1 July 2013 : Column WA169

1 July 2013 : Column WA169

Written Answers

Monday 1 July 2013

The following 12 Questions were received on Friday 28 June 2013

Israel

Questions

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the potential of the European Union, as Israel’s main trading partner, to press for serious peace negotiations in that country.[HL867]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): The position of the European Union is that now is the time to take real steps towards peace and all parties including Israel must engage in direct and substantial negotiations in order to achieve a lasting solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. As set out at the December EU Foreign Affairs Council, the European Union understands the urgency of renewed, structured and substantial peace efforts in 2013 and is working with the US, the parties, and other international partners to achieve a negotiated peace based on the two-state solution. The Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Aylesbury (Mr Lidington) will be discussing the Middle East Peace Process at the European Union Foreign Affairs Council on 24 June.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what recent discussions they have held with the government of Israel concerning West Bank and Israeli markets re-opening to Gazan produce.[HL871]

Baroness Warsi: We agree on the importance of re-opening access to West Bank and Israeli markets for Gazan products. The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Mr Burt) saw again the effect of the continued restrictions when he visited Gaza during his visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories from 11-13 June. We continue to press the Israeli Government to ease those restrictions, particularly on access to West Bank and Israeli markets.

Middle East Peace Process

Questions

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the continuing role of the Quartet in the Middle East Peace Process.[HL868]

1 July 2013 : Column WA170

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): The Government supports the aims and objectives of the Quartet. The Quartet has an important role to play in bringing Israelis and Palestinians together as we urgently seek to move the peace process forward. We strongly support Secretary Kerry’s current work in this context.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what framework of accountability has been built into Tony Blair’s role as Quartet Representative.[HL869]

Baroness Warsi: The Quartet Representative is charged with supporting Palestinian state building and promoting economic growth in the West Bank in line with the Quartet's mandate, and reports directly to the Quartet. The UK works closely with Tony Blair as the Quartet’s Special Representative in our joint efforts to support current US engagement on the peace process.

Israel and Palestine: West Bank and Gaza

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact on economic growth in the West Bank and Gaza of Palestinian independence and freedom to trade.[HL870]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): The Government continues to assess that Israeli restrictions on movement and access in the West Bank and Gaza are the single biggest obstacle to trade and economic development, and hence one of the most important causes of the current financial difficulties of the Palestinian Authority. This is in line with the assessment of the World Bank's Economic Monitoring Report to the Ad Hoc Liaison Committee (AHLC) on 19 March 2013. An easing of these restrictions is vital for the Palestinian economy to flourish.

As the International Monetary Fund's report to the AHLC noted, the limited progress in reducing restrictions has led to a rise in unemployment (up to 22.9 percent in the last quarter of 2012 from 21.0 percent during the same period in 2011), a decline in public services and the halving of growth in the West Bank and Gaza (from 12.2 percent in 2011 to six percent in 2012). Exports of goods are seven percent of Gross Domestic Product which is among the lowest in the world.

The result is harm to the long term competitiveness of the Palestinian economy. It is also deeply counterproductive for progress towards a negotiated two state solution. We continue to lobby the Israeli government to ease its restrictions on movement and access and would like to see increased movement of goods between the West Bank, Gaza, Israel and beyond.

1 July 2013 : Column WA171

Gaza

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have held recently with European ministers with regard to protecting the lives and livelihoods of Gazan fishermen.[HL872]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): The Political and Security Committee of the Council of EU has discussed the issue of Gaza a number of times; the last time Gaza was raised was on 24 April.

Officials from the UK representative to the EU and our Consulate-General in Jerusalem regularly discuss the situation in Gaza with their European counterparts. Those discussions cover the security and human rights of Palestinians living in Gaza. Our Consul-General visited Gaza with other EU heads of missions on 26 February. The situation in Gaza was also addressed in the last EU Foreign Affairs Council conclusions to be agreed on the Middle East peace process in December 2012.

The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my honourable friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Mr Burt), also met Gazan fishermen to hear about the challenges facing them in Gaza on 13 June.

EU: Roma

Questions

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of Amnesty International UK’s briefing, Human rights on the margins: Roma in Europe, what action they are taking to guarantee the compliance of fellow member states with European Union anti-discrimination law and human rights standards with regard to Roma; and whether they will make representations to the European Union Commissioner for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship in that regard.[HL888]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): The Government has noted Amnesty International UK's briefing, Human rights on the margins; Roma in Europe. The Government agrees that, in many parts of Europe, Roma experience high levels of poverty, discrimination and exclusion. We think it is important that countries with large and disadvantaged Roma populations take effective action to improve the situation of their Roma nationals. The UK plays a full and constructive part in discussions on Roma integration in international organisations, such as the European Union, the Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. We are committed to working with our European partners to improve the social and economic situation of the Roma, and British embassies are active on Roma issues in a number of European countries with large Roma populations.

1 July 2013 : Column WA172

Asked by Baroness Whitaker

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what lessons for the United Kingdom they have learnt from the World Bank report Reducing Vulnerability and Promoting the Self-employment of Roma in Eastern Europe Through Financial Inclusion.[HL891]

Baroness Warsi: The Government has noted the World Bank's report Reducing Vulnerability and Promoting the Self-employment of Roma in Eastern Europe though Financial Inclusion. The Government agrees that, in many parts of Europe, Roma experience high levels of poverty, discrimination and exclusion. We think it is important that countries with large and disadvantaged Roma populations take effective action to improve the situation of their Roma nationals.

