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To ask Her Majesty's Government what account they have taken or will take when formulating international development policy of evidence of gender-based abortion and its implications for security, women's rights, governance, and economic development.[HL10752]
Baroness Verma: The UK's policy is as stipulated by the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD) and its programme of work. This programme specifically prohibits gender-based abortion.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by the Secretary of State for International Development, Mr Andrew Mitchell, on 21 March (Official Report, Commons, col. 844W), whether their financial support of Marie Stopes International is consistent with their position that "The UK Government do not enter the ring on the rights and wrongs of abortion".[HL10808]
Baroness Verma: The Government consider their support for Marie Stopes International to be absolutely consistent with their policy position on safe and unsafe abortion. Both DfID and Marie Stopes International are committed to providing women with the choice to take control of their sexual and reproductive health.
Every year unsafe abortion results in up to 47,000 maternal deaths in developing countries while a further 8 million women and girls need medical treatment. However, only 5 million receive it. Ensuring that abortion services are safe, and that post-abortion care is provided, saves maternal lives. Both DfID and Marie Stopes International are working to increase access to family planning, which will avert many thousands of unintended pregnancies and abortions every year.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Verma on 4 July (WA 15-6), whether they can provide any guarantee that equipment supplied or paid for by the United Kingdom has not been used for the purposes of sex-selective abortion.[HL10878]
An example of DfID support for maternal health is in India, where over 60,000 women die every year due to complications of pregnancy and childbirth. DfID
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At the same time, through our support to the Government of India's Reproductive and Child Health Programme, we support the Indian Government's efforts to implement its Pre-Conception and Pre-natal Diagnostic Techniques Regulation Act (PC&PNDT) which outlaws the terrible practice of sex-selective abortion. For example, our partner state of Madhya Pradesh is implementing enhanced monitoring of all use of ultrasound to ensure that it is not used for this purpose.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether NATO will be required to provide the Afghan National Army with air support when NATO ground force combat operations cease in Afghanistan by the end of 2014; whether United Kingdom aviation assets would be involved in such air support; and whether there is any planning taking place for such an eventuality.[HL10996]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): No decision has been taken to provide air support to the Afghan National Army beyond the end of 2014. Any agreement by NATO to do so would be between NATO and the Afghan Government.
Work is ongoing to consider what the relationship between the UK and Afghanistan will be beyond 2014. Any future UK involvement in Afghanistan would need to take account of the broader political and security considerations on the ground.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether representatives of Brazil, Russia, India and China have raised any concerns with civil servants in the Department for Transport about the lack of runway capacity at Heathrow or other British airports. [HL11133]
As part of the process of developing a sustainable framework for aviation in the UK, the department published a scoping document in March 2011 to seek views and evidence from a wide range of stakeholders on strategic aviation issues. The department notified the London embassies of a number of countries,
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As part of the process of developing a sustainable framework for UK aviation, the Department for Transport published a scoping document in March 2011 to seek views and evidence from a wide range of stakeholders on strategic aviation issues, including the UK's international connectivity needs and the role of hub airports.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the actual and planned level of public spending on apprenticeships in England for (a) 16 year-olds, (b) 17 year-olds, and (c) 18 year-olds, in 2009-10, 2010-11, and 2011-12.[HL10997]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): We do not break down planned spending on apprenticeships by specific age group. Levels of public spending on apprenticeships in England for 16-19 year-olds are published in the Young People's Learning Agency annual 16-19 funding statements* and are summarised as follows:
|Planned (£m)||Actual (£m)|
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the actual and planned level of apprenticeship (a) places, and (b) starts, in England for (1) 16 year-olds, (2) 17 year-olds, and (3) 18 year-olds, in 2009-10, 2010-11, and 2011-12.[HL10998]
Baroness Wilcox: Apprenticeships are demand-led and rely on employers to offer suitable job opportunities. Therefore, we do not plan our apprenticeship places
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|Academic year||Provide funding to support places||Actual apprenticeship starts*|
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have made any estimate of (a) the length of the delay, and (b) the increase in cost, to its order of A-400M aircraft following the discovery of defects which led to its partial grounding at the 2011 Paris Air Show.[HL10990]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The engine problems recently experienced by A400M prototype aircraft during flight trials is precisely the type of event that is sometimes revealed during development flight testing. Investigations into the cause of these problems are under way, and the A400M partner nations remain in close contact with Airbus Military, the prime contractor, throughout this process.
Given that delivery of the first UK A400M is not expected until the second half of 2014, our current assessment is that these engine problems will not have any impact on projected delivery dates. Similarly, as the A400M design and production phase contract is a fixed price contract, these engine problems should not have any effect on the cost of the UK's A400M order.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have any plans to alter the number of A 400M aircraft they will procure following the discovery of defects which led to its partial grounding at the 2011 Paris Air Show.[HL10991]
Lord Astor of Hever: While a number of RAF and Ministry of Defence personnel did attend the Paris Air Show in a variety of official capacities, none was involved in any publicity efforts relating to the A400M aircraft. Nevertheless, the Government are committed to supporting the current A400M export campaign, and will consider any requests for assistance in this field; however, none was received in this instance.
