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30 Jun 2011 : Column WA455



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Written Answers

Thursday 30 June 2011

Abattoirs

Questions

Asked by Baroness Byford

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Food Standards Agency (FSA) consulted across the United Kingdom on proposals for full cost recovery for meat official controls by removal of current discounts, with options for a phased introduction and a reduction in charges for low throughput businesses, and is committed to further reducing its costs.

In response to comments received during the consultation, the FSA revised its proposals, deciding that full cost recovery should be introduced over a three-year period, beginning in April 2012, and that increased support should be provided for a greater number of low throughput meat establishments on a sliding scale. This will provide increased support for approximately 570 establishments, as opposed to about 420 establishments as originally proposed.

In addition, following discussions between the FSA and HM Treasury, it has been agreed that industry in Great Britain will not bear the cost relating to the deficit in the Local Government Pension Scheme from 2011-12, which would have totalled £4.7 million. Therefore the pension element within FSA costs will be reduced by this amount.

In February the cost structure of the proposed full cost recovery fees for 2011-12 was presented to stakeholders including the pensions element above. The following table shows the costs presented with the LGPS pension deficit element removed. This represents the actual costs of meat official controls and the hourly fees that would be required to recover these costs, no more, no less. Discounts are applied to these rates to calculate charges to be made. It is estimated that for 2011-12 industry will be charged £26.9 million.



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Table: Meat official controls cost structure
2011-12

Inspector cost calculation

£m

Salaries-employed staff

£15.0

Overtime-employed staff

£2.9

National Insurance cost-employed staff

£1.3

Pensions cost-monthly employer contributions

£2.8

Contractor cost to FSA

£4.6

Direct cost

£26.7

78%

Travel-plant based staff

£0.4

Laundry/equipment

£0.3

Operations front line support

£2.4

Other meat-driven activity

£4.3

£7.4

22%

Indirect cost

Total inspector cost

£34.1

Inspector hourly rate normal time

£29.20

OV cost calculation

Salaries-employed staff

£0.2

Overtime-employed staff

£0.0

National Insurance cost-employed staff

£0.0

Pensions cost-monthly employer contributions

£0.04

Contractor cost to FSA

£13.1

Direct cost

£13.4

82%

Travel-plant based staff

£0.2

Laundry/equipment

£0.1

Operations front line support

£0.9

Other meat-driven activity

£1.7

Indirect cost

£2.9

18%

Total OV cost

£16.3

OV hourly rate normal time

£37.60

Total cost

£50.3

Asked by Baroness Byford

Earl Howe: The Food Standards Agency (FSA) consulted across the United Kingdom on proposals for full cost recovery for meat official controls by

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removal of current discounts, with options for a phased introduction and a reduction in charges for low throughput businesses, and is committed to further reducing its costs.

In response to comments received during the consultation, the FSA revised its proposals, deciding that full cost recovery should be introduced over a three-year period, beginning in April 2012, and that increased support should be provided for a greater number of low throughput meat establishments. This will provide increased support of for approximately 570 establishments, as opposed to about 420 establishments as originally proposed.

In February the cost structure of the proposed full cost recovery fees for 2011-12 was presented to stakeholders. The major component of the cost of meat official controls, charged to abattoirs, cutting plants and game handling facilities, is the salaries of the staff carrying out those controls in approved premises and the staff in support roles.

The salary range for all these staff, on a full time equivalent basis, is £15,500 per annum for office-based support staff to within a band £190,000-£195,000 for the chief executive, a proportion of whose work supports meat official controls.

The average is £35,900 over the full range of staff.

The total cost is £24 million.

Note that these figures are for staff who are employees of the FSA. Salaries are not available for contract meat hygiene inspectors and contract official veterinary staff.

Afghanistan

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We support the Afghan Government's peace and reconciliation efforts. It is for the Afghan Government to decide how to take forward their approach including whether to appoint an internationally designated facilitator.

Armed Forces: Afghanistan

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton



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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The security transition process in Afghanistan is led jointly by the Government of Afghanistan and the International Security Assistance Force. This process provides opportunities for consultation with a wide variety of Afghan stakeholders at both the national and provincial level.

The support of the region is crucial to achieving our shared goals of lasting stability and security in Afghanistan. The UK routinely engages countries neighbouring Afghanistan on Afghan related issues, including through the International Contact Group's working group on regional engagement which is preparing for the Istanbul conference in November 2011.

