18 Mar 2014 : Column WA15

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Written Answers

Tuesday 18 March 2014

Afghanistan

Question

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the conclusions of the Independent Commission for Aid Impact that the United Kingdom’s programme of bilateral support to growth and livelihoods in Afghanistan is performing “relatively poorly” and “significant improvements should be made”.[HL5928]

Baroness Northover (LD): ICAI recognises that Afghanistan is one of the most challenging places in the world to work. ICAI’s assessment also recognises we work effectively with delivery partners and that our livelihoods programmes are delivering significant improvements to thousands of people.

Our post-2014 planning work will ensure we continue to reduce poverty in Afghanistan over the long term.

Afghanistan: Women and Girls

Questions

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when the commitment made by the Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening MP, on 4 March 2013 that violence against women and girls in Afghanistan would be a strategic priority will be fulfilled.[HL5926]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how the strategic priority given to violence against women and girls in Afghanistan will help to implement the principles in Guidance Note 1 on Violence against Women and Girls, published by the Department for International Development in June 2012, including the need for a multi-sector approach in supporting survivors of violence and the need to address social norms in tackling violence.[HL5927]

Baroness Northover (LD): Eliminating violence against women and girls is already a strategic priority for DFID’s work in Afghanistan and a range of programmes are being implemented.

Aviation: Competitiveness

Question

Asked by Lord Stevens of Kirkwhelpington

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what measures they have taken to help the United Kingdom aviation industry achieve greater competitiveness within the global aviation market.[HL5738]

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The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): The Government made clear in its Aviation Policy Framework, published last March, that the UK aviation sector is a major contributor to the country’s economy and that we support its growth within a framework which maintains a balance between the benefits of aviation and its costs.

The UK’s aviation sector is largely privatised and operates in a competitive international market. The Government believes that its role should focus on facilitating this competitive market within a proportionate international and domestic regulatory framework to ensure a level playing field for the UK aviation sector, and maintaining high standards of aviation safety and security. In this regard the Government continues to work with the European Union, the International Civil Aviation Organization and other international aviation organisations on regulatory proposals that promote and protect the country’s aviation interests.

The Government will continue to seek to liberalise the bilateral air services agreements that govern commercial flights beyond the EU, and will also continue to work closely with the European Commission and other Member States to develop liberalised EU-level air transport agreements with other countries. We will seek the relaxation of restrictions on cross-border investment to allow UK airlines greater access to foreign capital and greater freedom to invest in foreign airlines.

Civil Servants: Relocation

Question

Asked by Lord Jopling

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answers by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 10 March (WA 342), whether they will now answer the questions.[HL5935]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): Cabinet office does not hold data centrally on the transfer of civil servants across regions and it could only be collected centrally at disproportionate cost. Workforce planning is primarily the responsibility of each individual Department to determine. It is for individual departments to provide such information, where it exists.

Discretionary Social Fund

Question

Asked by Lord Beecham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact on individuals and local authorities of their recently-announced decision to end the Local Welfare Assistance Fund of £347 million in 2015.[HL5735]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): I refer the noble Lord to the reply given by my noble Friend, the Under-Secretary of State and Government Spokesperson, Department for Communities and Local Government,

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Baroness Stowell of Beeston, to the noble Lady, Baroness King of Bow, on 3 Mar 2014,

Official Report

, House of Lords, columns WA278.

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld201314/ldhansrd/text/140303w0001.htm#14030332000452

Education: Vocational Qualifications

Questions

Asked by Lord Quirk

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the paper “Getting the Job Done” (March 2014), what action they will take to ensure that, in addition to the explicit insistence on spelling and grammar (pages 9 and 24), the teaching of English in vocational education will focus specifically on enabling students to acquire a rich and varied subject-relevant vocabulary which they are able to use with precision in their speech and writing.[HL5876]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): This Government is making access to a high-quality English education a priority within vocational education.

From September 2014, the teaching of English to students who do not already hold a GCSE at A*-C grade in the subject will become a condition of that student’s place being funded. Students who missed out on achieving a GCSE or other qualification in English will be funded to take these qualifications after the age of 19. Over the next two years, significant additional training and investments in recruitment incentives will increase the number of specialist teachers of English entering further education colleges.

New GCSEs, available for teaching in September 2015, will provide rigorous teaching and assessment of English skills most sought by employers. Students will need to demonstrate increased skills, knowledge and understanding through more demanding content and tighter assessment structures to achieve a pass. There will also be a greater focus on the accurate use of standard English alongside separate reporting of speaking and listening. Our ambition is that the new GCSEs will replace other qualifications as the single measure of achievement at Level 2 for students over 16.

