23 Jan 2013 : Column WA207

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Written Answers

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Adolf Hitler

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have any plans to mark the 80th anniversary of the coming to power of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi regime in Germany on 30 January.[HL4387]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble: The Government have no such plans.

Agriculture: Eggs

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 28 February 2012 (WA 337), whether they have contacted any relevant competent authority in another European Union country for confirmation of whether imported eggs were compliant with production by hens in enriched cages; and whether they intend to propose any sanctions on Belgium, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Cyprus, Hungary, the Netherlands, Poland and Portugal for failure to implement European Union Directive 1999/74/EU.[HL4482]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): During 2012, the Animal Health and Veterinary Laboratories Agency (AHVLA), the body responsible for enforcing the conventional cage ban in Great Britain, used the lists of compliant producers provided by the Competent Authorities of other member states as the first point of reference when checking batches of imported shell eggs. If any anomalies were found between the producer information on the eggs and the information in the lists, then AHVLA contacted the competent authority in the relevant member state for clarification. In all instances the member state of origin was able to provide the necessary assurance that the eggs had originated from compliant establishments and no enforcement action was needed.

Compliance with the cage ban progressed significantly through 2012 and I understand that only two member states remain non-compliant with the ban. Member states’ action plans submitted to the Commission include the commitment not to export conventional cage shell egg.

Member states cannot impose unilateral trade restrictions for welfare reasons. However, the European Commission is taking action against member states which were not delivering on their animal welfare obligations.

23 Jan 2013 : Column WA208

Agriculture: Pigs

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the level of compliance in the Republic of Ireland with the sow stall ban in European Union Directive 2008/120/EC which lays down minimum standards for the protection of pigs; and whether they will impose any restrictions on the import of pig meat from European Union countries in breach of the Directive.[HL4484]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): It is very disappointing that many member states were not fully compliant with the sow stall ban when it came into force on 1 January 2013, despite their assurances to the Commission last year. Provisional data from the Commission at the end of last year reported that the Republic of Ireland was likely to be one of those member states that would not be fully compliant. We expect the Commission to provide an update of the current position on compliance now the ban is in place at January’s Agriculture and Fisheries Council at the end of the month.

Member states cannot impose unilateral trade restrictions for welfare reasons. Enforcement of imported pig meat is, therefore, challenging. We have to rely heavily on the competent authority in each member state to take responsibility for ensuring that their producers comply with the pig welfare directive. However, the European Commission is taking action against member states which are not delivering on their animal welfare obligations.

We are using every opportunity to press the Commission to drive forward compliance and to take a firm stand as the priority must be to protect those producers across the whole of the EU who have invested heavily in converting to more welfare-friendly group housing systems from illegal production.

Armed Forces: Medals

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what factors led to their decision to award a medal to the survivors of the Arctic convoys; when the medal will be struck; to how many people it will be awarded; and what is their average age.[HL4472]

Baroness Garden of Frognal: The Prime Minister’s announcement on 19 December 2012 concerning the award of a new medal to the veterans of the Arctic convoys resulted from the review that he had asked Sir John Holmes to undertake on the rules and principles applying to the award of military medals. Most of the Arctic convoy veterans already hold the Atlantic Star but Sir John concluded that the Arctic convoys were separate and distinct from operations in the Atlantic and that a more specific medal should be awarded retrospectively.

23 Jan 2013 : Column WA209

The details, including the eligibility criteria, application process, design and manufacture and numbers required of the new medal are being worked on by the Ministry of Defence who will be responsible for its issue. The remaining veterans are in their late eighties or nineties and we are very mindful of this as we progress the necessary details as quickly as possible.

Arts: Funding

Question

Asked by Lord Beecham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what provision has been made in the Autumn Statement for (1) capital programmes, and (2) revenue support, for the arts, (a) by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport in relation to the Arts Council for England, and (b) by way of direct support.[HL4448]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble: The Autumn Statement announced no new provisions specifically for arts programmes.

Asylum Seekers

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they can recommence removal of asylum seekers to Greece; what are the current unaddressed obstacles; and whether they will consider researching the different ways in which the asylum seekers who had first been registered in Greece gained admission to the United Kingdom in order to discover any pattern of border security failure in relation to Greece. [HL4619]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach): Against an extremely challenging financial climate, Greece is making progress in developing a new asylum service, appeals authority and framework for reception arrangements. However, the delivery of physical infrastructure, such as buildings and equipment, plus staff recruitment and the implementation of new procedures, is not yet complete. The UK, along with the European Asylum Support Office, other member states, the European Commission and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, continue to support and monitor the progress of this work. Only once we are satisfied changes have been fully implemented and that Greece can meet its international obligations to asylum seekers will it be possible to consider resuming transfers under the Dublin regulation.

On 14 December 2012 (Official Report, col. WA 261-62) I explained that the UK Border Force works closely with French partners in order to detect individuals seeking to evade border checks in northern France.

Border security is one of the key priorities of the UK Border Agency with a raft of measures in place to mitigate against the threats posed. This includes research and analysis of migration trends, debriefing of illegal migrants in the UK and work with our partners in the UK and abroad to gather intelligence about migration routes.

23 Jan 2013 : Column WA210

The UK works closely with the Greek authorities and with Frontex (the European Agency for the Management of Operational Co-operation at the External Borders of the European Union) to build capacity, deliver operational assistance and share information to disrupt criminal activity at the external EU border and further upstream. We are also committed to assisting Greece in returning illegal migrants to their countries of origin, including through the support of assisted voluntary returns programmes.

Broadcasting: Local Television Licences

Question

Asked by Lord Kilclooney ;

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many licences for local television have been awarded, for which areas; and how many applications for local television licences are being considered, for which areas.[HL4687]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble: To date, 14 (out of a total 19) licences have been awarded for local TV broadcasting services, with decisions expected in the near future on the successful applicant in each of the remaining five areas. By the closing date in August 2012, Ofcom had received 57 applications in total for licences.

Those areas where licences have been awarded are:

Belfast (2 applicants);Birmingham (4 applicants);Brighton and Hove (1 applicant);Bristol (1 applicant);Cardiff (2 applicants);Edinburgh (4 applicants);Glasgow (4 applicants);Grimsby (1 applicant);Newcastle (4 applicants);Norwich (2 applicants);Nottingham (2 applicants);Oxford (3 applicants);Sheffield (3 applicants); andSouthampton (2 applicants).

Those areas where licences are yet to be awarded are:

Leeds (5 applicants);Liverpool (5 applicants);London (5 applicants);Manchester (5 applicants); and Preston (2 applicants)

Burma

Questions

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to encourage the Government of Burma to allow unhindered access for international humanitarian assistance to displaced peoples in all parts of Kachin State and Northern Shan State. [HL4716]

23 Jan 2013 : Column WA211

Baroness Northover: I refer the noble Lady to the answer given in the other place on 21 January by the Minister of State for International Development, right honourable Alan Duncan MP (Official Report, col. 80W)

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have had with the United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Co-ordinator following her recent visit to Rakhine State and Kachin State in Burma. [HL4718]

Baroness Northover: I refer the noble Lady to the answer given in the other place on 21 January by the Minister of State for International Development, right honourable Alan Duncan MP (Official Report, col. 79W)

Businesses: Closures

Question

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many businesses have closed in the Basildon local authority area in each of the last three financial years. [HL4570]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Glen Watson, Director General for ONS, to Baroness Smith, dated January 2013.

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking how many businesses have closed in the Basildon local authority area in each of the last three financial years. (HL4570)

Annual statistics on the number of business closures (we refer to these as enterprise deaths) are available in the ONS release on Business Demography at

http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/bus-register/business-demography/index.html

The latest data available are for 2011. However, please note that the data shown in the table below are enterprise deaths recorded over the calendar year period. This information is not available on a financial year basis.