Armed Forces: Military Hospitals

Question

Asked by Lord Chidgey

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): Three former military hospitals continue to be held as part of the defence estate and they are:

the Cambridge Military Hospital site in Aldershot, which is currently in an advanced state of disposal; andthe former Duchess of Kent Hospitals at Catterick, which have been converted and are now used for other military purposes.

Armed Forces: Staff Promotion

Question

Asked by Lord Chidgey

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): No individuals have had their promotions delayed or shelved because of Ministry of Defence financial restrictions or downsizing of the overall strength of the Armed Forces.

Promotions in this and future financial years are determined by the manning authorities for each service based on the individual trade requirements and the outflow estimates. Reductions in the size of the Armed Forces are due to take effect after 1 April 2012, and will be taken into account in the planning for the number of individuals to be promoted after this date.



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Bill of Rights

Questions

Asked by Lord Empey

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): On 18 March, the Government announced the establishment of a commission to investigate the case for a Bill of Rights. The commission's terms of reference set out that it should aim to report no later than by the end of 2012. We cannot prejudge the findings of the commission and it is too early to say what any next steps might be until the commission has reported.

Asked by Lord Empey

Lord McNally: The commission on a Bill of Rights was established by the Government to provide advice on the creation of a UK Bill of Rights. It will not consider additional specific rights for Northern Ireland: this issue will continue to be addressed separately. However, it is possible that any future legislation on a UK Bill of Rights would provide a suitable legislative vehicle for the introduction of additional rights specific to Northern Ireland.

China

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Following the Foreign Secretary's Oral Statement on 11 May 2011, (Official Report, Commons, cols. 1165-80) we are working to put in place the announced increase in front-line staff in our China network.

The up to 50 additional officials will include both UK-based and locally engaged staff. They will be deployed to reinforce our existing network in China, and to strengthen our engagement with the regions and cities outside those where we have our embassy and consulates.



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All Foreign and Commonwealth Office missions overseas monitor and raise human rights with host countries. For operational and security reasons we cannot give details of staff deployments and activity levels.

Criminal Justice: Women

Questions

Asked by Baroness Corston

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Government set out their plans to reform criminal justice in the Breaking the Cycle: Government Response, published on 21 June 2011.

We are working across government to address offenders' mental health problems; get offenders off drugs for good; help offenders gain the skills and aptitude for work; and to reduce barriers to resettlement. This programme includes joint work with the Home Office to improve support for women offenders who have experienced domestic violence and abuse.

We will ensure we take account of the distinct needs of women in achieving all this, including monitoring key outcomes.

Asked by Baroness Corston

Lord McNally: The Ministry of Justice is working with the Department for Communities and Local Government to support the development of the Ministerial Working Group on Homelessness. This joint work includes a scheme led by Crisis to improve access to the private rented sector for single homeless people, including women offenders and women at risk of offending.

Asked by Baroness Corston

(Lord McNally): The Bail Accommodation and Support Service was introduced on 18 June 2007, to provide housing and support in the community for

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defendants on bail and for offenders released on home detention curfew. The service is for both women and men and has a current capacity of 658 places, which will rise to 740. Since the introduction of the service 1,120 women have been supported by BASS, 548 of whom were on bail and might otherwise have received a custodial remand.

The additional support available for up to 500 female defendants was taken up by 124 women.

Education: Funding

Question

Asked by Lord Janner of Braunstone

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Local authorities receive funding for provision of education support services from both the dedicated schools grant and local authority formula grant. Both of these sources of funding reflect all of the pupils in those authorities irrespective of whether they attend a maintained school or an academy.

We are committed to ensuring that both local authorities and academies are funded fairly and that they receive resources to reflect the proportion of children for whom they provide services.

Education: Vocational Subjects

Questions

Asked by Lord Lexden

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Vocational education in Northern Ireland and how the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation regulates those qualifications and reports on its work and progress are devolved matters and the responsibility of the Northern Ireland Assembly.



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Elections: Voting System

Question

Asked by Lord Grocott

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Government's current estimate of the cost of undertaking the boundary review in England under the Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Act 2011 is £7.5 million. The cost of the last general review of parliamentary constituencies in England was approximately £10.8 million.