Asked by Lord Quirk

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the paper “Getting the Job Done” (March 2014), what steps they are taking to increase the esteem in which vocational qualifications are held, so that employers, students, parents and major schools can all be assured that such qualifications are intellectually challenging as well as being a valued preparation for successful careers.[HL5877]

Lord Nash: The paper ‘Getting the Job Done’ highlights the reforms that are being introduced by the Government to raise the status of vocational routes by ensuring they are of genuinely high quality and backed by employers.

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By publishing approved lists of vocational qualifications, and only reporting these qualifications in school and college performance tables, students will be able to make informed choices about which qualifications best match their career goals.

These reforms have benefited 14-16-year-olds since September 2012. Today, only 140 non-GCSE qualifications (4% of those previously available to 14-16 year olds) meet the high standard required for reporting in school performance tables. Similar reforms for 16-19 will take effect from September 2014, including the introduction of Tech Levels, with only 142 qualifications (3.8% of those previously available to 16-18 year olds) so far meeting the required standard. Firms backing Tech Levels include John Deere, Lovell, Procter and Gamble and Kawasaki.

The Government has also introduced the Technical Baccalaureate measure, which is aimed at ambitious, talented students who want to pursue a technical career.

Egypt

Questions

Asked by The Lord Bishop of Coventry

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether any decision has yet been taken to send European Union observers to monitor the Presidential elections to be held in Egypt later this year.[HL5887]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The EU European External Action Service is discussing with Egyptian authorities its intention to send an Electoral Observation Mission to Egypt for the upcoming presidential elections. We would support a deployment.

We continue to believe that the best way to create stability and prosperity in Egypt is through a genuinely inclusive political process open to all political groups that reject violence. The political future of Egypt belongs to the Egyptian people and we look forward to the elections when their voices can be heard.

Asked by The Lord Bishop of Coventry

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they have taken to implement the European Union Foreign Affairs Council decision of 21 August 2013 requiring Member States (1) to suspend export licences to Egypt of any equipment which might be used for internal repression, and (2) to reassess export licences for equipment covered by Common Position 2008/944/CFSP and review their security assistance to Egypt.[HL5888]

Baroness Warsi: The UK fully supports the decision of EU Foreign Ministers to suspend export licensing to Egypt for equipment which might be used for internal repression.

After the Foreign Affairs Council decision in August 2013, the UK suspended 48 export licences for equipment which might have been used for internal repression.

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Subsequently, in line with Foreign Affairs Council conclusions, we have fully re-assessed all licences for Egypt. This resulted in the approval of 24 licences where we do not judge that the goods might be used for internal repression and the revocation of 3 licences where we judge that there is a clear risk that the goods might be used for internal repression. All licences for goods which we judge might be used for internal repression will remain suspended and several licences which were suspended have now expired so no action has been taken on them.

Energy: Oil and Gas

Question

Asked by Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what investment they are making in offshore oil and gas as a consequence of the Wood review.[HL5766]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma) (Con): The Government has accepted the recommendations of the Wood Review and will work with Industry to adopt a cohesive tripartite approach between industry, HM Treasury and the UKCS stewardship body to a new shared strategy of Maximising Economic Recovery for the UK (MER UK).

Subject to further detailed work to support the business case, we shall proceed with taking the stewardship of the UKCS into the next phase, with a new arms-length body, funded by industry, with new resources and any necessary statutory powers to meet that challenge. Stakeholders are being invited to participate in an interim Advisory Panel on implementation, which Sir Ian Wood has agreed to chair. I will publish a formal response to the Report—along with more information on implementation—later in the spring.

EU: Mobility Partnerships

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what they expect to be the impact for the United Kingdom of the Mobility Partnership which the European Union established with Tunisia on 3 March.[HL5970]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): Mobility Partnerships, such as this one, are agreements for practical co-operation on migration issues between the EU, Member States and countries in the EU's neighbourhood. These Partnerships are non-binding; the UK, like other Member States, can choose which parts of the Partnership we will participate in, and in what ways we will participate.

We anticipate that the Partnership agreement will lead to improved management of borders in Tunisia, which is in the interest of the Tunisian authorities as well as the UK and our EU partners.

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The new Partnership will have no effect on the ability of Tunisian nationals to come to the UK — our normal immigration rules and border controls will still apply.

Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to review the operation of the Firearms Act 1997 with regard to reinvigorating the sport of pistol shooting in the United Kingdom.[HL5891]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): The Government continues to monitor all aspects of the current controls on firearms. There are, however, no plans to review the Firearms (Amendment) Act 1997 or to repeal the existing ban on pistols.

Genetic Modification

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 4 March (WA 305–6), whether they can confirm that they have relied on no other external advice or documentation aside from that provided by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority in reaching their conclusion that pronuclear transfer and spindle-chromosomal complex transfer do not constitute genetic modification.[HL5771]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): In developing its position the Department, in consultation with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, has also had discussions with the Wellcome Trust and the Nuffield Council on Bioethics.

The Government's working definition of genetic modification in humans, in the context of mitochondrial donation, as set out in my Written Answer of 4 March (Official Report, column 304) was determined by the Department in consultation with the Chief Medical Officer for England.

Government Departments: Staff

Question

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many staff are currently employed for more than 50 per cent of their working week to support the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Defence in his role as Accounting Officer; and what are their job titles. [HL5807]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): I refer the Noble Lord to the answer given by the Minister for Defence Personnel, Welfare and Veterans (Anna Soubry) in the House of Commons on 3 February 2014 (Official Report, column 87W) to the hon. Member for North Durham (Mr Kevan Jones).

Details of those who support the Permanent Secretary for more then 50% of their week, and their job titles, could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Government Departments: Surveys

Question

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what customer, user and satisfaction surveys were conducted in the last 12 months in the Cabinet Office and the agencies that report to it; which of them have been reported to the management board in the last 12 months; and which were commissioned by the management board.[HL5908]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): The Cabinet Office uses a range of tools and methodologies to evaluate customer feedback on products and services provided by our agencies. Results are not reported systematically to the Cabinet Office Board.

Health: Academic Health Science Networks

Question

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what arrangements have been made to continue the work of the Health Science Networks when their current term expires.[HL5954]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): NHS England has committed to the long-term success and development of all 15 Academic Health Science Networks (AHSNs). All AHSNs are now subject to a five year contract, currently contracted until 31 March 2018, intended to ensure sustainability and stability beyond the yearly National Health Service financial cycle. Plans beyond 2018 will be considered in due course closer to the completion date.

Health: Research

Question

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when the Health Research Authority can expect to have approval from the Department of Health for their proposals, submitted in October 2013, to bring together the separate research ethics and NHS trust approvals in a streamlined process to reduce the regulatory burden on research.[HL5952]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Government remains committed to streamlining research approvals, and the Health Research Authority (HRA) is the organisation created to deliver this. Departmental officials are scrutinising the business case submitted by the HRA as part of standard governance processes and approval of the case is subject to the proposals demonstrating value for money. Consideration of the business case is well advanced and we anticipate that this process will conclude shortly.

Health: Tuberculosis

Question

Asked by Baroness Suttie

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of the total cost of a course of treatment for homeless tuberculosis sufferers in (1) hospitals, and (2) hostels.[HL5790]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Information regarding the treatment of homeless tuberculosis sufferers is not available in the format requested. Information is available from reference costs, which are the unit costs to National Health Service trusts and foundation trusts of providing defined services in a given financial year to NHS patients.

Reference costs for acute healthcare are collected by healthcare resource groups (HRGs), which are standard groupings of clinically similar treatments that use common levels of resource. They are not collected from hostels, and do not distinguish between patients who are homeless and those who are not.

Find and Treat is a London-based NHS initiative that uses a mobile x-ray unit to screen almost 10,000 homeless people and drug users a year for active Tuberculosis. It provides early diagnosis and supports patients to take a full course of treatment and get cured.

The following table shows the national average unit costs in 2012-13 of HRGs that included primary diagnoses of tuberculosis in adults aged 19 years and over where no significant procedure was undertaken. Each unit cost covers one finished consultant episode of care. Diagnoses of tuberculosis may also group to other HRGs, and these costs may not represent the total cost of a course of treatment.

Table: Healthcare resource group national average unit costs, 2012-13
Healthcare resource group (HRG)Unit costNumber of finished consultant episodesEstimated total cost

Pulmonary, Pleural or Other Tuberculosis

£2,403

4,897

£11.8 million

Complex Tuberculosis

£20,068

272

£5.5 million

Source:

NHS reference costs, 2012-13, published at:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-reference-costs-2012-to-2013

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Notes:

1. The response is based on the following HRGs which may have been generated if a patient was admitted to hospital with a diagnosis code in the range of A15-A19 from the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10th Revision (ICD-10):

DZ14C Pulmonary, Pleural or Other Tuberculosis, with CC Score 5+

DZ14D Pulmonary, Pleural or Other Tuberculosis, with CC Score 2-4

DZ14E Pulmonary, Pleural or Other Tuberculosis, with CC Score 0-1

DZ51Z Complex Tuberculosis

2. These HRGs relate to adult patients aged 19 years and over with a diagnosis of tuberculosis who had no significant procedures recorded. If the patient had a significant procedure, the activity would have grouped to an HRG based on procedure (OPCS-4) code rather than diagnosis (ICD-10) code.