Count of enterprise deaths in the Basildon Local Authority area, 2009-2011
YearNumber of enterprise deaths

2009

730

2010

725

2011

590

Note

The above figures have been rounded to the nearest five, to avoid disclosure. These numbers do not include very small businesses, typically those below the threshold for VAT.

23 Jan 2013 : Column WA212

Businesses: Funding

Question

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many businesses in Basildon have received funding from (1) the Growth Accelerator, (2) Business In You, (3) UK Export Finance, and (4) Funding for Lending, in the last 12 months for which figures are available; what is the average amount of money received by businesses from each scheme in Basildon since May 2010 and the total amount from each scheme; and what is their estimate of the total number of businesses in Basildon.[HL4442]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie): The Government want to make the UK the best place in the world to start and grow a business. Ensuring the flow of credit to viable businesses is essential for supporting growth and is a core priority for this Government. We want to ensure that the financial sector can supply affordable credit that businesses need, and we would like to see more diverse sources of finance for businesses including, where appropriate, access to equity finance. That is why the Government are providing a comprehensive package of financial support for small businesses.

(1) Growth Accelerator provides bespoke packages of support to businesses based on their particular barriers to growth rather than direct financial support. This support includes high quality coaching, master classes, leadership and management training and peer group support as well as access to external support that they need (e.g. export advice, angel investment, access to incubators etc). The initial average value of the coaching, masterclasses and leadership and management training is c£5,100. This is expected to increase as European Development Funding (ERDF) and private sector contributions to the programme are secured. There are currently five companies in the Basildon area signed up to Growth Accelerator.

(2) Business in You is not a funding programme. It is a partnership between private enterprise and Government, to highlight support for start-ups and growing businesses.

(3) UK Export Finance does not provide businesses with funding. Its support takes the form of trade credit insurance to exporters and guarantees to banks that make loans to buyers to finance the purchase of supplies from UK companies. In the past 12 months, UK Export Finance has provided support to one business in Basildon on an export contract with a value of £5.85 million under its bank guarantee products.

(4) Funding for Lending is a broad scheme run by the Bank of England to support credit across the economy as a whole. As such, it is not possible to identify which individual businesses have benefited from the scheme. The Bank of England provides information on the use of the Funding for Lending scheme on its website at: www.bankofengland.co.uk.

The British Bankers’ Association also publish quarterly details of net and gross lending to small and medium enterprises (SMEs) broken down by region, and will in due course provide data on a postcode-level basis.

23 Jan 2013 : Column WA213

In March 2012, there were 5,780 businesses registered for either VAT and/or PAYE, in the Basildon local authority area. Please note that these figures exclude the very smallest non employing businesses, for which data is not available at a local authority level.

Charities: Funding

Question

Asked by Lord Ryder of Wensum

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the total cost of government support for registered charities in 2010–12; and how much was provided to each charity concerned.[HL4406]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Information on the total cost to Government of support for the voluntary and charitable sector is not held centrally.

Information on central government spend by individual departments to the sector (including both grants and contracts) is available through Departmental Business Plan Quarterly Data Summaries, published at: http://www.number10.gov.uk/transparency/how-your-money-is-spent/.

China

Questions

Asked by Lord Patten

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what information they have received about the whereabouts and conditions in prison since his detention on 8 October 1997 of Bishop James Su Zhimin in China.[HL4453]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): We urge the Chinese authorities to confirm the whereabouts and status of Su Zhimin who disappeared in 1997 and has not been seen since, other than one reported sighting at a hospital in 2003. We most recently raised his case at the 14th round of UK-China Human Rights Dialogue in 2006. We last received an official response on his case in 2004 and were told that no restrictions had been placed on him and that the authorities had no information about his whereabouts. We are unable to confirm whether he is still alive.

We continue to have concerns about the freedom of religion in China, as stated in my previous answers to the noble Lord on 4 December 2012 (c128W) and 13 November 2012 (c271W). We will continue to raise freedom of religion, not least in relation to individual cases of concern, with the Chinese Government. We will also raise freedom of religion at the next UK-China Human Rights Dialogue, as confirmed in my previous answer to the noble of 4 December (c128W). The Minister of State, My right honourable friend the Member for East Devon (Mr Swire) raised several individual human rights cases during a meeting with the Chinese ambassador on 1 November 2012 and will take the opportunity to do so again at subsequent meetings.

23 Jan 2013 : Column WA214

Asked by Lord Patten

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Warsi on 4 December (WA 128), when they will next raise with the Government of China the case of Bishop James Su Zhimin who has been detained in China since 8 October 1997.[HL4454]

Baroness Warsi: We urge the Chinese authorities to confirm the whereabouts and status of Su Zhimin who disappeared in 1997 and has not been seen since, other than one reported sighting at a hospital in 2003. We most recently raised his case at the 14th round of UK-China Human Rights Dialogue in 2006. We last received an official response on his case in 2004 and were told that no restrictions had been placed on him and that the authorities had no information about his whereabouts. We are unable to confirm whether he is still alive.

We continue to have concerns about the freedom of religion in China, as stated in my previous answers to the noble lord on 4 December 2012 (c128W) and 13 November 2012 (c271W). We will continue to raise freedom of religion, not least in relation to individual cases of concern, with the Chinese Government. We will also raise freedom of religion at the next UK-China Human Rights Dialogue, as confirmed in my previous answer to the noble of 4 December (col. 128W). The Minister of State, My right honourable friend the Member for East Devon (Mr Swire) raised several individual human rights cases during a meeting with the Chinese ambassador on 1 November 2012 and will take the opportunity to do so again at subsequent meetings

Disabled People: Access to Work

Question

Asked by Baroness Thomas of Winchester

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what work they are undertaking to promote the Access to Work programme.[HL4600]

Lord Freud: The Department for Work and Pensions are actively marketing Access to Work to raise awareness of the programme and improve understanding of it amongst disabled people and those with a physical or mental health condition.

As recommended in the Sayce review, we initially targeted groups who historically have lower take up rates of Access to Work support. This included people with mental health conditions, people living in Wales and small and medium enterprises (SMEs). We are now building general awareness of Access to Work and targeting young disabled people.

Over the past three months we have achieved high profile coverage in a variety of national media, including the BBC “See Hear” programme, Radio 4’s “You and Yours” (a programme on Access to Work) and a feature in the Sun newspaper.

23 Jan 2013 : Column WA215

As part of our continued engagement with partners and stakeholders, including disabled people’s user-led organisations (DPULOs), we are sharing information about Access to Work that is being pushed out to disabled people through their networks.

To promote Access to Work with employers we have produced a guide for employers and publicised the product through established social media accounts owned by our and other government departments. This was supplemented with focused Access to Work pieces in e-mail bulletins and online magazines aimed at employers. We have also delivered a series of awareness sessions to employers and employer groups, including large national retailers, events for SMEs and cross-government employment and disability groups.

We have secured a small marketing budget that supports our nil-cost activity. This funding will specifically be used to help us further strengthen our partnerships with key stakeholders and organisations developing marketing materials, attending key events and digital marketing.

As part of the marketing activities to target young disabled people we have launched an online marketing campaign aimed at young disabled people in the transition from education to employment with online marketing and banners on key relevant sites, including Reed recruitment. This is supported by working with specialist recruitment agencies delivering dir t mailings to specialist teachers, young graduates and universities.

