To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 25 June (WA 1), which cited a conclusion of the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health that there is no evidence to suggest that a woman’s decision to terminate her pregnancy has any adverse mental health effects, whether the Department of Health considers it possible to ascertain whether or not the continuance of a pregnancy would involve a greater mental heath risk to the mother; and on what empirical evidence such a judgement might be based. [HL1283]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The final decision on whether or not to proceed with an abortion is for the woman involved, the two certifying doctors and the doctor who undertakes the termination, taking into account the circumstances for each individual situation and in accordance with the Abortion Act 1967.
The report Induced Abortion and Mental Health produced by the National Collaborating Centre for Mental Health found no evidence to suggest that a woman’s decision to terminate her pregnancy has any increased adverse mental health effects. However, there is evidence of unwanted pregnancy being associated with an increased risk of mental health problems regardless of whether the woman subsequently has an abortion or gave birth.
Conclusions in the report are based on research in countries where abortion is legally available. Research that includes mental health outcomes for women denied an abortion of an unwanted pregnancy, or those unable to access abortion, is limited.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Once a local authority decides that adoption is the best outcome for securing permanency for a child, the local authority will apply to court for a placement order. This is often done at the same time as a care application is being considered
by the court. If the court considers that a care order and placement for adoption is in the best interests of that child, then it will make those orders. On average care proceedings take 54 weeks from application to final order. Once a child has then been placed for adoption the prospective parents can then apply for an adoption order to formalise the relationship. As the recently published Adoption Action Plan set out, the whole process, until a child is adopted, lasts on average two years and seven months, and within that, an average time of one year and nine months to obtain the placement order.
The Government are committed to reforming the present system to reduce the time before a child moves in to a loving permanent home. We announced on Friday 6 July our intention to allow local authorities to place children, for whom an adoption decision has been made, with prospective adopters who are also approved foster carers, who will foster the child whilst the court considers the placement application, as well as increasing the use of concurrent planning in the adoption system. This builds on the work that we set out in the Adoption Action Plan, including the publication of an adoption scorecard to hold local authorities to account for their adoption services. This is complemented by our wider work to reform the family justice system which aims to ensure care cases are resolved as quickly as possible in the interests of the children involved. A key part of this work will be legislation which we plan to bring forward in this session to put in place a 26 week time limit for care cases with the flexibility to extend in exceptional circumstances.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Advisory Group for National Specialised Services (AGNSS) is an independent stakeholder advisory group which provides advice to Ministers on the services and health technologies which should be commissioned on a national basis. This includes assessments of very high cost low volume drugs. Ministers make decisions on the basis of the advice they receive from AGNSS.
fields planted with genetically modified Roundup resistant crops, whether they will permit Syngenta to market the genetically modified herbicide tolerant maize GA21; and, if so, what measures they will take to protect the environment.[HL1335]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): A decision on the marketing of GA21 maize seed for commercial cultivation will be taken in due course at European Union (EU) level, under the terms of Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003. The Government will take a view on whether or not to support EU authorisation on the basis of the scientific evidence on the potential impact on human health and the environment. Ministers will receive independent expert advice on this from the Advisory Committee on Releases to the Environment.
If GA21 maize were to receive EU clearance under the GM-related controls, it could not be grown in the UK in association with Roundup herbicide unless that specific use of Roundup is permitted under the legislation on plant protection products. As yet no application has been made for authorisation to use Roundup on GA21.
Authorisation holders for plant protection products are required to report any information relating to the development of resistance, and in the UK we have a Weed Resistance Action Group which is producing practical guidelines for resistance management and monitoring new developments in resistance. The Chemicals Regulation Directorate of the Health and Safety Executive also commissions research on this topic.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assurances Virgin Money gave the Government when they purchased Northern Rock plc about the protection of jobs and branches in Newcastle, Tyneside and Sunderland.[HL1242]
When Virgin Money acquired Northern Rock in November 2011, it made a number of commitments relating to the acquisition: there would be no compulsory redundancies, beyond those already announced by Northern Rock, for at least three years from completion; the total number of Northern Rock branches would be retained and in due course extended as the business’s growth allowed; and that the operational headquarters of Virgin Money would be based in Newcastle.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consultation was undertaken before the decision was taken by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs to embark on research involving the destruction
of empty buzzard nests and other measures to discourage buzzards in selected areas of England; and who were the consultees.[HL670]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): In January, Defra convened the Buzzard Working Group to look at the issue of buzzard predation. During these meetings Defra consulted on proposals for new research into non-lethal methods to reduce the damage caused by buzzards to game birds and other livestock.