The UK plays a full and constructive part in discussions on Roma integration in international organisations, such as the EU, Council of Europe and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe. We are committed to working with our European partners to improve the social and economic situation of the Roma, and our Embassies are active on Roma issues in a number of European countries with large Roma populations, such as those featured in the World Bank's report.

In 2013, our Embassy in Bucharest facilitated a twinning partnership between local authorities in Rotherham and Craiova (SW Romania) on Roma social inclusion issues. The partnership focuses principally on sharing expertise on early-years education, but also on health, social housing and employment.

North Korea

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they made to the government of Laos regarding the repatriation of nine North Korean orphans from Laotian custody to the government of North Korea; what assessment they have made of the fate of those minors; and whether the United Kingdom Ambassador to North Korea has made any representations about the wellbeing of the repatriated children to the government of North Korea.[HL950]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): Our Ambassador to Laos raised this issue with the Permanent Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Laos on 30 May. The Ambassador urged the Laotian authorities to allow North Korean defectors safe passage to South Korea. Our Ambassador also accompanied representatives from the EU delegation in Laos to a meeting at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on 19 June to express concern about the repatriation. On 18 June, Leaders at the G8 Summit in Lough Erne urged North Korea to address the concerns of the international community over its human rights violations, including the repatriation of refugees to North Korea.

1 July 2013 : Column WA173

On 6 June, our Ambassadors in Pyongyang and Seoul, accompanied by a senior official from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, raised both the treatment of this specific group and the general treatment of repatriated refugees with North Korean Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kung Sok Ung. They suggested that North Korea should allow international observers access to the returned defectors.

On 20 June, the Korean Central News Agency broadcasted a news report on North Korean television showing the 9 North Korean defectors were safe and well. However, we have no independent confirmation of their treatment. There is a substantial body of evidence which suggests that defectors repatriated to North Korea are at risk of torture, imprisonment or death upon return.

Israel and Palestine

Questions

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel about the destruction of houses in al-Nuweima in Zone A near Jericho.[HL958]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): Officials from our Embassy in Tel Aviv regularly make clear, publicly and privately, to the Israeli authorities our serious concerns about the demolition of Palestinian homes and infrastructure. Such acts are contrary to international humanitarian law in all but the most limited cases, as well as causing unnecessary suffering to Palestinians and damaging the search for peace.

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, my hon. Friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Mr Burt) both raised their concerns over demolitions with the Israeli authorities during their recent visits to the region.

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel about civilian access and trade between the Abu Dis Township and Jerusalem.[HL959]

Baroness Warsi: We remain deeply concerned about restrictions on freedom of movement between the West Bank and East Jerusalem. It remains difficult for Palestinians to enter East Jerusalem for work, education, medical treatment or religious worship.

Through our Embassy in Tel Aviv, we have lobbied the appropriate authorities on the issue of movement and access. There is no obligation under international law for free movement between Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories. We nevertheless encourage both sides to show a constructive approach to this issue.

1 July 2013 : Column WA174

Egypt

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their estimate of the number of persons in Egypt held without trial or pending trial; whether any of them have been charged; and whether they are making representations to the government of Egypt about the situation.[HL986]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): We do not hold records of the number of persons in Egypt held without trial or pending trial. However, we continue to raise with the Egyptian authorities the importance of transparency and access to justice as a crucial part of the democratic process. The human rights situation in Egypt has been a key focus of the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my hon. Friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Mr Burt)'s two visits to Cairo this year. He met a range of representatives from local and international human rights groups to hear their concerns at first hand and to find out what more the UK can do to support their activities. Mr Burt also discussed the human rights situation in Egypt with the Egyptian Foreign Minister, Mohammed Kamel Amr, on several occasions. On 10 April Mr Burt discussed a range of human rights issues with a senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood's political party, the Freedom and Justice Party by telephone. We will continue to raise human rights issues as part of our ongoing dialogue with the authorities in Egypt.

Airports: Racial Profiling

Questions

Asked by Lord Ahmed

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many United Kingdom citizens of Pakistani origin were profiled at United Kingdom airports; and how that figure compares to that for other United Kingdom citizens.[HL742]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): We do not profile by race or ethnicity.

Asked by Lord Ahmed

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many international flights are targeted for profiling purposes each year; and which destinations and airlines have been prioritised in this regard over the last five years.[HL743]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: All international flights are subject to checks at the border. Border Force uses intelligence and risk based criteria to inform targeted operations and the identification of persons on both inbound and outbound flights who may present a risk to Border Security.

1 July 2013 : Column WA175

Asked by Lord Ahmed

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what statistics they maintain regarding profiling of different racial and ethnic groups at United Kingdom airports; and whether they will publish figures for each of the last five years.[HL744]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: We do not profile by race or ethnicity.

Apprenticeships

Questions

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the total number of staff employed within the Council for Science and Technology on 1 May 2013; and how many of them were (1) under the age of 21, (2) apprentices under the age of 21, and (3) apprentices over the age of 21.[HL1065]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie): The Prime Minister’s Council for Science and Technology is an advisory Non-Departmental Public Body and has no employees. The staff in the secretariat to CST are employees of the Department for Business Innovation and Skills.

