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13 July 2010 : Column WA115



13 July 2010 : Column WA115

Written Answers

Tuesday 13 July 2010

Building Societies: Bonuses

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): In general, salaries and bonuses paid at building societies are a matter for the society and its members. However, as part of the work being undertaken to reform the financial services sector, the Government will take action to tackle unacceptable bonuses. The Financial Services Authority (FSA) has issued a remuneration code of practice. This lays out detailed principles that require the largest banks, building societies and broker dealers in the UK to establish remuneration policies that are consistent with effective risk management. In enforcing its code, the FSA can request information from firms in order to determine if remuneration policies are consistent with effective risk management.

Buses: Dogs

Question

Asked by Lord Monson

Earl Attlee: A bus driver, inspector or conductor has the right in law to ask any passenger to remove from the bus any animal that they have with them. The driver does not need to supply a reason.

This rule does not, however, apply to assistance dogs, guide dogs or hearing dogs accompanying disabled passengers.

Children: Care

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): Local authorities have a range of duties to support looked-after children

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so they are effectively safeguarded. The local authority's care plan for a looked-after child thought to have previously been trafficked should specify how the authority will support the child to protect them from traffickers and include contingency procedures to be followed if the young person goes missing. Statutory guidance on children who run away and go missing from home and care was issued on 1 July 2009. This sets out how local authorities should respond whenever a looked-after child is missing from their care placement and provides details about the issues that a local authority should consider in caring for children who may have been trafficked.

Civil Service: Honours

Question

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: It has not been the practice to award honours automatically to civil servants on their retirement and the Government have no plans to change this.

Commonwealth Development Corporation

Question

Asked by Lord Ashcroft

Baroness Verma: The Government are looking into the case for public ownership of a wide range of government public bodies. At the moment we are not ruling anything out but do not have any plans to sell the CDC. The CDC is an important instrument in the UK's strategy to eliminate poverty through private sector development and growth.

Crown Prosecution Service

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness): The CPS diversity delivery plan sets specific targets for senior-level representation within the CPS. Currently, men make up 33.63 per cent of the CPS workforce and 65 per cent of the most senior

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grades within the CPS. Nevertheless, it is recognised that more work is required to address gender imbalance across its workforce as far as is reasonable and practicable, given the current constraints on recruitment.

The CPS is developing a set of equality-in-employment validation measures, which will include workforce representation on grounds of gender. It will also continue to analyse its employment data nationally and locally to ensure that its workforce is representative and will take appropriate action in the light of emerging evidence and trends.

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs: Consultants

Question

Asked by Lord Greaves

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The department is preparing and implementing new processes for the approval, recording and reporting of all consultancy expenditure, in accordance with the instructions issued by the Cabinet Office. This takes into consideration the freeze on all consultancy expenditure initiated on 24 May across government with all proposals for new consultancy over £20,000 now requiring ministerial approval before procurement starts.

One contract of £50,000 has been approved since 11 May, to provide specialist advice on delivering greater cost savings and efficiencies for the usage of our telecommunications network. The cost is expected to be outweighed by the savings we will be able to make on the basis of its recommendations.

Economy

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Budget set out measures to provide an environment that supports enterprise in the future, balanced across regions and industries, including manufacturing. Reducing the deficit will help provide the foundation needed for long-term economic growth. The corporation tax reforms will stimulate investment across the economy, and HM Treasury estimates suggest

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these will lead to an additional £13 billion of business investment between now and 2016. The Government will also establish a regional growth fund in 2011-12 and 2012-13 to support strategic, growth-focused investment in the English regions.

Education Maintenance Allowance

Question

Asked by Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): We have assessed the quantified benefits of education maintenance allowance (EMA) through comprehensive evaluation of the EMA pilots. This data can be found on the department's website at http://www.education.gov.uk/research/. In summary, the evaluation of EMA showed that, while it has a significant positive impact on participation and attainment, a high proportion-just over 90 per cent-in receipt of EMA would have been likely to participate without it. A value-for-money assessment of EMA was carried out in 2008 based on this evaluation and estimated that the monetised benefits of EMA outweighed the costs despite the high deadweight.

Also published on the department's website on 24 June 2010 was the research report on Barriers to Participate in Education and Training, which includes questions about EMA in its survey of young people.

EU: Salaries

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): My right honourable friend the Prime Minister's salary of £142,500 equates to approximately €170,000 (at current exchange rates). All 27 members of the College of Commissioners receive a higher salary than this. We do not hold information as to which EU officials earn a salary in excess of €170,000.

We do not have access to the salary details of individual EU officials. We do have access to salary scales and the approximate number of officials in each grade. Officials in grades AD 16 and AD 15 (director-general level) have scales in which the minimum is above the salary of the Prime Minister. There are some 300 staff in these grades.

