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Prepared: 16:58 on 18th August 2014

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House of Lords

Summer Recess 2014

Written Answers and Statements

Albania 

Question

Asked by Lord Storey  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what agreements have been signed, to which the United Kingdom and Albania are both parties, for the period 1 March 2013 to the present; and whether they will place copies of any such agreements in the Library of the House and on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office database.[HL1690]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) treaty database records all bilateral and multilateral treaties involving the United Kingdom signed since 1834. The FCO does not maintain a comprehensive central record or hold copies of the texts of memoranda of understanding concluded between Government Departments and other states or organizations.

Legally-binding agreements to which both the UK and Albania have become parties since 1 March 2013 are as follows:

Bilateral:

1. The Agreement between the Government of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Albania for the Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion with respect to Taxes on Income and on Capital was signed on 26 March 2014 and was published as UK Treaty Series No. 3, 2014.

Multilateral:

2. The Arms Trade Treaty was signed by Albania on 3 June 2013 and by the United Kingdom on 3 June 2013. This was published as UK Miscellaneous Series No. 3, 2013.

3. Protocol No.15 amending the Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms [CETS No.213] was signed by Albania on 11 February 2014 and by the United Kingdom on 24 June 2014. The text to this treaty is published on the Council of Europe website.

All treaties, including those amending previous treaties, that are subject to ratification, accession, approval or completion of procedures are laid before both Houses of Parliament as a Command Paper for twenty-one sitting days in accordance with Part 2 of the Constitutional Reform and Governance Act 2010. Those treaties which enter into force on signature do not have to be laid before Parliament for twenty-one sitting days but are laid before both Houses of Parliament as a Command Paper in the UK Treaty Series once they have entered into force.

Association of British Insurers 

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will publish details of all meetings between ministers and the Association of British Insurers in the past 12 months.[HL1504]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): Treasury Ministers and officials have meetings and discussions with a wide variety of organisations as part of the process of policy development and delivery. Lists of ministerial meetings with external organisations are published on gov.uk[1].

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/hm-treasury/series/hmt-ministers-meetings-hospitality-gifts-and-overseas-travel

Autism 

Question

Asked by Baroness Uddin  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many and what proportion of people in assessment and treatment units are known to have autism spectrum disorder; and of those, how many are children.[HL1575]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Learning Disabilities Census conducted by the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) indicates that 3,250 learning disabilities services users were in hospital in England at midnight on 30 September 2013. This includes 1,087 (33.4%) with autistic spectrum disorder (including Asperger’s Syndrome). Autistic spectrum disorder (including Asperger’s Syndrome) was the main reason for the hospital admission of 321 (9.9%) learning disabilities service users.

The HSCIC has also reported that the Learning Disabilities Census 2013 indicated that 185 of those in hospital (representing 5.7% of all learning disabilities service users) were under 18 years of age. Of these, 88 have autistic spectrum disorder (including Asperger’s Syndrome). Autistic spectrum disorder (including Asperger’s Syndrome) was the main reason for the hospital admission of 28 people under the age of 18 years.

Borders: Personal Records 

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they expect to introduce universal exit checks at United Kingdom borders by the end of the current Parliament; and, if so, what the scheme will cost, how many additional members of staff will be required to perform the checks, and whether, operationally, United Kingdom infrastructure is suitably robust to meet the additional demand.[HL1240]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord Taylor of Holbeach) (Con): The Home Office is on track to meet the Coalition Agreement commitment to introduce exit checks by April 2015 on those who leave the UK by scheduled commercial air, sea and rail services. We are working with service and port operators to minimise the impact of exit checks on port processes and infrastructure. The level of cost will be largely dependent on the technology and methodology adopted and the extent to which advanced passenger data is collected and used by individual carriers.

Bread: Pesticides 

Question

Asked by Lord Swinfen  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to reduce the amount of pesticides in bread.[HL1571]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley) (Con): The regulatory framework for pesticides is supported by a substantial programme of testing for residues in food and drink. This is administered by the Health and Safety Executive’s Chemicals Regulation Directorate and overseen by the independent expert scientific committee on Pesticide Residues in Food (PRiF). Bread is among the staple foods regularly checked.

Statutory Maximum Residue Levels (MRLs) for pesticides are set under European Union (EU) legislation. These MRLs reflect the highest amount of pesticide residue expected in food when pesticides are applied in accordance with authorised conditions of use. MRLs are always set below, usually far below, the safety limit.

Farmers, importers, distributors and retailers are responsible for ensuring marketed food complies with the statutory levels.

Although recent monitoring results indicate an increase in the incidence of pesticide residues being found in bread, this reflects that improvements in analytical methods mean that residues can be found at lower levels. The latest results obtained are all at levels below the statutory MRLs, and PriF have concluded that they do not raise any safety concerns.

The Food Standards Agency recognises that consumers want pesticide residues reduced further than the current safe levels. As part of the Agency's action plan to minimise pesticide residues in food, guides have been produced for five crops – including cereals - grown in the UK. The guides are intended for a broad audience within the food industry, from farmer to retailer. They aim to raise awareness of the issue of pesticide residues and to support the industry to deliver existing pesticide residue minimisation initiatives.

British Petroleum 

Question

Asked by Lord Blencathra  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what consideration they have given to the judgments of courts in the United States which have recently awarded significant damages against BP; and what discussions they have had with the government of the United States about the issue.[HL1684]

Baroness Northover (LD): The British Government has taken a close interest in the regulatory and legal action in the US against BP following the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010 and has discussed this issue with the US authorities on several occasions. It remains concerned that BP, like all British companies, should receive fair and equitable treatment at the same time as dealing fairly with the consequences of the spill. The Government’s support for BP’s activities in the US has included submitting an amicus brief before the Southern Texas District Court on 2 December 2013 in support of BP in its case regarding its disbarment from US government contracts by the US Environmental Protection Agency – a bar which has since been lifted.

Burma 

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the reply by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 24 July (HL Deb, cols 1324–8) to the debate on Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, what representations they have made to the Burmese authorities about proposed new legislation to restrict religious conversions and inter-religious marriages there; and whether they will call on the United Nations Secretary-General to visit Burma to address religious intolerance and to encourage the creation of an international and independent inquiry into violence in Rakhine State, Kachin State and other parts of the country.[HL1695]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): We have voiced our strong concerns over proposed legislation on inter-faith marriage and religious conversion to members of the Burmese government and parliamentarians. If enacted, these laws would harm religious tolerance and respect for diversity in Burma, and contravene international standards and treaties to which Burma is a signatory. Most recently, our Ambassador raised our concerns with Minister of the President’s Office, U Soe Thein, in June.

The UN Secretary-General (UNSG) currently chairs the Partnership Group on Burma, which last met in April. The UNSG and his Special Representative to Burma, Vijay Nambiar, both play vital roles in raising the international community’s human rights concerns with the Burmese government whilst providing encouragement for the wider reform process. We welcome the recent visit by the newly appointed UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Burma, Ms Yanghee Lee, who rightly highlighted that the government needs to do more to stop the spread of hate speech and incitement to violence based on religious grounds and recommended the adoption of specific legislation to address this.

We remain deeply concerned by continued violence in Burma, particularly in Rakhine State and Kachin State. Our approach is to seek an end to all violations, and to prevent their further escalation, irrespective of whether these violations fit the definition of specific international crimes. Allegations of human rights abuses must be dealt with through a clear, independent and transparent investigative and prosecutorial process that meets international standards. We have made this clear to the Burmese government and will continue to do so. We continue to believe an independent investigation, supported by appropriate technical assistance, would make a significant contribution to accountability and reconciliation.

Cabinet 

Question

Asked by Lord Rogan  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, following the meeting of the Cabinet in Aberdeen on 24 February, whether they have any plans to hold Cabinet meetings in Wales and Northern Ireland.[HL1663]

Baroness Northover (LD): It has been a long-standing practice of successive governments not to disclose in advance the location of Cabinet meetings. However the Noble Peer will recall that Cabinet was last held in Cardiff in July 2011.

Cancer 

Questions

Asked by Baroness Howe of Idlicote  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether the results of the cancer patient experience survey will be used to hold Clinical Commissioning Groups to account for improvements in patient experience through the NHS Outcomes Framework.[HL1620]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Holding clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) to account for delivering improved outcomes for patients is a core part of the CCG assurance process. NHS England is working with NHS Improving Quality to develop better ways of using the Cancer Patient Experience Survey (CPES) data within the National Health Service in order to maximise the impact of the survey, to be able to work with successful and struggling organisations to spread best practice for example. Their intention is that the learning from this can then be transferred across all surveys to understand what the barriers are to implementing change and to showcase best practice where real improvements can be demonstrated.

The CPES survey results are delivered to every organisation so each can see how they compare to other organisations. Currently, the action plans are taken into account as part of Peer Reviews. NHS England would expect that every trust board should know its own survey results and take account of them.

We have been working closely with NHS England on the review of the NHS Outcomes Framework, and will be engaging with stakeholders over the summer ahead of publication in the autumn.

Asked by Lord Judd  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of variations in cancer patient experiences.[HL1641]

Earl Howe: The latest Cancer Patient Experience Survey (CPES) results, from 2013, show that whilst variations between trusts still exist, the overall range of variation for many indicators has narrowed.

For example, in 2010 the proportion of patients saying that they had been given the name of a Clinical Nurse Specialist ranged from 92% in the highest performing trust to 59% in the poorest performing trust (33 points); by 2013 this had reduced to 97% to 76% (21 points).

