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To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there has been an increase in cross-Channel imports of alcohol and tobacco as a result of the weakening of the euro against the pound; and what impact any such increase will have on retail outlets in the United Kingdom.[HL928]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): There is limited evidence for alcohol and no evidence for tobacco of an increase in commercial cross-Channel importation over the period January 2009 to April 2010. Trade statistics on alcohol and tobacco are published at www.uktradeinfo.com.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what payments were made to the Government of Germany in each of the past five years for (a) the use of military bases by United Kingdom military and civilian personnel, and (b) the provision of accommodation for military and civilian personnel and their families. [HL801]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): No payments were made to the German Government for the provision of land or accommodation within British Forces Germany (BFG). BFG is provided with federal land and property by the German Government free of rental or leasing charges.
However, there is a public charge which is paid to the German federal authorities to cover costs arising from our usage of the federal estate. In financial year 2009-10 this was approximately €3.5 million across the four BFG garrisons.
To ask Her Majesty's Government , further to the Written Answer by Lord Astor of Hever on 5 July (HL802), why the Ministry of Defence does not maintain records of the number of personnel stationed in Germany; and where such information is available.[HL1028]
Lord Astor of Hever: We do maintain records of the number of personnel stationed in Germany and publish them each year. Statistics for the number of personnel stationed in Germany can be found in the United Kingdom Defence Statistics which is available online at www.dasa.mod.uk. The costs associated with these personnel, however, are not held centrally.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will consider returning the bodies of military personnel killed in Afghanistan to locations other than RAF Lyneham to enable families, friends and communities from across the United Kingdom to be present more easily to honour their return.[HL987]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Ministry of Defence (Lord Astor of Hever): When considering the repatriation of our fallen servicemen and women we have to take into account that only a limited number of military airfields are capable of handling the C17 aircraft that are used for this purpose. A further constraint on the choice of airfield is the practice of conducting post mortems for all military fatalities from operations at the John Radcliffe Hospital, Oxford. For these reasons, RAF Lyneham remains the most appropriate airfield for repatriations.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will investigate claims by Professor Keith Shine of Reading University that aircraft fumes may form clouds which deprive areas under flight paths of sunshine during the summer.[HL906]
Earl Attlee: The Government are aware of emerging scientific evidence that contrails can lead to contrail cirrus and are currently funding research to provide evidence, technical modelling and scientific expertise covering areas of climate change and air quality in aviation. This includes the non CO2 climate effects of aviation to which contrails and contrail cirrus will likely have a major role. Professor Shine works closely with Professor Lee who is conducting this research.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government believe that it will be necessary to have suitable alternatives in place for all users of cheques before the system can be phased out. This is particularly important for those who are dependent on cheques-like the elderly, small businesses and charities.
The decision on whether to close the cheque clearing system will not be taken until 2016. Before a decision can be taken, it will be necessary for the banks to develop and implement a strategy to make users aware of alternative payment methods, and to help them to switch to the alternatives. The payments council will report on this, and the Government are monitoring progress.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they support the European Union's stress tests on European banks to identify the actions required to maintain confidence in the banking system; whether such stress tests will extend beyond the largest banks in Europe and be based upon published assumptions, including probability of default expectations and loss in event of default expectations for significant identified sovereign credits; and whether they will detail assumptions made about the availability and terms of central bank support, including collateral requirements.[HL707]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government have been leading calls for stress-testing and strongly support the action being taken. As set out in the European Council statement of 17 June, further details of the EU-wide stress-testing exercise are scheduled to be published no later than the second half of July.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in view of the United Kingdom's expenditure on the study of earthquakes around the world, they intend to sign a country adhesion agreement signifying their readiness to join the Global Earthquake Model being promoted by the GEM Foundation.[HL891]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) has held discussions with the Secretary General of the Global Earthquake Model (GEM) Foundation, and, as a result, expects to sign a country adhesion agreement for GEM's Phase One 2009-2013 in due course.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord McNally on 22 June (WA 166), what is their estimate of the additional cost of holding the referendum on the alternative voting system (a) in Scotland, and (b) in Wales, on a date in 2011 other than 5 May.[HL766]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): A referendum involves differing cost elements from other polls. Figures for conduct elements of the referendum will need to be estimated based on our existing model used for the 2009 European and 2010 general elections. However, we would expect the costs for a referendum to differ from those of an election in a number of ways. For example, we would expect ballot papers for a referendum to be shorter than at an election, and therefore be cheaper to print. Turnout figures may also differ, affecting the amount of time it takes to count ballot papers and the fee paid to counting staff: turnout figures for a national referendum are difficult to estimate. As indicated in the Written Answer of 22 June (WA166), we would expect that combining the referendum with other elections would allow certain fixed costs to be reduced; for example, by using the same polling stations. As the Deputy Prime Minister indicated in his Statement to the House of Commons on 5 July 2010,
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Earl Howe on 23 June (WA 182-3 and 184), why the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has not permitted embryos or gametes provided by patients for a particular research project to be used in separate research; how the HFEA ensures that does not take place when it is not required to hold information about the use of eggs in research; and whether they propose any legislation on the matter.[HL822]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Howe on 23 June (WA 184), what information is held by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority regarding the generation of 278 cybrid embryos after which work was discontinued, as reported in the Independent on 13 January 2009 and 5 October 2009; and what was the total recorded number of non-human eggs used in such attempts.[HL823]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Thornton on 19 January (WA 225), when the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority ceased to hold raw data regarding the number of eggs collected per patient and the percentage of eggs used to create embryos used in treatment, cryopreserved or donated to research.[HL824]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) has advised that there is nothing to add to my Written Answer of 23 June 2010 (Official Report, col. WA 182-3). The Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990, as amended, requires the HFEA to be satisfied that the proposed research project is necessary or desirable for the purposes specified in the Act, that the use of embryos is necessary and that consent for the purposes of research has been obtained. No legislation is proposed on this matter.
