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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): A large number of possible force structure adjustments were considered in the Strategic Defence and Security Review, including options for the specialist brigades. We concluded that there was a continued requirement for 3 Commando Brigade and 16 Air Assault Brigade as separate entities.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Deputy Prime Minister's review of constitutional reform will include a review of the powers of bailiffs acting on behalf of central and local government and the courts to ensure that their regulation and powers, particularly their powers of entry into people's homes, do not give the state an advantage over other creditors in pursuing debt. [HL4018]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): We have given a commitment to provide more protection against aggressive bailiffs. The Ministry of Justice business plan 2011-15, published on 8 November 2010, states that we will develop options for public consultation on how we will provide more protection and to encourage more flexibility in bailiff collections by the end of December 2010. Better regulation and powers of entry are two key strands that need to be considered.
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The big society presents a great opportunity for charities as we open up public services and devolve power. However, we fully recognise that in the short-term many organisations may be concerned about potential budget cuts. It is currently too early to assess the impact of local budget cuts on charities, but we are working closely with partners in the voluntary sector and across Government to mitigate the impact of any spending reductions and support the sector through this transitional period. This includes:a £100 million Transition Fund to help organisations with shortfalls in short-term;publishing evidence and best practice to help Government at all levels make cuts wisely and in partnership with the sector; andsetting out policy measures to help the sector maximise new opportunities in the strategy document Building a Stronger Civil Society.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what increase or decrease there has been in the number of children cared for by registered childminders since the Early Years Foundation Stage Regulations became law. [HL2618]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The 2009 Childcare and Early Years Providers Survey collects information on registered working childminders. The Early Years Foundations Stage (EYFS) became statutory from September 2008. Figures have been presented for 2007 to 2009; data from 2010 are not yet available.
|Table 1: Number of children receiving childcare from childminders|
|Number of children attending|
|Table 2: Percentage change in the number of children receiving childcare from childminders|
|% change in number of children attending|
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): My right honourable friend the Prime Minister's objectives for the visit to China were to demonstrate our commitment to developing our relationship with China; to pursue our commercial interests; to build people-to-people links; to collaborate more closely on global issues; and to raise the role of civil society and human rights in China's development. This visit has cemented our relationship with China and will contribute to UK prosperity and security.
My right honourable friend the Prime Minister and Ministers established constructive relationships with China's current and future leaders during the visit, building the foundation for UK/China relations for the next five years. The visit delivered over 40 agreements across the whole range of the bilateral relationship, from trade to low carbon growth to cultural and education initiatives. Most encouragingly of all, the Chinese publicly endorsed Partners for Growth, a proposal to deliver an enhanced bilateral relationship, aimed at maintaining the benefits of globalisation for both our countries.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the monitoring of the socio-economic background of civil service applicants and appointees will begin; what are the criteria for determining such backgrounds; and what level of differing backgrounds for applicants and appointees would be assessed as reasonable. [HL4231]
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The Government collected and published socioeconomic data for the Senior Civil Service (SCS) at director general grades and above in January 2010 and now collects data for new entrants into the SCS. Monitoring of the socioeconomic background of fast-stream applicants will begin with effect from the 2011 entry.
There are no plans to introduce a wider requirement for Civil Service departments to monitor the socio- economic backgrounds of all applicants and appointees. There are no targets for achieving a particular proportion of employees from different socioeconomic backgrounds.
The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness): Due to improved measurement, prevention/detection capability and consistently raising the profile of insurance fraud both within the industry and in the public domain, the insurance industry has reported an increase in the number of fraudulent insurance claims that are being detected by insurers and through reports from the public who are increasingly playing a role in helping to identify insurance fraud.
The use of specialised software by the Insurance Fraud Bureau (IFB) since 2006 has helped to identify more fraudulent activity in particular areas of the industry, particularly in relation to crash for cash frauds and the involvement of professional enablers, which remains a core focus of attention for the IFB and industry in general.
The insurance industry is an important partner of the National Fraud Authority (NFA) which co-ordinates the implementation of the National Fraud Strategy with partners in Government, law enforcement, the third sector and industry.
As part of this, the NFA works with partners to develop improved information sharing to enable the prevention and disruption of fraudulent activity. The insurance industry is represented by the IFB on a NFA Taskforce to prevent fraud by improving the sharing of information about incidences of fraud across sectors of the economy.
