|Previous Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many women aged (a) 14 to 16, (b) 17 to 21, (c) 22 to 24, (d) 25 to 30, (e) 31 to 35, and (f) 36 to 40, in each
28 July 2010 : Column WA354
|Total complications reported1 for abortions using Mifepristone (Mifegyne, RU486) by gestation and age, residents, England & Wales, 2005-2009|
|Total abortions using RU486||Total complications 4||under 13 weeks||13 weeks +||all gestations|
To ask Her Majesty's Government what scrutiny applications for genetically modified approvals from Monsanto are given by the Food Standards Agency, in light of its rating by the Swiss company Covalence as the most unethical of 581 multinationals. [HL1515]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): Applications for authorisation of genetically modified food and feed are evaluated by the European Food Safety Authority, as required by Regulation (EC) No 1829/2003. Evaluations are made on the basis of the available evidence and the authority's published guidelines for risk assessment of genetically modified food and feed, and do not discriminate between individual applicants.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the studies submitted by applicants for consent for genetically modified foods and crops are required (a) to demonstrate certified good practice, (b) to use the protocols in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development guidelines, and (c) to meet the standards of the Codex Alimentarius. [HL1516]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether external and independent auditing is required for all scientific data submitted in support of applications for genetically modified food or crop approval.[HL1517]
Earl Howe: The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is responsible for carrying out the risk assessment of genetically modified organisms in the EU. Through its published guidance, the EFSA's GMO panel applies a case-by-case approach, treating each application as unique. Fixed-test protocols are requested by the EFSA, especially for scientific issues where harmonisation of test methods is possible and validated test methods are agreed upon by international risk assessment bodies:
28 July 2010 : Column WA355
The EFSA also stipulates that the studies that are submitted for evaluation should be carried out according to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) principles of good laboratory practice, where applicable, and accompanied by a formal statement of quality assurance. The EFSA's approach to risk assessment of food from genetically modified plants is consistent with that of the Codex Alimentarius.
The evaluations are carried out by the EFSA's GMO Panel, which is composed of independent external experts. There is no additional requirement for external independent auditing of the data submitted in support of such applications.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Lord Davies of Oldham on 8 March (WA 11), what is their assessment of the experimental protocols and integrity of animal feeding trials for (a) MON810, (b) MON863, (c) A580, (d) LY038, (e) the stacked variety LY038 x MON810, and (f) RR soya GT73; and whether any concerns have been brought to the attention of the regulators. [HL1519]
Earl Howe: The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) is the centralised body which has responsibility for carrying out risk assessments for genetically modified food and feed in the European Union. EFSA has completed assessments of three of these genetically modified (GM) crops, namely MON810 maize, MON863 maize; and GT73 oilseed rape, including the results of the relevant animal feeding studies.
Applications for the authorisation of LY038 maize and for LY038 x MON810 maize were withdrawn by the applicant, citing a reduced commercial interest in these products. No application has been made in relation to a GM crop called A580.
An application for renewal of authorisation of genetically modified Roundup Ready soya is currently being evaluated by EFSA. In 2005, 2006 and 2009 the Advisory Committee on Novel Foods and Processes (ACNFP) considered published reports of potential adverse effects on rats and mice that had been fed Roundup Ready soya. The ACNFP advised that it was not possible to draw conclusions based on the design and reporting of these studies.
EFSA considers any concerns raised regarding the safety of genetically modified crops, whether authorised or undergoing authorisation, provided these are supported by reasoned arguments or scientific data. In the case of MON810 maize and MON863 maize, EFSA has provided additional advice following the publication of critical assessments of the feeding studies. The Food Standards Agency has also sought advice from the ACNFP on these reports. To date, none of the concerns raised have caused EFSA or ACNFP to alter their opinion on the safety of these crops.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether applicants for consents for genetically modified crops and foods are required to submit studies that highlight any potentially adverse health, environmental or nutritional effects.[HL1520]
Earl Howe: The application and authorisation procedures for genetically modified food and feed are laid down in EU Regulation 1829/2003. This regulation obliges applicants to provide a copy of the studies that have been carried out to demonstrate the safety of the food or feed, including any independent peer-reviewed studies.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what the pre-construction target was for the number of building craft apprentices to receive their apprenticeship by working on any part of the 2012 Olympic Games project.[HL1452]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what the pre-construction target was for the number of electrical apprentices to receive their apprenticeship by working on any part of the 2012 Olympic Games project. [HL1454]
Lord Shutt of Greetland: The Olympic Delivery Authority has committed to placing 350 apprentices on the Olympic construction programme by 2012. The ODA is working with contractors to ensure that those apprentices who are unable to complete their training on the site are given the opportunity to do so elsewhere. This represents an increase on the initial target of 100 apprentices, set in February 2008, before the Big Build phase when significant numbers would work on site. The ODA has not set specific targets for particular trades.
At the end of June, 242 verified apprentices had been employed by contractors working on the Olympic construction programme. Of these, 90 were electrical apprentices. The ODA understands the term "buildings craft apprentice" to cover construction apprenticeships in general, and the remaining 152 apprentices on site
28 July 2010 : Column WA357
The Government have not advised the ODA on the number of apprenticeships it should offer, as the ODA targets are based upon its construction programme's forecasted employment and skills demands, and at 3 per cent of the peak workforce, improves the current levels of apprentices within the construction workforce in London (1 per cent of all manual trades) and will match or exceed the UK average for the rest of the UK (2.5 per cent of the construction workforce). The ODA will continue to focus on meeting, and where possible exceeding, its targets.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they propose that prospective appointees to the Monetary Policy Committee and Financial Policy Committee of the Bank of England should be subject to the same oversight from the House of Commons Treasury Select Committee as proposed for prospective candidates to the Office for Budget Responsibility. [HL1639]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): External members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) and, in the future, external members of the Financial Policy Committee (FPC) and members of the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) other than its chair, will continue to be subject to pre-commencement hearings before the Treasury Select Committee (TSC) as part of a well established process for public appointments.
