28 July 2014 : Column WA245

28 July 2014 : Column WA245

Written Answers

Monday 28 July 2014

Bank Services: Third Sector

Question

Asked by Lord Steel of Aikwood

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to ensure that banks continue to offer account facilities to local voluntary associations, clubs and societies within their communities. [HL1228]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): The Government believes it is important for local voluntary associations, clubs and societies to be able to access account facilities, and it will continue to monitor the situation.

Business: Billing

Question

Asked by Lord Barnett

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the current impact of late payments on small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs); and what steps they are taking to support SMEs to mitigate the impact of late payments.[HL1209]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Neville-Rolfe) (Con): The Government considered the impact of late payment on Small and Medium Enterprises in our discussion paper Building a Responsible Payment Culture. As a result we are working with industry to create greater transparency of payment practices and a more responsible payment culture. This will include a statutory requirement, via the Small Business Enterprise and Employment Bill, for large firms to publish their payment practices. In addition, we are committed to working with the Institute for Credit Management and businesses to strengthen the Prompt Payment Code.

Business: Taxation

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether a common European Union corporate tax base, as proposed by Jean-Claude Juncker during his meeting with the Green group of the European Parliament, would require unanimous agreement; and what is their assessment of such a measure.[HL1112]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): Legislative proposals by the Commission in the area of business taxation, including the proposal for a common consolidated corporate tax base (CCCTB), require unanimous agreement by Member States.

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The Government has informed the Commission of its view the CCCTB proposal does not adhere to the Treaty requirements of subsidiarity and proportionality; and that there are significant shortcomings in the assessment of the impact of the proposal on the UK. Negotiations are expected to continue under the Italian Presidency.

Care Homes: Standards

Questions

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how effective they consider the process of special measures to have been for failing hospitals.[HL1274]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how effective they expect the extension of the special measures process to failing care homes to be.[HL1275]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Progress is being made in nearly every trust and the Chief Inspector of Hospitals has recommended that five of the initial 11 placed in special measures a year ago should come out. As a result the Department and its arm’s length bodies are finally turning around performance in failing hospitals.

The Government will no longer tolerate services which persistently fail to reach an acceptable standard. It is therefore introducing a special measures regime from 1 April 2015 for all adult social care providers registered with and inspected by the Care Quality Commission (CQC).

Providers that are rated as inadequate by the CQC under its new inspection regime will be given a clear timescale within which they will be expected to improve, or face actions which could lead to their closing down. This clarity on timing will provide an incentive for providers to improve quickly and help local authorities and others plan for alternative provision should services have to close. It will also give the public confidence that poor care will be tackled more quickly.

During the autumn, the Department will work with the CQC, social care providers and people using services, their families and carers on the details of the regime, including what support can be given to failing providers to help them improve their services.

Children: Day Care

Questions

Asked by Lord Sutherland of Houndwood

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether direct subsidies to parents to assist with childcare costs as proposed in the Childcare Payments Bill are intended to improve child development outcomes, free up parental time to work, or both.[HL1087]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): The Childcare Payments Bill will introduce the Government’s new tax free childcare scheme. As part of our long term economic plan, Tax-Free childcare will enable more parents to go out to work, if they want to, to provide greater security for their families.

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Asked by Lord Sutherland of Houndwood

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what projections they have made of the impact of directly subsidising childcare costs as proposed in the Childcare Payments Bill on maternal employment rates, and the level of income tax paid by working mothers.[HL1088]

Lord Deighton: Details of the estimated economic effects from the introduction of Tax-Free Childcare can be found in the Childcare Payments Bill Impact Assessment.[1]

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/318698/document2014-06-10-104244-1.pdf

Asked by Lord Sutherland of Houndwood

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what projections they have made of the impact of the childcare element of universal credit on maternal employment rates, and the level of income tax paid by working mothers.[HL1089]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): It is well known that childcare costs can be a significant barrier to maternal employment, which is why the Government is investing in childcare in Universal Credit. Universal Credit will cover childcare costs for families where the lone parent or both parents in a couple work any hours, whereas Tax Credits childcare support is only payable past 16 hours worked per week. At Budget '14 the Government announced an increase in the rate of childcare support in Universal Credit from 70% (as per the current system) to 85% of eligible childcare costs, up to defined limits, from April 2016. These measures combined mean that around 500,000 working families will get more out of the money they earn, including 100,000 families who will get childcare support for the first time under Universal Credit.

We would expect the changes in childcare support under Universal Credit to have a positive impact on work incentives for mothers, affecting maternal employment rates and tax receipts from mothers paying Income Tax and National Insurance.

Asked by Lord Sutherland of Houndwood

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the role of HM Treasury officials in the co-ordination of childcare policy across Government.[HL1090]

Lord Deighton: The Department for Education leads on childcare policy across government. As in all areas of policy, HM Treasury officials help ensure that policy development is coordinated across departments.

Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage

Question

Asked by Lord Renfrew of Kaimsthorn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the recommendation by the British Academy and the Honor Frost Foundation

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to the Foreign Secretary on 20 March that the United Kingdom should ratify the 2001 UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage.[HL1359]

Baroness Jolly (LD): I have noted the recommendations of the British Academy and the Honor Frost Foundation. DCMS will begin reviewing the conclusions of the recent Impact Report on the UNESCO Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage later this year.

Copyright: Internet

Question

Asked by Lord Clement-Jones

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans the Intellectual Property Office has to monitor advertising on pirate websites.[HL1297]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Neville-Rolfe) (Con): The Intellectual Property Office does not undertake any sort of monitoring role in respect of advertising on illegal websites and has no plans to do so.

Government does however support work undertaken by the Intellectual Property Office funded Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit, who manage the Infringing Website List (IWL) online portal. The IWL provides the digital advertising sector with an up-to-date list of copyright infringing sites, identified by the creative industries and evidenced and verified by the City of London Police unit, so that advertisers, agencies and other intermediaries can stop advert placement on these illegal websites.

Cycling

Question

Asked by Lord Trefgarne

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Kramer on 18 July (WA 147) what are the powers available to police officers to establish the correct identity of cyclists who decline to co-operate or who give false identity information.[HL1362]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): The Police and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 sets out the general powers available to the police, including in circumstances when an individual’s identity needs to be established or when false identity information has been provided. Similarly, powers exist under Section 168 of the Road Traffic Act 1988 where the person is suspected of having committed an offence under Sections 28 and 29 of the same Act. The application of any such powers is an operational matter for the police.