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the total number of staff employed within the Export Guarantees Advisory Council on 1 May 2013; and how many of them were (1) under the age of 21, (2) apprentices under the age of 21, and (3) apprentices over the age of 21.[HL1066]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: The Export Guarantees Advisory Council (EGAC) is a Non-Departmental Public Body whose statutory function is to provide advice to the Secretary of State at his request on matters relating to the work of the Export Credits Guarantee Department (operating as UK Export Finance).

Ministers appoint the Council’s members in accordance with the guidelines of the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments. All of its members are unpaid and they are not classed as employees.

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the total number of staff employed within the Industrial Development Advisory Board on 1 May 2013; and how many of them were (1) under the age of 21, (2) apprentices under the age of 21, and (3) apprentices over the age of 21.[HL1067]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: The Industrial Development Advisory Board has no employees. It comprises a maximum of 13 members, including the chairman, who provide advice to Ministers on large investment projects on an unremunerated and part-time basis.

1 July 2013 : Column WA176

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the total number of staff employed within the Land Registration Rule Committee on 1 May 2013; and how many of them were (1) under the age of 21, (2) apprentices under the age of 21, and (3) apprentices over the age of 21.[HL1068]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: On 1 May 2013 there were 7 members of the Land Registry Rule Committee, none of whom were either apprentices or under 21.

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the total number of staff employed within the Low Pay Commission on 1 May 2013; and how many of them were (1) under the age of 21, (2) apprentices under the age of 21, and (3) apprentices over the age of 21.[HL1069]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: At 1 May 2013 the total number of staff employed by the Low Pay Commission was 7 people, none of whom were either apprentices or under 21.

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the total number of staff employed within the Regulatory Policy Committee on 1 May 2013; and how many of them were (1) under the age of 21, (2) apprentices under the age of 21, and (3) apprentices over the age of 21.[HL1070]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: On 1 May 2013, the Regulatory Policy Committee was supported by thirteen civil servants, none of whom were either under the age of 21 or apprentices.

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the total number of staff employed within the Central Arbitration Committee on 1 May 2013; and how many of them were (1) under the age of 21, (2) apprentices under the age of 21, and (3) apprentices over the age of 21.[HL1121]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: There are nine members of staff who support the work of the Central Arbitration Committee. None of them is under the age of 21 or an apprentice.

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the total number of staff employed within the Competition Appeal Tribunal on 1 May 2013; and how many of them were (1) under the age of 21, (2) apprentices under the age of 21, and (3) apprentices over the age of 21.[HL1122]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: The Competition Appeal Tribunal (Tribunal) does not employ any members of staff.

1 July 2013 : Column WA177

The membership of the Tribunal comprises: the President, the Honourable Mr Justice Gerald Barling; the panel of Chairmen (comprising Judges of the Chancery Division of the High Court and six other members, namely Lord Carlile of Berriew CBE QC, Marcus Smith QC, Heriot Currie QC, Peter Freeman CBE QC (Hon), Andrew Lenon QC and Hodge Malek QC); the panel of Ordinary Members; and the Registrar, Charles Dhanowa OBE QC.

The President and Chairmen are appointed by the Lord Chancellor for a fixed term upon the recommendation of the Judicial Appointment Commission and by open competition as appropriate. Ordinary Members are recruited in open competition according to the guidelines of the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointment and are appointed by the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills. The Registrar is also appointed by the Secretary of State.

The administrative functions required by the Tribunal to carry out its duties (i.e. finance, accommodation, administrative staff) are carried out by the Competition Service.

As mentioned in my answer given on 26 June to the noble Lord’s question (official report column WA 132), the Competition Service had 16 employees on 1 May 2013. None of these were under the age of 21 and the organisation had no apprentices.

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the total number of staff employed within the Copyright Tribunal on 1 May 2013; and how many of them were (1) under the age of 21, (2) apprentices under the age of 21, and (3) apprentices over the age of 21.[HL1123]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: As of 1 May 2013 administrative support for the Copyright Tribunal was provided by one part time member of staff working at the Intellectual Property Office. There were no apprentices or anyone under the age of 21 working for the Copyright Tribunal on this date.

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the total number of staff employed within the Insolvency Practitioners’ Tribunal on 1 May 2013; and how many of them were (1) under the age of 21, (2) apprentices under the age of 21, and (3) apprentices over the age of 21.[HL1124]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: The Insolvency Practitioners Tribunal is part of the regulatory regime for insolvency practitioners under the Insolvency Act 1986.

The Insolvency Practitioners Tribunal is not a permanent body; and, as such, does not have any permanent staff. A discrete tribunal is established each time an individual case is referred to the Tribunal and a member of staff from The Insolvency Service will provide support and assistance to each discrete Tribunal as required.

The Insolvency Practitioners Tribunal has not received any referrals for a number of years.

1 July 2013 : Column WA178

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the total number of staff employed within the Certification Office on 1 May 2013; and how many of them were (1) under the age of 21, (2) apprentices under the age of 21, and (3) apprentices over the age of 21. [HL1125]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: There are seven members of staff who are employed within the Certification Office. None of them is under the age of 21 or an apprentice.

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the total number of staff employed within the Office of Manpower Economics on 1 May 2013; and how many of them were (1) under the age of 21, (2) apprentices under the age of 21, and (3) apprentices over the age of 21.[HL1126]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: The Office of Manpower Economics (OME) is a non-departmental public body, staffed by civil servants. It provides an independent Secretariat to the Review Bodies and Police Boards, free from Government direction as to the advice and support we offer. Our aim is to provide high quality analytical, administrative and technical support.