With respect to the chair of the OBR, as the Chancellor made clear in his letter of 19 July to the chair of the TSC, providing the TSC with the power of veto over the appointment of the chair of the OBR is an unprecedented step which reflects the unique position the OBR chair will hold. This procedure will not be replicated for other appointments.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Sassoon on 20 July (HL Deb, cols. 906-08), whether Ministers have brought the views of HM Treasury to the attention of other independent offices, including the Bank of England. [HL1722]
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 Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): As set out in the June Budget, the Government will consult on a remuneration disclosure scheme and, working with international partners, will explore the costs and benefits of a financial activities tax on profits and remunerations.
The Government have also asked the Financial Services Authority to examine further options in the forthcoming review of its remuneration code. In addition, the Government support the remuneration regime agreed as part of the Capital Requirements Directive. Collectively these measures will address excessive risk taking and will ensure greater transparency of pay throughout the financial services sector.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The Government are determined to reform the welfare system to support employment and earnings and to tackle welfare dependency. A reformed system will make it easier to ensure that drug and alcohol users receive the help and support they need to overcome their dependency and get back to work.
Drug and alcohol addiction is one of the most damaging root causes of poverty. 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.
It is estimated that 80 per cent of problem drug users-those using heroin or crack cocaine-are on working-age benefits, including jobseeker's allowance and disability-related benefits, often for many years1. Receipt of disability-related benefits is not dependent on the basis of a diagnosis or condition, but rather the effect that the diagnosis or condition has upon a person. For instance entitlement to disability living allowance is not dependent on a diagnosis or condition but relies instead on the care and/or mobility needs arising.
Drug or alcohol dependency does not of itself confer entitlement to incapacity benefits. To qualify for incapacity benefit or severe disablement allowance, claimants have to undertake a medical assessment of incapacity for work which is called the personal capability assessment. This assesses the effects of a person's
28 July 2010 : Column WA359
For those customers who are claiming the employment and support allowance, this is not paid on the basis of a specific medical condition. It is paid at different rates depending on an individual's circumstances and where they are in the claim process. Claimants undergo a work capability assessment to ascertain their capacity for work.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will place in the Library of the House a list of those attending the Broadband Delivery UK Industry Day on 15 July at the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, denoting those who were invited to attend and those who were not.[HL1557]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Yes. All those attending were by prior arrangement. Those who expressed an interest but were not invited to attend were notified in writing.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any restrictions will be placed on members of the Budget Responsibility Committee working in the hedge fund or investment banking sector immediately upon their retirement from the Committee.[HL1641]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The letters of appointment for the interim Budget Responsibility Committee (BRC) have been published on the Treasury's website and are available at http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/foi_obrposts.htm. These letters contain clauses governing the management of conflicts of interest.
The specific arrangements for Sir Alan Budd upon his departure from the Office for Budget Responsibility (OBR) are set out in an exchange of letters between Sir Alan Budd and Sir Nicholas Macpherson, available on the OBR's website at http://budgetresponsibility. independent.gov.uk/.
Baroness Verma: The Department for International Development (DfID) is contributing towards the containment of malaria, HIV and TB in Northern Rakhine (Arakan) State through the multi-donor Three Diseases Fund. We have also contributed 32 per cent of funds for a UNICEF programme to provide education supplies for 137,000 primary school children in Northern Rakhine State. DfID is considering future support for the United Nations Development Programme's work at community level in villages across Burma, including Rohingya communities in Northern Rakhine State.
UK support to the Rohingyas in Bangladesh is provided through our core contributions to the European Commission and United Nations agencies. The United Nations High Commission for Refugees manages the official camps. The World Health Organisation, the World Food Programme, UNICEF and the United Nations Population Fund also work with the refugees within the camps and in the surrounding communities. The European Commission provides financial support.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): We support the use of CCTV. Rather than seeking to reduce the number of CCTV cameras, our aim is to ensure that where CCTV is used, there is a clear framework for its use so that it commands public confidence. We will bring forward proposals shortly.
Lord Taylor of Holbeach: The current terms are set out in the Civil Service Compensation Scheme (CSCS), a statutory scheme made under the Superannuation Act 1972. The compulsory terms are the most generous and apply in cases of compulsory redundancy. Compulsory early severance (CES) terms apply where individuals are aged under 50 or are aged between 50 and 60 and have less than five years' service. CES terms provide a severance payment based on age and length of service which is generally capped at three years' pay. For certain individuals in service before 1987, the cap does not apply and the basis of calculation may be more generous. Compulsory early retirement (CER) terms apply where individuals are aged between 50 and 60 and have a minimum of five years' service. CER terms provide immediate payment of pension (and associated pension lump sum) without the normal reduction for early payment, plus a service enhancement of up to six and two-thirds years, plus a lump sum of six months' pay. A payment of six months' pay is made to those aged over 60 (and who are able to access an unreduced pension).
To ask Her Majesty's Government what measures will be put in place to ensure that members of the Muslim community with moderate beliefs are not victimised under the Prevent counterterrorism programme.[HL1381]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Government are committed to protecting all communities. The review of the Prevent strategy will ensure that it is properly targeted and delivered.
Baroness Neville-Jones: Prevent is not, and must not be, about spying on individuals. Previous allegations of spying have been investigated and found to be unsubstantiated. The Government are reviewing Prevent to ensure that it is properly targeted and delivered.
