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Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: My Answer of 16 June (Official Report, col. WA 202) referred to a request from the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission to receive funding from an external organisation for projects relating to a Bill of Rights. The Government have no plans to provide funding to any external organisation in this respect.

Pensions

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Crawley: Details of the percentage employee contributions payable and the approximate split of active membership between the sections of the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme are contained in the Report of the Actuary and Report of the Manager in the Cabinet Office: Civil Superannuation Resource Accounts. Copies of the resource accounts for the years up to and including 2007-08 can be found in the Library.

Petitions

Question

Asked by Lord Hanningfield



29 Jun 2009 : Column WA20

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): The Downing Street e-petition system has been operating continually since November 2007 and will be unaffected by the passing of the Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Bill.

Prisoners: Disabilities

Question

Asked by Baroness Quin

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): Lord Bradley's review recommends that awareness training on mental health and learning disabilities must be available for all prison officers.

Currently, newly recruited officers receive training in caring for vulnerable individuals in custody. Options regarding the inclusion of learning disability awareness in new entrant prison officer training are currently under discussion with all relevant stakeholders.

In addition, all Bradley review recommendations will be taken forward as part of the remit of the newly established National Health and Criminal Justice Programme Board which meets for the first time on 24 June 2009 and which will publish a national delivery plan in October this year.

Prisons

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): In 1996 Ministers announced that "slopping out" had ended. All prisoners in normal accommodation have had access to sanitation since then in one of four ways:

integral sanitation: a toilet and wash basin in a cell or in a separate annex;open access: in open conditions prisoners can leave their rooms and use central toilet facilities;electronic unlocking: cell doors are opened electronically to allow prisoners access to toilet facilities; andmanual unlocking: staff are deployed to unlock cells and allow prisoners access to toilet facilities.

29 Jun 2009 : Column WA21

A further programme of in-cell sanitation for about 400 cells was carried out in 2001-03 to provide integral sanitation in prison hospital and segregation cells.

As at March 2009 only 2,117 places do not have in-cell sanitation or open access to toilet facilities. These are located in the following prisons and have electronic unlocking:

Albany;

Blundeston;

Bullwood Hall;

Bristol;

Brockhill;

Coldingley;

Gloucester;

Grendon;

Long Lartin; and

Portland.

No prisons operate a manual unlocking system.

Prisons: HMP Caernarvon

Questions

Asked by Lord Jones

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): Proceeding with prison development on the Caernarvon site depends on the outcome of ongoing negotiations with the owner, confirmation that contamination on the site will not impede a prison development, and a successful application for outline planning permission.

No final decisions have been made on the size of the prison or the operational date. However, it is envisaged that the site could be developed to provide between 600 and 900 prison places.

The precise numbers of jobs created through construction and operation vary from prison to prison according to the size and type of prison. Previous studies have shown that a prison of 800 places will, on average, generate an income of over £7 million per year in the local economy and provide around 400 full-time jobs in operation, 250 from within the local area.



29 Jun 2009 : Column WA22

Questions for Written Answer

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: Out of the 260 Lords Questions answered up to 15 June, the Northern Ireland Office referred to websites on 15 occasions. Ten of these were answered substantively, but in order to provide noble Lords with additional information on the subject, the Answers included links to websites where further information could be found.

A further two adhered to the protocol outlined in my Answer of 17 June by providing weblinks because the information requested could have been provided in the answer only at disproportionate cost.

For the remaining three Answers, the information requested was held by bodies that are independent of the Northern Ireland Office: in two cases the Chief Electoral Officer and in the third case a committee of the United Nations. It was therefore judged more appropriate to refer to the website of those bodies so that noble Lords had access to those organisations' own statements on the matters in question rather than an interpretation of these statements by government Ministers.

Railways: Diesel Vehicles

Question

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): The procurement process for new diesel multiple unit vehicles is still under way and an announcement will be made later this year.

Shipping: Ferry Operators

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird

The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): Further to my Answer of 17 June (Official Report, cols. WA 216-7), for a passenger ship to operate in UK waters it must have a valid passenger certificate or

29 Jun 2009 : Column WA23

passenger safety certificate. If a passenger ship is allegedly operating without a valid certificate, the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) will investigate. Each case is then considered on its individual merits and suitable enforcement action is taken, which may when appropriate include prosecution.

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Adonis: The Rathlin Island ferry MV "CANNA" did not hold a valid passenger certificate between 1 September and 11 September 2008. The Maritime and Coastguard Agency became aware of this on 3 October 2008, while completing the annual survey.

Sir Alan Sugar

Questions

Asked by Baroness Seccombe

The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): The Enterprise Champion is appointed as an unpaid independent adviser to government and small businesses. He has disclosed his commercial interests in full to the Cabinet Office and has made arrangements for managing these interests for the duration of his appointment.

Smoking

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Lord Darzi of Denham): There is no intention at this time to extend the smokefree law to any outdoor places. To make any non-enclosed place smokefree would require new regulations to be made; that would usually happen only after a process of public consultation. However, there will be a review of the smokefree legislation in 2010.



29 Jun 2009 : Column WA24

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Darzi of Denham: We have given a commitment to review this legislation in 2010. At the moment there are no plans to extend the legislation.

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Darzi of Denham: Over the past 10 years the Government's comprehensive programme to deal with tobacco has successfully reduced the prevalence of smoking from 28 per cent in 1998 to 21 per cent. in 2007. As a direct result of this success in reducing smoking prevalence there will over time be a reduction in real terms in the costs to the National Health Service. We will be publishing a new tobacco control strategy later this year with the aim of reducing prevalence further and thereby further reducing costs to the National Health Service.

Telephone Helplines

Questions

Asked by Baroness Thomas of Winchester

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The information is not available in the requested format.

Calls made to the helplines are received into a queue and these are recorded as "calls offered". At busy times, some calls may not reach the queue and will receive the busy tone; information on those calls is not available. Of those which are held in a queue, those calls which reach a member of staff are counted as "calls answered".



29 Jun 2009 : Column WA25

All calls to crisis loan 0800 lines are for crisis loan living expenses claims. Other crisis loan applications for items such as new bedding or furniture are included within the 0845 Social Fund calls.

Calls to Social Fund 0845 lines include calls regarding all other elements of the Social Fund: budgeting loans; funeral payments; community care grants; and sure start maternity grants.

The following table shows the volume of calls made to both the 0800 crisis loan lines and to 0845 Social Fund lines between June 2008 and May 2009.

Calls to Crisis Loans (0800) lines
Calls OfferedCalls Answered

June 2008 to May 2009

4,356,080

4,017,709

Mar-09

247,955

179,927

Apr-09

275,350

188,760

May-09

242,042

165,768

Total

765,347

534,455

Calls to Social Fund (0845) lines
Calls OfferedCalls Answered

June 2008 to May 2009

2,927,692

2,572,262

Mar-09

542,603

470,690

Apr-09

471,792

420,474

May-09

488,579

436,920

Total

1,502,974

1,328,084

Transport: Vehicle Testing


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