3. HRGs that included primary diagnoses of tuberculosis in children aged 18 years and under where no significant procedure was undertaken have not been provided.

4. A weighted unit cost was calculated for the following HRGs by dividing total costs by total activity:

DZ14C Pulmonary, Pleural or Other Tuberculosis, with CC Score 5+

DZ14D Pulmonary, Pleural or Other Tuberculosis, with CC Score 2-4

DZ14E Pulmonary, Pleural or Other Tuberculosis, with CC Score 0-1

5. CC is complications and co-morbidities.

6. The costs shown are a weighted average of day cases, elective inpatient episodes, non-elective inpatient episodes and regular day or night admissions.

7. It is not possible to include the costs of critical care, high cost drugs or scans which may have been required for these episodes of care.

Housing

Question

Asked by Baroness Hollis of Heigham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether local authorities responsible for disabled facilities grants are permitted to refuse applicants on the basis of housing tenure alone, irrespective of financial and medical need.[HL5753]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Stowell of Beeston) (Con): Local authorities may not refuse an application for a disabled facilities grant simply because of the type of housing tenure held by the applicant. Local authorities are required to consider the length of time that an applicant expects to remain in the property, which helps to ensure that grant funding is used as effectively as possible. An applicant, and in some cases the owner of the property, must certify that the applicant intends to use the property as their main residence for the 'grant period' (which is normally 5 years), or for such shorter time as health and other circumstances permit.

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Housing: Private Rented Sector

Question

Asked by Baroness King of Bow

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many private tenants are included on the Department for Communities and Local Government’s Private Rented Sector Taskforce.[HL5965]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Stowell of Beeston) (Con): The Department does not hold information about the housing tenure of its staff. The principal objective of the Taskforce is to kick-start institutional investment in the private rented sector. Members of the Taskforce have been appointed based on their expert understanding of the housing market and development and investment finance.

Human Trafficking

Questions

Asked by Baroness Cox

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they will take to ensure that abused domestic workers who attempt to report their treatment to the police are not arrested as a result of false criminal allegations made by their traffickers.[HL5841]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): The Crown Prosecution Service has recently published its guidance on dealing with cases where an individual, who may be a victim of modern slavery, is accused of committing a crime. Allegations relating to such a case would be a matter for the police to consider, on a case by case basis.

In our work to stamp out modern slavery, we are looking at what more can be done to protect victims of slavery and ensure that, where a person is compelled to commit an offence as a direct result of their slavery experience, full consideration is given to discontinuing the case.

Asked by Baroness Cox

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they ensure that Government-funded accommodation and support provided to victims of trafficking following a positive reasonable grounds decision meets reasonable quality standards; and where guidelines on those standards can be found.[HL5842]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The Home Office has recently taken over management of the Government-funded victim care contract. The contract currently requires those organisations sub-contracted by The Salvation Army to provide victims with care and support, according to their individual needs. Later this year, we will be re-tendering the contract and will consider the issue of quality standards as part of the tender process.

18 Mar 2014 : Column WA25

Asked by Baroness Cox

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they will ensure adequate provision of legal representation, counselling and accommodation to victims of trafficking.[HL5843]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The UK complies with its international obligations to provide care and support for trafficked victims, through the Government-funded contract with The Salvation Army, in England and Wales. This includes access to legal representation, counselling and accommodation.

However, in our work to stamp out Modern Slavery we will be looking at such provision again.

Internet: Child Abuse

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what systems are in place to prevent online child abuse.[HL5987]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): The Government is committed to preventing online child abuse and has put in place a major programme to protect children online.

The Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Command of the National Crime Agency (NCA) is the UK's national law enforcement agency committed to tackling the sexual abuse of children in both the online and offline environments - with the principal aim of identifying, locating and safeguarding children and young people from harm. Every officer in the NCA, over 4000 people, has a legal duty to safeguard children and promote child welfare. The NCA's UK and global reach is extensive, with officers stationed in over 40 countries overseas to ensure our international partners are working alongside us to tackle the abuse of children.

