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26 July 2010 : Column WA255



26 July 2010 : Column WA255

Written Answers

Monday 26 July 2010

Abortion

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Information is considered commercially sensitive and/or confidential where disclosure of prices may affect ongoing or future procurement for services by the department or the National Health Service.

Afghanistan

Question

Asked by Lord Moonie

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): I refer the noble Lord to my Written Statement of 14 July 2010 (Official Report, cols. WS 31-34).

Agency Workers Regulations 2010 (SI2010/93)

Questions

Asked by Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Government are aware of the different points of view expressed by various stakeholders about certain aspects of the Agency Workers Regulations and are currently considering the way forward.

Asked by Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts

Baroness Wilcox: Guidance will be provided on all aspects of the Agency Workers Regulations prior to the implementation date of October 2011. Proposals for developing this guidance will be announced in due course.



26 July 2010 : Column WA256

Asked by Lord Hodgson of Astley Abbotts

Baroness Wilcox: Guidance will be provided on all aspects of the Agency Workers Regulations prior to the implementation date of October 2011. Proposals for developing this guidance will be announced in due course.

Agriculture: Genetically Modified Crops

Question

Asked by The Countess of Mar

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rual Affairs Department (Lord Henley): The details of the Government's policy on genetically modified (GM) organisms, and therefore also our assessment of the European Union (EU) regulatory regime, is currently being determined.

Later this year the European Commission is due to issue a report that reviews the operation of the EU legislation on the environmental release of GMOs and the marketing of GM food and feed products.

Agriculture: Maps

Question

Asked by Baroness Byford

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The Rural Land Register Mapping Update project was rolled out progressively across England from June 2009.

Around 113,000 maps were produced, of which 5,750 related to single payment scheme claims selected for inspection. To make it easier for farmers, these maps were sent out after the inspection results were incorporated and therefore have not been counted within the mapping update project.

Within the mapping update project, around 107,250 farmers were issued with maps which were sent out over a number of weeks. Farmers were asked to check their maps and respond within 28 days. Of these, just under 102,000 completed the process, either agreeing their maps or requesting changes.



26 July 2010 : Column WA257

RPA received around 80 per cent of farmer responses within the requested time period. RPA repeatedly tried to contact any farmers who did not respond within this time period and all but 5,250 farmers responded. RPA assumed that these remaining farmers agreed their maps.

This comparatively high return rate was generated as a result of specific RPA activity to generate awareness of the mapping update project and to highlight the importance of farmers responding. Industry representatives supported this and carried the messages through to their members while a variety of response methods including fax, text, and automated phone line mechanisms were added to the traditional postal responses. Face to face meetings with members of RPA's specialist mapping team provided an additional route in cases where particular circumstances existed.

The detail of response mechanisms, methods of communication channels used, and views of farmers and stakeholders would be considered as part of the planning of any future mapping exercise.

Apprenticeships

Question

Asked by Baroness Garden of Frognal

Earl Attlee: Crossrail Ltd expects that 400 apprentices will be involved on the project. Further training opportunities are expected to be provided by the Tunnelling Academy linked to the Crossrail project. Information in respect of apprenticeships on the other projects is not available.

Armed Forces: Cyprus

Questions

Asked by Lord Morris of Aberavon

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The renovation and refurbishment of the Ledra Palace Hotel continues as part of an agreed three-year programme between 2007 and 2010 between the Republic of Cyprus and the UN. All work on the external fabric of the building is now finished providing a "watertight structure". The remaining work is now focused upon the renovation of rooms within the building and improvements to "quality of life" facilities. Renovations have been completed in the public areas including the medical centre and the

26 July 2010 : Column WA258

gymnasium; the kitchen and dining areas have been refurbished including the provision of new kitchen equipment; the main power supply has been replaced and Ledra Palace Hotel has been completely rewired; the fire detection and alarm systems have been completed, and asbestos has been removed from the boiler room and cellar. Work continues on the accommodation: 52 renovated rooms have been handed over so far, with the remainder scheduled to be completed by the end of 2010.

Armed Forces: Drumadd Barracks

Question

Asked by Lord Kilclooney

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The former military base at Drumadd Barracks, Armagh, was vacated by the Army in July 2007, and handed over to defence estates for disposal. After preliminary discussions with the Northern Ireland Executive and other key stakeholders, the site will now be placed on the open market for sale later this year in accordance with the departmental minute laid before Parliament on 24 June 2010 and the net proceeds will be transferred to the Northern Ireland Executive.

Bank of England

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Bank of England will publish accounts for the asset purchase facility (APF) in late July. The amount due from HM Treasury under its indemnity to the Bank will be identified. As in 2009, the Treasury will include the implications of the APF for Treasury resources, that is, the profit or loss of the APF based on valuations of APF assets at balance sheet date, in its annual accounts for the year ending 31 March. Any profit or loss on the APF will crystallise only once the fund is wound up.

Banking

Questions

Asked by Lord Myners

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Neither the Treasury, the Bank of England, nor the Financial Services Authority has direct powers over the matters raised in this question.

Asked by Viscount Waverley

Lord Sassoon: The Government have considered international experiences of bank restructuring. This included appraisal of restructuring methods used by various countries and how successful they were. Kazakhstan was not looked at in detail in this project.

Banking: Asset Protection Agency

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Asset Protection Agency's annual report and accounts were published on 22 July 2010. The documents can be found via the following web link at: http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/apa_publications.htm.

Bovine Tuberculosis

Questions

Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): Since 1998, a wide-ranging programme of research into both cattle and badger vaccines has been in place, with over £29.9 million invested up to the end of the 2009-10 financial year. Results of completed research projects have been peer-reviewed and published in scientific journals and on the Defra website.



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The cattle vaccines research programme has successfully identified lead BCG-based candidate vaccines for bTB and work is under way to support the licence application for an injectable BCG vaccine for use in cattle. However, vaccination of cattle against TB is currently prohibited under EU legislation. BCG interferes with the primary TB diagnostic test, the tuberculin skin test, so vaccinated cattle would react as if infected and herds could not be declared officially TB free (OTF). Therefore, as part of the UK research programme we are carrying out work to develop and validate a diagnostic test to differentiate between infected and vaccinated animals (a so-called DIVA test). Changes will be required to the EU legislation to allow this test to be used in place of, or alongside, the tuberculin skin test to confer OTF status. Because we are still at this early stage of developing a useable cattle vaccine, we have not yet been able to assess the costs of vaccinating cattle.