British Association for Shooting and Conservation;British Trust for Ornithology;Food and Environment Research Agency;Game and Wildlife Conservation Trust;Hawk and Owl Trust;National Gamekeepers' Organisation;Natural England;Northern England Raptor Forum;Royal Society for the Protection of Birds; andUniversity of Aberdeen.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they were involved in any consultations or discussions regarding a decision by the Police Service of Northern Ireland to launch a criminal investigation into the events in Londonderry on 30 January 1972; and, if so, who was involved.[HL1513]
Earl Attlee: Policing and justice matters were devolved in April 2010. The decision to launch an investigation into Bloody Sunday, following a review of the Saville Report conducted by the Public Prosecution Service for Northern Ireland, is one for the Police Service of Northern Ireland. Both of these organisations are, as elsewhere in the United Kingdom, wholly independent of Government for all operational matters.
The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint): The British Government urge all companies—including those entering
Burma—to promote the highest standards of corporate governance and social and environmental responsibility, including adherence to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, and the UN's Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
We will put responsible investment at the heart of our future commercial relationship with Burma. We want to encourage investment that will benefit local communities and respect the local environment.
To help achieve this, we are funding a three-year project by the Institute for Human Rights and Business in Burma, to work towards the implementation of the UN's Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. As part of this, the IHRB are establishing a resource centre in Rangoon to provide advice to companies, governments and civil society on this, and are launching their project with a round-table on 11 July with UK business, senior members of the Burmese Government, and MPs.
We have also been focussing on the extractive sector. We have undertaken a concerted dialogue with the Burmese Government to encourage them to sign up to the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative. The Prime Minister raised this with President Thein Sein. The Burmese have now announced publicly that they are interested in implementing the initiative, and we are helping to organise a visit this month by the Secretariat as a first step.
More broadly, we want to ensure that all investment in Burma contributes to broad-based economic growth. We are launching an investment climate assessment and a public expenditure and financial accountability assessment for Burma through the World Bank. We are also working with the International Growth Centre, which has just visited Burma to consider how it might provide policy advice on this.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answers by Lord Hill of Oareford on 27 February (WA 280–1) and 15 March (WA 89) relating to the Heswall Disabled Children’s Holiday Fund, when they will now complete the review of the regulatory framework and implement its findings.[HL1080]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): We will be consulting on changes to the regulatory framework from September 2012. The consultation was delayed to permit further consideration of the range of options for regulating specialist providers of holiday schemes for disabled children. The intention is still that streamlined requirements will come into effect from April 2013.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure careers advice and guidance in schools and colleges encourages women to enter occupations which are not sex-typical, in order to tackle occupational segregation.[HL1030]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): We are supporting young women and young men to make informed choices by giving schools responsibility for securing independent and impartial careers guidance on the full range of education and training options, including apprenticeships. We are currently consulting on extending this statutory requirement to cover careers guidance for pupils in year 8 and 16-18 year-olds in schools and colleges.
Statutory guidance has been published to support schools in planning for the introduction of this new duty from September. This highlights the importance of offering young people insights into the world of work through a wide range of careers activities, including engagement with local employers. Schools are free to determine the most appropriate forms of engagement but might consider mentoring, workplace visits, work experience and employer talks. This will be particularly helpful in addressing stereotypes about specific career paths and providing pupils with inspirational role models in a range of careers.
Schools will be expected to work in partnership with external and expert careers providers as appropriate. A national standard under which providers operate will only be awarded if certain equality considerations are met. Careers advisers are bound by their code of ethics to give impartial advice and trained to avoid gender stereotyping. These requirements will be captured in a new career development framework that is currently being prepared by an alliance of professional bodies for the careers sector.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will review the decision to remove, beyond 2013, the NVQ languages qualifications from the list of approved qualifications eligible for GCSE-equivalent performance points.[HL1105]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Although a number of language NVQs were submitted for inclusion in the 2014 key stage 4 performance tables, they did not demonstrate the characteristics outlined in the Technical Guidance we published in October 2011.
