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To ask Her Majesty's Government how many abortions were performed under the Abortion Act 1967 in each of the past 15 years, broken down by (a) grounds for abortion, (b) length of gestation, and (c) health authority in England and Wales, where the unborn child was suffering from (1) cleft palate, and (2) cleft lip.[HL734]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The answer we can provide is shown in the following table. The data cannot be broken down by further gestation or health authority for confidentiality reasons. This approach is in line with the Office for National Statistics guidance on the disclosure of abortion statistics (2005).
|Total cleft lip and/or palate|
|All gestations||24+ weeks|
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many abortions were performed in each of the last three years for which figures are available in (a) England, and (b) Wales; how many were performed in National Health Service hospitals; and how many in private hospitals.[HL735]
|Abortions for England and Wales, by purchaser, 2007-09|
|NHS Funded: NHS Hospital||NHS Funded: Independent Sector||Privately Funded||Total|
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the cost to the National Health Service of the provision of abortions in (a) NHS hospitals, and (b) approved independent sector places, in (1) 2009, and (2) 2010 to date; and what are the names of those approved independent sector places.[HL736]
Earl Howe: The cost to the National Health Service of abortions performed in NHS hospitals in 2008-09 was £82.1 million. The NHS funds abortions undertaken by approved independent sector places under contract to individual primary care trusts. Information on these contracts is commercially sensitive and is not collected centrally.
Names of approved independent sector places can be found at the following link at: http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/20100304031504/http://www.dh.gov.uk/en/Publichealth/Healthimprovement/Sexualhealth/Sexualhealthgeneralinformation/DH_4063859.
Earl Howe: Reducing the number of abortions is very important. In 2009, the number of abortions fell by 3 per cent from 195,296 in 2008 to 189,100. The Government want to build on this progress by giving women the information and advice they need to make responsible choices.
Contraception is free for everyone on the National Health Service and is supplied by general practitioners and family planning clinics. There are a number of different contraceptive methods, with a method to suit everyone's individual needs. Methods available include long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) the contraceptive implant, which can provide effective contraception for three years, and the intrauterine system, which provides effective contraception for up to five years. Since 1 April 2009, any woman having an
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Access to reliable contraceptive methods should be readily available to reduce teenage conception, abortion and repeat abortion rates, particularly in areas where teenage pregnancy rates are high. Reducing unintended conceptions is an important issue and we shall be considering further how best to tackle it.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many abortions were performed under the Abortion Act 1967 from April 1968 to the latest date for which figures are available; and, of those, how many were performed to save the life of the mother.[HL739]
Earl Howe: The number of abortions performed in England and Wales on residents of England and Wales in the years 1968 to 2009, is 6.1 million. Of these, 24,100 (0.4 per cent) were performed under Section 1(1)(c) and Section 1(4) of the Abortion Act 1967. These are cases where the continuance of the pregnancy would involve risk to the life of the pregnant woman, greater than if the pregnancy were terminated, or where the termination is immediately necessary to save the life or to prevent grave permanent injury to the physical or mental health of the pregnant woman.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have carried out an equality impact assessment looking at the gender, ethnicity, disability and attainment implications of the Academies Bill and its focus on outstanding schools; and, if not, whether they will do so and publish the results prior to the Third Reading of the Bill in the House of Lords.[HL718]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The equalities impact assessment has been published on the department's website at: http://www.education.gov.uk/~/media/Files/lacuna/academiesbillequia.ashx.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will alter air passenger duty so that passengers flying to the West Indies will not have to pay more than those flying to more distant destinations such as the Pacific coast of Canada and the United States.[HL935]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Budget announced that the Government will explore changes to the aviation tax system, including switching from a per-passenger to a per-plane duty, which could encourage fuller planes. Major changes will be subject to consultation.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government will set out more detail on the Financial Policy Committee (FPC), including its interaction with the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), in a consultation document to be published before the Summer Recess. The Government have no plans to change the composition of the MPC, and it will continue to be chaired by the Governor of the Bank of England. The Governor of the Bank of England will also chair the FPC.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effects of a unilateral levy on British banks on their competition for business with banks based elsewhere; and whether they anticipate the cost of the levy being passed on to bank customers through lower deposit rates or higher loan costs.[HL565]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The rate of the UK bank levy has been set taking account of current circumstances and the competitive position of the UK. The Government are encouraging wider adoption of levies, reflected in the joint statement on a bank balance sheet levy by the UK, German and French Governments on 22 June.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether British banks operating in the United States will be subject to United States and United Kingdom bank levies on some or all of the same liabilities; what assessment they have made of the impact of such double taxation on banks; and whether they plan to seek an agreement with the United States authorities that levies paid by British banks in the United Kingdom can be offset against United States levies which would otherwise be due and visa versa.[HL813]
Lord Sassoon: The UK will consider the appropriate double taxation treatment with the relevant authorities of any foreign jurisdiction that introduces a comparable levy on banks or banking groups, which are subject to the bank levy announced by the Chancellor in the Budget on 22 June.