The IFB also shares intelligence and data with, for example, the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau-operated by the City of London Police-the Solicitors Regulation Authority and the Ministry of Justice. Since its formation, the IFB has helped the police make over 426 arrests in connection with organised insurance fraud, resulting in almost 100 convictions to date.
Action Fraud, the national fraud reporting centre run by the NFA, refers individuals and businesses with concerns about insurance fraud directly to the insurance industry's confidential Cheatline, managed by the IFB.
As part of the insurance industry's continued commitment to reduce fraud, the operational capacity of the Cheatline was increased in September 2010 and the improvements provide a more enhanced facility to deal with the increase in reports being made, which are complemented by online Cheatline reporting.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many individuals have been imprisoned over the past five years having been convicted as guilty under the law of joint enterprise in relation to crimes which they denied committing at the time of trial and subsequently. [HL4146]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The law on joint enterprise forms part of the law on secondary liability, which treats as criminal the activities of those who aid, abet, counsel or procure others to commit crimes. Where a crime is committed by two or more people, each may play a different part but if they are in it together as part of a joint plan or agreement, they are each guilty.
Although the Ministry of Justice's court proceedings database holds data on the total number of convictions for offences in England and Wales, it does not hold information on whether those offences were committed as part of a joint enterprise; or whether any of the offenders convicted for their part in a joint enterprise denied wrongdoing at the time of the trial or subsequently.
We are aware that some concerns have been raised about joint enterprise law, particularly in response to the Your Freedom consultation and in correspondence. The majority of these appear to be based on a misunderstanding of the law and have expressed concern that innocent bystanders may be convicted unfairly.
A small number have been raised by the friends or families of gang members who consider that their involvement in the gang's criminal activities was not significant enough to warrant conviction for the offences in question. Ultimately, it is for the jury to decide on the scope of the joint enterprise and the mind of the parties to it in each case, taking account of all the evidence heard at the trial.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The proposed change relates not to the law on universal jurisdiction itself but to the procedure for issuing an arrest warrant to a private prosecutor in respect of an offence of universal jurisdiction alleged to have been committed outside the United Kingdom. It would require the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions before an arrest warrant could be issued in such circumstances. The change would apply only to a small number of offences, most of which already
23 Nov 2010 : Column WA296
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, as one of the guarantor countries, of the prospects for direct trade relations developing between the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. [HL4142]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Direct trade does take place between the Republic of Cyprus and northern Cyprus, as provided for by the EU green line regulation. This regulation defines the terms under which the provisions of the EU law apply to the movement of persons, goods and services crossing over the line between the Republic of Cyprus and the northern part of the island. The total value of reported trade across the green line from May 2009 to April 2010 was €5,232,328.
The European Commission's most recent report on implementation of the regulation is summarised in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office's Explanatory Memorandum to Parliament of 8 October 2010. A further report is expected from the European Commission in 2011.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The normal criteria that we apply for recognition of a state remain as described in the Written Answer by the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Mr Sainsbury (Official Report, Commons, 16/11/89, col. 494). The previous response is copied below for ease of reference:
The normal criteria that we apply for recognition as a state are that it should have, and seem likely to continue to have, a clearly defined territory with a population, a Government who are able of themselves to exercise effective control of that territory, and independence in their external relations. Other factors, including some United Nations resolutions, may also be relevant.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Diplomatic relations are conducted on the basis of mutual consent of both sending and receiving States, and in accordance with international law, notably the Vienna convention on diplomatic relations.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Baroness Thornton on 6 April (WA 406) and by Earl Howe on 19 July (WA 162), what is the evidence that deriving insulin-producing pancreatic cells from embryonic stem cells that are a genetic match for a patient with type 1 diabetes could improve treatment of such an autoimmune disease; and how the steps that would need to be taken to counteract the autoimmune response have been detailed in (a) any related applications for research submitted to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), and (b) peer-reviewed published research.[HL3890]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that the steps to be taken to counteract the autoimmune response have not been detailed in any relevant research application submitted to the HFEA. The steps needed to counteract the autoimmune response would not have been required in order to satisfy the HFEA licence committee that the statutory criteria were met.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The European Union agreed in 2006 that the Council needed additional accommodation because of the accession of further member states to the European Union, and in order to provide a permanent, secure and purpose built venue for European Council meetings. The new building will also provide office accommodation, including for the President of the European Council and his staff.
