To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much has been raised in Air Passenger Duty on behalf of HM Treasury in each of the last five years by (1) British Airways, (2) Virgin Atlantic, (3) easyJet, and (4) Ryanair.[HL532]
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the light of the three independent reviews recently commissioned by the Court of the Bank of England into support for United Kingdom banks, liquidity management and economic forecasting at the bank, whether HM Treasury will now commission an independent review into the role and actions of the court and the governance of the Bank of England.[HL509]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government are pleased that the court has announced the commission of three independent reviews into areas of the bank's performance and current capabilities and look forward to seeing the outcome of this work.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The composition of decision-making bodies within the HMCTS agency derives from agreement reached by the Lord Chancellor, the Lord Chief Justice and the Senior President of Tribunals. This agreement (set out in HMCTS' Framework Document) represents a partnership between those offices in relation to the effective governance, financing and operation of HMCTS. The Lord Chancellor and Lord Chief Justice have placed responsibility for overseeing the leadership and
direction of HMCTS in the hands of its board. The chief executive reports to the board and is responsible for the day-to-day operations and administration of the agency. In turn, regional delivery boards report to the chief executive. The HMCTS Board has lay members in the form of non-executive directors and a chair.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the names and past experience of the people who currently sit on the North West (NW) Regional Delivery Board of HM Court Services as: NW Delivery Director; NW Head of Crime; NW Head of Civil, Family and Tribunals; NW Head of Regional Support Unit; NW Head of Finance; NW Estates Manager; NW Human Resources Business Partner; NW Lean Lead; Justices’ Clerk (Regional Legal Adviser Resource Committee representative); and the six Cluster Managers (Greater Manchester Civil, Family and Tribunals; Cheshire Merseyside Civil, Family and Tribunals; Greater Manchester Crime; Cheshire Merseyside Crime; Lancashire; Cumbria).[HL543]
Lord McNally: The department is unable to provide this information as it is the personal information of another person. Disclosure would contravene the provisions in the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA).
Staff at this grade can be identified in line with the Government's transparency agenda. These individuals are: Gill Hague, NW Delivery Director; Paul McGladrigan, NW Head of Crime. Their past experience remains protected in line with the DPA.
Lord McNally: To clarify, Chorley Youth Court is a term given to proceedings involving youths that take place in Chorley Magistrates' Court. It is not a building or location in its own right. The department is unable to provide the information requested in view of a disproportionate cost to retrieve the data.
Over the past three years, the NW Regional Delivery Board and its predecessor, the NW Regional Management Board, have comprised an estimated 30 members, some of whom have changed over time or left the department. A review of those individuals' diaries over this timeframe would take significant resource.
We have however considered this request in relation to members of the NW Regional Delivery Board over the period of its existence (August 2011 to date). In that time at least three members of the board have visited Chorley Magistrates' Court, each on two to three occasions. This includes the NW Delivery Director, who is the chair of the NW Regional Delivery Board.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government which of the recommendations in the recent report by Mr Adrian Beecroft can be implemented without reference to European Union laws; and which cannot be applied without being constrained by European Union laws. [HL516]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Mr Beecroft’s report is one of a range of inputs into the Red Tape Challenge and Employment Law Review, and is not government policy. Any proposals which the Government are taking forward as part of the Employment Law Review take into account any underpinning European Union laws.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the decision of the European Parliament to press for new powers to conduct inquiries and on-the-spot investigations at the European Union and member state level; and whether such additional powers would be subject to United Kingdom parliamentary approval and a referendum.[HL518]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Under Article 226 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union (TFEU), the European Parliament, in the course of its duties, has the power to set up a temporary committee of inquiry to investigate alleged contraventions or maladministration in the implementation of European Union law. The European Parliament has the right of initiative to develop its own detailed provisions governing the exercise of this right of inquiry; these would be adopted in accordance with a special legislative procedure, after the European Parliament obtains the consent of the Council and the Commission.