To ask Her Majesty's Government , further to the Written Answer by Baroness Wilcox on 24 June (WA 201-2), whether the Code of Practice of the Commissioner for Public Appointments was followed in making appointments to the Independent Commission on Banking.[HL854]
Lord Sassoon: The UK is represented by the Bank of England and the Financial Services Authority on the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision. The committee put out proposals for consultation last December which included a proposed net stable funding ratio as a regulatory standard for liquidity risk. The G20 leaders summit in Toronto reaffirmed the need to strengthen liquidity standards. Given the ongoing nature of negotiations, however, it is not appropriate to comment on specific measures at this stage.
Lord Sassoon: The special liquidity scheme (SLS) is a Bank of England scheme. In its 2009-10 annual report the Bank of England reported that, as at
6 July 2010 : Column WA36
HM Treasury does not disclose any information detailing the use of the credit guarantee scheme by individual institutions. As at 24 March 2010, total outstanding issuance under the scheme stood at £125 billion. Further information relating to the scheme can be found on the Debt Management Office's website at: http://www.dmo.gov.uk/index.aspx?page=CGS/CGSIntro.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Set out below is an extract from table 13a (page 207) of HM Treasury's resource accounts for 2008-09 (HC611) that shows the amounts loaned to the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) in order to pay compensation to Icesave retail depositors. All figures are in £000
As set out in note 36.1 of the accounts (page 248), of the £3.4 billion loan provided by the Treasury about £2.3 billion is the liability of the Icelandic authorities (in accordance with the EU deposit guarantee scheme directive) for payouts up to €20,887 (£16,500) per depositor. The remaining £1.1 billion is the liability of the FSCS for amounts between €20,887 (£16,500) and £50,000. As shown in the table above, no provision for impairments was made in the 2008-09 accounting period for either the loan to the Icelandic authorities or that to the FSCS. Details for the financial year 2009-10 will be published in HM Treasury's resource accounts for 2009-10.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Home Office is not consulted about who should be included on the BBC's Crimewatch programme's wanted list. This is an operational matter for the police. The BBC has confirmed that the list is compiled from information received from police forces across the UK. The Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) of England, Wales and Northern Ireland has advised that there are strict processes in place to ensure that the correct information is broadcast and that last-minute amendments can be made where necessary.
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the State of the nation report: poverty, worklessness and welfare dependency in the UK includes a bullet point about disability living allowance (DLA) under the heading "There is a high degree of persistence among claimants of many low-income and out-of-work benefits" when DLA is not an out-of-work benefit.[HL821]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): Disability living allowance is payable both in and out of work, although only around 17 per cent of disability living allowance claimants of working age are in work compared to around 47 per cent of the working age disabled population. Disability living allowance is consequently paid to a significant number of people who are out of work. The Chancellor announced in the Budget that from 2013-14 we will introduce a new objective assessment of people's needs to ensure that the support provided through DLA is targeted at those most in need.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (a) members of the Armed Forces, including the Ulster Defence Regiment and the Royal Ulster Constabulary, and (b) civilians, were killed by terrorists in the six months preceding Bloody Sunday in 1972.[HL423]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the effect on levels of crime of the measures in the budget that affect residents in deprived and disadvantaged areas; and whether any action is proposed.[HL761]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): Action to tackle the dire state of the public finances is the most urgent priority for the new Government and the Budget will be followed by the spending review in October in setting out how this will be achieved. Empowering the police and local communities to tackle crime is a key priority for the coalition Government and we will set out our approach in due course, including our plans to introduce directly elected individuals to enable the public to hold the police to account.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): National Grid's most recent Ten Year Statement identifies 22 commercial projects for increased gas storage capacity:http://www.nationalgrid.com/NR/rdonlyres/E60C7955-5495-4A8A-8E80-8BB4002F602F/38866/TenYearStatement2009.pdf.