Embryology

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answers by Earl Howe on 24 January 2011 (WA 97–8) and 9 July 2012 (WA 202–3), whether members of the Scientific and Clinical Advances Advisory Committee (SCAAC) agreed in 2011 that information currently held by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) was not a true reflection of the incidence of ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) in the United Kingdom; and, if so, (1) to what extent the risks of OHSS might have been underestimated by the HFEA, and (2) on what basis the HFEA asserts that multiple pregnancy poses “the single greatest health risk associated with fertility treatment”, if other risks have not been similarly quantified.[HL4388]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 8 January (WA 22-4), how the British Medical Journal editorial by Susan Bewley et al. was referenced amongst follow-up research for the Scientific and Clinical Advances Advisory Committee (SCAAC) in either the meeting minutes for 29 February 2012, the prioritisation of issues identified through the horizon scanning process or the papers listed in Annex A on the previously cited web page; and how the concern expressed therein that "ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome may arise from a reluctance to abandon cycles because of financial payment structures" might have been addressed by the previous consultation on gamete donation.[HL4389]

23 Jan 2013 : Column WA216

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that it can confirm that at the meeting of the Scientific and Clinical Advances Advisory Committee (SCAAC) in May 2011, the minutes state that, “Members agreed that information currently held by the HFEA about ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) was not a true reflection of the incidence of OHSS in the UK”. The minutes can be found on the HFEA’s website at: www.hfea.gov.uk/6450.html.

The HFEA has also advised that it has no further information to add to that provided in the answer I gave the noble Lord on 8 January 2013 (Official Report, col. WA 22-23).

The HFEA has advised that, as set out in the Answer I gave the noble Lord on 8 January 2013 (Official Report, col. WA 24), Bewley et. al. (2011) was included in its summary of follow-up research for SCAAC. The study was referenced at annex A.

The findings of the HFEA’s 2011 consultation on the compensation of donors and benefits in kind, “Donating sperm and eggs: have your say”, which ran from January to April 2011, together with the authority’s decision, can be found on its website at: www.hfea. gov.uk/6696.html.

The economic impact assessment that the HFEA carried out as part of the consultation looked at the impact of compensation on donor incentives to supply gametes. This assessment can be found in the papers for the meeting of the authority on 19 October 2011 (at page 296) on the HFEA’s website at: www.hfea.gov.uk/docs/2011-10-19_Authority_papers-full_set(1).pdf.

The HFEA has advised that concerns raised in relation to OHSS, as part of the consultation, were taken on board. The HFEA agreed a compensation amount that it considered would not be enough to induce someone into donating. The authority's decision was made public on 19 October 2011. The press release can be found on the HFEA's website at: www.hfea. gov.uk/6700.html

The papers for the authority meeting on 19 October 2011 also set out the ethical principles to which the HFEA agreed. The large majority of respondents to the consultation also agreed that these were the right principles (at page 4).

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answers by Earl Howe on 8 January 2012 (WA 22–4), whether the stated role of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) in relation to ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) includes ensuring that clinics provide patients with proper information about any possible risks and side effects of their treatment; and if so (1) why the HFEA has limited powers in relation to OHSS and does not require monitoring of patients, (2) what solutions have been proposed to amend this, (3) what further action has been taken in implementing the recommendations at paragraph 3.14 of the minutes of the Scientific and Clinical Advances Advisory Committee meeting on 4 May 2011 about the reporting of OHSS by hospitals to the Department of Health using their cost-coding system, (4) what consideration

23 Jan 2013 : Column WA217

the HFEA has given to the impact of OHSS on the welfare of the child, in the light of data reviewed in

Reproduction

(2010) Volume 139, Issue 1: pages 23–34, and (5) whether the limits on the HFEA’s powers pertain equally to the risks associated with OHSS and those associated with multiple pregnancy and, if not, what accounts for the differing approaches regarding potential risks to women.[HL4447]

Earl Howe: It is a condition of every treatment licence issued under the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, as amended (1990 Act), by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), that a woman and any person with whom she is being treated shall not be provided with treatment services unless they have been given a suitable opportunity to receive proper counselling about the implications of those treatment services and have been provided with such relevant information as is proper.

The HFEA has no express powers concerning the administration of drugs, as this is a matter for clinical judgment, although it has general responsibilities regarding suitable practices. The Government are satisfied that the provisions in the 1990 Act, in this respect, are appropriate to ensure that fertility treatments and services, regulated by the Act, are provided in a safe and ethical manner.

With regard to the risks associated with fertility treatments such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF), the HFEA has advised that the evidence base in respect of multiple births and ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS) is different. Whereas there is now a consensus on the risks posed by multiple births and the actions that can be taken to avoid this, in contrast, OHSS is more complex and women can react very differently to similar drug regimes. As a result, there is no clear mechanism through which the HFEA can mitigate the risks. The minutes of the Scientific and Clinical Advances Advisory Committee meeting on 4 May 2011 discussed the reporting of OHSS but did not make firm recommendations. The HFEA continues to keep OHSS under review.

The HFEA has advised that its Scientific and Clinical Advances Advisory Committee regularly considers research relating to IVF outcomes. However, the study the noble Lord refers to (Reproduction (2010) Volume 139, Issue 1: pages 23-34) has not been considered by this committee. The results of this study are inconclusive. The HFEA would refer to evidence based guidelines, produced by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence, on these matters.

Asked by Lord Willis of Knaresborough

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many staff are paid a salary of over £50,000 in (1) the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, (2) the Human Tissue Authority, (3) the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency, and (4) the Health Research Authority; and what is the exact description and salary for each post.[HL4506]

Earl Howe: The information requested is shown in the following table:

23 Jan 2013 : Column WA218

BodyJob titleSalary band

Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority1

Chief Executive

£135,000-£139,999

Director, Finance & Facilities

£95,000-£99,999

Director, Compliance

£95,000-£99,999

Head of Communications & Policy

£70,000-£74,999

Head of Function (8 posts)2,3

From £50,000

Health Research Authority4

Chief Executive

£120,000

Director, Finance 5

£80,000-£84,999

Head of Function (6 posts)2,3

From £50,000

Human Tissue Authority6

Chief Executive

£100,600

Director, Regulation(5)

£80,000-£84,999

Director, Strategy & Quality5

£70,000-£75,000

Head of Function (8 posts)2

From £50,000

Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency7

Chief Executive

£190,000-£194,999

Director, Operations & Finance

£125,000-£129,999

Director, Vigilance Risk Management of Medicines

£120,000-£124,999

Director, Licensing

£115,000-£119,999

Director, Inspection, Enforcement & Standards

£105,000-£109,999

Director, Information Management

£95,000-£99,999

Clinical Director, Devices

£90,000-£94,999

Director, Human Resources

£90,000-£94,999

Director, Policy

£85,000-£89,999

Director, Communications

£70,000-£74,999

Deputy Director (8 posts)3

From £50,000

Adviser (5 posts)3

From £50,000

Assessor (132 posts)3

From £50,000

Business Manager (7 posts)3

From £50,000

Group Manager (14 posts)3

From £50,000

Inspector (30 posts)3

From £50,000

Operations Manager (7 Posts)3

From £50,000

Section Manager (13 posts)3

From £50,000

Unit Manager (60 posts)3

From £50,000

1. Source of information, the Human Fertilisation & Embryology Authority.

2. Heads of Function is a term describing a role below director level with senior responsibility for operations such as finance and governance, regulation, communication etc.

3. Detailed information on these posts has not been included under Section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act, which provides for the protection of personal information. Section 40 prohibits a public body from disclosing personal information of those below Senior Civil Servant (SCS) level as doing so would contravene data protection principles.