At a time when Governments across the EU are reining in their spending, it is only right that the EU institutions think carefully about every euro that they spend to ensure that they get the most from their money. We are currently pushing for a freeze in the 2011 budget and expect salary levels to reflect the current economic conditions.



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Gaza

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We continue to follow Israeli detention operations closely and monitor the situation of Palestinian prisoners. We have called on the Government of Israel to take immediate action to ensure all cases are reviewed by a court in accordance with fair procedures and that their rights, particularly the rights to a fair trial and family visit, should be upheld.

We hope the recent and welcome decision of Israel to relax restrictions on goods allowed into Gaza will also enable greater flows on people in and out of Gaza, while continuing to meet Israel's legitimate security concerns.

Government Departments: Female Staff

Question

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

Baroness Verma: The Department for International Development's (DfID's) ministerial team has the same gender balance as the previous Government's ministerial team. DfID also has a female spokesperson in the House of Lords.

Government: Special Advisers

Question

Asked by Lord Marlesford

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: I refer the noble Lord to the Statement made by the Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster (the right honourable Lord Strathclyde) on 10 June (Official Report, col. WS 63) which listed the special advisers appointed across government. As set out in the Ministerial Code, an updated statement will be published annually.

The Code of Conduct for Special Advisers sets out the sorts of work that special advisers may undertake if their Minister wants it. The specific allocation of responsibilities will be for the individual appointing Minister to agree.



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Health: Orthopaedics

Question

Asked by Baroness Cumberlege

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The department is funding the National Hip Fracture Database, a national audit aimed at improving the care of people with hip fractures and supports secondary prevention. The audit covers participating hospitals in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and provides data to stimulate clinicians and managers to improve the quality of care they provide. A report from the audit is due to be published later this month.

In parallel, since April 2010 hip fracture care has been included in the Best Practice Tariff, a funding programme designed to incentivise providers to offer the highest quality of care and to reduce variation. Providers that meet the required clinical criteria, derived from accepted best practice guidance, receive a tariff uplift which can be reinvested in hip fracture services.

Health: Venous Thromboembolism

Question

Asked by Lord Jones of Cheltenham

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The National VTE Prevention Programme was established as a partnership between a wide range of organisations across the National Health Service aimed at reducing death and disability from venous thromboembolism (VTE). The first step this year has been to ensure that all adult patients admitted to hospital in England are risk-assessed for VTE and receive appropriate prophylaxis.

There is currently no single definition of VTE available in the International Classification of Diseases, tenth revision (ICD-10 system used to classify diseases). Therefore, we have provided data on deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and pulmonary embolism (PE) as follows. These are the most common manifestations of venous thrombosis.

It should be noted that there are differences in the coding conventions used for both parts of the Question about numbers of cases of VTE in relation to diagnosis and death. This is due to differences that arise when coding for morbidity purposes, when compared to coding for classifying mortality.

Information on admitted patients in hospital who have a diagnosis of DVT or PE is shown in the following table. Patients treated by their general

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practitioner or as out-patients are not included. Some DVTs manifest themselves as pulmonary embolism. This means that a number of the patients who have been diagnosed with PE will also have been diagnosed with a DVT. It would not be advisable to sum the number of episodes for PE and DVT because of the potential for double counting.

Count of finished consultant episodes1 with a main or secondary diagnosis2 of (a) DVT and (b) PE, 2004-05 - 2008-09, England3
Finished consultant episodes by diagnosis4
DVT5PE6
All relevant ICD codesICD-10 I80.2

2004-05

59,695

46,303

40,059

2005-06

63,373

48,952

43,360

2006-07

61,459

46,257

46,685

2007-08

61,050

46,031

49,114

2008-09

62,066

46,786

56,029

The following table provides the number of deaths where records indicate that PE or DVT were mentioned anywhere on the death certificate, either as the underlying cause or as a contributory factor, in England and Wales, for 2004 to 2008.

Certifiers do not usually record whether conditions had been diagnosed prior to death or only through autopsy after death. The mortality data include all deaths with mention of DVT or PE on their death certificate, whether diagnosed before death or not.

Deaths where pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis were mentioned on the death certificate,1 England and Wales,2 2004-20083
All persons
YearDeaths

2004

12,387

2005

12,254

2006

12,683

2007

12,347

2008

12,611

Israel

Question

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We regard east Jerusalem as occupied territory. Its Palestinian population has rights under the Geneva conventions. Forcibly transferring people out of the city for political reasons-however much we may find their views abhorrent-as Israel appears to be trying to do in this case is illegal. This comes against a backdrop of other developments which appear designed to consolidate the purported annexation of east Jerusalem. Such actions erode trust between the parties at a crucial time. Sending these Hamas members into the West Bank as "heroes" carries a cost for those Palestinians who are working for peace. The EU has raised the matter with the Israeli Government.



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Libya

Questions

Asked by Lord Hylton

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Our embassy in Tripoli has raised the issue with the Libyan Government, most recently on 4 July 2010. In late June, Spain, as EU presidency, raised the issue in a local demarche on behalf of all locally represented EU countries.

