Lord Dykes

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they intend to reduce the United Kingdom's net trade deficit with Italy.[HL259]

Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint: UK exports of goods to Italy fell significantly in 2012, reflecting weaker demand in Italy and EU markets more widely. This fall followed on the back of strong growth in the previous two years. In 2011 the value of UK exports to Italy saw a year-on-year increase of over £1billion, overtaking Spain as the UK’s 7th largest market for goods.

The first two months of 2013 have seen a slight growth in exports to Italy and a reduction in the value of imports, improving our trade deficit. It is too early to say whether we are seeing signs of a recovery, but this is a promising start.

Rebalancing the economy and removing our trade deficit is a top priority for the Government. To achieve this, the Prime Minister has made it clear that we need to get an additional 100,000 more companies exporting and the Chancellor has set a target of more than doubling our exports to £1 trillion by 2020.

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Italy is an important export market for the UK and UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) has a dedicated trade team providing support and advice to UK companies trading in or looking to enter the Italian market. UKTI Italy is focusing its efforts on priority sectors that will provide the best returns for the UK economy, including defence and security.

Universal Credit

Questions

Asked by Baroness Lister of Burtersett

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether their estimates of gains and losses under universal credit take account of the impact of the whole month approach to changes of circumstances.[HL232]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the balance of gains and losses to claimants that will result from the introduction of the whole month approach to changes of circumstances.[HL233]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The whole month approach to changes of circumstances will be beneficial to many households. A couple with one child, for example, who have a second child half way through their assessment period, will have the additional £226.67 added to their universal credit (UC) award for the whole month, rather than for just the period after the birth of the new baby.

We expect there to be more positive than negative changes of circumstances in UC. Therefore we expect the whole month approach to changes of circumstances to have an overall positive impact for the UC case load and to have a small net cost to the Exchequer of under £50 million per year once universal credit is fully implemented. These estimates were included in the latest UC costs published at Budget 2013.

The impact of the whole month approach to change of circumstances in UC has not been assessed at an individual household level. The impacts of universal credit, as reported in the impact assessment, do not cover changes in circumstances as they are based on analysis of survey data at a particular point in time which does not allow for understanding how people’s circumstances might change during a given month.

Waste Management: Fly-tipping

Questions

Asked by Viscount Goschen

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many recorded incidences of fly-tipping there have been in the past five years; and what has been the cost to local authorities.[HL335]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): Local authorities in England have recorded 4.96 million incidents of fly-tipping in the past five years. The estimated cost to local authorities of clearing the fly-tipped waste was £243 million.

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A breakdown by financial year is provided in the table below.

YearNumber of fly-tips dealt with by local authorities in England*Estimated clearance costs (£m)*

2011-12

744,000

37.4

2010-11

820,000

41.3

2009-10

947,000

45.8

2008-09

1,165,000

55.0

2007-08

1,284,000

63.7

Total

4,960,000

243.2

*Source: Environment Agency Flycapture database

Note: Some of the reduction in the number of fly-tipping incidents will be due to changes in the reporting arrangements of some local authorities over time.

Asked by Viscount Goschen

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what measures they are taking to combat fly-tipping; and what impact those measures have had.[HL336]

Lord De Mauley: Following the 2011 review of waste policy in England, action to tackle fly-tipping has been taken forward on a number of fronts.

We are making it easier for businesses to dispose of their waste legally. This includes, for instance, a responsibility deal committing the waste industry to offer smaller businesses more accessible contracts and understand their waste management responsibilities, and a best practice guide to assist local authorities or waste management companies in setting up “bring sites” in business parks and other suitable sites.

We are cracking down on waste offenders by working with the Sentencing Council to ensure that fines and sentences act as a real deterrent and strengthening the powers of local authorities and the Environment Agency to stop, search and seize the vehicles of suspected waste criminals.

We are taking action through the Defra-chaired National Fly-tipping Prevention Group. The group has helped develop a draft fly-tipping partnership framework outlining best practice for the prevention, reporting, investigation and clearance of fly-tipping. The framework is currently being finalised ahead of publication. Defra is also funding two pilot projects during 2013-14, in Suffolk and Swindon, to test the best practice options outlined in the framework.

22 May 2013 : Column WA98

While there has been a reduction in reported fly-tipping in recent years, local authorities still recorded 744,000 incidents in 2011-12. We will continue work with interested parties to identify measures to reduce this further.

Asked by Viscount Goschen

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what analysis they have made of any link between charging business users to use landfill sites and the incidence of fly-tipping.[HL337]

Lord De Mauley: There has been no specific analysis carried out to explore a link between increasing landfill charges and fly-tipping incidents. However, data reported by local authorities to the Environment Agency’s flycapture database since it was set up in 2004 shows that the number of fly-tipping incidents has been decreasing each year, from a high of 2.6 million incidents in 2006-07 to 744,000 in 2011-12. However, some of the reduction in the number of fly-tipping incidents will be due to changes in the reporting arrangements of some local authorities over time.

The cost of landfill has steadily increased in recent years, in part due to the landfill tax, in order to decrease waste going to landfill and encourage more recycling and recovery.

Zimbabwe

Question

Asked by The Earl of Sandwich

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the possibility of an appeal by Zimbabwe through the World Food Programme for maize imports in the coming year.[HL368]

Baroness Northover: DfID is in close touch with the World Food Programme (WFP) on assessing the food situation. Early indications arc that this year’s harvest will not meet food needs, though the Government of Zimbabwe’s (GoZ) official assessment is yet to he released. It is therefore possible that a formal GoZ appeal through WFP for maize imports could be forthcoming. Recently, different GoZ Ministers have mentioned the importance of continued donor support to WFP’s seasonal targeted assistance programme.