EU: Financial Assistance

Question

Asked by Viscount Waverley

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) is responsible for ensuring that the UK's contributions to the UN regular budget are appropriate and bring the Government value for money. With the Department for International Development and the Ministry of Defence, the FCO also oversees the Government's contributions to the UN peacekeeping budget. To do this, the UK uses its position on the UN Security Council to ensure that mandates for the UN's peacekeeping missions and special political missions are realistic and focused. At the same time, the UK participates fully on the UN's administrative and budgetary committees to ensure that value for money is being improved or maintained across both UN budgets. Finally, a UK member has recently been elected to the UN's Advisory Committee on Administrative and Budgetary Questions (ACABQ), which makes recommendations to UN member states on effective use of UN funds.

On human contributions to the UN, the FCO posts staff to UN capitals sufficient in number to represent the UK at all negotiations where there is a British interest. The level of personnel is monitored throughout the year by FCO management in London, New York and Geneva. The Government's contributions to wider parts of the UN system, such as the funds and programmes and specialised agencies, are led by a wide range of Whitehall departments. Providing details of each of these would incur disproportionate cost.

Financial contributions to the European Commission are set within annual EU budget negotiations, as well as within negotiation on the multi-annual financial

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framework. The UK takes a strong line within these negotiations: the EU budget needs to reflect the very tough budget decisions being taken across Europe, and we want to see very substantial savings in EU administration spending during the next seven year budget cycle. In terms of staff contributions, the UK manages secondments to the European Commission and other EU institutions carefully to ensure that these are beneficial for all concerned.

In the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), FCO officials are heavily involved in negotiations to ensure that UK contributions are set and remain at an appropriate level. We also strive to ensure that UK contributions are used in as efficient and effective a way as possible to deliver added value on the ground. British officials engage closely in the annual budget negotiations and have been instrumental in ensuring the OSCE participating states agreed a budget at zero nominal growth or less over the past few years. Again, FCO management in London and Vienna ensure that the level of representation to the OSCE and secondees to its field missions is sufficient.

EU: Financial Assistance to Member States

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government have been clear that the UK should not participate in a new financial assistance package for Greece. At the European Council on 24 June 2011, the Prime Minister secured explicit assurance that a new programme for Greece would be supported by its euro area partners and the IMF, not the European Union as a whole.

The June European Council conclusions can be found here: http://www.consilium.europa.eu/uedocs/cms_data/docs/pressdata/en/ec/123075.pdf.

Exports

Questions

Asked by Lord Hunt of Chesterton

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Ministry of Justice/National Offender Management Service intends to develop exports with competitive technological and commercial capabilities by distributing computer software that has been developed in-house by the National Management Offender Service. Distribution will take place through a two-year pilot contract with Capita SIS. The contract delivers a percentage of the revenue raised back to the National

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Offender Management Service for reinvestment in innovation, and will contribute to Ministry of Justice efficiency savings agreed with HM Treasury.

Asked by Lord Hunt of Chesterton

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): I refer the noble Lord to the answer given by my noble friend, Lady Wilcox, on 22 June 2010 (Official Report, col. WA304).

Fluoridation

Question

Asked by Earl Baldwin of Bewdley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The conclusions section of the York review includes the statement:

"The best available evidence (level B) from studies on the initiation and discontinuation of water fluoridation suggests that fluoridation does reduce caries prevalence, both as measured by the proportion of children who are caries-free and by the mean dmft/DMFT score".

We continue to seek to ensure that we reflect the findings of the review in an accurate and meaningful manner.

Asked by Earl Baldwin of Bewdley

Earl Howe: As my previous reply indicated, we will meet the statutory requirements to monitor the effects of water fluoridation schemes. The monitoring will complement that already undertaken by the public health observatories which we are confident would have already identified any major differences in morbidity or mortality between the health of the populations of fluoridated and non-fluoridated areas.

Asked by Earl Baldwin of Bewdley

Earl Howe: The research on dental fluorosis, which is the only proven side effect of fluoridation, is being conducted on a sample population of Newcastle where there is an existing fluoridation scheme. The benefits of fluoridation are illustrated by epidemiological surveys which show that levels of dental decay in fluoridated areas like the West Midlands are lower than those in areas like Greater Manchester where no adjustment is made to the level of fluoridation in the water supply. A new scheme would provide baseline information on oral health and cost of implementation which are not available from existing schemes.