The Council's new accommodation will be paid for over several years from the annual EU budget. The UK's contribution to the building will be in proportion to our net overall contribution to the EU budget.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of proposals by the European Commission concerning motor cycles, including roadside spot checks, insurance and an overhaul of MoT test procedure. [HL4157]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Government remain committed to playing a strong, positive and active role in the European Union. We want an open external market. We want to strengthen and expand the single market, including the energy market, in order to deliver growth. We want to promote a resource efficient, low-carbon EU economy. And we want to work through the EU to achieve our international objectives. The EU Bill does not alter this commitment, but it will give people more control over decisions made by the Government in the EU in their name. Many people in Britain feel disconnected with how the EU has developed, and by rolling out control on these decisions to the people, the Government believe we can help rebuild trust and reconnect people to these EU decisions.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the findings of the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman in his report on the Claudy bombing that "the actions of the senior RUC Officers, in seeking and accepting the Government's assistance in dealing with the problem that Father Chesney's alleged wrongdoing presented, was by definition a collusive act"; whether they were party to that collusive act; and what is their working definition of collusion. [HL3834]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, on behalf of the Government, made a Statement following publication of the report of the Northern Ireland Police Ombudsman, conveying his profound sorrow that Father Chesney was not properly investigated for his suspected involvement in this hideous crime, and that the victims and their families have
23 Nov 2010 : Column WA299
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office is committed to providing best value for money for the UK taxpayer. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's contracted catering service sources its bacon commercially from within the EU, based on value for money, quality, and commitment to animal welfare.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Verma on 28 October (WA 336), how they will communicate to the public the way in which the ideas posted on the Your Freedom website have been used to inform the drafting on the draft Freedom Bill. [HL4172]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many staff have been employed on temporary or short-term contracts since 12 May to support the Attorney General; what are the names of those employed; at what grade and what level of remuneration they were employed; and what selection criteria were used to determine their suitability for the post. [HL3731]
As at 12 May 2010 the AGO employed one temporary member of staff (agency) up until 30 July 2010, and one person on a fixed term contract, who is still employed under that contract. The AGO measures suitability for posts by assessing applicants against a role specific competency framework which details skills and experience needed for the role.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many staff have been employed on temporary or short-term contracts since 12 May to support the Secretary of State for Communities and Local Government; what are the names of those employed; at what grade and what level of remuneration they were employed; and what selection criteria were used to determine their suitability for the post. [HL3733]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Since 12 May 2010, no staff have been employed on temporary or short-term contracts to support the Secretary of State for the Department for Communities and Local Government.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many staff have been employed on temporary or short-term contracts since 12 May to support the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs; what are the names of those employed; at what grade and what level of remuneration they were employed; and what selection criteria were used to determine their suitability for the post. [HL3782]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Since 12 May 2010 the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has employed seven UK-based staff on temporary or short term contracts ranging from 26 days to two years. These include:SMS3 x 1 (Civil Service equivalent of SCS Level 3)D7 x l (Civil Service Equivalent Grade 6)D6 x 2 (Civil Service Equivalent Grade 7)C5 x 1 (Civil Service Equivalent Senior Executive Officer)B3 x 2 (Civil Service Equivalent Executive Officer)
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many staff have been employed on temporary or short- term contracts since 12 May to support the Secretary of State for Justice; what are the names of those employed; at what grade and what level of remuneration they were employed; and what selection criteria were used to determine their suitability for the post. [HL3849]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The information in the table below provides details of the 187 staff employed by the Ministry of Justice (including the National Offender Management Service) on temporary or short-term contracts between 12 May and 30 June 2010 (the date of the latest published data).
I am unable to supply the names of those employed on temporary or short-term contracts as this may go beyond their expectations of how their personal data would be processed by the Ministry of Justice and disclosure may expose them to unexpected and unwarranted attention.
