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A judicial review of the compensation system accepted Defra's submission that the true value of any animal affected by TB is the salvage value of its carcass, and there are no plans to introduce any substantial changes to the current system.

Carers: Tax


Asked by Lord Dykes

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The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): The Government keep all areas of tax policy under review. At the 2009 Pre-Budget Report, the Government announced an improvement in the tax arrangements for carers looking after vulnerable individuals under a qualifying "shared lives" scheme (also known as adult placement carers). From 6 April 2010, shared lives carers will receive a tax-free allowance for their caring income similar to the current foster care relief.

The Government also took action to ensure, from the date of the Pre-Budget Report, that there is no loss of capital gains tax private residence relief where adult placement carers use part of their home exclusively for the accommodation of an adult in care.

In addition, to help carers balance work with caring responsibilities, the Building Britain's Recovery White Paper (published in December 2009) announced that the Government will carry out a consultation on how we can help individuals meet their caring responsibilities while remaining in employment. It also announced raising the earnings limit within the carer's allowance from £95 a week to £100 a week to increase work incentives for carers.

The Government also published a revised national carers strategy in June 2008. Key components of the new strategy will ensure that carers have increased choice and control, and are empowered to have a life outside caring. They are investing over £255 million to ensure that the new strategy is implemented.

Crime: Suspicious Activity Reports


Asked by Lord Marlesford

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): All suspicious activity reports received by the Serious Organised Crime Agency are recorded on the Elmer database. SOCA does not take steps to establish whether an unknown or anonymous reporter's suspicions are unfounded before the information is recorded on Elmer. A SAR can be used in combination with other sources of intelligence to contribute towards a particular law enforcement investigation. If a SAR had been submitted maliciously, this fact would become apparent in the course of an investigation, when the information was cross-checked with other forms of intelligence.

In these circumstances, and where a SAR is submitted electronically, the relevant local enforcement agency can attach an appropriate flag to the SAR to indicate

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no further action. Procedures on the handling of SARs may be revised depending on the outcome and recommendations of the forthcoming Information Commissioner's review.

Asked by Lord Marlesford

Lord West of Spithead: No local authority has direct access to the Elmer database. However, accredited financial investigators at some local authorities have access through terminals housed in local police units. The Serious Organised Crime Agency provides guidance material to users and all users are required to attend training delivered by the National Policing Improvement Agency (NPIA) or SOCA before accessing the database.

Future access to Elmer by local authorities and other potential end users will be subject to review in 2010, as indicated in the action plan in the SARs annual report 2009.

Crown Dependencies


Asked by Lord Wallace of Saltaire

The Financial Services Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Myners): The UK is responsible for the defence and international relations of the Crown Dependencies, Jersey, Guernsey and the Isle of Man. Jersey and Guernsey surrender hereditary revenues of the Crown to the Consolidated Fund in accordance with the Jersey and Guernsey (Financial Provisions) Act 1947. The last such payment from Jersey was for an amount of £225,000 in November 2008 and the last payment from Guernsey was an amount of £7,910,000 in February 2003.

The Isle of Man makes contributions in accordance with the Contribution Agreement 1994. The most recent contribution was £2,559,278.55, made in February 2009. The amount is initially calculated by the chief accountant of the Isle of Man Government Treasury Department, and then agreed with the UK Government.

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Democratic Republic of Congo


Asked by The Earl of Sandwich

Lord Brett: The United Nations (UN) estimates that over 1.5 million people are currently displaced as a result of the conflict in the north-east of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). There are approximately two million internally displaced people across the DRC.

The Government consider the UN's capacity to respond, including that of the peacekeeping force, to be reasonable. Major loss of life due to displacement has been averted.

Disabled People: Leonard Cheshire Report


Asked by Lord Morris of Manchester

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The department welcomes the report and is aware of the difficulties that disabled people may face in a recession. The Minister for Disabled People met with Leonard Cheshire on 19 January to discuss the report and its annual review. However, the department will not be publishing a formal response to the report.

We believe no one should be left behind on benefits or in poverty. We have a range of programmes designed to help disabled people overcome barriers and obstacles and move into and retain employment. Pathways to Work is available to everyone claiming incapacity benefits and employment and support allowance in Great Britain, and we have a range of specialist provision, including Access to Work, for those with greater needs.

Education: NEETs


Asked by Baroness Verma

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The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): The Government have taken decisive steps to strengthen existing provision and put in place new support to reduce the proportion of young people who are not in education, employment or training. In December 2009, the Department for Children, Schools and Families, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills and the Department for Work and Pensions jointly published Investing in Potential, our strategy to increase the proportion of 16-24 year-olds in education, employment or training.

