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To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has monitored the location and health of Abdul Baset Al Megrahi; whether they have made representations to the Scottish Government about the accuracy of the medical opinions commissioned on Al Megrahi's cancer condition; and whether they classify the medical reports on him sent to East Renfrewshire Council as confidential.[HL1268]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) does not monitor the location or health of Abdul Baset Ali Al Megrahi. East Renfrewshire was designated as the local authority responsible for monitoring Al Megrahi's health and location because his family lived in Newton Mearns during his imprisonment in Greenock Prison.
The FCO has not made representations to the Scottish Executive about the accuracy of the medical opinions commissioned on Al Megrahi's cancer condition. The Justice Committee of the Scottish Parliament conducted an inquiry earlier this year and published its report on 5 February 2010. The report noted that the release of Mr Al Megrahi on compassionate grounds was considered in the normal way and in accordance with good practice. A copy of the report is available at the Scottish Executive's website at: http://www.scottish. parliament.uk/s3/committees/justice/reports-10/jur10-3.htm.
The FCO has not asked for copies of the monthly medical reports on Al Megrahi sent to East Renfrewshire Council as it would not be appropriate for the FCO to ask the council for confidential medical reports.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are discussing with the Government of the United States and regional governments in central and east Africa the movements of Joseph Kony and other leaders of the Lord's Resistance Army; and what progress is being made in bringing about their arrest and trial before the International Criminal Court.[HL1219]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We regularly discuss the movements of the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA) with other Governments, (including the US, Uganda and other EU member states).
Regional military co-operation between Uganda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, South Sudan and the Central African Republic, to pursue and apprehend LRA fighters, is continuing. A special division of the Ugandan High Court has been established as a possible alternative system of justice for the LRA commanders indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC).
The Government will press the Ugandan Government to ensure that any alternative system of justice is compatible with the Rome Statute and international law, but ultimately it is for the Government of Uganda to agree with the ICC.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The feeding of swill to pigs is prohibited under Regulation (EC) 1774/2002 on the handling and disposal of animal by-products. The regulation is directly applicable in all EU member states.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Lord Henley): The coalition Government have committed that, as part of a package of measures, we will introduce a carefully managed and science-led policy of badger control in areas with high and persistent levels of bovine tuberculosis. We need to consider all the issues carefully, including the scientific evidence, to work out the detail of the package to ensure we get it right. We will be looking at vaccine and culling options as part of that package.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their forecast of the highest salary to be paid to staff employed by the Bank of England on taking over certain responsibilities of the Financial Services Authority.[HL1339]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their forecast of the average salary to be paid to staff employed by the Bank of England on taking over certain responsibilities of the Financial Services Authority.[HL1340]
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many staff employed by HM Treasury are expected to be taken on by the Bank of England on taking over certain responsibilities of the Financial Services Authority.[HL1341]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The matters raised in these Questions will be for the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the Bank of England to resolve during the transition to the new regime. The operations of the FSA and the Bank are, and will remain, independent from government. Should any legislation be needed to facilitate these arrangements, the Government will bring it forward in the forthcoming Bill.
The Treasury does not intend to move any staff to the Bank of England as a consequence of the transfer of regulatory responsibility from the FSA to the Bank. The Treasury, Bank and FSA will continue to exchange staff on temporary loans and secondments in the usual manner.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to promote the intellectual capital and expertise of British companies which have helped to restructure foreign banks and reform the banking systems of other countries.[HL1275]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): UK Trade and Investment works in close partnership with the private sector to promote the UK's strengths in financial and professional services, including regulatory expertise. This year, strategic leadership will be taken forward by TheCityUK, the independent, practitioner-led body set up to build on and consolidate further the UK's promotional effort at home and abroad for this sector. UKTI will support TheCityUK's overseas promotion strategy and UK exporters through its global network of trade promotion officers.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether United Kingdom based central clearing parties for over-the-counter derivatives have access to euro funds from the European Central Bank or whether such funding is limited to eurozone members.[HL1312]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): With regards to clearing of euro-denominated securities and derivatives, the UK hosts multiple clearing houses offering foreign currency denominated clearing
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To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 8 July (WA 66-7), what suitable alternatives have been proposed for users of cheques before the system is phased out.[HL1362]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): A number of alternatives to cheques are already in common use. They include cash, plastic cards, telephone and internet banking, direct credits and direct debits.