Baroness Neville-Jones: Funding specifically paid through the Prevent counterterrorism programme by the Home Office, Office for Security and Counter-terrorism (OSCT), in the financial year 2009-10 was approximately £30 million. Funds were used to support Prevent activity in a number of other government departments and voluntary and community-based organisations. These funds are allocated and monitored in line with relevant departmental procedures. Prevent activity is also funded separately by other government departments.
The Government will review the Prevent strand of the counterterrorism strategy by January 2011 to ensure it is properly focused and makes an appropriate contribution to dealing with extremism, and to achieve a clear separation from work to promote integration led by the Communities and Local Government department.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The Government keep the operation of money laundering and asset recovery, which the Elmer database helps to support, under constant review and we are committed to delivering value for money across the process. If an identifiable need for a more detailed formal review of any area arises, we will consider this.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the result of the review in April of the partnership agreement between the Serious Organised Crime Agency and the Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council for access to the Elmer database of suspects; and what plans they have for similar partnership agreements with other local authorities.[HL1656]
Baroness Neville-Jones: Direct access to the Elmer database by Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council has been suspended while SOCA carries out a review of end-user access. There are currently no local authority end-users with direct access to the Elmer database and, while the review of end-user access is under way, there are no plans to extend local authority access or to create new partnership agreements for this purpose.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the review by the Information Commissioner of the procedures for handling suspicious activity reports held by the Serious Organised Crime Agency has concluded; and whether it will be published. [HL1657]
Baroness Neville-Jones: Preliminary discussions in preparation for this review were held between the Information Commissioner and SOCA in June, with the review proper now scheduled to start in September 2010. It is anticipated that the review will be completed by the end of 2010. It is proposed that the report will be made available in the first instance to the House of Lords EU Committee that commissioned it. Arrangements for its wider publication will be considered after the Committee has had an opportunity to consider it.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will investigate the effectiveness and operation of the radio networks operated by the police and by others during the recent incident in Cumbria involving Mr Derrick Bird.[HL1427]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The chief constable of Cumbria Constabulary has asked the Association of Chief Police Officers to conduct three peer reviews into the shootings in Cumbria.
The reviews will look at firearms licensing, the armed policing response and police firearms tactics and guidance. The review into the armed policing response will cover the effectiveness and operation of the radio networks.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will investigate and report on the decision to deploy the Civil Nuclear Constabulary during the course of the actions of Mr Derrick Bird on 2 June. [HL1499]
The reviews will look at firearms licensing, the armed policing response and police firearms tactics and guidance. The review into the armed policing response will cover the response and support from the Civil Nuclear Constabulary and the actions of pursuing officers. The chief constable of Cumbria Constabulary intends to make the findings of the reviews public.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many fully crewed armed response vehicles operated by Cumbria Constabulary were deployed at the start of the shooting incidents on 2 June involving Derrick Bird; and how many such vehicles are owned by the force.[HL1618]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the number of armed response vehicles deployed by Cumbria Constabulary at the start of the shooting incidents involving Derrick Bird on 2 June was in line with the force's published deployment policy. [HL1619]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether local police stations were able to meet all requests for the issue of firearms by officers of Cumbria Constabulary following the shooting incidents on 2 June involving Derrick Bird.[HL1621]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Cumbria Constabulary control room was fully staffed and supervised at all times in the aftermath of the shooting incidents on 2 June involving Derrick Bird. [HL1623]
Baroness Neville-Jones: The chief constable of Cumbria Constabulary has asked the Association of Chief Police Officers to conduct three peer reviews into the shootings in Cumbria. The reviews will look at firearms licensing, the armed policing response, police firearms tactics and guidance. The review into the armed policing response will cover Cumbria Constabulary's armed capability and capacity, support from other forces and control room capability. The chief constable of Cumbria Constabulary intends to make the findings of the reviews public.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the total value of redundancy payments for staff in the Department for Transport and its agencies in (a) 2007-08, (b) 2008-09, and (c) 2009-10; how many redundancies there were in each of those years; and how many redundancy payments were (1) between £100,000 and £150,000, (2) between £150,000 and £200,000, (3) between £200,000 and £250,000, (4) between £300,000 and £350,000, (5) between £350,000 and £400,000, (6) between £400,000 and £450,000, (7) between £450,000 and £500,000, and (8) over £500,000.[HL1749]
Earl Attlee: The table below shows the number of redundancies and the total value of redundancy payments for staff in the Department for Transport and its agencies in 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10, as well as showing the number of individual payments which exceeded £100,000. There were no payments over £200,000.
|Year||No of Redundancies||Total Value of Redundancies||No of Redundancy payments between £100,000 and £150,00||No of Redundancy payments between £150,000 and £200,000|
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to encourage securitisation and the issuance of covered bonds to address increases in the value of maturing commercial mortgage-backed bonds. [HL1777]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government's Green Paper on Financing a Private Sector Recovery, published on Monday 26 July, seeks views on what role government could play in helping industry develop strong and sustainable securitisation markets. The paper is available at the link below: www.bis.gov.uk/Consultations/financing-private-sector-recovery.
To ask Her Majesty's Government why students granted leave to enter the United Kingdom are permitted to have national insurance numbers and to seek employment; under what criteria; and whether they will reconsider the practice in light of current unemployment levels.[HL1610]
Jobcentre Plus is responsible for the allocation of national insurance numbers (NINos) to adults and this mainly affects adults entering the UK from abroad. The Department for Work and Pensions is committed to ensuring that NINos are issued, used and controlled correctly. A new adult NINo allocation process was introduced in April 2001, and was strengthened in July 2006 with the introduction of a Right to Work test for all employment-related applications. In order to be allocated a NINo for employment purposes, an individual
28 July 2010 : Column WA366
The specific restrictions on the employment a tier-4 migrant may take are set out in Part 6a of the Immigration Rules in paragraphs 245ZW(c)(iii), 245ZY(c)(iii), 245ZZB (iii)-(iv) and 245ZZD(c)(iii)-(iv), which are available on the UK Border Agency website at: http://www.ukba. homeoffice.gov.uk/policyandlaw/immigrationlaw/immigrationrules/part6a.
