8 Apr 2014 : Column WA255

8 Apr 2014 : Column WA255

Written Answers

Tuesday 8 April 2014

Abortion

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they first became aware that the remains of aborted and miscarried foetuses had been used to heat some hospitals; and what action they intend to take against those who were responsible making such arrangements.[HL6252]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The use of ‘waste to energy’ incinerators to dispose of foetal remains first came to the Department's notice on 12 March during an interview the Parliamentary Under- Secretary of State (Dr Daniel Poulter) took part in for the Channel 4 Dispatches programme.

The type of situations highlighted in the Channel 4 Dispatches programme, where fetal remains were incinerated, rather than buried or cremated in line with what the woman would have wanted, are totally unacceptable.

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health has asked the National Medical Director, NHS England, to write to all National Health Service trusts and foundation trusts to make clear his view that this practice is inappropriate, which he has now done.

Also, following correspondence from the Chief Medical Officer, the Human Tissue Authority has confirmed that it will revise its code of practice on disposal to make this clear. It will also examine disposal policies when inspecting licensed establishments and seek evidence that the policy is followed.

Responsibility for ensuring that staff comply with their hospital's policy on disposal of foetal remains lies with the relevant NHS trust or NHS foundation trust. Any disciplinary action considered necessary will be a matter for the trust or foundation trust as the employing authority.

Asked by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which NHS trusts have incinerated foetuses to provide heat in their hospitals; whether they will publish the names of the officials who authorised that activity; and how many aborted and miscarried foetuses have been used for that purpose.[HL6335]

Earl Howe: The information requested is not collected centrally by the Department.

We are aware that some of the information has been provided to the Channel 4 Dispatches programme by National Health Service acute trusts and NHS acute foundation trusts in England following requests made to them by Channel 4 under the Freedom of Information Act. A copy of this has been given to the Department. As this 'dossier' is not information collected by the Department or provided directly to us by the trusts or foundation trusts we are unable to confirm its

8 Apr 2014 : Column WA256

completeness or verify its accuracy. However, a copy of the information has already been placed in the Library.

The type of situations highlighted in the Channel 4 Dispatches programme, where foetal remains were incinerated, rather than buried or cremated in line with what the woman would have wanted, are totally unacceptable. The Parliamentary Under Secretary of State asked the National Medical Director, NHS England to write to all NHS trusts and foundation trusts to make clear his view that this practice is inappropriate, which he has now done. The Chief Medical Officer has also written to the Human Tissue Authority which has confirmed that it will revise its code of practice on disposal to make this clear.

Alcohol

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government by how much they expect overall alcohol consumption to rise or fall across the United Kingdom as a result of the changes in alcohol duty announced in the Budget. [HL6317]

Lord Newby (LD): The Government expects that there will be a small increase in alcohol consumption as a result of the changes to alcohol duty announced at Budget 2014. The tables below provide estimates of changes in consumption in both percentage and volume terms for each type of alcohol consumed, relative to the previous alcohol duty rates policy.

Estimated increase in consumption (%):

2014-152015-162016-172017-182018-19

Beer

1.5%

1.5%

1.6%

1.7%

1.8%

Spirits

1.1%

1.2%

1.2%

1.3%

1.4%

Alcopops

0.1%

0.1%

0.1%

0.1%

0.2%

Cider

0.9%

0.9%

1.0%

1.0%

1.1%

Wine

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

0.0%

Total

0.8%

0.9%

0.9%

0.9%

0.9%

Estimated increase in consumption (thousand hectolitres of alcohol):

2014-152015-162016-172017-182018-19

Beer

25

25

26

28

29

Spirits

12

12

13

14

15

Alcopops

0

0

0

0

0

Cider

4

4

4

5

5

Wine

0

0

0

0

0

Total

40

42

44

46

48

Armed Forces: Unfounded Abuse Claims

Question

Asked by Lord Blencathra

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to investigate United Kingdom law firms pursuing claims of unfounded abuse by British soldiers. [HL6237]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): There are no plans to investigate the firms as they are not funded under the legal aid

8 Apr 2014 : Column WA257

regulations or their contract with the Lord Chancellor in the Al-Sweady inquiry. It would not be reasonable to investigate the firms under their contract in relation to a matter arising outside their contract.

Care Homes: Internet

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of the number of care homes for the elderly that have wi-fi internet access; whether they intend to make it a legal requirement for care homes to provide internet access; and whether they intend to require the publication of quality of life standards for care homes that go beyond standards of treatment, staffing, safety and management. [HL6253]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Data on the number of care homes for the elderly that have wi-fi internet access are not collected. We do not intend to introduce legislation to require care homes to provide internet access or to publish quality of life standards.

The quality of services provided in care homes is regulated and inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC). New Fundamental Standards will set out the line below which care must not fall and will, subject to Parliament, require all health and adult social care providers registered with the CQC to ensure that care is person- centred and people are treated with dignity and respect. Care providers registered with the CQC will also be required to display the rating given to them by the CQC following inspection, which will specify whether the provider is outstanding, good, requires improvement or inadequate.

Central African Republic

Question

Asked by Baroness Berridge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the presence of outside insurgents in the conflict in the Central African Republic, and in particular of reports that Boko Haram and Janjaweed forces are in that country.[HL6446]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): We are aware of reports linking regional extremist groups to the crisis in the Central African Republic (CAR), though there is a lack of solid evidence to confirm the presence of Boko Haram and Janjaweed. We will continue to monitor the situation closely in collaboration with partners although, due to the situation on the ground, reliable information is very difficult to obtain. What is clear is that a very serious security situation, in which a number of armed groups are playing a role, remains. We have therefore supported African Union, EU and French security deployments in CAR, and continue to work

8 Apr 2014 : Column WA258

closely with our partners at the UN to agree the possible deployment of a UN Peacekeeping Operation later this year.

Children and Families Act 2014

Question

Asked by Baroness Jones of Whitchurch

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they intend to place documents published after 8 January 2014, relating to the Children and Families Act 2014, which were formerly on the Department for Education website, in the National Archive. [HL6396]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): The work to archive material relating to this Act is being undertaken in two phases. We are continuing to work with The National Archives who aim to have the documents published after 8 January 2014, the remaining material relating to this Act, available on the UK Government Web Archive by mid-June.

Material relating to the Children and Families Act 2014 made available by the Department for Education prior to 8 January 2014 is now on The National Archives website and can be accessed via the following link:

http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20140107110559/http://www.education.gov.uk/aboutdfe/departmentalinformation/childrenandfamiliesbill/b00221161/children-families-bill/children-families-dec-13

In the meantime, we have temporarily republished all the material relating to the Act on http://www. education.gov.uk/dfe,and will ensure that it remains available on this site during this transitional period until it has been added to the National Archives.

China

Question

Asked by Lord Patten

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they last discussed the position of the Roman Catholic seminary in Shanghai with the government of China; and what was the outcome of those discussions. [HL6340]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): We have concerns about restrictions on freedom of religious belief in China, and raise them regularly with Chinese counterparts. We are aware of particular cases such as that of Bishop Ma Deqin, who is reportedly being kept under house arrest at the Sheshan seminary in Shanghai. We raise our particular concerns publicly through our Annual Human Rights and Democracy Report.

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Debt

Question

Asked by Lord Barnett

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the Office for Budget Responsibility concerning explanations suggesting that there is a £20 billion shortfall in public finances.[HL6412]

8 Apr 2014 : Column WA260

Lord Newby (LD): The independent OBR publish a log of all substantive contact with Ministers, their offices and special advisers on their website.