The most important way in which the Government can help these to progress is by maintaining an effective and fully fit-for-purpose market-based framework for ensuring security of gas supply, including investment in gas supply infrastructure. As foreshadowed in the coalition agreement, the Government are considering what further measures they should take towards this end. The Government's commitment to a rapid, predictable and accountable planning system for major infrastructure is demonstrated by the Written Ministerial Statement about planning reform by my right honourable friend the Minister of State for Communities and Local Government (Official Report, 29 June, col. 34WS-36WS).
To ask Her Majesty's Government what stance they will take on the proposal of the European Commission to introduce a bond levy on member states which break the debt rules under the stability and growth pact when it is discussed on 12 July at the Economic and Financial Affairs Council.[HL841]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Commission's communication of 30 June sets out its proposals for sanctions to be applied for non-compliance with the stability and growth pact. These proposals will be discussed on 11 July at the meeting of the EU Economic Task Force and on 12 July at the Economic and Financial Affairs Council.
As the UK has an opt-out from euro membership, and by virtue of the provisions relating to the stability and growth pact in our protocol to the treaty. no sanctions can be applied to the UK under the current treaty framework.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Government will apply the principle of proportionality in the transposition of European Union legislation by ending the so-called "gold-plating" of EU rules, so that British businesses are not disadvantaged relative to their European competitors.
The Government will also ensure that the principle of proportionality is applied in the enforcement of legislation by ending the culture of tick-box regulation, and instead target inspections on high-risk organisations through co-regulation and improving professional standards.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will produce information packs in European languages about life in the United Kingdom, to be made available to prospective migrant workers in the European Union.[HL615]
To ask Her Majesty's Government , further to the remarks by Lord Strathclyde on 21 June regarding European Union scrutiny of the United Kingdom budget (Official Report, col. 1202), what is their response to the statement by the President of the European Commission that "Member states have accepted ... to give the European institutions very important powers regarding surveillance, and a much stricter control over public finances".[HL732]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Prime Minister and the Chancellor have made it very clear at meetings of the European Council and the EU Economic Task Force that the UK will not submit its budget to the EU before it has been approved by Parliament, as is the established policy.
6 July 2010 : Column WA40
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The total cost of the Euro Preparations Unit is difficult to ascertain, since much of the expenditure has been grouped within other departmental costs in the past. However, it is estimated that since 2002 the Treasury had spent over £4.8 million on EMU policy and euro preparations.
The Chancellor announced at the recent emergency Budget that all work on euro preparations within government will cease with immediate effect, and the staff member working on euro preparations within Treasury is being redeployed to other policy areas.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Financial Services Authority takes an interest in private equity funds placing different valuations on an investment in the same securities of a company.[HL873]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The information requested falls within the responsibility of the Financial Services Authority (FSA), which is independent from Government. The noble Lord's inquiry has been passed to the FSA, which will write directly to him on this subject.
To ask Her Majesty's Government for each department, in July to December 2009, (a) on how many occasions the scrutiny reserve resolution of the House of Lords was overridden, (b) on how many occasions the scrutiny reserve resolution of the House of Commons was overridden, and (c) in respect of how many documents an override occurred in both Houses or either House.[HL754]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): This Government attach great importance to allowing Parliament to be able to scrutinise EU business. Getting the scrutiny system right is a top priority for us.
