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To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by the Minister for Housing, John Healey, on 8 June (Official Report, House of Commons, col. 750W), how the increase in spending on new affordable housing from £417 million in 1999-2000 to £2,587 million in 2008-09 is reflected in the numbers of new homes built over that period. [HL753]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The figures in the Written Answer to the honourable Member for Welwyn Hatfield on 8 June (Official Report, col. 750W) showed allocations of grant of some £13 billion between 1999 and 2009 to housing associations and other affordable housing providers for the provision of social rented and low cost home ownership schemes.
Allocations are the total amount of grant awarded for these schemes with spend spreading over a number of years until the scheme is completed. In total, this amount of grant funding, some £13 billion, will have led to approval of over 282,000 new affordable homes.
Delivery of affordable housing is shown in live table 1000 on the CLG website at http://www.communities.gov.uk/documents/housing/xls/1406058.xls.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how they will respond to the Interim Resolution (CM/Res DH (2009) 160) of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe about the delay in implementing the judgment of the European Court of Human Rights in the case of Hirst (No 2) v United Kingdom of 6 October 2005, and urging the United Kingdom to adopt the measures necessary to implement the judgment. [HL803]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord Bach): The Government have noted the interim resolution made by the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers in the case of Hirst (No 2). We have recently completed a two-stage consultation on the voting rights of convicted prisoners. We are carefully analysing the responses to the consultation. The Government take their obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights seriously. But we must arrive at an approach which respects the judgment of the Court and takes into account the level of public consent for any change and the traditions of the United Kingdom.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the number of combatants and suspects detained in custody without charge by allies of the United Kingdom in states in which they have a military presence, without access to the International Committee of the Red Cross and with little or no contact with their families or local advisers; and whether they make representations on such detentions. [HL457]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): The UK fully implements the Geneva Conventions and we request that our allies do so as well. Issues relating to the International Committee of the Red Cross and denial of access to combatants or suspects are matters between the International Committee of the Red Cross and the individual Governments concerned.
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the United Kingdom Hydrographic Office has raised its charges for the provision of hydrographic information to publishers of maritime charts by up to 100 per cent; and what assessment they have made of any safety issues arising from mariners using out of date navigation data due to the higher costs of purchasing new charts. [HL845]
The Minister for International Defence and Security (Baroness Taylor of Bolton): The United Kingdom Hydrographic Office (UKHO) has made no change to the licensing fees charged for reuse of its chart data in navigational products in 2009; as such there is no impact on safety.
UKHO has restructured the licence fees charged for the reuse of data in publications and merchandising products for non-navigational use. The licence agreement for this purpose does not allow use for navigation and requires the licensees to include a notice to that effect in their product, so there is no impact on safety.
This restructuring of licence fees was necessary for UKHO to be fully compliant with the Re-Use of Public Sector Information Regulations 2005, which require all reusers of data to make a fair contribution to the costs of creating the data. As a result some licensees, who have not been contributing enough, will now pay more and others, who have been overcontributing, will pay less. There is no overall change in revenue to UKHO.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 14 July (WA 203), how many skilled chefs were granted United Kingdom entry visas in each of the last eight quarters; and what were the results of the Migration Advisory Committee's review of whether to continue to fill shortages of skilled chefs through migration. [HL748]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The Migration Advisory Committee's (MAC) latest shortage occupation list was published on 21 October. The committee concluded that the occupation is still in shortage and recommended
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The Government are working with the ethnic catering industry to develop a long-term strategy-ready in spring 2010-to fill more of the shortage of skilled chefs from the UK labour market and reduce the reliance on migration. This involves upskilling our domestic workforce, equipping new entrants with the required specialist skills, and making jobs in these industries a more attractive career option.
Information on the number of visas issued to skilled chefs cannot be retrieved centrally. It would be necessary to examine individual application forms and we could therefore only provide the information requested at disproportionate cost.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will make representations to the Government of France on proposals to replace the asylum camp at Calais with an alternative centre for people attempting entry into the United Kingdom through ports in Kent. [HL702]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): There is no proposal by the UK or French authorities to create an alternative centre following the closure of the Sangatte refugee centre in 2002.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Lord West of Spithead on 6 July (WA 99), what is the current immigration status of the 3,940 international students enrolled at schools, colleges and universities prior to 31 March and subsequently refused a sponsor licence by the UK Border Agency. [HL246]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The students enrolled at institutions before the introduction of tier four would have been granted leave under the student Immigration Rules in place at the time. These students may stay and study at these institutions for the duration of their existing leave.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their response to staff of Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal Centre not allowing the Canon Theologian of Westminster Abbey to deliver Christmas presents to detained children. [HL742]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): The incident involved a request from a Jonathan Cox, representing Citizens for Sanctuary and the St Nicholas Society, to come into Yarl's Wood to distribute gifts to children and not specifically from the Reverend Professor Nicholas Sagovsky, Canon Theologian of Westminster Abbey.