Asked by Earl Baldwin of Bewdley

Earl Howe: The British Dental Association is an independent organisation and we have no recent information about its association with the campaign. Only dental care professionals have the expertise to identify dental fluorosis but the interpretive element of the research is based on a sample of lay people giving their views on the aesthetic impact of fluorosis. We are satisfied that these findings are being objectively recorded.

Asked by Earl Baldwin of Bewdley

Earl Howe: Nothing has yet been published, but we understand that Professor Douglass will shortly be publishing a paper on his findings in the Journal of Dental Research.

Asked by Earl Baldwin of Bewdley

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): We do not have information of this detail since the National Fluoride Information Centre was independent of the department. The research project which we have funded the School of Dentistry at the University of Manchester to undertake on the prevalence and severity of dental fluorosis will provide new information.

Forestry Commission

Question

Asked by The Earl of Clancarty

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): All sales of public forestry land were suspended on 17 February, pending receiving and considering the advice of the independent panel which is due to report in April 2012.

Government Departments: Research and Data

Questions

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department funds research through the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) and the policy research programme, with a total annual budget of around £1 billion. Details of research initiated, terminated and amended cannot be provided due to disproportionate cost.

Details of projects funded through programmes managed by the NIHR Central Commissioning Facility (CCF) can be found on the CCF website at: http://www.ccf.nihr.ac.uk/Pages/FundedProgrammes.aspx.

Details of projects funded through programmes managed by the NIHR Evaluation, Trials and Studies Centre (NETSCC) can be found on the NETSCC website at: http ://wwwnetscc.ac.uk/.

Details of studies hosted by the NIHR Clinical Research Network can be found on the UK Clinical Research Network portfolio database at: http://public.ukcrn.org.uk/search

Details of research funded by the Policy Research Programme are available on the Department's website at: www.dh.gov.uk/en/Aboutus/Researchanddevelopment /Policyresearchprogramme/index.htm.

Ongoing National Health Service data collections initiated through ROCR (Review of Central Returns) process during period May 2010-April 2011:

A and E (Accident and Emergency) Clinical Quality Indicators;Cancer Patients' Experience Survey;Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) Dataset;Community Information Dataset;Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT);Mixed Sex Accommodation Monthly Return;National Children's and Young Person's Dataset;National Health Service (NHS) Health Check Dataset; andPatient Environment Action Team (PEAT) Inspection Programme.

One-off NHS data collections initiated through ROCR process during period May 2010-April 2011:

Commissioned National and Local Enhanced Services;Memory Services for National Dementia Audit; andProgramme Budgeting-tariff based collection.

Ongoing NHS data collections amended through ROCR process during period May 2010-April 2011:

Chlamydia Core Dataset;Community Mental Health Activity;Estates Return Information Collection (ERIC) General Ophthalmic Services-Sight Tests;

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Improving Access to Psychological Therapies (IAPT) -Key Performance Indicators KA34 Performance and Clinical Quality Indicator Mental Health Minimum Dataset v4;National Joint Registry;Programme Budgeting, andSummary of Genitourinary Medicine clinics.

Ongoing NHS data collections terminated through ROCR process in period May 2010-April 2011:

Database of Countermeasures;Database of nominated recipients at all general practitioners (GPs)-NHS Choices Direct Access Audiology weekly PTL (Patient Treatment List);Expert Patient Programme (EPP) Self-Management Courses;Financial Information Systems (FIS), Family Health Services (FHS) General Ophthalmic Service;General Pharmaceutical Council Awareness and Perceptions Tracking (Opinion Survey);GP Premises Data Collection;HRG4 (Healthcare Resource Groups) Grouper User Optional Survey;Junior Doctor's Hours;Monitoring extended GP practice opening hours;National Children's Health Service Mapping;NHS Campus Closure;NHS Constitution Research: Wave 2;NHS Staff Engagement and attitudes towards the NHS;Notification of partnership intentions between Health Services and Local Authorities using Section 75;PCT (Primary Care Trust) Controlled Drug Officers contact details;Practice Engagement in practice based commissioning;Swine Flu vaccine uptake data from GP registered patients;Three year funding for third sector organisations;TOP Slice (Treatment Outcomes Profile);Update of five clinical Directed Enhanced Services (DES); and 18 weeks referral to Treatment PTL.

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Government: Red Tape Challenge

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

Baroness Verma: I refer my noble friend to my answer of 15 June 2011 (Official Report, cols. WA 195-96).