Log of substantive contact between the Office for Budget Responsibility and Treasury Ministers, Special Advisers and their private office staff between 18 July 2013 and 5 December 2013

DateWhich Ministers, Offices or Special Advisers?Type of contactBrief summary of discussion/purpose

11/10/2013

Chancellor, Chief Secretary, Chancellor's and CST's office officials, special adviser, other Treasury officials

Email

Note on the first round economy forecast

30/10/2013

Chancellor, Chief Secretary, Chancellor's and CST's office officials, special adviser, other Treasury officials

Email

Note on the first round fiscal forecast

04/11/2013

Chief Secretary, CST's office officials, special adviser, other Treasury officials

Meeting with

Robert Chote

To discuss the economic and fiscal forecast

13/11/2013

Chancellor, Chief Secretary, Chancellor's and CST's office officials, special adviser, other Treasury officials

Email

Note on the second round economic and fiscal forecast

14/11/2013

Chancellor, Chancellor's office officials, special adviser, other Treasury officials

Meeting with the

SRC

To discuss the economic and fiscal forecast

21/11/2013

Chancellor, Chief Secretary, Chancellor's and CST's office officials, special adviser, other Treasury officials

Email

Note on the third round economic and fiscal forecast

29/11/2013

Chancellor, Chief Secretary, Chancellor's and CST's office officials, special adviser, other Treasury officials

Email

Providing a draft copy of the December 2013 Economic and fiscal outlook under agreed exceptional pre- release arrangements for the Chancellor and named officials

04/12/2013

Chancellor, Chief Secretary, Chancellor's and CST's office officials, special adviser, other Treasury officials

Email

To provide 24 hours pre-release access to the December 2013

Economic and fiscal outlook and supporting documents

04/12/2013

Chancellor

Exchange of letters with Robert Chote

Confirming OBR role in assessing compliance with welfare cap

On 16 September, Treasury officials provided us with confirmation of the Autumn Statement date of 4 December, consistent with the terms of our Memorandum of Understanding that 10 weeks' notice will be given. On 6 November 2013, Treasury officials informed us that the date of the Autumn Statement would be moved to 5 December. Minor amendments to the agreed timetable for exchanging forecast and policy information were mode at that time.

Dredging

Question

Asked by Lord Morris of Aberavon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord de Mauley on 19 March (WA 34–5), what discussions they have had with the Environment Agency in recent years about the case for, and value of, dredging; and whether Ministers considered at any point the Environmental Agency's plans for the Somerset Levels.[HL6313]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley) (Con): We have had frequent discussions with the Environment Agency over the last few years about flood risk management, including the contribution and value of dredging, in Somerset and across the country. We have also been kept up to date with Environment Agency’s plans for the Somerset Levels.

The Environment Agency will continue to undertake dredging where it is shown to be a genuinely cost effective way of managing flood risk, taking account of the other options available. In some areas, dredging will be the most cost effective approach. In others, it would divert resources away from other flood risk management activities which are far more beneficial to local communities, such as maintaining pumps, sluice gates or raised embankments. The Environment Agency will therefore continue to review the case for dredging area by area, given its variable impact on reducing flood risk.

Economy: Weekly Incomes

Questions

Asked by Baroness Thornton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the national average weekly income in the United Kingdom for (1) men, and (2) women.[HL6448]

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

8 Apr 2014 : Column WA261

Letter from Caron Walker,Director, Collection and Production, ONS, to Baroness Thornton, dated April 2014

On behalf of the Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking Her Majesty’s Government what is the national average weekly income in the United Kingdom for (1) men, and (2) women. (HL6448).

The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), carried out in April each year, is the most comprehensive source of earnings information in the United Kingdom. Weekly levels of earnings are estimated from ASHE, and are provided for employees on adult rates of pay, whose earnings for the survey pay period were not affected by absence. Figures relate to employee jobs, which are defined as those held by employees and not the self-employed. Additional sources of income such as benefit payments, rental income and pensions are not covered in ASHE.

I attach a table showing estimates of median gross weekly earnings for male and female employees in the UK in April 2013, the latest period for which results are available. Figures are provided separately for full-time employees and all employees.

Median gross weekly earnings (£) for employeesa in the UK in April 2013

Allemployees

Full-timeemployees

Male

Female

Male

Female

Apr-13

508.0

327.5

556.0

458.8

Notes:

a. Employee jobs are defined as those held by employees and not the self- employed. Figures relate to employees on adult rates whose pay for the survey pay-period was not affected by absence. ASHE is based on a 1 per cent sample of jobs taken from HM Revenue and Customs' Pay As You Earn (PAYE) records. Consequently, individuals with more than one job may appear in the sample more than once.

Guide to quality:

The coefficient of variation (CV) indicates the quality of a figure; the smaller the CV value, the higher the quality.

The true value is likely to lie within +/- twice the CV - for example, for an average of 200 with a CV of 5%, we would expect the population average to be within the

Key

CV <= 5%

*

CV > 5% and <=10%

**

CV > 10% and <=20%

Source: Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), Office for National Statistics.

Asked by Baroness Thornton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the national average weekly income in the West Midlands for (1) men, and (2) women.[HL6449]

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

Letter from Caron Walker,Director, Collection and Production, ONS, to Baroness Thornton, dated April 2014

8 Apr 2014 : Column WA262

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking Her Majesty’s Government what is the national average weekly income in the West Midlands for (1) men, and (2) women. (HL6449).

The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), carried out in April each year, is the most comprehensive source of earnings information in the United Kingdom. Weekly levels of earnings are estimated from ASHE, and are provided for employees on adult rates of pay, whose earnings for the survey pay period were not affected by absence. Figures relate to employee jobs, which are defined as those held by employees and not the self-employed. Additional sources of income such as benefit payments, rental income and pensions are not covered in ASHE.

I attach a table showing estimates of median gross weekly earnings for male and female employees in the West Midlands in April 2013, the latest period for which results are available. Figures are provided separately for full-time employees and all employees.

Median gross weekly earnings (£) for employeesa in the UK in April 2013

Allemployees

Full-timeemployees

Male

Female

Male

Female

Apr-13

483.0

303.7

527.0

417.1

Notes:

a. Employee jobs are defined as those held by employees and not the self- employed. Figures relate to employees on adult rates whose pay for the survey pay-period was not affected by absence. ASHE is based on a 1 per cent sample of jobs taken from HM Revenue and Customs' Pay As You Earn (PAYE) records. Consequently, individuals with more than one job may appear in the sample more than once.

Guide to quality:

The coefficient of variation (CV) indicates the quality of a figure; the smaller the CV value, the higher the quality.

The true value is likely to lie within +/- twice the CV - for example, for an average of 200 with a CV of 5%, we would expect the population average to be within the range 180 to 220.

Key

CV <= 5%

*

CV > 5% and <=10%

**

CV > 10% and <=20%

Source: Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), Office for National Statistics.

Asked by Baroness Thornton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the national average weekly income in Burton for (1) men, and (2) women.[HL6450]

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

Letter from Caron Walker,Director, Collection and Production, ONS, Baroness Thornton, dated April 2014.

On behalf of the Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking Her Majesty’s Government what is the national average weekly income in Burton for (1) men, and (2) women. (HL6450).