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Cyprus

Question

Asked by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Warsi on 9 July (WA 44), whether any Foreign Secretary has, since 1974, hosted any senior elected representative of the Turkish Cypriot tradition.[HL1103]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): This information is not held centrally and to collate it would incur disproportionate cost. However, we are aware that the then Foreign Secretary, the right Hon. Member for Blackburn (North West) (Mr Straw), met Turkish Cypriot leader Mr Talat in London in July 2004. Mr Talat also met the then Prime Minister, the right Hon. Member for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath (Mr Brown), in London in December 2009. Ministers have frequently met elected leaders of the Turkish Cypriot community when visiting Cyprus.

Department for Education

Question

Asked by Lord Black of Brentwood

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what arrangements they have in place to assess the performance of the Department for Education Board overall, and of its individual members.[HL1418]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): The Department for Education Board is assessed through a board effectiveness evaluation carried out in accordance with the Code of Good Practice of Corporate Governance in Central Government Departments, published in 2011 by HM Treasury and the Cabinet Office.

Diego Garcia

Question

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the United States sought to use Diego Garcia as a stopover for the rendition of Abdel Hakim Belhadj; and, if so, what was the outcome.[HL1063]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): I refer the noble Lord to the response I gave on 17 June 2014, Official Report, Column WA36, that, aside from the two cases of rendition through Diego Garcia (British Indian Ocean Territory) in 2002, there have been no other instances in which US intelligence flights landed in the UK, our overseas Territories, or the Crown Dependencies, with a detainee on board since 11 September 2001.

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Drugs

Questions

Asked by Lord Browne of Belmont

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what powers are available to prevent people from buying legal highs online.[HL1020]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the current legislation in place to prevent the purchase of illegal highs.[HL1021]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): The Coalition Government is committed to supporting the police and other UK law enforcement agencies to use the full force of the law to tackle the trade in new psychoactive substances, so-called “legal highs”. Robust powers are already available under existing drugs legislation to disrupt the sale of new psychoactive substances, including over the internet. So far, the Government has banned over 350 new psychoactive substances under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971. In addition so-called “legal highs” are often found to contain substances already banned in the UK. We have published guidance for local authorities and Trading Standards on a range of legislative tools available to tackle the visible trade including in “head-shops”. This includes information on the Intoxicating Substances (Supply) Act 1985 which makes it an offence for a person to supply a substance that is not already controlled under the Misuse of Drugs Act 1971, to a person under the age of 18 if they know or have reasonable cause to believe that the substance is likely to be inhaled by that person, for the purpose of causing intoxication. Last year two “legal-high” sellers were successfully prosecuted using this legislation. The Minister for Crime Prevention is currently leading an expert review to look at how the UK’s response to new psychoactive substances can be enhanced to ensure that law enforcement agencies have the best available powers and send out clearest possible message that the trade in these substances is reckless. It is anticipated that the panel will report their recommendations to Home Office Ministers before summer recess.

English Language: Education

Questions

Asked by Lord Quirk

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that teachers of English in the new Key Stage 4 curriculum issued in July 2014 are as aware as their colleagues teaching maths and the sciences of the importance placed by the curriculum on vocabulary command in achieving precision and clarity of expression and of helping their pupils develop such a command.[HL1310]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): The Department for Education wants all pupils to acquire a wide vocabulary and become competent in the conventions for reading, writing and spoken language. The Department’s new English curriculum aims to ensure that all pupils can

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write clearly and accurately and are competent in the arts of speaking and listening. The Government believes that it is important that schools take responsibility for their own improvement, including identifying what support their teachers need to ensure that they are teaching the new curriculum most effectively.

Asked by Lord Quirk

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Nash on 14 July (WA 105), what steps they have taken to ensure that teachers of English will have access to “high quality text books” comparable to those mentioned by Lord Nash with respect to mathematics.[HL1311]

Lord Nash: The Department for Education has made it clear that a return to textbooks would support the new national curriculum. High-quality textbooks can prevent teachers from spending unnecessary time creating plans from scratch, and provide well-planned stretching activities for pupils. The new national curriculum presents new opportunities for publishers to provide quality materials for teachers. The expert subject groups that the department has facilitated have been working closely with educational publishers to make sure that the challenging areas of the new national curriculum, including English, will be fully covered by high-quality teaching materials.

Asked by Lord Quirk

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Nash on 8 July (WA 38) on improving the teaching of English and maths, what measures have been established for English to match the “over 32 new maths hubs...to improve the quality of maths education.”[HL1312]

Lord Nash: The Department for Education believes that improving the quality of teaching in both English and mathematics is crucial to ensure that all students have the foundation for future study and work. The Government believes that it is important that schools take responsibility for their own development, and Government support is therefore carefully focused on priorities for improvement.

In English, we are placing a particular emphasis on getting the basics right at primary school and, alongside the reform of the national curriculum, have already provided schools with £23.7 million in match-funding to enable teachers to purchase high quality phonics products and training materials. From September 2011 to October 2013 over 14,300 schools (around 80% of eligible schools) with key stage 1 and, from January 2013, key stage 2 claimed up to £3,000 in match-funding.

By ensuring high quality phonics teaching, the Government’s aim is to improve literacy levels to give all children a solid base to build upon as they progress through school.

European Parliament Elections

Question

Asked by Lord Vinson

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 8 July (WA 37), whether they consider that, at

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the 2014 European elections, it was clear to voters that the party called “An Independence from Europe”, which used the tagline “UK Independence Now” on the ballot paper, was different from the UK Independence Party.[HL1102]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): The Electoral Commission are responsible for registering party names and descriptions. Legislation permits the Electoral Commission to refuse to register a party name or description in certain circumstances, including, where it is the same as, or likely to result in electors confusing a party name or description with one that is already registered.

Exchange Rates

Question

Asked by Lord Barnett

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the exchange level of sterling on the United Kingdom’s economic recovery.[HL1208]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): The UK does not have an exchange rate target. The UK’s monetary policy framework, set out in the Bank of England Act 1998, gives operational responsibility for monetary policy to the independent Monetary Policy Committee (MPC). The MPC has the primary objective of maintaining price stability, defined as an inflation target of 2 per cent as measured by the twelve month increase in the Consumer Prices Index. Under the Government’s macroeconomic framework, the exchange rate is allowed to adjust flexibly, and movements in sterling are determined by market forces.

General Practitioners: Rural Areas

Question

Asked by Lord Trefgarne

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they propose any additional financial support to general practitioner practices in rural areas.[HL1324]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Carr-Hill resource allocation formula is used to calculate the global sum, which is the basic payment made to all GP practices. This is based on the practice population and is weighted for factors that influence relative needs and costs.

These factors include rurality, which is measured by the average distance patients have to travel to a practice and the population density of the area from which a practice draws its patients.