23 Jan 2013 : Column WA219

4. Source of information, the Health Research Authority.

5. Both Health Research Authority and the Human Tissue Authority have two further directors working part-time so annual salary, in each case, does not exceed £50,000.

6. Source of information, the Human Tissue Authority.

7. Source of information, the Medicines & Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency.

Employment

Question

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the rate of job growth in (1) the South Basildon and East Thurrock parliamentary constituency, (2) the Basildon local authority area, and (3) England, in each year since 1997; and what is their forecast growth in those areas in each of the next three years.[HL4444]

23 Jan 2013 : Column WA220

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Viscount Younger of Leckie): The Office for National Statistics publishes Workforce Jobs statistics which are the most comprehensive source of information on the numbers of jobs in the United Kingdom. Numbers of jobs are provided for all industries in the UK. Jobs estimates are not available at local authority or constituency level.

I attach data showing total jobs in England from 1996 to 2012 from which job growth has been calculated: data showing employment figures for South Basildon and East Thurrock parliamentary constituency and the Basildon local authority area from 2004 to 2011.

The Office for Budgetary Responsibility publishes forecasts for employment growth for the United Kingdom. Estimates are not available at local authority or constituency level; and data showing the employment forecasts for United Kingdom from 2011 up to 2015.

Workforce Jobs Statistics and Labour Force Survey, Office for National Statistics and Employment Forecast, Office for Budgetary Responsibility
South Basildon and East ThurrockBasildon Local Authority AreaEnglandUK
YearTotal EmploymentGrowthTotal EmploymentGrowthTotal Jobs#GrowthTotal Employment*Growth
thousandthousandthousandthousandthousandthousandthousandthousand

1996

23,917

1997

24,420

503

1998

24,639

219

1999

25,064

425

2000

25,290

226

2001

25,473

183

2002

25,603

130

2003

25,933

330

2004

48

78

26,179

246

2005

49

1

81

3

26,484

305

2006

44

-5

82

1

26,825

341

2007

42

-2

86

4

26,988

163

2008

45

3

81

-5

26,886

-102

2009

47

2

81

0

26,395

-491

2010

46

-1

79

-2

26,438

43

2011

46

0

82

3

26,713

275

29,200

2012

27,039a

326

29,500

300

2013

29,600

100

2014

29,700

100

2015

29,900

200

a

2012 England data covers January to September only due to data not published yet

Total employment = total number of employed persons, Source: ONS: Annual Population Survey and Labour Force Survey

#

Total jobs = the total number of jobs taken from ONS Workforce Jobs

Note that as I person can work more than one job, the number of jobs for England is higher than Employment by about 3 million.

Note also that these are survey based estimates and the uncertainty around the estimates is about 3 thousand, which is larger than many of the published changes

*

Employment Forecast published by the Office for Budgetary Responsibility

Forests

Question

Asked by Lord Fearn

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress has been made on the development of the Mersey Forest.[HL4650]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): The Mersey Forest is being developed by a wide ranging partnership. Seven local authorities play a central role alongside national partners, private and voluntary sector

23 Jan 2013 : Column WA221

organisations and local communities. The partnership has secured funding for its objectives from a wide range of sources including the EU, Defra, the Big Lottery Fund, landfill tax and charitable trust funds. It remains focused on creating an extensively wooded landscape around the towns and cities that lie within the Mersey Forest boundary.

Since 1991 the Mersey Forest has provided a wide range of public benefits through the creation of more than 2,900 hectares of new woodland, planting nearly 9 million new trees.

Woodland cover has increased from 4.29% to 6.65% of the Mersey Forest area. In addition, more than 2,500 street trees have been planted and over 3,730 hectares of non-woodland habitat has been created or brought into management.

Over 700 kilometres of good quality walking and cycling routes have improved access opportunities and many thousands of people have been involved via community events. The Mersey Forest has worked with more than half of the schools in Merseyside and North Cheshire to improve their grounds.

Government Departments: Correspondence

Question

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 8 January (HL4094), whether civil servants are given any guidance on the use of acronyms or jargon in their correspondence with the public or in the answers they give to Parliamentary Questions.[HL4411]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: Guidance for civil servants on the answering of Parliamentary Questions in both Houses of Parliament is provided in the Guide to Parliamentary Work, published on the Cabinet Office website at: https://update.cabinetoffice.gov.uk/sites/default /files/resources/guide_to_parliamentary_work.pdf.

Section 7.56 states:

“Use plain English. Replies should be concise and clear, phrased in a logical way. Use active verbs as opposed to passive ones. Avoid cliches and jargon and do not use technical terms unless absolutely necessary. Use abbreviations only after using the words or name in full”.

Individual departments are responsible for their own internal guidance in relation to correspondence with members of the public.

Government Departments: Trade Unions

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Freud on 11 December 2012 (WA 215), how many full-time equivalent civil servants in the Department for Work and Pensions worked on trade union activities with paid staff facility time; and what is the estimated cost of those employees' salaries and associated employment expenses.[HL4620]

23 Jan 2013 : Column WA222

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) employs approximately 106,000 employees in 887 offices.

In DWP, the amount of facility time available for use by TU representatives is a maximum of 0.2% of the department’s full-time equivalent (FTE) staffing level at 1 April each year. For the year 1 June 2012 to 31 May 2013, this is calculated as 177 FTE out of a total of 88,626 FTE.

In addition, 0.08% facility time is available for use by Union Learning Representatives. For 2012-13, this is 70 FTE.

In August 2012, the Child Maintenance Group (CMG) joined DWP. For the period, 1 August 2012 to 31 May 2013, the facility time available for TU representatives is calculated as 10 FTE out of a total of 7,652 FTE.

In addition, 0.01% facility time is available for use by Union Learning Representatives. For 1 August 2012 to 31 May 2013, this is 1 FTE.

For DWP (including CMG from August 2012) the estimated maximum total cost of salaries is £6.7 million from a total pay bill of £2.8 billion for the period 1 June 2012 to 31 May 2013. The total number of FTE is 258.

All figures have been rounded and salary costs are based on average salaries. The salary costs include superannuation costs and employer's national insurance contributions.

All travel expenses are met by the trade unions.

Health: Dementia

Question

Asked by Lord Hoyle

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that people with dementia receive a formal diagnosis.[HL4671]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Improving diagnosis rates for dementia is a priority for the Government and we want to see both an increase in the overall rate and a reduction in the current regional variation.

Dementia has been prioritised by both the department through the NHS Mandate and by the NHS Commissioning Board through their planning guidance and we expect clinical commissioning groups to make measurable progress in ensuring timely diagnosis.

From April 2013, local authorities will be mandated to offer NHS Health Checks to everyone eligible every five years, and to raise awareness of dementia and the existence of memory services for those aged 65-74.

Health: Expenditure

Question

Asked by Lord Warner

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much the Department of Health returned to HM Treasury at the end of (1) 2010–11, and (2) 2011–12; how much was rolled forward to the following financial year; and whether they anticipate rolling forward any underspend on the 2012–13 budget to 2013–14. [HL4740]

23 Jan 2013 : Column WA223

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department’s underspends against budgets for 2010-11 and 2011-12 are set out in the following table:

Final Budget £ millionFinal Outturn £ millionUnder spend £ million

Revenue 2010-11

101.4

100.3

1.1

Capital 2010-11

4.9

4.2

0.7

Total

106.3

104.4

1.8

Revenue 2011-12

102.4

101.6

0.8

Capital 2011-12

4.4

3.8

0.6

Total

106.8

105.4

1.4

Departmental underspends are returned to HM Treasury and contribute to the overall fiscal position.

In 2011-12, the department transferred £316 million into 2012-13 under HM Treasury’s budget exchange scheme.