Awarding organisations were informed of the decisions for their qualifications in January, and then had the opportunity to request a further review. The final list of qualifications that will count in 2014 was published in March and there will be no further review of qualifications for the 2014 performance tables.
Awarding organisations will, however, have the opportunity to submit qualifications for inclusion in the 2016 performance tables. Further details will be published on the department’s website in due course.
Schools are still able to offer qualifications not included in the performance tables that benefit particular individuals. It is for them to use their professional judgment to offer the appropriate qualifications best suited to their pupils’ needs and abilities.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 14 June (WA 267), and in the light of recent severe computer problems affecting the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), whether they will use their influence with RBS and other banks substantially owned by the taxpayer to end or substantially reduce the outsourcing of jobs and to repatriate, where possible, those already outsourced.[HL1312]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government's shareholdings in the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) are managed on a commercial and arm’s-length basis by UK Financial Investments Ltd (UKFI), a company which is wholly owned by the Government. UKFI’s overarching objective is to protect and create value for the taxpayer as shareholder, with due regard to financial stability and acting in a way that promotes competition. UKFI’s role is to manage the investments, not to manage the banks—the banks retain their own independent boards and management teams to manage the banks commercially without interference from shareholders.
Given the wider impact of this issue, the Financial Secretary spoke to Stephen Hester, the chief executive of RBS about the technical difficulties affecting both NatWest and Ulster Bank to ensure that RBS is doing everything it can to resolve these issues as quickly as possible and that customers will be properly treated and compensated as appropriate.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their policy regarding the collection and publication of data on ethnicity, in order to assess access to public services and facilities, and to identify any patterns suggesting inequality or discrimination.[HL1381]
Baroness Verma: The Government collects data on ethnicity in various areas of public policy, including the Pupil Census to monitor the educational achievements of different social groups at key stages; the Labour Force Survey to assess key labour market outcomes, and the Integrated Household Survey to investigate other public service issues. In addition, the Government
have supported data collection through the new Understanding Society survey, which has a relevant ethnicity boost. The Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) has used this data to assess the extent of inequality and discrimination in the UK and this is contained in its triennial review in 2010. Decisions on the use of data for assessing access to public services and facilities, and to identify any patterns suggesting inequality or discrimination, is a matter for individual public authorities.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether UK Asset Resolution has sold or is planning to sell Northern Rock Asset Management properties in Newcastle, North Tyneside and Sunderland to Virgin Money; and, if so, whether any assurances have been sought by the Government or offered by Virgin Money about the protection of jobs and branches in those areas.[HL1243]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): UK Asset Resolution Limited (UKAR) is the holding company for Bradford & Bingley plc and Northern Rock (Asset Management) plc and is responsible for managing the closed mortgage books.
In December 2011, UKAR announced plans to focus its business on its sites in Doxford (Sunderland) and Crossflatts (Bingley). This would involve the phased withdrawal of staff from its third main site in Gosforth (Newcastle), to be completed by mid-2013. UKAR subsequently sold its Gosforth premises to Virgin Money.
In December 2011, UKAR announced plans to focus its business on its sites in Doxford (Sunderland) and Crossflatts (Bingley). This would involve the phased withdrawal of staff from its third main site in Gosforth (Newcastle), to be completed by mid-2013. Around 700 people are employed in Gosforth out of a total workforce of 2400.
At the time, UKAR announced that there would regrettably be some job losses as a result of the phased withdrawal. However, the majority of Gosforth staff have been offered the chance to relocate to the nearest UKAR site which is approximately 18 miles away in Sunderland, with some other roles to be transferred to Crossflatts. There are no plans to exit more sites in the foreseeable future.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many apprentices (1) under the age of 21, and (2) over the age of 21, were employed within the Department for Communities and Local Government on 1 June, excluding agencies and non-departmental public bodies.[HL1238]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Whilst DCLG currently has no apprenticeships at present it wholly supports the Government initiative to promote these.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the total number of staff employed within the private offices of Ministers and the Permanent Secretary at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on 1 June; and how many of them were (1) under the age of 21, (2) apprentices under the age of 21, and (3) apprentices over the age of 21.[HL1241]
Viscount Younger of Leckie: On 1 June 2012, 16 members of staff were employed within the private offices of the Ministers and Permanent Secretary in the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). Of the 16, none are under the age of 21 or apprentices. However, DCMS operates under a flexible resourcing system which means individuals of any age can apply internally for roles as they become vacant. This includes roles in private offices. DCMS will be participating in cross-Government apprenticeship initiatives in autumn 2012.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many apprentices (1) under the age of 21, and (2) over the age of 21, were employed within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport on 1 June, excluding agencies and non-departmental public bodies. [HL1317]
Viscount Younger of Leckie: On 1 June 2012 no apprentices under, or over, the age of 21 were employed within the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), due to focus on Games time delivery. That said, DCMS has historically had a strong record in accepting interns and apprentices across our bodies and sectors and will be participating in cross-Government apprenticeship initiatives in autumn 2012.
