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The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): The Government believe that transparency about gender pay is an important way of shining a light on pay inequalities and encouraging employers to tackle them.
Voluntary publishing by larger employers is the first important step towards achieving such transparency. The Government are pleased that the Equality and Human Rights Commission has worked with business, unions and other stakeholders to produce its proposals for voluntary gender pay publishing in the private and voluntary sectors. This report represents a useful and important step forward which will enable us to see what is effective and how employers respond to the voluntary approach.
The commission will be monitoring progress on the extent to which employers have taken up the voluntary publishing approach and the Government will look at progress when considering the need to move to a mandatory approach through Clause 78 of the Equality Bill.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what sanctions can be imposed by the European Union on member states which do not pay fines imposed on them for non-compliance with European Union directives and regulations. [HL1437]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): Member states which do not pay fines for non-compliance with EU directives or regulations may be subject to further infraction proceedings under Article 258 of the treaty on the functioning of the European Union (TFEU), and fines under Article 260 TFEU.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): The European Council has stated that the decision to establish the European External Action Service (EEAS) should be adopted by the end of April, not March 2010. The detailed organisation and functioning of the EEAS will be decided by the member states by unanimity on the basis of a recommendation from the high representative. The high representative has set up a high-level group to help her prepare the draft decision.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): The cost of cancelling contracts would depend on the circumstances of cancellation. Specific arrangements are set out in contracts which cannot be disclosed due to commercial confidentiality.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when the investigations into the conflict in Gaza in December 2008 and January 2009 requested by the Goldstone report are expected to be completed by (a) Israel, and (b) the Hamas Government in Gaza. [HL1538]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead): We have been clear in our call for all credible allegations to be properly investigated. The UN Secretary General is due to deliver a report in February 2010 into the progress of both Israeli and Palestinian investigations of their conduct during the Gaza conflict. Israel, Hamas, and the Palestinian Authority are all expected to contribute to this report.
To ask Her Majesty's Government for each of the past three years for which figures are available, how many people were eligible for performance bonuses and special bonuses in the Department for Children, Schools and Families and its agencies, by Civil Service band; how many people received each type of bonus, by Civil Service band; what the average payment was for each type of bonus, by Civil Service band; and what the maximum payment was for each type of bonus, by Civil Service band. [HL32]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Children, Schools and Families (Baroness Morgan of Drefelin): An element of the DCSF overall pay award is allocated to non-consolidated variable pay related to performance. These payments are used to drive high performance and form part of the pay award for members of staff who demonstrate exceptional performance, for example by exceeding targets set or meeting challenging objectives.
Non-consolidated variable pay awards are funded from within existing pay bill controls, and have to be re-earned each year against predetermined targets and, as such, do not add to future pay bill costs. The percentage of the pay bill set aside for performance-related awards for the SCS is based on recommendations from the independent Senior Salaries Review Body.
The DCSF was established in June 2007 as part of the machinery of government changes and data for the two years covering the department are set out in the table below. The table shows details of how many people were eligible for and received non-consolidated variable pay awards and the average and the maximum payment for a non-consolidated variable pay award, by Civil Service band, awarded under the DCSF standard pay and performance management process.
|Performance Year 2007-08||Performance Year 2008-09|
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Department for Work and Pensions (Lord McKenzie of Luton): Under Section 1 of the Homelessness Act 2002, local housing authorities are required to publish a homelessness strategy, based on a review of homelessness in their district, at least every five years. Authorities were required to publish their first homelessness strategy by 31 July 2003. There is no requirement for local authorities to provide details of their reviews or strategies to the Secretary of State. Information about the number of authorities in north-west England that have carried out a homelessness review in the past five years is not held centrally.
Lord McKenzie of Luton: There is no minimum period for which a local authority is subject to the main homelessness duty. As originally enacted, Section 193 of the Housing Act 1996 (duty to persons with priority need who are not homeless intentionally) provided
1 Feb 2010 : Column WA9
To ask the Chairman of Committees whether he will ask the Library of the House to provide a weekly summary of the main activities of the European Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales and the Scottish Parliament. [HL1621]
The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): No. The preparation of a weekly summary of the activities of the three institutions would be a labour-intensive and time-consuming process for Library staff and would impact negatively on the core services currently offered to Members. The websites of the three institutions are comprehensive:http://www.europarl.europa.eu/http://www.assemblywales.org/; andhttp://www.scottish.parliament.uk/.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Home Office (Lord West of Spithead): Since 20 October 2009, and up to and including 23 January 2010, over 4,300 applicants have been enrolled or have made an enrolment appointment for an identity card. Of these applicants over 3,000 have been issued with a national identity card.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon on 15 December 2009 (WA 212-13), how many other NHS organisations are being investigated by the Equality and Human Rights Commission; and in which sectors the 133 organisations being investigated are located. [HL1003]
The Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (Baroness Royall of Blaisdon): In addition to compliance notices issued to three NHS trusts in December 2009, the Equality and Human Rights Commission is currently
1 Feb 2010 : Column WA10
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon on 15 December 2009 (WA 213), whether commissioners are recorded in the minute as objecting to the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission's proposed work to secure legislative implementation of its advice on a bill of rights for Northern Ireland, and the seeking of outside funding to do so. [HL1332]
Baroness Royall of Blaisdon: The content of internal minutes is an operational matter for the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission, which operates independently of government. The noble Lord may wish to write to the commission directly on these matters.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of how Ofcom is fulfilling its statutory duty to promote equality of opportunity in relation to employment of those providing television and radio services. [HL1487]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures are sufficient to meet the requirement in the Communications Act 2003 for Ofcom to "take all such steps as they consider appropriate for promoting equality of opportunity". [HL1489]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what facilities for athletes' residential accommodation at the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games will be removed from such accommodation after the Games; and what is the cost of such facilities. [HL1297]
Lord Davies of Oldham: The Olympic village has been designed from the outset to provide both accommodation for the athletes during Games time, and, after the Games, homes for a new sustainable community which will be at the heart of a vibrant economic and social hub in east London. Temporary partitions and bathroom facilities will be installed for the duration of the Games, and will be removed as part of the transition to permanent housing. These elements are provided for in the overall budget for the Olympic village. Commercial confidentiality prevents disclosure of budget amounts until the subcontracts have been let.
Temporary facilities for athletes and officials at Games time are part of the Games overlay, which is the responsibility of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. This includes common facilities for athletes-such as dining areas, and faith facilities. LOCOG is in the process of working up these plans with its Athletes Commission. LOCOG is a company limited by guarantee, and the cost of the overlay will be met out of its budget-primarily privately financed from sponsorship, ticket sales, merchandise and broadcast rights.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will advise local authorities that, when 26 December or 1 January falls on a Saturday, parking restrictions should be enforced as if the day in question is a public holiday. [HL1448]
The Secretary of State for Transport (Lord Adonis): No. Local authorities' traffic regulation orders will indicate when parking restrictions are enforceable. Where they are enforceable, it is for individual authorities to determine how and when to enforce them, and to inform drivers effectively.
To ask Her Majesty's Government with reference to a letter dated 30 November 2009 from the Minister of State at the Department for Transport, Sadiq Khan, to Karen Buck, whether they will discuss with the Local Government Ombudsman the Minister's statement that "the department is not aware of any regulations that remove the powers of the Local Government Ombudsman [to investigate the enforcement of parking and moving traffic contraventions in London"; and whether the Local Government Ombudsman is able to investigate such matters. [HL1449]
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