However, there remain gaps, notably in the area of person-to-person and person-to-business payments, and payments to schools and charities are a particular concern. Here, the payments industry is looking at potential enhancements to existing payment methods, for example to enable dual authorisation before a payment can be made, and new forms of payment. New forms may include mobile phone payments and, potentially, new paper-based instruments that could be handled electronically.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Freud on 29 June (WA 243), whether they will commission research on the health and ethical issues involved in providing single persons dependent on drugs or alcohol with benefits above a basic income support level. [HL1054]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): Drug and alcohol addiction is one of the most damaging root causes of poverty, and helping people who are trapped on benefits through drug and alcohol addiction so that they can recover and find employment is a top priority for the Government.
The department has recently published research examining the issues surrounding benefit uptake in England by individuals who use illicit drugs, in particular heroin and crack cocaine, Problem Drug Users, Experiences of Employment and the Benefit System, Department for Work and Pensions, Research Report No. 640, June 2010. (http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd5/report_ abstracts/rr_abstracts/rra_640.asp).
The study explores the wider context of education, training and employment for drug users as well as the role of treatment. The report found that drug users face a number of barriers to employment which can include a lack of self-confidence, mental and physical health problems, a criminal record, lack of skills and qualifications and employer discrimination. In addition, financial problems can lead to homelessness and an increase in levels of crime. The department is working closely with the Ministry of Justice to strengthen collaborative working to improve the employment rates of offenders and reduce reoffending.
|£ million (nominal terms)||2009-10|
2) Tables containing benefit expenditure by Benefit, Local Authority and Parliamentary Constituency can be found at the following URL: http://research.dwp.gov.uk/asd/asd4/medium_ term.asp and a copy has been placed in the Library.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether positions on the Budget Responsibility Committee will be advertised, as for positions on the Monetary Policy Committee, the Court of the Bank of England and the board of the Financial Services Authority. [HL1083]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): As the Chancellor confirmed at his hearing before the Treasury Select Committee on Thursday 15 July, positions on the Budget Responsibility Committee will be advertised.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether Sir Alan Budd and other members of the Budget Responsibility Committee have had access to information on the economy and public finances not made public. [HL1084]
Lord Sassoon: The interim Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) terms of reference, published on 8 June, require the Treasury to provide the interim OBR with full access to the data, analysis and resources necessary to fulfil the roles set out in the terms of reference. The interim OBR has discretion over what material is published in fulfilling the remit set out in the terms of reference.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The learning and development requirements for early years providers are set out in the early years foundation stage (EYFS). The Government have asked Dame Clare Tickell, chief executive of Action for Children, to carry out an independent review of the EYFS to consider how to reduce burdens on those who have to deliver it, and to ensure it is clear about how professionals can best support young children in their early learning and development, so they are prepared to take full advantage of the opportunities offered by more formal learning.
The review will formally start in September this year, and will report in spring 2011. It is our intention to undertake a full consultation before any changes are implemented. A Statement has been placed in the House outlining further details about the scope of the review.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of any exploitation of overseas child labour in producing goods for British retailers; and what measures they intend to introduce to penalise companies which import goods manufactured by companies using child labour.[HL1233]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The UK Government are concerned about allegations of the use of child labour in producing goods for British retailers. However, we do not believe that trade restrictions such as import bans would be effective in combating child labour. Instead, we are strongly in favour of incentives for discouraging child labour. The EU's generalised system of preferences+ (GSP+) trading scheme offers reduced tariffs to
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The UK Government also strongly support the ethical trading initiative (ETI). We will encourage UK businesses to sign up to the ETI to challenge poor labour standards around the world-including child labour-and drive practical measures to improve them.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): No particular global temperature series is used in formulating the Government's climate change policies. The Government's policies draw on a broad body of scientific and economic evidence, brought together through expert advice and international scientific assessments. Historic warming of the climate is an important part of this evidence and is provided by three independent assessments of near-surface temperature data, carried out by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and by a collaboration of the Met Office Hadley Centre and University of East Anglia, which show almost identical warming trends over the past century. This warming is corroborated by other data sets from instruments on satellites and weather balloons, and physical indicators including sea-level rise.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government will closely examine the market's response to the Department for Work and Pensions' announcements over the next few weeks. The Debt Management Office (DMO) is always ready to listen to feedback from its stakeholders on possible actions to be taken to meet market requirements. The DMO's remit makes clear that it would consult market participants, and seek HM Treasury's approval, before introducing any new instruments, although there are no plans to consult at this stage.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Since 2004, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills has provided funding of more than £21 million to fund specialist regional teams across the country to tackle the problem of illegal money lending. To date, the teams have helped more than 11,500 victims, written off £31 million of illegal debt and secured over 100 convictions and prison sentences totalling 70 years.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Deep seabed mining activity is regulated by the International Seabed Authority, established by UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, to which the UK is a party. The Government strongly support the work of the authority to regulate mining activity on the seabed in areas beyond national jurisdiction.