The Government are undertaking a thorough evaluation of the student system. The aim of that work will be to ensure that the right balance is struck between providing a user-friendly route for bona fide students and education providers and keeping out those who would seek to abuse the student system. The work will also take into account the Government's overall objective to reduce net migration to the tens of thousands by the end of the parliamentary term. That evaluation will include consideration of the current rights of students to work whilst studying in the UK.
Earl Attlee: The Renewable Energy Directive (RED) requires the UK to ensure that 10 per cent of energy consumed in transport comes from renewable sources by 2020 and to ensure that any biofuels used towards this target meet a number of mandatory sustainability criteria. We are currently assessing how best to implement this directive and have begun discussing our ideas with interested parties.
The directive enables the European Commission to propose that "schemes" can be used to demonstrate that the biofuels in question have passed some or all of the sustainability criteria in the RED. To date the European Commission has not made any such proposals.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to ensure there will be sufficient graduate engineers to meet demand from new large-scale power generation facilities, including coal, nuclear and renewable forms of energy.[HL1649]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Office for Life Sciences was established
28 July 2010 : Column WA367
In May 2010, the OLS was restructured with all staff now funded by my department through its normal running costs. The Office for Life Sciences (OLS) will continue to work to improve the UK business environment for life sciences companies. This will be based on close and collaborative working between BIS and DH Ministers and their officials.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Baroness Verma on 19 July (WA 165), whether they will consider how to implement the Equality Act 2010 in the interests of business and of others whose rights are protected by the Act.[HL1589]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): It is important to consider the interests of business, especially in times of economic adversity. But this does not preclude considering the interests of others with rights and responsibilities under the Act.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many and what percentage of financial derivative trades involving United Kingdom banks are cleared through central clearing parties on an annual basis; and what action is being taken to increase that percentage. [HL1591]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): No statistics are published. The Government support the European Commission developing a legislative proposal to meet the commitment made by the G20 in 2009 to clear more derivative products through central counterparties.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): Failure to converge accounting standards could carry a risk of regulatory arbitrage, given that different accounting standards would apply to accounts to which prudential regulators applied the Basel prudential regime. This is one of the reasons the Government support the G20 call for convergence on a single high- quality set of accounting standards.
The Government have not made a formal assessment of the effect of not adopting common global accounting standards on systemic financial risk and regulatory arbitrage. The impact would be determined by the nature of the divergence and the mitigating steps taken by standard setters and prudential regulators. Standard setters, for example, would have the option of increasing transparency of the impact. Prudential regulators have a range of tools for dealing with the risk of regulatory arbitrage, for example, by adjusting pillar 1 rules so that they are accounting-regime neutral. At present, the risk of regulatory arbitrage is constrained by the similarity between the International Financial Reporting Standards and the US Generally Accepted Accounting Principles standards for accounting for financial instruments.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many websites are operated by, or on behalf of, agencies of the Department for Work and Pensions; and what is (a) the cost of maintaining those websites, (b) the number of hits each website received, and (c) the number of websites closed by the department, in each of the last three years for which information is available.[HL1868]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): There are 18 websites operated by, or on behalf of, agencies of the Department of Work and Pensions. The websites are:
(a) Ongoing maintenance of the websites is mainly carried out by the agency's in-house team. It is currently not possible to extract website maintenance costs because, in most cases, staff working across these areas are
28 July 2010 : Column WA369
We are working with the Cabinet Office to implement a standardised method for quantifying website costs across the department's agencies and non-departmental public bodies. This is in response to a Public Accounts Committee recommendation. These costs will be available from April 2011 onwards.
|Website||Number of Visits|
|Year 07-08||Year 08-09||Year 09-10|
In line with Cabinet Office guidance we are working with departmental agencies and non-departmental public bodies to implement a standardise method for capturing website statistics. These will be available from April 2011 onwards.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will place in the Library of the House a copy of (a) the contract between Atos Healthcare and the Department for Work and Pensions on the provision of medical assessments for recipients of the employment and support allowance, and (b) the tender document against which tenderers applied. [HL1704]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): A copy of the Medical Services contract between Atos Healthcare and the Department for Work and Pensions was placed in the House of Commons Library in 2008. This will now be updated to include the agreement regarding medical assessments in respect of employment and support allowance. A copy of the employment and support allowance tender requirements will also be placed in the Library.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of certain cancer patients having to cease their treatment when their insurer refuses further funding even though the patient is advised by their doctor that they would still benefit from the treatment.[HL1460]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the practice of certain health insurance companies saying they offer "full cancer cover" but ceasing to cover patients' treatment because in their view the insured's condition has changed from being acute to chronic even though the patient's doctor advises that they still need the same treatment.[HL1461]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The FSA is responsible for regulating insurance companies. Insurance companies are required to comply with the FSA's TCF (Treating Customers Fairly)
28 July 2010 : Column WA371
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): A study on low penetrance genes in prostate cancer has been added recently to the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Clinical Research Network (CRN) Portfolio database. The following studies were accepted by NIHR CRN before 2008 and are listed currently in the Portfolio database as being open to recruitment:the Birmingham Prostatic Neoplasms Association Study-a genetic and environmental case control study on prostate cancer in Birmingham;identification of men with a genetic predisposition to prostate cancer-targeted screening in BRCA1/2 mutation carriers and controls; andUK Genetic Prostate Cancer Study.