Badger vaccines are further progressed. The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) issued a licence for the injectable BCG badger vaccine in March 2010, the first tuberculosis vaccine authorised for use in badgers in the UK. A separate strand of research to develop an oral BCG vaccine bait formulation and delivery protocol is being conducted in collaboration with researchers in the Republic of Ireland and New Zealand, as this will be the most practical application of a vaccine to a wild population.

British Citizenship

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): A person born outside the United Kingdom and colonies before 1 January 1983 to a British mother who was also born outside the United Kingdom and colonies may have an entitlement to register under Section 4C of the British Nationality Act 1981 depending on the individual circumstances of the case.

A person will qualify for registration under Section 4C if, had women been able to pass on citizenship in the same way as men before 1983, he or she would have become a citizen of the United Kingdom and colonies under the British Nationality Act 1948 and also acquired the right of abode in the United Kingdom.

A child born outside the United Kingdom and colonies to a parent who held that status by descent would not normally have acquired citizenship by descent under the 1948 Act. However, there are certain exceptions to this which might apply in this case once the full facts are presented.

The person concerned should therefore be advised to contact the UK Border Agency for further advice, providing full details of their birth and the birth of their parents and grandparents.



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British Overseas Territories

Question

Asked by Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): As announced on 29 June 2010 in a Written Ministerial Statement, (Official Report, col. 37WS) by my right honourable the Secretary of State, following a review of all the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's (FCO) programme spend, the Overseas Territories Programme Fund (OTPF) for this financial year (10-11) was cut by 10 per cent as a contribution to reducing public expenditure. The Statement made clear our desire to sustain in future years (resources permitting) the FCO's programme spending in support of the overseas territories. The cuts will be made by reducing the allocations of a number of OTPF programmes. The Overseas Territories Programme Fund is only one way that the FCO contributes towards the good governance, safety and security of the overseas territories. The FCO will continue to provide support in all the areas where reductions have been made.

Burma

Question

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We have not had any discussions with the German Government about the export of industrial equipment to Burma which could be used for the development of a nuclear weapons programme. We continue to urge Burma to act strictly in accordance with its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, to abide by the terms and conditions of its International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards agreement, and declare all nuclear material in its possession. Our ambassador to Rangoon has recently lobbied the Burmese regime on their obligations under UN sanctions and raised proliferation concerns with senior members of the military regime and we will continue to raise our concerns at the highest possible level.

Children: Forced Labour

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Baroness Verma: Details of aid provided to India by the Department for International Development (DfID) are published annually in Statistics on International Development, which is available in the House Library and on the DfID website. DfID provided the following in bilateral aid to India in each of the past 10 years:

Financial yearAmount (000)

2000/01

116,914

2001/02

184,973

2002/03

160,820

2003-04

199,526

2004-05

257,649

2005-06

252,759

2006-07

233,857

2007-08

275,406

2008-09

297,032

2009-10*

295,125

* The figure for 2009-10 is a provisional figure published in DFID in 2009-10. Final figures will be published in Statistics on International Development later this year.

The bilateral aid review will look at the needs facing each country, the results that should be prioritised in each country and how DfID can deliver value for money. Child labour is unacceptable and the coalition Government are committed to tackling it. Investment in primary and lower secondary education reduces child labour rates and education will be a strategic priority under the review. UK aid has helped 60 million Indian children get into school since 2003.

Civil Service: Redundancy

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: Civil servants who are made redundant receive, depending on their age and length of service, either a cash payment under the compulsory early severance terms of the Civil Service Compensation Scheme, or an enhanced early pension (or annual compensation payment) under the compulsory early retirement terms.

Employers may also pay the compulsory terms in circumstances other than redundancy, as set out in the Civil Service Management Code.

Compensation in lieu of notice is payable under the Civil Service Compensation Scheme on the compulsory early termination of a civil servant's employment where their employer has not given them the period of notice required under the Civil Service Management Code.



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It is estimated that during the period April 2005 to March 2008, around 10,000 civil servants left on compulsory early severance, at an average cost of around £42,000 each, and around 6,500 civil servants left on compulsory early retirement at an average cost of around £97,000 each. The remainder of the information requested can only be provided at disproportionate cost.

Climate Change

Question

Asked by Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): No. My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary announced a reduction this year in the strategic programme fund for low carbon high growth, as a contribution to reducing public expenditure. However, programme funds are only one way in which the Government are pursuing action to tackle climate change and encourage the development of a low-carbon high-growth global economy, and this area of work still remains a major focus of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's bilateral and multilateral diplomatic activity.

Coastal Erosion

Question

Asked by Baroness Byford

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): Coastal local authorities are able to apply for a coastal erosion assistance grant of £6,000. The grant is intended to help with the initial transitional costs associated with loss of a residential property as a result of coastal erosion in instances where no alternative provision such as insurance is available. Principally, it will be available to help with the costs associated with demolishing any residential property at risk of loss because of coastal erosion. It may then additionally be used by the authority to help with basic moving costs where this would be appropriate.

The assistance grant is available in areas regardless of whether the property has been defended or not. To qualify for the support, the property must have been purchased prior to 15 June 2009, which was the first day of the grant's consultation period. It should additionally have been vacated by agreement, demolished or lost to erosion after this date.



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Commonwealth Development Corporation

Question

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

Baroness Verma: The Department for International Development (DfID) is reviewing the Commonwealth Development Corporation's (CDC's) role to ensure that it contributes fully to the Government's development objectives. I will inform the House of any decisions that are made regarding CDC.

Communities: Preventing Extremism

Question

Asked by Lord Sheikh

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): In the present financial year my department is supporting Faiths in Action, a small grants scheme through which grants of up to £6,000 are made to support innovative local interfaith projects. Information about the programme may be found on the website of the Community Development Foundation. My department will also be making financial support available for activities in Interfaith Week this November.

We have made these spending commitments, which total over £2 million, because we recognise that interfaith dialogue and action do much to increase community cohesion. Future financial support for cohesion and other programmes is a matter for the spending review which will conclude in the autumn. Meanwhile, the Government are working closely with the Christian churches and other faith communities to ensure that they are involved in building the big society, in which individuals and groups take responsibility for improving their communities.

Consumer Credit

Question

Asked by Baroness Byford



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): These regulations do not apply to credit unions. Credit unions are currently exempt from the provisions of the Consumer Credit Act 1974 and that position is unchanged by these regulations.

Corporate Manslaughter and Homicide Act 2007

Question

Asked by Lord Ramsbotham

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): We are currently considering, in conjunction with the custody providers, when to commence Section 2(1)(d) of the Corporate Manslaughter and Corporate Homicide Act 2007 which relates to the duty of care custody providers owe to those who are detained. We will make a further announcement in due course.

