Viscount Younger of Leckie: Government invest money in the arts, and in regional theatre, via Arts Council England. In the financial year 2012-13, the Arts Council will provide over £50 million of grant-in-aid support to regional theatres. Money has also been designated for greater touring opportunities and the refurbishment of some major theatrical buildings. For example, funding has been awarded to Theatre Hullabaloo's the North East Children's Theatre Consortium, to improve the quality, quantity and profile of theatre for young audiences across the North East. A grant has also been committed to Chichester Festival Theatre for its restoration and upgrade. Arts Council England's Catalyst Arts scheme will also provide funding to arts organisations, including regional theatres, to help them diversify their income streams and access more funding from private sources.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the Bank of England is free to purchase equity securities under quantitative easing, and whether it has done so; and whether they will accept equity investments as collateral for liquidity purposes.[HL2484]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Quantitative easing is implemented through the asset purchase facility (APF) which was established as a subsidiary of the Bank of England on 30 January 2009. In the then Chancellor's letters to the Governor, of 29 January and 3 March 2009, the following sterling assets were authorised as eligible for purchase by the APF: gilts, paper issued under the credit guarantee scheme, corporate bonds, commercial paper, syndicated loans and asset backed securities created in viable securitisation structures. The current ceiling on the purchase of eligible private sector assets is £10 billion as set out in the Chancellor's letter to the Governor of 29 November 2011.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the policies used by the Financial Services Authority and HM Treasury to determine whether any changes in setting capital and liquidity policy for regulated banks should be formally announced to investment markets as opposed to unofficially communicated. [HL2483]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Financial Services Authority and HM Treasury determine on a case by case basis whether any changes in setting capital and liquidity policy for regulated banks are formally announced.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): In June, HM Treasury and the Bank of England announced a series of measures to provide additional liquidity and support lending. These measures included the Funding for Lending Scheme (FLS) which was launched to incentivise banks and building societies to expand their lending to households and non-financial companies.
At the same time, the interim Financial Policy Committee noted, in the June Financial Stability Report, that the Financial Services Authority (FSA) should work with banks to improve the resilience of their balance sheets, without exacerbating market fragility or reducing lending to the real economy.
In order to ensure that the microprudential framework does not counteract the actions taken to encourage lending, the FSA has made adjustments to the liquidity and capital regimes for UK banks and building societies. The press statement announcing these adjustments can be found on the FSA's website at: http://www.fsa. gov.uk/library/communication/statements/2012/fpc. shtml.
Part of this announcement included a commitment that where firms increase lending, as measured by the metric of the FLS, but irrespective of whether the firm is participating in the scheme or not, the FSA will not require them to hold additional capital.
Viscount Younger of Leckie: Following a meeting between the mobile operators, the Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries, Ed Vaizey MP, and the Secretary of State, the right honourable Maria Miller MP on 2 October, plans to bring more next generation mobile services (4G) to consumers next spring have been agreed. Delivering 4G services is a key part of the Government's commitment to providing the UK with the digital infrastructure businesses need to succeed and grow.
Later this year, Ofcom will begin auctioning the spectrum at 800 MHz and 2600 MHz for 4G services. Over the last month, instigated by the Government, Ofcom, mobile network operators, Digital UK, TV broadcasters, and others have been working to speed up the process of making the spectrum at 800 MHz available.
This work has enabled the possibility that mobile operators will be able to roll-out 4G services in the 800 MHz band earlier than previously estimated. This will follow EE's launch of a 4G service in their existing spectrum at 1800 MHz following Ofcom's decision to allow the liberalisation of their licence in that band.
The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Green of Hurstpierpoint): There has been significant interest in Burma from UK businesses following the suspension in April of EU sanctions, apart from the arms embargo, when the UK also lifted its policy of actively discouraging trade with Burma. We have sought to encourage responsible investment in Burma as we believe such investment can support Burma's economic and social development and aid its democratic transition.