The department has not yet finalised budget exchange plans for 2012-13.

Health: Orthodontics

Questions

Asked by Lord Lucas

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their estimate of the current annual cost to the National Health Service of orthodontic therapy, including associated extractions and surgery.[HL4638]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Information is held on the cost of services provided under the secondary care speciality orthodontics and it is possible to estimate the cost of total units of orthodontic activity provided in primary care. In 2010-11 these costs were £105.1 million and approximately £255.3 million respectively giving a total cost estimate of around £360.4 million.

Asked by Lord Lucas

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what factors they regard as causing the problems treated by orthodontic therapy for normal healthy children; what is the pathological process by which those factors are thought to affect a child; what, if any, adverse health consequences are avoided as a result of orthodontic work; and on what scientific papers and related evidence those judgments are based. [HL4639]

Earl Howe: Misaligned teeth and other orthodontic problems have a wide range of causes. These include genetic, developmental and environmental factors as well as dental disease. The aim of orthodontic treatment is to reduce or eliminate problems the patient experiences

23 Jan 2013 : Column WA224

through loss of functionality and or the aesthetic issues orthodontic conditions cause. Health gains from orthodontic treatment include increased resistance to dental disease and the prevention of trauma to prominent teeth. Evidence supporting these gains can be found in the British Orthodontic Society's leaflet

The Justification for Orthodontic Treatment

. Scientific and academic papers are listed on pages 14-15.

Asked by Lord Lucas

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what they regard as the process by which current orthodontic treatment aims to treat the suspected causes of orthodontic problems; and on what scientific papers and related evidence this is based.[HL4640]

Earl Howe: Orthodontists follow established clinical practice in treating orthodontic conditions. Guidance is made available from professional bodies and specialist societies such as the Faculty of Dental Surgery and British Orthodontic Society. Additionally the General Dental Council (GDC) is responsible for ensuring the orthodontic content of the dental school curriculum meets the standards the GDC sets. The GDC also oversees the curriculum for specialist postgraduate orthodontic training. Specific specialist orthodontic examinations are quality controlled and conducted by the Faculty of Dental Surgery to inform accreditation to the GDC orthodontic specialist list.

Asked by Lord Lucas

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their estimate of the annual saving to the National Health Service were the National Health Service to fund only the correction of the upper visible teeth in patients with misaligned but functional dentition; what is their assessment of the health benefits forgone by those who would otherwise have had full orthodontic treatment; and on what scientific papers and related evidence those judgments are based.[HL4641]

Earl Howe: It is not possible to calculate how much less the National Health Service would spend on orthodontics if treatment were restricted in patients with functional dentition to correcting misalignment in the front upper teeth. This is not a clinically recognised level of orthodontic need. There is a clinically well established Index of Orthodontic Need (IOTN) which is used by clinicians to assess levels of need which range from 1-6. The NHS currently treats IOTN 3.6 and above. There are no plans to move to a different IOTN level or to replace IOTN as a measure of need.

Asked by Lord Lucas

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their estimate of the proportion of NHS patients who have undergone substantial orthodontic work and who have subsequently either been diagnosed with sleep apnoea or have seen an ear, nose and throat specialist; and what are those proportions for patients who have not undergone substantial orthodontic work. [HL4642]

23 Jan 2013 : Column WA225

Earl Howe: This information is not collected. No information is collected centrally on the proportion of patients diagnosed with sleep apnoea or the proportion diagnosed that have previously had orthodontic treatment.

Health: Pain Management

Questions

Asked by Lord Foulkes of Cumnock

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have taken any policy decisions based on the recommendations of the UK Pain Proposal Report of 29 September 2010.[HL4643]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The recommendations of the UK Pain Proposal report are closely aligned with those in the chapter on chronic pain in the chief medical officer's annual report for 2008, and those agreed at the national pain summit of December 2011. A range of actions have been taken by the department, in partnership with other national organisations, to address these recommendations. From April 2013, the NHS Commissioning Board will be held to account for achieving improvements in domain 2 of the NHS Outcomes Framework, improving the quality of life of people with long term conditions, on which chronic pain has a significant impact.

Asked by Lord Foulkes of Cumnock

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what they currently spend to tackle chronic pain; how that money is spent; and whether they are considering changes to that expenditure.[HL4644]

Earl Howe: Estimates of spending in the National Health Service in England on chronic pain are available from the programme budgeting collection, which requires primary care trusts (PCTs) to analyse their expenditure by specific healthcare conditions and, from 2010-11, by care setting. Chronic pain is treated in the programme budgeting framework as a subcategory within the main category “neurological conditions”. The following table provides estimated PCT expenditure on chronic pain in 2010-11, by care setting:

Estimated PCT expenditure on Chronic Pain in 2010-11, by care setting
Care SettingExpenditure £ million

Prevention & health promotion

0.2

General practitioners (GPs), dental & ophthalmic

0.5

Primary prescribing & pharmacy services

78.6

Inpatient: Elective and Day-case

296.3

Inpatient: Non-elective

610.4

Outpatient

103.4

Other secondary care

53.4

Ambulance

29.6

Accident and Emergency (A&E)

-

Community Care

36.0

Health & social care provided in other setting

11.4

Non-Health social care

44.1

23 Jan 2013 : Column WA226

Total estimated expenditure on Chronic Pain

1,263.9

Notes

:

1. Figures are aggregate PCT expenditure figures. This does not include any expenditure by the Department, strategic health authorities or special health authorities.

2. The figure for ‘GP, dental & ophthalmic figure’ does not include expenditure on standard contract primary care consultations.

3. The primary prescribing figure includes expenditure on analgesics estimated using information from the British National Formulary to split this expenditure between Chronic Pain and other categories.

4. Due to differences in the level of information available to PCTs on A&E attendances, a national split has been applied to PCT total A&E expenditure to apportion it across programme budgeting categories, based on A&E diagnosis codes

5. Analysing expenditure for the Programme Budgeting return is complex. Data for subcategories such as chronic pain are expected to be less robust than data on main categories such as neurological conditions.

6. The care setting level figures are experimental and caution should be used when interpreting these figures

Local commissioners are responsible for determining policies for spending on chronic pain, as for other conditions, informed by local needs and priorities and by available national guidance. Commissioners will wish to take into account the results of the recent national audit on secondary care pain management services, which shows wide local variations in the access to services.

House of Lords: Clerk of the Parliaments Office

Question

Asked by Lord Campbell-Savours

To ask the Chairman of Committees what was the outturn cost of the office of the Clerk of the Parliaments in (1) 2009–10, (2) 2010–11, and (3) 2011–12. [HL4504]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Sewel): The outturn cost of the Clerk of the Parliaments Office in each of the years requested was as follows:

2009-10—£2,347,576;

2010-11—£2,500,668; and

2011-12—£2,182,254.

The majority of this expenditure was on staffing costs, and includes the costs of the private offices supporting the Lord Speaker, Chairman of Committees, Clerk of the Parliaments and the Clerk Assistant; the Registrar and Assistant Registrar of Lords’ Interests; and the internal audit, internal communications and information compliance teams.

House of Lords: Members’ Travel

Question

Asked by Lord Campbell-Savours

To ask the Chairman of Committees what was the total cost of funding members’ travel allowances in (1) 2009-10, (2) 2010-11, and (3) 2011-12.[HL4503]

23 Jan 2013 : Column WA227

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Sewel): The cost of Members’ travel allowances in each of the years requested was as follows:

2009-10—£1,810,091;2010-11—£1,700,808; and2011-12—£2,086,990.