Whilst at the Paris Air Show the Chief of Materiel (Air), a senior RAF officer, signed the A400M in-service support Memorandum of Understanding. This is an agreement between the A400M partner nations relating to future common support activities for the aircraft, and a media statement was issued to this effect.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with Airbus as to the effect on the projected number of commercial sales of the A 400M aircraft following its partial grounding at the 2011 Paris Air Show; and whether the projections will have any impact on the price they will pay for the aircraft as part of their order.[HL10993]
Lord Astor of Hever: No such discussions have taken place. However, as the A400M programme is still at the pre-production stage and flight trials are ongoing, we would not expect that the current engine problems revealed during flight trials to have any effect on potential future export sales. Furthermore, future sales over and above the current number of A400M on order do not affect the purchase price paid by customers for their aircraft.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Astor of Hever on 22 June (WA 299-300), whether the operational costs referred to include upgrades of Tornado GR4 above and beyond the theatre entry standard for Libya and additional aircraft beyond those already so modified.[HL10994]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): The 82 Tornado GR4 aircraft already meet the theatre entry standard for Libya and are sufficient to meet operational requirements for the foreseeable future. Capability upgrades are already planned for in the defence budget and operational funding is not being used for this purpose.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many Harrier GR9 presently awaiting disposal are modified to the Afghanistan theatre entry standard; and how many are at the Libya theatre entry standard. [HL10995]
Lord Astor of Hever: None of the Harrier GR9 aircraft presently awaiting disposal remains at the theatre entry standard for Afghanistan or Libya. Essential role equipment has been removed for disposal or use elsewhere.
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The George Cross was initiated by Royal Warrant on 24 September 1940 by King George VI. In total, 161 George Crosses have been awarded directly, including the two collective awards to Malta and the Royal Ulster Constabulary.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the extension of artist's resale rights is a mandatory European Union requirement; whether the proposal has been subject to full independent review and the outcome of that review published; what submissions they have made in connection with protecting the position of the United Kingdom art market; and whether these submissions have been published. [HL11115]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The extension, in 2012, of the artist's resale right (ARR) to the sales of qualifying works by deceased artists in the UK is a requirement of directive 2001/84/EC.
The effect of ARR in the UK, and an assessment of the impact arising from extension of the right to cover deceased artists, was considered in the independent report carried out on behalf of the Government by Professor Szymanski and published in January 2008.
On behalf of the current administration, the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) submitted a response to the Commission's call for evidence that was carried out as part of their ongoing review of the directive. The IPO response is available online: www.ipo.gov.uk/c-policy-artist-response.pdf.
The UK Government welcome the establishment by His Majesty King Hamad of an independent commission, composed of international figures, to look into the events of recent months and into allegations of abuses of human rights. It is our hope that this step will lead to concrete progress in addressing the recent serious concerns about the human rights situation in Bahrain.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the Government of Belarus regarding the release and arrest of non-violent protesters and to cease any proceedings against them.[HL10831]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary and the Minister for Europe have publicly condemned the actions of the authorities on several occasions since the crackdown on the opposition and civil society following the presidential election in December 2010 last year. The Minister for Europe called in the Belarusian ambassador to voice his grave concerns in person. We have demanded the release of all political prisoners and insisted there must be an end to all politically motivated persecution and harassment of democratic forces in Belarus.
To ask Her Majesty's Government under what legislation the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) was created; what powers BCAP has; who the chairman is; when he or she was
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Baroness Rawlings: The Communications Act 2003 provides for Ofcom to have general responsibility for the regulation of the content of broadcasting services including all programmes and advertisements.
Furthermore, the Deregulation and Contracting Out Act 1994 confers powers for the contracting out by order of functions vested in certain office holders. Under Section 1(7) of the Communications Act, Ofcom is one such officeholder to which these contracting out arrangements can be applied.
Under such contracting-out arrangements Ofcom has transferred day-to-day responsibility for broadcast advertising regulation to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA). As part of this co-regulatory framework, the Broadcast Committee of Advertising Practice (BCAP) was established to set the broadcast advertising code, a function of Ofcom under Section 319 of the Communications Act. Under this system Ofcom is required to approve the regulatory standards code drawn up by BCAP. The ASA enforces the approved BCAP code while Ofcom retains backstop powers enabling it, among other things, to impose sanctions.
The additional matters raised are operational ones for the ASA and Ofcom, which remain responsible for ensuring the system's effectiveness in meeting its statutory duties. The department does not hold this information. For this reason, the noble Lord may wish to contact the regulators, who are independent of Government, directly.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many civil servants have been made redundant in the past year in each government department and associated agency; what was (a) the average cost per individual redundancy, (b) the total cost of redundancies in each department, and (c) the overall cost to the civil service.[HL10761]
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: Individual departments and agencies are responsible for making civil servants redundant, and the information requested is not currently recorded centrally. However, departments will be reporting information about the numbers and costs of their redundancies and other early exits in their resource accounts this year.
New compensation terms were introduced in December 2010. Severance pay is now calculated on the basis of one month's pay per year of service to a maximum of 21 months' pay on voluntary exits and a maximum
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To ask Her Majesty's Government what consideration they gave to the Radio Joint Audience Research figures for listeners of the Northern Media Group radio states located outside Belfast and for listeners of Citybeat Radio in Belfast when inviting press to the launch event of the consultation paper Relaunching the Northern Ireland Economy. [HL11144]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: For events of this nature the Northern Ireland Office routinely and specifically alerts the BBC, UTV, BBC Radio Ulster and other broadcast outlets with which the NIO has regular contact on UK Government issues.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Children in alternative provision are among the most vulnerable in education. As Ofsted's report highlights, many are not receiving the education they need. It is vital that the provision they receive addresses pupils' problems and is of high quality.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Information from food and diet surveys suggests that in the United Kingdom the average consumption of drinking water, including beverages made up with drinking water, is between one and two litres per day. No specific information is held centrally on areas with fluoridated schemes.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Earl Howe on 7 December 2010 (WA 34-5), 7 February (WA 17-8), 26 April (WA 48), and 17 May (WA 300), which concerned errors in information provided to the public by the National Fluoride Information Centre, whether they will commission an organisation without links to the dental profession to prepare and maintain future updates of the findings of the 2000 systematic review of water fluoridation by the NHS Centre for Reviews and Dissemination at the University of York.[HL10814]
Earl Howe: We agree that a multidisciplinary approach is required to monitor and evaluate the effects of fluoridation, albeit with a substantial dental contribution in assessing the effects on oral health. We will take account of the noble Earl's views in commissioning future research.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The scientific consensus is that there are real health benefits to be gained by reducing the population's salt intake. Departmental officials continue to review published studies, and since 2003 there has been no new evidence that would alter the scientific consensus reported by the Government's Scientific Advisory Committee on Nutrition (SACN).
