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Lord Bassam of Brighton: The Department for Transport’s guidelines on flights which may be given dispensations from the night restrictions define VIPs as senior members of the Royal Family, UK Government Ministers and Service Chiefs of Staff, senior members

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of foreign Royal Families, Heads of State, and senior Ministers on an official visit or business where the person is being met by a government representative.

Of the seven flights granted dispensations, four were for official overseas visits by the Prime Minister. The other three were granted for flights by the French President, the French Minister for Foreign Affairs and the US Secretary of State on official visits to the UK. In all cases, Heathrow was either the final airport destination or departure point.

Viscount Waverley asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: An emergency is defined as a flight where there is an immediate danger to life or health, whether human or animal. Such flights are excluded automatically from night restrictions irrespective of the type of aircraft involved.

Viscount Waverley asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: This is part of the normal work of officials so no additional costs arise from the consideration of dispensations requests by the Department for Transport.

Benefits: Disability Living Allowance

Lord Morris of Manchester asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): Over the last two years Ministers, including the Secretary of State, have had discussions with the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) about whether there is scope to extend the higher rate mobility component of disability living allowance to more people with severe visual impairments. While we understand the force of the arguments put forward by the RNIB, and support its aim of assisting visually impaired people to return to or remain in work, we cannot agree

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to amend the existing arrangements for the mobility component of disability living allowance at this time. We have, however, assured the chief executive that we will continue to work with the RNIB to explore the technical feasibility of its proposals.

Part of the strategy announced in the Green Paper published on 21 July, No OneWritten OffReforming Welfare to Reward Responsibility (Cm 7363), is the proposal to double the Access to Work budget to help greater numbers of disabled people return to and remain in work. Currently, around one in four customers of Access to Work is a person with a visual impairment. The additional funding we are proposing will ensure that more disabled people, including people with a visual impairment, are provided with the opportunity to support themselves and their families through paid work.

Children: UNCRC Observations

Baroness Walmsley asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Lord Adonis): The UK Government will seek appropriate dialogues with a range of partners and organisations when considering the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child's concluding observations, including children and young people. This process includes a seminar on 29 July 2008 that the Department for Children, Schools and Families is jointly hosting with UNICEF UK and Get Ready for Geneva. The seminar will look at the

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issues raised in Get Ready for Geneva’s children and young people’s report to the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child and consider how they can be addressed. The seminar will be attended by children and young people, representatives from non-governmental organisations working for children's rights, the Minister for Children, Young People and Families and officials from across the Government.

It would be at disproportionate cost to disaggregate the full funding spent on activities related to UNCRC over the past five years. However, in England, funding for events, communications and publications solely on UNCRC in 2006-07 was a total of £107,397, and in 2007-08 it was £61,839. There are a wide range of other participatory activities funded by the Government which will have related to UNCRC, but we are not able to disaggregate these to set out the precise spend on the convention.

In addition, the Government have, through the children, young people and families grant programme, provided £181,000 in 2007-08 and £178,000 in 2008-09 to UNICEF UK for an expansion and independent evaluation of its Rights Respecting Schools Award scheme. A further £162,000 has been awarded to UNICEF UK through the grant for 2009-10. The department also provided the British Institute of Human Rights with £24,912 to expand the “Right Hear, Right Now” key stage 3 human rights teaching resource to include specific lesson plans for understanding and applying the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The resource was formally launched in July 2008.

Funding to key partners in Scotland who undertake activities on UNCRC is as follows:

Scottish Alliance for Children's RightsArticle 12 in ScotlandChildren's Parliament

2004-05

£0

£12,500

£0

2005-06

£2,400

£50,000

£73,100

2006-07

£18,000

£51,250

£74,928

2007-08

£13,800

£53,813

£121,660

2008-09

£24,000

£55,475

£93,660

Children's Commissioner

Baroness Morris of Bolton asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Lord Adonis): Ministers and officials have a regular dialogue with their respective commissioners on a broad range of issues and this has included formal consultation with the four UK children's commissioners during the preparation of the UK Government's consolidated third and fourth reports to the UN Committee on the

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Rights of the Child submitted in 2007. The UK Government and devolved Administrations will seek dialogues with a range of organisations, including the respective children’s commissioners, when considering the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s concluding observations.

Economy

Lord Steinberg asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Government last published forecasts for the UK and world economies in the Financial Statement and Budget Report 2008 (HC 388) on 12 March. They will update these forecasts in the 2008 Pre-Budget Report in the autumn as normal.

Government: Refurbishment of Buildings

Lord Howarth of Newport asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Information on public sector expenditure is not available centrally at this level of detail, so could only be provided at disproportionate cost.

However, total public sector expenditure on fixed assets (net of sales) is published in table 5.3 of Public Expenditure Statistical Analyses, the latest edition of which is available in both the Library of the House and online at http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/economic_data_and_tools/finance_spending_statistics/pes_publications/pespub_pesa08.cfm.

Additional detail is available in departmental resource accounts.

Inflation

Lord Steinberg asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: The Government last published forecasts for inflation in the UK and G7 group of economies in the Financial Statement and BudgetReport 2008 (HC 388). They will update these forecasts in the 2008 Pre-Budget Report in the autumn as normal.



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Justice: Children and Young People

The Earl of Listowel asked Her Majesty's Government:

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Lord Adonis): A final report of findings, conclusions and recommendations of the independent review into child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) will be published in autumn 2008. A response to the final report will be published simultaneously or as soon as possible after the final report.

The independent review of CAMHS is investigating how mainstream, universal, targeted and specialist services can play a more effective role in promoting the emotional well-being and mental health of children and young people and their families. The review will look at what practical solutions those developing policy and delivering, managing and commissioning services can use to address current challenges and deliver better outcomes for children and young people with mental health problems, and how these solutions can be monitored.

An interim report of the independent review of CAMHS will be published at the end of July. The main aim of the interim report is to present the key themes that have emerged from the evidence gathered since the launch of the review in December 2007 for comment before final recommendations are made.

Pay Settlements

Lord Maginnis of Drumglass asked Her Majesty’s Government:

Lord Davies of Oldham: Government pay policy is that pay awards should reflect the need to recruit, retain and motivate the workforce, be affordable, provide value for money for the taxpayer and be consistent with achievement of the Government’s inflation target. This means that pay awards should be considered on a workforce-by-workforce basis based on the evidence.

Qualifications

Lord Lucas asked Her Majesty's Government:



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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Lord Adonis): Ofqual, the regulator of external qualifications in England, collects data on reasonable adjustments. The data are published annually in the Performance of Awarding Bodies for General Qualifications report, which is available online at http://www.ofqual.gov.uk/476.aspx.

Railways: Rolling Stock

Lord Bradshaw asked Her Majesty's Government:

Lord Bassam of Brighton: In January 2008, the Department for Transport published a Rolling Stock Plan setting out in more detail how additional capacity would be delivered. The plan set out emerging thinking on how 1,300 additional vehicles, whether new or cascaded, might be deployed by the train operators. The plan also noted that, wherever possible, train operators would lead on rolling stock procurement.

Since the summer of last year, train operators have placed orders for 317 new railway carriages.

The department continues to work very closely with train operators to deliver the remaining vehicles.


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