House of Lords: Rifle Range

Question

Asked by Lord Tyler

To ask the Chairman of Committees what was the cost to the House of Lords of the rifle range on the parliamentary estate in the latest year for which figures are available.[HL4463]

The Chairman of Committees (Lord Sewel): No such figures are available. The rifle range uses minimal amounts of lighting, but it is not possible to calculate the particular costs attributable to the rifle range. The House does not incur any other costs in relation to the rifle range, other than in respect of that percentage of general estate costs which is paid for by the House.

Israel and Palestine: West Bank

Questions

Asked by Lord Hylton

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the Government of Israel concerning (1) the recent visit of its Prime Minister to the settlement of Rechelin in the West Bank, (2) the spraying on 4 January of “skunk liquid” by the Israeli Defence Force onto inhabited houses in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, (3) the attacks on 10 January on the Psalmist mosque in the Old City of Jerusalem, and (4) the raid on 6 January by Israeli settlers on the village of Qusra, near Nablus, and the subsequent intervention by the Israeli Defence Force.[HL4624]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): Our officials from our embassy in Tel Aviv have raised the issue of the legalisation of Rechelin with the Prime Minister of Israel’s Office.

We have not raised the other specific issues, but I can assure the noble Lord that we have repeatedly raised our concerns with the Israeli authorities about incidents of settler violence, including the importance of bringing those responsible to justice. We have repeatedly raised concerns regarding Israeli handling of non-violent protest in Nabi Saleh, as in other areas of the West Bank, and will continue to do so.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will provide support to the tented city erected in the E1 area of the West Bank to protest against settlement building.[HL4664]

23 Jan 2013 : Column WA228

Baroness Northover: The UK Government do not intend to provide direct support to the tented city erected in the El area of the West Bank. We support the Palestinians’ legitimate right to protest non-violently against the occupation and urge all parties to ensure that everything is done to avoid violent clashes and casualties.

The UK has called on the Israeli Government to reverse the decision to unfreeze development in the E1 block and we continue to raise our strong concern over the current Israeli permit process, which makes it extremely difficult for Palestinians to build legally in Area C and develop their communities. We call on the Israeli authorities to transfer responsibility for Area C to the Palestinian Authority, as per the Oslo Accords.

Asked by Baroness Tonge

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what research they have conducted into the impact on the humanitarian situation in the West Bank of the establishment of “firing zones” by the Israeli military.[HL4667]

Baroness Northover: Her Majesty’s Government have not conducted specific research into the impact of the establishment of firing zones by the Israeli military. While recognising that Israel has a right to address legitimate security concerns, we are deeply concerned about the impact of Israeli restrictions on Palestinians living in Area C of the West Bank. Access to water and land is restricted; there are high levels of food insecurity and loss of livelihoods. Many Palestinians in Area C have limited access to education and healthcare, with the Palestinian Authority unable to deliver basic services.

DfID supports the United Nations Relief and Works Agency to deliver essential services to Palestinians living in Area C and the Norwegian Refugee Council to provide free legal support to over 3,000 households at risk of displacement.

Justice: Youth Courts

Question

Asked by Lord Beecham

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have plans for youths to appear in virtual courts via video technology.[HL4560]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Youths are currently excluded from appearing by video at court from the police station.

The use of video will be reviewed as part of the Flexible CJS pilots underway across England and Wales and as part of the planned expansion in the use of video links between courts, police stations and prisons.

Local Government: Staff

Questions

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what the average annual salary was for (1) men, and (2) women, in full-time employment in (a) Pitsea North West ward,

23 Jan 2013 : Column WA229

(b) South Basildon and East Thurrock parliamentary constituency, and (c) Basildon local authority area, in the latest period for which figures are available.[HL4491]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the authority to reply.

Letter from Glen Watson, Director General for ONS, to Baroness Smith, dated January 2012.

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question asking what the average annual salary was for (1) men, and (2) women, in full-time employment in (a) Pitsea North West ward, (b) South Basildon and East Thurrock parliamentary constituency. and (c) Basildon local authority area, in the latest period for which figures are available. (HL4491)

The Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), carried out in April each year. is the most comprehensive source of earnings information in the United Kingdom. Annual levels of earnings are estimated from ASHE, and are provided for employees on adult rates of pay, who have been in the same job for more than a year. Earnings estimates are not available at ward level.

I attach tables showing median gross annual earnings for employee jobs in (a) South Basildon and East Thurrock parliamentary constituency, and (b) Basildon local authority for full-time males and full-time females. for the tax year ending 5 April 2012.

Median gross annual earnings (£)—for full time males and full time females a in (a) South Basildon and East Thurrock parliamentary constituency, and (b) Basildon local authority, for the tax year ending 5 April 2012.
South Basildon and East Thurrock bBasildon c

Full-time males

129,085 **

131,693 **

Full-time females

21,663 **

22,997 *

Notes

:

a

Employees on adult rates who have been in the same job for more than one year

b

Parliamentary Constituency

c

Local Authority.

Guide to quality

The Coefficient of Variation (CV) indicates the quality of a figure, the smaller the CV value the higher the quality.

The true value is likely to lie within +1–twice the CV—for example, for an average of 200 with a CV of 5%, we would expect the population average to be within the range 180 to 220.

Key

* CV > 5% and <= 10%

** CV > 10% and <=20%

Source

Annual Survey of Hours and Earnings (ASHE), Office for National Statistics.

Asked by Baroness Smith of Basildon

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the median age of the workforce in (1) South Basildon and East Thurrock parliamentary constituency, (2) Basildon, and (3) England; and what was the median age in each of the past 15 years.[HL4566]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The information requested falls within the responsibility of the UK Statistics Authority. I have asked the Authority to reply.

23 Jan 2013 : Column WA230

Letter from Glen Watson, Director General for ONS, to Lord Baroness Smith of Basildon, dated January 2013.

As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your Parliamentary Question asking what is the median age of the workforce in (a) South Basildon and East Thurrock parliamentary constituency, (b) Basildon (c) England: and what was the median age in each of the last fifteen years (HL4566).

The ONS compiles Labour Market Statistics for areas below the UK following International Labour Organisation (ILO) definitions using the Annual Population Survey (APS) and its predecessor the Annual Local Area Labour Force Survey (LFS).

Estimates of the median age of the workforce have been provided for the requested geographies from the APS. The term workforce has been interpreted as those who were economically active in the week prior to interview during the relevant reference periods. Estimates have been provided for the 12 month period October 2011 to September 2012, the latest available period, and for the 12 month periods ending in December for 2004 to 2011 from the APS and for the 12 month periods ending February for 1999 to 2004 from the LFS.

Estimates for South Basildon and East Thurrock parliamentary constituency are not available for periods before the 12 month period ending December 2004.

As with any sample survey, estimates from the APS and LFS are subject to a margin of uncertainty.

A wide range of other labour market data for parliamentary constituencies and local authorities are also published on the Office for National Statistics’ Nomis website: www.nomisweb.co.uk.

Median age of economically active people
South Basildon and East ThurrockBasildonEngland

12 months ending

February 1999

-

39

38

February 2000

-

38

38

February 2001

-

39

38

February 2002

-

39

38

February 2003

-

40

39

February 2004

-

40

39

December 2004

40

38

39

December 2005

40

39

39

December 2006

40

39

40

December 2007

38

40

40

December 2008

41

41

40

December 2009

42

42

40

December 2010

38

37

40

December 2011

40

40

40

September 2012

40

40

40

Source

: Annual Population Survey

- estimate not available

23 Jan 2013 : Column WA231

Malaysia

Questions

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what information they have received about discussions between the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Malaysian authorities on an observer mission at the forthcoming Malaysian general election.[HL4564]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): We are not aware of any discussions between the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Malaysian Government in relation to an observation mission for the forthcoming election. International election observer missions require an invitation by the host country. We have raised election observation with the Election Commission (EC) and the Government of Malaysia, including at ministerial level and we will continue to do so. The Malaysian Government and EC have been clear both in their discussions with us, and publicly, that they are not at this time seeking EU or Commonwealth election observer missions, preferring instead observation by representatives from Association of Southeast Asian Nations countries and domestic civil society groups.