SACN reviewed the evidence linking high salt intakes to increased blood pressure, which is a major risk factor for heart disease in 2003. It recommended, and the Government accepted, a pragmatic population target intake of 6 grams and less for children. A programme of raising public awareness and reformulation of food products by the food industry has reduced average adult intakes from 9.5 grams (2001) to 8.6 grams (2008). A further survey to assess more recent progress is planned for the end of this year.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of Israel's denial of family visits to 680 prisoners from Gaza; and what representations they have made to the Government of Israel regarding this.[HL10851]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We are concerned by reports that Palestinian prisoners from Gaza have not been granted family visits since the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2007. We are also concerned about the ongoing detention of Gazan prisoners under the internment of unlawful combatant law, which allows prisoners to be detained without trial. As with administrative detention, we call on the Israeli Government to take immediate action to ensure that all cases are reviewed by a court in accordance with fair procedures and that detainees' rights are upheld, particularly with regards to fair trial and family visits in accordance with international law.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to review procurement policies across departments to consider what account should be taken of the impact of procurement decisions on domestic employment rates.[HL11118]
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The overriding policy in all government procurement is to secure value for money in buying the goods and services that the Government need. The Government of course want UK-based companies to be successful in public procurement, and they will benefit from the measures that we are taking to streamline procurement. The vast bulk of government contracts go to UK-based companies.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Hill of Oareford on 28 June (WA 399-401), how the research project "Evaluation of disabled children's access to childcare" has been changed.[HL10935]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): There were two amendments to the Disabled Children's Access to Childcare (DCATCH) research project. First, the work plan was amended to take account of delays to the
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To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Hill of Oareford on 28 June (WA 399-401), how the research project "Childcare and Early Years Providers Survey (2009)" has been changed.[HL10936]
Lord Hill of Oareford: The Childcare and Early Years Providers Survey (2009) work plan was amended to take account of delays to the original timetable caused by the temporary suspension of fieldwork during the 2010 general election purdah period, in accordance with Cabinet Office election guidance. The change was limited to the timetable for the survey, and did not affect the survey's original objectives or methodology. The amendment has not adversely affected the survey, which will be used to monitor what early education and childcare provision is available and to inform policy development in this area.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Hill of Oareford on 28 June (WA 399-401), how the research project "Anti bullying: Research into the effectiveness of anti bullying strategies" has been changed.[HL10938]
Lord Hill of Oareford: The amendments made to the Goldsmith research into the effectiveness of anti-bullying strategies after it was published were to realign the captions with their associated diagrams. No changes were made to the findings or the substance of the report.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Henley on 21 June (WA 279), what was the variation agreed in the project "Development and testing of a model epidemiological framework to optimise the detection and intervention strategies for plant pathogens of stator concern"; and for what reason.[HL11049]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The original project was commissioned via an open competition to develop a model framework for guiding policy decisions about statutory plant pathogens. Models were developed for the project by the University of Cambridge and Rothamsted Research with input from the Food and Environment Research Agency (formerly the Central Science Laboratory) and tested using data sets from outbreaks of specific plant pathogens including Phytophthora ramorum. The results demonstrated that
19 July 2011 : Column WA269
The Government's view, as set out in the Command Paper Enabling Excellence, is that the approach to the regulation of health and social care workers must be proportionate and targeted, and we do not believe that the case has been made for subjecting low-paid workers to an additional tier of regulation.
The Health and Social Care Bill currently before Parliament will enable a system of assured voluntary registration to be established for health and social care workers not subject to statutory regulation. Subject to parliamentary approval, this will provide employers with an additional mechanism to satisfy themselves that unregulated workers are appropriately trained and qualified.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proposals they have to increase the number of 16-19 year-old students studying science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects in schools and colleges as a result of the Education Bill.[HL10659]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): There are no specific measures within the Education Bill to increase the number of 16-19 year-old students studying STEM subjects in schools and colleges. The Government have, however, already taken steps to increase the take-up of STEM subjects at all ages. These include the introduction of the English Baccalaureate, funding of continuing professional development for mathematics and science teachers and targeted programmes to improve take-up and achievement in GCSE triple science and A-level physics and further mathematics. The Government also plan to establish at least 24 university technical colleges during this Parliament, which will specialise in one or two curriculum areas such as engineering and construction.