8 Apr 2014 : Column WA263

The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), carried out in April each year, is the most comprehensive source of earnings information in the United Kingdom. Weekly levels of earnings are estimated from ASHE, and are provided for employees on adult rates of pay, whose earnings for the survey pay period were not affected by absence. Figures relate to employee jobs, which are defined as those held by employees and not the self-employed. Additional sources of income such as benefit payments, rental income and pensions are not covered in ASHE.

I attach a table showing estimates of median gross weekly earnings for male and female employees in Burton constituency in April 2013, the latest period for which results are available. Figures are provided separately for full-time employees and all employees.

Median gross weekly earnings (£) for employeesa in the UK in April 2013

All employees

Full-time employees

Male

Female

Male

Female

Apr-13

531.9 *

287.4**

596.9 *

411.1**

Notes:

a. Employee jobs are defined as those held by employees and not the self- employed. Figures relate to employees on adult rates whose pay for the survey pay-period was not affected by absence. ASHE is based on a 1 per cent sample of jobs taken from HM Revenue and Customs' Pay As You Earn (PAYE) records. Consequently, individuals with more than one job may appear in the sample more than once.

Guide to quality:

The coefficient of variation (CV) indicates the quality of a figure; the smaller the CV value, the higher the quality.

The true value is likely to lie within +/- twice the CV - for example, for an average of 200 with a CV of 5%, we would expect the population average to be within the range 180 to 220.

Key

CV <= 5%

*

CV > 5% and <=10%

**

CV > 10% and <=20%

Source: Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), Office for National Statistics.

Egypt

Questions

Asked by Lord Luce

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the abuse of human rights in Egypt including the number of political prisoners, the torture of political prisoners and the number of Egyptians sentenced to death on political grounds; and what representations they are making to the government of Egypt about those matters.[HL6336]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): While there are no reliable figures for the number of political prisoners in Egypt, a recent report from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace suggests over 16,000 people have been arrested. The UK condemns the arrest and

8 Apr 2014 : Column WA264

torture of political prisoners and is concerned by the closure of political space in Egypt and restrictions on freedom of expression. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my Rt. Hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), made a statement on 24 March saying he was ‘deeply concerned’ by the reports that 528 individuals were sentenced to death by a court in Al Minya, Egypt. He urged the Egyptian authorities to ensure full respect for defendants’ rights, and expressed hope that they would review this unacceptable sentence.

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what recent estimate they have made of the number of Egyptians in detention in that country; and whether they will make representations to the government of Egypt to encourage the swift completion of the judicial process in those cases.[HL6416]

Baroness Warsi: The 2013 US State Department Human Rights report suggests that there are at least 62,000 Egyptian prisoners overall, including as many as 2,000 pre-trial detainees. In August 2013 the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), called for the release of all political detainees, unless there were criminal charges to be made against them, and emphasised that it is vital that any charges are not politically motivated. In his statement on 24 March he urged the Egyptian authorities to ensure full respect for defendants’ rights.

Embryology

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 20 March (WA 50–1), how much information regarding the review by the Expert Panel of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) was conveyed by the HFEA in emails sent from the account [email protected]; whether any scientists or clinicians were known to have subscribed to the distribution list associated with that email account; whether, and if so how, the HFEA’s call for “scientific evidence from experts in any relevant field on the safety or efficacy of pro-nuclear transfer and maternal spindle transfer techniques” was directed at all such individuals; how much advance notification of the Expert Panel’s deadline for written submissions was provided in emails sent from the aforementioned account; how many weeks had elapsed following the launch of the Government’s consultation before those who had subscribed to the distribution list associated with that email account were notified about the consultation; what prompted the HFEA’s notification at the particular time concerned; and why those who had subscribed to the distribution list associated with that email account were not informed sooner about the launch of the Government’s consultation or given additional information regarding the Expert Panel’s call for evidence.[HL6312]

8 Apr 2014 : Column WA265

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that the third scientific review of the safety and efficacy of mitochondria replacement techniques by the Expert Panel, convened by the Authority, was announced on its website. Those wishing to submit evidence to the Expert Panel were asked to send submissions by email to a dedicated mailbox or in writing to the HFEA’s address. This information can be found on the HFEA’s website at:

www.hfea.gov.uk/docs/mitochondria_scientific_ review_update_-_call_for_evidence_2014.pdf

The HFEA has also advised that the email account to which the noble Lord refers is a newsletter mailing list to which anyone may subscribe and is not linked to the scientific review. The HFEA set up this email account during its public dialogue exercise: “Medical frontiers: debating mitochondria replacement”.

Employment: Agriculture and Fisheries

Question

Asked by Baroness Jones of Whitchurch

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the entry-level training courses available for those seeking employment in agriculture and fisheries; and whether those courses have been approved by employers in those sectors.[HL6397]

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Con): Ofqual, the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation, is the independent regulator of qualifications, examinations and assessments in England and vocational qualifications in Northern Ireland. National Occupational Standards define the competences required for achieving a qualification, and standard setting bodies such as Sector Skills Councils work with employers to develop, maintain and implement the Standards that underpin them. In addition, one of Ofqual’s conditions for recognising qualifications is evidence of clear support from relevant stakeholders, including employers and employer representatives.

We believe that qualifications should be rigorous and responsive to the skills needs of both learners and employers. A key aim of the Government's recently published “Getting the Job Done: the Government's Reform Plan for Vocational Qualifications” is, therefore, to improve employer relevance by giving employers greater ownership of, and more direct involvement in, qualification design and delivery of assessment.

Energy: Gas

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, as part of their package of sanctions towards Russia, they intend to instruct Centrica to cancel their agreement with Gazprom to supply the United Kingdom with gas; and if so, what will be the consequences for United Kingdom gas supplies and energy prices.[HL6527]

8 Apr 2014 : Column WA266

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma) (Con): The international community has sent a clear, strong, consistent message to Russia. The sanctions we have imposed to date are having an impact. The European Council is clear that it will respond with further wide-ranging measures if there is any further destabilisation in Ukraine by Russia.

The contract between Gazprom and Centrica is a commercial matter. It relates to a small part of total gas supply to the UK. While the contract is with a Russian company, the gas can be sourced from anywhere in the European network. The UK is not dependent on Russian energy imports and this contract does not alter that.

Equal Pay

Question

Asked by Baroness Thornton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what measures they are taking to tackle the gender pay gap and the regional disparities which exist between men's and women’s pay in the United Kingdom.[HL6451]

Baroness Northover (LD): The Government is tackling the gender pay gap. The Think Act Report initiative asks employers to address the causes of the pay gap and to share information on progress; more than 190 employers are now signed up including Tesco, Marks & Spencer, McDonalds, Vodafone and BP. We have implemented provisions in the Equality Act to make pay secrecy clauses unenforceable and we intend to allow employment tribunals to require an employer who loses an equal pay case to carry out a pay audit. We are also taking action to modernise the workplace including extending the right to request flexible working to all employees from June.

Estonia

Question

Asked by Lord Lamont of Lerwick

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have made any representations to any European Union body, or to the government of Estonia, about the treatment of ethnic Russians in Estonia. [HL6304]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The British Government has made no representations to the European Union or to the government of Estonia about the treatment of ethnic Russians in Estonia.

Eugenics

Questions

Asked by Lord Patten

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their policy concerning human eugenics.[HL6337]

8 Apr 2014 : Column WA267

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the prohibitions of eugenic practices contained in Article 3(2) of the European Union Charter of Fundamental Human Rights apply to the United Kingdom. [HL6338]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to sign the Council of Europe Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine (1997); and if not, why not.[HL6339]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Government supports good practice in informed choice for all patients or parents to aid prevention of serious illness or disease and does not support human eugenic practices in the United Kingdom.