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what information the British High Commission in Kuala Lumpur has received from the Malaysian non-governmental organisation Bersih about the circumstances in which the forthcoming general election in that country is to be held.[HL4565]

Baroness Warsi: We have regular contact with Bersih and other civil society groups campaigning for electoral reform in Malaysia, and are aware of their well-publicised priorities and concerns on the electoral roll, fair access to the media and postal voting.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office facilitated a visit to London in early 2012 by the Malaysian parliamentary select committee established in response to Bersih’s demands. This visit included meetings with Ministers and UK electoral institutions, during which the importance of reform and free and fair elections was discussed.

We continue to monitor the implementation of the select committee's recommendations, and other issues of concern to Bersih, including through our discussions with the Malaysian election commission and Government of Malaysia.

Mental Health: Access to Work Support Service

Questions

Asked by Baroness Thomas of Winchester

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they are simplifying the application process for the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service; and whether those plans include a single telephone number.[HL4598]

23 Jan 2013 : Column WA232

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): To ensure that people can access the full range of Access to Work provision the Department for Work and Pensions has no plans to introduce a single telephone number for its Access to Work Mental Health Support Service (MHSS).

Customers of the MHSS will continue to use the existing Access to Work application process. This means at the first point of contact people who require urgent support from the MHSS are fast tracked and referred to a designated Access to Work adviser immediately.

On the 19 November 2012 the Minister for Disabled People announced a number of changes aimed at streamlining the application process for individuals who already have a good understanding of their needs, and experience of receiving Access to Work support. These changes will be implemented in February 2013 and include:

introducing a fast track assessment process so individuals who already know their support requirements will move swiftly through their application; andincluding disabled students allowance assessment information as an integral part of the Access to Work information gathering and assessment process

Asked by Baroness Thomas of Winchester

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how they are promoting the Access to Work Mental Health Support Service to people with mental health conditions. [HL4599]

Lord Freud: The Department for Work and Pensions is actively marketing Access to Work to raise awareness of the programme and improve understanding of it amongst disabled people and those with a physical or mental health condition.

As recommended in the Sayce review, we have initially focused on raising awareness with groups that have historically had lower take up rates of Access to Work support. This includes people with mental health conditions.

We are continuing to actively engage with health professionals including the College of Occupational Therapists, NHS External Relations Directorate, and the devolved Administration directorates for public health and health professions. We have provided information on the Mental Health Support Service to partners that has been included on their websites or distributed through their communication channels increasing the reach to customers.

As part of our continued engagement with partners we have presented Access to Work and the Mental Health Support Service at bipolar annual conferences in Wales, south-west England and London, attended by mental health professionals and service users.

Also as recommended in the Sayce review we have increased our information-sharing of Access to Work, including updating Department for Work and Pensions public information products for customers and employers and online information at gov.uk to promote the Mental Health Support Service. We have also included information on the service in DWP information leaflets for GPs.

23 Jan 2013 : Column WA233

We are working closely with the Remploy Mental Health Support Service with joint marketing activities. This includes sending marketing packs with information on the service to employers, HR contacts in NHS clinical commissioning teams, local authorities and occupational health providers.

National Parks

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress they have made on the proposed pilots for direct elections to national park authorities; and when they expect the first such election to take place. [HL4200]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley): The Government have consulted on proposals to introduce legislation to enable direct elections to national park authorities and on carrying out pilots in the New Forest and Peak District National Parks. Ministers will shortly make a statement on the outcomes of the consultation and on the way forward.

NHS: Clinical Commissioning Groups

Question

Asked by Lord Warner

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when clinical commissioning groups will be notified of their budgets for 2013-14; whether these budgets will be public; and on what basis the Commissioning Board will decide those budget allocations.[HL4739]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The NHS Commissioning Board (NHSCB) is responsible for allocating resources to clinical commissioning groups (CCGs). The 2013-14 allocations to CCGs were announced on 17 December 2012 and published on the NHSCB website. All CCGs received a 2.3% uplift compared to the estimated spending on the relevant services by its predecessor primary care trusts.

Ofcom: Switching

Question

Asked by Lord Clement-Jones

To ask Her Majesty’s Government when they expect Ofcom to complete its work on consumer switching within the communication sector.[HL4526]

Lord Gardiner of Kimble: Ofcom, which is an independent regulator, has advised that once the switching processes for landline and broadband have been resolved, it will then consider whether switching reform is necessary across other services. Earlier last year, Ofcom consulted on various options that were intended to make changing landline and broadband providers, delivered over BT’s network, easier for consumers. Ofcom is currently considering responses received and expects to set out next steps later this year.

23 Jan 2013 : Column WA234

Planning

Question

Asked by Lord Pearson of Rannoch

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the ability of local authorities to assess their own planning applications.[HL4498]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Local planning authorities must make planning applications in the same way as any other person and must follow the same procedures as would apply to applications by others.

A local planning authority may grant themselves planning permission for their own development on land in which they have an interest, or for development by an authority jointly with another person, but this ability is subject to several important safeguards. For example, the proposals must be advertised in the same way as any similar application from any other applicant and they cannot be decided by a committee or officer responsible for the management of any land or buildings to which the application relates; the public cannot be excluded from committee meetings at which local authority development proposals are discussed.

The procedures dealing with development undertaken by local authorities are contained in the Town and Country Planning General Regulations 1992. It is open to any third party who is aggrieved by a local authority’s decision to grant planning permission to apply for judicial review if they believe the decision was wrong in law, or they can ask the Local Government Ombudsman to investigate if they consider that injustice has been caused to them as a result of maladministration.

Praidon Darmoo

Questions

Asked by Lord Campbell-Savours

To ask Her Majesty’s Government to what extent the judgment in the Praidon Darmoo case has influenced the Crown Prosecution Service guidelines for the handling of criminal cases where sensitive information in support of the defendant has been denied the defence.[HL4500]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether guidelines on the handling of information of use to the defence in criminal cases are to be amended following the Crown Prosecution Service’s decision to abandon the case against Praidon Darmoo.[HL4501]

The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness): The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) made a decision to offer no evidence in the case against Praidon Darmoo when it became apparent that prosecution leading counsel was no longer able to give the trial judge the categorical assurance he requested that the requirements of the Criminal Procedure and Investigations Act 1996 had been discharged.

23 Jan 2013 : Column WA235

There is therefore no requirement for a change in the law or CPS guidance on handling unused material which arises from this case.

Prisoners: Foreign Nationals

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether (1) foreign nationals held in HM Prison Canterbury and HM Prison Bulwood Hall, and (2) prisoners serving life sentences in HM Prison Shepton Mallet and HM Prison Kingston, will be dispersed among the rest of the prison population following the closure of those prisons; if so, what estimate they have made of the additional cost of delivering services to meet the needs of those two categories of prisoners; and what steps they are taking to mitigate the loss of expertise of the staff at the prisons concerned. [HL4563]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): All foreign national prisoners held in HMPs Canterbury and Bullwood Hall and those prisoners serving life sentences at HMPs Shepton Mallet and Kingston will be allocated to appropriate prisons to meet their individual circumstances.