There were a total of five instruments which Ministers supported before one or both of our parliamentary EU committees had completed their scrutiny. The table below provides information on how many of these 35 instruments were scrutiny overrides in each House with the departments shown as leading on these instruments.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the remuneration arrangements for the chairman and members of the Independent Commission on Banking; and how many days per week they are contracted to work.[HL876]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The commission will have its own secretariat and such resources as are necessary to complete its task. Contracts are in the process of being finalised.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills requested, or was provided with evidence of, the educational qualifications, training and experience in electronics, communications and transmission systems relating to broadband technology and its delivery of Adrian Wooster, Chief Technical Officer of Community Broadband Network Ltd and Independent Networks Co-operative Association Ltd; if so, when; what checks they carried out into his statement of previous positions held and his education; and when they carried out those checks.[HL819]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has not requested, nor been provided with, this information.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Concluding the World Trade Organisation's Doha round is a high priority for the UK Government. At the G20 summit in Toronto, my right honourable friend the Prime Minister led a discussion on the importance of concluding the round. G20 leaders directed their representatives, using all negotiating avenues, to pursue this objective, and to report on progress at the G20 summit in Seoul in November, where leaders will discuss the status of the negotiations and the way forward. We will continue to work with the G20, the EU and other international partners to secure an ambitious deal as soon as possible.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will consult Chagossians and the Government of Mauritius about implementing the British Indian Ocean Territory marine protected area, designated on 1 April.[HL916]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Chagossian communities were consulted during the public consultation into whether to establish a marine protected area in British Indian Ocean Territory; and we also spoke to the Government of Mauritius about the proposal in advance.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what bureaucracy the Secretary of State for Education, Michael Gove, was referring to in his letter of 26 May to headteachers of schools rated outstanding by Ofsted in the sentence "All schools acquiring these freedoms will be liberated from the bureaucracy which was attached to Academies from 2007", other than the matters covered in the preceding bullet points.[HL369]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): We believe in trusting professionals and will therefore give academies the freedom to deliver an excellent education in the way they see fit, within a broad framework where they are clearly accountable for the outcomes they deliver.
Generally, since 2007, the approach adopted towards academies has been more prescriptive. The Government are keen to adopt an approach more in line with that adopted by the previous Government until 2007.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take to reform the United Kingdom's corporation tax structure in order to attract businesses which have left the United Kingdom to avoid a tax on overseas profits.[HL896]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government's aim is to create the most competitive corporate tax system in the G20. The Chancellor announced in the emergency Budget on
6 July 2010 : Column WA44
The roadmap also includes reforms to the Controlled Foreign Company (CFC) rules, a key priority for UK multinationals. New CFC rules will be legislated in spring 2012 allowing time to consider carefully how to make the rules more competitive, to enhance long-term stability and to provide adequate protection of the UK tax base. Consultation will take place over the summer on interim improvements, to be legislated in spring 2011, to make the current rules easier to operate and where possible increase competitiveness.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): No assessment has been made of the impact of the VAT rise on individuals earning under £6,475. As individuals within households can pool their incomes together, any analysis at individual level can be misleading. Analysis published in the June Budget shows the impact of indirect tax measures to be in place in 2012-13 compared with those in place today across the household income distribution. This shows that households in the bottom income decile will face an increase in indirect tax of around £190 per year on average (an increase of around 1.5 per cent of household net income).
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The UK continues to call on Turkey to abide by its obligations under the EU accession process, including on respect for human rights. The EU report on Turkey published in October 2009 highlighted this issue and called for concrete measures to be taken. We support the EU position.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government will set out more detail on their proposals for reforming financial regulatory institutions, in a consultation document to be published before the Summer Recess.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proposals they have to alter the availability of visas for students
6 July 2010 : Column WA46
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The coalition'sprogramme for Government included a commitment to prevent abuse of the student route and the Home Secretary has said that she will be reviewing non-economic immigration routes and will be bringing forward further proposals for parliamentary consideration. This will include detailed consideration of the student routes; the Government intend to bring forward proposals on these routes before the end of 2010.
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