The principles set out in Article 3(2) of the Charter applies to the UK when implementing European Union law.

The UK supported the original development of the Council of Europe Convention on Human Rights and Biomedicine, which covers a wide range of complex ethical and legal issues. In the UK, the complex nature of devolved responsibilities in this range of policy areas has delayed consideration of full ratification. In the meantime, the UK continues to take an active role in Council of Europe negotiations and development of relevant protocols.

Female Genital Mutilation

Questions

Asked by Lord Blencathra

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to make it a criminal offence for medical staff to fail to report all instances of female genital mutilation.[HL6239]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Government has no current plans to make it a criminal offence for medical staff to fail to report all instances of female genital mutilation (FGM) but will keep this under review.

If National Health Service staff identify a child they consider to be at risk of FGM, or who has already undergone FGM, they must respond appropriately by involving social services and/or police, as per section 47 of the Children Act 1989, and as explained in HMG publication ‘Multi-Agency Practice Guidelines: Female Genital Mutilation’ (2011)

Guidance is also available from various professional bodies, for example, the General Medical Council, the Royal College of Midwives and the Intercollegiate Recommendations for Identifying, Recording and Reporting FGM (2012). In addition, the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children female genital mutilation helpline, co-funded by the Home Office, is a resource for health professionals and young people with concerns about safeguarding issues.

Guidance issued by the General Medical Council on confidentiality advises doctors to consider disclosure

8 Apr 2014 : Column WA268

in the public interest, and to document reasons where they do not report. Failure to follow guidance can lead to fitness to practise proceedings which in turn can lead to a professional being struck off in more serious cases.

It is important to note that there are still presentations of FGM in the NHS where it is the case that the girl or woman was not a British citizen at the time that she underwent FGM. Because of this, such cases may not always constitute a criminal offence. An adult also has the right to medical confidentiality when they disclose information in a healthcare setting.

However, NHS foundation and non-foundation acute trusts are now required to record the presence of FGM and note the family history through the new Information Standard introduced on 1 April 2014.

Asked by Baroness Gould of Potternewton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they consider that the current legislation against female genital mutilation provides sufficient protection against the practice, whether carried out in the United Kingdom or abroad.[HL6350]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): The Government is committed to tackling and preventing the harmful and unacceptable practice of female genital mutilation.

The Female Genital Mutilation Act 2003 extended significantly the protection that the law affords to victims of this unacceptable practice. However, to deal with perpetrators of these offences, cases must be reported to the police and the evidential and public interest tests for prosecution must be met. At the time of mutilation, victims may be too young and vulnerable, or too afraid, to report offences. They may also be reluctant to implicate family members. These barriers to prosecution cannot easily be overcome. Therefore it is important to find ways of building a case that do not necessarily rely on the testimony of child victims.

As part of cross-government work, the Ministry of Justice is already considering suggestions made by the Director of Public Prosecutions for strengthening the criminal law on female genital mutilation to make successful prosecutions more likely.

We welcome the Home Affairs Select Committee inquiry into this area and will give careful consideration to any additional recommendations for legislative change that may be made by the Committee when it reports in due course.

Feronia Inc

Questions

Asked by Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what development impacts are expected from the use of United Kingdom official development assistance to purchase part of the agribusiness company Feronia through CDC.[HL6352]

8 Apr 2014 : Column WA269

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the extent to which the work of Feronia fits with the National Development Strategy of the government of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.[HL6353]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the compatibility of Feronia’s registration in the Cayman Islands with sustainable economic development in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.[HL6354]

Baroness Northover (LD): CDC is a public limited company with an independent Board and takes individual investment decisions independent of DFID. Information about the investment and its expected development impact is available on CDC’s website http://cdcgroup. com/Media/News/CDC-invests-US181m-in-agribusiness-in-the-Democratic-Republic- of-Congo/.

Financial Services (Banking Reform) Act 2013

Question

Asked by Baroness Hayter of Kentish Town

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when the provision in the Financial Services (Banking Reform) Act 2013, whereby complaints against claims management companies can be made to the Legal Services Ombudsman, will be implemented. [HL6433]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): The Financial Services (Banking Reform) Act 2013 provided the necessary enabling powers to put in place the funding arrangements for the Legal Ombudsman to deal with complaints against claims management companies. These provisions were commenced on 21 March 2014. This included a power for the Lord Chancellor to make Regulations to charge fees to recover the costs he has incurred in meeting the expenditure of the Legal Ombudsman in relation to claims management complaints.

Section 161 of the Legal Services Act 2007 will, once commenced, extend the Legal Ombudsman’s remit to deal with complaints against claims management companies. We are continuing to work towards commencing section 161 of the 2007 Act, but prior to this we must ensure that all the necessary legislative arrangements are in place. This includes consulting on the structure of the Lord Chancellor’s cost recovery fee and drafting the fee Regulations, which must then be approved by Parliament. At the same time, the Legal Ombudsman is working on the operational arrangements for taking these complaints, and thus we will deliver this new regime as soon as possible.

Food: Halal or Kosher Meat

Question

Asked by Lord Rana

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to reassure consumers, who for religious or other reasons do not wish to consume halal or

8 Apr 2014 : Column WA270

kosher meats, about the provenance of the meat they buy, in the absence of any informative labelling as to the method of slaughter used.[HL6221]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley) (Con): The Government is of the view that consumers should have the necessary information available to them to make an informed choice about their food. Any method of slaughter labelling system needs to cover more than just the UK. We are awaiting the results of an European Commission study on method-of-slaughter labelling, which is due this summer. We will look at possible options in light of that report.

Government Departments: Budgets

Question

Asked by Lord Mendelsohn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the percentage cost over-run established by the management board for any budget in the Department for Communities and Local Government to merit being tabled at the departmental management board; and how many times in the last 12 months that has occurred.[HL6279]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Stowell of Beeston) (Con): The Department’s financial position is reviewed on a regular basis.

Government Departments: Catering, Hospitality and Refreshments

Question

Asked by Baroness Seccombe

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the breakdown of departmental spending in the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on catering, hospitality and refreshments in (1) 2008–09, and (2) 2009–10.[HL6301]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley) (Con): This table sets out the information requested, in respect of Core Defra.

£2008-092009-10

Catering and Hospitality

426,317

545,253

Refreshments

18,574

7,114

The figures for Catering and Hospitality include a subsidy paid to the Department’s providers of in-house catering, hospitality and refreshments. The Department no longer pays such a subsidy.

8 Apr 2014 : Column WA271

Government Departments: Expenditure

Question

Asked by Baroness Seccombe

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps the Department for Communities and Local Government has taken to cut spending on Common Purpose leadership courses.[HL6298]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Stowell of Beeston) (Con): I confirm that the Secretary of State has given a clear steer that spending on Common Purpose is not appropriate, and no expenditure has been undertaken since 2010. By contrast, the last Administration spent £235,950 on Common Purpose.

In ’50 ways to save’ the Department’s best practice guidance on sensible savings, we recommended councils cancel spending on Common Purpose leadership courses as a practical way of saving money.

Gross Domestic Product

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 March (WA 73–4) concerning European Union regulations requiring black market activities, prostitution and illegal drug dealing to be taken into account in the United Kingdom gross domestic product, what is the likely effect, in terms of percentage, on gross domestic product.[HL6366]

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

Letter from Peter Fullerton, Director, Collection and Production Operations for ONS, to Lord Stoddart, dated March 2014.