The Government have closely monitored Libyan relations with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and understand that the UNHCR has now been permitted to resume some of its activities in Libya. We would like the Libyan Government to accord full recognition to UNHCR, so that it may carry out its full range of activities in the country.

Asked by Lord Hylton

Lord Howell of Guildford: The Government have no bilateral agreements with Libya concerning migration and refugees. The UK signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on deportation with assurances (DWA) with Libya in October 2005. A copy of the MoU can be found at: http://www.fco.gov.uk/en/global-issues/counter-terrorism/targetting-terrorism.

The UK is a strong supporter of the EU's ongoing framework agreement negotiations with Libya, which will provide a platform for dialogue and co-operation on areas including migration.

Libya has not ratified the UN Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees of 1951.

Local Authorities: Neighbourhood Councils

Question

Asked by Lord Stoddart of Swindon

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The coalition agreement Our Programme for Government makes clear the Government's

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commitment to giving new powers to local councils, communities, neighbourhoods and individuals. Where local people want a neighbourhood council, they should be able to have one, and local authorities are already empowered to create councils in such circumstances.

Office for Budget Responsibility

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The interim Budget Responsibility Committee (BRC) of the interim Office for Budget Responsibility comprises Sir Alan Budd (chairman), Geoffrey Dicks and Graham Parker.

Sir Alan Budd is receiving payment at a rate of £2,885 per week (excluding value added tax) for the performance of services. He is not eligible for a bonus. Geoffrey Dicks and Graham Parker are each receiving a payment at a rate of £1,923 per week (excluding value added tax) for the performance of services. They are not eligible for a bonus.

The BRC is working full-time. Its members are paid a fixed fee and specific working arrangements are not specified in contractual provisions.

Overseas Aid

Question

Asked by Baroness Kinnock of Holyhead

Baroness Verma: Further details on the commitment to "create new mechanisms to give British people a direct say in how an element of the aid budget is spent" as set out in The Coalition: Our Programme for Government are being developed and will be shared with Parliament in due course.

Pensions

Questions

Asked by Lord Laird



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Lord Taylor of Holbeach: These are matters which may be considered in due course in the light of (a) cost pressures identified by the 2010 scheme valuation or (b) recommendations from the Hutton review of public service pensions.

The changes made to the Civil Service pension arrangements in 2007 were intended to deliver savings of £2.1 billion over 50 years and to control unplanned cost growth.

Asked by Lord Laird

Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme's income and expenditure are accounted for in the Resource Accounts for Cabinet Office: Civil Superannuation. Employer contributions are shown in note 9, "Pension contributions receivable", and the net cash requirement is shown in the statement of parliamentary supply. Copies of the resource accounts for the years up to and including 2008-09 can be found in the Library.

Potomac Group

Question

Asked by Lord Myners

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Treasury Ministers and officials have discussions with a wide variety of organisations in the public and private sectors as part of the process of policy development and delivery. As was the case with previous Administrations, it is not the Government's practice to provide details of all such discussions.

Railways: Franchises

Question

Asked by Lord Bradshaw

The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The Department for Transport has an open-door policy for existing and potential bidders to encourage interested parties to explore the possibilities of entering franchise competitions.



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Tanzania

Question

Asked by Lord Krebs

The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Our high commissioner in Dar es Salaam has discussed this issue with other EU heads of mission in Tanzania. The head of the EU mission, and chair of the local development partner infrastructure group, has raised concerns about this issue recently with the Government of Tanzania on behalf of the group. This included highlighting the desirability of an alternate route south of the national park. The UK, as part of both the EU and infrastructure groups, will continue to monitor the situation.

Taxation: Double Taxation

Question

Asked by Lord Thomas of Swynnerton

The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): This answer assumes that the Question concerns claims made by individuals to foreign tax authorities for relief from foreign taxes under the terms of the UK's bilateral double taxation agreements.

In making such a claim, an individual will apply for relief in a manner prescribed by the foreign tax authority, and send it a certificate of residence provided by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). HMRC plays no further part in the process, and cannot monitor how quickly those claims are dealt with. However, where a UK resident believes that the other country is failing to apply the double taxation agreement properly, he may ask HMRC to intervene on his behalf through the "mutual agreement procedure" set out in our tax agreements.

Transport: Vehicle Testing

Questions

Asked by Lord Marlesford



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Earl Attlee: EU rules require cars and light goods vehicles to be tested no later than four years after first registration and thereafter at least every two years. In the United Kingdom, the first test is at three years old and thereafter annually. There are no other significant differences between the testing requirements under EU and domestic law.

The Government always take into account equivalent legislation in other European member states whenever changes to the roadworthiness testing schemes are being considered.



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Asked by Lord Marlesford

Earl Attlee: Yes, we intend to look at the issue of MoT test frequencies later this year.


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