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Most local authorities have met the deadlines and have submitted their action plan to Defra. To date Defra has received 157 action plans from local authorities. However, 18 authorities have yet to produce an action plan.
Where local authorities are late in providing plans, Defra officials seek explanations for the delay. My officials have maintained correspondence with the authorities and recently contacted the authorities to remind them about their overdue action plans requesting that they update Defra on progress.
My department will continue to work to ensure that local authorities fulfil their responsibilities under the local air quality management process effectively and within the specified deadlines as far as possible.
Lord Davies of Oldham: The impact of immigration on gross domestic product per capita has been small but positive. It is, however, difficult specifically to quantify. The impact of immigration on gross domestic product per capita is discussed in more detail in a cross-departmental report1 in sections 3.3 and 3.4.
How many male asylum-seekers and others have been in immigration detention in Haslar immigration removal centre for (a) six months, and (b) one year; and what proportion of inmates are ex-foreign nationals awaiting removal. [HL205]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The immigration removal centre at Haslar holds male detainees only, the majority of whom will have been detained for the purposes of administrative removal or deportation action.
The available information shows that on 14 November, 18 detainees were detained at Haslar for six months or more (but less than 12 months) and three for 12 months or more. This information is based on internal management information, is provisional and subject to change, and as such is not published within official statistics.
What arrangements are in place to ensure that those people found to be in the United Kingdom illegally and who are taken straight to police custody and thence to a port of embarkation in order to be removed from the United Kingdom are enabled to take their personal possessions with them. [HL277]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): If someone is arrested in their home they are given sufficient time to pack a reasonable amount of luggage (determined by baggage flight allowances). If someone is arrested outside their home it is the responsibility of the local enforcement office to liaise with the departure port regarding arrangements for baggage delivery. Normally a minimum of 72 hours (including at least two working days) must be allowed between notification of removal directions to the person being removed and the removal itself. Immigration officers are instructed that although adequate time should be allowed for a person to obtain his baggage, not to delay removal unduly because of this.
Guidance on the retrieval of personal effects is available in the operational enforcement manual, a copy of which is available in the House Library and on the Border and Immigration Agency website at www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk/documents/oemsectiond/
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): None. The Home Office, which includes the Border and Immigration Agency, the Identity and Passport Service, and the Criminal Records Bureau, does not knowingly employ anyone who is not permanently resident in the UK.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): We have received a number of representations from the Black Women's Rape Action Project concerning women detained at Yarl's Wood immigration removal centre.
All representations are treated very seriously and have been referred to the Border and Immigration Agency officials at the centre for investigation. On receipt of their findings a full response has been sent to the Black Women's Rape Action Project in line with Home Office guidelines.
Lord West of Spithead: It is not our policy to comment on individual cases in the public domain. If the noble Lord would like further details about this case I would be happy to consider this if he wrote to me.
Why employers who have paid the lower contracted out national insurance contributions for an employee are then required to pay the higher full rate if the employee chooses to remain at work beyond state pension age. [HL249]
Lord Davies of Oldham: Reduced rate employer and employee national insurance contributions (NICs) are payable in respect of individuals under state pension age who have contracted out of the state second pension. Once individuals reach state pension age they no longer pay NICs or accrue further entitlement to the state second pension. Employer NICs are therefore payable at the full rate for individuals working beyond state pension age, regardless of whether they were previously contracted out.
Whether the area to the north of the Stratford International railway station, which is due to form part of the Olympic village, was previously used as a waste disposal site for contaminated radiation material from London hospitals; and, if so, what steps they have taken to eliminate any related risk. [HL234]
Lord Davies of Oldham: We have been informed by the Olympic Delivery Authority (ODA), which is leading on the remediation of the Olympic park site, that current records and desktop investigations have revealed no specific evidence of hospital waste of any type being dumped in any of the sites north of the Stratford International station which comprise the site of the Olympic village.
The ODA is aware of a former unlicensed tip that was located to the north-east of the Stratford International station and is constantly vigilant to the potential remediation challenges of the site. Any significant findings will be recorded and reported and appropriate remediation undertaken.
Whether it was their intention, when drafting the Pensions Act 2004 under which the Pension Protection Fund was established, to transfer all early retirees from their existing status to that of a capped deferred pensioner. [HL377]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): Yes, the intention was to ensure that, apart from those people who retire early on grounds of severe ill health, early retirees in schemes that transferred into the Pension Protection Fund were treated no better than those who had chosen not to retire early or had not had the opportunity to do so.
Whether they will instruct the Security Industry Authority to publish figures regularly on (a) the number of applications it receives for licences; (b) the outcome of those applications, whether rejected or agreed; and (c) details of those applications which were found to have been made illegally. [HL311]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Security Industry Authority (SIA) publishes a weekly update of its licensing statistics. This is available on the SIA's website at:
Details of licence holders are held on the SIA's website, which enable a check to be made on whether a particular individual holds a licence, and if so for what sector, using the licence number and other details of the holder.
Following her Statement in another place on 13 November my right honourable friend the Home Secretary has undertaken to make a further Statement about SIA licensing checks and the issue of entitlement to work in the United Kingdom when the further checks referred to in my right honourable friends Statement are complete.
What representations they have received on the effects for the Open University (OU) of their decision no longer to fund institutions for students studying for any qualification at a level equivalent to or lower than one they have already obtained; what estimate they have made of the annual cost of this decision to the OU; and what action they will take. [HL356]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills (Lord Triesman): We have received a number of representations about our decision but our policy not only responds to the challenge in the Leitch report to increase the proportion of the workforce with higher level skills from under 30 per cent now to more than 40 per cent by 2020 but is also fairer to both taxpayers and students who have not yet entered higher education. The overall effect of these changes on the income of individual institutions will depend on how successful they are in attracting students who meet our priorities, but no institution will lose grant in cash terms as a result of these changes. The future can be a bright one for the Open University if it develops new approaches to attract more of the millions of people who have not yet obtained a first higher education qualification and all the benefits it brings.
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