|Table 1-Breakdown of staff employed on a temporary or short term contract between 12 May-30 June 2010|
|Treasury Grade Equivalent||Total||Min National Salary @ Aug 10||Max Inner London Salary @ Aug 10|
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many staff have been employed on temporary or short-term contracts since 12 May to support the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland; what are the names of those employed; at what grade and what level of remuneration they were employed; and what selection criteria were used to determine their suitability for the post.[HL3850]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 11 November (WA 121), what were the names and employing departments of those special advisers who received severance payments after the general election; and which ministers did not claim severance payments. [HL4087]
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: Please refer to the written response given in the Official Report on 21 October 2010 (col. WA 193). Please also refer to the Prime Minister's Written Statement concerning special advisers given in the Official Report on 28 October 2010 (col. WS18). We do not hold centrally details of former Ministers who did not claim their severance payments.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): Ministers responsible for higher education in the countries participating in the Bologna process met in Budapest and Vienna earlier this year to launch the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) as envisaged in the 1999 Bologna Declaration. In their communiqué, issued on 12 March 2010, the Ministers said that good progress had been made by national Governments and higher education institutions in implementing the Bologna reforms over the previous decade. In particular, all countries have moved to a system of Bachelors and Masters degrees and an agreed set of standards and guidelines for quality assurance have been adopted. They did note that in some areas, such as curriculum reform, mobility and the recognition of qualifications, more remains to be done. Ministers will meet again in Bucharest in April 2012 to review progress and decide future priorities.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The coalition Government are committed to delivering a high-quality university sector that is more responsive to the needs of students and is based on a progressive graduate contribution system. We have taken account of a range of views in developing our proposals, including those of students. We announced our proposals on 3 November and the changes will be brought before Parliament in due course. We believe our proposals are fair for students, graduates and the taxpayer and do not intend to review them because of the protests on 10 November.
To ask Her Majesty's Government why they have proposed that the interest rate on student loans should be set by reference to the retail prices index but adjustment in future welfare and pension payments will be based on the consumer prices index. [HL3994]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): We have always taken the view that there is no single measure of inflation that is appropriate for all purposes. However, RPI has always been used for calculating interest on student loans and is a widely recognised and consistent measure of inflation.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The Government are proposing a basic threshold of £6,000 per annum and an upper limit of £9,000 per annum. In order to charge more than £6,000, universities will have to work with the Office for Fair Access to agree what progress they will commit to on fair access and widening participation. The Government propose to introduce these arrangements
23 Nov 2010 : Column WA304
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Government has an ongoing dialogue with the Holy See on a wide range of human rights and development issues. The nature of diplomacy means that these discussions are held in confidence between representatives of the British Government and the Holy See. Like any diplomatic relationship there are areas of co-operation and areas where interests diverge. Our ambassador to the Holy See has not reported on the human rights of those people residing on the territory of the Vatican City State, nor has he been requested to do so.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what modelling of the effect on, or implications for, political parties or regions of the United Kingdom of the reduction in the number of members of Parliament has been undertaken by (a) Ministers, (b) Civil Servants, and (c) special advisers. [HL4191]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): No modelling of the effect on, or implications for, political parties of the reduction in the number of seats in the House of Commons has been undertaken by Ministers, civil servants or special advisers. In framing the provisions of the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill, officials calculated the number of seats that might be apportioned to each of the four parts of the UK using the electoral register as of 1 December 2009. Consideration was also given in framing the Bill to the amount of time that parties might require to select candidates for election.
To ask the Chairman of Committees what was the total net cost of the operation of House of Lords catering and banqueting services for each of the past three years; and what is the projected profit or loss for 2010-11. [HL4066]
Catering and Retail Services (CRS) has responsibility for the provision of catering facilities to Members, their staff and guests, staff of the House and other visitors. The unique nature of the House makes an operating loss, and therefore a subsidy, unavoidable. In particular, trading in Members' dining and bar outlets is limited to the sitting periods of the House, while the other outlets trade for 46 weeks in the year on Mondays to Fridays only. Moreover, the unpredictable nature of the business of the House during sitting weeks requires a flexible catering service which involves higher levels of labour resource than industry norms. Finally, in line with many government departments and external organisations, prices in some of the catering outlets are lower than average high street levels, although many of these prices will be rising from 1 January 2011.
The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): It is very difficult to calculate the figure requested. The most helpful method is perhaps to focus on the costs incurred on average by a new Member which would clearly not have been incurred had the Member never been appointed. The table below sets out those figures. It must be borne in mind that the average disguises a wide variation in the real costs incurred by different Members; and that the Members' reimbursement scheme figures are calculated using claims under the old system rather than the new one, which has been running for less than two months.