Health: Drugs

Question

Asked by Baroness Ford

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The product information for prescribers, (the summary of product characteristics) and the patient information leaflet for all antiepileptic medicines, including sodium valproate, contain clear warnings about the safety of use during pregnancy and the potential risk of birth defects. The valproate product information was recently reviewed at a European level and considered to reflect the available evidence in relation to safety of its use in women who are pregnant or of child-bearing potential. The British National Formulary also contains advice about the use of antiepileptic medicines during pregnancy.

The National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence has published a clinical guideline covering the diagnosis, treatment and management of epilepsies in adults and children in primary and secondary care, which includes the treatment and management of epilepsy in pregnancy. A partial update to this guideline is ongoing covering the pharmacological management of epilepsy in adults and children including women who are pregnant or of child-bearing age.

Health: Hepatitis C

Questions

Asked by Baroness Randerson

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The proposed establishment of Public Health England (PHE) as an executive agency of the Department, as announced in the Government response to the NHS Future Forum report (20 June 2011),

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will safeguard the ability of PHE to give independent scientific advice on the surveillance and control of hepatitis C.

It is expected that in bringing together in PHE, the Health Protection Agency with its laboratory surveillance systems and the public health observatories with experience with using hospital episode statistics, there will be opportunities for further improvement of hepatitis C surveillance.

Statutory reporting of hepatitis C by diagnostic laboratories testing human samples came into force in October 2010, which will also help improve the completeness of hepatitis C surveillance.

Asked by Baroness Randerson

Earl Howe: The Health Protection Agency (HPA) is responsible for surveillance of viral hepatitis, including hepatitis C. Local surveillance is co-ordinated through a network of regional information leads, and information on the timeliness and completeness of laboratory reports is monitored regularly. The HPA publishes surveillance data in its weekly publication, Health Protection Report and its annual report on hepatitis C. Estimates of the incidence and prevalence of hepatitis C are included in the annual report.

There are also statutory requirements on registered medical practitioners and diagnostic laboratories to notify cases of acute infectious hepatitis and hepatitis A, B, C, delta and E viruses respectively.

The department does not collect local data on the incidence and the prevalence of liver disease, and has not assessed any processes, which may be in place for collecting such data.

Asked by Baroness Randerson

Earl Howe: The Health Protection Agency (HPA) is responsible for national surveillance of viral hepatitis, including hepatitis C. The HPA has undertaken various assessments of its surveillance processes, which are kept under review.

In 2007, a detailed evaluation of hepatitis surveillance highlighted several examples of good practice including the joint surveillance schemes with National Health Service Blood and Transplant, sentinel surveillance of hepatitis testing and the unlinked anonymous survey of injecting drug users.

The HPA publishes national surveillance data in its Health Protection Report and its annual report on hepatitis C. Estimates of the incidence and prevalence of hepatitis C are included in the annual report.



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The department has not assessed what processes could be put into place to collect national data on the incidence and the prevalence of liver disease.

Health: Mental Health

Question

Asked by Baroness Berridge

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): I regret that information on the number of general practitioners with special interests in individual specialties is not collected centrally and could not be obtained other than at disproportionate expense.

Higher and Further Education

Questions

Asked by Lord Redesdale

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): Universities and colleges are autonomous bodies and they will wish to consider the implications of this ruling for the ways they procure insurance and other services.

This is not a matter on which the Government can rule.

India

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Our high commission is currently supporting a £30,000 two-year pilot project to strengthen existing measures to combat trafficking of women and children in India. It focuses primarily on the victims of commercial sexual exploitation. The aim of the project is to improve the co-ordination and awareness between those agencies dealing with the prevention of sex trafficking, and the assistance and rehabilitation of those women affected by it. It will also enable agencies to respond more effectively to individual cases of sex trafficking (by locating and relocating victims and ensuring access to compensation among other measures).

The project is being implemented by ARZ, a Goa-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) involved in the assistance and rehabilitation of victims of commercial sexual exploitation. But the project involves a much broader network-including NGOs, state-level police authorities, child welfare committees and juvenile justice boards-across all major source and destination states for trafficking in India. It has also generated interest in Bangladesh. The project implementer is talking to the Government of India about how the network can be taken forward.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Lord Howell of Guildford: Our high commission is currently supporting a £30,000 two-year pilot project to strengthen existing measures to combat trafficking of women and children in India. It focuses primarily on the victims of commercial sexual exploitation. The aim of the project is to improve the co-ordination and awareness between those agencies dealing with the prevention of sex trafficking, and the assistance and rehabilitation of those women affected by it. It will also enable agencies to respond more effectively to individual cases of sex trafficking (by locating and relocating victims and ensuring access to compensation among other measures).