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics (ONS), I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking, what is Her Majesty’s Government’s assessment of the likely effect, in percentage terms, from implementing European Union regulations requiring black market activities, including prostitution and illegal drug dealing, to be taken into account in the calculation of the United Kingdom gross domestic product. (HL6366)

When published as part of the annual update of the United Kingdom National Accounts on 30 September 2014 the inclusion of estimates for the black market economy will change gross domestic product (GDP) growth in current prices by less than 0.1 percentage point for any given year. This is the effect on GDP annual growth in current prices. The headline GDP growth measure used a chain volume measure (CVM). Work is continuing to produce CVM estimates for the illicit economy and to then assess the impact on quarterly GDP growth rates.

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This change is one of many being implemented on 30 September 2014 as part of the introduction of the European System of Accounts 2010 (ESA 2010) and it is likely that other changes being introduced will have larger impacts on GDP growth than those seen by including black market activities.

Health: Chronic Pulmonary Aspergillosis

Question

Asked by Baroness Masham of Ilton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what research they are currently supporting into the development of new anti-fungal treatments for conditions such as chronic pulmonary aspergillosis.[HL6512]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) funds a range of research relating to fungal disease. The NIHR has awarded £2.5 million for the period from September 2012 until March 2017 to the NIHR South Manchester Respiratory and Allergy Clinical Research Facility (CRF). The CRF has a research theme focused on novel diagnostics and improved therapy for pulmonary aspergillosis, cystic fibrosis, and ventilator associated pneumonia in ICU (intensive care units).

In 2012-13 the Medical Research Council (MRC) spent £2.5 million to support 14 research projects in the area of fungal disease. Four projects relate to aspergillosis:

Professor D van Aalten, University of Dundee, Molecular mechanisms of fungal cell wall assembly;Dr D Armstrong-James, Imperial College London, A novel immuno-diagnostic strategy for invasive fungal infections in solid organ transplant patients; Miss D Lockhart, University of Dundee, Sugar coated armour: exploring UDP galactopyranose mutase (UGM) as a potential antifungal target; and Dr A Shah, Imperial College London, Defining the effects of transplant innmunosuppressants on innate immunity to fungi.

Further information on all research supported by the MRC is available via the Research Councils UK, Gateway to Research available at:

http://gtr.rcuk.ac.uk/

Health: Eating Disorders

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking prevent girls from being targeted by websites promoting eating disorders.[HL6372]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Government is committed to continue working with the internet industry in the United Kingdom to keep young people safe online and to promote access to positive support for those children and young people who are vulnerable to

8 Apr 2014 : Column WA273

suggestion from so called ‘pro-ana’ (designed to promote anorexia) and pro-mia (promoting bulimia) websites.

Education is central, and the new national curriculum will see children aged 5 to 16 taught about internet safety in a sensible, age-appropriate way, a really important step to help children and young people understand some of the issues.

Health: Parkinson's Disease

Question

Asked by Baroness Masham of Ilton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the proposed changes to the fundamental standards of care will ensure that people with Parkinson's disease receive their medication on time.[HL6256]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The fundamental standards of care will set out the line below which care should never fall. They will be requirements that all providers of health and social care registered with The Care Quality Commission (CQC) must meet. The CQC will be able to take action where providers do not meet these standards.

The Department is currently consulting on draft regulations which would require that providers ensure care is appropriate and safe, delivered in line with appropriate standards and guidance, and that appropriate steps for the proper and safe management of medicines are taken. It will be the responsibility of providers to make sure they can meet these basic standards of quality and safety.

Health: Pharmaceutical Pricing Schemes

Question

Asked by Lord Stevenson of Balmacara

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the present Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme on pharmaceutical companies that had previously agreed a discounted list price for their medicines directly with NHS England and specialised commissioners. [HL6483]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The 2014 The Pharmaceutical Price Regulation Scheme (PPRS), agreed between the Department and the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry, introduced a limit on growth in the overall cost of the branded medicines purchased by the National Health Service from members of the scheme. This growth limit applies to the great majority of medicines and details are clearly set out in the scheme.

Within the scheme, scheme members may offer discounts or other arrangements to the NHS as long as these do not contravene any aspect of the scheme. Decisions on whether to participate in such arrangements and the terms on which they are offered are matters for the relevant scheme member and the NHS. The Allowed Growth Rates and PPRS Payments are calculated

8 Apr 2014 : Column WA274

based on NHS expenditure on relevant medicines net of any discounts. The Government has not, therefore, made an assessment of the impact of the scheme on pharmaceutical companies which have agreed particular arrangements with NHS organisations in relation to specific products.

The PPRS is a voluntary scheme, and pharmaceutical companies have the choice whether to join the PPRS or to be covered by the alternative statutory scheme.

Health: Pregnancy

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the adequacy of warnings about the dangers of taking medication during pregnancy. [HL6370]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Few medicines are completely free from side effects, and use of any medicine in pregnancy requires a careful evaluation of the benefits and risks to the woman, taking into account any possible effects on the unborn child. Information on the risks of a medicine in pregnancy is included in the Summary of Product Characteristics (SPC) for healthcare professionals and the Patient Information Leaflet (PIL). The British National Formulary, which is provided to all prescribers, has a prominent warning which states that drugs should be prescribed in pregnancy only if the expected benefits to the mother are greater than the risk to the foetus and that all medicines should be avoided if possible in the first trimester.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) continually monitors medicines in clinical use for any possible adverse effects in pregnancy, using a range of well-established approaches. The United Kingdom's Yellow Card scheme collects reports from healthcare professionals and patients of suspected adverse reactions to medicines and is a proven way of identifying new or changing risks in real world use. We have recently updated our Yellow Card form to increase and improve reporting of suspected adverse reactions to medicines taken during pregnancy. These reports will improve our understanding of a medicine's effect during pregnancy and inform treatment decisions to maximise the benefit and minimise the risk to the mother and baby. Any information on a new or changing risk to arise is assessed and the SPC and PIL are updated where appropriate.

Hillsborough Castle

Question

Asked by Lord Mawhinney

To ask Her Majesty’s Government on what date the new trustees of the Royal Palace at Hillsborough Castle, Northern Ireland, were announced; and who has been appointed.[HL6557]

8 Apr 2014 : Column WA275

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Wales Office (Baroness Randerson) (LD): On 24 March 2014, a press release was issued stating “The Northern Ireland Office and Historic Royal Palaces are pleased to announce that they have today signed a contract confirming that Historic Royal Palaces will take over responsibility for management and presentation of Hillsborough Castle as planned, with effect from 1 April 2014.”

No new trustees were appointed specifically to Hillsborough Castle, but details of the current trustees of Historic Royal Palaces can be found at:

http://www.hrp.org.uk/aboutus/whoweare/currenttrustees.

Houses of Parliament: Restoration

Question

Asked by Lord Storey

To ask the Chairman of Committees whether there are plans to sell or give away the tiles currently being replaced in the Palace of Westminster. [HL6435]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Sewel): The Encaustic Tile Programme is a seven year conservation programme to replace and repair the encaustic tiles throughout the Palace of Westminster. As part of the programme, tiles which are in good condition are either left in place or re-used elsewhere whenever possible.

In some cases, the tiles cannot be re-used elsewhere, and the Administration and Works Committee in the Lords and the Administration Committee in the Commons have agreed that, in these cases, some tiles should be kept for archival purposes, some tiles should be donated to museums or related institutions, and a limited number of tiles should be sold.