NHS England is working with NHS Improving Quality to develop better ways of using CPES data within the National Health Service in order to maximise the impact of the survey, to be able to work with successful and struggling organisations to spread best practice for example. Their intention is that the learning from this can then be transferred across all surveys to understand what the barriers are to implementing change and to showcase best practice where real improvements can be demonstrated.

Chernobyl: Children 

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have assisted in any schemes offering holidays in the United Kingdom to children affected by the Chernobyl disaster; and if not, whether they have been asked to, or plan to.[HL1668]

Baroness Northover (LD): Up until 2013 children affected by the Chernobyl disaster travelling to the UK on recuperation visits under the auspices of a registered UK charity were granted gratis UK visas. The decision to discontinue the scheme was one of a number of difficult spending decisions across Government. The Visa Application Centre in Minsk will continue to offer a mobile service for some of the children travelling with Chernobyl charities spending a number of days accepting applications and collecting Biometric data in the regions at no additional cost.

Our Embassy in Minsk has funded other projects run by Chernobyl Children’s charities in 2013 and 2014. These include projects to avoid such children being placed in institutional care and creating a better child protection system in Belarus.

Children: Day Care 

Questions

Asked by Lord Sutherland of Houndwood  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Deighton on 28 July (WA 247), in addition to the "qualitative assessment of the economic impacts" of the Childcare Payments Bill provided in the impact assessment, what specific estimates they have made of the impact on the maternal labour supply and productivity.[HL1678]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Deighton on 28 July (WA 247), in addition to the "qualitative assessment of the economic impacts" of the Childcare Payments Bill provided in the impact assessment, what specific estimates they have made of the impact on tax receipts from mothers paying income tax and national insurance.[HL1679]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): Details of the estimated economic effects from the introduction of Tax-Free Childcare can be found in the Childcare Payments Bill Impact Assessment.[1]

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/318698/document2014-06-10-104244-1.pdf

Clinical Commissioning Groups 

Questions

Asked by Lord Greaves  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many contracts for the provision of services have been entered into by each of the Clinical Commissioning Groups in England since their formation; of those, how many have been contracted with (1) a National Health Service trust, (2) a commercial body, and (3) a charitable or other non-profit-making body; and what is the total commercial value for each of those categories.[HL1645]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what contracts have been entered into for the provision of services by the East Lancashire Clinical Commissioning Group, and in each case with which body; and what are the services to be provided and the value of each contract.[HL1646]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Department does not collect information on which providers have been awarded contracts at local level.

It is for local commissioners to decide how best to secure local services and take a decision on which are the most capable providers to deliver those services in the best interests of their patients. There is no requirement for commissioners to put all services out to competitive tender.

Whether NHS services are provided by the public, voluntary or private sector, they remain publicly funded and free at the point of delivery with access based on clinical need.

Compulsorily Detained Mental Patients 

Question

Asked by Baroness Uddin  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many people were sectioned under the Mental Health Acts in each year of the last decade, disaggregated by racial profile; how many of those people had a co-occurring learning disability or autism spectrum disorder; and how many were children.[HL1676]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): We do not centrally hold the number of people with a learning disability or autism spectrum disorder who were formally detained under Mental Health Act 1983 in each year of the last decade, disaggregated by racial profile, including the numbers of which were children.

The information we do hold has been placed in the Library.

Dental Services: Children 

Question

Asked by Baroness Gardner of Parkes  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what has been the cost to the National Health Service in the last year of the number of children being hospitalised for the extensive extraction of deciduous teeth; and whether they will consider setting up day-care clinics that could carry out such work.[HL1713]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The following table shows the estimated cost of tooth extractions for children aged 18 years and under for 2012-13. The data covers all tooth extractions, and does not distinguish between deciduous or adult teeth.

Healthcare Resource Group description

Estimated total cost £million

Minor Extraction of Tooth, 18 years and under

3.1

Extraction of Multiple Teeth, 18 years and under

27.4

Source: Reference costs, Department of Health1

Tooth extractions in children often involve general anaesthesia. Extractions involving general anaesthesia were restricted to the hospital setting following the recommendations of the 2000 report ‘A conscious decision’ that patients should have access to high quality critical care facilities when general anaesthesia is given. There are currently no plans to change this. Many extractions are carried out on a day case basis; whether the extraction is carried out as a day case or requires an overnight admission is a matter for the clinicians involved.

70% of five year olds now have no dental decay but we recognise that significant inequalities remain. Wider work is under way through dental contract reform and other prevention focussed initiatives to improve oral health.

Note:

1www.gov.uk/government/publications/nhs-reference-costs-2012-to-2013

Derelict Land 

Question

Asked by Lord Patten  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to ensure there is clear and transparent information about the availability of brownfield land for development.[HL1489]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon) (Con): The National Land Use Database is available online and provides statistical information for national and local authority trends in previously developed (brownfield) land.

The newly updated Local Government Transparency Code will require local authorities to publish details of all land and building assets annually, helping increase accountability over the use of council assets and the scope for disposing of surplus brownfield land for regeneration and new homes.

The Government is releasing for development its own surplus and redundant land and property. As part of this comprehensive programme, the Government Property Unit has recently launched a new application on Gov.uk, which can be accessed by the public and developers, which provides details of all government land and property assets.

To help meet the Government’s ambitions to have planning permission for housing in place on 90% of suitable brownfield sites by 2020, we are currently considering how we can further improve the published information that is available on brownfield land suitable for housing. We will report on this in due course.

The associated website links are as follows:

National Land Use Database:

http://www.neighbourhood.statistics.gov.uk/dissemination/datasetList.do?JSAllowed=true&Function=&%24ph=60&CurrentPageId=60&step=1&CurrentTreeIndex=-2&searchString=land+use&datasetFamilyId=1235&Next.x=14&Next.y=2&nsjs=true&nsck=false&nssvg=false&nswid=1366

Local Government Transparency Code:

https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/308185/Local_Government_Transparency_Code_2014_Final.pdf

Find government property:

https://www.gov.uk/find-government-property

Developing Countries: Education 

Question

Asked by Lord Verjee  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, following the publication of the Ministry of Defence's Global Strategic Trends out to 2045, what consideration they have given to educational inequalities in the developing world; and how the United Kingdom can aid the closing of gender gaps in educational access and attainment.[HL1724]

Baroness Northover (LD): The UK is supporting disaggregation of data by sex and age in the Post 2015 development framework which will succeed the Millennium Development Goals. This will help ensure no-one is left behind, including girls in Education. The UK International Development Gender Equality Act which was passed in May 2014 now makes it law to consider, before providing development assistance, how the assistance will contribute to reducing gender inequality.

Supporting gender equality in education remains a key priority for the UK government and we are increasingly focussing on marginalised girls both in terms of access and attainment. For example, the Girls Education Challenge funded by UK aid is the largest donor funded education programme which aims to support up to one million marginalised girls to be in school and learning which will help to transform their lives.

Diego Garcia 

Question

Asked by Lord Ashcroft  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Warsi on 28 July (WA 249), whether they will now answer the question as tabled.[HL1689]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): The United States is our most important bilateral ally and we have regular discussions on a range of sensitive issues. It is our longstanding position not to comment on discussions of that nature. With regard to Mr Belhaj allegedly stopping over in Diego Garcia, I refer the noble Lord to the response given by my noble friend, the former Senior Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Baroness Warsi), on 17 June 2014, Official Report, Column WA36, that, aside from the two cases of rendition through Diego Garcia (British Indian Ocean Territory) in 2002, there have been no other instances in which US intelligence flights landed in the UK, our Overseas Territories, or the Crown Dependencies, with a detainee on board since 11 September 2001.

Electoral Register 

Question

Asked by Lord Roberts of Llandudno  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what advice they give to electoral registration and returning officers regarding applications they receive from individuals who apply to register to vote but do not know, or have not been issued with, their National Insurance number and do not include such details as part of their application.[HL1636]

Lord Wallace of Saltaire (LD): Ministerial Guidance to Electoral Registration Officers (EROs) on this topic was published in September 2013 on the Cabinet Office website and in Electoral Commission guidance to EROs.

This information is available in the Library.

Applicants registering to vote who are unable to provide a National Insurance Number must state the reason on their submission. If they do not know their National Insurance Number they will be advised by EROs of locations, such as payslips, where they can find this information. Applicants who do not have a National Insurance Number must provide documentary evidence of their identity, such as a UK passport, before their request can be determined.

Employment Schemes: Learning Disability 

Question

Asked by Baroness Uddin  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to expand community-based support to accommodate people with learning disabilities placed in hospital in a way that supports skills and work readiness, and is overseen by trained professionals.[HL1574]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): We expect everyone in an inpatient setting to have a care plan, including, where appropriate, a discharge plan for them to move to community-based support. The assessment of people’s needs should include their health and care needs as well as other issues including their ability to benefit from education, training and employment.

The Department of Health and the Department for Work and Pensions are working closely to ensure that everyone with a learning disability, including those in a hospital setting, get appropriate support to fulfil their potential. We have already held several seminars aimed at those with a lived experience of learning disability to understand both the barriers to work and what might help. A further seminar is being hosted by British Institute for Learning Disability in September. Outcomes from these seminars will contribute to the development of a plan to improve support towards employment.