While it is acknowledged that there will be limited additional costs associated with the transfer of these two categories of prisoner, these are likely to be marginal as the receiving prisons have been selected for their expertise and current regime delivery.

Contingency plans are in place to minimise the effect on the management of these specific prisoner groups. Additionally, directly employed NOMS staff are being given the opportunity to transfer to other establishments.

Turkey

Questions

Asked by Lord Patten

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the conditions in which the Kurdish leader, Mr Abdullah Ocalan, has been held in Turkey since 1999.[HL4601]

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): The Government understand that the Turkish Government have recently relaxed conditions relating to Abdullah Ocalan's imprisonment.

The Council of Europe's Anti-Torture Committee plans to make a separate assessment of Ocalan's conditions on a proposed official visit from 16 to 18 January. The UK supports this initiative.

Along with our EU partners, the Government welcome Turkey’s recent efforts to solve the Kurdish issue.

Asked by Lord Patten

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the numbers of Kurdish politicians and human rights activists imprisoned in Turkey since the beginning of 2012.[HL4602]

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Baroness Warsi: We have made no assessment of the numbers of Kurdish politicians and human rights activists imprisoned in Turkey since the beginning of 2012. However, we share concerns about the long pre-trial detentions of politicians, mayors, journalists, writers, and human rights defenders in Turkey. We are encouraging Turkey to address these through meeting European Court of Human Rights standards and the fourth judicial reform package. A key component of any solution to the Kurdish issue is the permanent cessation of terrorist acts.

Asked by Lord Patten

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their current assessment of human rights in Turkey. [HL4603]

Baroness Warsi: In 2012, Turkey passed several important reforms including adopting and implementing a third judicial reform package (which is being implemented), establishing a human rights institution and creating a human rights ombudsman mechanism. Turkey has also made progress on women’s rights in Turkey with the adoption in March 2012 of the Law on the Protection of Family and Prevention of Violence Against Women.

Along with our European partners, we continue to share concerns over freedom of expression in the press and the long pre-trial detention of politicians, journalists and students. We hope there will be continued commitment to increasing Kurdish rights, addressing the discrimination faced by religious minorities including the Alevi and Syriac minorities. The new constitution offers the opportunity to codify this progress and we strongly encourage Turkey to improve its human rights record in line with EU and international human rights standards.

Volunteers

Questions

Asked by The Lord Bishop of Derby

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what initiatives are being developed to encourage volunteering by people in full-time employment.[HL4614]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire: The Government recognise that people in full-time employment have a wide range of skills and experience to share with the voluntary sector. The Government are in active consultation with the private and voluntary sectors to understand ways of volunteering which have the greatest impact. Through the Social Action Fund and the Innovation in Giving Fund, the Government are supporting various innovative initiatives such as Getting on Board, Reach Volunteering, Inspiring the Future and Pilotlight. Through its civic service policy, the Civil Service is setting an example to other employers by encouraging all its staff to spend at least one day volunteering each year. The Government have also provided recognition to some of the most outstanding examples of employer-supported volunteering through the Big Society Awards.

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Asked by The Lord Bishop of Derby

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will make an assessment of the financial impact on the budgets of the National Health Service and the Department for Work and Pensions of remunerating volunteers at the living wage.[HL4618]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The DWP does not intend to make such an assessment.

Winter Fuel Payments

Questions

Asked by Lord Steel of Aikwood

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many people in the 40% income tax bracket received the winter fuel allowance in (1) 2011, and (2) 2012. [HL4510]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their estimate of the number of people in the 40% income tax bracket currently in receipt of (1) free bus passes, and (2) free television licences.[HL4511]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The Government remain committed to protecting key support for older people in recognition of the fact that many have worked hard and saved all their lives. This includes: free eye tests; prescriptions; free TV licences for those aged over 75; free concessionary bus travel and winter fuel payments.

Answer to 4510:

In each of the years 2011-12 and 2012-13 we estimate that around 500,000 people in the 40% income tax bracket were eligible for winter fuel payments (rounded to the nearest 100,000).

These estimates are based on Department for Work and Pensions expenditure forecasts combined with information on the tax paid by older people from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs Survey of Personal Incomes.

Answer to 4511:

(1) The information requested on the number of people in the 40% income tax bracket that are in receipt of a concessionary travel pass is not available. However, the Department for Transport has information from the National Travel Survey (NTS) which shows pass uptake in England across the income distribution:

Table 1—Take-up of older person’s concessionary travel pass by household income: England, 2008-10
Household income:Take-up rate (%)

Less than £7000

79

£7,000 - £9,999

80

£10,000 - £14,999

78

£15,000 - £19,999

80

£20,000 - £29,999

73

£30,000 or more

66

All household incomes

75

Notes

:

1. Figures are based on data combined from three years of the National Travel Survey (2008, 2009 and 2010).

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2. The figures do not take into consideration the concessionary travel changes which took place in April 2010 and all individuals aged 60 years and over have been included in the eligibility base for all years.

(2) For 2012-13 we estimate that up to 200,000 people in the 40% income tax bracket are eligible for a free television licence (rounded to the nearest 100,000).

These estimates are based on Department for Work and Pensions expenditure forecasts combined with information on the tax paid by older people from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs survey of personal Iincomes, and information on the overall numbers of pensioners from the Office for National Statistics population projections.

Zimbabwe

Questions

Asked by Lord Maginnis of Drumglass

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they support the work of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Zimbabwe, and if so what assessment they have made of the effect of the emigration of teachers from Zimbabwe since 2005; what estimate they have made of the numbers who have emigrated; and what, if any, measures they have taken to highlight the effect of such emigration on educational opportunity in Zimbabwe.[HL4518]

Baroness Northover: The UK Government through DfID works closely with several United Nations organisations, including the United Nations Development Programme, to deliver basic services to the poorest people in Zimbabwe. There are no reliable figures about the number of teachers who have emigrated from Zimbabwe since 2005. However there is enough anecdotal evidence to suggest that large numbers of qualified teachers have left Zimbabwe in the past eight years, thereby adversely affecting the provision of quality education in Zimbabwe as underlined by an increase in the ratio of trained teachers to pupils and declines in levels of learning among pupils. The Government of Zimbabwe have indicated that around 20,000 teachers have returned to teaching since the signing of the global political agreement in 2008. It is unclear how many of these 20,000 had emigrated since 2005.

Between 2011 and 2015 DfID is providing substantial financial and technical support to improve education opportunities in Zimbabwe, including through the second phase of the Education Transition Fund (ETF II) managed by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). A key element of ETF II is to improve the quality of teaching, including through enhanced training and support to teachers which should help to reduce the likelihood of further emigration of teachers and improve learning outcomes among pupils.

Asked by Lord Avebury

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have made any assessment of Zimbabwe’s Access to Information and Protection of Privacy Act, Public Order and Security Act and Criminal Law (Codification and Reform) Act with regard to Zimbabwe’s international obligations.[HL4544]

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The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): We remain concerned by the continued use of repressive legislation for political purposes in Zimbabwe. There are requirements in Zimbabwe’s current constitution and the Police Act for police officers to maintain a clear division between their duties and their political affiliations. However, members of the police regularly misuse legislation, for political purposes. The Public Order and Security Act is often used to prevent and break up protests and peaceful rallies organised by Movement for Democratic Change political

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parties and civil society groups. Partisan application of these and other pieces of legislation, such as the Criminal Procedure and Evidence Act, have led to a culture of impunity for perpetrators of political violence and a restriction of access to justice for political actors who oppose the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF).

The UK regularly urges the Government of Zimbabwe to implement legal and institutional reforms to end violence and impunity and to ensure the restoration of internationally accepted human rights standards.