The Committees in both Houses are currently discussing the details of this proposal.

Housing Benefit (Habitual Residence) Amendment Regulations 2014

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee’s report (HL Paper 157) on the Housing Benefit (Habitual Residence) Amendment Regulations 2014 (SI 2014/539) noting that the measure was announced by the Prime Minister in the Financial Times, and that no consultation followed; and what steps they will take to prevent future practice of that kind and to ensure that measures are announced by the appropriate Secretary of State.[HL6526]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): The Department for Work and Pensions has noted the report of the Secondary Legislation Scrutiny Committee. The Prime Minister covered a strategy to manage several aspects of migration at a national and international level. This

8 Apr 2014 : Column WA276

inevitably engaged the work of a large number of Government Departments simultaneously. Follow up details have been announced by the relevant Secretaries of State. In particular, the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions announced the detail as to how and when this Department would implement the measures to restrict access to Housing Benefit for EEA jobseekers in January 2014.

Officials have engaged with a wide range of parties on the detail of policy and implementation since January. Although urgency procedures were used with both the Social Security Advisory Committee (SSAC) and the Local Authority Associations (LAAs), the draft proposals were informally discussed with SSAC at their 5th March meeting http://ssac.independent.gov.uk/meetings/. There has also been constructive engagement with Local Authorities on the detail of implementation and new procedures to be adopted. The Department will continue this engagement to monitor the implications and operation of this measure, including through formal SSAC consultation, which was announced on 7 April 2014 following formal referral to them on 2 April 2014. http://ssac.independent.gov.uk/news/press- releases/07-04-14.pdf

Immigration: Unaccompanied Children

Questions

Asked by Lord Storey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many individuals who came to the United Kingdom as unaccompanied children between 2005 and 2010 (1) eventually settled in the United Kingdom, (2) left voluntarily, and (3) were removed.[HL6348]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): The number of unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) granted indefinite leave to remain between 1st October 2006 and 31st December 2010 is 661. Numbers of voluntary removals of UASC by year from 1st October 2006 to 31st December 2010:

Year of application20062007200820092010Total

Total

7

28

23

14

14

86

Numbers of enforced removals of UASC by year from 1st October 2006 to 31st December 2010:

Year of application20062007200820092010Total

Total

9

29

28

21

9

96

Please note:

‘Unaccompanied children’ have been interpreted as unaccompanied asylum seeking children (UASC) in answering this question. All figures quoted above are management information which has been subject to internal quality checks.Data on UASC was not formally recorded on the Home Office’s Case Information Database until 1st Oct 2006.

8 Apr 2014 : Column WA277

The above data does not necessarily relate to individuals who arrived in the UK in the period specified. The action referred to in the response may relate to a person who arrived in the UK in a previous year.

Asked by Lord Storey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many former unaccompanied children who have exhausted their appeal rights have been served with removal directions in each of the last five years, and to date in 2014.[HL6349]

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: For the purpose of answering this question, ‘unaccompanied children’ has been interpreted as unaccompanied asylum seeking children.

The following table gives data on the number of removal directions (RD) set for former unaccompanied asylum seeking children who have exhausted their appeal rights from 2009 to 2013.

Year Removal Direction was set20092010201120122013Total

Individuals with Removal Direction set

29

82

188

146

158

603

Iran

Questions

Asked by Lord Turnberg

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their most recent assessment of the results of negotiations with Iran to reduce its capacity to develop nuclear weapons.[HL6439]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): There have now been two rounds of negotiations with Iran on a comprehensive agreement, which would address our concerns about Iran's ability to develop a nuclear weapons capability. These discussions have been positive and useful; and a framework for the negotiations has been agreed. But achieving a comprehensive agreement will not be easy.

Asked by Lord Turnberg

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the reductions in nuclear capability made so far by Iran.[HL6440]

Baroness Warsi: Under the November Geneva interim deal, Iran has halted the most concerning aspects of its nuclear programme and in some cases is rolling it back: e.g. it has stopped enriching uranium beyond 5%; it is getting rid of its stockpile of 20% enriched uranium; and is not installing any additional centrifuges. All of these actions take Iran further away from developing a nuclear weapons capability. We are using the time and space created by the Geneva deal to negotiate a comprehensive agreement to address all our proliferation concerns and therefore take Iran further away from developing a nuclear weapons capability.

8 Apr 2014 : Column WA278

Israel

Questions

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the proximity of Israeli settlements and refugee camps on the number of children’s injuries in those areas.[HL6428]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The Government has not made any assessment of this issue.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the different types of live ammunition, such as bullets which splinter on impact, currently used by the Israel Defence Force in the Occupied Territories.[HL6429]

Baroness Warsi: The Government has not carried out any assessment on this issue. However, our Ambassador to Tel Aviv did raise the issue of the Israel Defence Force use of live fire with the Israeli National Security Adviser on 23 March 2014.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the concerns of Jewish diaspora groups such as Yachad, regarding Israel’s adherence to the norms of international law.[HL6432]

Baroness Warsi: The Government has not made any assessment of this issue. However, the UK has repeatedly urged Israel to respect its obligations under international law.

Israel and Palestine

Question

Asked by Lord Turnberg

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the Arab League about its support for the position taken by Mahmoud Abbas that not to recognise Israel as a Jewish State is a pre condition for continuing negotiations for a two-state solution.[HL6441]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The Government has not had discussions with the Arab League on this issue.

Lebanon

Question

Asked by Lord Turnberg

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the impact of Hezbollah on the stability of the government and on the population of Lebanon.[HL6460]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): As a major political force in Lebanon, Hizballah is part of the new, broad-based Lebanese government. But the involvement of

8 Apr 2014 : Column WA279

Hizballah’s military wing in Syria and its support for Assad’s brutality violates Lebanon’s policy of neutrality and risks the country becoming another victim of the Syria conflict. We are also seriously concerned by Hizballah’s own claims to possess significant and growing military capabilities in violation of the Security Council resolution 1701.

Legal Aid

Questions

Asked by Lord Blencathra

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much has been paid in legal aid fees over the last five years to law firms Public Interest Lawyers and Leigh Day to conduct cases alleging abuse by British soldiers.[HL6235]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): The Legal Aid Agency (LAA) cannot separately identify legal aid cases for those Iraqis alleging abuse by British Soldiers without disproportionate costs. Legal aid cases are not systematically recorded against nationality or cause of action.

Leigh Day have not acted under legal aid in these types of cases. Public Interest Lawyers have acted for Iraqi clients under legal aid in cases seeking investigations into deaths and mistreatment.

The net payments to Public Interest Lawyers over the past five years were:

YearAmount

2008/09

£628,527.75

2009/10

£267,433.88

2010/11

£439,268.02

2011/12

£331,238.85

2012/13

£54,387.48

These payments cover all work undertaken by the firm under legal aid. The payments made will be offset by recoupment on successful cases where the opponent has paid the costs.

Asked by Lord Blencathra

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to take steps to recover legal aid payments to the firm Public Interest Lawyers following their statement on 20 March that there was no evidence that British soldiers had murdered 20 Iraqis. [HL6236]

Lord Faulks: Legal aid is not funding the Al-Sweady Inquiry. There are therefore no plans to recover payments made from legal aid to Public Interest Lawyers following their statement on 20 March.

On 20 March, at the Al-Sweady Inquiry into the most serious allegations against British soldiers in the Iraq War, lawyers representing Iraqi families withdrew their claim that the troops had killed unarmed civilians they had captured and brought back to an army base.