Where a question is asked under the Freedom of Information Act, Section 12 of the act allows a department to refuse to deal with a request where it is estimated that it would exceed the appropriate limit to:
either comply with the request in its entirety or;confirm or deny whether the requested information is held.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Civil Service draws on a variety of expertise, notably the chief health professions officer, to obtain advice for Ministers on matters of concern to the allied health professions.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what recent estimate they have made of the costs to the National Health Service of failures to diagnose giant cell arteritis sufficiently early to prevent loss of vision for those afflicted.[HL1412]
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what recent estimate they have made of the number of people afflicted by giant cell arteritis who have lost vision as a result of a failure to diagnose the illness sufficiently early.[HL1413]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Estimates of the incidence of giant cell arteritis in the literature vary, but on the highest estimate (that of Smeeth et al, 2006) the annual incidence in England could be around 11,000. In a recently published study, 19 of 65 patients (29%) newly diagnosed with giant cell arteritis had suffered irreversible loss of vision. Combining these estimates, up to 3,200 people annually may be suffering partial or total loss of vision as a result of giant cell arteritis. Many of these cases may have been preventable.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the definition of a “health care worker”; how such workers are regulated; and what level of training is required for them to carry out their tasks when working with patients or clients.[HL1372]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): There is no standard definition of a “health care worker”. Different statutory definitions apply according to the context. However, the term is generally used to refer to groups of workers who are not subject to statutory mandatory regulation in accordance with Section 60(2) of the Health Act 1999.
As these workers are unregulated there is no mandatory training requirement. It is the responsibility of the service provider to ensure the workforce they employ is adequately trained and has the necessary skills to successfully handle the situations that they encounter in service.
In the Health and Social Care Act 2012, we introduced legislation which will enable a system of assured voluntary registration, which we expect to be operational before the end of 2012. We have also commissioned Skills for Health and Skills for Care to develop a code of conduct and minimum training standards by January 2013, which will for the first time set clear expectations about the training and conduct of these workers.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the insurance industry about the formation of an insurance-backed fund to pay compensation to people with mesothelioma who cannot obtain compensation any other way. [HL1379]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The issues raised are complex, and to ensure we get this right we have been working intensely with stakeholders, including the insurance industry, over the past 18 months to find a solution to the problem. We hope to provide an update on progress before the Summer Recess.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many times since his appointment as a Minister of State, until 2 July, Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint has spoken in the House of Lords (1) in debate, and (2) to answer questions.[HL1278]
The Minister of State for Trade and Investment (Lord Green on Hurstpierpoint): In my role as the Minister of State for Trade and Investment I have answered a total of 72 parliamentary questions—including two oral questions. On the 29 March 2011 I moved a motion on export control in Grand Committee, on behalf of my noble friend Baroness Wilcox, and on 9 February 2011 I repeated a Statement on trade and investment in the Chamber. On Thursday 5 July 2012 I responded to a “take note” motion moved by my noble friend Lord Jenkin of Roding on the international competitiveness of UK industry and its success in attracting inward investment and exporting to global markets.
|Housing Benefit Recipients aged under 25 by Local Authority in Greater Manchester: March 2012|
|Local Authority||Number of recipients|
quarterly aggregate clerical returns. The data are available monthly from November 2008 and March 2012 is the most recent available.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 28 May (WA 112–3), what were the top 20 categories (as defined by HM Revenue and Customs) of goods imported from outside the European Union in 2010 according to value of imports; and how much was collected by HMRC in gross customs duties in each of those categories in 2010.[HL1206]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The top 20 categories of goods imported from outside the European Union in 2010 by value are detailed in the table below. The table also provides details of the customs duties collected for each category as defined by the integrated tariff of the United Kingdom.