Through our membership of the council of the authority, we will continue to take an active interest in the development of mining on the seabed as it becomes increasingly viable from a technical and economic standpoint. We will also seek to ensure that potential future UK commercial interests are protected and that environmental concerns are adequately addressed.
To ask Her Majesty's Government further to the Written Answer by Baroness Wilcox on 7 July (WA 59), whether members of the Direct Selling Association are subject to the European Services Directive. [HL1290]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): All services fall within the scope of the directive, unless they fall within one of the exclusions in Article 2 of the directive. Thus, where members of the Direct Selling Association provide services and these services are not excluded in Article 2 of the directive, they will be subject to the requirements of the directive. The department's consultation on the implementation of the services directive in November 2007 included the Direct Selling Association in its list of organisations consulted.
The services directive, which was implemented in the UK through the Provision of Services Regulations 2009, will make it easier for service providers to trade in other member states and across borders. It should help reduce compliance and information costs, and enhance transparency. The directive, when fully implemented by all member states, is expected to benefit the UK economy by £4 billion to £6 billion per annum.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will review the reservation to Article 24 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, in the context of their education policies.[HL1146]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The UK Government have ratified the convention and we will meet our commitments under it. The previous Government took a reservation and interpretive declaration to Article 24, on education, and we have no plans to change this.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether their "proportionate system of review" of arrangements for appointing a person to collect social security payments on behalf of an individual with a mental or physical incapacity will enable them to withdraw their reservation to Article 12.4 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.[HL1147]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The department has made progress in developing a review process for its benefit appointees-a group affected by Article 12.4 of the convention. Setting up a review process is a major undertaking for the department because there are close to 900,000 customers with appointees.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what progress has been made in implementing the recommendations of the Lamb inquiry into special educational needs and parental confidence, published in December 2009.[HL1025]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Lamb inquiry made 51 recommendations. A number have been implemented. For example, the Children, Schools and Families Act 2010 legislated to give parents the right to appeal to the first-tier tribunal (special educational needs and disability) when a review of their child's special educational needs (SEN) statement does not result in any amendments, as recommended by the inquiry. That Act also put into law the recommendation that Ofsted must, in particular, report on how mainstream schools meet the needs of disabled children and those with SEN. The Equality Act 2010, following another of the inquiry's recommendations, removed the exemption
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Work on other recommendations has also been completed. For example, guidance on writing SEN statements has been published and training for local authority officers in working with the parents of children with SEN has been delivered. The Government are considering the outstanding recommendations as they develop their detailed policies in this area.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord McNally on 20 June (WA 279), whether qualifying Commonwealth citizens given leave to enter the United Kingdom will on taking up residence in a particular constituency continue to be immediately eligible under the Representation of the People Act 1983 to register to vote in parliamentary elections.[HL1053]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Yes, subject to an electoral registration officer's determination as to whether they meet the residence requirements for electoral registration. In addition, they must meet the age requirement and not be subject to any legal incapacity to vote.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 14 June (WA 65), what assessment they have made of whether, under an alternative vote system where electors are not required to mark preferences beyond a first preference, a candidate will in every circumstance require more than 50 per cent of the ballot or votes remaining in the final round to be elected.[HL1065]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Taylor of Holbeach on 14 June (WA 65), whether, under the alternative vote system to be put in a referendum next year, a candidate could be elected with under 50 per cent of the vote if no voters express any preferences other than their first.[HL1066]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): Under the alternative vote, in those systems where voters may mark a preference for as few or as many candidates as they wish, a candidate would require more than 50 per cent of voters' first preferences or more than 50 per cent of votes remaining in the count in order to be elected.
