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26 Oct 2006 : Column WA257

Written Answers

Thursday 26 October 2006

Anti-Semitism

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): Her Majesty's Government will respond to the recommendations made by the all-party inquiry into anti-Semitism by the middle of November 2006 by writing to the chair of the inquiry, the right honourable Dr Denis MacShane.

Housing: Empty Dwellings

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): No interim empty dwelling management orders have been made since the coming into effect, on 6 April 2006, of Chapter 2 of Part 4 of the Housing Act 2004.

Housing: Licensing

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The Department for Communities and Local Government has held discussions with the following local authorities with regards to setting up areas for the selective licensing of landlords: Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council; Blackpool Borough Council; Burnley Borough Council; Hyndburn Borough Council; Leeds City Council; Manchester City Council; Middlesbrough Borough Council; Salford City Council; Pendle Borough Council; and Rossendale Borough Council.

Influenza Vaccine

Lord Forsyth of Drumlean asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): General practitioners are responsible for purchasing flu vaccine for their patients direct from the supplier of their choice. For 2006-07, there are six suppliers of flu vaccine to the United Kingdom.

The list price for seasonal influenza vaccine varies between suppliers. For 2006-07, the average list price is £5.70—ranging from £4.40 to £6.59. GPs can negotiate a discount with their supplier as part of the contract they enter with them. As I indicated on11 October, how much doctors pay for the vaccine is a matter between them and the manufacturers.

I have written to Lord Forsyth and Baroness Sharples giving this extra information and a copy of the letter has been placed in the Library.

Junk Mail

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): A limit on the number of unaddressed items Royal Mail delivered per week to each household was established as part of an agreement with the Communication Workers Union (CWU). The limit was established to allow for a better understanding of the market and its impact on working practices.

Queen's Counsel

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Lord Chancellor (Lord Falconer of Thoroton): Applicants for the rank of Queen's Counsel were assessed against a detailed competency framework covering integrity, understanding and using the law, analysing case material, persuading, responding to the unfolding case, working with the client, and working within a team. This system was designed to focus recommendations for QC purely on applicants’ ability. The selection panel was careful to exclude other factors, including gender, ethnicity and sexual orientation. In making my recommendations to Her Majesty, I was confident that the process was a fair one and had been operated correctly. I replied to the noble Lord's letter on 21 October 2006.

Railways: Central Trains Sunday Services

Lord Berkeley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The information requested is not held by the Department for Transport. Train running data for the network as a whole are collected and processed by Network Rail and individual operators will normally maintain records which relate to their own operations.

Railways: Community Railways

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: There are currently more than 50 community rail partnerships in England and Wales. A wide range of initiatives has been taken on the lines which they support, ranging from new uses for station buildings to improved fare and ticketing structures. Schemes currently under consideration on community rail lines include a passing loop to enable an improved pattern of services on the Abbey Line and the use of station buildings at Sandown on the Island Line for community services. A prime aim of the community rail strategy is to reduce the need for financial support from central government. For that reason, individual developments do not generally depend on specific government funding. Most are self-financing, locally funded or funded through mechanisms such as the local transport plan.

Regional Development: Northern Way

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The Northern Way is a pan-regional growth strategy being taken forward by the three northern regional development agencies and their partners. It is a long-term strategy and its vision is to close the north's £30 billion productivity gap with the rest of the UK by 2029. It will materially contribute to achieving the Government's regional economic performance public service agreement target.

The Government welcome the progress and achievements made and will continue strongly to support the Northern Way.

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Andrews: The Department for Communities and Local Government co-ordinates the Government's involvement with the Northern Way. HMT and DTI are also closely involved as co-owners of the Government's regional economic performance public service agreement target.

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Andrews: The Northern Way is a pan-regional growth strategy being taken forward by the three northern regional development agencies and their partners.

A £100 million Northern Way growth fund (match funded 50:50 by the three regional development agencies and the Department for Communities and Local Government) was established in 2005-06 to kick-start the strategy. The Northern Way business plan for 2005-08 (published in June 2005) sets out how the Northern Way will spend the growth fund, providing a work programme for each of their investment priorities. The Northern Way's annual report (published in August 2006) includes a breakdown of money that has been spent to date and its budget for 2006-07.

Lord Greaves asked Her Majesty's Government:

Baroness Andrews: The Northern Way is a pan-regional growth strategy being taken forward by the three northern regional development agencies and their partners. Operational arrangements for the functioning of the Northern Way, including staffing, are a matter for the northern RDAs and the chair of the Northern Way Steering Group.

Retirement Age

Lord Ouseley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): We will monitor the default retirement age over the next five years and will review its effectiveness in 2011. Among other things, the review will look at the extent to which employees' new right to request working beyond retirement age has created a change in culture which sees far less reliance on the old-style cut-off for retirement. We will gather evidence from a number of sources including a follow-up of the baseline survey that we published on 9 March for assessing the impact of the Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006. We will consider what further evidence may be necessary as we draw closer to 2011. If the accumulated evidence shows the default retirement age is no longer necessary, we will remove it.

Social Care

Lord Hanningfield asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department of Health (Lord Warner): Local authority funding for social services is derived from a variety of sources both from within central government and also determined locally. It is for individual local authorities to manage and direct their own resources in accordance with local priorities and the needs of the communities to which they are accountable.

As part of the local government finance settlement 2006-07, the Department of Health will make available £1,590 million of specific revenue grant funding, and £48 million of capital grants for adult social services to fund any cost pressures councils may face in delivering their adult social care commitments.

Over the three years to 2007-08, the spending review 2004 provides an increase in funding of nearly £2 billion, taking total net adult personal social services resources to £12.5 billion.

Resource allocations for financial years 2008-09to 2010-11 will be determined by the spendingreview 2007.

Taxation: Tax Reform Committee

Lord Naseby asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord McKenzie of Luton: No Treasury Minister made such a request to officials.

Vehicles: End-of-Life Directive

Earl Attlee asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Trade and Industry (Lord Sainsbury of Turville): The Government have already implemented the End-of-Life Vehicles Directive (2000/53/EC) through the End-of-Life Vehicles Regulations 2003 (SI 2003/2635) and the End-of-Life Vehicles (Producer Responsibility) Regulations 2005 (SI 2005/263). Defra has responsibility for Part VII of the 2003 regulations, on the keeping, treatment and recycling of waste motor vehicles. These provisions are enforced by the Environment Agency (EA) in England and Wales.

The motor vehicle recovery industry was consulted on both sets of regulations.

Waste Management: Textiles

Baroness Miller of Chilthorne Domer asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): An as yet unpublished study, which has just been completed on behalf of Defra, estimates textile waste in the UK at 1.1 million tonnes in 2003. This has increased and is thought to be increasing further as sales of new clothing rise. An additional estimated 303,000 tonnes of textiles were collected by the secondary textiles industry (including charity shops) for reuse and recycling. Of this, an estimated 262,000 tonnes (14 per cent) of consumption were diverted from the UK waste stream in 2003. As part of its ongoing work on the review of the waste strategy, Defra is considering how to increase this figure.

Estimates for the past five years for which data are available on textile tonnages collected for recycling from household sources in England are listed below. A large proportion of textile reuse and recycling by households is made directly to jumble sales and charity shops and, therefore, would not be recorded in these local authority results.

YearTonnages collected for recycling from household sources in England

1999-00

39,000

2000-01

41,000

2001-02

42,000

2002-03

54,000

2003-04

58,000


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