Lord Shutt of Greetland: The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland seeks to encourage greater public access to Hillsborough Castle. In approving its use, the Secretary of State considers whether events promote the political, social, economic and cultural development of Northern Ireland.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they provide (a) funding, and (b) support, to the Holocaust Centre; and what steps, if any, they are taking to promote the work of the Holocaust Centre. [HL10810]
Baroness Rawlings: The Government do not directly fund, support or promote the work of the Holocaust Centre. The Museums, Libraries and Archives Council has financially supported the Holocaust Centre in the past through its Strategic Commissioning and Young Cultural Creators programmes, though there is no current funding allocated. The Heritage Lottery Fund, which is not funded from Government, has also supported the centre in the past, with grants of £314,000 allocated in 2001 and £499,000 allocated in 2005 to support work on a permanent educational exhibition which will be completed in September 2011.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Hanham on 6 July (WA 74), why they have discontinued the Overcrowded Housing Pathfinder Initiative to support local authorities develop innovative approaches to helping families living in overcrowded conditions.[HL11041]
We are providing £13 million over the next four years (2011-12 to 2015-16) to help local authorities support under-occupying social tenants who wish to move, thus freeing up stock for overcrowded families. These monies are also helping to fund an action team within the Chartered Institute of Housing to work with all social landlords to help them promote moves.
In addition, the reforms to social housing allocations, homelessness and tenure which are being taken forward in the Localism Bill will make it much easier for social landlords to manage their stock to reduce overcrowding.
To ask Her Majesty's Government which registered providers in (a) London, and (b) Tower Hamlets, have submitted expressions of interest for Homes and Communities Agency Funding for new affordable rent housing, at up to 80 per cent of market rents. [HL11042]
Baroness Hanham: The providers listed below submitted offers to the Homes and Communities Agency for funding through the Affordable Homes Programme, which included new homes for affordable rent at up to 80 per cent of market rents. The list includes all offers covering London and the north-east area of London, including Tower Hamlets. Information by local authority area is not available.
|2012-13 £bn||2013-14 £bn||2014-15 £bn||Total|
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are assisting the Government of Israel in the processing of detainees held without charge or providing training in humane methods of interrogation; and whether they are able to mobilise such assistance through other states.[HL10932]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We call on the Israeli Government to take immediate action to ensure that all such cases are reviewed by a court in accordance with fair procedures and that detainees' rights are
19 July 2011 : Column WA273
We raise our concerns with the Israeli Government about the application of due process and the treatment of detainees, including where children are involved, on a frequent basis. My honourable friend Alistair Burt raised this during his recent visit to the region with Justice Minister Neeman and our Ambassador in Tel Aviv has raised the issue of Israel's treatment of Palestinian children with Education Minister Saar and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Principal Legal Advisor Daniel Taub.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (a) the number of Israelis currently held in detention by the Palestinian Authority or the de facto Government of Gaza, and (b) the number of Palestinians currently held in Israeli jails; and what representations they have made to both parties regarding this.[HL10852]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): (a) Other than the continued detention of Gilad Shalit, who we continue to call for Hamas to release unconditionally, we are not aware of any other Israelis currently being detained under the Palestinian Authority or de facto Government of Gaza. We consider it unacceptable that the International Committee of the Red Cross is denied access to Shalit. Most recently the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, my honourable friend Alistair Burt, met with Gilad Shalit's father during his visit to the region.
(b) We continue to monitor the situation with regard to all Palestinian prisoners, including parliamentarians, in Israeli prisons. We call on the Israeli Government to take immediate action to ensure that all cases are reviewed by a court in accordance with fair procedures, and that detainees' rights are upheld, particularly with regards to fair trial and family visits. We shall continue to raise our concerns with the Israeli authorities and issue statements when appropriate.
We raise our concerns with the Israeli Government about the application of due process and the treatment of Palestinian detainees, including where children are involved, on a frequent basis. Most recently, my honourable friend Alistair Burt raised this during his recent visit to the region with Justice Minister Neeman, and our ambassador in Tel Aviv has raised the issue of Israel's treatment of Palestinian children with Education Minister Saar and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs's Principal Legal Advisor, Daniel Taub.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the Government
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Lord Howell of Guildford: We are aware of the incidents that the noble Lord raises. My honourable friend Alistair Burt raised this during his visit; we continue to support the right to non-violent protests. We also deplore all civilian casualties that have resulted from the Arab-Israel conflict. We recognise Israel's right to defend itself from acts of violence but call on the Israeli Government to act with restraint and in accordance with international law. We also call on the Palestinian Authority to prevent acts of violence from originating in the Occupied Territories.
We are also concerned at a marked increase in the number of house demolitions carried out by the Israeli Authorities against Palestinian homes in Area C of the West Bank. Since the beginning of 2011, the Israeli Civil Administration has demolished 121 residential structures, displacing 621 people including 330 children. In June alone, 34 homes were demolished. In the first six months of 2011, the number of demolitions has almost reached the total number carried out in 2010 when 137 residential structures were demolished.
Regarding the hunger strike in Hasharon prisons, we are aware that a female prisoner started a hunger strike on 29 June. This ended on 8 July when the prison transferred her from isolation to the Palestinian-populated area of the prison. We call on the Israeli Government to take immediate action to ensure that all cases are reviewed by a court in accordance with fair procedures and that detainees' rights are upheld, particularly with regard to fair trial and family visits. We shall continue to raise our concerns with the Israeli authorities and issue statements when appropriate.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The UK is working with international partners to ensure the robust enforcement and implementation of sanctions against Libya. UN Security Council resolution 1970 established a sanctions committee whose mandate is inter alia to monitor implementation and to take action regarding alleged violations. Furthermore, UN Security Council Resolution 1973 created a Panel of Experts, a group of up to eight experts placed under the direction of the committee to assist the committee in monitoring and investigating sanction violations. UK officials recently welcomed a number of these experts to London to
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To date, the committee has met twice to discuss all aspects of its mandate. All United Nations member states are required to report the steps they have taken to implement the provisions on UN Security Council resolutions 1970, within 120 days of adoption. We strongly encourage all UN member states to ensure that they meet this deadline. The UK submitted its implementation report on 17 June. Russia, China and Brazil have also submitted reports.