UKTI now has a presence in the market and is able to provide services to UK businesses, including tailored market research to help them plan how to sustainably invest in the market. UK Government officials have spoken at a number of events related to investing in Burma since April.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Department for Education currently has one member of the senior civil service on secondment to a school in England. This school is the Haberdashers' Aske Federation of Academies.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Statement by Baroness Hanham on 24 September (WS127–30), how many groups of reports from research projects commissioned by previous Administrations will be published; and at what total cost.[HL2457]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): We have published 14 groups of reports from research projects commissioned by previous Administrations. There is one group pending publication. These reports were all typeset in-house and are web-only publications. The cost of publishing these documents is negligible.
Notwithstanding, the last Administration spent £25.6 million on research projects that were commissioned but not published before May 2010, and many of those projects did not represent value for money for taxpayers.
As outlined in my Written Statement, this Government have put in place greater scrutiny and challenge of newly commissioned research programmes to deliver better value for money and ensure that sums expended are reasonable in relation to the public policy benefits obtained.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they intend to assist those addicted to, or withdrawing from, benzodiazepines, selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and other drugs currently prescribed by doctors or sold over the counter.[HL2556]
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how the existing methadone substitution programme devised by the National Treatment Centre for Substance Misuse for heroin addicts can assist patients suffering from prescribed drug addiction and withdrawal.[HL2557]
To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they have informed, or propose to inform, general practitioners, clinical commissioning groups and the general public of any new NHS policy or programme to assist directly those suffering from prescribed drug addiction and withdrawal.[HL2558]
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will draw on voluntary sector practice and expertise in preparing any new programme to combat prescribed drug addiction and to treat the effects of withdrawal. [HL2559]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Health and Social Care Act 2012 requires local authorities and clinical commissioning groups in each area to jointly lead health and wellbeing boards where they will assess local health ands social care needs through joint strategic needs assessments (JSNA), and develop joint health and wellbeing strategies to meet those needs. Taken together the assessments and strategies will inform local planning, commissioning and delivery of services by local authorities and the National Health Service. The action plan for 2012-13 for the National Treatment Agency for Substance Misuse (NTA) requires it to continue to support the development and delivery of effective local recovery-orientated systems. The information which the NTA supplies to health and wellbeing boards to assist JSNA includes information about addiction to medicines.
Services to help people withdraw from prescribed and over-the-counter medicines, which could include provision by the voluntary sector, are commissioned at a local level. It is for local systems to design appropriate referral routes into services and ensure awareness of the help that is available locally.
The 2007 UK Guidelines on Clinical Management of Drug Misuse and Dependence contain separate sections on withdrawal from benzodiazepines and the use of methadone and other preparations for opioid substitution treatment. They highlight the risks of using benzodiazepines and opioids at the same time.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Monetary Policy Committee's (MPC) policy tools, including bank rate and quantitative easing (QE) via the asset purchase facility (APF), are designed to affect the economy as a whole, in order to meet the 2% inflation target over the medium term.
“against the background of continuing tight credit conditions and fiscal consolidation, the increased drag from the heightened tensions within the euro area meant that, without additional monetary stimulus, it was more likely than not that inflation would undershoot the target in the medium term”.
The Bank of England estimated in its September 2011 Quarterly Bulletin that QE, during March 2009 and January 2010, raised spending and activity in the UK economy. It estimated that QE had raised UK inflation by between three quarters of a per cent and 1½%; and increased real GDP by around 1½% to 2%.1
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Baroness Verma): Gas prices for households consumers are a commercial matter for the companies concerned. As recently announced by my right honourable friend the Prime Minister, DECC will bring forward legislation to help consumers get the lowest tariff for them.
Viscount Younger of Leckie: On 11 October 2012 the Prime Minister announced a series of measures to commemorate the centenary of the First World War. Working with key partners including the Heritage Lottery Fund, the Imperial War Museum and the Commonwealth War Graves Commission, the Government's preparations will include national commemorations for key events such as the outbreak of the war on 4 August 2014, the first day of the battle of the Somme on 1 July 2016 and Armistice Day 11 November 2018. The centenary will also provide the foundations upon which to build an enduring cultural and educational legacy. A new centenary education programme, with more than £5 million of new government funding, will include the opportunity for pupils and teachers from every state secondary school to research the people who served in the Great War. Also, the Centenary Partnership Programme will promote a series of community-based initiatives, and a further £5 million will be made available to support the Transforming Imperial War Museum London project.