Honours

Question

Asked by Lord Jopling

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 10 July (WA 71–2) about honours, whether they will bring the tables up to date, including the 2014 Queen’s Birthday honours.[HL1115]

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Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): The information requested concerning the number of honours recipients described as holding the title of professor since the New Year 2013 Honours List to the Queen’s Birthday 2014 Honours List at Knighthood/Damehood and Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) levels is in the public domain, and can be found in The London Gazette at www.london-gazette.co.uk. Percentages are as follows:

ListNumber of recipients at Knight/DameKnight/Dame recipients who described themselves as ProfessorPercentage of Knight/Dame recipients who described themselves as Professor

NY 2013

37

8

22%

BD 2013

38

12

32%

NY 2014

38

10

26%

BD 2014

37

12

32%

ListNumber of recipients at CBECBE recipients who described themselves as ProfessorPercentage of CBE recipients who described themselves as Professor

NY 2013

103

15

15%

BD 2013

109

13

13%

NY 2014

104

22

22%

BD 2014

99

21

21%

Housing Benefit

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of the number of housing tenants in arrears since changes to the rules regarding access to Housing Benefit.[HL1160]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): The latest figures from the Homes and Community Agency (HCA) show that housing association rent arrears in England up to the end of March this year had fallen for the second quarter in a row and that average rent collections remain at 99%.

Housing Benefit: Social Rented Housing

Question

Asked by Lord German

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the reasons why, according to their recent Evaluation of Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy: Interim Report, 4.5 per cent of people affected have downsized to smaller accommodation, compared with the 25 per cent estimated in the impact assessment Housing Benefit: Under occupation of social housing, published in 2012.[HL1491]

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): Across the social sector as a whole there are a total of around 1.4 million one-bedroom properties (GB). Managing that stock efficiently is part of the challenge that social landlords must embrace. Landlords were given three years notice to start to prepare for this change and during that time were encouraged to take account of local needs and demographic trends when allocating properties and developing their building programmes.

There is turnover of properties in the social sector, and with suitable management and prioritisation by social landlords this should provide a means of allowing many of those affected by the Removal of the Spare Room Subsidy to move to suitable properties over time.

The 2012 Impact Assessment: stated there was little robust evidence on which to base an assessment of behavioural responses and so did not predict the likely extent of downsizing. The 25 per cent figure within the Impact Assessment reflected research which asked a hypothetical question about what people thought they might do in response to a reduction, but this was undertaken some time before the full details of the policy were finalised.

The Impact Assessment did look at the potential sensitivity of the estimated savings to moves by affected claimants. This sensitivity testing was based on an assumption that around 50,000 affected claimants moved (around 8 per cent). This was not a prediction, but both the interim evaluation report and ad-hoc analysis show that people are downsizing. The ad-hoc report shows around 19,000 had downsized in the Social Rented Sector between May and December 2013, broadly within the bounds of the Impact Assessment sensitivity analysis.

It was never assumed that downsizing was a remedy for everyone and we were not in a position to predict how many people would choose to move.

Housing: Disability

Question

Asked by Lord Swinfen

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to ensure that estate agents are trained to help disabled people find suitable accommodation. [HL872]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Neville-Rolfe) (Con): The Government has no plans to provide training in this specific area. However, we understand the National Association of Estate Agents provides customer services training for those employed in this field including understanding the customer’s needs. It is in the interests of Estate Agents to understand the needs of all their potential customers, including the disabled customers, so that they can compete effectively to win new business and grow. The Government sets the open, market framework in which companies can compete for business on fair terms.

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The Government does however encourage companies to make their businesses more accessible to disabled people and embrace the positive business opportunities presented by disabled customers; guidance is available on the gov.uk website for both employees and employers. It covers what businesses must do to comply with the law, to ensure that everyone they employ or serve is treated equally and according to their needs.

Human Papillomavirus

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress the sub-committee on human papilloma virus vaccines of the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation has made.[HL1097]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Human papilloma virus (HPV) sub-committee met for the first time on 20 January 2014 to review available evidence on the impact and cost-effectiveness of potential extensions to the HPV vaccination programme including vaccinating men who have sex with men (MSM) and/or adolescent boys.

The HPV sub-committee will report its findings to the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) following consideration of on-going studies by Public Health England on the impact and cost-effectiveness of extending HPV vaccination to MSM or adolescent boys. The subcommittee requested that on-going work by Public Health England to model the impact cost effectiveness of targeted MSM vaccination report as early as possible, and advised that an individual based model should be developed to look at the impact and cost effectiveness of universal vaccination of adolescent boys.

In January 2014 the HPV Subcommittee also advised moving from a three dose vaccination schedule to a two dose schedule for adolescent females and this was endorsed by JCVI in February 2014 and will be implemented in September 2014.

The HPV Subcommittee will next be meeting in autumn 2014 to consider the latest evidence for the potential extensions to the HPV vaccination programme.

In Vitro Fertilisation

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answers by Earl Howe on 29 August 2013 (WA 315–16) and 24 January 2014 (WA 170–71), what progress the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has made over the past year in implementing its action plan in response to the McCracken Report recommendations; what were the detailed policy outcomes of discussions between the Executive and Authority members described in paragraph 6.18 of the Minutes of the HFEA’s meeting on 11 September 2013; and what specific

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changes the HFEA has introduced to mitigate the risks of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome in accordance with Recommendations 10 and 11 of the McCracken Report and in the light of paragraphs 4.40 and 4.44 therein.[HL1092]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that progress on implementing the McCracken Report recommendations was last reported to the Authority in March 2014. Papers for that meeting are published on the HFEA’s website at:

www.hfea.gov.uk/8782.html

The HFEA has also advised that in July 2014, the Authority agreed a new strategy for 2014-2017, which sets out its regulatory focus. Also at its meeting in July, Authority members agreed to give consideration to the collection of additional data when a case of Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome is reported. The HFEA will take expert scientific and medical advice on whether such data collection would be of value and on the feasibility of collecting reliable information. The papers for the July 2014 meeting are published on the HFEA’s website at:

www.hfea.gov.uk/Authority-July-2014.html

Intellectual Property

Question

Asked by Lord Clement-Jones

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to co-ordinate action on intellectual property issues with equivalent industry and enforcement bodies overseas.[HL1298]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Neville-Rolfe) (Con): The Government works closely with the European Union Observatory on the Infringement of Intellectual Property Rights to share best practice with stakeholders —including industry bodies and European and international enforcement bodies—on the approach to tackling intellectual property (IP) enforcement.

The Government also plays an active role in Europol and Interpol intellectual property enforcement action and undertakes direct bilateral action where operationally necessary.