Through the September guarantee, we offer all 16 and 17 year-olds a suitable place in learning. In 2009, almost 96 per cent of 16 year-olds and almost 90 per cent of 17 year-olds said that they wanted to continue in learning and received a suitable offer through the guarantee. We are building on this with a January guarantee in 2010, which will offer all 16 and 17 year- olds who are not in education, employment or training this month a place in entry-to-employment provision.

We will invest a total of £8.2 billion in 2010-11 to fund learning for 1.6 million young people, the highest ever number of young people participating in education and training in our country's history, and we will increase 16-19 funding by 0.9 per cent in real terms in 2011-12 and 2012-13 to continue our commitment to the September guarantee. We are also investing more than £650 million in 2009-10 in financial support for 16-18 year-olds, including education maintenance allowance, care to learn and discretionary learner support funds, to help young people overcome financial barriers to participation.

Through our 14-19 reform programme, we are transforming the range of qualifications on offer to ensure that there are options available to suit every young person's needs.

Apprenticeships are one of these key routes and we are creating an additional 35,000 apprenticeship places in 2009-10, including 21,000 in the public sector. By March 2010, the National Apprenticeship Service will provide 5,000 subsidies to employers to support them to take on 16 and 17 year-olds as apprentices.

The young person's guarantee will ensure that 18-24 year-olds still unemployed after six months will be guaranteed access to a job, training or work experience. This will be supported by more time with their personal adviser.

We are widening participation in higher education to ensure that all those with the potential and merit to benefit are able and willing to do so. We have created the Graduate Talent Pool, which has offered over 12,000 vacancies for graduate internships since its launch at the end of July 2009. For those new graduates who cannot find work, the graduate guarantee ensures that those still unemployed at six months will have access to an internship, training or help to become self-employed.

Together, these measures represent a clear and substantial offer of support that will continue to prevent young people becoming NEETs and help those who are not in education, employment or training to re-engage.

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Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Baroness Thornton: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority has advised that its press office receives hundreds of queries every year, a large number of which are over the telephone, and it is not, therefore, possible to put together a comprehensive record of the information requested by the noble Lord.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Baroness Thornton: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that it determined it unnecessary for the review to be undertaken by an external person. The purpose of the review is to assess the adequacy of the Authority's revised governance arrangements in relation to the threshold between administrative enforcement of its powers and the sphere of criminal law. The HFEA consider this internal review to be the right way to look critically at what happened and to ensure changes made since then, to its processes and procedures, provide it with adequate governance arrangements.

The senior officer undertaking the review has devoted many months to reviewing the extensive documentation held by the HFEA. The senior officer will shortly contact those involved inviting them to contribute.

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A copy of the HFEA internal memo provided to the office of the Minister for Public Health by Dr. Evan Harris MP on 12 January 2010 has been placed in the Library.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

Baroness Thornton: The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that it understands that by the term "investigations" resulting in costs to public funds, the noble Lord is referring to the settlements paid to Mr Mohamed Taranissi in relation to two judicial reviews. The first involved the quashing of a warrant and the second involved setting aside a Licence Committee decision. Those costs totalled approximately £770,000.

In 2006, the HFEA had concerns that Mr Taranissi was not complying with the statutory regulatory scheme that all licensed clinics in the United Kingdom have to follow. A number of outcomes followed, including legal challenges and a protracted licensing process. Mr Taranissi was granted a new three-year licence for the Assisted Reproduction and Gynaecology Centre in April 2009 and was offered a new one-year licence for the Reproductive Genetics Institute on 5 January 2010.

One member of HFEA staff subsequently went on secondment to the Department of Health from 1 October 2007 to 30 September 2008, and subsequently completed a one-month's fixed term appointment with the department from 1 October to 28 October. Both the secondment and the fixed term appointment were in the role of Director of Public Health Performance and Delivery.

No individual's salaries were reduced as a result of the inquiry. Information on HFEA salaries is outlined in its annual report and accounts, which have already been placed in the Library.

Asked by Lord Alton of Liverpool

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Baroness Thornton: It is an established convention that Ministers of one Administration cannot see the documents of a previous Administration. I am therefore unable to provide the information requested.



Asked by Lord Hylton

Lord Brett: The European Commission's support for Eritrea between 2009 and 2013 will help the Eritrean people reduce poverty and improve their prospects for economic and social progress. Projects will focus on improving food security (€70 million), rehabilitating infrastructure (€34 million), and strengthening governance (€10 million). The remaining funds will be earmarked for programmes to preserve the national heritage, support non-state actors and establish a Technical and Cooperation Facility.

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