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Housing

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach



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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.

Human Rights

Question

Asked by Lord Lester of Herne Hill

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.

Human Rights: Detention

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton



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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.

Hydrographic Office

Question

Asked by Lord Berkeley

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.

Immigration

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

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

5 Jan 2010 : Column WA56

that the occupation remains on the list. David Metcalf, chair of the MAC also stated that the committee is "minded to remove skilled chefs from our recommended list in 2010 unless there is evidence of a coherent strategy to train substantial numbers of chefs being in place by then".

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.

Immigration: Deportation

Question

Asked by Baroness Neville-Jones

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): A breakdown of those (a) deported and (b) excluded from the United Kingdom since 2001 is in the attached table.

2001

(a) 0

(b) 30

2002

(a) 0

(b) 26

2003

(a) 0

(b) 14

2004

(a) 0

(b) 9

2005

(a) 0

(b) 13

2006

(a) 3

(b) 40

2007

(a) 6

(b) 80

2008

(a) 0

(b) 26

2009

(a) 0

(b) 22

Immigration: France

Question

Asked by Lord Condon

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.



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Immigration: International Students

Question

Asked by Baroness Warsi

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.

Immigration: Yarl's Wood

Question

Asked by Lord Ramsbotham

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.



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India: Orissa

Questions

Asked by Lord Hylton

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.

Asked by Lord Hylton

Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead: The Government are unable to intervene in internal judicial matters in India.

Infrastructure Planning (Applications: Prescribed Forms and Procedures) Regulations 2009

Question

Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

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.

Infrastructure Planning (Model Provisions) (England and Wales) Order 2009

Questions

Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach

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.

Asked by Lord Taylor of Holbeach


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