Lord Howell of Guildford: The UK is working with international partners to ensure the robust enforcement and implementation of sanctions against Libya. UN Security Council resolution 1970 established a sanctions committee whose mandate is inter alia to monitor implementation and to take action regarding alleged violations. Furthermore, UN Security Council Resolution 1973 created a Panel of Experts, a group of up to eight experts placed under the direction of the committee, to assist the committee in monitoring and investigating sanctions violations. UK officials recently welcomed a number of these experts to London to discuss aspects of the UK's implementation of the measures. UK officials also encouraged the experts to visit other key UN member states, including those in the North African region, to ensure that sanctions measures were being robustly enforced.
To date the committee has met twice to discuss all aspects of its mandate. All United Nations member states are required to report the steps they have taken to implement the provisions on UN Security Council resolutions 1970, within 120 days of adoption. We strongly encourage all UN member states to ensure that they meet this deadline. The UK submitted its implementation report on 17 June. Russia, China and Brazil have also submitted reports. It is the responsibility of each member state to implement UNSCR 1970 and UNSCR 1973, and the UK has strongly encouraged this. Implementation will vary depending on country capacity. Member states not complying with the measures will be subject to scrutiny from the Libya Panel of Experts, who are mandated to monitor sanction breaches.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the decision of the Government of France to supply weapons to rebels in Libya; and what discussions they had with the French authorities prior to this.[HL10854]
Lord Howell of Guildford: The United Nations resolutions allow in certain limited circumstances weapons to be provided to the Libyan Opposition. The UK has focused on supplying other forms of equipment.
The French Government did not consult in advance with the UK Government over their decision to supply some weapons along with other essential supplies to the Libyan Opposition in the Jebel Nafusa resisting attacks by the Qadhafi regime.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Hanham on 4 July (WA 17) stating that "there is no complete, by department, list of consent regimes which apply to local authority decision making" and the review of statutory duties referred to, whether they will compile a list of such consent regimes and institute a review of them with a view to reducing bureaucracy and enhancing localism.[HL10796]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The review of statutory duties has recently concluded and the summary of responses was published on my department's website on 30 June 2011. Any future consideration of specific duties, consent regimes or associated guidance will be a separate process and will be consulted on further as appropriate by the relevant government department.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The National Health Service Business Services Authority (NHS BSA) estimates that the cost of administering the prescription pre-payment, medical exemption and maternity exemption schemes was £4.6 million in 2010-11. This figure includes corporate overhead costs and is for England only.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, following recent riots in Northern Ireland, how many stone and petrol-bomb throwers were arrested and charged; whether anyone was arrested for organising the riots; and by what means they will encourage parents to take responsibility for the actions of their children.[HL11117]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: Following the devolution of policing and justice in April 2010, responsibility for public order policing lies with the Police Service of Northern Ireland and the Northern Ireland Department of Justice.
Community relations are a matter for OFMDFM. As the Prime Minister set out in his address to the Assembly in June, addressing the causes of division that lead to violence in Northern Ireland is something on which the Northern Ireland Executive must take a lead. This Government will, however, support the Executive in any way they can in tackling this difficult but crucially important issue.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what financial support they provided to (a) Population Health Services India for each year since 1999, (b) Marie Stopes International Pakistan for each year since 1990, and (c) Marie Stopes International India since 2008.[HL10748]
Baroness Verma: DfID India has neither funded Population Health Services India since 1999 nor Marie Stopes International India since 2008. In each year since 2001 DfID Pakistan has provided the following support to Marie Stopes International Pakistan:
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure that the operations of international family planning organisations in India which benefit from United Kingdom aid are lawful. [HL10749]
Baroness Verma: DfID India does not currently support any international family planning organisations to work in India. Our funding for health is provided to state governments in the poor states of Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Orissa, to improve their health services. We also fund technical advice to Governments for this work.
To ask Her Majesty's Government which of the 90 family planning clinics run by Marie Stopes International Pakistan and of the 12 clinics run by Population Health Services India, including mobile services, are beneficiaries of United Kingdom aid.[HL10750]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the quality and operation of the technical partnership and capacity-building services provided by Marie Stopes International India. [HL10751]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to increase the priority given by the Department for International Development to the needs of disabled people in the countries where it operates programmes.[HL11076]
Baroness Verma: The coalition Government are committed to the inclusion of disabled people in development. The analysis of social differentiation, including disability, and the extent to which our programmes and projects can impact on disadvantaged groups, such as people with disabilities, is part of our country planning. For example, the Department for International Development's Bangladesh office is continuing to support the BRAC primary education development programme, with the third phase due to commence in July 2011. The main focus of this is to ensure access to education for vulnerable children including children with disability.
DfID supports over 85 disabled people's organisations and civil society organisations to address the issues facing people with disabilities in poor countries. For example, in Malawi, DfID has contributed to approximately 700,000 children with disabilities to enter education. Through DfID support, 4,200 classrooms have been constructed and 70 per cent of these have ramp access.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to take action to ensure that all documents issued by the Secretary of State for Transport certifying to enforcing authorities that closed circuit television apparatus employed in their area for civil parking and traffic enforcement are approved devices state all the cameras and associated systems that are thereby certified; whether they will ensure that such certificates correctly state the date of production of the certificate together with the date of the enforcing authority's application for that certificate; and whether they will take action to rectify any currently-issued certificates which are incomplete or date-incorrect in these respects.[HL9577]
Earl Attlee: Approved devices certification covers the whole CCTV system and not just the cameras. These systems are too complex to include all details of the elements within them on the certification letter.