|Product or service||Average annual cost per Member|
The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The overall cost of the House of Lords per Member who is not disqualified or on leave of absence is £156,000. This is an average of the figures from the last three financial years. The figure for each year was obtained by dividing the total annual net resource costs of the House by the number of Members on the last day of that financial year. It would be unwise to read too much into these figures because a large proportion of the House's costs consist of fixed overheads, such as the costs of maintaining the parliamentary estate, which do not necessarily increase when the membership increases.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Chancellor has asked the Governor of the Bank of England for his views on how the work to incorporate housing costs into the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) can be accelerated. The Office for National Statistics, along with the national statistical offices of other European member states, is working with Eurostat, the statistical office of the European Communities, to assess the most appropriate approach for including an index of owner-occupier housing costs in the CPI in the future.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): In their Programme for Government, the Government committed to establishing a commission to investigate the creation of a Bill of Rights. The Government will make a statement to Parliament on the terms of reference of the commission in due course.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many of the projects they have commissioned from the Institute of Transport Studies at Leeds University have been completed in the past 12 months; and what is (a) the subject, and (b) the cost, of each project. [HL3995]
Earl Attlee: From the information readily available, the Institute of Transport Studies at Leeds University contributed to 10 research projects, listed below, which were commissioned by the Department for Transport for completion within the past 12 months.
|Project name:||Cost (£)|
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they and the quartet on the Middle East are taking to protect the Bedouin living in 45 unrecognised villages of the Negev in Israel, and in particular the town of Rahat and the village of Araqeet; and how they will ensure their access to education and health services. [HL4008]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We are aware of the demolition of a mosque in the Bedouin town of Rahat on 7 November 2010. More widely, we are concerned by the treatment of Arab minorities in Israel. Our ambassador to Israel has raised this with the Israeli authorities on several occasions; we will continue to do so as necessary.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): On 15 November the Justice Secretary announced the publication of a consultation on a package of proposals for the reform of legal aid. Impact assessments are published alongside the consultation document on the Ministry of Justice website at http://www.justice.gov.uk!consultations/legal-aid-reform-151110.htm.
In relation to areas of civil and family law proposed for exclusion from the scope of the legal aid scheme, we estimate that approximately 500,000 cases might no longer fall within the scope of legal aid funding. This is approximately £279 million-worth of legal services funded by the legal aid budget, per annum, once all the proposals have been fully implemented.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Local enterprise partnerships are voluntary partnerships and as such it is for local authorities and businesses to decide whether or not they want to develop a proposal. However, on 6 September we received 56 local enterprise partnership proposals in response to the invitational letter of 29 June. These proposals covered the whole of England.
The first 24 local enterprise partnerships to go forward were announced in the Government's local growth White Paper on 28 October 2010. These partnerships were given the go-ahead to establish their boards and begin dialogue with central Government on how we can help them realise the ambitions set out in their proposals. The local growth White Paper is available in both House Libraries.
Where proposals have not met the Government's expectations regarding economic geography, business support, local authority buy-in or ambition and added value, partnerships have been invited to resubmit their proposals to address the Government's concerns. No deadlines have been set for resubmission of proposals.
Earl Attlee: The Mayor and the Secretary of State for Transport had frequent discussions regarding Transport for London and London Underground in the run-up to Spending Review 2010, the outcomes of which are set out in the Secretary of State's letter to the mayor dated 20 October 2010, published on the Department for Transport's website at http://www.dft.gov. uk/about/spendingreview.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 12 November (WA 146), how many medical practitioners were admitted to the United Kingdom from European Economic Areas countries in 2009 and registered with the General Medical Council. [HL4232]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): We do not collect this information centrally; however, the General Medical Council has provided data which suggest that 2,797 doctors were granted registration through the European Economic Areas route in 2009.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary last spoke to Senator Mitchell and Hilary Clinton during his recent visit to Washington on 16-17 November. They discussed the way forward on the Middle East peace process, including the need for a renewal of the settlement moratorium.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 8 November (WA 30), what was the price submitted at Framework stage for the supply of oxygen to the National Health Service by (a) Air Liquids, (b) Air Products, and (c) BOC Ltd. [HL3936]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): This information is commercial-in-confidence and its disclosure would prejudice commercial interest until the full re-procurement of Home Oxygen Service has been completed.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 8 November (WA 30), what is the minimum cost per claim to the National Health Service of oxygen supplies to an individual prescribed oxygen under Home Oxygen supply contracts in each strategic health authority area. [HL3939]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The minimum cost per claim of oxygen supplies to an individual would be that which corresponds to one day's supply and would vary by the supply prescribed to the individual, the charge category into which the individual's prescription fell and the unit price per charge category negotiated with a supplier by each strategic health authority.