Through our network of overseas IP attachés the Government continues to build strong relations with government departments, industry bodies and enforcement agencies. For example, in September the Chinese Government will host the second UK-China IP Symposium which I shall be attending. The Symposium, which will have a clear enforcement component, is an opportunity for UK and Chinese companies to interact with senior policymakers from both countries on a range of intellectual property topics. The UK Government will be coordinating a range of activities in China that week, engaging with the Supreme People’s Court and the Ministry of Public Security.

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Interest Rates

Question

Asked by Lord Barnett

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Deighton on 7 July (WA 12), what representations the Chancellor of the Exchequer made to the Governor of the Bank of England during their most recent discussion on possible increases in interest rates.[HL1205]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): The UK’s monetary policy framework, set out in the Bank of England Act 1998, gives operational responsibility for monetary policy to the independent Monetary Policy Committee (MPC). The Chancellor of the Exchequer has frequent discussions with the Governor of the Bank of England on a wide range of issues on the UK economy.

Iraq

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Iraq regarding allegations of summary executions of captured persons, prisoners kept in prison after the end of their sentences, and other violations of human rights.[HL1289]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): We have raised these allegations with the Government of Iraq and called on them to ensure that Iraqi Security Forces’ actions are compliant with international human rights and international humanitarian law. We have also called on them to ensure that all perpetrators of human rights abuses in Iraq are brought to justice in accordance with the rule of law.

Jubilee Line

Questions

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the original estimate of the benefit-cost ratio of the Jubilee Line extension project when it was extended to the docklands.[HL1280]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the present estimate of the benefit-cost ratio of the Jubilee Line extension project taking account of the economic impact on destinations served. [HL1281]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): The original estimate of the benefit-cost ratio of the Jubilee Line extension in 1991 was 0.95. This estimate was made before the scheme opened in 1999.

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Subsequently a report by Colin Buchanan and Partners “Reappraisal of the Jubilee Line Extension, commissioned by Transport for London and completed in 2004, included a cost benefit reappraisal which calculated the benefit-cost ratio to be 1.75 using actual costs and the scheme’s contribution to increasing the country’s Gross Domestic Product. This is the latest known benefit-cost ratio estimate for the extension.

Kenya

Question

Asked by Lord Goodlad

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the title and wording of the memorial in Nairobi to those who suffered during the Emergency period of 1952 to 1963 will indicate that it is a memorial to all those who suffered, on all sides, during that period.[HL1268]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): The UK is working with the Kenyan Human Rights Commission, the Mau Mau War Veterans Association, the Nairobi Governor’s Office, and the National Museums of Kenya to make sure the proposed memorial is as inclusive as possible and promotes reconciliation. The Overseas Service Pensioners’ Association (OSPA) has also been fully consulted.

The first plaque will state: “This memorial is a symbol of reconciliation between the British Government, the Mau Mau, and all those who suffered during the Emergency Period”.

The proposed title of the memorial is: “Memorial to the Victims of Torture and Ill-Treatment during the Colonial Era (1952-1963)”. This reflects the wording of the settlement agreement and the announcement made by the then Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), on 6 June 2013.

Landfill: Wales

Questions

Asked by Lord Rowlands

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many landfill site operators there are in Wales; how many are in receipt of a landfill tax credit; and how much each receives.[HL1168]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much the Landfill Communities Fund has contributed to environmental projects in Wales in each of the years 2010 to 2013.[HL1169]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): There are 24 registered landfill site operators in Wales, of which 15 were in receipt of tax credits during the financial year 2013-14. HMRC does not disclose information relating to individual taxpayers.

28 July 2014 : Column WA259

The Landfill Communities Fund contributed £4,191,159 in 2010-11, £4,364,063 in 2011-12, and £4,355,038 in 2012-13 towards environmental projects in Wales.

Landslips

Questions

Asked by Lord Bassam of Brighton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether there are any ongoing or planned assessments of landslips in East Sussex.[HL1147]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley) (Con): Under the Coast Protection Act 1949, the management of the East Sussex coastline is the responsibility of the Coast Protection Authorities. Coast Protection Authorities regularly monitor and assess the condition of the coastlines in their area. The Coast Protection Authorities for East Sussex will continue to monitor the coastline in East Sussex for landslips.

Asked by Lord Bassam of Brighton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assistance, if any, they give to local authorities which are tackling landslips, storm damage or coastal erosion. [HL1148]

Lord De Mauley: A local authority can apply to the Department for Communities and Local Government for assistance under the Bellwin Scheme of Emergency Financial Assistance to local authorities if damage from bad weather, including damage from storms, landslips or coastal erosion, has caused threats to life and property.

Middle East

Questions

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they are having with other European governments following Prime Minister Netanyahu’s remarks on 11 July that he would never consent to a fully sovereign Palestinian state in the West Bank. [HL1067]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): We noted Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu’s comments of 11 July. The UK has frequent conversations with EU partners about the Middle East Peace Process, but has not discussed these specific comments. The Foreign Affairs Council agreed conclusions on 21 July which firmly restated the EU’s commitment to the state of Israel and an independent, democratic, contiguous, sovereign and viable State of Palestine living side by side in peace, security and mutual recognition.

28 July 2014 : Column WA260

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what evidence they have about the use of Dense Inert Metal Explosive during the recent Gaza attacks; and what investigations they plan to make into the nature of the weapons being used.[HL1068]

Baroness Warsi: We are aware of press reporting of these allegations. We do not have evidence that Dense Inert Metal Explosive (DIME) munitions have been used during the recent events in Gaza. The UK has no plans to make an investigation into the nature of weapons being used. However, the Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron) has urged Prime Minister Netanyahu to do everything to avoid civilian casualties, to exercise restraint and to help find ways to bring this situation to a close.

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their response to the appeal by 34 voluntary organisations from Europe, America and Japan for a ceasefire between Israel and Palestine, an end to the blockade of Gaza, and durable solutions to violations of international law.[HL1076]

Baroness Warsi: The UK and EU have noted the appeal by 34 voluntary organisations for a ceasefire in Gaza. We agree with the need to implement a durable ceasefire that ensures peace and security for both Palestinians and Israelis. The UK has three objectives towards the crisis in Gaza—to secure a ceasefire, to alleviate humanitarian suffering and to keep alive the prospects for peace negotiations which are the only hope of breaking this cycle of violence and devastation once and for all. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond) visited the region between 23-24 July and the UK will continue to work with international partners to secure a durable ceasefire that will end the bloodshed and provide a platform for resolving the underlying causes of the conflict.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what support they will give to an international investigation into violations of international humanitarian law by parties to the conflict in Gaza.[HL1173]

Baroness Warsi: Since the beginning of Israel's current campaign, the UK has had three immediate priorities—to secure a ceasefire, to alleviate humanitarian suffering, and to keep alive the prospects for peace negotiations which are the only hope of breaking this cycle of violence and devastation once and for all. We call on all parties to the conflict in Gaza to adhere to International Humanitarian Law and support action toward ensuring accountability.