It is current policy that a brief one-line description of the nature of the system is given along with a reference to the technical construction file, in which the complete system is described. Certification of a system does not rely upon having a complete list of cameras on the certification letter-equipment listed in the technical construction file is certified and the letter merely confirms the certification.
There is no specific requirement to list the cameras on the certification letter. In some past cases, certification letters have not listed every camera device approved as part of the technical construction file for use by a particular authority.
The department's Vehicle Certification Agency is reviewing all certification letters and issuing corrections where any clerical errors come to light. The review will ensure that all letters correctly state the date of production and the authority's application date.
Earl Attlee: Table 5 of the Economic Case for HS2 (available on the HS2 consultation website at highspeedrail.dft.gov.uk/library/documents/economic-case) shows that, on the basis of trip origins, an estimated 23 per cent of the monetised benefits of the initial London-West Midlands phase of HS2 would relate to the north-west region. Once the proposed second phase from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds is completed, we expect further economic benefits to accrue to the north-west region.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the current estimated annual running costs of the Intercity Express Programme train when built as an all electric version and as a bi-mode (diesel and electric) version respectively.[HL11146]
|Maintenance||Fuel||Variable Track Access Charge|
To ask Her Majesty's Government in what other countries in the world is a bi-mode (diesel and electric) version of an express electric train currently in use or being built; and how the experience of those countries has been used in the development of the Intercity Express Programme.[HL11148]
Earl Attlee: Bi-mode trains are common in France and are used in less intensive operations in other countries around the world. The positive experience of those countries has inspired manufacturers, independent of the Intercity Express Programme, to develop bi-mode locomotives and to look to convert existing diesel trains to bi-modes for the UK market.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Scottish Government and the public have been fully consulted on the costs of using the bi-mode trains north of Edinburgh compared with using life-extended High Speed trains or loco-hauled trains on these services; and what have been the responses of the Scottish Government and the public.[HL11150]
Earl Attlee: Both the Scottish Government and the Scottish public were consulted on the plans for bi-mode Intercity Express train deployment as part of the East Coast franchise consultation held between January and April 2010. The formal advice received from the Scottish Government noted that,
"The introduction of the Super Express Trains on the route will facilitate faster journey times, and we expect that Anglo Scottish routes will fully benefit from a service upgrade, in terms of both performance and capacity, following their introduction".
Earl Attlee: The weightings attached to the various criteria are contained in Section 3 Evaluation Process and the referenced appendices of the Thameslink Rolling Stock project invitation to tender dated 27 November 2008, a copy of which is available on the DfT website.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what were the purpose and form of the review of the Thameslink rolling stock project which the Secretary of State for Transport reported to the House of Commons on 25 November 2010.[HL11119]
Earl Attlee: I believe the noble Lord refers to the Governments' major project review of the Thameslink programme, held in summer 2010. This review considered all aspects of the Thameslink programme, including the Thameslink rolling stock project. The aims of the review were to assess the financial savings achievable by the project in 2010-11 and beyond, and the likelihood of the successful delivery of savings and project aims.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of awarding the Thameslink rolling stock contract to Siemens on the number of skilled workers involved in designing and building trains in the United Kingdom. [HL11088]
Earl Attlee: Siemens Plc with Cross London Trains, the preferred bidder, have stated that work on the Thameslink rolling stock contract could create up to 2,000 new jobs in the UK, including up to 600 highly skilled roles related to the manufacture and assembly of train components.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what data they have on the number of skilled workers in the United Kingdom involved in designing and building trains who are employed by (a) Siemens, (b) Bombardier, and (c) other train building companies. [HL11089]
Earl Attlee: The department does not hold this detailed information. The noble Lord may wish to direct his question to the train manufacturers. The staffing composition required to fulfil the contracts is a matter for individual manufacturers to decide.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any cost-benefit analysis has been conducted of the costs to the users of the Dartford Thames crossing, and of pollution from traffic delays caused by the payment of toll charges.[HL10555]
Earl Attlee: The Department for Transport has not conducted specific analysis of the costs to users of the Dartford-Thurrock River Crossing and of pollution from traffic delays from the payment of the road user charge.
The department published a report in April 2009 on the current and future capacity requirements at the Dartford Crossing, which included an estimated cost from all traffic delay in 2007 of around £40 million per annum.
On 30 June 2011 the department published for consultation its proposals for increasing the levels of road user charges at the crossing. The consultation document includes an impact assessment of the comparative costs and benefits of the department's proposals. Copies of the consultation document are available from the Library of the House and from the department's website at www.dft.gov.uk.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We have serious concerns about the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia. We have made our views well known, including through the universal periodic review process. Throughout the year, including since the beginning of the Arab Spring, the UK has maintained an open, frank and sustained dialogue with Saudi Arabia on human rights. The UK has encouraged progress in four priority areas: women's rights, the death penalty, rights of foreign workers and judicial reform. My right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary recently raised our concerns during his visit to Saudi Arabia. Our ambassador discussed these concerns at length with the president of the Saudi Human Rights Commission on 3 July. We will continue to raise them at every appropriate opportunity.