Crime: Disadvantaged Areas

Question

Asked by Lord Ouseley

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The national thematic report on police authority performance, published in March this year by HMIC and the Audit Commission, set out that "the performance of most police authorities is 'adequate ... [and] only one [authority] was assessed as performing well across all four themes'". Adequate in this case is defined as meaning there were at least some of the basic minimum requirements of their role which all bar one authority failed to meet. Further, Cabinet Office research from 2007 showed 68 per cent of the public agree there should be a person elected by local people to hold the police to account on behalf of the community, whereas only 7 per cent understood the role of their police authority.

The Government believe that enabling the public directly to elect an individual to hold the chief constable to account on their behalf will give them a strong advocate in the setting of their policing budget and priorities, and enable them to hold that individual to account at the ballot box.

The Government will consult in due course on a number of policing-related issues, including their proposals on directly elected individuals in preparation for the Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill this autumn.



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Crime: Domestic Violence

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): A Home Office pilot project for victims of domestic violence with no recourse to public funds commenced in November 2009 and was scheduled to run to the end of August 2010. On 16 July, the Home Secretary announced an extension to the pilot until the end of March 2011 and a commitment to find a long-term funding solution to the issue. The pilot is monitored on a monthly basis and a full evaluation will take place following completion of the pilot.

Cumbrian Shooting Incident

Question

Asked by Lord Corbett of Castle Vale

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Independent Police Complaints Commission is operationally independent of government and is responsible for determining how any specific complaint or investigation should be managed. Police forces have a duty to refer certain matters to the IPCC, including where police conduct may have contributed to the death or serious injury of an individual, and the IPCC may, in addition, require any specific complaint to be referred to it if it so chooses.

I understand that, as is normal practice in such cases, there has been regular contact between the IPCC and Cumbria Constabulary about the events involving Mr Derrick Bird and that the IPCC has not requested any referral at this stage.

Data Protection

Question

Asked by Lord Kilclooney

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The EU's Article 29 Data Protection Working Party has made a positive assessment of the level of data protection in Israel and

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concluded Israel guarantees an adequate level of protection for international data transfers. The UK Information Commissioner sits on this group. The decision to grant adequacy is taken only once it is clear, on the basis of a detailed assessment, that the data protection and privacy laws of the third country offer safeguards comparable to those in place in the EU. The decision will be voted on by member states.

The UK supports the decision to grant adequacy. Such decisions play an important role in ensuring that UK businesses are able to transfer personal data efficiently outside the EU, while ensuring that individual citizens' data will be properly handled and their privacy respected.

Debt: Moneylending

Question

Asked by Lord Marlesford

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The department has commissioned an evaluation of the illegal moneylending project, which is expected to report over the summer. Decisions regarding further funding of the project will be made as part of the Government's spending review, which is due to report in October.

Economy

Question

Asked by Lord Barnett

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government are taking an entirely new approach to the spending review by consulting directly with those whose taxes pay for public services. As of 23 July, the Treasury has received approximately 90,000 ideas from individuals through the Spending Challenge websites and direct correspondence.

Education: Chevening and Commonwealth Scholarships

Questions

Asked by Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean



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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We will maintain a substantial programme of scholarships to bring future decision-takers and opinion-formers to the UK. Doing so is an important part of our work to improve Britain's standing in the world. The lower number of scholarships awarded in 2010-11 is targeted towards the countries and issues of highest priority. The final number will depend on the amount of additional funding from partners, which is still to be confirmed. We will make the savings in different areas:

We will reduce the administrative costs of the scheme by lowering the management fee paid to the British Council.We did not yet have any commitments to fellowships in 2010-11 and so they will not proceed.We will not fund projects to help posts develop their networks with alumni this year.

We are committed to maintaining our full £2.2 million for Marshall scholarships for US students in 2010-11, and also the funding for existing Commonwealth scholars from developed Commonwealth countries who started in 2008-09 or earlier and are completing their PhDs and for existing Chevening scholars in the 2009-10 academic year.

Asked by Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

Lord Howell of Guildford: We will maintain a substantial programme of scholarships to bring future decision-takers and opinion-formers to the UK. Doing so is an important part of our work to improve Britain's standing in the world. The lower number of scholarships awarded in 2010-11 is targeted towards the countries and issues of highest priority. The final number will depend on the amount of additional funding from partners, which is still to be confirmed. We will make the savings in different areas:

We will reduce the administrative costs of the scheme by lowering the management fee paid to the British Council.

We did not have any commitments to fellowships in 2010-11 and so they will not proceed.

We will not fund projects to help posts to develop their networks with alumni this year.

We are committed to maintaining our full £2.2 million for Marshall scholarships for US students in 2010-11, and also the funding for existing Commonwealth scholars from developed Commonwealth countries who started in 2008-09 or earlier and are completing their PhDs and for existing Chevening scholars in the 2009-10 academic year.

Asked by Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean



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Lord Howell of Guildford: We will maintain a substantial programme of scholarships to bring future decision-takers and opinion-formers to the UK. Doing so is an important part of our work to improve Britain's standing in the world. The lower number of scholarships awarded in 2010-11 is targeted towards the countries and issues of highest priority. The final number will depend on the amount of additional funding from partners, which is still to be confirmed. We will make the savings in different areas:

We will reduce the administrative costs of the scheme by lowering the management fee paid to the British Council.

We did not yet have any commitments to fellowships in 2010-11 and so they will not proceed.

We will not fund projects to help posts develop their networks with alumni this year.

We are committed to maintaining our full £2.2 million for Marshall scholarships for US students in 2010-11, and also the funding for existing Commonwealth scholars from developed Commonwealth countries who started in 2008-09 or earlier and are completing their PhDs and for existing Chevening scholars in the 2009-10 academic year.

Elections: Voting System

Question

Asked by Lord Campbell-Savours

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): I refer the noble Lord to the Answer I gave on 20 July (Official Report, cols. WA192-193).

Embryology

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): In 2009, applicants for appointment to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) were required to demonstrate that they met the following criteria:

An outstanding track record in one of the following fields: clinical embryology-senior embryologist in a HFEA licensed establishment, within clinical practice;

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biological sciences-scientist specialising in a biological discipline (eg cell biology) working outside the fertility sector;faith ministry or theology-open to applicants of all faiths and beliefs;an interest in the wider implications of assisted reproduction and embryo research;the ability to understand and keep abreast of developments in the treatment of, and research into, infertility, without necessarily having expertise in the field;high level analytical skills and the ability to apply them to discussion on high profile, complex and sensitive clinical, scientific, ethical and legal issues;excellent communication skills;good interpersonal skills to support effective discussion with a range of stakeholders; andability to be a good team player able to play a full part in discussions and willing to accept the majority view.