Under the optional preferential form of the alternative vote, if no candidate receives more than 50 per cent of voters' first preferences, then the candidate in last place is eliminated, and each vote originally allocated to the eliminated candidate is reallocated to a remaining candidate according to the next preference expressed on each ballot paper. Where there is no next preference given, the ballot paper is "exhausted" and is set aside from the count. The process of eliminating candidates and reallocating votes will continue until a remaining candidate has more than 50 per cent of the votes left in the count.
It is theoretically possible, if perhaps unlikely, that every elector could decide not to mark any preferences beyond a first preference. In this instance, the order of candidates could not be changed by following the counting process through to the end. However, if the count were to proceed in the same way as any other alternative vote count, with the last placed candidate eliminated and his/her votes either transferred or exhausted, the winning candidate would by definition have won more than 50 per cent of the votes left in the count. However, this may not amount to more than 50 per cent of the total votes cast. The only exception to this would be a case in which the final two candidates had an exactly equal number of votes.
As my right honourable friend the Deputy Prime Minister announced on 5 July, a Bill will be introduced before the summer to provide for a referendum on the alternative vote system, and for a review of constituency boundaries in order to create fewer and more equally sized constituencies. The Bill will set out further details about the form of alternative vote system to be put in the referendum.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the European Union has competence to require member states to cease issuing new permits for deep water oil drilling, as suggested by the European Union Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger.[HL1262]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): We are not aware of any current provision within EU law which would enable any EU body to require a moratorium on new drilling, or on deep water drilling. We are also not aware of any formal proposal in this area having been put forward by the Commission to date. Should any such proposal be made, HMG would consider its exact nature and its proposed legal basis. But HMG remain of the firm view that these are matters which are properly left to individual member states.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have considered giving notice to the European Union that, in accordance with their policy of reducing
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In 2005 the previous Government agreed to rising UK contributions to the EU budget over the period 2007-13. But to reflect today's realities we have repeatedly called for a freeze in the EU budget next year.
The Commission's initial proposal for the EU budget for the period 2014-20 is expected early next year. The Government expect the Commission's proposal to take account of fiscal consolidation efforts across member states. At the negotiation of the next EU budget, the Government will strongly defend the UK's national interests, and ensure the budget is focused on those areas where the EU adds value.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Sassoon on 5 July (WA 39-40), what powers they have agreed to give to European institutions regarding surveillance and control over public finances.[HL1213]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The work of the EU Economic Task force is continuing. The task force will make its final report, with recommendations, in time for the European Council on 28 and 29 October.
At the first meeting of the task force on 21 May, the Chancellor stated that the Government will not support any measures that would undermine the role of national Parliaments in setting budgets. As is the established policy, we will not submit the UK Budget to the EU before it has been debated and agreed in Parliament.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The EU has to apply the principle of subsidiarity when it acts in areas in which it has competence, except in areas of exclusive competence.
The examination of the EU's existing competences promised in the programme for Government will consider whether the balance of competence between the EU and the UK in certain areas currently falls in the right place.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): On 14 June the European Commission published a consultation paper on derivatives and market infrastructure. This covers issues relating to risk management standards for central clearing counterparties (CCPs), as well as margining requirements for CCPs clearing multiple asset classes. A final proposal from the Commission is expected in September 2010.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government want the banking system to serve business, not the other way round. We will bring forward detailed proposals to foster diversity in financial services, promote mutuals and create a more competitive banking industry. The Government are committed to working with the building society sector as part of this work and continue to monitor business lending.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): I welcome the fact that increasing numbers of Indian students want to come to the UK to study. This is a measure of the reputation British universities enjoy around the world for excellence and quality.
The Government are actively engaged in building on the excellent links that some of our universities already have with India. Co-operation between universities in the UK and in India is to our mutual benefit. The UK higher education sector is already very active in India in developing partnerships, with over 80 collaborations in place.
The level of student recruitment from outside the European Union is a matter for individual universities taking account of their own capacity constraints and the demand for places. Universities do not receive government funding for such students and are free to charge fees as they see fit. As autonomous organisations they have flexibility to invest any income they receive, including that from international students, in facilities and services that enable them to expand the number of places they offer to those coming from overseas.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Baroness Hanham on 8 July (Official Report, col. 334) that decisions on housing matters will be passed down to local authorities, whether local authorities will be given the power to refuse requests to sell their houses under the right-to-buy provision if to do so would adversely affect the provision of social housing in that area.[HL1265]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Communities and Local Government (Baroness Hanham): The Government have no plans to introduce powers which could reduce the right of eligible tenants to purchase their home under the right to buy scheme.