Energy: Meters 

Questions

Asked by The Lord Bishop of St Albans  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the use of prepayment meters on the ability of lower income households to pay their energy bills.[HL1687]

Baroness Northover (LD): Since 2010, all major suppliers have voluntarily equalised tariffs between prepayment customers and standard credit customers but the price differential between customers using pre-payment meters (PPM) and those paying by direct debit can be more than £100 for a dual-fuel customer.

Whilst paying by PPM is more common among fuel poor than non-fuel poor households, a majority of fuel poor customer pay by other payment methods.

Of households who were fuel poor in England in 2012, around 27% paid for their electricity and 22% paid for their gas through PPM.

Asked by The Lord Bishop of St Albans  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they have taken to encourage the six major energy companies to adhere to the five principles on the use of prepayment meters which were agreed with Consumer Focus in March 2011.[HL1688]

Baroness Northover: In July 2012, Consumer Focus released a report, ‘Making Progress’ which found that suppliers have all made changes to their policies and processes following their agreement to the 5 Key Principles that Consumer Focus set out in March 2011.

We know that issues relating to prepayment meters (PPM) remain of broad concern for consumers. The roll out of smart metering should greatly improve the customer experience for prepayment customers. In April 2014, the Secretary of State wrote to suppliers challenging them to ensure that from the end of 2016 current ‘normal’ PPM are replaced only with Smart Meters and offer Smart Meters with ‘pay as you go tariff’ options to all PPM customers by the end of 2016. We will continue to work with suppliers and stakeholders to ensure that PPM customers can benefit from smart meter roll out as soon as possible.

Forced Labour 

Questions

Asked by The Lord Bishop of Derby  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many audits of supply chains have been undertaken to ensure that public bodies and publicly-funded projects are not using forced labour through their supply chains.[HL1548]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what auditing steps they have taken since 2010 to ensure that public bodies and publicly-funded projects are not using forced or trafficked labour in their own supply chains.[HL1549]

Baroness Northover (LD): We do not hold central information on the number of audits commissioned or auditing steps taken regarding publically funded projects, as these would be a matter for individual contracting authorities to commission.

All suppliers are required to comply with UK law, including relevant human rights and employment rights law. Social, environmental and ethical issues are taken into account in the procurement process, where relevant and proportionate.

In particular, EU procurement rules require contracting authorities to exclude suppliers that have been convicted of certain offences, and allow authorities to exclude suppliers for grave professional misconduct. The new EU procurement Directives, which are currently being transposed into UK law, update the mandatory exclusion offences to explicitly include offences of "trafficking in human beings".

Gambling: Internet 

Questions

Asked by Lord Mancroft  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how a business is to determine whether its activity will be classed as "manufacture", "supply", "installation" or "adaption", pursuant to section 41 of the Gambling Act 2014, and therefore require a licence; and whether they have plans to supplement the guidance provided by the Gambling Commission on the matter.[HL1716]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the meaning of "adaption" with regard to section 41 of the Gambling Act 2014 in respect of software licensing requirements.[HL1717]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will encourage the Gambling Commission to give guidance in relation to its software licensing criteria within the Gambling Act 2014.[HL1718]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why, in the light of the requirements for licensing of software developers and suppliers under the gambling licensing regimes in other European Union member states, they have opted to increase the scope of businesses that require licensing in the United Kingdom.[HL1719]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government why software developers and other companies involved in gambling software, working as sub-contractors for newly-licensed software suppliers, have to apply for their own licences; and what assessment they have made of the impact of that requirement on smaller businesses reliant on such short-term contracts.[HL1720]

Baroness Northover (LD): The Gambling Commission’s publication ‘What is gambling software?’ (June 2014) provides advice to assist the industry in understanding who needs a gambling software licence. This covers what constitutes the activities of manufacturing, supplying, installing and adapting gambling software, considers circumstances where multiple parties are involved in the development process and who needs a licence. The guide can be found at the following link:

http://www.gamblingcommission.gov.uk/pdf/What is gambling software - June 2014.pdf

The requirement to obtain gambling software from Gambling Commission-licensed providers is an important provision both to ensure the integrity of gambling software and to keep crime out of gambling, and ensures a consistent approach for remote gambling operators based in Britain and overseas. This requirement is set out in the Commission’s Licence Conditions and Codes of Practice and was subject to statutory consultation this year.

Asked by Lord Mancroft  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether live dealer studios holding current European Economic Area and White-list authorisation for the services they provide to those offering live dealer games in the British market will be eligible for a continuation licence under the provisions of the Gambling Act 2014.[HL1721]

Baroness Northover: Yes, subject to meeting the criteria set out in Statutory Instrument (2014 Nos. 1675 and 1641), live dealer studios in the European Economic Area and White-list states currently permitted to operate in Britain are eligible.

Gastrointestinal Cancer 

Questions

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what measures they are taking to support research into paediatric, adolescent, wild-type and syndromic gastrointestinal stromal tumour cancer.[HL1651]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Department's National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including gastrointestinal stromal tumours (GIST). These applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and the National Health Service, value for money and scientific quality.

NIHR research infrastructure including NIHR biomedical research centres and the NIHR Clinical Research Network are hosting studies in GIST including a phase I/II study of sunitinib in young patients with advanced GIST.

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what measures they are taking to improve diagnosis and treatment of paediatric, adolescent, wild-type and syndromic gastrointestinal stromal tumour cancer.[HL1652]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what progress has been made in giving paediatric, adolescent, wild-type and syndromic gastrointestinal stromal tumour cancer specialised commissioning status.[HL1653]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government which National Clinical Director has responsibility for paediatric, adolescent, wild-type and syndromic gastrointestinal stromal tumour cancer patients.[HL1654]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to establish a specialist paediatric, adolescent, wild-type and syndromic gastrointestinal stromal tumour cancer clinic in the United Kingdom.[HL1655]

Earl Howe: Measures to ensure early diagnosis of cancer, including rare cancers, are discussed monthly by the Public Awareness and Primary Care Steering Group. The group is chaired by Sean Duffy, NHS England’s National Clinical Director for Cancer, and includes members representing Public Health England, Cancer Research UK, Macmillan Cancer Support and Departmental officials and other stakeholders.

As rare cancers, paediatric, adolescent, wild-type and syndromic gastrointestinal stromal tumours (PAWS GIST) are covered by the 2013-14 NHS standard contract for paediatric oncology which was developed by the Specialised Service Children’s Cancer Clinical Reference Group (CRG) and can be found at the following address:

www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/06/e04-paedi-oncol.pdf

NHS England has no plans to establish a specialist PAWS GIST clinic, as treatment is currently provided through paediatric oncology services.

GIST Support UK have in partnership with Addenbrookes Hospital in Cambridge, established a PAWS GIST clinic that is led by Dr Ramesh Bulusu working with a UK national alliance of doctors.

Dr Jacqueline Cornish, National Clinical Director for Children, Young People and Transition to Adulthood, NHS England has responsibility for PAWS GIST.

General Practitioners 

Question

Asked by Baroness Browning  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what categories of Quality and Outcomes Framework payments are available to general practitioner practices.[HL1665]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The national Quality and Outcomes Framework (QOF) is a voluntary incentive scheme that provides additional reward to general practitioner (GP) practices for how well they care for patients based on performance against a number of agreed indicators. Each indicator is worth a maximum number of points and GP practices are then rewarded financially on the number of points they achieve. All GP practices can choose to take part in QOF and the majority choose to do so.

NHS Employers publish detailed guidance on the QOF. A copy of this guidance has been placed in the Library.

Golf: Females 

Question

Asked by Lord Moynihan  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to golf clubs which host national and international events in the United Kingdom about the continuing discrimination against women.[HL1631]

Baroness Northover (LD): Last year, the Secretary of State at the time did not attend the Open golf championship at Muirfield in Scotland to highlight their policy on not allowing women members. Prior to this, in 2011, the Minister for Sport at the time, spoke with the Royal and Ancient about the matter of hosting the tournament at clubs that do not allow women members and stressed that he thought that clubs with such rules need to change this policy.

The Open Championship does not receive any financial support from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Ultimately the decision of where to hold the Championship is one for the Royal and Ancient.

It is not unlawful for clubs to restrict membership to men or to women only. It is a matter for single-sex clubs to decide whether they wish to change the membership criteria to extend to men and women. There are, however, provisions in the Equality Act 2010 which mean that where private clubs, including golf or other sports clubs, allow both men and women to become members, they must treat them equally regardless of their sex.

Housing 

Question

Asked by Lord Patten  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their assessment of the amount of floor space provided in newly built houses and flats in relation to average household needs in the United Kingdom.[HL1604]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon) (Con): The floor space in newly built homes varies by dwelling type. As part of the Impact Assessment supporting last year's Housing Standards Review consultation, EC Harris estimated that typical private newly built houses were of the following size;

2 bedroom apartment 67m2

2 bedroom house 72m2

3 bedroom house 92m2

4 bedroom house 117m2

The Government will be consulting shortly on more detailed proposals for a National Space Standard which will be available for local authorities to adopt in planning policies and this will be followed by an Impact Assessment including further analysis on the size of recently built homes.

Housing Benefit: Social Rented Housing 

Question

Asked by The Lord Bishop of Derby  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to increase the availability of suitable housing for housing benefit claimants eligible for the under-occupancy charge who are willing but unable to move to smaller accommodation due to a lack of social housing available.[HL1587]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon) (Con): The 2015-18 Affordable Housing Programme encourages housing providers to build social homes of sizes that match local household needs. Of the successful bids so far, 77% have been for 1 and 2 bedroom homes. This will make more housing available for households in social housing who wish to downsize.