It is the longstanding policy of the UK to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle because we consider that its use undermines human dignity, that there is no conclusive evidence of its deterrent value, and that any miscarriage of justice leading to its imposition is irreversible and irreparable.
We work to achieve our objectives on the death penalty through three main channels: bilateral initiatives, the EU and the UN. Bilaterally, we continue to work hard to lobby Governments to establish moratoriums or abolish the death penalty, we raise individual cases of British nationals and we use political dialogue and fund projects to further our objectives. We also continue to raise cases of third-country nationals through the EU, and work with the EU to lobby states and pursue common action in international forums such as the UN.
Lord Howell of Guildford: Our ambassador to Saudi Arabia raised this case with the president of the Saudi Human Rights Commission on 3 July, making clear our opposition to the use of the death penalty. The Human Rights Commission took note of our concerns and the president explained the process involved.
We continue to raise human rights issues, including the death penalty, with Saudi Arabia, and the serious concerns we have in this regard. It is the longstanding policy of the UK to oppose the death penalty in all circumstances as a matter of principle because we consider that its use undermines human dignity, that there is no conclusive evidence of its deterrent value, and that any miscarriage of justice leading to its imposition is irreversible and irreparable.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Government are committed to tackling all forms of bullying, particularly that motivated by prejudice of any kind. We recently published updated advice on preventing and tackling bullying. It is aimed at all teaching staff including professionals working in pupil referral units (PRUs) and other alternative provision. We would expect all providers to have regard to it when developing their anti-bullying strategies.
In addition to maintained schools, PRUs are required to have a behaviour policy. The teacher in charge of a PRU must determine a behaviour policy with a view to encouraging good behaviour and in particular preventing all forms of bullying among pupils.
The Equality Act 2010 requires public bodies to have due regard to the need to eliminate unlawful discrimination, harassment and victimisation-for
19 July 2011 : Column WA284
We are working with lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) organisations and the cross-Government working group on anti-Semitism to ensure that the concerns of the gay and Jewish communities are reflected in our approach.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many alleged pirates have been detained during anti-piracy operations off Somalia by the Royal Navy; how many of those have been subsequently released; and how many have been handed over to the authorities of which jurisdictions.[HL10785]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): I refer the noble Lord to the Answer I gave on 23 May 2011 (Official Report, col. WA391). Since then a further three suspected pirates have been encountered by the Royal Navy during a boarding operation. Following detailed analysis of all physical evidence, witness statements and options for prosecution, these individuals were released as it was assessed that a successful prosecution was unlikely.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the Government of South Sudan, following both their stated objective of private sector development in Africa, and their call on 7 July for development partners to help rehabilitate South Sudan's agricultural sector.[HL10952]
Baroness Verma: The Department for International Development has discussed with the Government of South Sudan a programme of support to reduce the costs to business of transporting goods into and out of the country, with the vital route to Uganda as the initial priority. On the basis of these discussions, TradeMark East Africa is now being funded by DfID to design a major programme that also includes the establishment of an efficient customs service. A DfID-funded study to identify other priority needs for private sector development is under way.
DfID is also developing with the World Bank, USAID and EU, a comprehensive range of support to accelerate agricultural production in both the smallholder and commercial sectors. This will include building or improving over 1,700 kilometres of feeder roads.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Howell of Guildford on 23 November 2010 (WA 296), concerning recognition of states, whether all states recognised in the past 51 years have been considered against the same criteria.[HL10825]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): I can confirm that decisions on recognition of states since 1989 have been considered against the normal criteria that we apply for the recognition of a state, as described in the Written Answer by the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Mr Sainsbury (Official Report, Commons, 16 November 1989, col. 494). It is also believed that decisions prior to 1989 were considered against the same criteria, but providing a comprehensive answer in relation to all decisions on recognition in the past 51 years would involve extensive research of records that are not centrally held, which could not be carried out without incurring disproportionate cost.
Lord Howell of Guildford: The Government do not maintain a central register of UK acts of recognition. However, the UK recognises the following states that have been admitted to the United Nations in the past 51 years:
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the current situation in the Nuba Mountains area of the Sudan; and to what extent they are involved in attempts to end the conflict and provide humanitarian aid.[HL11073]
Baroness Verma: We are deeply concerned about the ongoing fighting and humanitarian suffering in the Nuba Mountains. We have called for an immediate cessation of hostilities, particularly the indiscriminate aerial bombardments and the laying of landmines. We have also called for implementation of the 28 June framework agreement reached by the two parties.
Estimates by the United Nations currently suggest that about 70,000 civilians have been displaced in Southern Kordofan. We have repeatedly condemned the lack of access afforded to humanitarian personnel who are attempting to assist those affected by the conflict, and continue to call for unfettered access to be granted by all parties.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what recent discussions they have had on the progress towards Taiwan's participation in the International Civil Aviation Organisation; and what is their assessment of this proposal.[HL10839]
Taiwan continues to seek meaningful participation in the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and has attended a number of ICAO events, including the 37th assembly in October last year, in an unofficial capacity. However, we are not aware of there being any formal approaches to the organisation. There have not been any formal discussions either with Taiwan or the ICAO on this matter and it is for Taiwan itself to decide how it wishes to proceed.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of the applicant user guide, including appendices and annexes, issued by the Traffic Enforcement Centre in March 2011, together with the relevant policy documents, advice received and minutes of any consultation meetings with advisory groups. [HL10953]
One relates to data file processes and provides details of file formatting required to enable data from the applicant to be loaded on to the HM Courts and Tribunals Service traffic enforcement centre computer system. The annexes provide details of field lengths, headers, footers and general IT formatting.