Full scrutiny of expenditure showed that the previous Government made commitments in 2010-11 that were not securely and fully funded including the housing pledge. Of the £1.5 billion to fund the housing pledge, we have now secured and authorised £1.25 billion.
To ask Her Majesty's Government on how many occasions since 12 May pilots have refused to carry persons due to be deported from the United Kingdom from (a) British airports, and (b) transit airports. [HL1059]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): There have been five occasions for the period 12 May to 31 May 2010 when pilots have refused to carry individuals due to be deported or removed from the United Kingdom from British airports (the UK Border Agency do not hold data on transit airports) mainly due to the disruptive behaviour of the individual concerned. Four of these individuals have subsequently been removed.
In order to ensure data quality, information held by the UK Border Agency is reconciled with data from the travel service provider. As this is provided one month in arrears, data for June are not yet available.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Pre-pack administrations can provide the best return for creditors as a whole. However, it is important that they are used responsibly and that creditors are given full information. The Insolvency Service is actively monitoring disclosures made to creditors and is working with the insolvency profession and their regulators to improve performance against the professional standard.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Shutt of Greetland on 28 June (WA 216) on the terrorist attack on the Grand Hotel, Brighton, whether they have established the identities of the members of the command structure of the IRA who planned and financed that bombing and supplied explosives to Mr Magee. [HL1075]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they plan to ask the Government of the Republic of Ireland to apologise for any part they played in providing arms and funding to the IRA.[HL1140]
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The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The Government are committed to engaging with the Irish Government to consider how best both Governments can contribute to dealing with the past in Northern Ireland.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Shutt of Greetland on 9 July (WA 83), whether they have considered whether to ascertain the number of people killed and injured by Semtex explosives provided by the Government of Libya to the IRA in order to assist in their facilitation of contact between those privately campaigning for compensation and the government of Libya.[HL1267]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: The Government do not believe that ascertaining the number of people killed and injured by Semtex explosives provided by the Government of Libya to the IRA is a necessary part of their role in facilitating contact between those privately campaigning for compensation and the Government of Libya.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have assisted, or intend to assist, the Government of Kenya in paying for the costs of the detention and trial of alleged pirates and the imprisonment of those convicted; and, if so, how much they have paid.[HL1074]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The UK welcomes strongly the leading role played by Kenya in the fight against piracy, including through the prosecution and detention of pirate suspects.
The UK supports the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) programme working in Kenya to enhance court and prison facilities to enable the prosecution and imprisonment of pirate suspects. It also works to improve the working conditions for both court and prison staff. The total budget for the UNODC Kenya programme is $US 4 million. The EU budget, to which the UK contributes, has provided $US 2 million. The UK uses its role in the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia to identify continued budget support to the UNODC programmes in Kenya and other regional countries as a key priority and encourages contributions from other key partners.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The recent violence underlines the importance of Kyrgyzstan putting in place, in conjunction with key international actors, a credible mechanism to review and reconcile the fears and concerns of those affected. To that end, the UK co-sponsored a resolution in the UN Human Rights Council on 18 June 2010 which called for a transparent investigation into the events of April 2010 and the recent violence, and urged the Kyrgyz authorities to promote inter-community reconciliation.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they will take to prevent further destabilisation of the situation in southern Kyrgyzstan and a repetition of recent events there; and whether those steps will include providing aid and facilitating inter-community dialogue.[HL1164]
Lord Howell of Guildford: The UK is working closely with international partners, including the EU, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe and the UN, in support of the democratic process underway in Kyrgyzstan. This represents the best chance to ensure peace, institutional stability, open dialogue, rule of law and democracy for all the people of Kyrgyzstan. The UK provides core funding to those and other international bodies. In addition the UK is supporting ongoing work with two non-governmental organisations in the south, one aimed at preventing conflict and the other at encouraging inter-community dialogue. The situation on the ground remains extremely fragile, and we will continue to encourage steps that help Kyrgyzstan move forward, including emphasising the need for an inter-community dialogue.
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they will issue their mandate for the next review of the national minimum wage by the Low Pay Commission; and whether they plan to review the constitution and processes of the Low Pay Commission. [HL1313]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): I refer the noble Lord to the Statement I made on 21 June (Official Report, col. WS 96) which set out the remit for the Low Pay Commission's 2011 report.