While not essential for appointment to the HFEA, experience at board level in the public, not for profit, regulatory sector or equivalent was also desirable.

Paragraph 5(2) of Schedule 1 to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, as amended, limits the term of a single appointment to a maximum period of three years. However, members may serve additional terms of office, continuously and in the same role, up to a maximum total duration of 10 years, as set out in paragraph 5.17 of The Commissioner for Public Appointments Code of Practice for Ministerial Appointments to Public Bodies, which can be found on the Commissioner for Public Appointment's website at: http://www.publicappointmentscommissioner.org/Code_of_Practice/.

The duration of the appointment of each of the members of the HFEA is shown in the following table:



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Name(1)Date first appointment commenced(1)Date current appointment ends(1)

Prof. Lisa Jardine (Chair)

01.04.08(2)

16.01.11

Prof. Emily Jackson (Deputy Chair)(3)

01.01.09

31.12.11

Mr Hossam Abdalla

01.10.04

29.09.10

Prof. David Archard

01.11.05

31.10.11

Mrs Debbie Barber

01.09.08

31.08.11

Ms Anna Carragher

07.11.06

06.11.12

Mrs Sally Cheshire

07.11.06

06.11.12

Dr. Mair Crouch

01.09.08

31.08.11

Ms Jane Dibblin

01.09.08

31.08.11

Mrs Rebekah Dundas

01.01.07

31.12.12

Mrs Ruth Fasht

01.11.05

31.10.11

Dr. Andrew Greenfield

09.11.09

08.11.12

Prof. Neva Haites

02.12.02

30.11.11

Ms Gemma Hobcraft

01.09.08

31.08.11

Rev. Ermal Kirby

01.01.10

31.12.12

Prof. William Ledger

07.11.06

06.11.12

Ms Clare Lewis-Jones

02.12.02

30.11.11

Ms Lillian Neville

01.09.08

31.08.11

Dr. Susan Price

01.02.06

31.01.12

Prof. Lesley Regan

01.09.08

31.08.11

Dr. Alan Thornhill

09.11.09

08.11.12

Notes

1. HFEA members appointments as at 15 July 2010.

2. Prof. Jardine was appointed to the chair of the HFEA on 17 January 2008 but did not take up her post until 1 April 2008.

3. Following her appointment as deputy chair, Prof. Jackson's maximum period for appointment begins again from 1 January 2009. Previous services as an ordinary member is not counted toward this new period.

Employment

Questions

Asked by Lord Ouseley

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Paragraphs 3.50 to 3.52 of the Office for Budget Responsibility's (OBR) Pre-Budget forecast (June 2010) and 0.20 to 0.21 of the OBR's Budget forecast (Budget 2010, HC 61) set out the detail of its labour market forecast.

The OBR has released further information on its employment forecast subsequently. The OBR forecasts show that total employment is expected to rise by 1.3 million by 2015-16.

The OBR forecast can be found at: http://budgetresponsibility.independent.gov.uk/publications.html

Asked by Lord Bradley

Lord Sassoon: Paragraphs 3.50 to 3.52 of the Office for Budget Responsibility's (OBR) pre-Budget forecast (June 2010) and 0.20 to 0.21 of the OBR's Budget forecast (Budget 2010, HC 61) set out the detail of its labour market forecast.



26 July 2010 : Column WA272

The OBR has subsequently released further information on its employment forecast. The OBR forecasts show that total employment is expected to rise by 1.3 million by 2015-16.

The OBR forecast can be found at: http://budgetresponsibility.independent.gov.uk/publications.html

EU: Flag

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Department for Communities and Local Government (CLG) is the managing authority for the European Development Fund (ERDF). Among other things under EC Regulation 1828/2006, Article 7(2), CLG is required to fly the EU flag for one week from 9 May from the front of its premises. There are two flag poles outside the departmental building of Eland House, and it is the policy of the department always to fly the United Kingdom's Union Flag in the superior position.

Article 9 of the same EC regulation requires that all information and publicity aimed at beneficiaries, potential beneficiaries and the public generally includes the EU emblem, a reference to ERDF and a statement highlighting the added value of the intervention of the Community, in accordance with set graphical standards. In addition, Article 69(1) of EC Regulation 1083/2006 requires that all member states, which act as managing authorities for EU funded programmes, ensure that projects highlight the role of the EU.

As laid out in my department's press release of 7 July 2010, my right honourable friend the Secretary of State is keen to challenge the complicated and overbureaucratic rules and to avoid penalties being imposed for minor infringements of the regulations-such as for not displaying the EU emblem. Furthermore, he is urgently reviewing how these funds are managed and distributed to make sure that taxpayers' money is used wisely.

European Commission: Media

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon



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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): At a time when both citizens and Governments across the EU are reining in their spending, the EU institutions should be more rigorous in making sure that they get the maximum value out of every euro of taxpayers' money that they spend. I am confident that the majority of public opinion in the UK would agree with me that paying journalists is not a good use of EU funding.

Export Industry

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Warwick

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Government are bringing forward a range of policies in areas such as finance, taxation, innovation and skills that will underpin the competitiveness of all companies across the economy. These policies will help exporters and non-exporters alike.

The Government recognise that increasing exports is key to rebalancing the economy and that open markets within which UK companies can trade is essential to export success. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), and UK Trade & Investment (UKTI-a joint FCO-BIS Department) will continue to work closely together in order to strengthen the UK's relations with the fastest-growing areas of the world economy, and remove barriers to trade globally. This includes working closely with EU partners and the G20 to press to complete the Doha trade talks, while also securing ambitious free trade agreements with countries such as India and Korea.

Government support services for exporters are delivered primarily through UKTI, in partnership with the trade promotion organisations in the devolved Administrations. This support has provided significant and demonstrable benefits for exporters, both those new to export and for experienced exporters seeking to expand into new and more challenging markets. In 2009-10 UKTI helped 23,600 companies. Independent evaluation of the impact of this support, based on companies' own estimates, shows that UKTI's support added an additional £5 billion to bottom line profits: that is £19 of profits these companies would not otherwise have made for every £1 of UKTI spend on trade services.

Fishing: Common Fisheries Policy

Question

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): There is broad agreement across the EU about the case for reform of the common fisheries policy, including the need to decentralise and simplify the current complex regulations. Few, if any, member states support the status quo, though views vary as to the changes needed. A draft legislative proposal will be published in 2011 and the UK is fully engaged in dialogue with other member states, the European Commission, industry, environmental NGOs and scientists to establish common ground for reform.