The project is being implemented by ARZ, a Goa-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) involved in the assistance and rehabilitation of victims of commercial sexual exploitation. But the project involves a much broader network-including NGOs, state-level police authorities, child welfare committees and juvenile justice boards-across all major source and destination

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states for trafficking in India. It has also generated interest in Bangladesh. The project implementer is talking to the Government of India about how the network can be taken forward.

Israel and Palestine

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): As I said in reply to the noble Lord's question on 16 June (Official Report, cols. 876-78) we remain concerned about a number of Israel's continuing policies in East Jerusalem. During his visit to Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories this week, the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, my honourable friend the Member for North East Bedfordshire (Alistair Burt), reminded his Israeli interlocutors of the need to avoid disproportionate actions which could lead to their isolation on the international stage.

Although we accept de facto Israeli control of West Jerusalem, we consider East Jerusalem to be occupied territory.

It is crucial that the parties involved come to an agreement whereby Jerusalem can be a shared capital of the Israeli and Palestinian states.

Israel and Palestine: West Bank

Questions

Asked by Baroness Brinton

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We are aware that Israel handed out demolition orders on a mosque and public school in the village of Bruqin on Sunday 12 June 2011.

The focus between the Israelis and the Palestinians should be on confidence-building steps with the aim of giving momentum to re-start negotiations. In this respect, demolitions or the eviction of Palestinians from their homes are deeply unhelpful, cause unnecessary suffering and, with few exceptions, are in contravention of international law.

The UK has a strong record of lobbying hard on these issues. Our embassy in Tel Aviv raised the demolitions orders given to Al-Walaja with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday 23 May.



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We will continue to ensure that the Israeli authorities are aware of our views.

Asked by Baroness Brinton

Lord Howell of Guildford: We are aware that Israel handed out demolition orders on a mosque and public school in the village of Bruqin on Sunday 12 June 2011.

The focus between the Israelis and the Palestinians should be on confidence-building steps with the aim of giving momentum to restart negotiations. In this respect, demolitions or the eviction of Palestinians from their homes are deeply unhelpful, cause unnecessary suffering and, with few exceptions, are in contravention of international law.

The UK has a strong record of lobbying hard on these issues. Our embassy in Tel Aviv raised the demolitions orders given to Al-Walaja with the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs on Monday 23 May.

We will continue to ensure that the Israeli authorities are aware of our views.

Jewish National Fund

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has been in contact with the Charity Commission on this issue. The commission informed us that it has thoroughly researched the JNF Charitable Trust's activities. It was satisfied that the charity's funds were being used in an exclusively charitable manner and that the JNF Charitable Trust's activities fall within UK law.

The commission also asked the charity's trustees to ensure that the charity's website was clear on the distinction between the JNF Charitable Trust and the Jewish National Fund.

Justice: Family Justice Review

Questions

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno



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The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Family Justice Review has sought to encourage engagement by publicising its work with a wide range of interested parties.

The Jewish Unity for Multiple Parenting responded to the review's initial call for evidence in writing. No other religious groups have responded to the Family Justice Review's call for evidence or responded to the consultation on its interim report.

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno

Lord McNally: The Family Justice Review has publicised the review and actively sought the input of parents and children through a wide range of channels including:

publication of all stages of the review's work on the Ministry of Justice's website at http://www. justice.gov.uk/about/moj/independent-reviews/family-justice-review/index.htm and tweeted at @FamJusticeReview;distribution of regular updates about the review's work;a number of meetings with organisations representing parents and children;interviews in a number of media outlets;events with children affected by the family justice system;public consultation events in London, Cardiff, Manchester and Birmingham; andworking with the children's rights director to publish a young person's guide to the review.

Mortality

Question

Asked by Baroness Randerson

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The NHS Outcomes Framework 2011-12 was published in December 2010 and signals the direction of travel for the National Health Service in focusing on outcomes. We are making good progress in developing the indicators for The NHS Outcomes Framework 2011-12.