The Government value the work of the independent Low Pay Commission. However, we need to ensure that it operates as efficiently as possible. We are currently considering how to achieve this as part of the wider cross-government review of arm's length bodies.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): The UK welcomes this useful resolution. The UK shares the concerns it highlights about human rights in North Korea. Some recommended actions are already taking place. For example, the EU raised the plight of North Korean refugees at the EU-China Human Rights Dialogue held in Madrid on 29 June 2010. The EU has also sponsored UN resolutions for the past six years and supports the mandate of the UN special rapporteur to visit North Korea to make a full assessment of the situation. We will consider, in consultation with our EU colleagues, the best way to address the points raised in this resolution.
To ask Her Majesty's Government why the original estimate of the costs of the experimental fusion reactor ITER has increased from €2.7 billion to €7.2 billion; and whether the additional expenditure will be met from the European Union's own resources or from a levy on member states.[HL1364]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The European Commission, which manages the Euratom funding for ITER, has advised member states that the main reasons for the increase in cost of the European contribution to the construction of ITER are as follows:the 2001 cost estimates were made on a insufficiently rigorous basis;the need for additional and more complex technical components to deliver ITER successfully;escalation of the materials and construction costs at much faster than average inflation rates;
Council conclusions on ITER were adopted as an A point at the Agriculture and Fish Council meeting on 12 July. Council agreed that additional commitments to be found for ITER for 2012-13 should come from a mix of sources within the current EU budget including the framework programme.
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): We cannot accept the fraudulent misuse of British passports. In March this year, my right honourable friend the Foreign Secretary welcomed the previous Government's request for formal assurance that in the future the state of Israel would never be party to the misuse of British passports. We continue to seek these assurances from the Government of Israel.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, as all certified pedlars have the right to trade anywhere in the European Union under the European Union services directive, they have asked the other member states about their proposals to implement domestic legislation to allow the free access by certified pedlars from the United Kingdom.[HL1287]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The services directive provides that any requirements imposed on service providers must be proportionate, non-discriminatory and justified based on one of a limited number of grounds. They must be transparent and able to be met electronically. UK pedlars should be able to learn quickly, via a member state's point of single contact, an electronic portal describing all requirements to be met in order to deliver a particular service in that member state, what it is they need to do to trade in that market.
Member states are now engaged in a process of mutual evaluation, reviewing together those remaining requirements on service providers. The aim of the mutual evaluation process is to enhance understanding among member states, increase transparency of requirements and encourage rigorous implementation of the directive by allowing inquiry and challenge between member states. The UK has been actively involved in this process, questioning remaining barriers which seem overly burdensome.
Member states have notified a number of requirements with regard to ambulant traders, and the UK did indeed take the opportunity, at the most recent mutual evaluation meeting, which looked at retail services, to explore further the requirements by other member states with regard to pedlars. Although requirements varied between member states, there was no suggestion that pedlars should not benefit from the liberalising aims of the directive, and we would wish to hear from UK pedlars who continue to face barriers in other member states, and which conflict with the terms of the services directive.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Shutt of Greetland on 9 July (WA 84) about the composition of the Police Service of Northern Ireland, whether they plan to review the provisions of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000 on recruitment to the force.[HL1357]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: The provisions of the Police (Northern Ireland) Act 2000 on recruitment to the PSNI are reviewed on an ongoing basis, in line with the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland's obligations under that Act.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether employees of the proposed Prudential Regulatory Authority (PRA) will be employed in the public or private sector; and whether their terms of employment, including pensions, will allow effective transfer of personnel between the PRA, the Bank of England and the proposed Consumer Protection and Markets Authority.[HL691]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The matter raised in this Question will be for the Financial Services Authority (FSA) and the Bank of England to resolve during the transition to the new regime. The day-to-day operations of the FSA and the Bank are, and will remain, independent from Government. Should any legislation be needed to facilitate these arrangements, the Government will bring it forward in the forthcoming Bill.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the suitability of the Severn Tunnel for carrying high-speed electrified train services; and what studies have been undertaken to establish its suitability.[HL1151]
Earl Attlee: Network Rail is currently undertaking an engineering study of the Great Western main line, including the Severn Tunnel, to establish in greater detail the work required to electrify the route. Their findings will be presented to the Department for Transport in the near future.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 24 June (WA 210), whether the terms of the franchise agreement between the Secretary of State and the train operating company specifically allow the Secretary of State to charge for granting his consent to a change of control.[HL901]
Only the National Rail Franchise Terms contained within the South Central franchise agreement, signed in 2009, make explicit reference to the Secretary of State charging fees in respect of granting consent to a change of control.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): Under the proposed EU regulation of the European Parliament and of the Council concerning the placing on the market and use of biocidal products, and according to the text under discussion in the European Council, the risk and socio-economic tests that must be satisfied for particularly hazardous active substances to be used are that:d) exposure of humans or the environment is negligible; or
Earl Attlee: The Department for Transport collates information on animals identified as carriageway hazards in reported personal injury road accidents. However, information on the types of animals involved in accidents and whether they are killed or injured is not available.