Earl Howe: The Government will be considering how to improve sexual health, by reducing unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, in the coming months. People need the right information at the right time and advice to make responsible informed choices to suit their individual circumstances, including access to information about contraception and emergency contraception.
The Government support access to emergency contraception products. In 2009, a prescription-only emergency contraceptive pill was licensed for use up to 120 hours after unprotected sex and this has extended the range of emergency contraception available. It is, however, a matter for clinical judgment as to which method of emergency contraception to prescribe or supply and patient safety remains a prime consideration.
Earl Howe: We have no plans at present to allow women to access the oral contraceptive pill over the counter at pharmacies without a prescription. However, a small number of areas are currently piloting the supply of the contraceptive pill at pharmacies through patient group directions (PGDs), which are written instructions for the supply or administration of medicines
28 July 2010 : Column WA372
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the new Advisory Group for National Specialised Services will have a cost threshold when assessing and making recommendations on the use of ultra orphan drug treatments in the National Health Service.[HL1613]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): In the great majority of cases the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) will continue to appraise important new drugs. However for a small number of drugs where it is not appropriate for NICE to carry out an appraisal, NICE may send the drug to the Advisory Group for National Specialised Services (AGNSS) for consideration as part of the arrangements for national specialised commissioning. AGNSS has not held its first meeting and will be considering the processes and methods to apply when looking at drugs for the treatment of very rare conditions when members meet. Once agreed, it will publish these processes and methods on the specialised services website.
To ask Her Majesty's Government to what extent the National Health Service is meeting the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidance on the waiting time for a first specialist consultation for those suspected of having epilepsy.[HL1661]
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence's view that a multi-disciplinary team is required for managing epilepsy, and that a specialist nurse should be part of that team. [HL1663]
We have made no assessment of the extent to which the National Health Service is meeting the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) guidelines on the waiting time for a first specialist consultation for those suspected of having epilepsy.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many European Union nationals are registered with general practitioners in England and Wales; and how many have registered in the last five years from each European Union country.[HL1555]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The information requested is not available centrally as patients are not required to disclose their nationality as part of the standard registration process in primary medical services.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will ask the proposed Consumer Protection and Markets Authority to conduct an early review into the terms and conditions of private health insurance sold to individuals and to employers, in the light of the number of cancer patients who have to cease treatment when their insurer refuses further funding even though the patient's doctor advises that they would still benefit from the treatment.[HL1521]
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Government are committed to establishing a new Consumer Protection and Markets Agency (CPMA). The CPMA will be responsible for making all conduct of business rules, including those relating to private medical insurance, and will take a strong approach to enforcement of conduct of business rules to ensure credible deterrence. The new CPMA will be independent of government. The independence of the Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS), the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS) and the CPMA will be vital to their role of providing a safety net for consumers with complaints against financial services firms. Their credibility, authority and value to consumers would be undermined if it were possible for the Government to intervene in their decision-making. In the mean time, the issues remain a matter for the Financial Services Authority (FSA), which makes and enforces these conduct of business rules.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the European Union directive on the recognition of professional qualifications (2005/36/EC) prevents regulators of healthcare professionals such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council from testing the language skills of nurses and midwives; whether their transposition of the directive has made such provision; and what is their position on the directive. [HL1667]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): European Directive 2005/36/EC on the recognition of professional qualifications prevents healthcare regulators such as the Nursing and Midwifery Council from systematically testing language knowledge of European Economic Area migrants at the point of registration. United Kingdom domestic law supports the directive in this respect. However, employers and those contracting with healthcare workers can and should verify the language knowledge of any person they appoint.
The Health Select Committee recommended that the Government seek to make changes to allow clinical competence and systematic testing of language skills. In responding to the committee, we supported the recommendation in respect of the need for doctors to be able to communicate effectively with patients.
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many women aged (a) 14 to 16, (b) 17 to 21, (c) 22 to 24, (d) 25 to 30, (e) 31 to 35, and (f) 36 to 40, died from pregnancy-related diseases in each year since 1980. [HL1598]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): This information is not available centrally in the form requested. The following table sets out registered deaths in the United Kingdom with the underlying cause classified as maternal deaths.
|Registered deaths with underlying cause given as a maternal death, (ICD9 630-676, ICD10 O00-O99)|
The figures were produced by the Centre for Maternal and Child Enquiries (CMACE) in its triennial publication Saving Mothers' Lives (previously known as Why Mothers Die). The conditions included ICD9 630-679 and ICD 10 O00-O99, codes which are "complications of pregnancy, childbirth, and the puerperium".
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Department of Health's guidance Long Term Neurological Conditions: A good practice guide to the development of the multidisciplinary team and the value of the specialist nurse reflects current departmental policy.[HL1660]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): This guide was written to help health bodies and social service organisations implement the National Service Framework for long-term neurological conditions (the NSF). We remain committed to implementing the NSF, and this document provides good-practice guidance which is still relevant and a key part of current policy.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the average cost allowed by the Higher Education Funding Council for England for a two-year foundation degree in (a) further education colleges, (b) universities, and (c) higher education institutions.[HL1694]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): Foundation degrees (FD) are treated by the
28 July 2010 : Column WA376
Given the subject area of most FD courses they will mainly fall into price groups C and D. In addition to reflect the additional costs of establishing FDs a premium has been awarded to institutions. This will be withdrawn from 2011-12. In 2010-11 it stands at £178 per full-time equivalent FD student.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): The Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) does not cover applications to PhD courses, therefore information on applicants is not available. As an alternative, the number of UK-domiciled entrants to PhD courses at UK higher education institutions (HEIs) is provided below.