There are no policy documents or advice relating to either of these user guides. Given that the applicant user guides are solely to provide guidance for local authorities issuing traffic enforcement registrations, we did not consult with stakeholders and advisory groups as part of its preparation. However, the Ministry of Justice is committed to continuous improvement and welcomes feedback on the guidance from local authorities. A copy of both applicant user guides has been placed in the Library of the House.
To ask Her Majesty's Government which organisations and persons were consulted in the preparation of the new applicant user guide, appendices and annexes, issued by the Traffic Enforcement Centre in March 2011.[HL10954]
Lord McNally: The applicant user guides issued in March 2011 are solely to provide guidance for local authorities issuing traffic enforcement registrations. One relates to data file processes and the other relates to correspondence processes. Given the narrow audience
19 July 2011 : Column WA289
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will restore to the applicant user guide issued by the Traffic Enforcement Centre in March 2011, (a) the requirement for bailiffs to carry a paper copy of a warrant of execution when enforcing it, and (b) the requirement for a copy of the warrant to be left for the respondent, together with the statutory Form 7 (Notice of Seizure and Inventory of Goods), whenever goods are levied.[HL10955]
Lord McNally: The applicant user guides are aimed at local authorities and refer to civil procedure rules only. There is no intention to include instructions for bailiffs within these user guides as they are not applicants to the proceedings.
The revised edition of the Department for Transport's Operational Guidance to Local Authorities: Parking Policy and Enforcement, published in November 2010, however, contains guidance on the carrying and production on demand of warrants of execution by certificated bailiffs.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have any plans to revise the new warrants of execution template in Annex 9 to the applicant user guide issued by the Traffic Enforcement Centre in March 2011, in order to remove the instruction to certified bailiffs to seize chattels and other property, given the provision of the Road Traffic Debts Order 1993.[HL10956]
Lord McNally: There are no plans to revise the warrant of execution template as this is considered to be unnecessary. The warrant empowers the authority to seize and sell any goods, money, banknotes and bills of exchange of the respondent except specified exempt goods. Goods that are exempt are those detailed in Section 89(l)(a)(i) or (ii) of the County Courts Act 1984 and promissory notes, bonds, specialities or securities for money belonging to the respondent. The current wording on the warrant-"to seize in execution the goods, chattels and other property of the respondent authorised by law"-encapsulates these legal provisions.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will review the new warrants of execution template in annexe 9 to the applicant user guide issued by the Traffic Enforcement Centre in March 2011, so that it states specifically the name of the issuing local authority, and clearly identifies the bailiff or bailiffs to whom it is directed with contact details for both.[HL10957]
Lord McNally: The current warrant template already requires the name of the issuing local authority. As the warrant is addressed to the certificated bailiff, we do not believe that the template requires the details of the bailiff or their contact details. The Ministry of Justice, however, is committed to continuous improvement
19 July 2011 : Column WA290
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will review the new warrants of execution template in annex 9 to the applicant user guide issued by the Traffic Enforcement Centre in March 2011, so that it is of a similar standard and contains similar information to other warrants that are in the form of writs of fieri facias.[HL10958]
Lord McNally: The warrant is already of a similar standard and contains similar information to the writ of fieri facias and has recently been revised on the basis of stakeholder feedback. Any divergence is intentional to reflect the differences in the process when executing road traffic debts. The Ministry of Justice is committed to continuous improvement and welcomes any feedback or representation for change from stakeholders and other interested parties on this or other related issues.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Verma on 4 July (WA 28), whether Uganda shares the partnership commitments referred to; and, if not, where such commitments fall short.[HL10980]
Baroness Verma: I will be making an assessment of the Government of Uganda's commitment to each of the partnership principles as part of the decision-making process on budget support to Uganda. Decisions will be taken shortly. I will look closely at recent evidence of commitment as well as longer-term trends.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to Written Answer by Baroness Verma on 4 July (WA 28), when the decision on United Kingdom budget support to Uganda for financial year 2011-12 will be taken.[HL10981]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Department for International Development's multilateral aid review assessment of the United Nations Population Fund, what steps they are taking to ensure the United Nations Population Fund encourages transparency with programme countries and publishes full information on the project. [HL10807]
Baroness Verma: Following the multilateral aid review, the Department for International Development is encouraging all the United Nations development agencies, including the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), to commit to the highest standards of transparency. Through our membership of its executive board, and through direct contacts, the department is encouraging UNFPA to publish full information on all the projects that it funds and to join the International Aid Transparency Initiative.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what were the main findings of the customer insight research conducted by the Department for Work and Pensions and HM Revenue and Customs with benefits and tax credit recipients about the possible frequency of payment of universal credit; and when the findings will be published.[HL10845]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): As the research findings are being used to inform the development of policy and legislation, they are not currently in the public domain. Moreover, the research is still ongoing so findings are preliminary. However, the intention is to publish a report in the autumn.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The latest figures are given in the table and show the ratio of applicants to accepted applicants for those who applied via UCAS to full-time undergraduate courses. Not all applicants apply via UCAS; some apply directly to institutions. Applicants who were not accepted for entry will include individuals who did not receive any offer; individuals who received an offer (conditional or unconditional) but decided not to go to university; individuals who received a conditional offer and failed to meet the specific conditions (eg, they did not achieve certain grades); and individuals who decided to withdraw from the UCAS system.
|English domiciled applicants to English institutions|
|Year of entry 2010|
|Applicants1||Accepted applicants2||Ratio of applicants to accepted applicants|
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