The current instrument governing the exercise of the right of inquiry is Decision 95/167/EC, dating from 1995. In October 2011, the European Parliament issued a draft report outlining its proposals for a regulation to replace Decision 95/167, although a formal legislative resolution has not yet been issued.
The draft report has undergone some amendments since its initial release. On 23 May 2012 the European Parliament voted on the draft report and amendments but not the legislative resolution, meaning that negotiations with the Council and Commission continue. The Council has yet to receive a formal, finalised proposal from the European Parliament.
At this stage, the UK, with other member states, believes that any proposal should reflect the fundamentally political rather than legal nature of the Parliament's right of inquiry as well as the scope of, and limits to, the right of inquiry provided for in Article 226 of the TFEU. The UK believes any proposal must respect the allocation of competences both among the institutions and between the European Union and member states, recognising the current system of accountability. The Government do not believe that it is appropriate for the European Parliament to exercise quasi-judicial control and would oppose any proposal that took this approach.
The power of the European Parliament to propose regulations setting out detailed rules for the exercise of its right of inquiry is set out in paragraph 3 of Article 226 TFEU. As the exercise of that power does not involve an amendment to the European Union treaties or reliance on a “passerelle”, but rather the power to propose secondary legislation, the requirements of the EU Act 2011 do not apply.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the proposed European Union-wide financial transaction tax will be subject to unanimous decision; and, if so, in the light of the Prime Minister's pledge to “fight it all the way”, whether they have decided to use the United Kingdom's veto.[HL517]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Agreement to introduce an EU-wide financial transaction tax would require unanimity in the Council of Ministers, giving the Government a veto over any such proposal. Therefore, such a tax cannot be imposed on the UK without the UK's agreement.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many civil servants of the rank of Permanent Secretary were attached to the Cabinet Office in (1) 2002, and (2) 2012; and what consideration has been given to reducing the current number in line with the Government's plan to reduce and streamline the civil service.[HL450]
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: In 2002 there were six civil servants of the rank of Permanent Secretary attached to the Cabinet Office and in June 2012 there are five. These figures exclude the posts of Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service
When the coalition Government took office in May 2010, there were eight Permanent Secretaries in the Cabinet Office (excluding the Cabinet Secretary and Head of the Civil Service) and the current number has been reduced to five in line with the Government’s plan to reduce and streamline the Civil Service.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the cost to the Government of establishing the Assured Voluntary Registration model of regulation for health professionals (1) based on the past two years, and (2) projected over the next three years.[HL576]
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the cost of expanding the remit of the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence to accredit voluntary registers for health professionals (1) based on the past two years, and (2) projected over the next three years.[HL577]
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the cost of operating an accredited voluntary register for health professionals; how it will be funded; and what cost to individual registrants will be proposed.[HL578]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The cost of establishing assured voluntary registration was considered as part of the department's public bodies impact assessment.
This estimated that the initial set-up of assured voluntary registration would cost the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE) £100,000 in each of 2011-12 and 2012-13, which would be funded by the department. The impact assessment further estimated that the annual cost to the council of assured voluntary registration would continue to be £100,000 per annum, which would be funded by fees from accredited voluntary registers. It was anticipated that assured voluntary registration would reach full-cost recovery within three years.
The costs to individual organisations of accreditation with the CHRE are not yet clear and will be subject to a number of factors, such as the volume of organisations seeking accreditation and the approach taken to accreditation by the CHRE, which has yet to be finalised.