|UK-Domiciled PhD Entrants (1)|
|UK Higher Education Institutions|
|Academic Years 2006-07 to 2008-09|
|Academic Year||PhD Entrants|
|Source: Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) Student Record.|
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many first-time PhD students were funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England or the Research Councils to study in each of the past three years; and how many were United Kingdom domiciled.[HL1645]
Baroness Wilcox: The number of PhD starters funded by the Research Councils in the UK in 2007-08, 2008-09 and 2009-10 is shown in Table 1. Of these, the estimated number of UK-domiciled students is also shown. Research Councils do not record whether a student has previously studied for a PhD.
|Year||PhD Starters||Estimated UK-Domiciled PhD Starters|
HEFCE do not fund PhD studentships, but do support the costs of their supervision. The 2008-09 HESA Student Record was used to model numbers of full and part-time PhD students, in their first year at English universities, who were eligible for HEFCE contributions to the cost of supervision. The estimated total number in each HEFCE funding allocation is shown in Table 2. Of these, the estimated number of UK domiciled students is also shown.
|Funding Allocation Year||Students from Year||Estimated Total PhD Starters||Estimated UK Domiciled PhD Starters|
It is important to note that Research Council funding covers the whole of the UK and HEFCE contributes to supervision costs of eligible PhD students at English universities only, including those students funded by bodies other than the Research Councils. As such, the two sets of data are not directly comparable.
Baroness Wilcox: The Research Councils estimate they will fund a total of 5,371 new PhD students in 2010-11 in the UK. Research conducted by some of these students will fall outside science, engineering or maths. The expected number of PhD starters for each Research Council is shown in Table 1.
HEFCE does not fund PhD studentships but does support the costs of their supervision. The 2008-09 HESA Student Record was used to model numbers of full and part-time first-year PhD students at English universities who were eligible for HEFCE contributions to the cost of supervision. The total number in the 2010-11 HEFCE funding allocation-therefore students who started in 2009-10-is estimated to be 11,900. Of these, 6,000 are estimated to be science, technology, engineering or maths (STEM) students in line with HECFE's definition of STEM subjects. HEFCE does not have data for students starting in 2010-11.
It is important to note that Research Council funding covers the whole of the UK and HEFCE contributes to supervision costs of eligible PhD students at English universities only, including those students funded by bodies other than the Research Councils. As such, the two sets of data are not directly comparable.
To ask the Chairman of Committees whether he will seek to amend the agreement with BBC Parliament so that it has discretion to broadcast live proceedings in the House of Lords, rather than live proceedings in the House of Commons.[HL1769]
The Chairman of Committees (Lord Brabazon of Tara): The arrangements were altered in 2006 to give the BBC discretion to broadcast live proceedings in the House of Lords rather than those in the House of Commons. The responsibility for exercising this discretion rests with BBC Parliament and is subject to its editorial policies and guidelines.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): On 28 June the Home Secretary commissioned the independent Migration Advisory Committee to provide advice on the levels at which limits on non-EEA economic migration should be set for the first full year of its operation, from April 2011. No decision on the level of the limit will be made until the Government have considered the committee's report, which it will submit at the end of September.
From 19 July, the Government have set an interim limit on tier 1 (general) and tier 2 (general) to prevent a surge of applications before April 2011, which would lead to an increase in net migration and undermine the purpose of the limit. The number of out-of-country main applicants through the tier 1 (general) route will be held flat from the equivalent period for 2009-10. We are also introducing an interim limit on the number of
28 July 2010 : Column WA379
To ask Her Majesty's Government what financial incentives there are for potential illegal entrants to the United Kingdom who have reached northern France to encourage them to return to their countries of origin and to cease their attempts to enter the United Kingdom.[HL1536]
Baroness Neville-Jones: The UK funds a project in northern France (the Global Calais Project) which advises potential illegal entrants of the realities of life in the UK and promotes and provides reintegration to their home countries as an incentive for them to return. Reintegration assistance up to a maximum of €4,000 per returnee is available, depending on the type of assistance chosen. This can be used to access vocational training, training and support to set up a business, or education for a limited period of time. Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and the three northern Governates of Iraq are the only qualifying countries of origin.
Alternatively, the French Government operate an assisted voluntary returns programme and a reintegration assistance programme in northern France. They are open to irregular migrants who are willing to apply for assistance to return to their country of origin. The range of financial support available under these programmes is comparable to that under the Global Calais Project. Applicants can apply to either the Global Calais Project or the French schemes; they cannot apply to both.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The coalition Government's five-year plan made clear we would tackle abuse of the immigration system, including speeding up the processing of asylum claims.
While we believe that the UK compares favourably with other countries, both in terms of speed and quality, we recognise there is room for improvement. Shortly, we will be carrying out an internal project to explore new ways of speeding up the asylum process. The project will look at the whole asylum process form end to end, including removal of failed asylum seekers. The project will provide an update on progress to Ministers in March.
Returning those with no basis of stay in the UK is a key government objective. We will continue to engage with overseas Governments on a country-by-country
28 July 2010 : Column WA380
We would rather people left on a voluntary basis, but if necessary we will enforce removal, including by the use of charter flight. Charter flights play an important part in effecting volume returns to countries from where asylum intake is high or where there are a significant number of foreign national prisoners (or disruptive immigration offenders) awaiting return. The UK Border Agency operated 14 charter flights in the first three months of this financial year. Regular destinations include Jamaica, Nigeria and Afghanistan. We have worked during this period with the authorities in Iraq to agree processes for documentation and return. This resulted in the successful removal of 54 individuals to Baghdad by charter flight in June. Further flights to Baghdad are planned during 2010.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will ensure that presenting officers attend the hearing of immigration and asylum appeals to defend the decisions taken by the UK Border Agency and assist the tribunal in reaching its decision.[HL1533]
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): The UK Border Agency seeks to ensure that certain types of appeal hearings are prioritised for representation. These are detention, bail and asylum appeals and cases where there is a threat of harm to our communities. In these cases well over 90 per cent of cases are represented.