The total number of staff employed on 1 May 2013 in OME was 26, none of whom were either apprentices or under 21.

Aviation: Air Passenger Duty

Questions

Asked by Lord Foulkes of Cumnock

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many communications they have received from overseas travellers concerning Air Passenger Duty in the last 12 months.[HL996]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many and which foreign governments have raised the impact of Air Passenger Duty as a barrier to economic and cultural ties.[HL997]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings and receive representations from a wide variety of individuals and authorities as part of the process of policy development and delivery. Records are not broken down to allow the number of communications specifically from overseas travellers to be determined.

As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide specific details of all such meetings and discussions. However, the Treasury publishes a list of ministerial meetings with external organisations1.

In 2011, the Government undertook an extensive consultation on air passenger duty. Around 500 stakeholders responded, including most airlines and airports, representative bodies, local councils, and Lords

1 July 2013 : Column WA179

and MPs. A list of those who responded to the consultation is available within the Government's response, found online

2

.

1

https://www.gov.uk/govemment/organisations/hm-treasury/ series/hmt-ministers-meetings-hospitality-gifts-and-overseas-travel

2

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20130129110402/ http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/2011_budget airpassenger.htm

Banking

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are considering requiring bank holding companies to issue a minimum amount of bail-in exposed debt capital.[HL971]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): The Government agrees with the Independent Commission on Banking’s (ICB) recommendation that ring-fenced banks and UK-headquartered globally systemically important banks, should be required to hold sufficient loss-absorbing capacity (primary loss-absorbing capacity or PLAC), comprising regulatory capital and the highest quality debt, up to a core requirement of 17 per cent of risk-weighted assets for the largest banks.

This is to ensure that banks are more resilient to shocks and that, if they do fail, losses can be borne by their shareholders and unsecured creditors rather than falling on the taxpayer.

A bail-in tool will be most credible if there is a consistent framework across borders. The Government has, therefore, been pressing for the inclusion of credible and effective bail-in as part of the European Bank Recovery and Resolution Directive (BRRD), including a framework for a minimum PLAC requirement.

The details of exactly how bail-inable debt is issued will be considered in resolution strategies prepared for each bank by the Bank of England and in light of any forthcoming BRRD requirements.

Banks: Co-operative Bank

Questions

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the proposed recapitalisation of the Co-operative Bank, what assessment they have made of the impact in terms of loss burden of ranking private investors in preference shares ahead of other shareholders. [HL972]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): This is a matter for Co-operative bank in discussion with its bondholders. The detail of the proposal is yet to be finalised. The Co-operative has stated that the exercise is intended to ensure the group and investors in the bank’s subordinated capital securities make a joint contribution to the recapitalisation of the bank.

1 July 2013 : Column WA180

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they will take to ensure that retail investors in the Co-operative Bank subordinated securities receive advice independent from that provided to the boards of the Co-operative Bank and Co-operative Group in relation to the proposed flotation; and what steps they will take to ensure that those investors’ position in the Bank’s capital structure will be reflected in the decision-making process.[HL1041]

Lord Deighton: The Co-operative bank's liability management exercise, announced on Monday 17 June 2013, is a matter for the bank itself in discussion with its bondholders.

The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is responsible for ensuring that Co-operative bank acts to protect the interests of its consumers and as part of its supervisory work continues to ensure retail customers are given full consideration in the liability management exercise.

The UK Listing Authority is responsible for ensuring that Co-op complies with relevant listing requirements.

Britannia Building Society

Question

Asked by Lord Rooker

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which financial regulator approved the purchase by the Co-operative Bank of the Britannia Building Society.[HL1022]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): The purchase of the Britannia Building Society by the Co-operative Bank was approved by the Financial Services Authority.

Children: Digital Exclusion

Question

Asked by Lord Touhig

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the number of children living in poverty who are experiencing digital exclusion. [HL1098]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash): We have not made any such assessment.

However, the Government is continuing to champion digital inclusion. As announced in the Information Economy Industrial Strategy on 14 June, a new team is being set up, based in the Government Digital Service, part of Cabinet Office, to lead and co-ordinate Government activity on digital inclusion.

1 July 2013 : Column WA181

Children: Food and Nutrition

Questions

Asked by Lord Touhig

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of school holidays upon the nutrition of children who receive free school meals during term time.[HL1096]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash): The Department has not assessed the impact of school holidays upon the nutrition of children who receive free school meals during term time. Free school meals are only available to eligible pupils during term time. When children are not in school, it is the responsibility of their parents or carers to ensure that they have nutritious meals.

Asked by Lord Touhig

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their estimate of the cost of funding meals during school holidays for all children who are eligible for free school meals.[HL1097]

Lord Nash: The cost of school meals is met by schools from their overall budget (which is determined by the local authority in consultation with its School Forum). As autonomous institutions, schools have the freedom to decide how much to spend on free school meals. There would also be additional costs involved in opening schools during the holidays including staff costs and energy bills which we are not able to estimate accurately.

The Government has asked Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent, the co-founders of Leon restaurants, to lead an independent review of school food across the country. Further details on the school food review can be found on the Departmental website[1].