We expect that accredited voluntary registers will be funded, on a cost-recovery basis, by registrants’ fees, the level of which will similarly be subject to a range of factors including the approach taken to registration and the number of registrants on the register.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, for each of the past three years for which data are available, (1) how many positron emission tomography scanners have been or are in use in the National Health Service, and (2) how many of these scanners are certified as fit for use in clinical trials.[HL491]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The number of positron emission tomography scanners (PET CT) scanners that have been or are in use in the National Health Service and whether they are certified as fit for use in clinical trials, is not collected centrally. The new diagnostic imaging dataset, launched in April 2012 will capture information of the location of PET CT services; the monthly data are expected to be published later this year.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The consultation document, A New Value-Based Approach to the Pricing of Branded Medicines, set out our proposals for value-based pricing. The consultation ran from 16 December 2010 to 17 March 2011 and the Government's response to the consultation, A New Value-Based Approach to the Pricing of Branded Medicines: Government Response to Consultation, was published on 18 July 2011.
The impact assessment accompanying the consultation document set out an evaluation of the effects of our proposals, including an assessment of the possible impact on pharmaceutical company research and development investment. Copies of the consultation document, the Government's response and the impact assessment have already been placed in the Library.
As the consultation document highlighted, one of the Government's objectives for the value-based pricing system is to improve the process for assessing new medicines, ensuring transparent, predictable and timely decision-making. By streamlining pricing and assessment processes into one, our intention is to make the system more transparent, and simpler to navigate, so that companies can have greater confidence about the prices their products are likely to achieve.
The Government's preference for value-based pricing would be to achieve a negotiated agreement between the department and the branded pharmaceutical industry. We expect these negotiations might begin later this year.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 23 May (WA 69), how much of the block grant to Scotland currently covers the funding of universities; and whether the determination of overall public expenditure budgets for Scotland takes account of the charging of tuition fees for students or the related arrangements. [HL528]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Higher Education is a matter devolved to the Scottish Government. The allocation of funding from within the block grant is a matter for the Scottish Government.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Government believe that it is important that children and young people are taught about the history of the Holocaust. That is why we have allocated £1.8 million this year for Holocaust education. This includes funding for the Holocaust educational trust’s lessons from Auschwitz project, which provides for two students from every school/sixth-form college in England to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau. We also fund the Institute of Education’s Holocaust education teacher training programme, which provides teachers with the training and resources to deliver effective Holocaust education. Both programmes are open to publicly-funded independent schools.
The teaching of the Holocaust is currently compulsory at key stage 3 in the history curriculum. We are reviewing the national curriculum to refocus it on core knowledge in key subjects, whilst allowing schools greater freedom to design and teach a wider school curriculum that best meets the needs of their pupils. If we decide that history should remain a national curriculum subject, we would expect that the programme of study would continue to include teaching about the Holocaust. Whilst publicly-funded independent schools (academies) will continue to have the freedom to depart from the new national curriculum, where they consider that to be in the best interests of their students, they are required by law to teach a broad and balanced curriculum. As is the case now, we envisage that many such schools will, in practice, continue to offer the national curriculum, and they will be accountable to parents and their local communities for any decisions they take.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The department does not hold population data by local justice area so is unable to compare other areas with Chorley and South Ribble. Whilst population data are held by the Office for National Statistics, they are not held by local justice areas and therefore the information could be compiled only at disproportionate cost.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in respect of NHS trusts that are expected to have to undergo substantial service reconfiguration or merger before they can become foundation trusts, whether such mergers will need to be considered by Monitor or the Office of Fair Trading before they can proceed. [HL621]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Government's intention in the Health and Social Care Act 2012 is to liberate National Health Service providers from administrative controls around mergers. In the future only mergers that qualify for review under the Enterprise Act would be considered by the competition authorities.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 30 April (WA 414–5), what is the estimated capacity of one Olympic route network lane in car equivalent units per hour.[HL487]
Games lanes will be in place on around 30 miles of London’s roads for a limited period during the summer. The capacity of these lanes will vary by location depending on factors such as the speed limit, lane width, number of junctions, signal timings and road geometry. The capacity of the Games lane sections is estimated to vary from 900 to 1,500 passenger car equivalent units per hour.