The HFEA has advised that it holds no information regarding what was reported in the Independent. The authority has also advised that it continues to hold the data referred to in the noble Lord's Question.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The provisions in the Equality Act will come into force at different times to allow time for the people and organisations affected by the new laws to prepare for them. The first wave of implementation will go ahead to the planned October timetable following the publication of the first commencement order in Parliament this week. This will pave the way for much-needed simplification of discrimination law and the implementation of landmark provisions to protect disabled people from discrimination and to tackle the gender pay gap.
The Government have made clear that a key priority as we support economic recovery is to remove unnecessary burdens on business. By simplifying discrimination law, the Equality Act is an important part of our efforts to deliver on this commitment. The Government are looking at how the rest of the Act can be implemented in the best way for business and will make an announcement in due course.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): At the request of the South African Government and in accordance with a binational memorandum of understanding (MoU), the Home Secretary deployed a policing delegation of 12 persons to support and advise the host authorities in policing England football fans in venue cities and to undertake a range of intelligence, uniformed liaison and media liaison duties. The size of the delegation was greatly reduced from that sent to previous tournaments in the light of the lower level of (public order) risk and the projected profile and behaviour of the visiting England support.
In accordance with the MoU, the South African authorities met the police delegation's accommodation, internal travel and meals costs. Costs falling on the UK Government, covering flights to and from South Africa, subsistence payments and ad hoc additional costs, amount to £59,236.89 to date. Pay costs of the officers concerned are borne by their host police authority, though claims for any overtime incurred whilst in South Africa will be submitted to the Home Office for consideration.
As Director General for the Office for National Statistics, I have been asked to reply to your recent Parliamentary Question concerning how many persons are employed by Government and Government-funded quangos in (a) England. (b) Scotland, and (c) Wales. (HL930.)
Estimates of public sector employment for England, Wales and Scotland are published as part of the ONS quarterly Public Sector Employment statistical bulletin (Annexe A). The public sector comprises central government, local government and public corporations as defined for the UK National Accounts.
|Public Sector Employment Q1 20101|
|Headcount (thousands) not seasonally adjusted|
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department encourages people to enjoy the sun sensibly and safely. SunSmart, is the national skin cancer prevention campaign, run by Cancer Research UK and funded by the department. The SunSmart website includes information on vitamin D which is important for bone health. Further information about the campaign is available on the SunSmart website at: http://www. sunsmart.org.uk.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): Grant funding to Sarsen Housing Association to provide 20 affordable homes was provided through the Home and Communities Agency's (HCA) National Affordable Housing Programme.
Funding was made available through a competitive bidding basis where bids were assessed against four main criteria, value for money-in terms of total public subsidy per home and per person housed-design and quality standards, deliverability and local and regional priorities.
Baroness Hanham: (a) On 10 July we announced that we would not be proceeding with the previous Government's proposals to impose further regulation on the private rented sector. This will ensure that the sector is free to grow in response to market conditions.
(b) The Government are committed to helping those who aspire to own their own home to do so. Freeing up lending for first-time buyers and others depends above all on the return to economic and financial stability which the Government are seeking to achieve. The Government's programme of debt reduction and commitment to abolish the structural deficit in the life of this Parliament will help to keep interest rates low and improve credit availability.