28 July 2014 : Column WA261

NHS England

Question

Asked by Lord Grocott

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Earl Howe on 9 July (HL Deb, col 216), how many managerial and clerical appointments have been made to NHS England.[HL1474]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): As stated in NHS England’s annual report for 2013-2014, National Health Service Commissioning Board: Annual Report and Accounts 2013-14, which was published on 22 July 2014, NHS England employed 6,231 staff as at 31 March 2014. These posts can all be considered as managerial or clerical.

In addition, 9,060 commissioning support unit staff were employed under a hosting arrangement with the NHS Business Services Authority.

It is not possible to give a more recent verified figure for number of appointments.

The annual report is available on NHS England’s website at: www.england.nhs.uk/publications/

North Sea Oil: Taxation

Question

Asked by Lord Barnett

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the Office for Budget Responsibility's revised forecasts of the tax revenues from North Sea oil; what is their estimate of the fiscal implications of those revised forecasts for an independent Scotland; whether they expect tax revenues from North Sea oil to recover; and, if so, when. [HL1206]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): The independent Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) has set out the basis for its forecasts of oil and gas tax revenues in the Fiscal Sustainability Report. The forecast shows that these tax receipts, as a share of GDP, are set to decline by 84 per cent over the forecast period. The government has not made a separate assessment of these forecasts.

The OBR has not published an assessment of what the fiscal position of a separate Scotland would be. However, other independent experts have estimated that in 2016-17, a separate Scotland would have a deficit (per person) of more than twice that of the UK.

HM Treasury has estimated that each person in Scotland is £1,400 a year better off in the UK. That’s equivalent to around two thirds of the total NHS budget in Scotland, or almost as much as Scotland’s entire education budget.

The OBR’s new, lower, oil and gas tax receipts forecast only make a separate Scotland’s fiscal position tougher. In the UK, as part of a larger country, we can pool resources and share risks. This means that public spending in Scotland can remain secure and stable, even as revenues from oil and gas are volatile.

28 July 2014 : Column WA262

Obesity

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the proposed expansion of weight loss surgery in England is a long-term strategy for public health; and what effect they predict its implementation will have. [HL1085]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) published its draft updated clinical guideline on the prevention, identification, assessment and management of overweight and obesity in adults and children on 11 July, proposing the expansion of weight loss surgery. The guideline is out for consultation until the 8 August and NICE will take stakeholders’ comments into account in developing the final guideline, which is scheduled for publication later in the year.

We have a well-developed and wide ranging programme of actions to reduce levels of obesity. These include working with a wide range of partners including Public Health England, NHS England and government departments including the Department for Transport through the Public Health Responsibility Deal.

Pay Methods

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will introduce legislation to make it an offence to refuse British currency notes and coins as payments for goods and services in the United Kingdom. [HL1111]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): Retailers are free to refuse any means of payment, even those with legal tender status should they wish to do so. Some businesses, for example, refuse to accept Bank of England £50 notes.

Legal tender status has a narrow technical meaning. If a debtor pays in legal tender the exact amount he/she owes under the terms of a contract (and in accordance with its terms), or pays this amount into court, he/she has good defence in law if he/she is sued for non-payment of the debt.

The Government has no current plans to extend or replace the current legislation relating to legal tender status.

Pensions: Telephone Services

Question

Asked by Lord Lipsey

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the average call waiting time in each of the last five years of the pensions helpline.[HL1315]

28 July 2014 : Column WA263

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con):

2012/132013/142014/15

Changes Bereavement

00:00:45

00:00:52

00:00:50

Changes (PC / SP)

00:00:55

00:01:01

00:01:00

New Claims (PC / SP)

00:00:51

00:00:54

00:01:01

Wait times are recorded from the point of entering a queue to successful connection to an agent.

All figures quoted relate to calls handled within DWP only, excluding calls routed to outsourcing partners.

Figures are presented by business year, spanning 1st April-31st March. Figures for 2014/15 are complete to 30th June only.

No data is available prior to April 2012 as this metric was not included within data reported during previous periods and is no longer available in source data systems.

Data source: OPMIS

Pet Travel Scheme

Question

Asked by Lord Black of Brentwood

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of the Pet Travel Scheme in allowing owners to take dogs and cats abroad.[HL1417]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley) (Con): The European Union (EU) pet travel scheme (Regulation (EC) No. 998/2003) has made it easier and cheaper for pet owners to travel with their pets and return to the UK. Under the EU scheme pet dogs, cats and ferrets can enter the UK from any country in the world without the need for quarantine providing they meet the strict requirements for entry for the part of the world they are travelling from.

Pigs: Animal Welfare

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord De Mauley on 9 December 2013 (WA 80), which European Union Member States are not compliant with the sow stall ban under EU Directive 2008/120/EC; whether Denmark and the Republic of Ireland are amongst those non-compliant Member States informally reporting over 95 per cent compliance levels; and when Member States were required by the Directive to become compliant.[HL1212]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley) (Con): The European Commission has not publically released any further details. However, it is working

28 July 2014 : Column WA264

proactively to ensure compliance as soon as possible and has begun infringement proceedings against six Member States which failed to fully comply with the partial sow stall ban that came into force on 1 January 2013. This list does not include Denmark and Ireland.

Police Service of Northern Ireland

Questions

Asked by Lord Eames

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many serving members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland are at present on secondment to police authorities outside the United Kingdom.[HL1259]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the cost to the Exchequer of secondment of serving members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland to forces outside the United Kingdom.[HL1260]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many serving members of police forces outside the United Kingdom are at present on secondment to the Police Service of Northern Ireland.[HL1261]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many retired members of the Police Service of Northern Ireland are at present employed by the Police Service of Northern Ireland; and on what terms.[HL1262]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Wales Office (Baroness Randerson) (LD): As the Noble Lord will be aware, policing matters in Northern Ireland are devolved and are the responsibility of the Department for Justice in Northern Ireland rather than the Northern Ireland Office.

