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12 May 2008 : Column WA103



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Written Answers

Monday 12 May 2008

Airports: Heathrow

Baroness Stern asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): During the past six months, the longest time a detainee has been held in the short-term holding facilities at Heathrow is 47 hours.

Baroness Stern asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord West of Spithead: We aim to introduce short-term holding facility rules this autumn; the rules will make provision for the regulation and management of all UK Border Agency's short-term holding facilities, including those at Heathrow Airport.

Baroness Stern asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord West of Spithead: The UK Border Agency is mindful of its duty to act in the best interests of detainees and regularly reviews its detention procedures.

Where any individual cannot communicate in English, UK Border Agency officers will engage a qualified interpreter. This protects the individual's interests and also ensures fairness and transparency in the application of the Immigration Rules.

Detainees are also allowed to use personal mobile phones and have access to pay phones while in the short-term holding facilities at the airport. Numbers for embassies and consulates are either prominently displayed or available on request.

Arts Council

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:



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Lord Davies of Oldham: Sexual orientation monitoring is not a requirement of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport for Arts Council England. However, we understand and support the Arts Council in monitoring the distribution of its funds to ensure fairness between groups in our society.

Lord Lester of Herne Hill asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Department for Culture, Media and Sport has not instructed or required Arts Council England to monitor its overall grant-making programmes in terms of gender, ethnic background, disability and sexual orientation. This is a matter for the Arts Council. We recognise, however, that as a responsible public body Arts Council England needs to monitor its overall grant-making programmes. Such information enables the council to assess whether equality of opportunity to accessing its funding is happening in practice and whether certain groups are missing out on funding.

Building Regulations

Lord Taylor of Holbeach asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The building regulations require tanks to be constructed and protected to reduce to a reasonable level the risk of oil escaping and causing pollution. The requirement applies whenever new or replacement tanks with capacities not exceeding 3,500 litres are installed above ground to serve dwellings. There are no derogations but the level of risk and hence the degree of protection depends on the circumstances in the particular case.

Care Services: Older People

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The study referred to is based on research carried out in three care homes in Scotland, which has its own system of social care regulation. The Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001 set up the Scottish Commission for the Regulation of Care, which registers and inspects the services listed in the Act, taking account of the national care standards published by Scottish Ministers, to whom the commission is responsible. Action in response to the study is a matter for the Scottish Government.

In England, the regulation of social care services is the responsibility of the Commission for Social Care Inspection (CSCI), which was established under the Health and Social Care (Community Health and Standards) Act 2003 as a single inspectorate to bring together all strands of inspection, monitoring and the regulation of social care services.

CSCI inspects and regulates social care providers, including care and nursing homes, according to regulations and policy guidance set by government, and taking account of national minimum standards (NMS). CSCI is entitled to inspect any care home at any time. It has a wide range of enforcement powers and will take action to protect the welfare of residents, with the aim of raising the quality of care and level of protection for vulnerable people and ensuring that service users and their families can be confident that their welfare and interests are safeguarded.

The regulations and NMS, copies of which are available in the Library, include requirements that care homes should be staffed at all times of the day or night by adequate numbers of suitably trained staff. In the case of care homes providing nursing, this must include qualified nurses.

A comprehensive assessment of care needs should be carried out and an individual care plan drawn up for every resident, together with a plan of care for daily living. All specialised services offered, including services for people with dementia or other cognitive impairments, sensory impairment, physical disabilities, learning disabilities, intermediate or respite care, should be demonstrably based on current good practice, and reflect relevant specialist and clinical guidance.

The environment in homes must be safe, comfortable, clean and hygienic. Residents' accommodation must meet their needs and they must be provided with the specialist equipment they require to maximise their independence.

Charles Darwin: Bicentenary

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Natural History Museum, which is sponsored by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, is championing a national partnership of several organisations from across the arts, education, heritage, local government, libraries,

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media, museums, science and tourism sectors, under the brand of “Darwin200”, to produce a high-profile programme of activities and events to mark the birth of Darwin during 2008 and 2009. The Department for Innovation, Universities and Skills is providing £90,000 over the next two years in funding for the co-ordinating secretariat for Darwin200.

The Government plan to nominate Darwin at Downe, Charles Darwin's home and workplace, to UNESCO for inscription on the World Heritage List in 2009.

