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To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Bank of England or the Financial Services Authority has power to investigate salaries and bonuses paid to building society chairmen, directors and senior officers.[HL905]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether bus drivers can prevent would-be passengers with well-behaved dogs from boarding on the ground that one or more individuals on the bus may object to dogs on cultural or religious grounds.[HL936]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what action they are taking, including with local authorities, to prevent children in care who are thought to have been trafficked absconding from their placements.[HL919]
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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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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Wallace of Tankerness on 1 July (WA 295) concerning the gender balance in the Crown Prosecution Service, whether the latest review of gender balance in employment took account of the three to one ratio of women to men.[HL1032]
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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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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has spent on new consultancy since 11 May; what new spending on consultancy of over £20,000 has been approved by Ministers since then; and what proposals for new spending on consultancy are being considered.[HL940]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord De Mauley on 7 June (Official Report, col. 498), which measures in the Budget are designed to ensure that manufacturing and other sectors grow more rapidly than the banking sector.[HL877]
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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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.
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they are making to the Government of Israel about not granting visiting rights since June 2007 to the families of 800 Gazans detained in Israeli prisons.[HL1013]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of whether the Department for International Development has experienced any problems relating to policy and action as a result of having no female Ministers.[HL653]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government which special advisers to Ministers have been appointed since 11 May; to which Minister each reports; and what is the general area of policy covered by each adviser.[HL970]
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.
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many cases of venous thromboembolism (VTE) were diagnosed in each of the past five years; how many of those cases resulted in deaths; and what plans they have to reduce the number of cases of VTE.[HL925]
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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|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|
|All relevant ICD codes||ICD-10 I80.2|
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|
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to prevent alleged breaches of international law by Israel, including the deportation from east Jerusalem of four elected members of the Palestinian Legislative Council.[HL918]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are making representations to the Government of Libya about the proposed departure of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees representative and the closure of their Tripoli office; and whether they will seek to ensure that bona fide refugees in Libya receive international protection. [HL1015]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what agreements they have with Libya concerning migration, refugees and deported persons (a) bilaterally, and (b) through the European Union; and whether Libya has ratified the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees of 1951.[HL1016]
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 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
13 July 2010 : Column WA124
To ask Her Majesty's Government what are the remuneration arrangements for the chairman and members of the interim Office for Budget Responsibility; and how many days per week they are contracted to work.[HL875]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their timetable for creating 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.[HL852]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 22 June (WA 171), whether they will commission research on the savings to be made if the pension age for all civil servants increased from 60 to 65; what is their estimate of the cost of such research; whether the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme's actuaries could undertake it; and whether any assessment was made of savings when that proposal was previously considered.[HL868]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Freud on 17 June (WA 134), what equivalent amount of employer contributions were paid into the Principal Civil Service Pension Scheme in the past five years; and what equivalent amount was required in each of those years in addition to employer contributions to balance income and expenditure.[HL870]
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.
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.
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the Government of Tanzania and in the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation about the ecological and economic impact of the proposed trunk road through the Northern Serengeti, a world heritage site; and whether those representations included expressing support for the proposed alternative road taking a route to the south of the Serengeti National Park. [HL1009]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the speed with which applications by individuals to avoid double taxation by other European Union member states are dealt with.[HL1169]
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.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether obligations under vehicle testing regulations in the United Kingdom exceed those required by the relevant European Union directives; and whether they have considered the equivalent regulations in other European Union member states.[HL1212]
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.
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