The Government has also taken steps to support mobility among tenants in the social rented sector. Our social housing reforms have given councils and social landlords much more flexibility in the allocation of housing. Our statutory guidance on social housing allocations encourages local authorities to prioritise under-occupying tenants wishing to move, and to consider whether there are provisions in their allocation scheme that might make it difficult for under-occupiers to move. In February, we issued a guide to help landlords facilitate mutual exchanges; the guide highlights various steps landlords can take to make mutual exchange a more attractive and viable proposition for tenants. The introduction of the national HomeSwap Direct scheme has made it easier for tenants wanting to move to find a suitable property. Since its launch in October 2011, tenants have carried out over 18 million searches of the property data held on HomeSwap Direct. The Government has also made clear its intention to introduce a Right to Move for social tenants who need to move to take up a job or be closer to work – we intend to consult soon on proposals.

In addition, many social landlords (both housing associations and councils) are helping affected tenants to move to more suitable accommodation by holding "mutual exchange fairs" (where tenants who want to downsize can meet with tenants who want a larger property), running transfer incentive schemes, and repairing properties which are being swapped through mutual exchange.

Human Trafficking 

Questions

Asked by The Lord Bishop of Derby  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many individuals on domestic worker visas have sought assistance as victims of human trafficking through the National Referral Mechanism.[HL1546]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many individuals on domestic worker visas have been identified as victims of human trafficking offences in each year since 2010.[HL1547]

Baroness Northover (LD): The Home Office does not collect the information that has been requested. However, domestic workers who are abused or exploited, regardless of their immigration status, can receive care and support in the UK.

Iraq 

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the reply by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 24 July (HL Deb, cols 1324–8) to the debate on Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, what assistance has been given to Christians who have been forced to leave their homes in Mosul; whether they have any plans to offer asylum to those affected; and what representations they have made to governments in the Gulf in respect of the funding of ISIS.[HL1694]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): The UK condemns the human rights abuses reported in Iraq and has committed £5 million to the humanitarian effort to support people displaced by fighting there. All asylum claims made in the UK are carefully considered in accordance with the UK’s obligations under the 1951 Refugee Convention and the European Convention on Human Rights. The Home Office, which is responsible for all asylum claims, closely monitors developments in Iraq and other countries of return and will take decisions on a case-by-case basis in the light of the latest available country information. We regularly discuss terrorist financing with governments in the Gulf including through the mechanisms of the Financial Action Task Force.

Asked by Baroness Berridge  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have met the administration of Kurdish-controlled Iraq since ISIS took control of other Iraqi regions; and in particular whether they have discussed the situation of Iraqi Christian refugees.[HL1708]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: The former Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Richmond (Yorks) (Mr Hague), met the President and Prime Minister of the Kurdistan Region in Iraq on 27 June, and our Consul General in Erbil regularly meets the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and others to discuss the humanitarian crisis and assistance to displaced persons including Christians from Mosul. Most recently the Consul General met the Head of the KRG’s Department for Foreign Relations on 6 August to discuss the specific needs of Christians and other minority groups including Yezidis fleeing from Sinjar. Foreign and Commonwealth Office officials meet regularly with the KRG representation to the UK, and have done so several times since the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) attacks on Mosul and other parts of Iraq in mid June 2014.

Israel 

Questions

Asked by Baroness Tonge  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what was the value of United Kingdom arms sales to Israel in the last 12 months, including cryptographic equipment; and what assessment they have made of the use of such arms for internal repression or external aggression.[HL1576]

The Minister of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Livingston of Parkhead) (Con): In general the Department holds information only about the value of goods licensed for export, not about the value of sales.

In 2013, the UK granted a total of 178 Standard Individual Export Licences (SIELs) for military-rated goods with a value of £10,011,169.

Cryptographic equipment and software are dual-use items and the vast majority are for civil end use – they are not arms. In 2013 we granted 88 SIELs for cryptographic equipment, software, and related components. The vast majority of the value of these related to one licence, for electronic components and circuit boards which are specifically designed for building mobile phone networks for public use. They do not meet military specifications and they are not suitable for building military communications equipment. The end-user is a commercial stockist and distributor of electronic components and equipment. Given the nature of the equipment and intended end-use we do not have any concerns that the goods might be diverted for military end-use.

All export licence applications are assessed on a case-by-case basis against the Consolidated EU and National Arms Export Licensing Criteria in light of the prevailing circumstances. The Government announced the findings of its review of licensed exports to Israel on 12 August.

Asked by Lord Warner  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they will take action to place an arms embargo on Israel.[HL1711]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: The UK aims to have one of the most rigorous and transparent export licence regimes in the world with strict criteria governing the provision of licences. On 11 August the British Government announced the findings of its review of licensed exports to Israel. It found that the vast majority of exports currently licensed for Israel are not for items that could be used by Israeli forces in operations in Gaza in response to attacks by Hamas.

However, twelve licences were identified for components which could be part of equipment used by the Israeli Defence Forces in Gaza. Currently there is a ceasefire in place and the Government continues to urge both sides to respect this and to secure a lasting end to hostilities through the negotiations taking place in Cairo. However, in the event of a resumption of significant hostilities, the Government is concerned that it would not be able to clarify if the export licence criteria were being met. It would therefore suspend these licences as a precautionary step.

Lasers 

Question

Asked by Lord Brabazon of Tara  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they propose to take in respect of the import, mainly through the internet, of laser pointers above classes 1 and 2, in the light of the study "‘Toy’ Laser Macular Burns in Children", published in Eye, the scientific journal of the Royal College of Ophthalmologists, in January; and what assessment they have made of the impact of such lasers being pointed at aircraft pilots, train drivers and motorists.[HL1608]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Public Health England (PHE) and its predecessor organisations first issued advice on these matters to the then Department for Trade and Industry in October 1997 suggesting that laser products on general sale to the public should be limited to Class 1 or Class 2. This advice is still relevant. Trading Standards Officers use existing powers under the General Product Safety Regulations to take enforcement action against traders in the United Kingdom supplying high-power laser products, which are usually Class 3B or Class 4.

Following the publication of the paper in the journal Eye, PHE organised a workshop on 20 June 2014. This brought together two of the authors of the paper and stakeholders from across Government, the police and experts on the health implications of exposure to laser beams. PHE agrees with the journal article that it is important parents are aware of the risks of laser products to their children. It was felt that the most appropriate course of action was a campaign to increase awareness of the risks associated with the use of these lasers, including the likelihood that the power in the laser beam could be significantly higher than stated. PHE is now preparing additional material to inform the public.

The ability to impair the vision of a pilot or a vehicle driver depends on the colour of the laser beam, the ambient light conditions and the task being undertaken. Although Class 1 or Class 2 lasers are unlikely to impair the vision of a pilot, under specific conditions, they can cause distraction, glare and afterimages to drivers targeted at close range. Therefore, any inappropriate use of a laser, irrespective of the laser classification, should be taken seriously.

Meat: Antibiotics 

Question

Asked by Lord Swinfen  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to reduce the amount of antibiotics in meat and meat products.[HL1572]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord De Mauley) (Con): Any veterinary antibiotic authorised for use in the UK in a food producing species will have a withdrawal period set as part of the condition of use. This is the minimum length of time after treatment that must pass before produce from the treated animal can enter the food chain. The withdrawal period ensures that the concentration of any residue of the medicine falls below the maximum residue level – the statutory safety limit.

In addition, the use of antibiotics as growth promoters has been banned in Europe since 2006.

Using antibiotics responsibly is a requirement of the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons (RCVS) Code of Professional Conduct for Vets which states "Veterinary surgeons must be seen to ensure that when using antimicrobials they do so responsibly, and be accountable for the choices made in such use."

Mesothelioma 

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much was spent on mesothelioma research in 2013 and 2014.[HL1532]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much funding has been designated for mesothelioma research in 2014 and 2015.[HL1533]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): In 2013-14, the Medical Research Council (MRC) spent £1.7 million on mesothelioma research, and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) spent £0.4 million on this topic through its research programmes, research centres and units, and research fellowships. Total spend by the NIHR on mesothelioma research is higher than this because expenditure by the NIHR Clinical Research Network (CRN) on this topic cannot be disaggregated from total CRN expenditure.

The amount of funding designated for mesothelioma research in 2014 and 2015 is not available. The usual practice of the NIHR and MRC is not to ring-fence funds for expenditure on particular topics; research proposals in all areas can be considered for the funding available.

The NIHR welcomes funding applications for research into any aspect of human health, including mesothelioma. These applications are subject to peer review and judged in open competition, with awards being made on the basis of the importance of the topic to patients and health and care services, value for money and scientific quality. In all disease areas, the amount of NIHR funding depends on the volume and quality of scientific activity. The NIHR has highlighted to the research community that it wants to encourage research applications in mesothelioma and we hope this will lead to an increased level of research activity.

Middle East 

Questions

Asked by Lord Hylton  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to initiate dialogues, whether under their own auspices or those of other neutral states, between Israelis and Palestinians, along the lines suggested by Mr David Grossman in the International New York Times of 29 July.[HL1647]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): The Government currently supports a range of projects in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territories which involve both Israeli and Palestinian implementing partners. Whilst the projects currently being funded do not necessarily have a specific objective of bringing Israelis and Palestinians together, or constitute ‘joint’ projects as such, much of the work our implementers do involve Israelis and Palestinians working together. Our Conflict Prevention programme includes a focus on supporting and strengthening constituencies for peace. This includes support to train Palestinian doctors in Israeli hospitals; fostering people-to-people relations between the two communities, promoting coexistence and confidence building, whilst building the capabilities of the Palestinian healthcare system.

Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Israel about the bombardment of Gaza.[HL1673]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: Officials from our Embassy in Tel Aviv are holding regular discussions with the Government of Israel about the current Gaza crisis. On 29 July the Prime Minister, my right hon. Friend the Member for Witney (Mr Cameron), called for an unconditional, immediate, humanitarian ceasefire.

Asked by Baroness Tonge  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of allegations that the Israeli Defence Force’s Operation Protective Edge has deliberately targeted civilian infrastructure.[HL1696]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: The Government has not made any assessment of the allegations that the Israeli Defence Forces have deliberately targeted civilian infrastructure. We have however made clear both in our public statements and diplomatic representations that whilst Israel had a right to self-defence, any response must be proportionate and maximum efforts made to avoid civilian casualties.

Asked by Lord Warner  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they will take to secure an independent international investigation of the level of civilian deaths and casualties in Gaza arising from Israel's military intervention in that territory to establish whether breaches of international law have occurred.[HL1709]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: The Government has not made any plans to take action to secure an independent international investigation into the Gaza crisis. The time to carry out any actions on this issue is in the future, once the situation in Gaza has de-escalated.

Asked by Lord Warner  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they intend to take internationally to require Israel to lift the blockade of Gaza.[HL1710]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: In order to secure a lasting ceasefire, it will be vital to address the underlying causes of the conflict, including easing access restrictions to open up the economy of Gaza, whilst addressing Israel’s legitimate security concerns. There cannot simply be a return to the status quo ante. The UK will work with international partners, including the EU and the UN, to support this goal.

Ministers: Conduct 

Question

Asked by Lord Tebbit  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether it is their policy that ministers speaking from the despatch box in their capacity as ministers should not express personal opinions in conflict with Government policy; if so, how that policy is enforced; and, if not, whether they intend to introduce such a policy.[HL1666]

Baroness Northover (LD): The Ministerial Code provides guidance to Ministers on their accountability to Parliament.

Multiple Sclerosis 

Questions

Asked by Baroness Gardner of Parkes  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether Cladribine is available for people with multiple sclerosis through the National Health Service; and, if not, what steps they are taking to make it available.[HL1628]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of research in other countries into the use of Cladribine to treat multiple sclerosis; and what such research has been carried out in the United Kingdom for the National Health Service.[HL1629]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Cladribine is not licensed for the treatment of multiple sclerosis.

Prescribers can prescribe a medicine "off label" for unlicensed indications if they consider it to be of benefit to the patient and on condition that they retain full clinical responsibility for that patient.

The National Institute for Health Research Horizon Scanning Centre published a report on cladribine for multiple sclerosis in 2008 and this is available at:

www.hsc.nihr.ac.uk/topics/cladribine-movectro-for-multiple-sclerosis-relapsi

We have made no assessment of research undertaken in other countries.

National Lottery 

Question

Asked by Lord Moynihan  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how much lottery money has been spent on sports and recreation each year since the establishment of the National Lottery; how much they anticipate will be spent in 2015, 2016, and 2017; and how much of that funding has been allocated for each Olympic and Paralympic sport.[HL1633]

Baroness Northover (LD): The amounts of National Lottery money drawn down by the Lottery sports distributors for spending on the sports good cause were as follows:

1994/95 - £1.8 million

1995/96 - £40.1 million

1996/97 - £181.6 million

1997/98 - £188.3 million

1998/99 - £397.4 million

1999/00 - £316.7 million

2000/01 - £292.5 million

2001/02 - £359.2 million

2002/03 - £377.5 million

2003/04 - £315.5 million

2004/05 - £241.6 million

2005/06 - £264.1 million

2006/07 - £208.8 million

2007/08 - £216.1 million

2008/09 - £230.5 million

2009/10 - £216.6 million

2010/11 - £224.0 million

2011/12 - £302.5 million

2012/13 - £271.6 million

2013/14 - £358.2 million

In addition, the Big Lottery Fund (and its predecessor bodies) spent approximately £1 billion on sports and recreation projects that had a social impact over that period.

The sports distributors estimate that they will drawing down approximately £450 million this financial year and in each of the next three financial years.

UK Sport invests in four-year cycles in line with the Olympic and Paralympic calendars. The breakdown of funding for each sport up to Pyeongchang 2018 can be found on the UK Sport website.

Neurofibromatosis 

Questions

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government out of all known patients with neurofibromatosis Type 1, how many were treated in the last 12 months at the two designated national specialist care centres.[HL1538]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many patients with neurofibromatosis Type 1 are waiting to be treated at the two designated national specialist care centres.[HL1539]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): Whilst the number of people with neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1) in England is estimated to number 11,267, the number of patients with a confirmed diagnosis is not collected.

In the following table we have provided the number of finished admission episodes (FAEs) for patients with a primary diagnosis of NF1 who were treated at the two national specialist centres in 2012-13, the most recent period for which data is available. An FAE is a continuous period of admitted patient care under one consultant within one health care provider. It should be noted the figures do not represent a count of patients, as a person may have more than one episode of care within the same stay in hospital or in different stays in the same year.

FAEs in 2012-13 for patients with primary or secondary diagnosis of NF1 (non-malignant)

Trust

Numbers

Central Manchester University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust

213

Guys and St. Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust

124

Source: Hospital Episode Statistics (HES), Health and Social Care Information Centre

Information concerning the number of patients waiting to be treated at the two national centres is not available.

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what arrangements are being made to treat patients with neurofibromatosis Type 1 who do not meet the thresholds set at the two designated national specialist care centres.[HL1540]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what arrangements are being made to monitor the implementation of the service specification for treating patients with neurofibromatosis Type 1.[HL1541]

Earl Howe: NHS England’s service specification for complex Type 1 neurofibromatosis (NF1) sets
out what providers must have in place offer evidence-based, safe and effective care, ensuring equity of access to a nationally consistent, high quality service. The specification sets out a number of aims and objectives for the service which includes the operation of a rolling programme of clinical audit to test current practice and inform the evolution of care for patients with complex NF1.

The complex NF1 service is accessible to all patients with a suspected or confirmed diagnosis of NF1, subject to an appropriate referral. Those patients identified by the service as having non-complex NF1 will have their care transferred to the appropriate local team as required.

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to ensure early diagnosis of patients with neurofibromatosis type 1.[HL1656]

Earl Howe: Information for the public on the diagnosis and treatment of neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) can be found on the NHS Choices website, which sets out the key signs and symptoms of the condition, including: coffee colored patches on the skin, two or more neurofibromas (bumps on or under the skin); bone defects, such as bowing of the lower leg; and, a family history of NF1. The NF1 webpages can be viewed at the following link:

www.nhs.uk/conditions/Neurofibromatosis/Pages/Introduction.aspx

More detailed information for general practitioners and other health professionals can be found on the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence NHS Evidence website at:

www.evidence.nhs.uk

This provides free access to quality health and social care evidence and best practice.

NHS England commissions complex NF1 services as part of its remit to deliver specialised services and has published a service specification for NF1. Diagnostic services are a core element of this specification and can be accessed by all patients with a suspected or confirmed diagnosis on referral.

NHS 

Questions

Asked by Baroness Howe of Idlicote  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what opportunity the House of Lords and House of Commons will be given to scrutinise the NHS Mandate 2015–16 ahead of its publication.[HL1622]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Health and Social Care Act 2012 requires the Secretary of State to publish and lay before Parliament its Mandate to the NHS Commissioning Board (known as NHS England). Before specifying any objectives or requirements in the Mandate, the Secretary of State must consult NHS England, Healthwatch England and any other persons he considers appropriate.

I announced on 22 July 2014 in a Written Ministerial Statement (HL Deb, column WS124-5) that the Government proposes to uphold all of the existing objectives in the current Mandate and maintain a stable Mandate for 2015-16. This will enable the National Health Service to build on its achievements and make further progress on the ambitious agenda already set.

We have been working closely with NHS England on the approach to the Mandate and will be engaging with stakeholders over the summer, ahead of publishing and laying the final Mandate before Parliament in the autumn. The Mandate for 2015-16 will take effect from April 2015.

Asked by Lord Judd  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the effectiveness of the National Health Service Mandate in holding the National Health Service accountable to government.[HL1642]

Earl Howe: The National Health Service Mandate, which is published annually, sets the Government’s objectives for NHS England which NHS England must seek to deliver, and its business plan sets out how it will do so. Following this, NHS Planning Guidance sets out expectations on clinical commissioning groups (CCGs) for their role in delivering the mandate, which CCGs are then expected to reflect in their plans. As such, the mandate provides a basis for holding NHS England and, through them, CCGs, to account.

The Department holds the NHS formally to account for its progress on achieving the objectives in the mandate through bi-monthly Secretary of State accountability meetings, of which the minutes are published. In July, the first Annual Assessment of NHS England was laid before Parliament by the Secretary of State, which covers the extent to which NHS England met its mandate in 2013-14.

As the Annual Assessment acknowledged, NHS England and the wider system have recently undergone a complex transition process. This means it is difficult at this time to assess the effectiveness of the Mandate as an accountability mechanism. Nevertheless, we will keep this under review.