The UK's aim of a competitive, thriving and sustainable agriculture sector is supported by all member states. The Government are starting to consider their detailed position on reform of the common agricultural policy beyond 2013. Individual member states' positions will become clear in their responses to the European Commission's communication on CAP reform later this year.

Foreign Policy

Questions

Asked by Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): As my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary made clear, our task is to improve Britain's standing in the world, including in key countries such as Pakistan. We are committed to improving the range and depth of our relationships across the world including in Muslim-majority countries. Through rigorous prioritisation, we will be able to derive necessary efficiency savings from the existing overall public diplomacy programme and maintain our important work to influence international public opinion.

Asked by Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

Lord Howell of Guildford: As my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary made clear, our task is to improve Britain's standing in the world, including in key countries such as Pakistan. We are committed to improving the range and depth of our relationships across the world including in Muslim-majority countries. Through rigorous prioritisation, we will be able to

26 July 2010 : Column WA275

derive necessary efficiency savings from the existing overall public diplomacy programme and maintain our important work to influence international public opinion.

Asked by Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

Lord Howell of Guildford: As my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary made clear, our task is to improve Britain's standing in the world, including in key countries such as Pakistan. We are committed to improving the range and depth of our relationships across the world including in Muslim-majority countries. Through rigorous prioritisation, we will be able to derive necessary efficiency savings from the existing overall public diplomacy programme and maintain our important work to influence international public opinion.

Asked by Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

Lord Howell of Guildford: My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary announced a 10 per cent reduction this year in the strategic programme fund for human rights and democracy as a contribution to reducing public expenditure. He made clear our desire to sustain the programme in future years subject to resources. This reduction still means that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will provide over £5 million this year in funding for projects that support human rights and democracy, including projects related to elections, freedom of expression, prevention of torture and promotion of criminal justice, among others. Programme funds are only one way in which the Government uphold human rights. They are also a major focus of our overall bilateral and multilateral activity, carried out each day by our network of posts around the world.

Asked by Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

Lord Howell of Guildford: My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary announced a 10 per cent reduction this year to the Westminster Foundation for Democracy as a contribution to reducing public expenditure. He made clear our desire to sustain funding

26 July 2010 : Column WA276

to the foundation in future years subject to resources. This reduction still means that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will provide over £3 million this year to the Westminster Foundation for Democracy to support its work around the world in deepening democracy.

Asked by Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

Lord Howell of Guildford: My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary announced a 10 per cent reduction this year in the strategic programme fund for human rights and democracy as a contribution to reducing public expenditure. He made clear our desire to sustain the programme in future years subject to resources. This reduction still means that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will provide over £5 million this year in funding for projects that support human rights and democracy, including projects related to elections, freedom of expression, prevention of torture and promotion of criminal justice, among others. Programme funds are only one way in which the Government uphold human rights. They are also a major focus of our overall bilateral and multilateral activity, carried out each day by our network of posts around the world.

Asked by Baroness Symons of Vernham Dean

Lord Howell of Guildford: My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary announced a 10 per cent reduction this year in the strategic programme fund for counterproliferation as a contribution to reducing public expenditure. He made clear our desire to sustain the programme in future years. This reduction still means that the Foreign and Commonwealth Office will provide over £2 million through this programme this year to counter weapons proliferation. Programme funds are only one way the Government pursue their aims of preventing nuclear proliferation which remains a high priority and a major focus of our overall bilateral and multilateral activity. The reduction will be delivered through efficiency savings and not through cutting individual projects.

Government Departments: Conflict Strategy

Question

Asked by Lord Brett



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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Once work on a national security strategy and the strategic defence and strategic defence and security review has been concluded, Ministers will consider how to take forward work to underpin a cross-departmental approach to tackling conflict.

Government: Documents

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The criteria for access by Ministers to documents of the previous Administration are contained in Volume 2 of the Directory of Civil Service Guidance which is available in the Library. The guidance is also available on the Cabinet Office website: www.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/media/cabinetoffice/ propriety_and_ethics/assets/csg%20vo12.pdf

Government: Efficiency Review

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The role of Lord Browne of Madingley as the Government's senior non-executive director has certain similarities with that of a senior independent director under the UK Corporate Governance Code. However, the relevant parts of that code are not universally applicable to the business of government; in particular, the relationship with shareholders has no exact parallel as Ministers are accountable to Parliament and the public.

Lord Browne will be the lead non-executive on the Cabinet Office board and will work with Secretaries of State to appoint the lead non-executive in each department. He will have access to the Prime Minister,

26 July 2010 : Column WA278

the Deputy Prime Minister and the head of the Civil Service and will chair a regular meeting of non-execs from across government.

A number of individuals were considered for the role of the Government's senior non-executive director. Lord Browne was appointed on the basis of his long-standing experience in business following interviews with the Minister for the Cabinet Office and the Cabinet Secretary.

Gulf War Illnesses

Question

Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The Ministry of Defence has received the letter from Professor Hooper, President of the National Gulf Veterans and Families Association forwarded by the noble Lord.

We are currently considering the points made by Professor Hooper and a reply will be sent to the noble Lord shortly. A copy of the reply will be placed in the Library of the House.

Gypsies and Travellers

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Homelessness Code of Guidance for Local Authorities, ("the code)" issued by the Secretaries of State, states that applicants are homeless if the accommodation available for their occupation is a caravan or other moveable structure and they do not have a place where they are entitled, or permitted, to put it and live in it. The code also states that if a housing authority has reason to believe that a person applying to the authority for accommodation or assistance in obtaining accommodation may be homeless the authority must make such inquiries as are necessary to satisfy itself whether any duty, and if so what duty, is owed to that person under Part 7 of the Housing Act 1996. This guidance applies to all applicants, including those who are Gypsies or Travellers.



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Health Bill

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): As announced in the Parliamentary debates on the Queen's Speech, the Government will seek to introduce a health Bill in the autumn.

The House of introduction will be decided by the Government nearer the time of introduction.

Health: Cancer

Questions

Asked by Lord Crisp

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): From 2010, the NHS bowel cancer screening programme is being extended to men and women aged 70 to 75, which will result in around one million more people being screened. In addition, those over the age of 75 will be able to self-refer every two years. The 2010-11 NHS operating framework confirmed that all local bowel screening units should begin the age extension during 2010-11 or on completion of the original two year screening round.

The results of a study published by Imperial College London in April have shown that a one-off flexible sigmoidoscopy (FS) screening test for bowel cancer at age 55 can reduce mortality by 43 per cent and reduce the incidence of bowel cancer in people attending screening by 33 per cent. The study concluded that FS is a safe and practical test and, when offered only once between ages 55 and 64 years, confers a substantial and long-lasting benefit. A copy of the study has been placed in the Library.