The Noble Lord may therefore wish to direct his query to the Department of Justice at the following address:

Department of Justice, Room B5.16, Castle Buildings, Stormont, Belfast, BT4 3GS or by e-mail to private. [email protected]

Police: Recruitment

Question

Asked by Lord Dear

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to introduce a programme to recruit specially selected constables with the intention that they receive fast-track promotion to Inspector rank, as recommended in the Independent Review of Police Officer and Staff Remuneration and Conditions: Final Report published in 2012.[HL1161]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): The College of Policing has already begun implementing the fast track to inspector scheme, along with direct entry at superintendent rank, as recommended in the final report of the Independent Review of Police Officer and Staff Remuneration and Conditions. Police forces have started to recruit external candidates to be appointed

28 July 2014 : Column WA265

in September. Serving officers will be able to apply for the schemes later this year. These schemes will offer the opportunity to widen the talent pool and the diverse range of backgrounds from which we attract police officers.

Postal Services: Competition

Questions

Asked by Lord Whitty

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether Ofcom has conducted any analysis of regulatory options to protect the universal postal service in the event of a significant increase in end-to-end competition. [HL1071]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Neville-Rolfe) (Con): The regulatory options to protect the universal service are set out in the Postal Services Act 2011.

Parliament has given Ofcom the primary statutory duty to secure the provision of the universal service and the powers and tools its needs to do so.

Ofcom has carried out a consultation on end-to-end competition in the postal services sector and published a Guidance paper on the use of its regulatory options and the circumstances under which it would intervene to protect the universal service from any serious threat from competition. More information about Ofcom’s consultation on end-to-end competition and its Guidance (“Final Guidance on Ofcom’s approach to assessing the impact on the universal service”) can be found on its website (www.ofcom.org.uk).

Asked by Lord Whitty

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how long it would take Ofcom to undertake a review of the impact of the increase in end-to-end competition on the universal postal service.[HL1072]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Neville-Rolfe) (Con): Ofcom has set out its approach towards carrying out a full assessment of end-to-end competition in its Guidance published in March 2013 (“Final Guidance on Ofcom’s approach to assessing the impact on the universal service”). Although it has not set out a specific timescale for a full review, Ofcom has in place a continuous monitoring regime and access to key confidential data from Royal Mail and other postal operators which would enable it to anticipate any potential threat to the universal service.

Ofcom has said that they are keeping market developments under close monthly review and if this monitoring identified cause for concern they would be able to carry out a review very quickly.

More information about Ofcom’s regulatory framework can be found on Ofcom’s website (www.ofcom.org.uk).

28 July 2014 : Column WA266

Poverty

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they define (1) poverty, and (2) absolute poverty; and how many households in each constituent nation of the United Kingdom are currently considered to be living in (1) poverty, and (2) absolute poverty. [HL767]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): Due to its length I have placed a copy of my response in the House Library.

Prisoners: Death

Questions

Asked by Lord Knight of Weymouth

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many prisoners have died in custody in the United Kingdom in each of the last 10 years; and what the percentage change has been year on year for the same period. [HL890]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many prisoners have committed suicide in custody in the United Kingdom in each of the last 10 years; and what the percentage change has been year on year for the same period.[HL892]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): The government is committed to open and transparent reporting of deaths in custody and publish statistics on deaths in prison custody in England and Wales quarterly in the National Statistics “Safety in Custody” bulletin. This statistical series can be found at www.gov.uk/government/collections/safety-in-custody -statistics.

The number of (i) deaths in prison custody and year-on-year change is presented in table 1. The number of (ii) self-inflicted deaths in prison custody and year-on-year change is presented in table 2.

Figures are provided for England and Wales only. Figures are not published by the Ministry of Justice for other areas of the United Kingdom as the judicial systems are a devolved matter for the respective administrations.

In 2013 there were 2.55 deaths per 1,000 prisoners and between 2008 and 2013 less than 1 prisoner in every 1,000 died from a self-inflicted death. The rate of self-inflicted deaths was consistently above 1 death per 1,000 prisoners between 1993 and 2005, peaking at 1.4 self-inflicted deaths per 1,000 prisoners in 1999.

Table 1: Number of deaths and year-on-year percentage change of deaths in prison custody
YearNumberYear-on-year change (%)Death rate per 1,000 prisoners

2004

208

-

2.79

2005

175

-16%

2.30

2006

153

-13%

1.96

2007

185

21%

2.30

28 July 2014 : Column WA267

2008

166

-10%

2.01

2009

169

2%

2.02

2010

198

17%

2.34

2011

192

-3%

2.24

2012

192

0%

2.23

2013

215

12%

2.55

Table 2: Number of self-inflicted deaths and year-on-year percentage change of self-inflicted deaths in prison custody
YearNumberYear-on-year change (%)Self-inflicted deaths per 1,000 prisoners

2004

96

-

1.29

2005

78

-19%

1.03

2006

66

-15%

0.84

2007

92

39%

1.14

2008

61

-34%

0.74

2009

61

0%

0.73

2010

58

-5%

0.68

2011

57

-2%

0.66

2012

60

5%

0.70

2013

74

23%

0.88

Reducing the number of self-inflicted deaths in custody is a key priority – we are working hard to understand the reasons for the recent rise in self-inflicted deaths. But this is a complex issue and there is no simple explanation for the rise.

All deaths are subject to investigation by the police and the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman and a Coroner’s inquest, and strenuous efforts are made to learn lessons from these processes.

All prisons have procedures to identify, manage and support people who are at risk of harm to themselves. Prisoners at risk are subject to individual case management and receive support from prison staff, supplemented, where appropriate, by input from mental health services and a range of other sources such as peer supporters and the Samaritans.

There is strong oversight of deaths in custody through the Ministerial Council on Deaths in Custody, which includes an Independent Advisory Panel that has recently been commissioned by the Secretary of State to conduct an independent review of deaths of 18-24 year olds in prison custody since 2007 to report by spring 2015. This will help identify learning points that can be applied across all age groups.

Additional resources and support are being provided for safer custody work in prisons and in particular to improve the consistency of the application of the case management system for prisoners identified as at risk of self harm or suicide.

Prisoners: Self-Harm

Question

Asked by Lord Knight of Weymouth

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what has been the change in numbers of prisoners in the United Kingdom committing acts of self-harm in

28 July 2014 : Column WA268

custody for each of the last 10 years; and what the percentage change has been year on year for the same period.[HL891]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): The government is committed to open and transparent reporting of self-harm in custody and publish statistics on self-harm in prison custody in England and Wales quarterly in the National Statistics “Safety in Custody” bulletin. This statistical series can be found at www.gov.uk/government/collections/safety-in-custody-statistics.

The number of individuals committing at least one self-harm incident in prison custody in each year and year-on-year change is presented in table 1.

Figures are provided for England and Wales only. Figures are not published by the Ministry of Justice for other areas of the United Kingdom as the judicial systems are a devolved matter for the respective administrations.

Around 80 prisoners in every 1,000 in prison custody self-harm.