It is not recorded whether the road on which an accident occurred was a primary road. The number of reported personal injury road accidents on motorways and A roads in 2009 involving animals in the carriageway and casualties in these accidents is shown in the following table.
|Reported personal injury road accidents involving an animal1 in the carriageway, casualties in these accidents, by accident and casualty severity on motorways and A roads: Great Britain 2009|
|Accident Severity||Accidents||Casualty Severity||Casualties|
Earl Attlee: The number of reported personal injury accidents on motorways and A roads involving at least one pedestrian casualty who was crossing the road in each of the past five years is shown in the following table. It is not recorded whether the road on which an accident occurred was a primary road.
|Reported personal injury accidents on motorways and A roads involving a pedestrian casualty crossing the road: GB 2005-2009|
|Year||Number of accidents|
To ask Her Majesty's Government how the contract for the A1 Peterborough to Blyth grade separated junctions road scheme was awarded in 2005-06; how the tender was advertised; what criteria were used to select the contractor; who did the selection; and how many applications there were.[HL1504]
Earl Attlee: The contract for the Al Peterborough to Blyth grade separated junctions road scheme was awarded in 2003 following a competitive tendering process. The contract was advertised in the Official Journal of the European Union. Quality (including proven ability to keep scheme costs within budget) was the sole criterion used to select the contractor. The selection was based on an evaluation of the tenders by an internal assessment panel. Of the 17 companies that expressed an interest, five were invited to tender and proceeded to do so.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Schools (Lord Hill of Oareford): The Government are keen to receive proposals for free schools from a broad range of proposers, including charities, educational groups, teachers and parent groups. We are aware of a number of groups in Suffolk, including groups associated with existing middle schools, interested in establishing new free schools. We will consider carefully all proposals received to ensure they have strong educational aims and objectives, and take into account the impact they might have.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many cases have been recorded in each year since 1999 of primary school teachers being physically assaulted on school premises in (a) England and Wales as a whole, (b) London, (c) Birmingham, and (d) Manchester. [HL1022]
The department collects information on the reason pupils are excluded from school. Data on reasons for exclusion include information on physical assault, verbal abuse or threatening behaviour against an adult, but not specifically against teachers or school staff.
The reasons for exclusion were collected for the first time for the school year 2003-04 via the termly exclusions survey. In 2005-06 data were collected via the School Census for secondary schools only. From 2006-07 the collection was extended to include primary and special schools. Caution is needed when comparing results from the two sources, which have some differences in scope.
Information on the number of permanent and fixed period exclusions by reason for exclusion is shown in the tables below for primary schools in England, London, Birmingham and Manchester. Table 1 relates to permanent exclusions and table 2 to fixed period exclusions.
|Maintained Primary Schools (1)|
|Number of permanent exclusions for physical assault against an adult 2003-04-2007-08 (2)|
|England||London Government Office Region||Birmingham Local Authority||Manchester Local Authority|
|Maintained Primary Schools (1)|
|Number of fixed period exclusions for physical assault against an adult 2003-04-2007-08|
|England||London Government Office Region||Birmingham Local Authority||Manchester Local Authority|
The department does not hold the requested information for Wales. Information relating to Wales is available from the Welsh Assembly Government http://wales.gov.uk/topics/statistics/theme/schools/?lang=en.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many cases have been recorded in each year since 1999 of secondary school teachers being physically assaulted on school premises in (a) England and Wales as a whole, (b) London, (c) Birmingham, and (d) Manchester. [HL1023]
Lord Hill of Oareford: The department collects information on the reason pupils are excluded from school. Data on reasons for exclusion includes information on physical assault, verbal abuse or threatening behaviour against an adult, but not specifically against teachers or school staff.
The reasons for exclusion were collected for the first time for the school year 2003-04 via the termly exclusions survey. From 2005-06 onwards data were collected via the School Census. Caution is needed when comparing results from the two sources, which have some differences in scope.
