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24 Jun 2010 : Column WA201



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Written Answers

Thursday 24 June 2010

Air Quality

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Chesterton

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The Government take their air quality obligations very seriously and are working towards full compliance with European air quality standards. The UK is projected to meet particulate matter or PM10 limits, including in the very few locations in London that are over the limit value, and move to full compliance by 2011 (in time for the Olympics). Much of the UK, outside major urban areas, already meets the EU air quality limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2), but, along with many other European countries, faces a challenge on achieving this in large urban areas such as London.

The UK Government intend to apply for additional time to meet the NO2 limit value by 2015 and will be putting forward plans for this in 2011. The Mayor of London is responsible for air quality in the capital and we are working with him and the Greater London Authority to ensure London has effective measures to meet the NO2 limits in the shortest time possible.

Banking

Questions

Asked by Lord Myners

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Chancellor of the Exchequer and the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills are committed to the coalition agreement pledge to take steps to reduce systemic risk in the banking system, foster diversity in financial services, promote mutuals and create a more competitive banking industry. The independent banking commission forms part of this agenda.

The remit of the commission is outlined in the commission's terms of reference, which are a matter of public record. The Chancellor announced the membership of the commission on 16 June. All appointments are being made in line with proper procedures. The Government are satisfied that there are no conflicts of interest that will prevent the commissioners from carrying out their duties effectively. Proper arrangements for handling such future conflicts of interest that may arise will be put in place. Details of the Secretariat and other functions are still being considered.

As an independent commission, it will be at the commissioners' discretion to consider representations or evidence received on any relevant topic, and to decide the nature of any meetings.

Broadband Delivery UK

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Broadband Delivery UK (BDUK) was set up on 1 April 2010 within the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS). It is led by chief executive Adrian Kamellard who reports to a BIS senior civil servant. Other current members of BDUK are:

four civil servants on loan from Her Majesty's Treasury (2.6 full-time equivalent-FTE);one civil servant from BIS (1 FTE);three private sector secondees (all 0.6 FTE) from Pinsent Masons LLP;Analysys Mason Ltd and Predictable Network Solutions Ltd;an official (0.4 FTE) from a regional development agency (Yorkshire Forward); andone full-time agency staff member.

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Community Broadband Network Ltd

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The information requested is not readily available and could only be obtained at disproportionate cost.

Credit Industry Fraud Avoidance System

Question

Asked by Lord Avebury

The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): Two representations concerning the proposal that the UK Border Agency share data with the credit industry fraud avoidance system (CIFAS) have been received and are currently under consideration. I will arrange for the UK Border Agency's replies to be placed in the House Library in due course.

Disabled People: Work Capability Assessments

Question

Asked by Baroness Thomas of Winchester

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The purpose of the department-led review of the work capability assessment was to establish whether the work capability assessment is achieving its aim of

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correctly identifying an individual's capability for work, and to consider how it can better account for an individual's adaptation to their condition, enabling a more accurate assessment of their functional capability for work. The report was published on 29 March and made a number of recommendations for developing the work capability assessment. We are currently considering these recommendations.

The Government also have a statutory commitment to an independent review of the operation of the work capability assessment annually for the first five years. We are in the process of commissioning this review and aim for it to report before the end of the year.

Employment: Work Programme

Questions

Asked by Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): One of the key areas we will evaluate in determining who is asked to deliver the work programme will be on bidding organisations' track record on successfully developing and managing supply chains. We are clear that there will be a role for medium providers in the delivery of the work programme.

Asked by Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope

Lord Freud: One of the key areas we will evaluate in determining who is asked to deliver the work programme will be on bidding organisations' track record on successfully developing and managing supply chains. We are clear that there will be a role for small voluntary providers in the delivery of the work programme.

Energy: Nuclear Power

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): Statutory regulation of the nuclear energy sector is currently the responsibility of a range of bodies. The Government attach great importance to the ongoing effective regulation of the nuclear energy sector and are currently considering future arrangements.



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Government Departments: Expenditure Cuts

Question

Asked by Lord Barnett

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): It will be for departments to determine the exact workforce implications in line with their overall budget reductions.

By acting now, we have reduced the risk of adverse market conditions, which would mean higher interest rates for all, stifle recovery and make the challenges ahead even harder. The Government also expect jobs to be created in the private sector as a consequence of the action we are taking to hold interest rates down.

The Government are committed to protecting jobs and supporting job creation: the policies upon which the coalition has agreed will support workers and firms through the economic recovery.

Health: Drugs

Question

Asked by The Earl of Sandwich

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Medical Research Council does not routinely publish results of grant-funded studies: the dissemination of research findings is a task undertaken by grant-holders through publication in peer-reviewed journals. It is the responsibility of the relevant grant holders to publish summaries or reports of the eight grant-funded and seven intramural scientific studies on benzodiazepines, or the five further studies carried out after 1996.

House of Lords: Chamber

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon



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The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The Administration and Works Committee is due to consider overcrowding in the Chamber at its next meeting, on Tuesday 29 June. The discussion will encompass the two ideas mentioned by the noble Lord.

House of Lords: Reform

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Government believe that the basic relationship between the two Houses, as set out in the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1949, should continue when the House of Lords is reformed.

Independent Networks Co-operative Association

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): I have nothing further to add to previous Answers on this subject, provided at Hansard 9 June cols. WA46-47, 10 June col. WA55, 15 June col. WA 104, 15 June col. WA104, 15 June cols. WA 103-04, 15 June col. WA 105, 15 June col. WA 105, 15 June col. WA 104, 15 June col. WA 103, 15 June col. WA 103 and 16 June col. WA 119.



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Asked by Lord Laird

Baroness Wilcox: A note of the meeting has been provided to a member of the public and all those who attended the meeting, having been the subject of a Freedom of Information request. Additionally, the note will shortly be available at: www.bis.gov.uk/site/foi/information-released.

It was not passed to the Permanent Secretary.

Natural England

Question

Asked by Lord Marlesford

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The Queen's Speech announced the Government's intention to bring forward a Bill to reform public bodies. Defra, along with other sponsor departments, is carrying out a critical examination of the number and cost of its arm's-length bodies. Natural England is being considered as part of that review.

NHS: Dentistry

Questions

Asked by Lord Colwyn

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The General Dental Council (GDC) protects the public by regulating the dental team. The GDC registers appropriately qualified dental professionals, sets standards of dental practice and conduct and assesses the quality of dental education.

The Medicines and Health products Regulatory Agency is responsible for the regulation of medicines, medical devices and equipment used in healthcare including enforcement of the medical devices directive.



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The Health and Safety Executive protects people against risks to health or safety arising out of work activities by enforcing legislation including the Ionising Radiations Regulations and the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health Regulations.


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