[1]

http://www.education.gov.uk/schoolfoodplan

Children: Sexually Explicit Material

Question

Asked by Baroness Benjamin

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what guidance they provide to schools to ensure that children cannot circumvent systems in place to prevent access to sexually explicit content on school premises. [HL1107]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash): It is essential that schools have robust systems in place to prevent children from accessing sexually explicit content on their premises. The Department for Education’s guidance to schools on purchasing broadband is clear that schools need adequate monitoring, filtering, firewalls and other network security to ensure that children are protected. The government also recommends that schools access the guidance available from organisations with considerable expertise in this area, including the National Education Network and Childnet International.

1 July 2013 : Column WA182

Internet safety and responsibility is part of the National Curriculum, and the Ofsted school inspection handbook states that inspectors should consider the effectiveness of internet safety arrangements to ensure that pupils are protected while online.

Furthermore, a Department for Education ICT specification outlines e-safety standards for IT infrastructure and services, particularly in relation to content, filtering and security. Broadband and ICT service providers work closely with expert bodies such as the Internet Watch Foundation to ensure that high standards are met.

Many pupils have access to internet-enabled phones that operate independently of school ICT systems. Whilst it is the responsibility of schools to decide how they approach this issue, Department of Education guidance requires schools to enforce acceptable use policies linked to the broader school behaviour policy.

Dogs: Dangerous Dogs

Question

Asked by Lord Storey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many dog owners have (1) been ordered to muzzle their dog, (2) received a custodial sentence for possession of a prohibited dog, (3) received a community sentence for an out of control dog, and (4) been banned from keeping a dog in (a) Liverpool, (b) Merseyside, (c) the North West, and (d) England, in each of the last five years.[HL710]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The number of offenders sentenced at all courts to immediate custody for possession of a prohibited dog, in Liverpool, in the North West region (split by police force area, including Merseyside) and in England, from 2008 to 2012, can be viewed in Table 1.

The number of offenders sentenced at all courts to a community sentence for offences relating to out of control dogs, in Liverpool, in the North West region (split by police force area, including Merseyside) and in England, from 2008 to 2012, can be viewed in Table 2.

Information on offenders ordered to muzzle their dog, or where a ban from keeping a dog is part of their sentence, is not collated centrally. This information may be held on court files, which could only be collated at disproportionate cost.

Offenders sentenced at all courts to immediate custody for possession of a prohibited dog(1), in Liverpool, the North West region (split by police force area) and England, 2008 to 2012(2)(3)
Area20082009201020112012

Liverpool(4)

1

2

2

-

-

North West (by police force area)

Cheshire

1

1

-

-

-

Cumbria

-

-

-

1

-

1 July 2013 : Column WA183

Greater Manchester

-

-

-

-

-

Lancashire

-

-

-

-

-

Merseyside

1

2

2

-

-

England

5

5

3

5

4

'-' = Nil

(1) An offence under S.1(3) of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

(2) The figures given in the table on court proceedings relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

(3) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

(4) Includes Liverpool local justice area and Liverpool Crown Court.

Source:

Justice Statistics Analytical Services - Ministry of Justice.

Ref: PQ HL710

Offenders sentenced at all courts to a community sentence for offences relating to out of control dogs, in Liverpool, the North West region (split by police force area) and England, 2008 to 2012(1)(2)
Area20082009201020112012

Liverpool(3)

Allowing dog to be out of control in a public place injuring any person(4)

5

2

4

4

-

Allowing dog to enter a non-public place and injuring any person(5)

-

1

-

-

-

North West (by police force area)

Allowing dog to be dangerously out of control in a public place injuring any person(4)

Cheshire

4

2

-

4

3

Cumbria

-

2

3

-

-

Greater Manchester

9

5

10

17

17

Lancashire

6

3

1

7

5

Merseyside

8

4

10

7

6

Allowing dog to enter a non-public place and injuring any person(5)

Cheshire

-

-

-

-

-

Cumbria

-

-

-

-

-

Greater Manchester

1

-

2

-

-

Lancashire

-

-

-

-

-

Merseyside

-

2

1

-

-

1 July 2013 : Column WA184

England

Allowing dog to be out of control in a public place injuring any person(4)

95

83

138

126

159

Allowing dog to enter a non-public place and injuring any person(5)

5

8

14

3

5

'-' = Nil

(1) The figures given in the table on court proceedings relate to persons for whom these offences were the principal offences for which they were dealt with. When a defendant has been found guilty of two or more offences it is the offence for which the heaviest penalty is imposed. Where the same disposal is imposed for two or more offences, the offence selected is the offence for which the statutory maximum penalty is the most severe.

(2) Every effort is made to ensure that the figures presented are accurate and complete. However, it is important to note that these data have been extracted from large administrative data systems generated by the courts and police forces. As a consequence, care should be taken to ensure data collection processes and their inevitable limitations are taken into account when those data are used.

(3) Includes Liverpool local justice area and Liverpool Crown Court.

(4) An offence under S.3(1) of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

(5) An offence under S.3(3) of the Dangerous Dogs Act 1991.

Source:

Justice Statistics Analytical Services - Ministry of Justice.

Ref: PQ HL710

Education: Japanese

Question

Asked by Viscount Trenchard

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what criteria they applied in selecting the list of languages which may be offered at Key Stage 2; and why Japanese is not included in that list.[HL916]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash): The rationale for the proposed list of seven languages which would meet the new statutory requirement to teach a foreign language at key stage 2 is set out in the report of the Government’s consultation on this issue, which can be found on the Department’s website1.