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they will request the UK Border Agency to carry out a cost-benefit analysis of the level of attendance of presenting officers at immigration and asylum tribunals. [HL1534]
This will include whether there are cases that it is not cost effective to represent and whether resources to represent appeals are in the most effective location to maximise representation of high priority and high cost appeals.
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The Chancellor of the Exchequer appointed Lord Hutton as chair to the Independent Public Service Pensions Commission on 20 June. It will be a matter for Lord Hutton to decide what expertise is required in support of this review of public service pensions.
The EU Directive (2009/3/EC), published in the Official Journal in May 2009, removed any obligation on the UK Government to set a date to end the use of the mile as the primary unit of measurement for road traffic signs.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of Tearfund's report Joining the Dots, in particular its comments on the link between better water, sanitation and hygiene on maternal, newborn and child health and progress towards Millennium Development Goals 4A, 5A and 7C.[HL1390]
We welcome Tearfund's Joining the Dots report. Improving water supplies and sanitation are key to preventing maternal, newborn and child deaths. DfID recently launched a new workstream to enhance the linkages between sanitation and hygiene and health and nutrition, which mirrors the report's recommendations for an integrated approach.
DfID is developing a new business plan for reproductive, maternal and newborn health which will reflect the importance of clean and safe water, sanitation and hygiene in preventing maternal and newborn deaths. This business plan will be informed by the ongoing reviews of our bilateral and multilateral aid announced by the Secretary of State for International Development.
To ask Her Majesty's Government , further to the answer by Lord Sassoon on 20 July (Official Report; col. 908), how often they have asked the
28 July 2010 : Column WA382
The Commercial Secretary to the Treasury (Lord Sassoon): The independent Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Bank of England has operational responsibility for monetary policy, including use of the Asset Purchase Facility (APF) and continues to target 2 per cent inflation, as measured by the 12-month change in the Consumer Prices Index (CPI).
Under the APF framework, the Treasury provides an indemnity to the Bank of England for any loss incurred through operation of the facility. The framework also requires the Chancellor to authorise the overall limit on asset purchases. Open letters exchanged between the Chancellor and the Governor agreeing the limit for APF purchases can be found on the Bank of England website.
The Bank of England Act 1998 sets out the statutory framework for the Bank of England, including the role and composition of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), and provides that "A representative of the Treasury may attend, and speak, at any meeting of the Committee". The non-voting Treasury representative ensures that the MPC is aware of relevant Treasury policy matters. For example, the Treasury representative will brief the MPC on major events such as the Budget and the Pre-Budget Report.
To ask Her Majesty's Government why no other organisations were considered by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills before it awarded funding to the Independent Networks Co-operative Association on 29 June 2009.[HL1797]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (Baroness Wilcox): I have nothing further to add to previous Answers on this subject, provided at Hansard 9 June (col. WA 46-47), 10 June (col. WA 55), 15 June (col. WA 104). 15 June (col. WA 104), 15 June (col. WA 103-04), 15 June (col. WA 105). 15 June (col. WA 105), 15 June (col. WA 104). 15 June (col. WA 103), 15 June (col. WA 103), and 16 June (col. WA 119).
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department of Health (Earl Howe): The White Paper sets out a vision of a system where patients have real choice and control about the services they access. It also supports the wider aspirations of this Government to build a big society, which will draw on the strength and capabilities of active citizens and communities.
The voluntary sector and social enterprises have an important role in helping to deliver the vision for health set out in the White Paper. The department recognises that the sector is of critical importance in:voice and advocacy-articulating and championing peoples' views, needs and preferences, especially in reaching individuals that are excluded;community engagement and infrastructure;designing and providing highly personalised services based on authentic insight into their clients' needs;providing knowledge, expertise and insight to support GP consortia in making well informed commissioning decisions;harnessing social capital through the mobilisation of volunteers; andcommunity organisations supporting big society, enabling communities to take control.
Voluntary organisations have a long history of delivering high-quality, user-focused, innovative and cost-effective National Health Service, public health and social care services. These services can often reach those hard to reach groups that statutory organisations cannot. Many voluntary organisations work across both health and social care and are therefore well placed to support better integration with local authorities across health and social care. We are confident that voluntary organisations have the potential to do much more and the White Paper offers opportunities beyond just service provision.
We are committed to ensuring that voluntary organisations find it easier to deliver services. Our governing principle is that "any willing provider" that meets National Health Service standards within NHS prices should be able to compete on a fair playing field, with patients having the control to choose the service and provider that best meet their needs. In making commissioning decisions, GP consortia will work with, among others, voluntary organisations to ensure the services commissioned best meet the needs of their patients and the local population.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, on the date of the devolution of policing and justice to the Northern Ireland Assembly, how many members of (a) the Northern Ireland High Court, and (b) the judiciary, were perceived to be (a) Protestant, (b) Roman Catholic, and (c) other.[HL1718]
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to introduce legislation requiring private sector pension schemes to move from Retail Prices Index to Consumer Prices Index indexation for deferred benefits and pension payments; and what is their assessment of the change in the present net value of pension entitlements of pensioner, deferred and current members of schemes as a consequence of changing the indexation.[HL1593]
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State, Department for Work and Pensions (Lord Freud): The Government do not intend to require private sector occupational pension schemes to increase deferred pensions and pensions in payment by a particular index, but it will continue to set a statutory minimum for such increases. Whether a scheme provides increases above the statutory minimum will remain a matter for the scheme.