Civil Service

Lord Campbell-Savours asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The decision on whether or not to prosecute an individual for the unlawful disclosure of confidential customer information is one for the relevant prosecuting authority. The prosecutor is also responsible for determining appropriate charges, which depend on the specific circumstances of the case, and whether or not it is in the public interest.

Computer Systems: DCLG

Lord Harris of Haringey asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): It is not in the interests of UK's national security for departments to confirm whether they hold information about attacks against IT systems. This would enable individuals to deduce how successful the UK is in detecting these attacks and so assist such persons in testing the effectiveness of the UK's IT defences. This is not in the public interest.

Construction

Lord Dykes asked Her Majesty's Government:



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The Government's Strategy for England's Trees, Woods and Forests describes the broader benefits that the provision of high quality green space through green infrastructure planning can deliver. To support the delivery of the strategy a delivery plan is being produced by the Forestry Commission and Natural England. Under Section 106 of the Town and Country Planning Act 1990, local planning authorities may enter into agreements with developers to secure contributions towards the provision of open space in accordance with policies in their local development documents. The Secretary of State's policy on the use of Section 106 is set out in Circular 5/2005 Planning Obligations. In addition, the Code for Sustainable Homes contains an ecology component which encourages developers to protect and enhance the ecology of the site. This may include planting trees or other vegetation.

Crime: Sentencing

Lord Laird asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Rooker: The Criminal Justice (No. 2) (Northern Ireland) Order 2004 created the offences of “aggravated vehicle taking” and “aggravated vehicle taking causing death or grievous bodily injury” to deal specifically with the problem of what is often erroneously referred to as “joy-riding”. The maximum penalty for the latter offence is 14 years’ imprisonment. Section 285 of the Criminal Justice Act 2003, also increased the penalties available to the courts in Northern Ireland for offences of causing death or grievous bodily injury by dangerous driving—again to a maximum of 14 years’ imprisonment.

Deciding on the appropriate sentence in each individual case is a matter for the judiciary, based on the penalties available, the facts in each individual case and any aggravating or mitigating factors.

Economic Development

Lord Wade of Chorlton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The Government are committed to ensuring that all parts of the country, rural as well as urban, benefit from economic development and increased prosperity. While there has been no specific assessment of the impact of inner city and urban regeneration programmes on rural economic development, the State of the English Cities Report 2006 included comparisons with groups of small towns and rural areas.



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This showed that overall growth in employment and number of households in small towns and rural areas rose faster than in groups of larger towns and cities from 1991-2003. The research also showed that, outside of London, small towns and rural areas overall had a higher percentage of the working age population qualified to degree level than in larger towns and cities, and a higher percentage of 15 year-olds with five-plus GCSEs.

The report's findings on the importance of linking opportunities, needs and places in order to further economic competitiveness and tackle social exclusion (for example, by improving the accessibility of unemployed people to jobs) offer potential benefits for both rural and urban areas.

The Government's review of sub-national economic development and regeneration (SNR) recognises the contribution small towns and rural areas can make to the wider regional economy, and as contributors to the economic life of cities rather than merely being beneficiaries of economic activity in cities. The SNR proposal for a new statutory duty on local authorities to assess local economic conditions, and take account of their wider economic area, will assist rural and urban economic development.

Embryology

Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Inserting an animal somatic cell nucleus into an enucleated human egg would produce an embryo which is over 99 per cent animal and which is not a human admixed embryo for the purposes of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act. Inserting an animal somatic cell nucleus into a human egg would result in an embryo with three sets of chromosomes, two of which were animal and one of which was human, if any embryo could result from such a process, it would be predominantly animal and would not be a human admixed embryo for the purposes of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act.

The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill prohibits the placing of such an embryo into a woman. Any proposal to place such an embryo in an animal would fall to be considered under the Animal (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986.



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Lord Alton of Liverpool asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Darzi of Denham: A proposal to carry out such procedures would fall to be considered under the Animals (Scientific Procedures) Act 1986. The Act makes provision for the protection of animals used for experimental or other scientific purposes which may have the effect of causing pain, suffering, distress or lasting harm. It sets out a number of conditions which must be satisfied before a licence can be issued authorising regulated procedures and allows wide discretion when reaching licensing decisions.


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