We have received a number of representations about the absence of Japanese in particular from the list, and my Rt hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Education is currently considering those representations. He will announce his final decision shortly.

1

http://media.education.gov.uk/assets/files/pdf/c/ ks2%20choice%20of%20languages%20consultation%20report%20 final%2005-02-13.pdf

1 July 2013 : Column WA185

Employment: Work Capability Assessments

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the value of the work capability assessment contracts awarded by the Department for Work and Pensions to (1) Atos, and (2) Capita, in (a) 2010, (b) 2011, (c) 2012, and (d) 2013.[HL1062]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The Department’s spend on the Work Capability Assessment (WCA) contracts including IIDB, DLA/AA etc are as follows:

(a) 09/10 - £99.1m(b) 10/11 - £112.8m(c) 1/12 - £112.4m(d) 12/13 - £114.3m

There are no spend figures to report for Capita as the Department has no WCA contract with them.

Employment: Youth Employment

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Lord Freud on 18 June (HL Deb, col 385), whether the Minister for Employment discussed (1) which United Kingdom regions will be eligible for support from the Youth Employment Initiative, and (2) how such funding will be used so as to add value to United Kingdom efforts to tackle youth unemployment, at the ministerial meeting on youth unemployment in Madrid on 19 June; and whether those issues will be raised at (a) the follow-up meeting in Berlin on 3 July, and (b) subsequent employment and social policy European Council meetings.[HL1094]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The Minister for Employment did not discuss which UK regions will be eligible for support from the Youth Employment Initiative (YEI) at the meeting in Madrid on 19 June or at the European Employment and Social Policy Council (EPSCO) in Luxembourg on the 20 June. The Government does not expect to discuss the regional division of funds in the UK under the YEI at the Berlin meeting or at future EPSCOs.

The Minister did not raise UK efforts to tackle youth employment under the YEI at the meeting in Madrid, or at the EPSCO in Luxembourg on the 20 June and there are no current plans to discuss this at future EPSCOs.

1 July 2013 : Column WA186

EU: Women on Boards

Question

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the remarks by Baroness Northover on 17 June (HL Deb, col 8), what is the progress of European Union legislation on women on boards against which the House of Lords and seven other European houses of parliament issued a “yellow card” under the Lisbon Treaty.[HL1005]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie): The number of national parliaments that issued a “yellow card” under the Lisbon Treaty was less than the number needed to require the European Commission to reconsider and the draft Directive is therefore progressing through the European legislative process.

The legislation is being considered jointly by two committees of the European Parliament, covering Legal Affairs and Women’s Rights and Gender Equality. Their final report is expected in the autumn and will be followed by a plenary vote in the European Parliament.

The legislation was considered at the Employment, Social Policy, Health and Consumer Affairs Council meeting that took place in Luxembourg on 20 June 2013.

Finance: Interest Rates

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the systemic risk as a consequence of bank balance sheet sensitivity to rising interest rates.[HL944]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): The Financial Policy Committee (FPC) at the Bank of England has the primary objective of identifying, monitoring and taking action to remove or reduce systemic risks to the UK financial system. The FPC considers a diverse spectrum of risks to the financial system as part of its deliberations, and is presented with a broad array of data and market intelligence.

In the FPC’s Financial Stability Report, published on 26 June 2013, the FPC made the following recommendation:

“The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), with other Bank staff, should provide an assessment to the FPC of the vulnerability of borrowers and financial institutions to sharp upward movements in long-term interest rates and credit spreads in the current low interest rate environment. They should each report back to the FPC in September 2013”.

1 July 2013 : Column WA187

Finance: Payday Loans

Question

Asked by Lord Sharkey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they, or any of their agencies, track the total amount of outstanding loans resulting from payday lending; and, if so, in what detail.[HL976]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie): The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) recently cited estimates that the payday lending market was worth £2.0 to £2.2 billion in 2011/12, which corresponds to between 7.4 and 8.2 million new loans; up from an estimated £900 million in 2008/09. Government has announced that from 1 April 2014 responsibility for the consumer credit regime will transfer to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Under the FCA, firms will be required to report key information on a regular basis and submit a report annually. The FCA will have more access to information from firms, including those authorised to provide payday loans, through their more comprehensive reporting requirements.

Health: Birth Defects

Question

Asked by Lord Rooker

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 8 January (WA 43–4), whether Ministers have yet received the peer-reviewed advice regarding the use of folic acid to counter neural tube defects referred to in that Written Answer.[HL917]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): My Written Answer on 8 January 2013 referred to advice on folic acid and cancer risk provided by the Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN) to the then Chief Medical Officer in 2009, as part of considerations on fortification options to reduce the risk of pregnancies being affected by neural tube defects. The scientific papers considered by SACN as part of its scrutiny had not, at that time, all been peer reviewed and published in a scientific journal. The remaining evidence was published by Vollset et al. in The Lancet in March 2013.

Ministers committed to consider the issue of folic acid fortification further once all the evidence was in the public domain. As this is now the case, we are taking stock of the issue.

Health: Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

Question

Asked by The Countess of Mar

To ask Her Majesty’s Government who is the author of the material on chronic fatigue syndrome issued by Capita for training purposes under its responsibilities as a personal independence payment assessor under chapter 4.2 of the PIP Assessment Guide.[HL924]

1 July 2013 : Column WA188

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): Capita have produced the training material for their health professionals undertaking PIP assessments. It was developed in-house by qualified doctors, in line with current clinical guidelines, and includes some condition-specific information such as the material on chronic fatigue syndrome. This material forms part of an overall training package, approved by DWP, which builds on health professionals’ existing knowledge. This enables them to consider an individual's claim against the PIP assessment criteria and produce a holistic assessment of how their health condition or impairment impacts upon daily living and mobility.