|Rank||Value of goods (£)||Customs duty paid (£)||Category description|
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how long each judicial inquiry commissioned by the Government since 2000 has taken; in each case, what was the subject of the inquiry; and whether any of those inquiries did not involve the swearing of oaths or making of affirmations by witnesses.[HL1410]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The following table gives details of the subject, chair and duration of judicial inquiries established since 2000. Those inquires established under statute had or have powers to compel witnesses to give evidence under oath; non-statutory inquiries do not have this power.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Hanham on 30 April (WA 410–1), what methods, procedures and rules are in place to check the powers and performance of directly elected city mayors.[HL1404]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): As I explained in my reply of 30 April, mayors will be scrutinised by elected councillors, who will do this through the council's statutory Overview and Scrutiny Committees and Full Council. Mayors will also be subject to the council's code of conduct, and any other statutory requirements such as the Local Government Transparency Code.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what data on ethnicity are available regarding detention rates, consent to treatment, control and restraint, and Community Treatment Orders under the Mental Health Act 2007; and, if they are not available, whether the Care Quality Commission will be required to provide such data in respect of the past five years in their annual monitoring of the Mental Health Act.[HL1382]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Count Me In Census, published annually from 2005 to 2008 by the Healthcare Commission and by the Care Quality Commission in 2009 and 2010, included information on detention rates, consent to treatment, restraint and Community Treatment Orders, broken down by ethnicity.
show detail on the use of the Mental Health Act for people from a range of black and minority ethnic groups in 2010-11.
The NHS Information Centre for Health and Social Care has recently conducted a consultation on how the MHMDS can be used as the source of national statistics about the use of the Mental Health Act 1983.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): On 26 January 2012, the Government published a Written Ministerial Statement, announcing that the Council for Healthcare Regulatory Excellence (CHRE) would be undertaking a strategic review of the Nursing and Midwifery Council (NMC). This followed several years of underperformance by the NMC.
On 3 July 2012, the CHRE published its review. It found that while the NMC is discharging its statutory duties, there were serious concerns about leadership, which resulted in poor performance below the standard that the public and registrants have the right to expect. This is of serious concern to the Government.
The Government expect to see the NMC implementing all of the recommendations that have been made by CHRE. The department, on behalf of the Privy Council will be working closely with the CHRE to monitor progress.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Freud on 26 June (WA 58–59), what information they collect on the number, frequency and amount of claims for a temporary uprating of UK state pensions by UK citizens who are resident in countries where that pension is not uprated.[HL1230]
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Freud on 26 June (WA 58–59), whether they will make it their policy to collect and publish the number of claims made for a temporary uprating of UK state pensions by UK citizens who are resident in countries where that pension is not uprated.[HL1231]
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, in the most recent year for which figures are available, how much was paid out to meet claims for a temporary uprating of UK state pensions by UK citizens who are resident in countries where that pension is not uprated.[HL1232]
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Freud on 26 June (WA 59), whether they will record the time taken to process each claim for a temporary uprating of UK state pensions by UK citizens who are resident in countries where that pension is not uprated. [HL1233]
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Freud on 26 June (WA 59), whether they will record the number of civil servants who are required to process claims for a temporary uprating of UK state pensions by UK citizens who are resident in countries where that pension is not uprated.[HL1234]
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what types of information and data are currently held on UK citizens who receive UK state pensions and are resident in countries where that pension is not uprated.[HL1235]
Mercantile City of Liverpool on the list of endangered World Heritage Sites, whether the Secretary of State will now call in the Liverpool Waters planning application.[HL1406]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Liverpool Waters application has not been referred to the Secretary of State for his consideration at the current time. It is not the policy of the Secretary of State to consider call-in of applications before they have been referred to him for consideration. The application will be referred in due course as it falls within the scope of the Town and Country Planning (Consultation)(England) Direction 2009 by virtue of English Heritage's outstanding objection, related to the impact of the proposal on the outstanding universal value of Liverpool's World Heritage Site. The implications of the proposal in relation to the conservation and enhancement of the historic environment will form part of the consideration of the proposal against the call in policy set out in the Caborn statement. The Secretary of State is very selective about calling in applications and will only do so if they raise issues of national importance.