The review of the cancer reform strategy, due to be published in the winter, will address screening men and women in their 50s. The UK national screening committee, working closely with Professor Mike Richards, the bowel screening advisory group and the other United Kingdom countries will formally look at the evidence and provide advice to Ministers, as a matter of urgency, on whether we should introduce this new screening programme.



26 July 2010 : Column WA280

Asked by Lord Crisp

Earl Howe:The Coalition: Our Programme for Government sets out our commitment to establish a cancer drugs fund from April 2011. We want patients, clinicians and the wider National Health Service to input into the design of the cancer drugs fund and we will set out our plans soon.

Health: Costs

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The relevant authorities that provide the required documentation under Regulations (EC) 883/2004 and 987/2009 (which entered into force on 1 May 2010, replacing Regulations (EEC) 1408/71 and 574/72 for European Union member states) are listed in the European Commission's Public Directory of European Social Security Institutions, which can be found at: http://ec.europa.eu/social-security-directory.

Health: Dentistry

Questions

Asked by Baroness Masham of Ilton

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The document The Coalition: Our Programme for Government commits the Government to introducing a new dentistry contract that will focus on achieving good dental health and increasing access to National Health Service dentistry. The White Paper Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS sets out plans for a patient-led NHS; delivering better health outcomes; and a more autonomous and accountable system. The Residential Oral Care Sheffield scheme offers an excellent model of good practice for

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meeting the oral and dental health needs of a vulnerable group of the population, which we will take into account in developing new arrangements for commissioning primary care dental services.

Asked by Baroness Masham of Ilton

Earl Howe: We do not have a national estimate, but we are aware that meeting the dental care needs of prisoners is challenging because the amount of untreated dental disease among prisoners is approximately four times greater than the level found in the general population with higher incidence of a history of hazardous drinking, smoking and use of illicit drugs. The document The Coalition: Our Programme for Government commits the Government to introducing a new dentistry contract that will focus on achieving good dental health and increasing access to National Health Service dentistry. It will be necessary, in implementing the new contract, to assess the oral health care needs of the inmates of prisons and commission suitably trained and experienced dental practitioners to meet all reasonable needs. We will be considering what guidance is necessary to embed prison dentistry in these new arrangements.

Asked by Baroness Masham of Ilton

Earl Howe: Facilities for the provision of prison dentistry are required to meet the same range of standards as dental surgeries in the community at large. With effect from April 2011, the Care Quality Commission will be responsible for monitoring these standards. In implementing new contractual arrangements for primary care dentistry we will be considering how we can reinforce the requirement for delivery of high quality oral and dental health care for prisoners.

Health: Insurance

Question

Asked by Lord Crisp

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): No such assessment has been made. We will set out our plans for the cancer drugs fund later in the year.



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Health: Motor Neurone Disease

Questions

Asked by Baroness Taylor of Bolton

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Information on the number of people diagnosed with motor neurone disease is not collected centrally. However, estimates given in the National Service Framework for Long-term Neurological Conditions suggest there are around 1,200 new cases per year in the United Kingdom.

Asked by Baroness Taylor of Bolton

Earl Howe: The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is currently providing infrastructure support for 12 studies funded by both commercial and non-commercial organisations in motor neurone disease (MND) via the Dementias and Neurodegenerative Diseases Research Network (DeNDRoN). These studies include a £223,224 NIHR-funded project on non-invasive ventilation in MND. The NIHR spent a total of £3.5 million on DeNDRoN in 2009-10.

The Medical Research Council supports a broad portfolio of MND and MND-related research amounting to £5.5 million in 2008-09.

Health: Orthopaedics

Questions

Asked by Baroness Greengross

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): There are no current plans to produce guidance for general practitioners to assist them in commissioning osteoporosis and fracture services.

The department's prevention package for older people includes a focus on falls and fractures and a toolkit which relates to fracture liaison services. This will emphasise key elements of care pathways including ensuring older people are streamlined to specialist care in crisis, the importance of prompt and targeted assessment during acute care and the role of intermediate care in enabling early supported discharge and reducing admissions to long-term care.



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It is the responsibility of care homes to ensure that their residents' needs are assessed and a care plan drawn up to meet them. This should include the ongoing management of any existing long-term medical conditions.

Health: Pain Management

Questions

Asked by Baroness Finlay of Llandaff

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The British Pain Society in partnership with Dr Foster manages the national pain audit. The audit will initially collect information on the availability and provision of specialist pain services in hospitals across England and Wales. It does not extend into primary care. When the full data collection rolls out in 2011, it will take in information on outcomes and processes, including the source and date of referral, and pain scores from all new patients with chronic pain participating in the audit. We are inviting the clinical leads for the audit to consider whether correlating referral times and pain scores will provide a useful measure of the quality of care.

Health: Palliative Care

Questions

Asked by Lord Judd

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The General Medical Council (GMC) is the competent authority for medical training in the United Kingdom and the custodian of quality standards in medical education and practice. It is responsible for ensuring that doctors are equipped to deal with the problems they will encounter in practice, including palliative care. The GMC is an independent professional body.

The GMC's undergraduate, postgraduate and continued practice boards have the general function of promoting high standards of medical education and

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co-ordinating all stages of medical education. They ensure that students and newly qualified doctors are equipped with the knowledge, skills and attitudes essential for professional practice.

The Nursing and Midwifery Council sets educational standards for nursing and also revalidates educational programmes regularly. It has recently reviewed the standards for pre-registration nurse education and will publish these in the autumn.

The new standards do not focus specifically on palliative care but the knowledge and skills associated with this are implicit within the required standards. It is for the programme providers to determine the detail of the local curriculum.

House of Lords: Members

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Peers and their staff have no automatic right to attend government meetings, whether held in departmental buildings or elsewhere. Whether they are invited to do so would be at the discretion of the department involved.

Housing

Question

Asked by Baroness Whitaker

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): In the coalition agreement the Government stated that they will publish and present to Parliament a simple, consolidated national planning framework, covering all forms of development. We will make an announcement about the national planning framework-and the implications for specific areas of planning policy-in due course.

Housing and Regeneration Act 2008

Question

Asked by Baroness Whitaker



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Government will be making a decision on Section 318 of the Housing and Regeneration Act 2008 in the context of a wider strategy they are developing in relation to Gypsies and Travellers and an announcement will be made in due course.