In Domain 1: Preventing People from Dying Prematurely, indicators for the improvement areas relating to under-75 mortality from cardiovascular disease, liver disease and respiratory disease are already developed. Data for cardiovascular disease are publicly

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available from the National Centre for Health Outcomes Development, and can be accessed via the following link:

www.nchod.nhs.uk/NCHOD/compendium.nsf/($A11)/AA8F660EB840A86F80257851000FB110/$File/06A_076DRT0074_09_V1_D.xls? OpenElement

Data for liver disease and respiratory disease will be published before April 2012.

The indicator for under-75 mortality in people with serious mental illness is still in development and data are expected to be ready for publication by April 2012.

NHS: Clinical Trials

Question

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Patients participating in clinical trials in the National Health Service can be reimbursed, dependent on the trial in question, for their inconvenience or for out-of-pocket expenses and this is usually in the form of payments for travel or lunch vouchers.

For income-related benefits, the Department for Work and Pensions would look at each case individually to decide whether or not any payment received should be treated as income. Payments for inconvenience may be taken into account but reimbursement of expenses would not usually be treated as income.

NHS: Productivity

Question

Asked by Lord Mawhinney

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): National Health Service productivity growth is measured as the ratio of the growth in the volume of outputs to growth in the volume of inputs. No spend data are used in the calculation of volume of outputs in the NHS productivity measure. Spend data are used in the calculation of the volume of inputs where there are no data available to count inputs directly, (bandages and dressings for example).

Spend data are adjusted for inflation (deflated) to enable a comparison of input volumes between two time periods, as required to calculate NHS productivity growth. The measure of the volume of inputs must only reflect quantity but spend data reflect both the quantity and price of inputs. So, deflating spend removes the effect of price increases.

Different deflators are used for different inputs. There are three broad categories of healthcare inputs:

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labour, goods and services and capital consumption. Goods and services are measured in three parts: GP prescribed drugs, healthcare purchased from outside the NHS and other goods and services. Expenditure data are used to measure healthcare purchased from outside the NHS and other goods and services. All other inputs are directly measured.

Spend on other goods and services in hospital and community health services (HCHS) is deflated using the health service cost index (HSCI). The HSCI is calculated monthly to measure the price change for 41 sub-indices of goods and services purchased by the HCHS. The sub-indices are weighted together according to the proportion of total expenditure which they represent. Spend on other goods and services in primary care is deflated using the retail prices index as no specific deflator is available.

Spend on healthcare purchased from outside the NHS is deflated using the HCHS pay and price index; no specific price deflators are available for healthcare purchased outside the NHS. The HCHS pay and price index is a weighted average of the HSCI (described above) and the pay cost index. The PCI is a weighted average of increases in staff unit costs for each staff group within the HCHS sector. The HSCI and PCI are weighted together to calculate the HSCI by their expenditure shares.

Northern Ireland: Community Relations

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

Lord Shutt of Greetland: Community relations are a devolved matter for the Northern Ireland Assembly and it is for the Northern Ireland Executive to take the lead in tackling the causes of division in Northern Ireland. However, as the Prime Minister said in Belfast on his recent visit, there are things that the UK Government can do to support the Executive-such as working to revive the Northern Ireland economy. My right honourable friends the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland and Minister of State will continue to discuss these matters with Executive Ministers and do all they can to support the Executive in taking forward this important work.

Parliaments: Elected Terms

Question

Asked by Viscount Astor



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The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): There are no parliamentary legislatures or assemblies with elected terms of more than nine years.

Prisoners: Voting

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Government are considering the next steps and I will inform the House when decisions on the way forward have been reached.

Railways: Gatwick Express

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Earl Attlee: Southern's franchise agreement contains service quality benchmarks against which the franchisee's performance is monitored.

The franchisee carries out service quality audits and reports the results each railway period (every four weeks) in order for department officials to monitor compliance. There have been no contraventions of these benchmarks.

Additionally, Southern has committed to provide certain performance levels with regard to the customer satisfaction benchmarks in connection with the national passenger survey. If these performance levels are not met, there are contractual remedies to ensure that Southern improves in areas where standards fall below those required.

Railways: High Speed 2

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

Earl Attlee: At this early stage in the Government's proposals for a high-speed rail network, no decisions have been made regarding the detailed specification of rolling stock. At this point, the Government do not anticipate using double deck passengers trains on HS2, although this remains a credible possibility, given that the route is designed to the European gauge.