Information on the number of permanent and fixed period exclusions by reason for exclusion is shown in the tables below for state-funded secondary schools in England, London, Birmingham and Manchester. Table 1 relates to permanent exclusions and table 2 to fixed period exclusions.
|State-Funded Secondary Schools (1)(2)|
|Number of permanent exclusions for physical assault against an adult 2003-04-2007-08 (3)|
|England||London Government Office Region||Birmingham Local Authority||Manchester Local Authority|
|State-Funded Secondary Schools (1)(2)|
|Number of fixed period exclusions for physical assault against an adult 2003-04-2007-08|
|England||London Government Office Region||Birmingham Local Authority||Manchester Local Authority|
The department does not hold the requested information for Wales. Information relating to Wales is available from the Welsh Assembly Government http:// wales.gov.uk/topics/statistics/theme/schools/?lang=en.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Energy and Climate Change (Lord Marland): There is no mutual aid deployment protocol between the Civil Nuclear Constabulary (CNC) and Cumbria Constabulary. There is, however, a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between the CNC and Cumbria Constabulary that was agreed in May 2006. This is currently being revised with the expectation that this will be completed by February 2011. This MOU deals with requests by CNC for assistance from Cumbria Constabulary and is not a reciprocal arrangement for mutual aid.
Any requests from Cumbria Constabulary for assistance by the CNC will fall within the scope of Section 59 of the Energy Act 2004, which provides for CNC officers serving with other police forces, including the Cumbria Constabulary. In these circumstances, CNC officers will be under the direction and control of the chief officer of the relevant force. This was the situation during the shooting incident in West Cumbria on 2 June 2010 when CNC officers provided assistance
20 July 2010 : Column WA209
To ask Her Majesty's Government what representations they have made to the Government of Thailand about the length of the sentence given to Steven Willcox, which is being served in HM Prison Rye Hill.[HL1142]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): None. The purpose of repatriation is to enable a prisoner to serve a sentence imposed abroad in his own country. It is not intended to enable a prisoner to receive a reduction in the sentence simply as a consequence of transfer.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much they have given in financial support to St Helena in each of the last five years for which figures are available; and what support they will provide each year until 2015.[HL1106]
Baroness Verma: Details of aid provided to St Helena by the Department for International Development (DfID) are published annually in Statistics on International Development, which is available in the House Library and on the DfID website at: http://www.dfid.gov.uk/About-DFID/Finance-and-performance/Aid-Statistics/Statistics-on-International-Development-2009/.
The Secretary of State has recently commissioned a review of DfID's aid programmes to determine how we can achieve better value for money for the taxpayer and fulfil our obligation to the citizens of UK Overseas Territories. Future allocations of funding to St Helena will be determined in due course.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what restrictions will be placed on those being investigated for corruption in the Turks and Caicos Islands in their candidature in elections to the islands' legislature.[HL1101]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): Although the individuals concerned were suspended in August 2009, the provisions in the 2006 constitution on disqualification for elected or appointed membership of the House of Assembly are set out in Section 47 of Schedule 2 to the Turks and Caicos Islands Constitution Order 2006: (www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2006/20061913.htm).
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Budget set out a comprehensive plan to accelerate the reduction in the deficit and put debt on a downward path. The credit rating agencies continue to assign the UK the highest possible credit rating.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Although there is no complete opt-out from the working time directive, individuals who wish to do so can oput from the maximum 48-hour working week. My Government consider this to be a very important flexibility and are committed to its retention as reflected in the coalition agreement. The opt-out is available in all sectors of the economy, including motorsport.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what proposals the European Union will make at the mini-summit of Kimberley Process (KP) participants to be held during the World Diamond Council annual meeting in St Petersburg on 14 and 15 July about the position of the KP monitor to Zimbabwe, Mr Abbey Chikane, following his disclosure to the Zimbabwean authorities of a confidential discussion he had with Mr Farai Maguwu, and the latter's arrest.[HL1208]
The Minister of State, Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Lord Howell of Guildford): In St Petersburg the EU will seek to agree with civil society representatives, the rough diamond industry and Kimberly Process (KP) participants how to improve the quality, independence and credibility of the monitoring mechanism. The EU expressed its concerns to Mr Chikane, both directly and through the KP, about his reported role in Farai
20 July 2010 : Column WA212
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