Table 1: Year-on-year percentage change of individuals self-harming in prison custody, England and Wales

YearNumberYear-on-year change (%)Number of individuals self-harming per 1,000 prisoners

2005

5,837

-

77

2006

6,090

4%

78

2007

6,296

3%

78

2008

6,586

5%

80

2009

7,149

9%

86

2010

6,767

-5%

80

2011

6,907

2%

80

2012

6,821

-1%

79

2013

6,823

0%

81

All prisons have procedures to identify, manage and support people who are at risk of harm to themselves. Prisoners at risk are subject to individual case management and receive support from prison staff, supplemented, where appropriate, by input from mental health services and a range of other sources such as peer supporters and the Samaritans.

Additional resources and support are being provided for safer custody work in prisons and in particular to improve the consistency of the application of the case management system for prisoners identified as at risk of self harm or suicide.

Road Signs and Markings

Questions

Asked by Lord Mawson

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the amount of signage on minor roads in the countryside; and in particular, whether they consider it necessary to have identical signs facing in the same direction on both sides of such roads.[HL1129]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the cost of duplicating road signage on minor country roads.[HL1130]

28 July 2014 : Column WA269

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they consider that the duplication of signage on minor country roads has any impact on the safety of passing traffic.[HL1131]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): In order to reduce sign clutter, the Government issued a special direction in 2012 to provide English traffic authorities with the discretion to place one traffic sign at the start of a restriction or prohibition instead of two. New traffic signs regulations coming into force next year will extend this freedom to speed limit signs. We will provide new guidance to help traffic authorities determine where it is safe and appropriate.

The Department for Transport does not hold data on the number and cost of duplicated traffic signs on minor county roads. We recently conducted research into the number of traffic signs on roads in England, but this did not differentiate between road types.

More information on the new regulations and the research may be viewed at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/consultations/traffic-signs-regulations-and-general-directions-2015

Roads

Question

Asked by Baroness Whitaker

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how Road User Focus and the Strategic Road Network Monitor, as described in Setting the Road Investment Strategy: Now and in the Future, will have regard to design achievement and effectiveness.[HL1317]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer): The Strategic Road Network Monitor will be responsible for assessing the strategic highways company’s performance. This includes how it meets any requirements directed by government in the Road Investment Strategy or conditions in the licence as part of the company’s appointment. The licence document includes the need to support sustainable development. The monitor will need to take account of quality of design in assessing costs against outputs.

The purpose of Road User Focus is to act as a focal point for road users, gathering their views and surveying satisfaction and using this information to help shape evolving policy. Feedback gathered may include roads users’ views on aspects of design – particularly on elements that directly relate to the journey. We expect road user satisfaction will be influenced by scheme design and hence reflected in the findings of Road User Focus.

Rolling Stock: Procurement

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the need for new diesel-powered passenger rolling stock, other than the bimodal intercity express trains, between now and 2020, and after 2020.[HL1222]

28 July 2014 : Column WA270

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): The success of the railways today, with additional services, greater passenger demand and significant Government investment in electrification, means that there are some short term issues with the provision of diesel units. Within a few years, our extensive programme of electrification will allow the diesel trains that are currently used on those routes to be cascaded elsewhere.

The Government is keen for the market to lead on rolling stock procurement, and has not carried out an assessment of its own on the need for new diesel trains. However, in the February 2014 update of its Long Term Passenger Rolling Stock Strategy, the rail industry predicted that, “Assuming that the current policy of a rolling electrification programme continues in CP6 [Control Period 6: 2019 – 2024] and remains affordable to the Government, the work to date suggests that no new diesel vehicles (or other self-powered vehicles) would be required to be built in either CP5 or CP6.”

However, this does not preclude bidders from including the provision of new diesel trains as part of future franchise competitions.

Schools: Radicalism

Question

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Statement by Lord Nash on 22 July (HL Deb, cols 1059–63) on the report into allegations concerning Birmingham schools, whether they will report to Parliament on whether other parts of the country are similarly vulnerable to the threats that have been exposed in Birmingham, and if so, when they expect to do so.[HL1438]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Nash) (Con): Keeping our children safe, and ensuring our schools prepare them for life in modern Britain, could not be more important. There is no place for extremist views in any school.

The Secretary of State will take action whenever information emerges that children are being exposed to indoctrination or extremist views that are contrary to fundamental British values. The Department for Education will continue to support local authorities and schools when serious concerns emerge, wherever those schools are.

As the Secretary of State said in her statement to the House of Commons on 22 July, she will reflect on the questions raised and the specific recommendations made in Peter Clarke’s report, and return to the House in the autumn to set out what steps will be taken on these matters.

Smuggling

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of the revenue lost to the Exchequer as a result of smuggling between the United Kingdom and mainland Europe.[HL1159]

28 July 2014 : Column WA271

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): The information is not available. Tax gaps for alcohol, tobacco and oils were published in “Measuring Tax Gaps 2013”. These estimates cover all revenue losses and cannot be broken down to isolate losses as a result of smuggling between the UK and mainland Europe.

“Measuring Tax Gaps 2013” can be accessed via the following page on the HMRC website:

https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/measuring-tax-gaps

Social Security Benefits: Voluntary Work

Question

Asked by Baroness Lister of Burtersett

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the recent Joseph Rowntree Foundation study of neighbourhood approaches to loneliness, whether they will set out, and if necessary reconsider, the rules governing volunteering while on benefits. [HL1125]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): We recognise that volunteering in the local community can be invaluable in helping benefit claimants, including inactive people, gain new skills and experience that will help them back into work.

In Jobseekers Allowance, claimants are able to volunteer so long as they meet the conditions of claiming, namely looking for and being available for work.

Employment and Support Allowance (ESA) claimants can do unlimited, voluntary work, it will not affect ESA.

For Universal Credit claimants, advisers will be able to reduce a claimant’s expected hours of worksearch and work preparation activities by up to 50 per cent in order to accommodate voluntary work. However the claimant can continue to do as much voluntary work as they feel they are able to, as long as they continue to meet their other work-related requirements.

Taxis

Question

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have held discussions with the company that owns the Uber app for requesting taxis to find out whether any jobs will be created in the United Kingdom by that company; and whether they have ascertained in which country that company is based for tax purposes.[HL1399]

The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Baroness Kramer) (LD): Ministers in the Department for Transport have had no meetings with Uber. I have no information as to the tax status of the company, although I am aware that Transport for London’s licensing criteria include a requirement that all companies are registered with Companies House to ensure they are active and entitled to trade lawfully in the UK.