The inquiry continues and the statement on 20 March does not mean that the inquiry has been abandoned.

8 Apr 2014 : Column WA280

Legal aid was provided for an action prior to the Inquiry. Legal aid was provided to Iraqi applicants to seek an independent and effective investigation into deaths and torture or inhumane and degrading treatment in relation to the incident at checkpoint Danny Boy in Iraq in May 2004. As a result of these proceedings, the Secretary of State for Defence decided to hold the Al-Sweady Inquiry. This action was therefore successful in its aim.

The Inquiry is not yet complete and the Chairman’s report is not due to be published until later in the year. Public Interest Lawyers’s statement refers to part only of the allegations made and the Ministry of Justice awaits the Inquiry Report before commenting further.

Migrant Workers

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the Kafala sponsorship system for migrant workers going to the Gulf states; and what implications their assessment may have for British investment in those states and reciprocal investments in the United Kingdom.[HL6509]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The abuse by employers of the Kafala sponsorship system for migrant workers is a cause for significant concern. We urge all Gulf countries to respect the rights of migrant workers and ensure they are treated in accordance with international standards. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right honourable friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague) and the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills, my right honourable friend the Member for Twickenham (Dr Cable), launched the UK’s Action Plan on business and human rights in September 2013. This sends a clear message to British companies of our expectation about business behaviour, including those operating overseas.

NHS: Hospital Admissions

Question

Asked by Baroness Manzoor

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the estimated average cost of keeping a patient overnight in (1) a standard hospital bed, and (2) a negative pressure isolation room.[HL6461]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The estimated average cost of keeping a patient overnight in an acute hospital bed was £273 in 2012-13. No information is collected centrally to estimate the equivalent cost in a negative pressure isolation room.

8 Apr 2014 : Column WA281

NHS: Nurses

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many nurses per patient there are in hospitals in England; and what assessment they have made of how that number compares with the situation in (1) Scotland, (2) Wales, and (3) Northern Ireland.[HL6243]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The number of nurses per patient in hospitals in England is not held centrally. The Health and Social Care Information Centre publishes the number of qualified nursing, midwifery and health visiting staff employed by the National Health Service in England per 100,000 population as at 30 September 2013. The number of qualified nursing staff per 100,000 population is shown in the following table.

The provision of health services in the United Kingdom is a devolved issue. Further details about the administration of health services in Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland are available online at the following addresses:

Wales: wales.gov.uk/topics/health/?lang=en

Scotland: www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Health

Northern Ireland: www.dhsspsni.gov.uk/index.htm

NHS hospital and community health services: Full time equivalent qualified nursing, midwifery & health visiting staff in England per 100,000 population as at 30 September 20131

Qualified nursing, midwifery & health visiting staff per 100,000 population

575

Notes:

1 Figures are calculated using full time equivalent staff in post figures from the 2013 Non- Medical Workforce Census and the ONS Mid-Year Population Estimates for 2012. 2012 population estimates are the most recent available.

Figures are rounded to the nearest whole number.

These statistics relate to the contracted positions within English NHS organisations and may include those where the person assigned to the position is temporarily absent, for example on maternity leave.

Sources:

Health and Social Care Information Centre Non-Medical Workforce Census.

ONS Mid-Year Population Estimates 2012

NHS: Private Patients

Questions

Asked by Lord Campbell-Savours

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 31 March (WA 157), what are the recognised exceptional circumstances in which NHS hospitals are able to breach requirements for the separation of NHS and privately-funded care beds on NHS wards. [HL6555]

8 Apr 2014 : Column WA282

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): It is a matter for National Health Service clinicians to decide the circumstances in which NHS hospitals are able to breach requirements for the separation of NHS and privately-funded care beds. Exceptional circumstances are ones in which concerns for patient safety override the requirement for separation. For example, if moving a patient would endanger their life.

Asked by Lord Campbell-Savours

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 31 March (WA 157), what information they hold nationally or at local level on breaches of the requirement for the separation of NHS and privately-funded care beds in NHS wards in NHS hospitals.[HL6556]

Earl Howe: Information on the breaches of the requirement to separate National Health Service and privately-funded care in NHS hospitals is not held nationally. At a local level NHS England expects providers to keep records of NHS patients who have also received parallel private treatment to ensure there is no NHS subsidy of the private care.

Palestine

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have held with their European partners concerning the role of Marwan Barghouti in respect of uniting Palestinian factions; and how they assess the possibility of his release from prison.[HL6430]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The Government has not had any discussions with our European partners on the issue of Marwan Barghouti.

Papua New Guinea

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Australia about the treatment of asylum seekers currently being held on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea.[HL6492]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): We have not made representations to the Australian government on this issue. Australian immigration policy is a matter for Australia.

Parking

Question

Asked by Lord Wigley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with disability organisations with respect to the minimum size of parking restriction notices (1) on public highways, (2) in parking areas owned or managed by public authorities, and (3) in

8 Apr 2014 : Column WA283

privately owned or managed parking areas that fall within the provisions of Schedule 4 to the Protection of Freedoms Act 2012.[HL6453]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): The Department for Transport has not discussed these issues directly with disability organisations. Regulations relating to road traffic are subject to full public consultation in accordance with Government consultation principles. Privately owned car parking facilities are covered by industry codes of practice.

Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman

Questions

Asked by Baroness Manzoor

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many complaints the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman received from users of the National Health Service in each of 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013; and how many of those complaints were investigated and concluded in each year.[HL6462]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many complaints the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman received from black and ethnic minority people in each of 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013. [HL6463]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the average level of compensation made by the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman in each of 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.[HL6464]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the average cost of dealing with a complaint to the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman in each of 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.[HL6465]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman is independent of Government and the National Health Service, accountable directly to Parliament. It would be inappropriate for a Government Department to respond to these questions.

However, we understand that the Ombudsman will be writing directly to the noble Baroness in reply to the questions she has raised.

Press: Super-injunctions

Question

Asked by Lord Lexden

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many super-injunctions on matters relating to libel or privacy are in place in Northern Ireland; and whether any have been granted since 1 January 2014. [HL6544]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Wales Office (Baroness Randerson) (LD): Libel and Privacy law is a devolved matter in Northern Ireland and is a matter for the Department of Justice in Northern Ireland.

8 Apr 2014 : Column WA284

Railways: Electrification

Question

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Kramer on 27 March (WA 145), whether the electric stock referred to in her answer will be subject to refurbishment before its transfer to the Northern Rail franchise. [HL6520]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): The electric stock referred to in my previous answer will be subject to light refurbishment before transfer to the Northern Rail franchise. This will be specified and managed by Northern and the rolling stock company involved. As the Noble Lord may be aware, the Northern Direct Award is for 22 months – from February 2016 a new franchise competition winner will be running services on this franchise. Therefore the new franchisee will develop their own proposals regarding any further refurbishment or replacement of the electric powered rolling stock.

Roads: Safety of Pedestrians

Question

Asked by Lord Bourne of Aberystwyth

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to promote the safety of pedestrians. [HL6540]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): The Government has already taken a range of steps to improve and promote pedestrian safety, including making it easier for local authorities to implement 20 mile per hour zones and launching a new THINK! resource centre to help teachers educate children and teens on road safety.

We will continue to work with delivery partners, including local authorities, to identify further opportunities for improving pedestrian safety.

We welcome vehicle manufacturers developing autonomous emergency braking systems which can automatically detect pedestrians and, where necessary, apply the brakes.