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department published the Revision to the Operating Framework for the NHS in England 2010-11, a copy of which has already been placed in the Library, on 21 June 2010, removing three targets and lowering the threshold on a fourth. In addition, the publication signalled our intention to review all indicators for the 2011-12 NHS operating framework for clinical relevance.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department is engaging constructively with the specialist children's hospitals to understand the impact of the proposed tariff for 2011-12 and the costs incurred in providing specialist children's services. The outcome of this work will help inform the tariff for 2011-12 and beyond.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will publish their reply to a letter dated 12 October from Congressman Joseph Crowley, co-chair of the Ad-Hoc Committee on Irish Affairs in the United States House of Representatives, on the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission's advice on a possible bill of rights. [HL3768]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Shutt of Greetland on 9 November (WA 56), whether they will place in the Library of the House details of the 31 times since 12 April when staff of the Northern Ireland Office have used the Government car pool.[HL3950]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: Further to my Answer of 9 November (Official Report, col. WA 56), I have made arrangements to place the details of the government car service bookings in the Library. The majority of these journeys were to transfer sensitive information as required under Cabinet Office guidance.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in considering appointments to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, they consider the applicants' approval of individual or collective rights. [HL3978]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: As previously stated in the Answer given on 10 November (Official Report, col. WA 89), all appointments to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission are on merit and take place via open competition, regulated by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments. Applicants' approval of individual or collective rights is not among the skills and experience criteria explored during the appointment of individuals to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take, when making appointments to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, to ensure that the commission members have the approval of the majority of people in Northern Ireland. [HL3979]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: Appointments to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission are made on merit and via open competition, regulated by the Office of the Commissioner for Public Appointments. Under the Northern Ireland Act 1998 the Secretary of State is obliged to ensure, so far as practicable, that the commissioners as a group are representative of the community in Northern Ireland.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will mandate the Office for Budget Responsibility to produce a report on whether the United Kingdom economy was on the brink of bankruptcy in the second quarter of 2010.[HL3989]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how the Chancellor formed the opinion that the United Kingdom was on the brink of bankruptcy and what assessment they have made of the closeness and consequences of such a bankruptcy. [HL4101]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): For the information sought on bankruptcy and repayment of debt, I refer the noble Lord to the Answer I gave to Lord Barnett on 9 November (Official Report, col. WA 69).
The ToR task the OBR with producing an updated official economic and fiscal forecast before the end of this year, which the Chancellor has asked the OBR to publish on Monday 29 November. The OBR will also produce the official economic and fiscal forecast for Budget 2011 on Wednesday 23 March 2011.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 8 November (WA 31-2), what is the employee superannuation contribution rate for judges; why it is necessary for the equivalent employer contribution rate to be 32.2 per cent; and what is the latest annual cost of judicial pension payments and contributions. [HL3836]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Members of the Judicial Pension Scheme make no contribution towards their personal pension benefits. However, they do pay a contribution towards the contingent pension benefits for their spouse or civil partner and any dependant children. The contribution rate for members of the 1981 scheme is 2.4 per cent (for those in the 15-year scheme) or 1.8 per cent (for those in the 20-year scheme) of gross salary. The contribution rate for members of the 1993 scheme is 1.8 per cent of gross salary up to the pension cap.
The Judicial Pension Scheme is an unfunded scheme to which the employer makes contributions known as accruing superannuation liability charges (ASLCs). ASLCs are assessed by the Government Actuary to be broadly consistent with the level of contributions that might have applied to meet the scheme's current and on going future liability, had the scheme been funded on an approved or registered basis. The Government Actuary reviews the contribution rates following a full scheme valuation at least every four years.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Howell of Guildford on 27 October (WA 297), why consideration was given to the possibility of relinquishing sovereignty over Pitcairn. [HL4006]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Pitcairn faces many challenges and it is normal that officials regularly review all policy options in such circumstances. Pitcairn depends heavily on New Zealand for the provision of a wide range of administrative and professional services, and in this context officials are in regular discussion with officials of the Government of New Zealand about the territory. But this Government remain committed to Pitcairn, as they remain committed to all of the Overseas Territories. And we respect the principle of self-determination for the people of Pitcairn, as we respect it for all peoples of the Overseas Territories. Any possible change in sovereignty would therefore be for the Pitcairners to consider.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Neville-Jones on 19 October (WA 162), why the head of the Metropolitan Police is referred to as the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service instead of the Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis as was previously used; and why and when that change in the title was made.[HL3205]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The commissioner's formal title remains Commissioner of Police for the Metropolis. Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Service is simply an informal variant of this title.