The coalition programme for government set out our commitment to promoting shared ownership schemes, which allow first time buyers on modest incomes to purchase a home. We will also be reviewing the low cost home ownership (HomeBuy) programme as a whole in the context of the comprehensive spending review.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will place in the Library of the House a breakdown of each payment made to Independent Networks Cooperative Association to comply with the terms of the grant offer letter of 17 December 2009 by the Director of Communications, Content Industries Directorate, and the Head of Broadband Policy and Programmes at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.[HL949]
To ask Her Majesty's Government on what dates they requested and obtained copies of the terms of business and contractual liabilities of Community Broadband Network Ltd and Independent Networks Cooperative Association Ltd included in reports they and Directors of the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills produced.[HL981]
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 (col. WA 46-47), 10 June (col. WA 55), 15 June (col. WA 104), 15 June (col. WA 104), 15 June (col. 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).
To ask Her Majesty's Government what contracts have been awarded for the delivery of broadband technology, Next Generation Access and a Universal Service Commitment for (a) feasibility studies, (b) pilot projects, and (c) projects which are part or fully funded with European aid; in which contracts Community Broadband Network Ltd, Independent Networks Cooperative Association, Independent Networks Co-operative Association Ltd or their founding names, directors or officers participated as assessors of Government agency, commercial or other schemes in each of the last three years; how much was paid to them; and on what dates.[HL866]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills does not know of any contracts that meet that description.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the formula revenue grant from government to each principal local authority in England this year; and what proportion that is of each authority's total revenue budget.[HL806]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): A table providing the information requested has been deposited in the Library of the House.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answers by Baroness Royall of Blaisdon on 16 March (WA 168) and 8 April (WA 146), how much of the extra £800 million was transferred to Northern Ireland after the devolution of policing and justice and before 6 May; how it is being utilised; how the remainder will be transferred; for what purpose; and what is the overall plan for the £800 million.[HL678]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: Following the devolution of policing and justice powers to the Northern Ireland Assembly on 12 April 2010, an additional £800 million of funding was made available to the devolved Administration to ensure that the new Northern Ireland Department of Justice would have a secure financial foundation. The terms of the funding were set out in the former Prime Minister's letter of 21 October 2009, the text of which was included in the agreement reached at Hillsborough Castle on 5 February. The overall spending plan for this funding is a matter for the Northern Ireland Administration.
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The Legal Services Commission (LSC) is working closely with the administrator and others to ensure that urgent arrangements are made so that clients continue to receive the advice they need. The LSC has experience of handling the transfer of work when a provider leaves the market and is satisfied that there is adequate capacity to absorb the extra workload. Although some initial disruption is unfortunately inevitable, every effort will be made to minimise this. The LSC is making urgent arrangements for other providers to take on RMJ cases that require prompt advice; for example, clients held in detention.
Lord McNally: Where any provider ceases to have a legal aid contract for whatever reason, the LSC will make an assessment of any potential financial issues in the individual circumstances. This will include payments on account made, claims to be billed and whether, for example, the provider will be continuing to conclude cases for existing clients.
The LSC is working closely with the administrators and others to ensure that urgent arrangements are made so that clients continue to receive a good quality service and that cases are transferred to other providers where necessary. The LSC has agreed payment of £280,000 for the work to transfer RMJ clients' files. The LSC is also working with the administrators to confirm the correct payments to be made to RMJ. This assessment will take several weeks to be concluded. In the mean time, they have agreed an advance payment of £70,000 against any payment for work in progress, plus a contingency of £20,000 for this work.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they intend to commence their review of the taxation of non-United Kingdom domiciled individuals; when the outcome of that review will be published; and whether the review will be open to public consultation.[HL908]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the cost to public funds of the purchase and installation of 169 automatic number-plate recognition cameras in the Washwood Heath, Sparkbrook, Moseley and Kings Heath areas of Birmingham as part of a counterterrorism initiative.[HL675]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many of the lorries stopped at Dalar Hir (near Holyhead) in 2009 travelling west to Holyhead or east from Holyhead were inspected; how many failed the inspection; and from which countries they came.[HL860]
|Roadworthiness Encounters||Traffic Encounters|
|Country_Name||Encounters||Prohibitions||Total Traffic Encounters||Driver Hours Prohibitions||Weighing Encounters||Overloading Prohibitions|
Roadworthiness encounters are those which inspect the mechanics of the vehicle whilst a traffic encounter is non-technical and will check that the driver is complying with road rules and the vehicle has not been overloaded.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The June Budget set the overall path for the public finances to 2015-16. Departmental allocations will be set at the spending review to be published on 20 October 2010, covering the four-year period from April 2011 to March 2015. The approach to the spending review was set out in the June 2010 framework document,
8 July 2010 : Column WA78
As set out in the framework document, the Government are keen to explore through the review whether there are opportunities better to deliver services by involving non-state providers and citizens, either wholly or in partnership.
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