Viscount Younger of Leckie: On 11 October the Prime Minister announced a package of support for commemorations of the First World War. This package includes £5 million from the Treasury in support of the Transforming Imperial War Museum project and £5.3 million jointly funded by the Department for Education and the Department for Communities and Local Government, which will allow pupils and teachers from every maintained secondary school in England the chance to go on a tour of the great battlefields, and take part in remembrance ceremonies on the Western Front. In addition, at least £10 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund will enable young people working in their communities to conserve, explore and share local heritage of the First World War. Also, a grant of up to £1 million from the National Heritage Memorial Fund will support HMS “Caroline”. She will now have a secure future in Belfast, where thousands of people will be able to visit her and learn about her unique role in the First World War.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answers by Lord Strathclyde on 5 July (WA 192) and 17 July (WA 32–3), what was the cost charged to the news organisations and the Conservative Party in respect of journalists and members of political offices who travelled with the Prime Minister on a chartered flight to the United States on 13 March.[HL1840]
To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Strathclyde on 17 July (WA 32–3), why, in the light of previous Written Answers detailing those who travelled with the Prime Minister, they will not give the names of those who travelled with the Prime Minister on a chartered flight to the United States on 13 March.[HL1841]
To ask Her Majesty’s Government on what date they received the funds due from the Conservative Party for members of the Prime Minister's political office who travelled with him to the United States on 13 March.[HL1842]
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Lord Strathclyde): Journalists and members of the political office that travel with the Prime Minister are charged the equivalent cost of a seat on a commercial flight on the same route.
London to Washington—24;Washington to New York—32; andNew York to London—26.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Cluster Director of Public Health for Birmingham and Solihull has responded to the coroner's letter of 6 August, stating that the recommendations have been implemented, that they are monitored through their contracting arrangements with National Health Service providers and reported to the Cluster Clinical Quality Group; and that she is assured that the recommendations are on track. There is a strong focus in the report on enhanced general practitioner (GP) knowledge and awareness, with provision for training and awareness sessions.
The Health Protection Agency has also responded to the coroner's letter of 6 August, highlighting a number of strategic initiatives, which include TB cohort review meetings and action to raise the knowledge and awareness of GPs, other health care workers and people in the most affected communities.
The department recognises the public health importance of tuberculosis (TB) and is currently funding TB Alert, to raise awareness of TB amongst general practitioners and other primary care professionals. TB Alert is developing an online learning module in collaboration with the Royal College of General Practitioners and a training pack for TB nurses to use in running training sessions with primary care professionals.
Lord Wallace of Saltaire: As with the development of any Government policy, a variety of officials dealt with House of Lords reform as part of their duties. Between five and 12 civil servants worked full-time on House of Lords reform at any one time between May 2010 and 31 August 2012. The estimated cost of these
salaries for this period is £620,000. Other civil servants provided support. It is not possible to distinguish between the time they spent on House of Lords reform and other issues. Other costs were principally for the publication of documents and totalled £11,000.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): We plan to publish by the end of this year statutory instruments (SIs) dealing with commissioning requirements for the NHS Commissioning Board and clinical commissioning groups (CCGs), Standing Rules for the Board and CCGs, local authority public health functions, local Healthwatch, and care trusts and partnership working.
In 2013 we plan to publish further SIs. These will include regulations on the National Health Service constitution, primary care, the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence and the NHS Information Centre for Health and Social Care, health and wellbeing boards, licensing, pricing, continuity of service and procurement, choice and competition, and orders to commence provisions in the Health and Social Care Act 2012 (the Act) and to amend existing legislation as a consequence of the Act. There may also be some directions in writing.