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: Information on total expenditure by non-departmental public bodies (NDPBs) in 2009-10 will be published shortly. Information on spend to date over £25,000 was published on 19 November 2010, and full-year spend will be published in the next set of accounts.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what impact the proposed reductions in the number of civil servants employed in the Department for Transport will have on the time taken by that department to respond to Questions for Written Answer from Members of the House of Lords.[HL4175]
Earl Attlee: It is too early to say. We are currently considering how we design a department that meets our target to reduce administration costs by 33 per cent by 2014-15. As part of that we are assessing carefully how we deliver our core business alongside other priorities.
Earl Attlee: A number of network capacity enhancements schemes will be delivered over the coming years. Network Rail is committed to a series of capacity enhancement schemes before 2014. These enhancements will allow operators to run longer trains reducing crowding levels. Details of the specific plans are available from the Network Rail website (www.networkrail.co.uk).
The Department for Transport has already entered into agreements with the following operators to enhance the size of their fleets and operate longer trains: Southern; Southeastern; National Express East Anglia; First Capital Connect; London Midland; Northern; First Great Western; and East Midlands Trains. Additional carriages have also been ordered for West Coast main line services. An announcement on any further schemes will be made in due course.
Alongside this the Government is committed to implementing the Crossrail project, which will significantly increase rail capacity in and through London. And we remain committed to the High Speed 2 Project to Birmingham and beyond. This will reduce journey times, provide more capacity and relieve existing lines.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what forecast they have made of (a) the total cost, (b) the cost of the engineering work required, and (c) the cost of the compensation payable to the train operating company for interruption to the service, as a result of doubling the Swindon-Kemble railway line. [HL3996]
Earl Attlee: The most recent estimate of the total cost for the work was £52.4 million, of which £39.6 million was the cost of engineering work and £2.5 million was compensation to train operators. This estimate was provided by Network Rail in 2009. A more detailed estimate is expected at the end of this year. Unfortunately, the need to address the deficit means that we are not able to commit government funding to this project in the current Spending Review period, but it remains our aspiration to take it forward. This is the type of project that will be considered for funding in the next railway control period.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Hill of Oareford on 1 November (WA 367-8), how they propose to respond to the decline in the number of pupils entered for (a) geography, and (b) history, GCSE examinations in English schools throughout the period 1995-2009. [HL3927]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): History and geography are vital parts of children's education. We have made clear that we intend to review the national curriculum. Our intention in doing this is to restore it to its original purpose-a core national entitlement organised around subject disciplines. We will be announcing details of the review later in the year.
The Government want to encourage children to study history and geography beyond the age of 14. One of the options we are presently exploring is to give special recognition to pupils studying a broad range of academic subjects, including English, maths, science, a modern or ancient language and a humanity, such as history or geography. Our proposals for an "English Baccalaureate" along these lines would provide schools and students with the incentive to follow the courses that best equip them to succeed, and would help ensure that all young people had the chance to study a balanced range of GCSE subjects.
|Pupils Entered for Geography GCSE 1995-2010|
|Year||Attempted||Percentage of cohort||of those attempting||of the cohort|
|Pupils Entered for History GCSE 1995-2010|
|Year||Attempted||Percentage of cohort||of those attempting||of the cohort|
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The compulsory subjects in key stage 3 of the secondary national curriculum are: English, mathematics, science, information and communication technology (ICT), physical education (PE), music, art and design, history, geography, citizenship, design and technology, and modern foreign languages.
23 Nov 2010 : Column WA319
In addition to the national curriculum subjects above, religious education (RE) is compulsory during all four key stages, though parents have the right to withdraw their children. The content of the RE curriculum is decided locally rather than nationally.
These subjects will remain compulsory in 2011/12. We will, however, be announcing plans for a review of the national curriculum before the end of the year, with a view to introducing a revised national curriculum from September 2013.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in schools in England, how many children at (a) key stage 3, and
23 Nov 2010 : Column WA320
The most relevant data available are taken from the Secondary Schools Curriculum and Staffing survey (SSCSS) in 2007 and are provided in the table below. This gives the percentage of periods taught to years 7 to 13 by teachers' type of qualification. In future more complete information will be available centrally from the new School Workforce Census. The census will collect annual information on the qualifications of all teachers in maintained secondary schools in England and the subjects that they are teaching. The first full collection of the census is scheduled for November 2010 and the findings are due to be published in April 2011.