Asked by Baroness Greengross  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Ministerial Statement by the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP on 22 July (HC Deb, col 119WS), at what point the Department of Health decided on a "commitment to stability" for the NHS Mandate 2015–16 and whether this commitment will prevent changes to the Mandate ahead of its publication.[HL1675]

Earl Howe: The Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt MP, announced the Government’s intention to maintain a stable Mandate for 2015-16 at the same time as publishing the first Annual Assessment of NHS England. The Annual Assessment, and NHS England’s first Annual Report, describe an organisation that has established itself and made progress, but has more to do to deliver all of its objectives. The decision to propose a stable Mandate for 2015-16 was taken in view of the importance of continuity of purpose for NHS England in the final year of the current spending review cycle. The priorities for the National Health Service remain those described in the current Mandate for 2014-15, and the Government wants NHS England to make further progress still on the ambitious agenda already set.

As set out in my Written Ministerial Statement on 22 July (HL Deb, column WS124-5), the Department is engaging with key stakeholders on its proposed approach over the summer. The Government will consider views expressed before finalising the Mandate for publication in the autumn.

NHS: Obesity 

Question

Asked by Lord Blencathra  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what information they have on the numbers of National Health Service staff who are (1) obese grade I, (2) obese grade II (severe obesity), and (3) obese grade III (morbid obesity).[HL1681]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Department does not hold data on the number of National Health Service staff classified as obese.

NHS: Staff 

Question

Asked by Lord Grocott  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the answer by Earl Howe on 9 July (HL Deb, col 216) and Written Answer on 29 July (WA 286), how the figure of 19,300 fewer administrative staff was calculated.[HL1722]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The source of the data is the NHS Hospital & Community Health Service (HCHS) monthly workforce statistics - Provisional Statistics published by the Health and Social Care Information Centre. This covers directly employed staff working in the National Health Service and excludes staff working in general practice.

The figure of 19,300 (rounded down to the nearest hundred) is the decrease in the full time equivalent number of ‘infrastructure support’ staff between May 2010 (204,695) and February 2014 (185,319). Infrastructure support includes staff that are coded as senior managers, managers, clerical and administrative staff in central functions and all staff in hotel, property and estates; it does not include administration staff that provide direct support to clinicians, such as medical secretaries and ward receptionists.

Based on the latest available data, for April 2014, the number of full time equivalent infrastructure support staff stands at 184,533 and the reduction since May 2010 at over 20,100 (20,161 – rounded down to the nearest whole number).

Nigeria 

Question

Asked by Baroness Tonge  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what representations they have made to the government of Nigeria concerning a reported military attack on pro-Palestinian protesters at the annual Al Quds Day rally.[HL1579]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): We are aware that a number of civilian deaths occurred during the annual ‘Quds Day’ rally in Zaria, Kaduna State on 25 July and understand that the Nigerian police have opened an investigation. Officials at our High Commission in Abuja are seeking more details.

North Korea 

Questions

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the reply by Baroness Warsi on 23 July (HL Deb, cols GC 460–4) on the Commission of Inquiry Report on human rights in North Korea, how many of the Commission’s recommendations that pertain specifically to Her Majesty’s Government have been implemented thus far; and whether there are any recommendations that they do not intend to implement.[HL1535]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): The Commission of Inquiry made nineteen recommendations to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) (para 1220, (a) – (s)); six for China and other States in the context of trafficking and forced repatriation of refugees (para 1221 (a) – (f)); one relating to inter-Korean relations (para 1222); two directed at states, civil society organisations, foundations and business enterprises (1223 and 1224) and ten to the international community and the United Nations (1225 (a) – (j)).

The recommendations relating to trafficking and forced repatriation do not apply directly to the UK. However, we have been clear with the Chinese government and others that we believe that people who have escaped from the DPRK are entitled to protection and should be allowed safe passage to resettlement in third countries.

Para 1223 relates to people-to-people dialogue and contact in areas such as culture, science, sports, good governance and economic development. As one of the few countries with a presence on the ground in Pyongyang, the UK can play a particular role in implementing this recommendation. We already seek to expose North Koreans to the outside world through the British Council English language training programme and other engagement activities.

Para 1224 recommends that states and others should support the work of civil society organisations to improve the human rights situation in the DPRK, including efforts to document violations and to broadcast accessible information into each country. The UK has previously funded projects with South Korean non-governmental organisations related to documenting violations in the DPRK. We have also worked with international and domestic organisations within the DPRK to improve the treatment of disabled people. Our focus on direct engagement complements that of others, like the US, who support broadcasts into the DPRK.

With regard to the recommendations for the international community and the United Nations, my noble friend, the former Senior Minister of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Baroness Warsi), set out in detail in her reply on 23 July (Official Report, column GC461) the UK’s position on the recommendations for the UN Security Council (para 1225(a)) and our commitment to ensuring that the international community takes action in response to the Commission’s report (para 1225(f)). The recommendations in para 1225 (b) and (c) have been taken forward through the UN Human Rights Council and those in (d), (e) and (g) are primarily for the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the UN Secretariat. We are currently exploring the prospects for taking forward para 1225(h), which recommends forming a human rights contact group. Para 1225(i) relates to provision of humanitarian assistance. The UK does not have a bilateral aid programme in the DPRK, but agrees fully with points made in this recommendation about how such assistance should be provided. Para 1225(j) recommends the convening of a high-level political conference to consider a final peaceful settlement to the Korean War. A comprehensive resolution of the situation on the Korean peninsula will require the DPRK to address the international community's legitimate security concerns.

Asked by Lord Eames  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the reply by Baroness Warsi on 23 July (HL Deb, cols 460–4GC) to the debate on the Commission of Inquiry Report on human rights in North Korea, whether the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and British Embassy in Pyongyang use teaching programmes in North Korean universities and colleges and children's care homes to challenge the indoctrination of children that was documented in the Commission Report; and if so, how.[HL1703]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: The primary focus of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and British Council funded teacher training programme in the Democratic People's Republic of Korea is on training teachers of English, although the programme also includes an element of direct teaching to university and middle school students. The programme uses a mixture of standard British Council English language materials and materials developed together with DPRK teachers specifically for the North Korean context. This includes, for example, a module on English for International Law, based on texts from the UN including the UN Charter. The DPRK would not agree to any programme that explicitly challenged their ideology, but through the programme North Korean teachers and students develop a better understanding of the UK and its values. They also experience an approach to learning based on questioning and reaching individual conclusions, rather than dictation and rote learning.

While our Embassy in Pyongyang has funded some projects aimed at improving nutrition in children’s homes and childcare centres, we do not have any teaching programmes for these groups.

Asked by Lord Eames  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the reply by Baroness Warsi on 23 July (HL Deb, cols 460–4GC) to the debate on the Commission of Inquiry Report on human rights in North Korea, what bilateral steps have been taken by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to end sexual violence in North Korea; whether experts from its Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative have entered into dialogue with the government of North Korea; and what assessment they have made of whether any projects explicitly designed to improve the rights of women in North Korean society have ever been implemented in North Korea.[HL1704]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: We have been clear with the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) that we find its appalling human rights record unacceptable and have called on it to take action in response to all of the Commission of Inquiry’s findings, including those relating to sexual and gender-based violence. We have also worked with the South Korean based non-governmental organisation (NGO), Citizens Alliance (NKHR), to fund a project on North Korean refugees and women’s rights in the DPRK and to increase the NGO’s capability in this field. The report produced through this project was submitted to the Commission of Inquiry and formed part of the evidence for their report.

We do not have a full audit of projects undertaken by other Embassies, UN Agencies or NGOs. With regard to UK projects within the DPRK, it is only possible to undertake projects with a willing North Korean counterpart. We have not previously undertaken projects specifically designed to improve women’s rights or sexual and gender-based violence. To date experts from the Preventing Sexual Violence Initiative have not held discussions with the Government of DPRK. The DPRK recently accepted a number of recommendations from its 2009 Universal Periodic Review, including some that related to equality and women’s rights. This creates a potential opportunity for engagement. We are currently considering how we might exploit this most effectively.

Occupied Territories 

Question

Asked by Lord Warner  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what further action they plan to take internationally to ban the trade in goods and services from Israel's settlements in occupied Palestinian territories.[HL1712]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): While the issue of settlement produce is a subject of active discussion with our EU partners, the Government has no plans to take this further internationally. We are working together to ensure continued, full and effective implementation of existing EU legislation and bilateral arrangements applicable to settlement products. This ongoing work includes measures to ensure that settlement produce does not enter the EU duty-free, under the EU-Israel Association Agreement, and steps to ensure that EU-wide guidelines are issued to make sure that settlement products are not incorrectly labelled as Israeli produce, in violation of EU consumer protection regulations.

Orders and Regulations 

Question

Asked by Lord Goodlad  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written answer by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 29 July (WA 297), what percentage of statutory instruments laid by the Cabinet Office this calendar year corrected errors in a previous instrument (including drafts of affirmative instruments that had to be superseded by correcting drafts); and what were the titles of the correcting instruments.[HL1702]

Baroness Northover (LD): In 2014 Cabinet Office has laid 22 statutory instruments, of which three corrected errors in a previous instrument (14%).

The instruments concerned are the European Parliamentary Elections (Amendment) Regulations 2014, the Local Authorities (Conduct of Referendums) (England) (Amendment) Regulations 2014 and the Electoral Registration (Disclosure of Electoral Registers) (Amendment) Regulations 2014.