30 Jun 2011 : Column WA479

Regional Development Agencies

Question

Asked by Lord Beecham

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The regional development agencies' (RDAs) total income, as reported in their annual accounts for 2008-09 and 2009-10, is given below:

RDAAnnual Accounts 2008-09Annual Accounts 2009-10
(£m)(£m)

Advantage West Midlands

35.9

41.1

East of England Development Agency

13.0

28.6

East Midlands Development Agency

65.9

34.4

London Development Agency

19.1

14.7

North West Development Agency

64.5

190.8

One North East

18.1

89.5

South East England Development Agency

48.4

36.9

South West of England Regional Development Agency

30.2

72.0

Yorkshire Forward

30.7

114.8

Some of this income arises from sources other than sale of assets. Figures for 2010-11 will be published in RDAs' annual accounts, which are expected to be laid before Parliament shortly.

The RDAs for many years have been able to reinvest proceeds from sales for the purposes set out in the Regional Development Agencies Act 1998. As detailed in the department's main supply estimates for 2011-12, the nine RDAs are expected to receive £320 million of receipts from the private sector and local authorities. They are entitled to use receipts up to a total of £416 million for economic development and regeneration purposes.

Rome: British Embassies

Question

Asked by Lord Laird



30 Jun 2011 : Column WA480

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) estate is valued annually by professional chartered surveyors, and the latest total market values of FCO-owned properties in Italy and the Holy See as at 30 September 2010 is £68,569,631. The FCO does not publish its current valuations of individual buildings, since this information is commercially sensitive and could prejudice the FCO's ability to extract best value for the UK taxpayer in negotiations with third parties.

In the financial year 2010-11 the following major repairs were carried out:

Porta Pia compound (offices of the embassy to Italy and the embassy to the Holy See):

fire alarm and emergency lights in both embassies: £204,000;maintenance-necessary repairs to roof: £66,000; andreplacement of cooling tower: £270,000.

Villa Wolkonsky, residence of HM Ambassador to Italy:

structural repairs (wear and tear) to entrance lobby: £18,000.

Tibet

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Government share many of the concerns about political rights and civil liberties for Tibetan people highlighted in Freedom House's report on Tibet. In particular, as described in the 2010 Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) Human Rights Command paper, we share their concerns about restrictions on Tibetan Buddhism and the use of patriotic education campaigns.

More recently we have been concerned by reports of the crackdown at the Kirti monastery in a Tibetan area of Sichuan province. We have raised these concerns both with the Chinese embassy in London and with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing, asking for information and calling for restraint. Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister of State, my honourable friend Jeremy Browne, wrote to the Chinese ambassador on 3 May, raising his concerns about recent human rights developments, including the situation at Kirti monastery.

Human rights in Tibet are monitored by members of the Asia Pacific Directorate, which we are in the process of reinforcing.



30 Jun 2011 : Column WA481

Tobacco

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government are committed to maintaining high levels of tobacco duty to contribute to wider efforts to tackle the deficit and support the Government's health objectives. The UK has some of the highest priced cigarettes and tobacco products in the EU and the current level of taxation helps to reduce the affordability of smoking, and discourages smoking.

Smoking prevalence among adults in Great Britain is estimated at 21 per cent, down from around 40 per cent 30 years ago.

Turks and Caicos Islands

Question

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Turks and Caicos Islands delegation consisted of:



30 Jun 2011 : Column WA482

Lillian Misick (Chair, Consultative Forum);Doreen Quelch-Missick (Advisory Council);Clayton Greene (Leader, PNP);Doug Parnell (Leader, PDM);Wendall Swann (Former Chair, All-Party Commission on the Constitution and Electoral Reform);Pastor Bradley Handfield (Church); andTrevon Farrington (Youth Ambassador).

Waste Management: Fly Tipping

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The Government review of waste policy in England, launched on 14 June 2011, set out a number of measures we consider will act as a real deterrent to those responsible for waste crime. These measures include working closely with landowner organisations, to increase reporting of fly-tipping incidents on private land and sharing best practice on how to reduce the risk of fly-tipping, for example through improved security and intelligence sharing.

As part of its wider initial public response to the May 2011 report by the independent farming regulation task force, due in the autumn, the Government will address the recommendations made in the report, in respect of-fly-tipping on farmland.


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