As announced in the Written Statement on 8 July 2010, the Consumer Prices Index (CPI) will be used as the basis for determining the percentage increase in the general level of prices for the 12 months ending 30 September 2010 when preparing the 2010 revaluation order, which sets the statutory minimum for the indexation of occupational pensions in payment and the revaluation of deferred pensions.
The Minister of State, Home Office (Baroness Neville-Jones): Our posts abroad play an important role in combating human trafficking. UK Border Agency staff, including those based abroad, receive mandatory training to raise awareness about trafficking and identify its indicators. This is assisted through liaison and the exchange of information on policy and operational issues with posts.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what options there are for the electrification of the London to south Wales railway line following the Review of the Intercity Express Programme by Sir Andrew Foster; and what are its implications for railway stock and the Severn Tunnel.[HL1149]
Earl Attlee: A final decision on the Intercity Express Programme will be made at the spending review in October. The Government support further electrification of the rail network, subject to affordability and value for money considerations.
The Government have followed Sir Andrew Foster's recommendations to pause the Intercity Express Programme. In this period, alternatives to the programme will be considered along with a reassessment of related electrification programmes.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 13 July (WA 125), in light of the complexities and costs of bidding for a franchise, whether they plan to review the process to assist new entrants such as mutual companies. [HL1477]
Earl Attlee: The Department for Transport aims to ensure that the franchising process is proportionate to the scale and nature of the franchises and the contracts involved. Principles of transparency and non-discrimination for all potential bidders are also observed.
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 20 July (WA 203), who commissioned the engineering study of the Great Western Main Line; and what were its terms of reference.[HL1702]
Earl Attlee: Following an announcement in July 2009 by the previous Government that they wished to see the electrification of the Great Western main line, Network Rail commenced a study into the civil engineering, electrical and operational implications arising in meeting this requirement. The company is due to report, in the near future, on the preliminary findings.
Earl Attlee: We have placed in the Libraries of the House a copy of the initial summary documentation (i.e. the invitation to pre-qualify and the "teaser"). The remaining documentation remains confidential to pre-qualified bidders in order to protect the integrity of the sale process and will only be released following completion of the sale.
Earl Attlee: This information is published annually by the Office of Rail Regulation in National Rail Trends. Copies are available in the Library of the House and online at: http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/nav.1863.
Earl Attlee: Network Rail is currently committed to a programme of work at Reading to increase rail capacity and improve performance for both passenger and freight traffic. This programme will be subject to examination as part of the Spending Review.
Completion of the task to move the present signal control centre, based at Reading, to Didcot, along with the widening of Caversham Road bridge. This work will then enable enlargement of the station to take place.
To ask Her Majesty's Government , further to the Written Answer by Earl Attlee on 19 July (WA 177-8), what was the estimated cost of rail rolling stock schemes being discussed with operators as part of the high level output specification programme which has been paused.[HL1673]
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answers by Lord McNally on 21 July (Official Report, 21/7/10; cols 972-3), on how many occasions in the last three years officers in secure training centres have (a) struck an inmate in the face with an elbow, (b) driven knuckles into an inmate's ribcage, (c) raked a shoe down an inmate's shins onto their instep, (d) driven fingers into an inmate's face and then quickly driven the straightened fingers into the inmate's groin area, and (e) applied severe pain to an inmate's thumb.[HL1686]
The Minister of State, Ministry of Justice (Lord McNally): The techniques referred to in the Question at (a), (c) and (d), are known as "breakaway techniques". They are approved for the purpose of self-defence, where the life of the member of staff is at serious risk. Data provided by the Youth Justice Board indicate that none of these techniques has been used in secure training centres during the past three years.
The techniques referred to at (b) and (e) in the Question, involving pressure to the ribs or thumb, are known as "distraction techniques". Distraction techniques are for use where a trainee is being extremely violent and it is not possible to apply one of the ordinary restraint holds without first causing the trainee to disengage. They are for use only in exceptional circumstances.
Between April 2006 and March 2009 the rib distraction technique was used seven times and the thumb distraction technique 96 times. This is the most recent three-year period for which figures are available. These data have been supplied by the Youth Justice Board and have been drawn from administrative IT systems, which, as with any large-scale recording system, are subject to possible errors with data entry and processing and may be subject to change over time.
Lord Shutt of Greetland: This department is aware of a number of initiatives to mark the centenary of the sinking of RMS "Titanic". A number of national and regional museums and heritage centres have plans to mark the occasion. These include the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, and the cities of Southampton, where RMS "Titanic" embarked, and Belfast, where she was built.
Southampton City Council was awarded £4.6 million by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) in March 2010 to create a new Southampton Sea City Museum which will include a permanent gallery on "Southampton's Titanic Story".
In 2008 the HLF awarded a grant of £50,000 to Northern Ireland Science Park (NISP) for a project based at the Titanic's Dock and Pump-House in Belfast and also awarded a grant of £174,500 to National Museums Northern Ireland (Ulster Folk and Transport Museum) towards the development of its collection "Titanic: Built in Belfast".
In addition, the Phillips Memorial Park, in Godalming, Surrey, the largest built memorial to a single "Titanic" victim, has recently been given initial support and development funding of £25,600 from HLF and the Big Lottery Fund's joint Parks for People programme to restore the memorial in time for the centenary.
|Next Section||Back to Table of Contents||Lords Hansard Home Page|