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The Registrar General has also registered 123 naval, military or air force chapels for the solemnisation of marriages, otherwise than according to the rites of the Church of England, under Section 70 of the Marriage Act 1949. No denomination is stated with these registrations.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Taylor of Bolton on 11 December 2008 (WA 10), whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of the agreement with a commercial operator which guarantees landing slots at RAF Northolt. [HL1177]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): Yes, I will place a copy of the lease in the Library of the House. The rental level will be redacted from the lease document as its release would, or would be likely to, prejudice commercial interests.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have undertaken any research into the potential for a further extension of the life of the present fleet of high-speed diesel passenger trains, including improving the doors and toilets. [HL1490]
The Minister of State, Department for Transport (Lord Adonis): Prior to issuing the Intercity Express specification, the Department for Transport assessed the costs and technical feasibility of extending the life of the existing high-speed diesel train fleet.
Given the age of the vehicles, and the need for major structural modifications to meet accessibility legislation and the provision of modern safety features for staff and retention toilets, it was not considered cost-effective to extend their lives compared with procuring a new train.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many representations from organisations funded in whole or in part by the Government they have received in favour of a ban on the open display of tobacco products in shops, and how many individuals are represented by those organisations. [HL1292]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many representations from organisations they have received against a ban on the open display of tobacco products in shops; and how many individuals are represented by those organisations. [HL1293]
The department received around 10,000 responses from small retailers, including pre-prepared postcards and emails made available to respondents by third parties, 11 responses from individual larger retailers and 21 responses from retail industry representative organisations, including trade associations.
The department received seven responses from organisations that receive funding directly from the department for programmes of work related to smoking. Identification of respondents that receive funding from the department for other purposes could not be provided without incurring disproportionate cost.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what evidence they have received on the effect on smoking by young people of the ban on the open display of tobacco products in shops in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, Canada. [HL1291]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): There is evidence from jurisdictions that have removed tobacco displays at the point of sale that such measures can make an important contribution to reducing smoking prevalence among children and younger adults.
Data on smoking prevalence among young people in each Canadian province over the period 1999 to 2007 are available in the Canadian Tobacco Use Monitoring Survey (CTUMS). The CTUMS has been placed in the Library.
In 2008, the department received information from the Government of Saskatchewan about smoking rates among young people since legislation removing tobacco display at the point of sale came into force in that province. Tobacco display legislation came into force in Saskatchewan in 2002, and apart from a 15 month break as a result of legal challenge, has been in force ever since. At the point that legislation came into force, smoking prevalence among 15-19 year-olds in Saskatchewan was 29 per cent. The latest smoking rate for 15-19 year-olds in Saskatchewan is 22 per cent, 2007 data. The Saskatchewan Government advised that the removal of tobacco displays has made an important contribution to this reduction in smoking prevalence among young people.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the rate of retention for children's social workers; and how this compares with other public bodies including (a) the police, (b) adult social carers, and (c) civil servants in government departments. [HL1268]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many children's social worker places are currently vacant; how many have remained vacant for a period of (a) three months, (b) six months, and (c) longer; and how this breaks down on a regional basis. [HL1271]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): Social workers are directly employed by local authorities and other organisations. The Department for Children, Schools and Families does not centrally collect information on social worker length of service, retention rate, absenteeism or vacancy rate.
In the Children's, Young People's and Families' Social Care Workforce Survey 2006, a survey of 88 local authorities, the Local Authority Workforce Intelligence Group (LAWIG), estimated that the turnover rate for childrens and families' social workers was 9.6 per cent down from 11 per cent the previous year. LAWIG estimated that 2 per cent of the overall workforce left social work all together, either to retire or move on to another destination.
|Region||Vacancy Rates for Children's Field Social Workers in 2005||Vacancy Rates for Children's Field Social Workers in 2006|
The Children's, Young People's and Families' Social Care Workforce Survey 2006 can be found at www.lga.gov.uk/lga/aio/1098172.
The Minister of State, Department for Business, Enterprise and Regulatory Reform & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Davies of Abersoch): Her Majesty's Government's vehicle for increasing trade is UK Trade & Investment (UKTI), which currently has teams based in the SADC FTA countries of South Africa, Tanzania, Angola and Mozambique. These teams assist UK companies to do business in these markets, and also encourage potential investors into the UK. The amount of trade fluctuates with the level of interest shown by British companies in the area
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Information is provided on all markets via the UKTI portal www.uktradeinvest.gov.uk.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): There are 42 open academies in London, seven with a sports specialism. Of these, 24 are already in their new or refurbished buildings, and our current target is that all academies will have their capital work completed within three years of opening.
The 24 academies with completed capital work have new or refurbished sports halls and new sporting equipment. Where space is available they have all-weather pitches or enhanced outdoor sporting areas too. This is the case for all of the seven academies with a sports specialism.
All academies delivered through Building Schools for the Future (BSF) have a standard provision for sports facilities which meet the Building Bulletin 98 building guidelines for new schools. Partnerships for Schools, which manages all BSF projects, also liaises with Sport England through the statutory consultation process in order to ensure that all playing field provision is maintained or improved in any new development.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): The department does not collect information about which sports facilities have been provided through Building Schools for the Future (BSF). It is for each local authority to decide how to make the best use of its overall BSF funding allocation across the schools in a particular project and the scope of works at each school. An authority can choose to use some of its BSF allocation to refurbish an existing
23 Feb 2009 : Column WA30
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the construction methods for new homes in the United Kingdom comply with the 2003 Sustainable Communities Plan; and, if not, what plans they have to ensure compliance. [HL1527]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Andrews): The Sustainable Communities Plan, published in 2003, set out a long-term vision and programme of action to create decent homes in good quality local environments across England. As part of this plan, the Government set out actions related to construction methods. This included actions to promote modern methods of construction (MMC). MMC can be defined as construction that uses modern processes to provide more, better quality houses in less time. It can apply to homes built on and off-site.
The Sustainable Communities Plan set out that some 25 per cent of the homes funded by the (then) Housing Corporation in the south-east would be built using MMC. In the two years following publication of the Sustainable Communities Plan (2004-05 and 2005-06) the Housing Corporation approved investment in London and the south-east which is resulting in the construction and delivery of 13,297 MMC units. This represents some 40 per cent of the total number of homes delivered in both regions.
The vision set out in the Sustainable Communities Plan was for new housing to be more sustainable. It proposed that building regulations would be kept under review with this in mind, and set a new requirement that, as a condition of grant, all new homes funded by the public sector should achieve the Eco-Homes pass standard. This was put in place. However, since 2003, the Government have taken more steps to improve further the sustainability of new homes. The Code for Sustainable Homes (the code) became operational in 2007 and replaced Eco-Homes as the sustainable standard in house building. All homes supported by funding from the Homes and Communities Agency must now be built to code level 3. The code, like building regulations, is outcome based and does not require a particular construction method. However, using MMC may be useful to achieve code levels.
Steps have also been taken to strengthen building regulations. In 2006, the Government published revisions to part L of the building regulations which set higher standards for energy performance. A policy commitment was published in July 2007 to control the water efficiency of new dwellings through changes to the building regulations. And in 2008 a consultation was launched on proposed changes that would add to part G of these regulations a requirement for new homes to be
23 Feb 2009 : Column WA31
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