We have made additional progress in tackling child abuse online through work we are doing with the internet industry. Internet search engines have made changes to their search mechanisms, and these new measures have been effective in making it harder to access child abuse images. Britain and the US have also created a new taskforce to work with industry to counter online child sexual exploitation.

The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) is a group of over 200 organisations containing representatives from government, law enforcement, the charity sector, academia and the online industry, who work together to help keep children safe online. The Executive Board is Chaired jointly by the Minister for Policing, Criminal Justice and Victims, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Communications and the Creative Industries and the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Children and Families.

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Justice: On-the-Run Individuals

Question

Asked by Lord Empey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they consulted, or sought and received the agreement of, the First Minister of Northern Ireland in relation to the terms of reference of the review into the operation of the “on the run” administrative scheme. [HL5819]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Wales Office (Baroness Randerson) (LD): Yes. My Rt Hon Friend the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland consulted the First Minister.

NHS: Hospital Admissions

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that there are enough beds for patients in NHS hospitals.[HL5986]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Department does not set a standard for the number of beds that are available or occupied in National Health Service hospitals. Hospitals need to manage their beds effectively in order to cope with peaks in demand. Information that is collected every quarter from all NHS organisations that have beds shows that occupancy has remained stable at between 84% and 88% since 2000.

Non-departmental Government Bodies: Staff

Questions

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many employees were recruited by the Insolvency Service in 2013; and, of that number, how many were graduates.[HL5853]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie) (Con): In 2013, the Insolvency Service recruited thirteen employees. Twelve were recruited from other government departments and one was recruited from outside the civil service. None were graduates recruited direct from university. Six recruits have declared that they are educated to degree standard.

Asked by Lord Adonis

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many employees were recruited by the Land Registry in 2013; and, of that number, how many were graduates.[HL5854]

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Viscount Younger of Leckie: During 2013 Land Registry recruited 24 employees. 17 of these were recruited from outside the Civil Service and 7 were existing Civil Servants transferring from another department. Land Registry does not currently run a graduate scheme and does not maintain records on whether employees are graduates.

Police: Regulatory Functions

Question

Asked by Lord Dear

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether regulatory functions carried out by the police, especially firearms licensing, will be included within the Regulators' Code.[HL5919]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): The police are not a regulator. Therefore, regulatory functions carried out by them, including firearms licensing, will not be included in the Regulators' Code.

Quangos

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 24 February (WA 222), what has been the financial saving arising from the reduction and merger of quangos since 2010; and how many jobs have been lost.[HL5725]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): Since 2010, the Government has reduced the administrative cost of public bodies by over £1bn and remains on track to achieve reductions of at least £2.6bn by 2014/15. By the end of the Spending Review Period, it is estimated that there will an ongoing saving from the public bodies landscape of over £900 million per annum.

Workforce numbers are published in the annual reports into Public Bodies, the most recent of which can be found online here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/public-bodies-2013

This Government’s reforms represent the largest restructuring of public bodies in a generation, making the landscape smaller, more accountable, more efficient, less costly, and offering better value for money to the public.

Schools: Careers Advice

Question

Asked by Lord Touhig

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the remarks by Lord Nash on 25 February (HL Deb, col 826) that face-to-face interviews with careers

18 Mar 2014 : Column WA28

advisers are an outmoded model, what they view as a better alternative.[HL5832]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): Young people can gain confidence and motivation from the opportunity to explore career ideas through individual, face-to-face discussions with a range of people. This can include careers advisers but should also encompass mentors, alumni, role models and inspiring individuals from the careers to which young people aspire. They can also explore career opportunities through listening to speakers from different walks of life, work experience and visits to places of work and universities and other institutions of further and higher education.

We will soon be publishing statutory guidance on careers guidance and inspiration for schools to set out this approach in more detail.

Sudan

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what role the United Kingdom and European Union will have in the Sudanese elections in 2015.[HL5837]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): No decision has been made on UK or EU support to the 2015 elections. The UK would only consider providing support to the formal elections process if there were clear signs that a conducive environment was being created and with the agreement of the Sudanese government and the opposition. For now we will focus on strengthening the democratic environment by increasing our work with civil society.

United Arab Emirates

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will make representations to the government of the United Arab Emirates following the sentence of seven years' imprisonment on Dr Mahmoud al-Jaidah; and whether they will ask that his allegation of torture while in custody be fully investigated. [HL5875]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The Government frequently discusses human rights with the government of the United Arab Emirates. We consistently make clear the importance we attach to ensuring that due process is carefully and transparently followed and international human rights standards are upheld.