Immigration

Question

Asked by Viscount Waverley

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): Applicants for entry clearance and those applying to remain in this country are checked for UK criminal convictions. Those seeking permission to enter the UK will normally be refused if they have previously been convicted of a criminal offence punishable by at least 12 months imprisonment. A person may be refused permission to stay on the basis of his character, conduct or associations or if he represents a threat to national security. Entry clearance officers will take account of any available local intelligence about a person's criminal activities overseas, but the agency does not have access to foreign governments' criminal records.

The UK Border Agency is expanding its action against foreign nationals who seek to commit crime in the UK. The agency has established a crime directorate incorporating six regional crime teams, 230 seconded police officers and 350 border and customs investigators. The agency works closely with other organisations such as the Serious and Organised Crime Agency and the Audit Commission, and is presently reviewing the proposal that it should join the anti-fraud organisation CIFAS for the purpose of sharing information with the financial services sector about fraud and illegal migration.

Immigration: Detention

Question

Asked by Baroness Hamwee

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): We would prefer that those with no basis of stay in the UK left voluntarily. Where they fail to comply with a requirement to leave, escorts are empowered

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legally to use force, so long as its use is justified, proportionate and for the shortest possible period. Escorts are accredited by the UK Border Agency to exercise their powers and are trained to a high standard in the use of control and restraint techniques.

I am aware of allegations that Iraqi returnees removed from the UK on 16 June were mistreated by escorting staff. We strongly reject these. Two members of staff from the UK Border Agency were on board the flight and were satisfied that all staff acted with utmost professionalism throughout the flight.

Complaints or allegations of mistreatment of persons during removal are none the less taken very seriously and are subject to a rigorous investigative process by the UK Border Agency's Professional Standards Unit (PSU). Allegations of assault are automatically referred to the police. Any police investigation is completed in parallel to that of the PSU.

The UK Border Agency has not received any complaints directly from returnees about their treatment during removal although we are liaising with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees to gather information about any allegations that may have been lodged elsewhere.

Baroness O'Loan was appointed in September 2008 by the then Home Secretary to investigate allegations of systematic abuse of immigration detainees by escorting staff published in a dossier entitled Outsourcing Abuse. Her review centred on investigations into the complaints detailed in the dossier and the UK Border Agency's complaints and investigation systems.

Baroness O'Loan's findings were published on 12 March 2010. She found that there was no evidence to substantiate the central allegation of systematic abuse by escorting staff. At the same time, she recognised that many of the concerns she had about the way a number of the investigations into complaints had been handled in the past had been addressed already by the UK Border Agency following a decision to transfer responsibility for complaints handling from Detention Services to its Professional Standards Unit in February 2008. She none the less made a number of recommendations, accepted by the UK Border Agency, to strengthen the supervision of staff and improve our complaints handling further. The UK Border Agency committed to implement all those recommendations by the end of this financial year.

Immigration: Detention Centres

Questions

Asked by Baroness Stern

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): Individuals can be detained in a holding room at Heathrow for up to 24 hours while a decision is considered to refuse or grant leave to enter the UK

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under the Immigration Act 1971. In the case of unaccompanied children, detention is used only for the short periods while arrangements are made with local children's services for their care.

In 2009, 1,691 children were detained under Immigration Act powers at Heathrow Airport. Of these, 329 were unaccompanied. These figures include children detained on arrival and those brought to the airport for the purposes of removal from the UK.

The data are taken from local management information which has not been subject to the detailed checks that apply for National Statistics publications. It is provisional and subject to change. We are committed to ending the detention of children.

Data on the numbers detained in the holding rooms at Heathrow Airport are collected daily on a 24-hour period from midnight to midnight the following day. There may therefore be double counting if children were held in the holding rooms past midnight. A report that excludes duplicate records can be obtained only by detailed examination of individual holding room records at disproportionate cost.

Iran

Questions

Asked by Lord Sheikh

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The UK is concerned by the plight of women in Iran. On 3 June 2010, on the occasion of women's day in Iran, my honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Alistair Burt, released a statement to show his support for women activists in Iran. Furthermore, he raised the issue of women's rights during a meeting with the Iranian ambassador on 19 July.

Asked by Lord Sheikh

Lord Howell of Guildford: We believe that the human rights situation in Iran is deplorable, and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office continues to take opportunities to raise human rights with the Government of Iran in both a bilateral context, and with EU partners. In the past two months, the Government have made a number of statements about the human rights situation and have met Iranian officials including most recently when my honourable friend the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, Alistair Burt, met the Iranian ambassador on 19 July 2010. Furthermore, in Geneva last month, the UK signed up to a cross-regional statement by Norway and signed by 55 other states calling on Iran to improve urgently its human rights record.



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Israel

Questions

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 799 relates to the deportation by Israel of some 400 Palestinian civilians to Lebanon for a period of one to two years in December 1992. We understand that all Palestinian civilians deported by Israel to Lebanon were returned to the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) in 1993 in accordance with Operative Paragraph 4 of UNSCR 799. Therefore, we judge that the Israeli Government have complied with the demands of this UNSCR.

The forcible transfer of people out of the OPTs for political reasons is illegal and in contravention of the provisions on deportation of civilians in Article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention.

Asked by Lord Hylton

Lord Howell of Guildford: The Government accorded de jure recognition to the State of Israel in 1950 subject to two caveats. First, the Government could not offer de jure recognition to Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem. Secondly, the Government could not regard the boundaries of Israel (as well as those of Jordan, Syria and Lebanon) as the definitive boundaries. The UK's statement of recognition was not specific on the question of whether Israel should be a Jewish state, or a state for all its citizens.

The Government have made clear that we want to see a secure and universally recognised Israel living alongside a sovereign and viable Palestinian state, based on the borders of 1967, with Jerusalem the future capital of both states and a fair settlement for refugees.

Asked by Lord Hylton

Lord Howell of Guildford: In line with UN Security Council Resolution 478 we do not recognise Israel's de facto annexation of east Jerusalem. We consider east Jerusalem to be occupied territory and as such

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Israel is subject to obligations under the Fourth Geneva Convention. We do not recognise the applicability of Israeli law and jurisdiction to east Jerusalem, except where that application is compatible with the Fourth Geneva Convention.

The Israeli Government are aware of our views on these issues and they are shared by many members of the international community. The UK has a strong record of lobbying hard on issues relating to east Jerusalem; including on house demolitions, evictions and settlements construction, which we consider illegal and harmful to the peace process. We most recently raised Israeli policies in east Jerusalem with the Israeli Government on 14 July 2010 when our ambassador to Tel Aviv called on Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon.

Israel and Palestine

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

Baroness Verma: The UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) has neither requested nor received any compensation for damage caused by the collapse of a building at the Silwan Elementary School for Girls. UNRWA has said it does not have enough information to say for certain what caused the building to collapse. The school has now reopened as the repairs necessary to get the requisite administrative permit have been made. However, building work is outstanding and the laboratory remains closed.