The UK Border Agency has a duty to safeguard those in its care, especially children. That includes appropriate vetting of those who wish to work or operate in the immigration removal centres. Mr Cox's request was therefore declined primarily on security grounds because the two organisations were not known to centre staff and did not have suitable clearance to have direct contact with the children in our care. However, arrangements were made with the society for gifts to be delivered to the centre for onward distribution, which indeed occurred.
We have a full plan of activities for the celebration of major religious festivals, including Christmas. These include parties, a traditional carol service, and a visit by Father Christmas to Yarl's Wood.
Ministers of religion are able to make arrangements with the manager of religious affairs to attend an immigration removal centre subject to appropriate clearance, and I understand that an invitation has been extended to the Canon Theologian to visit Yarl's Wood at some point in the future.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the outcome of their meeting on 23 November with Mr Vijayesh Lal concerning displaced Christians in Orissa State, India; and what action they or the Commonwealth are taking about compensation, employment and reinstating land and property in that state. [HL609]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) officials held a productive meeting with Mr Lal and representatives of Christian non-governmental organisation, Open Doors, and updated them about the latest situation in Orissa.
On 10-11 November 2009, the British High Commissioner to India visited Orissa and inquired with the local state authorities, including the Chief Minister, about the status of Christians still affected by the violence in Orissa in 2008, their living conditions, compensation and the prosecution of those responsible. The local authorities advised that the state-run camps had been closed, affected Christians had now returned to their homes, compensation had been provided and perpetrators had been convicted. However, resettlement of those displaced and the reconstruction of churches was still ongoing. FCO officials have since informed Mr Lal and his colleagues about the High Commissioner's recent visit.
The Department for International Development is providing £10 million for community development in Orissa through the Tribal Empowerment and Livelihoods Programme from 2004-2010. The programme has helped to increase incomes, reduce malnutrition and improve water and sanitation for over 375,000 tribal men and women in four districts of Orissa, including Kandhamal.
The British High Commission in New Delhi is also supporting a pilot project to improve access to justice in Kandhamal by improving awareness of citizens' rights and the capacity of lawyers to effectively pursue cases for victims of the communal violence in 2008.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will ask the Government of India to place the investigation into violence in Orissa in the hands of the Central Bureau of Investigation and transfer relevant court cases from Kandhamal to Cuttack or Bhubaneshwar. [HL610]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is meant by "fuel or field garden allotment" under article 30
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To ask Her Majesty's Government what is intended by the phrase "fuel or field garden allotment" in the definition of "special category land" in regulation 2 of the Infrastructure Planning (Applications: Prescribed Forms and Procedures) Regulations 2009 (SI 2009/2264). [HL707]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The term "fuel or field garden allotment" is defined in Sections 131(12) and 132(12) of the Planning Act 2009, where it states that these terms are to have the same meanings as in Section 19 of the Acquisition of Land Act 1981 The latter states that "'fuel or field garden allotment' means any allotment set out as fuel allotment, or a field garden allotment, under an Inclosure Act". It does not cover allotments generally.
To ask Her Majesty's Government to what extent legislative provisions can be modified under article 6 of Schedule 1 to the Infrastructure Planning (Model Provisions) (England and Wales) Order 2009 (SI 2009/2265); and whether any such modifications will have to be agreed with the Secretary of State. [HL622]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The Infrastructure Planning (Model Provisions) (England and Wales) Order 2009 sets out model provisions that might be incorporated in an order granting development consent. The extent to which statutory provisions can be modified (in respect of a particular project) relates to whether it is necessary for the purposes of granting development consent.
Where the Infrastructure Planning Commission proposes to modify statutory provision, Section 121 of the Planning Act 2008 requires it to send a draft of the order granting development to the Secretary of State who may direct changes to be made where it contravenes Community law or any of the convention rights.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether a notice to treat under articles 26(2) and (3) of Schedule 1 to the Infrastructure Planning (Model Provisions) (England and Wales) Order 2009 (SI 2009/2265) has to be served on the owner in person; and, if not, whether there will be any right to claim an extension to the 21 days in the event that the owner is incapable of responding because of illness or absence. [HL623]
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