Pakistan 

Question

Asked by Lord Ahmed  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they have provided military intelligence, logistic and material support to the army of Pakistan during its military operations against international terrorist networks in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan.[HL1197]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): The Government has not provided any direct intelligence, logistic and material support to Pakistan relating to its military operations in Federally Administered Tribal Areas.

Palestinians 

Questions

Asked by Lord Hylton  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to ask the government of Egypt to re-open the Rafah crossing for the evacuation of severely injured people from Gaza.[HL1542]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): We welcome the repeated opening of the Rafah crossing for evacuation of the severely injured from Gaza that Egypt has facilitated throughout the current crisis, as well as the humanitarian aid packages it has supplied. We remain concerned about the fragile humanitarian situation in Gaza. We continue to encourage the Egyptian authorities to ease movement especially for humanitarian reasons through Rafah. The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, my right hon. Friend the Member for Runnymede and Weybridge (Mr Hammond), raised the Rafah crossing with the Egyptian President during his visit to Cairo on 24 July.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of reports that Hamas militants are attempting to negotiate a new arms deal with North Korea for missiles and communications equipment.[HL1692]

Baroness Anelay of St Johns: We are aware of recent reports that the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) is supplying missile technology to Hamas militants. The DPRK supplies a wide range of conventional arms to customers worldwide, including Syria and Iran. Its sale of arms and related material to countries already in the grip of conflict exploits and increases regional instability. We urge all countries to exercise vigilance in the implementation of DPRK UN Security Council Resolutions.

Asked by Lord Hylton  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the practical and humanitarian consequences of the damage recently done to the large electricity plant in Gaza.[HL1700]

Baroness Northover (LD): According to the UN, Gaza’s sole power plant remains shut down after being shelled on 29 July. The UN estimate that repairs may take months to complete, exacerbating the electricity crisis. The residents of Gaza are currently receiving on average 2 to 4 hours of electricity a day. This is affecting private households, companies and public services provision, including water, sanitation and health facilities as well as basic access to food.

The UK will provide more than £17 million in emergency support for Gaza. This includes £6 million for the UN Relief and Works Agency Appeal, which will fund basic shelter, blankets, hygiene kits, nappies and other vital help for tens of thousands of displaced people; £3million for the World Food Programme’s appeal to provide emergency food vouchers for more than 300,000 people for one month; and £3million of support brought forward for the International Committee of the Red Cross. DFID has also activated the £3 million Rapid Response Facility which allows the UK to provide emergency support via pre-approved organisations that can rapidly deliver medical, water and sanitation assistance in response to a disaster or humanitarian crisis overseas. We are also matching donations to the Disasters Emergency Committee appeal for Gaza, up to a total of £2 million.

Palliative Care 

Questions

Asked by Baroness Howe of Idlicote  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what recent steps they have taken to improve the provision of palliative care services.[HL1621]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The Department and NHS England are taking steps to improve palliative care services, including the development of a per-patient funding model for palliative care services that aims to improve access to specialist palliative care.

NHS England has established palliative care networks across England which are supporting improvements in palliative care services and sharing of good practice. NHS Improving Quality’s (NHS IQ) Transforming End of Life Care (EoLC) in Acute Hospitals programme is also helping to drive improvements for people in hospitals, such as the wider implementation of electronic palliative care registers (EPaCCS). These can provide instant access to key information about EoLC patients to all health professionals with a need to see it. NHS IQ has set an ambition to achieve a 70% roll out of EPaCCs by 2015.

On 1 July 2014, we announced a review of choice in EoLC led by Claire Henry, Chief Executive of the National Council for Palliative Care. The Programme Board leading this work consists of representatives from charities, people with personal experience of EoLC (including carers), clinicians and policy makers. The review will undertake extensive public consultation to define what people want in EoLC services, and will provide advice to the Government on the policy initiatives required to enable people’s preferences to be met. This advice will be provided by early next year.

Asked by Baroness Greengross  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps have been taken to explore the feasibility of replicating the Liverpool STARS programme for people at the end of life elsewhere in England.[HL1674]

Earl Howe: There are currently no plans to explore the feasibility of replicating the Liverpool STARS programme for people at the end of life elsewhere in England. This is a local initiative and it is for commissioners in other localities to determine how best to improve the provision of end of life care services in their areas, based on the needs of their populations.

NHS England is responsible for improving end of life care services nationally and has established, and is supporting, palliative care networks across England. Through these networks and the work of NHS Improving Quality, NHS England is continuing to support improvements in palliative care services and sharing of good practice. The Transforming End of Life Care in Acute Hospitals programme is also helping to drive improvements for people in hospitals.

Palliative Care Funding Review 

Question

Asked by Lord Judd  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the data collected by the Palliative Care Funding Review; and whether they have plans to introduce the provision of free social care at the end of life.[HL1640]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The data collection exercise following the Palliative Care Funding Review concluded at the end of March 2014. These data are currently being analysed by NHS England, who intend to complete this analysis by the end of August.

Any decisions on the provision of free social care at the end of life will be based on a combination of the analysis of these data, other relevant data sources and wider policy and financial considerations.

Pharmacy: Colne 

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the causes of the delay in the transfer of the pharmacy into the new Colne Health Centre from the old premises; and when it will happen.[HL1643]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): This is an operational matter for the National Health Service locally. We understand that NHS Property Services has reached an agreement with Colne Pharmacy to move into the new health centre.

Prisoners: Dependants 

Questions

Asked by Lord Touhig  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the case for judges asking individuals whom they have remanded or sentenced to prison whether there are any children or vulnerable adults dependent upon them.[HL1263]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what provisions exist to ensure that appropriate care arrangements are in place for the dependants of individuals who are refused bail and held on remand.[HL1264]

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Faulks) (Con): The Government is examining practical measures to ensure that information about dependents of those sent to custody is identified and recorded. The Government has considered the case for a statutory duty on courts to inquire about the existence of dependents but remains concerned that such a duty would be impractical for the courts to operate and not be effective in encouraging defendants and offenders to disclose, as early as possible, the existence of dependents.

Asked by Lord Touhig  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimates have been made of the number of children or vulnerable adults dependent upon individuals who have been refused bail and held on remand in the last 12 months.[HL1265]

Lord Faulks: When deciding whether to refuse bail the court has a duty to take into account any relevant considerations, which can include those relating to the defendant’s responsibilities for the care of children or other relatives. Whilst there are a number of estimates of the number of children affected by a parent being sent to custody there is no estimate of the number of children or vulnerable adults dependent on individuals remanded in custody.

Religious Freedom 

Question

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the reply by Lord Wallace of Saltaire on 24 July (HL Deb, cols 1324–8) to the debate on Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, how many officials in the Foreign and Commonwealth Office are specifically focused on freedom of religion, and for what percentage of their time; and what resources are specifically allocated for the promotion of Article 18 through United Kingdom diplomatic services.[HL1693]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): Within the Human Rights and Democracy Department (HRDD), the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has one full time Desk Officer wholly dedicated to Freedom of Religion or Belief (FoRB), who works closely with the Team Leader in the Equalities and Non-Discrimination Team, who themselves spend approximately 50% of their time on FoRB. Additionally, the Head and the Deputy Head of HRDD spend approximately 5% and 20% respectively of their time on FoRB issues; one Human Rights Advisor spends 5% and one HRDD Communications Officer approximately 10%.

As FoRB is one of only six thematic human rights priorities for the FCO, a considerable number of other FCO officials in London and overseas are engaged directly on FoRB as part of their wider human rights work. Given that violations of FoRB can be closely associated with other threats to UK interests around the world, I cannot provide a precise figure for the total number of FCO officials working on FoRB, though the number is high and rising.

This year, seven FoRB projects around the world were approved and received total funding of £307,835.

Revenue and Customs 

Question

Asked by Lord Lipsey  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the average call waiting time in each of the last five years of the HM Revenue and Customs helpline.[HL1316]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): The Government publishes monthly performance figures from 2011-12 onwards for the HMRC contact centre, including time waiting in a queue. The data is available at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/business-plan-indicators.

Russia 

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they are analysing any evidence relating to the suggestion that Russia may be in breach of the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty; and, if so, when they expect to reach a conclusion.[HL1701]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): The US briefed North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Allies on 29 July on its conclusion that Russia is in violation of its obligations under the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty. The UK and other NATO Allies are considering the detail of this briefing carefully. Although this is a bilateral Treaty to which the UK is not a party, the Government is clearly concerned at reports that Russia has breached its obligations under the Treaty, and is another example of Russia not adhering to international obligations and norms. The Government fully supports the statement made by the NATO Secretary General urging Russia to work constructively to return to full compliance in a verifiable manner.

Sexual Dysfunction 

Question

Asked by Lord Patel of Bradford  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the "overall policy objective" referred to at paragraph 21, page 9 of their consultation response Proposed changes to NHS availability of erectile dysfunction treatments-changing prescribing restrictions for generic sildenafil.[HL1605]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): On 25 June 2014, the Department published the Government’s response to its consultation, Proposed changes to NHS availability of erectile dysfunction treatments: changing prescribing restrictions for sildenafil, a copy of which has been placed in the Library and which is available at:

www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/322464/ED_Cons_response.pdf

This explains the overall policy objective of amending Regulations governing National Health Service provision of some treatments for erectile dysfunction in a way that has benefits for patients, is affordable for the NHS and is consistent with European Union legislation.