28 July 2014 : Column WA272

Thailand

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether representatives from the British Embassy in Bangkok will attend court hearings and other key meetings in the case of British citizen Andy Hall; and, if not, why not.[HL1144]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi) (Con): Consular officials at our Embassies do not normally attend court hearings. They do so in exceptional circumstances, for instance at key points in murder/manslaughter cases tosupport families, and on a case-by-case basis in cases where the death penalty could be imposed, or we have serious fair trial concerns. When officials do attend their role is to provide welfare support. We cannot interfere in the judicial process of another country and we cannot act as legal representatives for British nationals. Our staff are not legally trained and they therefore cannot comment on proceedings or provide interpretation.

A political officer from our Embassy in Thailand attended Mr Hall’s hearing on 2 July to observe proceedings. Mr Hall has also met officials at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London to discuss forced labour concerns in Thailand. Consular officials will continue to support him as appropriate, and a decision on whether we will attend future hearings or other key meetings will be made when required. The Embassy has no role in accompanying Mr Hall to meetings related to his legal dispute.

Tourism

Question

Asked by Lord Pendry

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to promote coastal tourism and to ensure that the tourism industry is equipped to cater for an increase in Britons holidaying in the United Kingdom.[HL1413]

Baroness Jolly (LD): Coastal tourism features in VisitEngland’s “Holidays at Home are GREAT” campaign, as well as the recent “Coastal Escapes” and “English Seaside” campaigns through their “Growing Tourism Locally” programme. The National Coastal Tourism Academy in Bournemouth, part funded by Government through the Coastal Communities Fund, was set up in 2013 to partner with tourism businesses to help them reach their commercial potential and provide the best possible experiences for their visitors. The recently established Tourism Industry Council will also aim to identify and address issues around skills gaps, enterprise and apprenticeships to improve visitors satisfaction and encourage and cater for any increase in visitor numbers.

28 July 2014 : Column WA273

UK Membership of EU

Question

Asked by Lord Grocott

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Chief Secretary to the Treasury's speech to the Centre for Transatlantic Relations in Washington on 26 June, of how many jobs in each sector is the 3.3 million that the HM Treasury analysis says are connected to Britain's place in the European Union comprised.[HL1091]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): The Treasury estimate that 3.3 million jobs in the UK may be related to exports to other European Union countries. This figure is based on the assumption that the share of UK employment associated with UK exports to the EU is equal to the share of output that is exported to the EU, making allowance for the composition of the UK economy. It is not an estimate of the impact of EU membership on employment.

Allocating all of these jobs to specific sectors is challenging in the absence of data providing both a sectoral and geographical breakdown of exports. Such estimates would be very sensitive to the further assumptions required to allocate jobs to sectors.

UN Convention against Torture

Questions

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they have taken or propose to take to remedy the shortcomings identified by the United Nations Committee Against Torture in the United Kingdom’s compliance with the United Nations Convention against Torture in May 2013 in relation to (1) the alleged torture of Tamil returnees from the United Kingdom, (2) the lack of accountability in respect of allegations of United Kingdom complicity in torture abroad, (3) the detention of torture survivors in the Detained Fast Track System, (4) the lowering of the evidential threshold before a suspected torture survivor is deemed unsuitable for the Detained Fast Track System, (5) the application of Rule 35 of the Detention Centre Rules, (6) the exemption in section 134 of the Criminal Justice Act 1988 which provides a defence of lawful authority, justification or excuse to a charge of official intentional infliction of severe pain or suffering, and (7) its concerns about section 5 of the Intelligence Services Act 1994 which provides immunity to intelligence officers once a warrant has been signed by a government minister giving them lawful authority.[HL1326]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): The UK Government does not engage in torture, or solicit, encourage or condone its use, and works closely with its international partners to prevent torture occurring anywhere in the world. As requested by the Committee Against Torture, the UK Government submitted, on 31 May 2014, follow up information (available at http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/human- rights/cat-300520140-uk-follow-up-information.pdf) on issues raised by the Committee during the examination

28 July 2014 : Column WA274

of the UK in May 2013. At the Committee’s request, the UK Government will provide its 6th periodic report under the Convention Against Torture, addressing the Committee’s list of issues, in May 2017.

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which member states other than the United Kingdom which have ratified the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment have failed to declare acceptance of the right of individual petition under Article 22 of the Convention. [HL1325]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they will allow the right of individual petition under Article 22 of the United Nations Convention Against Torture and Inhuman or Degrading Treatment. [HL1327]

Lord Faulks: According to the United Nations’ website (http://tbinternet.ohchr.org/_layouts/Treaty BodyExternal/Treaty.aspx - accessed on 23 July 2014) on the ratification status of the Convention, 65 States (out of 155 States Parties to the Convention) accepted the right of individual petition under Article 22; this suggests that 90 States, listed on the website, have not yet done so. The UK is committed to a strong and effective international human rights system and we are state party to a number of international human rights treaties including the UN Convention Against Torture. The UK Government however remains to be convinced of the added practical value to people in the UK of rights of individual petitions to the UN, considering that the UK has strong and effective laws under which individuals may seek remedies in the courts or in tribunals if they feel that their rights have been breached. To date, the UK's experience under the two optional protocols it has ratified (in 2004 to the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, and in 2009 to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities) has not provided sufficient empirical evidence to establish the practical benefits of becoming a State Party to a further individual petition mechanism to the UN.

Wind Power: Seas and Oceans

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many United Kingdom jobs were created in 2013–14 as a result of investment in offshore wind projects by the Green Investment Bank.[HL894]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Neville-Rolfe) (Con): The Green Investment Bank has provided finance to five offshore wind farm projects. Estimated information about the number of jobs supported by these is provided to the Bank by the operators. Complete data is not currently available as one operator has yet to report. The data received in relation to the other four projects is set out below and indicates that these support around 1,330 construction jobs and 250 ongoing operational jobs.

28 July 2014 : Column WA275

ProjectYear of GIB investmentConstruction jobsOngoing operational jobs

Walney

2012/13

N/A

40

Rhyl flats

2012/13

N/A

19

London Array

2013/14

N/A

100

Gwynt y Mor

2013/14

1,330

90

Westermost Rough

2013/14

Data not yet supplied

Data not yet supplied

Work Programme: Travellers

Question

Asked by Baroness Whitaker

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in their draft Child Poverty Strategy 2014–17, what they envisage

28 July 2014 : Column WA276

by “specialist” support for Gypsy and Traveller parents via the Work Programme.[HL1157]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud) (Con): The Government’s strategy for increasing ethnic minority employment and participation in the labour market is based around mainstreaming opportunity through locally delivered flexible provision.

The Work Programme is designed to give providers the flexibility to support each individual jobseeker, rather than treat people according to ethnic groups. Local autonomy and flexibility has replaced the one size fits all approach that has dogged previous employment schemes.