Some of the powers in the Act to make delegated legislation are included on a contingency basis and will not necessarily be used (for example, powers to intervene in the event of failure). The abolition of NHS trusts, and the related secondary legislation will be made at a later stage.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have conducted any post-legislative assessment of the impact of the Localism Act 2011; and, if so, whether they will place the information in the Library of the House.[HL2603]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): No assessment has been made at this time. The department is keen to see how the rights and freedoms provided by the Act are used and will conduct post-legislative scrutiny in line with the Government's broader approach. Further information on this is at: http://www.cabinet office.gov.uk/sites/default/files/resources/Guide-to-Making-Legislation_0.pdf.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have discussed with the Government of North Korea the alignment of that country's constitution with international human rights instruments; and whether they have offered assistance in improving respect for and protection and promotion of human rights in that country.[HL2497]
The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): We have regularly raised the importance of North Korea aligning itself with international human rights instruments in our bilateral contacts with the Government of North Korea. This has included calling on North Korea to ratify the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic and Social Rights—in both cases North Korea has signed but not ratified both covenants. We have also recently encouraged the Government of North Korea to meet its obligations to the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women, and encouraged North Korea to provide a thorough report to the UN Human Rights Council in advance of their next universal periodic review (UPR) in 2013.
To assist with the UPR process, our embassy in Pyongyang has offered to work with the North Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs on sharing lessons from our own recent appearance before the Human Rights Council. Our embassy in Pyongyang has also recently been focusing on improving respect for, and promotion of, disabled rights. This has included funding a series of projects benefiting the families of deaf children in North Korea, as well as providing financial assistance to Rim Ju Song, North Korea's first Paralympic athlete.
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what information they have received about allegations of the shooting of escapees trying to leave North Korea across the River Tumen or River Yalu; and what discussions they have had with the government of China
concerning the principle of non-refoulement of refugees and asylum seekers, particularly in regard to North Korea.[HL2499]
Baroness Warsi: The UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in North Korea highlighted in his report to the UN Human Rights Council in March 2012 that there were reports of North Korea implementing a shoot to kill policy for people trying to leave North Korea across the River Rumen or River Yalu. We are concerned about these reports.
The UK raised our concerns with the Chinese Government about reports of the refoulement of North Korean refugees and the treatment of refugees returned to North Korea in the 19th Round of the UK-China Human Rights Dialogue in January 2011. It was also raised more recently during the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue in May 2012. We have also called on China to allow access to the border areas by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
The UK participated in discussions of the report by the UN special rapporteur at the UN Human Rights Council on 12 March 2012. At this meeting, we agreed with the special rapporteur that all states should adhere to their obligations to protect asylum seekers..
To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have received from the national governing bodies for sport in the United Kingdom about the sale of playing fields; how many playing fields have been sold in the past two years; whether they will take action to secure no further net loss; and what assessment they have made of the impact of sales on the goals of securing increased participation in sport and the Olympic and Paralympic 2012 legacy.[HL2452]
Viscount Younger of Leckie: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) has received no recent representations from national governing bodies for sport about the sale of playing fields, and DCMS does not hold records of the number of playing fields that have been sold in the past two years. As a statutory consultee on planning applications affecting playing fields, Sport England records the number of applications for new playing fields received and approved by local planning authorities. However, they do not hold records of overall sales. Data relevant to school playing fields are recorded by the Department for Education.
Sport England works with government to ensure that robust policy is in place to protect playing fields. As a statutory consultee on planning applications affecting playing fields, Sport England is consulted on applications affecting any land that has been used as a playing field in the past five years and any replacement of a grass pitch with a synthetic surface. Whilst this does not mean that playing fields cannot be sold, there is an expectation that none will be disposed of if a needs assessment demonstrates a continuing community demand. In addition, as part of Places People Play, the £10 million Protecting Playing Fields fund has been created to improve pitches and bring disused playing fields back into use, creating a legacy of high quality pitches where people can play competitive sport. Clubs, community and voluntary sector groups, local authorities, town and parish councils and schools are eligible to apply for the fund.
No specific assessment has been made of the impact sales of playing fields have on participation levels. Participation levels in sport are recorded by DCMS via the Taking Part survey and by Sport England via the Active People Survey. The most recent versions of which can be found at the following links: http://www.culture. gov.uk/what_we_do/research_and_statistics/4828. aspx and http://www.sportengland.org/research/active_ people_survey.aspx.