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7 May 2008 : Column WA65

7 May 2008 : Column WA65

Written Answers

Wednesday 7 May 2008

Belfast Agreement: Offences Against the State Acts

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: Her Majesty's Government did not identify any issues that required representation in relation to the review conducted by the Irish Government of their Offences Against the States Acts 1939-85.

Business: Government Support

Lord Wade of Chorlton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Baroness Vadera): Business Link, a free service funded by the Government available online and locally throughout England, provides access to the information, advice and support needed to start, maintain and grow a business. Regional development agencies, responsible for the contract management of the service, continually monitor the performance of the Business Link service which includes the assessment of Business Link usage by rural/urban customers. Additionally, individual regional development agencies offer access to tailored business support relevant to their own area.

In March 2004, Supporting Rural Enterprises in England by the Rural Affairs Forum for England Business and Rural Enterprise Sub-Group was published by Defra at This assessed access to business support for rural firms and made policy proposals in this area.

The Economic Impact Study of Business Link Local Service was published by BERR in 2007 at Although this did not set out to assess access as such, it did include a special perspective.

The enterprise strategy, published alongside the Budget in March 2008, announced that a new Spatial Economics Research Centre would be established to investigate what drives differences in economic growth at various spatial levels.

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Child Maintenance and Enforcement Commission

Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): Section 82 is only likely to be used in exceptional circumstances where there is a proven need to incur expenditure ahead of Royal Assent, where it is clearly not possible to utilise paving legislation, where there is sufficient time to complete the whole process ahead of the date on which it is hoped to incur expenditure and where there is absolute confidence in the quality of the financial and other evidence to be put before the Select Committees.

Children: Public Care

The Earl of Listowel asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Lord Adonis): The additional financial pressure for local authorities has been reflected in the local authority CSR07 spending settlement, and for the current financial year £36.6 million (England) has been added to the formula grant so that councils can meet the cost of the higher fees. The changes to the fee structure are part of the Government's intention to create a sustainable self-funding system for civil and family courts. The fees will ensure that the family courts are properly funded and should encourage cases to be managed efficiently and in line with the requirements of the public law outline and the revised volume 1 of court order guidance. The implementation of the public law outline will bring better case preparation by local authorities and improved case management. Local authorities have legal duties under the Children Act 1989 to take action to safeguard and promote the welfare of children in need in their area, including through the initiation of Section 31 care and supervision order court applications where necessary. We expect local authorities to continue to operate in accordance with the terms of the statutory guidance issued by the Secretary of State and to continue to fulfil their Children Act 1989 duties and functions.

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Crime: Racist Incidents

Lord Avebury asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Attorney-General (Baroness Scotland of Asthal): The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) introduced the facility to record the religion or belief of defendants and victims in April 2007. Figures for the first year's data collection between April 2007 and March 2008 have yet to be audited and validated as suitable for publication; initial indications are that the police did not provide the CPS with the required information in a large number of cases.

The CPS will publish its first annual hate crime report covering the year 2007-08 by November 2008. This report will for the first time draw together performance information about all hate-crime prosecutions. It will replace the Racist IncidentMonitoring Annual Report.

Crime: Restorative Justice

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

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The fourth, and final, research report on the crime reduction programme restorative justice pilots is expected to be published in June.

Energy: Nuclear Power Stations

Lord Jenkin of Roding asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office & Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform (Lord Jones of Birmingham): A number of measures are being implemented to take forward the agreement between the Prime Minister and President Sarkozy.

The Health and Safety Executive and the ASN (French nuclear regulator) will seek to share experience and technical findings from the safety/security assessment of the EPR design during generic design assessment and licensing. In addition they will look for opportunities for exchange of specialist staff both in terms of secondments and short-term attachments or visits.

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This collaboration will help the regulators in meeting their challenging GDA completion targets—and thus give greater confidence that new nuclear power stations will be up and running in line with our energy targets.

Lord Jenkin of Roding asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Jones of Birmingham: We and the Health and Safety Executive continue to explore the opportunities for close working and information-sharing between the UK and the French regulators, in particular where both regulators are engaged in regulatory assessments of the same reactor designs.

Several measures are being taken to develop closer working between the UK and French regulators, including secondments between the two organisations and putting arrangements in place to facilitate the sharing of assessments and technical investigations.

We will continue to explore further opportunities for close working with the French and other international regulators.

EU-Latin America Summit

Viscount Montgomery of Alamein asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Malloch-Brown): My right honourable friend the Prime Minister is unfortunately unable to attend the EU-Latin America summit on 16 May due to pressing diary commitments. The UK has been at the forefront of efforts towards an ambitious and action-oriented summit, and continues to work hard to secure progress on its two themes: poverty reduction and climate change.


Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Lord Adonis): There is no evidence that the growth in population since the 1970s has been due to increases in family size. The average number of children born to women in the UK is less than two, which is considerably lower than in the 1960s.

Fishing: Scallops

Lord Patten asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Minister of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Rooker): Having had a number of recent discussions with interested parties, Defra is considering a range of possible conservation measures, with a view to a wider consultation in due course.

Health: Chronic Pain

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The department has received no specific representations about an underresourcing of expertise in National Health Service chronic pain services. However, in the last three years the department has received 24 letters on pain, mainly about individual cases, that broadly relate to underresourcing in this area. Four were letters of support for a 2007 Early Day Motion,“Chronic Pain Policy Coalition Report and 5th Vital Sign Campaign”, and mentioned lack of resources.

There has been no specific review of underresourcing of expertise in NHS chronic pain services. The last review of pain services was undertaken by the Clinical Standards Advisory Group in 1998. Its conclusions were published in its report, Services for Patients with Pain, in 2000.

Officials from the department met representatives of the Chronic Pain Policy Coalition on 11 April 2008 to explore opportunities for developing awareness of chronic pain with policy-makers and commissioners. In addition, the department has consulted associated groups such as the British Pain Society about the development of both an 18-week commissioning pathway for chronic pain and a section on chronic pain for the NHS Choices website.

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Housing: Cold-related Deaths

Lord Ouseley asked Her Majesty's Government:

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

Letter from Karen Dunnell, National Statistician and Registrar-General, to Lord Ouseley, dated April 2008.

The most recent figures available are for deaths registered in 2006. In 2006, there were 179 deaths where hypothermia1 was mentioned on the death certificate in England and Wales.

Figures on fatalities due to “cold homes” or “inadequate living conditions” are not available from death registration data held by the Office for National Statistics (ONS). However, ONS does produce annual figures of excess winter mortality (EWM)2. The latest available data for excess winter mortality for England and Wales are provisional figures for 2006-07. In the winter period of 2006-07 (December to March) there were an estimated 23,900 more deaths in England and Wales compared to the average level in the non-winter period.

Learning Disability: Bullying

Baroness Turner of Camden asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Lord Adonis): I have arranged for Her Majesty's Chief Inspector's response to Lord Morris to be published in the Official Report and a copy of the letter to be placed in the Library of the House. The Government take the issue of bullying involving children with special educational needs and disabilities very seriously. We are currently considering how best to work with Ofsted in our continuing drive against such bullying.

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Letter from Christine Gilbert, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Ofsted, to Lord Morris of Manchester dated 21 April 2008.

Lord Adonis has written to me about your exchange in the House of Lords on 20 March 2008.

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