Previous Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page

The installed capacity of wind turbines on which the percentage increases were based was measured at the end of the calendar year. Much of the installation work for offshore wind turbines is carried out in the summer when offshore weather conditions are usually more conducive to such work. For example, Barrow, a 90MW wind farm came online in July 2006 and Burbo Bank, a 90MW wind farm came online in October 2007. Hence generation from the new turbines will make only a small contribution during their year of installation, but a full contribution during the subsequent year.

Equal Pay


Asked by Lord Ouseley

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): The median full-time gender pay gap1 has reduced from 17.4 per cent in 1997 to 12.8 per cent in 2008, but despite this progress, inequality and discrimination clearly still exist. The median overall gender pay gap2 (including both full-time and part-time workers) stands at 22.6 per cent.

The Government believe that inequality cannot be tackled if it is hidden—transparency is essential to tackling discrimination. That is why we are bringing forward a range of measures to improve transparency on gender pay, such as including in the forthcoming Equality Bill a ban on pay secrecy clauses which prevent people discussing their own pay, so that women can compare wages and challenge employers who unlawfully pay them less than men.

We are considering how the £175 billion spent every year by the public sector procuring goods and services could be used to help deliver equality objectives. We will also examine how an equality kitemark could

14 Jan 2009 : Column WA148

challenge businesses to report on important equality information, and collect evidence on the effectiveness of equal pay job evaluation audits.

The Equality and Human Rights Commission is conducting a series of inquiries in sectors where there is clear inequality, and recently it announced that it will be investigating the financial services industry, which has an overall gender pay gap of 41.5 per cent compared with the national figure of 22.6 per cent.

Equality and Human Rights Commission


Asked by Lord Ouseley

The Lord President of the Council (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): Under the Equality Act 2006, the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) is required to have three statutory advisory committees, for Scotland, Wales and Disability. As the EHRC covers seven protected areas of equality and also human rights, it would not be practical to have additional non-statutory advisory committees to cover its other remit areas.

However, as part of its developing stakeholder engagement strategy, the EHRC is looking at establishing core networks of stakeholders from the different equality areas to meet, on an advisory basis, at regular intervals throughout the year. This will include a network looking at race issues. More details on this proposal will be published in the spring.

Specific work the EHRC is doing to prioritise race equality includes working with the Prison Service to tackle race inequality in prisons, investigating the impact of social housing allocation on community cohesion and good relations between people from different racial groups, a major assessment of the state of policing and race equality in England, Scotland and Wales, including the differential use of stop and search powers, and the Young Brits at Art competition, designed to help schools and youth centres deal with difference and diversity in an entertaining and accessible way.

EU: Emissions Trading Scheme


Asked by Lord Berkeley

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): No decision to increase the level of UK auctioning in phase II of the EU Emissions Trading System has been taken and no representations have been made to the European Commission on this issue. The level of auctioning for phase 11(2008-12) of the EU ETS was decided following public consultation on the draft national allocation plan in June 2006.

Fishing: Netting Restrictions


Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

The Minister of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change & Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Hunt of Kings Heath): The review of inshore netting restrictions commenced earlier this year with the production by the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (Cefas) of a scientific paper, entitled Spatial Controls on Fixed Netting in England. This has been considered with fisheries managers and stakeholders in Defra's Recreational Sea Angling (RSA) Subgroup and will be published shortly. In the light of feedback from the RSA subgroup, Cefas is currently working on a more extended review covering other types of netting for consideration by the group.

Food: Labelling


Asked by Lord Tebbit

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The country of origin of a food product is deemed under World Trade Organisation (WTO) rules to be the place of last substantial change. Therefore, bacon

14 Jan 2009 : Column WA150

cured in Britain with imported pork can legally be labelled as British. Nevertheless, the Food Standards Agency considers that, in some cases, such labelling may not be helpful for consumers. It, therefore, produced voluntary guidance in 2002, recently revised, to help industry comply with the law and adopt best practice. This recommends, for example, that bacon produced in Britain with imported pork should say so on the labelling.

Health: Doctors


Asked by Baroness Finlay of Llandaff

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): The number of non-consultant vacancies in emergency medicine is not collected centrally. The number of vacancies for all doctors (including consultants) in emergency medicine as of 31 March 2008 showed 20 (2.7 per cent.) posts that were three months or older and that trusts were actively trying to fill.

Health: Drugs


Asked by Lord Dykes

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): As part of our commitment to tackle healthcare associated infections (HCAIs), the department has regular discussions with relevant bodies about the control of gram-negative and other infections. These bodies include the Health Protection Agency, the Advisory Committee on Antimicrobial Resistance and Healthcare Associated Infection and professional societies.

Two licences have been granted by the European Medicines Agency within the past three years for new antibacterial drugs active against gram-negative bacteria. They relate to tigecycline (brand name Tygacil), authorised on 24 April 2006; and doripenem (brand name Doribax), authorised on 25 July 2008.

Our strategy on HCAIs includes a number of different initiatives and approaches to reduce infection rates. One of these is the Healthcare Associated Infection Technology Innovation Programme, launched in January 2008, which is designed to accelerate the development and adoption of new and novel technologies through partnership with the National Health Service, industry and academia.

14 Jan 2009 : Column WA151

Health: VDU Use


Asked by Lord Dykes

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): There are currently no plans for further research on the prevention of eye damage from computer use in the workplace. Current medical opinion is that computer use in the workplace does not cause permanent eye damage or disease. Prolonged looking at a screen can result in discomfort, such as dry eyes, headaches and eye irritation. For this reason, HSE recommends short, frequent breaks from screen use of about five to 10 minutes every hour.

Immigration: Georgia


Asked by Lord Campbell-Savours

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The report by Zuram Kachlishvili which was published in a Georgian newspaper alleges that a person known as Teona is involved in the preparation of fraudulent applications for UK visas and that her Georgian contacts who work in the visa section at the British Embassy in Tbilisi are being paid to facilitate the issue of visas.

Senior embassy officials have confirmed that they had no prior knowledge of these allegations. They have contacted the newspaper in an attempt to identify the applications concerned, and the matter has been passed to the UK Border Agency's International Group (Operational Integrity Section) for further investigation.

14 Jan 2009 : Column WA152

International Development


Asked by Lord Ahmed

Lord Tunnicliffe: Details on the Department for International Development's (DfID) annual allocation of resources are available in annex 2, table 4, page 244 of the DfID publication Development: Making it Happen, DfID's 2008 annual report. This publication is available online at or from the Library. Relevant figures for the next three years are reproduced in the table below.

DfID Programme Allocations, 2008-09, £million

















Ministry of Defence: Senior Responsible Owner


Asked by Lord Astor of Hever

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The general responsibilities and powers of a senior responsible owner (SRO) of a Ministry of Defence (MoD) project or programme are in line with those defined in the relevant best practice guidance issued by the Office of Government Commerce. An SRO is

14 Jan 2009 : Column WA153

responsible for ensuring that the project or programme meets its objectives and realises the expected benefits. He or she has clear authority and personal responsibility for the successful delivery of the project or programme.

All projects and programmes in MoD are required to have an SRO or equivalent. Within MoD, the SRO designation is currently reserved for senior staff responsible for the major projects and programmes to deliver significant military capability and business change. These SROs are personally accountable to the Defence Board. For other projects and programmes, those filling the equivalent role are given an alternative designation, such as single point of accountability. Notwithstanding the designation, the role and responsibilities are broadly the same.

The current SROs for the major projects and programmes are listed in the table below:

Next Section Back to Table of Contents Lords Hansard Home Page