Earl Attlee: Hosting the Games is a huge logistical challenge; but we are determined to keep London moving, as well as the other locations affected by the Olympics and Paralympics. For spectators, this will be a public transport Games—supported by billions of pounds of investment in additional capacity, as well as additional bus, coach and rail services during the Games. There will be no parking at Games venues other than very limited spaces for blue badge holders.
Temporary traffic management measures, including an Olympic route network on around 1% of London’s roads, will be in operation as and when needed to ensure that the Games run smoothly for spectators, athletes and other members of the Games family. The road network will also be affected by closures related to on-street events.
The operation of the country’s road and public transport systems will be closely monitored and co-ordinated through a transport co-ordination centre. At certain times and in certain places the road network will be exceptionally busy.
We are encouraging people to avoid those hotspots where possible. To help them to do so, the mayor and Transport for London have been engaging with the business community (especially those most likely to be affected) and leading an extensive communications and advice programme. This includes the provision of travel planning tools. Everyone travelling in London during the period of the Olympics and Paralympics is strongly encouraged to visit the “Get Ahead of the Games” website to assist them in planning their journey: www.getaheadofthegames.com.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 23 May (WA 79), whether they would expect or require to be told if the Northern Ireland Executive chose not to implement increases in employee contributions to the Northern Ireland Local Government Officers' Superannuation Committee similar to those increases in England; whether the Executive has the freedom to make its own spending decisions on public sector superannuation matters; and how much of the block grant currently covers employer contributions and other funding for such schemes.[HL527]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Spending decisions on devolved public sector superannuation matters, including contributions to the Northern Ireland Local Government Officers' Superannuation Committee, are a matter for the Northern Ireland Executive.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Howell of Guildford on 28 May (WA 126), what actions they are taking to try to increase tourism on Pitcairn Island; and, to this end, what consideration they have given to protecting and expanding the island's population of giant tortoises.[HL563]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Government are working with the Pitcairn authorities to increase tourism by funding the Pitcairn tourism co-ordinator position, and the work that she is doing to promote the island to visitors. The governor hosts Pitcairn promotional events in New Zealand and UK Government funding also provides the regular shipping service to the island which is used by visitors. In addition, work is progressing on a project to provide an alternate
harbour to make the landing of tourists (particularly from cruise ships), as well as islanders and supplies, easier and safer.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Current pressures on the adult social care system were addressed in the 2010 spending review through an allocation of an additional £7.2 billion over four years to 2014-15. This means that along with a programme of efficiency there is funding available to local authorities to protect people's access to care. Future spending reviews will continue to monitor projected demand and costs of social care.
The independent Office for Budgetary Responsibility has estimated that due to demographic change, the costs of the current system of long-term care will rise from 1.3% of gross domestic product in 2010-11 to 1.9% in 2050-51. In light of this—and other estimates of demographic trends—the Government are committed to reforming the social care system. A White Paper and progress report on reform of the funding system of social care are due to be published shortly.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to follow Chancellor Angela Merkel and the European Commission in boycotting matches played in Ukraine during the Euro 2012 football championships, as a result of the imprisonment and alleged ill-treatment of Yulia Tymoshenko. [HL490]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Government fully support England's participation in Euro 2012. We hope this is a successful tournament for the England team, the fans, and the people of Ukraine and Poland.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will make representations to the Government of Turkey about compensation for the families of victims of the Uludere airstrike, of 28 December 2011. [HL591]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We regret the tragic deaths of 34 civilians in an airstrike on Uludere on 28 December 2011. While we support Turkey's efforts to tackle terrorism, we have called on it to take all possible measures to avoid the potential for harm to civilians. Together with our European Union partners, we continue to encourage Turkey to seize the opportunity offered by constitutional reform to make progress on issues relating to the Kurdish community.
The Government do not plan to make representations to the Government of Turkey about compensation for the families of the victims of the Uludere air strike, as the incident is an internal matter for the Turkish Government.