Royal Navy: Frigates

Question

Asked by Lord West of Spithead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the planned hull life of the Type 23 frigate.[HL6552]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever) (Con): Following a decision in 2005, to extend the service life of the current class of Type 23 frigates to 35 years the hull life of the class now ranges between 34 and 37 years.

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Saudi Arabia

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the findings of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom that Saudi Arabia’s restrictions on religious freedom “will breed religious extremism and insecurity”. [HL6382]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The British Government strongly supports the right to freedom of religion or belief, which is severely restricted in Saudi Arabia. We make our views well known through the UN Universal Periodic Review Process, in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Annual Human Rights Report, and to the Saudi Arabian authorities at the highest level. I visited Jeddah and Makkah from 18-20 February 2014. In all my discussions, including with the Governor and Mayor of Makkah and the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques, I made clear the importance of religious tolerance.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Saudi Arabia about the extent to which they restrict public expression of religion and about the treatment of minority Muslim groups, including Shias and Ahmaddiya Muslims, including their imprisonment for apostasy, blasphemy and sorcery, and the lack of places of worship for minorities. [HL6454]

Baroness Warsi: The British Government strongly supports the right to freedom of religion or belief, which is severely restricted in Saudi Arabia. We make our views well known through the UN Universal Periodic Review Process, in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Annual Human Rights Report, and to the Saudi Arabian authorities. I visited Jeddah and Makkah from 18-20 February 2014. In all my discussions, including with the Governor and Mayor of Makkah, and the Presidency of the Two Holy Mosques, I made clear the importance of religious tolerance, including for different branches of Islam. However, we continue to assess that it will be some time before Saudi society is ready to openly accept religions other than Islam in the Kingdom.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the nationality and numbers of expatriate Christians detained in detention centres or prisons in Saudi Arabia; and when they last made representations on their behalf.[HL6457]

Baroness Warsi: We have received no recent reports of expatriate Christians detained on grounds of their religion in Saudi Arabia. The British Government has made clear to the Saudi authorities our strong support for the right to freedom of religion or belief, which continues to be severely restricted in Saudi Arabia.

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Schools: Live Arts Performances

Question

Asked by Baroness Jones of Whitchurch

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in each of the last four academic years, what percentage of pupils have attended a live arts performance as part of their school activities in that year; and what funding is available to facilitate such trips.[HL6560]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): We do not collect data on how many pupils have attended a live arts performance as part of their school activities.

Schools are free to use their funding for such activities, as well as seek voluntary contributions from parents. They may additionally use pupil premium funding for activities that help raise their disadvantaged pupils’ attainment and close the attainment gap between these pupils and their peers.

Schools: Music Lessons

Question

Asked by Baroness Jones of Whitchurch

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their policy on the teaching of instrumental music lessons in (1) maintained schools, and (2) academies. [HL6559]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): The new national curriculum for music is designed to ensure that all pupils in maintained schools have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument, to perform and to progress to the next level of musical excellence. Music remains a statutory subject for all children between the ages of 5 and 14.

At key stage 1, children should be taught to play tuned and un-tuned instruments musically. At key stage 2, they should be taught to play and perform in solo and ensemble contexts, playing musical instruments with increasing fluency, and expression. At key stage 3, pupils should build on their previous learning through playing and performing confidently with increasing fluency and expression.

At key stage 4, children have an entitlement to study an arts subject, and maintained schools are required to offer at least one arts subject, which can include music.

Academies’ funding agreements require them to offer a broad and balanced curriculum. We trust headteachers to understand the benefits of, and deliver, a high-quality music education.

In addition, we are providing £171 million funding for 123 music education hubs across the three years 2012-15 to improve the quality and consistency of music education in England. One of the hubs’ core roles is to ensure that every child aged 5-18 has the opportunity to learn a musical instrument through whole-class ensemble teaching. Hubs must also provide

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opportunities for pupils to play in ensembles and perform from an early stage, and ensure that clear progression routes are available and affordable to all young people.

In the first year of the music education hubs, nearly half a million children were given the opportunity to learn a musical instrument for the first time and hubs organised almost 15,000 school choirs, orchestras and bands in conjunction with schools. More than a third of those children who learned a musical instrument for the first time have continued learning to play. As hubs work with more schools, we want to see that number rise.

Terrorism

Question

Asked by Lord Turnberg

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the recent increase in terrorist activity by Islamic Jihad and the al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigade in Jenin.[HL6436]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The Government has not made an assessment of this issue, but we are concerned that any further escalation in violence in either Gaza or the West bank could undermine the peace process.

Turkey

Question

Asked by Lord Patten

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the effects of recent bans by Turkey concerning Twitter and other social media on Anglo-Turkish diplomatic, cultural and social interchanges. [HL6341]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The UK is clear that the EU Accession process remains the most effective mechanism for continuing reform in Turkey and we remain fully committed to, and supportive of, that process. As a candidate country, the EU expects Turkey to promote the values of freedom of expression, democracy and the rule of law.

We were concerned by the recent bans on Twitter and You Tube and welcome the fact that the ban on Twitter has now been lifted. We believe social media has a vital role to play in a modern democracy, helping to promote transparency and vibrant public debate.

The UK and Turkey enjoy a strong bilateral relationship based on trust and shared interests. We have an open dialogue on a range of issues, and this cooperation remains strong across the full range of diplomatic, cultural and social interchanges.

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Uganda

Question

Asked by Lord Harries of Pentregarth

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their policy on returning gay and lesbian asylum seekers to Uganda.[HL6577]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): All asylum and human rights claims are considered in accordance with our obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights. We recognise that, in general, lesbian, gay and bisexual (LGB) persons may be at risk of persecution and warrant protection and that this may have increased following the signing of the Anti-Homosexual Act into law. However, each case needs to be considered on its individual facts.

Where we consider that an individual does not require protection, and the courts have not reached a different view, then we expect these individuals to leave the UK at the earliest opportunity. If individuals refuse to leave voluntarily, it may become necessary to enforce their removal. Returns are undertaken only when we conclude that it is safe to do so.

Vehicles: Roadworthiness

Questions

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what changes to the existing arrangements for the periodic roadworthiness testing of motor vehicles and their trailers are envisaged following the repeal of European Union Directive 2009/40/EC and the agreement of a new directive at Strasbourg on 11 March.[HL6484]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): The negotiations on the new Directive have been very successful, in terms of avoiding substantive, potentially inappropriate, changes to the MOT system while enhancing road safety in several areas. There will be changes regarding testing pre 1960 vehicles, and we will discuss options with interested parties in coming months. There will also be minor changes in how test results are provided.

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether consideration is being given to proposals to separate the testing and repair functions following the periodic roadworthiness testing of motor vehicles and their trailers.[HL6485]

Baroness Kramer: As a result of the effectiveness of our negotiations, the new periodic testing Directive contains no requirement to separate testing and repair functions. The proposal to force separation was successfully opposed, including by the UK Government and UK MEPs. Systems are in place to support testing integrity within the current system and this will continue.

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Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether, following the repeal of European Union Directive 2009/40/EC and the agreement of a new directive at Strasbourg on 11 March with regard to the periodic roadworthiness testing of motor vehicles and their trailers, it will be the United Kingdom Government

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or the European Union Commission that will decide how the new directive is implemented.[HL6486]

Baroness Kramer: The European Union Commission does not have a role in deciding how to implement the new Directive. We are already compliant with the new Directive in most areas and will implement appropriately in the remaining areas in consultation with all parties impacted by changes.