Skin: Diseases 

Question

Asked by Baroness Healy of Primrose Hill  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the length of time that patients with chronic spontaneous urticaria wait between initial diagnosis and referral to a specialist in England.[HL1626]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The information requested is not held centrally and no assessment has been made.

Sovereignty 

Question

Asked by Lord Laird  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their definition of a nation.[HL1660]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): The normal criteria for recognition of a nation or state are set out in the Written Answer by the then Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs on 16 November 1989, House of Commons Hansard Official Report, Column 494, noted below for ease of reference:

"The normal criteria that we apply for recognition as a state are that it should have, and seem likely to continue to have, a clearly defined territory with a population, a Government who are able of themselves to exercise effective control of that territory, and independence in their external relations. Other factors, including some United Nations resolutions, may also be relevant."

Spinal Injuries 

Questions

Asked by Baroness Wilkins  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what action they are taking to reduce the waiting lists for admission to the eight specialist spinal injury units in England of newly injured spinal cord patients prior to the review of demand and capacity by the Spinal Cord Injury Clinical Reference Group.[HL1612]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government, further to the Written Answer by the Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Health, Jane Ellison MP on 21 July (HC Deb, col 1009W), what assessment they have made of NHS England’s Spinal Cord Injury Service Specification of a minimum of 20 beds per unit against the criterion of providing a "safe and effective service".[HL1613]

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe) (Con): The fluctuations of waiting times and the ability to discharge a patient to the next phase of their care are key factors in enabling the admission of new patients to a centre. NHS England, the eight specialist centres in England and the Spinal Injuries Association are working together to recommend changes to the continuing care process that would enable spinal cord injured patients to move to the next stage of their care as soon as clinically appropriate.

The overall bed complement for England is being reviewed through a demand and capacity project, led by the Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Clinical Reference Group (CRG). The CRG aims to produce a report in 2015-16.

NHS England’s SCI service specification clearly sets out what providers must have in place to offer evidence-based, safe and effective services. It sets a core requirement that each specialised SCI Centre can demonstrate they have a minimum of 20 beds dedicated exclusively for the treatment and rehabilitation of SCI patients.

This requirement was developed by the SCI CRG and endorsed and was adopted by NHS England as the responsible commissioner.

Asked by Baroness Wilkins  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what steps they are taking to ensure that National Health Service wheelchair services do not delay discharge of patients at spinal injury units as a result of not assessing them for their wheelchair until two weeks before their due discharge date.[HL1614]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the procedure whereby wheelchair centres repeat the assessment of a spinal centre’s physiotherapist and seating consultant; and whether they are taking any steps to streamline the process.[HL1615]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their estimate of the number of extra in-patient days that result from repetition by wheelchair centres of assessments carried out at spinal injury units.[HL1616]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the impact on costs to the National Health Service of repetition by wheelchair centres of assessments carried out at spinal injury units as a result of (1) extra in-patient days as a result of delayed discharge, and (2) the organisation of the transport and nurse or therapist escort of the in-patient to the wheelchair centre.[HL1617]

Earl Howe: No estimate has been made of the levels of repetition of wheelchair assessment, the impact on bed availability and associated costs.

The supply and maintenance of wheelchairs which fall outside the scope of Specialised Complex Disability Equipment Services are the responsibility of local clinical commissioning groups. NHS England expects that assessment of patients and the subsequent supply and adjustment of wheelchairs is carried out within a suitable timeframe and to ensure the minimum of disruption.

Asked by Lord Verjee  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the total bed capacity of the United Kingdom's spinal injury units; and how that figure compares to the current level of acute and long-term readmissions.[HL1726]

Earl Howe: In England, the current capacity recommendation for spinal cord injury (SCI) patients as set out in NHS England’s specialised SCI service specification is a minimum of 20 beds at each of the eight specialised SCI centres. NHS England is responsible for commissioning SCI services and for reviewing capacity of SCI services in England.

NHS England has advised that over the next year the SCI Clinical Reference Group is due to undertake a demand and capacity review of SCI services in England. There are no routinely available figures about acute and long-term readmissions to these units.

Sports 

Question

Asked by Lord Moynihan  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how often, and when, the Cabinet Committee tasked with delivering an Olympic and Paralympic sports legacy has met since the London Games in 2012; what were the outcomes from each of the meetings for sport and recreation; and what has been the cost to the Exchequer for the Olympic and Paralympic Legacy Unit broken down according to activity.[HL1707]

Baroness Northover (LD): As per the usual workings of a Cabinet Government, and in accordance with advice from the Cabinet Secretary, it is not Government policy to comment on the frequency or content of Cabinet Committee discussions.

The cost to the Exchequer of the Legacy Unit since its creation in 2012, in addition to staff costs of around 10 staff at its peak, has been:

Travel and subsistence – £4,000

Communications activity - £8,000

Stakeholder engagement - £1,000.

St Helena 

Question

Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they intend to ensure that direct flights from Europe which include a refuelling stop will be given full consideration in assessing which companies to invite to bid for the air service to the new airport on St Helena.[HL1671]

Baroness Northover (LD): Potential Service Providers who meet the Pre-Qualification Questionnaire (PQQ) criteria will be asked to submit a tender to provide the St Helena Air Service; all tenders will be given full consideration.

Stabilisation Unit 

Question

Asked by Lord Chidgey  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is the individual cost of preparing deployable civilian experts, civil servants and police officers for service abroad with the Stabilisation Unit broken down by (1) medical examinations, (2) security clearance, (3) Hostile Environment Acclimatisation Training, and (4) helmet, bullet proof jacket and first aid equipment.[HL1132]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): The varied nature of Stabilisation Unit activity results in there being no uniform cost for deployment. The costs of Stabilisation Unit deployments are dependent upon the hostility of the location in which the work is to be undertaken, the duration of the task and the status of the individual being deployed. Costs also vary depending on whether those deploying have been trained previously, have travelled to similar destinations and possess relevant vaccinations. The Stabilisation Unit’s contractual mechanisms are regularly reviewed to maximise value for money.

Taxation 

Question

Asked by Lord Warner  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what estimate they have made of the additional annual funding that would be raised by (1) each one per cent rise in income tax, (2) each one per cent rise in national insurance contributions, (3) abolishing the ceiling on national insurance contributions, (4) doubling the duty on (a) tobacco, (b) alcohol, and (c) gambling, and (5) for each one per cent increase in inheritance tax (with current exemption arrangements).[HL1484]

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Deighton) (Con): Information on the revenue effects of changes in income tax, national insurance contributions, tobacco, alcohol and inheritance tax is available and published in the table ‘Direct effects of illustrative tax changes’ published on the GOV.UK website[1].

The table is a ‘ready reckoner’ showing estimates of the effects of various illustrative tax changes, on tax receipts in 2014-15 to 2016-17.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/297451/20140318_DirectEffectofillustrativechanges_Mar_v0.1.pdf

Telephone Preference Service 

Question

Asked by Lord Kennedy of Southwark  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what plans they have to review the effectiveness of the Telephone Preference Service.[HL1610]

Baroness Northover (LD): Whilst we have no such plans in place I am pleased to note that Ofcom and the Information Commissioner’s Office published new consumer research on the effectiveness of the Telephone Preference Service (TPS) on 24 July 2014. This independent research showed that registering with the TPS reduced all types nuisance calls, including live sales calls, recorded messages and silent and abandoned calls by around a third. The full Ofcom report can be accessed at: http://stakeholders.ofcom.org.uk/market-data-research/other/telecoms-research/tps-effectiveness/

As noted in our Nuisance Calls Action Plan of March this year we are keen to improve the enforcement of the existing regulations as we believe this will further increase the effectiveness of the TPS.

Uganda 

Question

Asked by Lord Verjee  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what diplomatic initiatives they have undertaken following the passing of anti-homosexual legislation in Uganda; and to what extent are they supporting British non-governmental organisations in working towards a future of equality within the country.[HL1725]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): The UK welcomes the decision of the Ugandan Constitutional Court on 1 August to annul the Anti-Homosexuality Act. We have consistently raised our concerns about the legislation with the Ugandan government. Most recently the Secretary of State for International Development, the right Hon. Member for Putney (Justine Greening), and the former Minister for Africa at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, my Hon. Friend the Member for Boston and Skegness (Mr Simmonds), raised the issue in separate meetings with President Museveni on 6 May.

The UK has worked closely with international partners to register our concerns, and to seek assurances about the protection of individuals. With our support, EU Heads of Mission in Kampala initiated strengthened political dialogue with Uganda under Article 8 of the Cotonou Agreement.

We engage closely with UK and other civil society groups working in Uganda, and are stepping up our support to organisations that protect minority rights.

War Crimes 

Question

Asked by Lord Laird  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what is their definition of a war crime.[HL1662]

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Anelay of St Johns) (Con): The definition of a war crime is set out in the International Criminal Court Act 2001, section 50 and Schedule 8 (which sets out the terms of Article 8.2 of the Statute of the International Criminal Court).

World Bank 

Questions

Asked by Lord Avebury  

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what discussions they have held with the World Bank about the Bank’s policies regarding safeguards for indigenous peoples.[HL1669]

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what assessment they have made of the decisions taken at the World Bank’s Executive Board meeting on 30 July 2014.[HL1670]

Baroness Northover (LD): We welcome the draft framework as an important step forward in updating the Bank’s approach to safeguards and as a good basis for further consultation. We will continue to engage with World Bank management as the framework is developed further during the second consultation stage.


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