Kazakhstan

Question

Asked by Viscount Waverley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): UK Trade and Investment supports British companies by providing the full range of our services in Kazakhstan through the British embassy in Astana and the Trade Office situated in Atyrau. UKTI also provides support to specific strategies in the education, energy and financial services sectors.

High level contact is maintained through visits in both directions. The Duke of York, as the UK's special representative for international trade and investment, visited Kazakhstan in April 2010 and previously in 2008. The Lord Mayor of London visited in July of 2009. There has also been regular ministerial contact; David Lidington MP, Minister for Europe,

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visited Kazakhstan this month. Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, then Minister for Energy, also visited Kazakhstan in April 2010. There were also other visits by Baroness Kinnock, then Minister for Europe, and David Lammy MP, then Minister for Higher Education and Intellectual Property, in 2009. The British ambassador in Kazakhstan devotes a great deal of time to supporting business and trade promotion activities.

High level contact between UK business and the Kazakh Government is also sustained through the Kazakh-British Trade and Industry Council, led by Alderman Sir John Stuttard. The council comprises some of the largest UK investors in Kazakhstan as well as a range of smaller businesses and is developing strategies directly to help UK businesses enter the market. At the last meeting in London in July 2010 the Kazakhstan side was led by First Deputy Prime Minister Shukeev and meetings regularly attract senior level delegations from both sides.

Legislation

Question

Asked by Lord Rooker

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): As announced on 12 July (HL Hansard col. 514), I will be setting up a Leader's Group to conduct a review of the working practices of the House of Lords. The Leader's Group may wish to consider the merits of conducting public evidence sessions on Bills.

Local Government

Questions

Asked by Lord Burnett

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Cornwall Council's original proposals for unitary status estimated transition costs of around £19 million and ongoing annual savings of around £15 million after allowing for additional ongoing annual expenditure of around £2 million on localism arrangements.

However, as the noble Lord will be aware, such estimates of the savings from unitary restructuring were a matter of contention between local authorities, political parties and independent academics.



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Asked by Lord Burnett

Baroness Hanham: I refer my noble friend to the Answer given to the honourable Member for Welwyn Hatfield (Grant Shapps) by the previous Government on 20 January 2010 (Official Report, Commons, col. 381W).

Millennium Development Goals

Questions

Asked by Baroness Jones of Whitchurch

Baroness Verma: The Deputy Prime Minister met the Secretary of State on 7 July to discuss priorities for the United Nations summit on the millennium development goals in New York. The Ministers agreed to work together to ensure a successful outcome in priority areas including maternal health.

Asked by Lord McColl of Dulwich

Baroness Verma: The UK Government's response to the United Nations draft outcome document for the United Nations millennium development goals summit is subject to live negotiations. In order to protect our position I do not propose to make the detail public at this stage but we will continue to press for the needs of the most vulnerable to be addressed. We recognise that neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) cause a huge burden of suffering and disability. Successfully addressing the NTD challenge is fundamental to achieving the MDGs, particularly MDG 6. We are working to ensure a substantive reference to NTDs in the outcome document. We would be happy to place the final outcome document in the Library of the House as soon as it has been agreed.



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Ministry of Defence: Fundraising

Question

Asked by Baroness Masham of Ilton

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The Ministry of Defence does not charge a percentage of profits raised from fundraising events organised by recognised service charities. Rather, where services or facilities or both are provided to external organisations (including charities), the full costs of those services and facilities are normally recovered.

The department's policy on charging is set out in Joint Service Publication 368, the MoD Guide to Repayment, a copy of which is available in the Library of the House.

Monarchy: Catholicism

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Discussions with other Commonwealth Governments are still at an early stage. It would be inappropriate to give any further details of those discussions at this time.

National Assistance Act 1948

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government have no current plans to repeal Section 21 of the National Assistance Act 1948. The Law Commission has just completed a four month public consultation on the reform of adult social care law.



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In April 2011, the Law Commission will present its final proposals for reform to Government. At that stage, the Government will take decisions on the scope and content of a new, modern statute for adult social care.

NHS Confederation

Questions

Asked by Lord Burnett

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department does not hold this information.

NHS: Conferences and Forums

Question

Asked by Lord Burnett

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The information requested is not held centrally.

NHS: Consultancy Services

Question

Asked by The Earl of Clancarty

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): No consultancy was used to inform this policy area during the drafting of the NHS White Paper, Equity and Excellence: Liberating the NHS, and therefore no consultancy costs were incurred.

Northern Cyprus

Question

Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) strongly advises British nationals who are subject to property disputes to seek independent legal advice. Guidance on the purchase of property in Cyprus can also be found in the FCO's travel advice for Cyprus at: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/travel-and-living-abroad/travel-advice-by-country/europe/cyprus. It is not possible to comment on the detail of any particular case which may be subject to an ongoing investigation under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Northern Ireland: Terrorism

Question

Asked by Lord Kilclooney

Lord Shutt of Greetland: This is an operational matter for the chief constable of the PSNI. I have asked him to reply directly to the noble Lord, and a copy of his letter will be placed in the Library of the House.

Office for Budget Responsibility

Questions

Asked by Lord Myners

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): All forecasts for the Budget, including those for employment and unemployment, were prepared by the interim Budget Responsibility Committee (BRC), comprising Sir Alan Budd, Graham Parker and Geoffrey Dicks. The interim BRC were supported by a secretariat of HM Treasury employees, redeployed from within the department. The Treasury provided the interim Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) with full access to its data, analysis and resources necessary to fulfil the OBR's responsibilities.

Asked by Lord Myners



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Lord Sassoon: The interim Office for Budget Responsibility has an eight-person secretariat of economists and public finance experts. The members of the secretariat are HM Treasury employees, redeployed from within the department.

Asked by Lord Myners

Lord Sassoon: The secondees and support staff provided by HM Treasury for the interim Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) do not work in the same location they previously occupied in the Treasury.

Asked by Lord Myners

Lord Sassoon: The appointments of Mr Geoffrey Dicks and Mr Graham Parker to the Budget Responsibility Committee were made following advice from Sir Alan Budd.

Asked by Lord Myners

Lord Sassoon: Members of the interim Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) were advised on and followed the National Statistician's guidance on the use of administrative data, where administrative data were relevant to the forecasts produced by the OBR.

Information released by the interim OBR relates to its forecasts and the assumptions underlying those forecasts. Its releases of such information are not classified as official statistics, and its release practices are therefore not bound by the statistics legislation.


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