|Periods1 taught2 to years 7 to 13 by post A-level qualifications3 of full-time equivalent teachers in 2007|
|Highest post A-level qualification|
|Degree4(%)||BEd (%)||PGCE (%)||Cert. Ed (%)||Other qual. (%)||No qual. (%)||Total of periods (000s)|
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The structural deficit is a measure of borrowing that aims to isolate the permanent, or structural, element of the deficit from borrowing which is a result of temporary factors. The structural deficit can be approximated using estimates for cyclically adjusted net borrowing. Cyclically adjusted net borrowing is an estimate of the level of the deficit allowing for the temporary effects of the economic cycle.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Public sector net borrowing in 2009-10 was £156 billion, or 11.1 per cent of gross domestic product, the highest level in UK post-war history. The Government were borrowing £1 for every £4 they spent.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Public sector net borrowing in 2009-10 was £156 billion or 11.1 per cent of gross domestic product, the highest level in UK post-war history. The Government were borrowing one pound for every four they spent. Public sector net debt doubled over the decade from 2000-01 to this year. In the context of ongoing concern over weak fiscal positions in the UK and elsewhere, the Government set out a plan at the June Budget to restore the public finances to a sustainable position and greatly reduce the risk of a costly loss of confidence in fiscal sustainability.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the statement by Lord Sassoon on 20 October (HL Deb, col. 831), what is their definition of "financial credibility" as it affects the United Kingdom. [HL3863]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): At the June Budget the Government set out a credible plan to accelerate the reduction in the structural deficit and restore the public finances to a sustainable position.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the range of reductions in funding to individual councils following Spending Review 2010; and whether they intend to apply damping to improve fairness. [HL4271]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): We will announce our proposals for the local government finance settlement in the usual manner in due course.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Astor of Hever on 27 September (WA 423), what information they now have on the whereabouts and welfare of Prageeth Ekneligoda following meetings with the Government of Sri Lanka. [HL4238]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary recently raised with the Sri Lankan Foreign Minister the need for Sri Lanka to show clear commitment to freedom of the press. Our High Commissioner in Colombo regularly raises cases concerning media freedom with the Government, including urging them to investigate the disappearance
23 Nov 2010 : Column WA322
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government have taken steps to help those on lower incomes through the tax system by, for example, increasing the personal allowance for under-65s by £1,000 to £7,475 in 2011-12. This will remove 880,000 people from income tax altogether, and 23 million taxpayers will benefit by up to £170 per year. Benefits from this change are restricted to basic-rate taxpayers.
Also in line with our commitment to transparency, this Government have taken the unprecedented step of publishing detailed distributional analysis of the impacts of our reforms. Chart B.6 in Annexe B of the Spending Review sets out the impacts of fiscal consolidation as a whole, separating out changes to tax, tax credits and benefits, and departmental resources expenditure by income quintile. This shows that the top 20 per cent contribute most to the consolidation as a percentage of net income and benefits-in-kind.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will take steps to ensure that, where a local authority has used an incorrect address or an incomplete address that omits the house number and/or postcode (or any other significant detail) to serve the documents in the process that leads to the registration of a penalty charge notice at the Traffic Enforcement Centre, the registration and any subsequent warrant of execution should be revoked. [HL4017]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Her Majesty's Courts Service will remind local authorities of the requirements of the Civil Procedure Rules that they must provide a complete address and this must include a full postcode, unless the court orders otherwise. Failure to comply with the rules will result in the registration of a penalty charge notice being revoked.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the Government of Turkey about the 158 journalists alleged to be in prison; and whether freedom of expression and the media are among the criteria for accession to the European Union. [HL4067]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Our embassy in Ankara regularly raises issues relating to freedom of expression, including the imprisonment of journalists, in the context of wider discussions on human rights with its Turkish counterparts.
Freedom of expression and of the media remain key areas for reform in Turkey with regard to the EU accession process. The EU progress report for 2010 addresses this issue, and makes clear that while there have been some positive developments, there is still much work to be done before Turkey fulfils the EU criteria on respect for freedom of expression and the media.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): In 2003, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) with partner organisations produced a resource entitled A Guide to Managing Intellectual Property: Strategic Decision-Making inUniversities. The IPO currently has a corporate plan commitment to publish an updated version of this guidance in 2011.
The IPO supports and hosts the Lambert website. The Lambert toolkit comprises a set of model agreements and guidance resources to facilitate negotiations involving IP in research collaborations between the public and private sector. This toolkit was produced by the Lambert IP Group, following the Lambert review of business-university collaboration in 2003. The IPO also provides a range of general guidance about the protection, management and use of IP.
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