Homelessness: Migrant Rough Sleepers

Questions

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to co-ordinate action with foreign embassies and others (1) to establish whether migrant rough sleepers from (a) non-European Union, and (b) non-European Economic Area, member states should be granted specific categories of leave to remain in the United Kingdom, and (2) to assist migrant rough sleepers from (a) non-European Union, and (b) non-European Economic Area, member states (i) to return home, and (ii) to seek leave to remain in the United Kingdom.[HL887]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The Home Office constantly liaises with foreign embassies and this is an important element of border and immigration policy. When a rough sleeper is encountered all relevant checks are made by the Home Office to verify if they qualify for leave to remain in the United Kingdom. If they do not qualify then the Home Office seeks to take appropriate action to return the subject to their country of origin.

A number of issues are discussed on a bilateral basis including documentation of immigration offenders in the United Kingdom. Multi lateral relationships include participation in Frontex and a number of other initiatives involving the enforced return of immigration offenders from other EU countries on joint charter flights. More recently Romanian police officers have been seconded to United Kingdom police forces and Home Office Immigration Enforcement is closely engaged with this work.

The Home Office is in constant engagement with Homeless Charities to encourage migrant rough sleepers to return to their country of origin. The Home Office also works with key local authorities such as Westminster Council and the police to assist migrant rough sleepers to return to their country of origin on a voluntary basis. This has included assistance with travel documentation and occasionally assistance with the cost of travel tickets.

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to improve coordination with foreign embassies in order to collect citizenship information

1 July 2013 : Column WA189

about migrant rough sleepers from (1) non-European Union, and (2) non-European Economic Area, member states.[HL889]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what actions they will take to encourage foreign embassies promptly to re-issue (1) passports and (2) any other necessary identification, to migrant rough sleepers from (a) non-European Union, and (b) non-European Economic Area, member states in cases where such identification may have been lost or destroyed. [HL890]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: If a rough sleeper is found not to have a right to remain in the UK, the Home Office will take appropriate action to return the subject to their country of origin. The Home Office works very closely with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to engage with foreign governments, both in London and abroad, to promote their cooperation in providing travel documents for EU and non-EU individuals (including rough sleepers) to enable their return. This activity includes close liaison to ensure access to information to support identification, including biometric checks against national databases, and schemes for embassy and overseas officials to interview to confirm nationality.

Housing: Mortgages

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the risk to (1) banks, and (2) consumer borrowers, of interest-only residential mortgages; and what action they have taken to date to manage the consequences of rising interest rates for those groups.[HL945]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): The independent Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) is responsible for overseeing the conduct of firms' first-charge residential mortgage lending, including for interest-only mortgages.

The FCA published a review into interest-only mortgage customers in May. The findings in that review show that many people should be in a good position to repay their mortgage when it is due for repayment. More information on the review is available online on the FCA's websitel.

The independent Financial Policy Committee (FPC) at the Bank of England has the primary objective of identifying, monitoring and taking action to remove or reduce systemic risks to the UK financial system. The FPC considers a diverse spectrum of risks to the financial system as part of its deliberations, and is presented with a broad array of data and market intelligence.

Should the FPC identify a specific systemic risk to the financial system, it will report and explain that risk in its six-monthly financial stability report. Where the FPC has identified risks, it is able to offer advice and recommendations to relevant bodies to address these risks.

http://www.fca.org.uk/news/interest-only-mortgages

1 July 2013 : Column WA190

Israel: Weapons Technology

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the dependence of (1) the United Kingdom, and (2) other European countries, on Israeli weapons technology.[HL999]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): No specific assessment has been made on the dependence of the UK or other European countries on Israeli weapons technology.

Limited Liability Partnerships

Questions

Asked by Lord Rooker

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many members of limited liability partnerships registered at Companies House are also listed as directors of companies at Companies House.[HL1018]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie): There are 58,501 members of limited liability partnerships registered at Companies House who are also listed as directors of companies.

Asked by Lord Rooker

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the top ten addresses where the greatest number of (a) companies, and (b) limited liability partnerships, are registered at Companies House.[HL1021]

Viscount Younger of Leckie: The top ten addresses where the greatest number of (a) companies and (b) limited liability partnerships is as follows:

Companies
AddressNumber

145-147, St John Street, London, EC1V 4PW

21,302

69 Great Hampton Street, Birmingham, B18 6EW

8,995

Brunel House, 340 Firecrest Court, Centre Park, Warrington, WA1 1RG

7,498

Stron House, 100 Pall Mall, London, SW1Y 5EA

6,667

123 Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7HR

5,685

Carpenter Court, 1 Maple Road, Bramhall, Stockport, SK7 2DH

3,405

First Floor, 2 Woodberry Grove, London, N12 0DR

3,074

Unit 11, Hove Business Centre, Hove, BN3 6HA

2,919

3rd Floor, 207 Regent Street, London, W1B 3HH

2,279

Unit 4, Vista Place, Ingworth Road, Poole, BH12 1JY

2,207

Limited Liability Partnerships
AddressNumber

Cornwall Buildings, 45 Newhall Street, Suite 211, Birmingham, B3 3QR

1,340

175 Darkes Lane, Potters Bar, EN6 1BW

1,023

Enterprise House, 82 Whitchurch Road, Cardiff, CF14 3LX

608

1 July 2013 : Column WA191

85 Gracechurch Street, London, EC3V 0AA

391

Suite 1, The Studio, St Nicholas Close, Elstree, Boreham, WD6 3EW

360

Suite 2, 23-24 Great James Street, London, WC1N 3ES

304

Kings Lodge, London Road, West Kingsdown, Sevenoaks, TN15 6AR

263

Unit W17 MK, Two Business Centre, Barton Road, Bletchley, Milton Keynes, MK2 3HU

196

10 Old Burlington Street, London, W1S 3AG

169

Winnington House, 2 Woodberry Grove, London, N12 0DR

164

Migrant Workers

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to their response to the ad hoc query from the European Migration Network (EMN) on 9 January regarding legislative or practical changes on the issue of labour market access for asylum-seekers, that the United Kingdom was “awaiting the outcome of litigation on this issue and will review our policy on this issue in line with the court’s decision”, (1) whether they are currently reviewing their policy, and (2) whether they plan to submit an updated answer to the EMN.[HL918]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): On 7 June 2013 the Government’s policy on permission to work for asylum seekers was upheld in the High Court. It found that the policy is lawful and does not breach EU law. (1) The policy is not therefore being reviewed; and (2) any future European Migration Network ad hoc queries will reflect the policy at that time; it is not normal procedure to update previous ad hoc queries.

Migration Advisory Committee

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 3 June (WA 140–1), whether they intend to direct investment and heighten student numbers in those areas of medicine currently on the Migration Advisory Committee's shortage occupation list; how the dynamic model of workforce supply and demand of the Centre for Workforce Intelligence took account of the numbers of foreign doctors registering to work in the United Kingdom; and whether they will review their consequent decision to reduce medical school intakes.[HL1014]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government mandate to Health Education England (HEE) charges HEE with delivering a significant reduction in the number of roles on the shortage occupation list. HEE will take

1 July 2013 : Column WA192

this forward through their annual planning cycle making adjustments to investment as appropriate to this mandate requirement.

The Centre for Workforce Intelligence (CfWI) review of medical and dental student intakes in 2012, for the Health and Education National Strategic Exchange (HENSE), involved wide consultation with stakeholders to horizon scan and develop workforce scenarios to support longer term planning, up to 2040. CfWI took into account a wide range of factors that would influence both demand for, and supply of, doctors, including the impact of overseas doctors working in the National Health Service.

HENSE recognised the need for regular reviews of medical and dental student intakes and recommended a further review in 2014. This review will be led by HEE.

NHS: Clinical Commissioning Groups

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they will take to uphold assurances given to Parliament that Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) would be free to make independent decisions about commissioning support arrangements, in the light of reports that NHS England has sought to influence CCGs to outsource commissioning support services. [HL1167]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government's Mandate to NHS England states that “clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) will be in full control over where they source their commissioning support”.

The Secretary of State will keep NHS England's performance in achieving its commitments in the Mandate under review.

NHS England is responsible for supporting CCGs and has recently published, Towards commissioning excellence: A strategy for commissioning support services, which is designed to enable CCGs and other commissioners to access high quality and affordable commissioning support, whether sourced in-house, shared with other commissioners or bought in from external providers. A copy has been placed in the Library.

Northern Ireland Assembly

Questions

Asked by Lord Empey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have plans to devolve any fiscal powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly; and, if so, which powers. [HL1033]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have received any request from the Northern Ireland Executive for fiscal powers to be devolved to the Northern Ireland Assembly; and, if so, which powers. [HL1034]

1 July 2013 : Column WA193

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Wales Office (Baroness Randerson): As set out in the joint economic package for Northern Ireland launched by the Prime Minister and the First and deputy First Ministers on 14 June, the Government recognise that there is a need to give careful consideration to the potential to devolve additional fiscal powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly.

Following detailed evaluation and analysis, recommendations on the devolution of further fiscal powers will be put to Government Ministers and the Executive by Autumn 2014. A decision on whether to devolve corporation tax rates to the Northern Ireland Executive will be taken no later than the 2014 Autumn Statement.

Schools: Sex and Relationship Education

Question

Asked by Baroness Gould of Potternewton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the finding in Ofsted's 2013 report that a third of schools need to improve their sex and relationship education, what steps the Secretary of State for Health is taking to monitor the progress of the Department of Health's ambition to ensure that “all children and young people receive good-quality sex and relationship education at home, at school

1 July 2013 : Column WA194

and in the community” as part of the Framework for Sexual Health Improvement.[HL1037]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Framework for Sexual Health Improvement notes that young people need robust and accurate information to build the knowledge and resilience they need to enable them to make informed decisions about their sexual health and that sex and relationships education is a key source of this information. The Department will be developing a means of tracking progress in relation to the ambitions set out in the Framework.

Wales and Scotland: Devolution

Question

Asked by Lord Empey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have received requests from the Scottish Government or the Welsh Assembly Government for the devolution of any fiscal powers; and, if so, which powers. [HL1035]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton): Treasury Ministers and officials have regular discussions with the Welsh and Scottish Governments on a wide variety of topics, including in relation to fiscal devolution.